Thursday, January 28, 2010

Taking a photo a day can be quite the challenge. Like with most things, life kind of gets in the way. One of the Daily Shoot challenges (can't remember what number challenge it was) was to take a self-portrait. Ta-da!
I would have attempted a more traditional self-portrait, but on this day I had only made it to wardrobe and not to hair and make-up. Some days are like that, you know.

This week at the Punkin's school they had their annual International Night. (Which they're now calling "Heritage Night" - was the old name not inclusive enough? Just asking.) We live in a very diverse community and the premise of the night is to celebrate all the cultures that are represented in the student population. The event is sponsored by the PTA and is the most well attended of all the PTA's events. This year was no exception. When you arrive, the students hand out "passports" that you take from country to country and get stamped.

Each country has a classroom and the classroom is decorated with artifacts from that country; the "hosts" dress in their traditional costumes and most rooms have samples of food from the country. The most popular country was Mexico (my personal favorite). I snapped a quick picture of these tomatillos and jalapenos while were were waiting in line for taquitos and salsa. I liked the different green colors and the way they were arranged.

I wish I could remember what country this amazing carved box was from but I can't. I loved all the colors and bold patterns as well as the hand-carved details of the figures inside.

As part of the 365 Project, I made a list of all the little things that play a role in my day-to-day life. Today I decided to snap a picture of my arch nemesis...

The alarm clock. Oh how I hate this little torture device. I aspire to one day be able to chunk it into the garbage and never have to listen to it beckon me out of my cozy, warm bed and into a day of drudgery at work. Pie in the sky. Unless of course I win the lottery . . . how much is Mega Millions this week? :-)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Raise Your Hand If You Saw This One Coming

Which one? Oh, that would be the one where you knew there was NO way I would ever be able to take a picture EVERY day, without fail, for one year. Three days in and I missed not one, but two days. Oh well, when you fall down you have to get back up, right?

So, tomorrow, I'm back on the photo wagon.

Oh, one more thing... Bill got tired of watching TV with the Punk talking constantly and told her that she wasn't allowed to talk for a whole show. LOL! She's done pretty good so far. She's only written me three notes; it's so quite I don't know what to do with myself. We might have to make more shows "wordless." Wonder how long THAT will last?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Lesson in Being Prepared

I wouldn't have made a good Boy Scout. The most obvious reason is that I'm not a boy. The less obvious reason is I'm just not very prepared. My dear husband will tell you that I'm an "Idea Person." I have great ideas but I'm not very good at implementation.

So, today, I decided to make Aunt Doris' Chocolate Chip Cookies (which could quite possibly be the best chocolate chip cookies ever - just sayin'). I start grabbing my ingredients from the pantry: sugar (almost all gone but enough for cookies), all-purpose flour, brown sugar, butter, eggs, etc.

I cream the butter and sugar and get ready to mix in the baking soda and water. Oops. Problem number one - no baking soda. (An aside: Who runs out of baking soda? Doesn't a box of baking soda last for, I don't know, ever?) OK. No problem. I'll just use self-rising flour and leave out the soda and salt. Problem solved.

I continue mixing. Add in the vanilla; go to the fridge to get the chocolate chips. Those who know me best know that I always (always) keep chocolate chips on hand in the refrigerator. However, today, NO chocolate chips. How can you have chocolate chip cookies without chocolate chips? Ugh! At this point I could blame someone in my family for eating the last of the chips and not putting them on the grocery list, which incidentally, is RIGHT NEXT TO THE REFRIGERATOR, but I'm not going to lay blame. Not today.

All of a sudden I feel like I'm on the Worst Cooks in America show. If I had just read through the entire recipe first and made sure I had all the ingredients, I wouldn't have ended up with this:

This is what chocolate chip cookies look like without chocolate chips. Not quite as tasty as with the chips. Guess I'll be making a run to Publix . . . in the rain . . . with the baby. Oh joy. In the meantime, here's Aunt Doris' Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe in case you happen to have chips at your house and decide to make them for yourself.

