Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Daze Photo Party

Here is my quick photo summer photo share.  My nephew stayed with us Monday and Tuesday, and we had some wet summer fun! Picked up the free photo collage at Project Alicia.   Love it!  More to come on this visit later.  Have a happy Friday!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Decorating My Office

I have lots of summer projects - I'm a teacher, and I love being a teacher.  That said, I also love my summers, and I take full advantage of them!  I enjoy being a mom, laying in the sun, cooking, taking photos, and getting to do all of the things I don't have enough time for during the school year.  I have been wanting to showcase the photos I take on my office wall.  I love pinterest, and I've pinned several ideas for photo walls - click here to see.    And while I realize this doesn't look like any of those beautiful pictures, I love it, and I did it on the cheap.  I got the frames at Hobby Lobby for 1/2 off.  The 16x 20's cost me $10, and the 11 x 14's cost me $5.
First, I laid them out on the carpet to get the configuration I wanted.  Oops the ones on the right are not facing the right direction.  I'm very absent minded like that.

Here is the photo arrangement I'm going to add to our family room wall.  I scored big at Hobby Lobby!  I went down the 80% off aisle, and got lots of frames.  I was so excited!  The blonde 14 x 18 frames were only 8.00!!!!  I'm going to spray paint them black.  I got the little 8 x 10 frames for 2.00!  The words and the letter were 50% off.  I swear, I got a cartful of good stuff for $120.  Score!  

And here is the finished product in the office: 
Sorry about the sun streaks going through the pictures.  I would fix it, but frankly, I'm lazy.  It's summer. And I've got to get psyched up for Zumba tonight, so taking another picture that doesn't have the freaky sun streaks going through it might make me lose focus.  On making me go to Zumba. And look like an uncoordinated fool.  But it's fun, and no one knows me, so that's a plus.  

This wall makes me happy.  Do something today that makes you happy.  It's worth it!

Thankful Thursday

I have been contemplating keeping a gratitude journal for some time now.  I got the idea from an Oprah show, of course.  And I've been intrigued by this book.  I haven't purchased it yet, but it's on my list.  Meanwhile, I'm going to try my hand at being mindful of simple things I am thankful for this week.

I am thankful for the sunlight kissing my skin in the summertime.  I am thankful for air conditioning.   I am thankful for Pioneer Woman's Iced Coffee.  I am thankful for Annie's laugh.  You can't help but erupt in laughter just by hearing her laugh.  It's infectious and wonderful.  

Of course, I am most thankful for my beautiful family, but I'm trying to be mindful of the simple things, and appreciate things I mostly take for granted.  
Here is a bad picture of  the delicious iced coffee I enjoy everyday.  For an added treat, the girls and I enjoy peppermint pattie (my fave candy) creamer and whipped cream.  

I fill it up 3/4 full with coffee, then add 1% milk to the top, a splash of peppermint patty creamer, and, when I'm feeling decadent, some healthy spray whipped cream. Then I put in two packets of Splenda and stir. Heaven.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My Madison

I adore backlit, hazy images taken during the golden hour (hour before sunset). My kids, most of the time, are good sports about allowing me to practice on them. If I do say so myself, they are beautiful subjects. They also give me a hard time, complaining, "Why do you take so many pictures?  "Why are you taking a picture of that?"  "That's just weird."   So, in case you think they are abnormal, let's be real.  They complain loud and clear.  But I hope someday they'll appreciate it.  Even if they don't, when I'm old (er), I know I will enjoy looking at them. The other day, Annie was at softball practice, so I just practiced on Madison.   Here is my favorite:

Have a great day, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

I Love Summer and a Father's Day Message

Here is a photo collage I downloaded from my absolute favorite blog :  Project Alicia.  She posted this free photoshop template.  These pics are from our first week of summer!   Annie's friend Lindsey is a little ball of energy.  She has a list of 100 things she wants to do this summer, one of which was to stand in the street and get cars to honk at them!  I totally remember doing things like that when I was their age.  Too funny!  Annie kept texting me with updates:  "Mom, we have 50 honks!"  "Mom, can we stay until we get 90?"  I LOVE SUMMER!  It is going way too fast.  I also picked up this summer bucket list from Project Alicia.  Go over and pick one up for yourself and enjoy!  

