Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mmmm Summer

Looking forward to summer by looking back.

2008 - Grandpa C with Hawaiian Ice at Alyson's first ball game.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


So the girls and I were just wrestling on the floor.  Well, maybe that's a loose interpretation of the word "wrestling".  They were tackling and maiming me while we were all laying on the floor giggling. 

At the point when it became hard to breathe, I said:

"Ok, Ok, I give!  Uncle, Uncle!"

to which Alyson laughingly replied:

"Uncle Chris!"

And just a moment ago (after the death wrestling match adjourned) she asked me if I wanted to have a party with her and MayLee.  I said of course I did.  She responded:

"Then come on over here."

I love those girls.

Saturday, March 26, 2011


I'm a photo junkie.

I take lots of them, snap-snap-snap, one right after the other.  (I like to use the excuse that I'm bracketing for the best shot, but really I'm just snap happy.  I get it from my mom.)

I keep them just in case I need that one that's blurry with blinking eyes.  Because you never know when you'll need it.

Until now.  I'm trying to be better about keeping the pictures that mean something.  The best 20 of the 300 pictures I took when the girls were painting.  I just spent a couple hours deleting about 1500 excess pictures just from the last year.  I didn't get rid of any of the good ones - just the ones that are unneeded. 

And it felt great.   And it was impossible.  But now I can find the pictures I want when I want them.  I don't have to wade through so many to find them.

MayLee can make an accessory out of just about anything - especially pants.

Rachel is a good sport

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I'm Falling Apart

So two things.

First. I'm tired of exercising my diaphragm. I'd like to move on to something else. Thank you.

Second. I'm pretty sure I have an ingrown toenail.

That is all.

MayLee loves Daddy

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mmmm Butter

A couple years ago, I meant to post this.  My best friend from college posted this on her blog about the differences between butter and margarine.  You may be surprised which is better for you!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rachel - Threshold - Photoshop = Fun

Do you remember a couple days ago when I posted this and said I'd tell you tomorrow how I did it?  Well we're a little past that "tomorrow" but it's better late than never right? 

If you like to play around with Photoshop Elements like I do, you may already know this trick.  I accquired it from this article which is actually for Photoshop - so if that's what you have, you're set too. 

It took me a little reworking to locate the applicable buttons in PSE since the instructions are for PS.  For your pleasure, please see below how I have also magicked my beautiful sister into a duotone picture.

For these, it seems (and I'm still playing with this) that the picture you're going to want to rework will be one where the subject is not in full shadow or full light.  The process works with the balance. 

I chose a picture I always liked of Rachel - she's actually dressed as a pirate, ahh irony.  

1.  Open your picture in PSE
2.  On the menu bar, click Filter > Adjustments > Threshold

The next part is where you determine what kind of a balance you want.  Don't just trust what the first setting is.

3.  Slide the threshold bar to the left and right

4.  When you are happy with how it looks, click OK

The picture will become a little finer after you click OK.

You can be done there if you want or you can add color!

To add color,

1.  On the menu bar, click Enhance > Adjust Color > Adjust Hue/Saturation
2.  Click "colorize"
3.  Experiment with all three sliders
     a. the top - Hue adjusts what color is used
     b. the middle - Saturation adjusts how much of that color is used
     c.  the bottom - Lightness adjusts how much white or black is added in

When you're happy, click OK and save it!

Block Party

We totally had a block party this weekend.  In between cleaning the house like mad (as a result of both Erik and me stepping on something pokey in the middle of the night) we did a pretty good job of keeping it fun too.  

The lighting was beautiful, so I couldn't resist intruding upon my girls' play time with the camera.  Bless their hearts for indulging me!

Alyson started it all with her big princess blocks.  She'd been asking for them for a couple days weeks and when we finally cleared enough stuff out of the family room to justify their retrieval, she did this:

Yes, this is Alyson - putting the princesses together by herself.  She had Jasmin separated from Snow White, etc so that she could make sure she had all of the pieces.