Chocolate Chip Cookies - a heritage recipe from my great aunt Doris Olliff

1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter or shortening (use butter, trust me)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 package chocolate chips (use mini chips)
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Cream sugar and butter, add egg and beat well. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to batter. Add flour which has been mixed with salt. Mix well. Fold in chocolate chips and nuts. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees 8-10 minutes until done.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Issue with Clutter

This week's assignment at was to photograph clutter. (Mom, I can hear you laughing....) There may be some people who would have a problem finding something clutter-related to photograph. I would NOT be one of those people. Frankly, there is no shortage of clutter in my house. With the exception of my downstairs bathroom, you can pretty much turn in any direction in my house and see clutter.

With so many choices to photograph, what did I choose? I chose the Punkin's clutter. This is a shot of the desk in her room. Uh, right. This would be the desk where she is supposed to do her homework. Since you can't actually see the top of the desk, you would be right if you guessed that not a lot of homework gets done there. She does it on the sofa in the living room, while watching Phineas and Ferb (but that's a post for another day).

So, in addition to Project365, I'm also back on the FlyLady bandwagon where I'm desperately trying to get my house (and my clutter) under control. I swear some days I think there are Gremlins who follow me around messing up stuff behind me and disappearing when I turn around.

My first stop on the FlyLady decluttering train are the two spots that drive poor Bill the most nutty: the computer desk in the living room and the desk in the kitchen. There will be pictures - before and afters. I will also add that all of this decluttering is in preparation for hopefully, one day, putting our house on the market. Since EK arrived, we've kind of run out of usable space and really need to concentrate on getting a bigger place.

Whew. I have a lot to do. Guess that means that I shouldn't be sitting here talking about what I need to do. Where's my timer? My 15 minutes starts now...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Jumping on the Project 365 Bandwagon

Over the summer I bought a dSLR camera and 2 lenses. Then in the fall I took a class to learn how to use it. Since then, I've pretty much only been taking pictures of my kids. Over the holidays, my friend Jodi (a budding professional) posted on Facebook that she was participating in Project 365 for 2010. The premise is that you are to take a minimum of one photo per day for 365 consecutive days. You can take pictures of anything, including the mundane things of life, just so long as you take one picture per day.

I decided this would help my photography skills since it would (1) force me to use my camera everyday and (2) force me to look at everything in my life and how all those things - big and small - make up who I am.

Yesterday was a warm day for us (in the low 60s) and a welcome reprieve from the really cold weather we've been experiencing over the past few weeks. My friend Elizabeth and I took our girls, and another friend, out to Sims Lake Park and spent a few hours snapping pictures of the girls. This is yesterday's photo:

I also joined a Project 365 group where I'm cataloging my progress. The group posts daily and weekly themes - this week's theme is clutter. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be able to find something to take a picture of. :)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Holy Freaking Cow? Where Did the Year Go?

If there is anyone who still stops by to read my blog, you might be wondering what happened to me last year. Or you might NOT be wondering, but I'd rather think you care enough to at least be curious.

Well, last year was a crazy busy year for me. You, of course, know about the Biggest Loser challenge that I was doing with some Facebook friends. I made good progress and lost about 15 pounds.

It was a contract negotiation year at the Deathstar and, because I'm in management and not part of the folks represented by the contract, I spent a good portion of the year training to do someone else's job in the event of a work stoppage (a.k.a. "a strike"). That involved about 100+ hours of online and classroom training - on top of my normal job.

Speaking of normal job, I wrapped up the project I've been working on for two years! FINALLY!

Perhaps the biggest thing that happened to me last year was this ...

Aww! We welcomed a new daughter to our family. Emily Kathryn (a.k.a. Emma Kate) joined our family on December 1, 2009 weighing 5 pounds and 15 ounces. She's absolutely the best thing about 2009!