We've already done quite a few on this list,  but hopefully this will keep me focused.  One of the things I really want to work on is having dinner parties/entertaining.  I love to do this, but I always stress out because I want everything to be perfect.  Let's face it, they're a lot of work.  But one blog The Reluctant Entertainer that has really helped me change my view.  Hop on over and get inspired by her.  It is all about being real and living in the moment and not having to be Martha Stewart all the time.  Not that I ever came close to that anyway.  

I hope everyone has an excellent Father's Day!  
I know I am married to one of the best Father's ever!  It's one of the things I love most about him.  

 He's a coach.
He plays with his children.
 Two peas in a pod.  He loves to entertain, karaoke, and be crazy.  
 He is always cracking jokes and thoroughly enjoying his children.
He's quite the looker! 

 He genuinely loves and he's not afraid to show it.  Did I mention he's a softie?

 And now he is a grandpa - Little Henry is going to be soooo spoiled!

Happy Father's Day Honey!  The world would be a better place if all dad's were like you!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Restyling Bookcases

A couple months ago, the annoying wonderful man I live with said, "I think we need more pictures in our shelves, it just kind of looks like random stuff plunked everywhere."  He was actually right, but it annoys me when he's right.  That's why he's so wonderful!  So, there's nothing like people coming over to your house to get you motivated!  I bought a bunch of black frames, some subway art ( some I made myself, and some I purchased), and converted a bunch of pictures to black and white.  I take literally thousands of pictures.  It's what I love.  So why not decorate it up with them?  Here is the before:

See?  Plunked everywhere.  Plus, the empty apothecary jar just recently had the Christmas ornaments and fake snow taken out of it.  I mean hey, it's only June.  And the girl's playing in the leaves, that was supposed to be for fall.

Now the after:   Dah Dah Dah.......

So much more cohesive, right?  Say yes.  

 Right side
Left Side
I love this wedding photo of Jeremy and Misty.

And this wedding pic of Kinsey and Andrew.  Sorry about the glare.

Here's my summer decor for my sidetable.  That's Annie when she was little.  

My plan is to change the photos with the season, but keep with the black and white theme.  I love redecorating!  I was inspired by this Pin:   
Same kind of theme, right?  I feel like Thrifty Decor Chick!!!!  Except that nobody reads my blog, and like, 50 billion people read hers!  

Cutie Patootie Photo Shoot

I got to take little Madeline's 2 year old photos Monday night.  Her mom, Kelly, is the speech pathologist at my school.  Cute family, and they're expecting 1 more!  I made the collage in photoshop and just clipped the photos in.

I know the swing picture is a little blurry, but she's having such a good time, I just still love it!

Happy Father's Day!  So Sweet!

 What a pretty thing she is!

Awwww!  Sweet family!

Friday, June 8, 2012

A Wonderful Week!

June 5th was a very exciting day!  It was the day of the Buhler bond issue, where my husband Dan is the school superintendent.  We had planned on having a watch party at our house, and I was busy making sangria, and some snacks.  Then I got a call from Dan that Kinsey was in labor.  Being her first, I thought it would still be a while.  At 1:30, they admitted her to the hospital.  We canceled our party with an email, because we figured there was no way the baby would be here before that.  Andrew called us at around 3:30, saying they had called her Dr., and that they thought it would be soon.  We were very excited, and left in a hurry for Wichita.  On our way, Andrew called to say that they were the proud new parents of a baby boy!   We arrived around 4:45, in time to see everyone.  They still hadn't decided on a name at that time.  Kinsey looked wonderful, you'd never know that she'd just given birth!  Oh, and then we decided to put the party back on, because we had gotten to see little Henry, so we left Wichita at around 6:30.  When we arrived, there were people waiting in our yard for us!  I was a little nervous, because I like everything to be ready and perfectly clean, but life happens, and we just went with it.  Then, we found out that the Buhler bond did indeed pass - about 68 percent to 32 percent!  This was a huge success for Dan,  a first year superintendent, who successfully led this district, board, and many wonderful volunteers to a win!  (The past 3 bond issues here had been unsuccessful).  I am so proud of him!  He truly cares deeply about education and what's right for children, and is able to reach out to people and unify them.  Way to go, honey!