I'm glad she moved closer to MayLee - This way I was able to get pictures of both of them at the same time (though not very well).  MayLee is in the background playing with their jewelry. 

Everything is a bracelet to that girl - she became enamored with them when I put the first one on her.  It just so happened to be the fabulously blingy blue bracelet my Mom gave us for Christmas a couple years ago.

As you can see, Alyson was rocking some pretty awesome jewelry too - a fab ring she got at a birthday party and some mah-velous beads she had in her jewelry box. 

She was too cute - the necklace kept getting caught on the blocks or the ring while she moved them around, and she disentangled them without even a grimace - a diva-licious pro all around. 

After a while, MayLee decided she needed to help out and started bringing over some blocks for assembly. 

When all was said and done, they had a beautiful dancing mat.  They then performed a rigorous quality test upon completion.

It passed with flying colors (and no injuries).

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Photoshop Elements = Fun

I just learned a new trick.  Check back tomorrow to learn more!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

O - Im - Beh

For the past couple of days, Alyson has been chanting "O - Im - Beh" over and over again. 

I didn't realize until yesterday that she was singing along with Michael Jackson to "I'm Bad".  She's completely capable of even saying those words, I just don't think she's realized that's what he's saying.

Ahh, she's great.

Aly's Princess Dress

For Halloween, I made Alyson this princess dress.  She looks pretty darn cute in it if I do say so myself.  These are the first real pictures I've taken of her in it.

The dress is pretty much reversible - the pattern is fitted the same in front and back.  The back closes with velcro so it's "easy" to put on and take off.  Generally if she puts it on herself, it goes on backwards.

The armholes are cut so that she can wear a shirt underneath without any bunching.

It's actually too long - I had to take about 3 inches up so there's plenty of room for growth.

It comes complete with Cinderella poofs and a piggie for protection

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tea for Three

Alyson attended her first Tea Party yesterday.  She was so excited all day - she wore her fluffy princess skirt and fairy wings (with a purse full of accessories she chose not to wear). 
Before tea, Izzy's mom reviewed the behavior befitting a fancy tea party (pinky up, please, thank you, etc)The girls (Alyson and two of her friends from school) enjoyed raspberry herbal tea with a little sugar and cream out of real tea cups.  They were all very pretty and unique - Izzy's grandma collects china and shared some with her now that she's growing into a fairy princess.

We brought cookies to share.  They were tasty, but did not turn out the way I intended.  I was trying to copy some cookies made at my work - they look like little tarts.  A sugar cookie forms the "crust" with fruit pie filling on top.  Mine ended up spreading quite a bit, so the filling to crust ratio was a bit off - and they were ginormous when all was said and done.  We each at a half.

Miley brought some beautiful little cupcakes from her big sister's birthday party.  We even had a gentleman hunter with us to protect us while we mingled.  Izzy's big brother took a break from the computer to share tea with us.  It was very sweet. 

(I will add pictures of all three girls after I check with their moms)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Yay for Spring!

We're planting our own garden for the very first time and started several things already.  Tomatoes (Beefsteak, Plum and Cherry) as well as some beautiful multi colored sweet bell peppers.  I'm so excited, but also a little nervous - I don't want to over commit and crash and burn if you know what I'm saying.  So far, we've been successful - Alyson and MayLee helped me soak the little disks that became our seed nests.  After that, Alyson helped me plant the little seeds and helps me to keep them moist with a little spray bottle.  She has been so excited that Daddy brought her home some more seeds and I couldn't resist buying more types.  We'll see just how crazy extreme we decide to go.  I'm very excited though.  I helped as a volunteer gardener at my work and have a lot of gratification of seeing the leeks I planted last year already starting again and the garlic I planted last fall is already sending up shoots. 

The very first shoots visible after several days of waiting
The way I keep the seedlings warm is by putting hot water in with them before closing them up.
All cozy and ready to germinate!

October overdue pics