In addition, my stepson Jeremy and his wife Misty are moving to Kentucky to be closer to her family.  They are moving there in a week - and hadn't heard yet about a job.  On the 6th, he was offered the position at the University of Kentucky as their Director of Online Education.  At the same time, he has been offered two other positions.  His current job wants to keep him and let him work from home.  What a compliment!  We are very proud of him, and excited for the two of them as they start their new journey.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Mother's Day

All I wanted for Mother's Day this year was a photo shoot.  So, we went to Dillon Nature Center and I brought my tripod.  Here is the result - I was very happy!

My remote didn't work, so I just set the timer and crossed my fingers, and I think it turned out pretty darn good!

This one and the one below are the same, but with two different actions I ran on Photoshop Elements.  On the one above I used Velvet Retro, and the bottom one is Sweet Prairie, from Paint The Moon.  You must have photoshop or elements to use them.  They have an awesome tutorial that shows you how to load the actions into elements.  

Oh, and my sweet husband got me a gift certificate from The Phoenician for a massage, pedicure and facial.  Heaven!  I am so spoiled.  I had my massage last week, and it honestly was the best massage I've ever had!  Looking forward to my facial next week!I am truly blessed.

Kinsey's Maternity Pics

Pregnant women are so beautiful, and Kinsey, my stepdaughter, is no exception.  She was kind enough to let me photograph her.  Thank you to Cliff and Jan Wray for letting us use their beautiful land.

So pretty!

Such a cute baby bump!

The lighting was too harsh here, but they're so cute - I still love it!

They are so cute and in love!

This is my personal favorite!

Now for the fun!  We took the pictures in a field, and there were 3 pretty horses roaming around.    I  love horses.  In fact, I used to show horses, and even went to an equine science community college for two years.  But wait.  Before we  left,  I told asked Dan to load a chair for me.  I pointed to our antique dining room table chairs that his mother passed down to us.  He says, "Can't we use folding chairs?" And I said, "No, I need a pretty chair."  I could tell he was worried about the chair.  I assured him there was nothing to worry about, the grass could not possibly harm the chair. So all was well, and I had taken some photos of Kinsey in the chair.  Beautiful.  Then I had a vision to take some photos of Kinsey and Andrew side by side making a heart with their hands together, as you will see below.  However, they were very distracted by the horses coming toward us curiously. 

Andrew: The horses are coming.

Aren't they pretty?  

They're very friendly.  

This one was very curious about the antique chair that Dan's mother passed down to us, and has been in the family for a hundred or more years.  And she decided she was hungry, and proceeded to take a bite out of it.  
Then, (you'll just have to visualize this) I pet her, and decided we needed to carry on with the pictures, and I think they were making Kinsey nervous, so I, raised my arms and said "Git."  And boy, they tore out of there,stampeding towards my children.  Yes, Madison and Annie were almost trampled.  Not really, but they were rather close to the stampede.  Later, Dan referred to me as the horse whisperer.  I think it was a rather exciting Friday night! 
Oh, and there was a pig roaming around.  I'm so mad I didn't get a picture of the very ugly pig  coming towards the girls.  He was grey and black, just roaming around.  I thought, "How cute!"  Later, Cliff and Jan told us they didn't know where the pig came from, it just came around and liked to hang out with the horses.  We could have been attacked by a wild boar!!!  Just kidding.

And afterwards, Kinsey just smiled at me.  All was well.  Andrew really didn't get the heart thingy.  There's the chair!


Kinsey and Andrew are so cute!  I just love these pictures.

How romantic!

So in love!

Then Andrew started licking her.  There are no limits to his depravity.

It really made Kinsey laugh.  

He's so proud of himself.  

Okay, now, these are bad snapshots of Kinsey and Dan because the sun was going down, clouds were coming in, and I just wanted to snap a few of the two of them.  But there's this thing about my husband.  Whenever I try to take pictures of him, he becomes funny boy.  

Why is that?

Isn't this sweet.

But finally, he decided to be good, and I got this one.  

And I thought this one was sweet.  
Anyway, that was our lovely evening.  It's never boring in the Stiffler family.  

Kinsey, you're going to be a wonderful mama.  

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