Saturday, February 27, 2010

Valentine's Day

(I think these pictures have aged sufficiently that I can now blog about them)
Heather, Ryan and L joined us for Valentine's Day dinner - it was really fun. It seems like having more people around always makes it a better celebration. We had Heather's red chicken with pink rice, pink faux-tatoes (mashed cauliflower - not a big hit!), and salad with strawberries and bacon. Mmmm bacon. Heather also made the awesome cupcakes - so pretty!!!
The night before Heather had babysat for us so Joseph and I could go to a Valentine's party. It was so fun! We played a few games, carved our initials in the 'love tree' (a bare-branched paper tree taped to the wall), the girls made cards for the husbands while the husbands drew crayon dipictions of our first date (the girls had to pick which one was their own). The ladies brought their husbands favorite desserts (Joseph got a hot-lava-ish-fudge cake w/ ice cream & hot fudge sauce), and the husbands brought a poem they'd written for their wives. Joseph's was beautiful - it was so sweet - I had to be careful not to cry. :)  Joseph and I won one of the games and got a prize - some Valentine's treats including Twilight conversation hearts (not the ones in the bowl up there)!  I laughed so hard - things like "True Love" and "Forever" and "Bite Me."  So romantic. :)
Joseph is a great husband, and it was lovely to have our own little Valentine's night. And then to celebrate again with our darling family the next day was just the icing on the cake (or cupcake, as the case may be).
Valentine's Day completely destroyed my diet (I was doing a little South Beach action - hence the mashed faux-tatoes). But that's okay. I was not very happy without my carbs and fruit in phase one, so now I'm skipipng to phase two(ish) -- I feel like it's a better balance now. I'm hoping that someday I can actually figure out how to eat sweets in moderation and have one of those active, fit and healthy lifestyles (a proper ending to a post that began with a humongous bowl full of candy, right?)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

this and that

J-boy said, "Uncle Ryan taught me how to do this." :)

We've had lots and lots of snow lately - this particular night we got around 3-4 inches - and we left the sliding door on the van open all night long! Joseph had it mostly cleaned up before I took a picture, but I just had to laugh and laugh.
You can see little bits of the snow drift and Baby A sitting on a grocery sack (since her hot little bum was sure to melt the ice-crusted car seat!).

And K-lady lost her two front teeth! It was a little involuntary -- She and J-boy like to hop around with both legs stuffed into one pant leg on their PJ's. It's always bugged me SO MUCH (I think because by the time they are in PJ's I'm generally not in the mood to be amused by their antics - I just want them IN BED!) Anyway, she tripped and knocked her already loose teeth quite a bit more loose. Joseph whipped out some lidocaine and hypodermics and did a little tooth extraction while I distracted K-lady with tales of tea parties when I was 10. :)

Thanks for the kind comments and advice - it always does work out. I always wish I could see the end from the beginning, but it's never worked that way yet! And I suppose that's a good thing. My word for the year is diligence - to me it means one day at a time, each requirement fulfilled step by step. I'm trying to turn "endure-to-the-end" into "joy-in-the-journey" -- one day at a time. :)
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Good food and our 'adventure'

On my birthday we had dinner with Heather and Ryan and L - we decided appetizers would be fun and out-of-the-ordinary. So Joseph made the pina coladas (aren't they so cool?!), I made the shrimp, Costco provided the mini quiche, Ryan & Heather made the bruschetta, the fruit & veggie plates and the artichoke dip w/ pita chips. Oh yum. This is making me hungry.
Lucky for me, they only put 5 candles on the cake - and I still barely got them all out (something about blowing on food someone else is going to eat in the middle of H1N1 season just didn't feel right...)

Joseph made me a movie - Tara-through-the-years style (his first 'music videon' - Heidi, you'd be so proud!!), and then I opened my presents - I think K-lady was a little more than excited. :)  All told, it was a great birthday.

The next day was a little unsettling - we'd been planning on going to GA for another years' residency. Joseph flew to GA to interview and they unofficially offered him the chief resident position. For residency we go through a 3rd party to actually get the job - it's called the match. So this third party gets a list of all the schools you want, and they get a list from the school of all the residents they want, and they 'match' it up.
We didn't match at GA. Which was a bit of a shock, and really, truth be told, just made me mad - isn't it kind of wrong to lead us on like that?!  So now we've begun digging into the practice search - we want a retiring dentist who wants a quick transition (1 month or less). And there we go, off into adulthood and career path!

So if any of you know of any retiring dentists, let us know! (silly aside - the phrase retiring dentist makes me think of southern belles and sweet, coquettish manners - that's not what I meant.)  I go from being mildly terrified to terribly anxious. I told a friend I used to think the 'bend in the road' ala Anne of Green Gables was romantic and intriguing. Now it's just obnoxious. Who wants a bend?! Especially with 3 kids and students loans coming due!! AGH!

Meanwhile Joseph just tells me, "It's our adventure!" Isn't it nice that when one of us feels like we're falling apart, the other one has it together? Bless him and his adventure! I'm sure it will all work out. It always does, right?
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Sunday, February 7, 2010

Picasa Collages - how-to

I've had a handful of comments asking about the collages -- I thought this might be the easiest way to show you how I make my collages. Sometimes, if I know exactly how I want it to look, I use Photoshop Elements (a watered down digi-scrapping friendly version of the full photoshop). But most of the time Picasa works just as well for simple, quick and easy collages.

So download Picasa if you haven't already! It's a free photo editing software by google people, and it's GREAT!  Just google 'picasa' and they'll send you to a link. 
Once you've got it open and running it'll find the pictures saved on your hard drive. So pick a few of them that you'd like to throw into a collage: click on the picture, then click on the little thumbtack button by the bin at the bottom of the screen (I circled it in the screen shot below). It'll show up in the bin at the bottom left hand corner. Then pick the next picture, 'hold' it with the thumbtack button, etc etc. till you have all the pictures you want for your collage in the bin. (You can also hold down the ctrl key while you click multiple pictures within the same folder, then click the thumbtack to 'hold' them all at once).  Then click the collage button (the 2nd red arrow is pointing to it on the screen shot below)
Now picasa puts you in the collage window -- there's lots of fun possibilities to explore in the options bar on the left of the screen - starting with format - a picture pile, a grid, a mosaic, etc. You can rearrange the pictures (at the bottom of the screen below your collage draft is a shuffle pictures button), you can add a grid in the color of your choice, you can do lots of stuff. If you decide you need to edit one of your pictures, click the library tab (circled below), edit the picture that needs it (maybe a recrop to fit the collage space better? Maybe a color adjustment?), then click back to the collage tab (to the right of the library tab). It's pretty straightforward and user friendly.
Once you're done with your tweaking, click create collage. It'll save it to a new folder picasa will create (for me with my Windows XP operating system, it's in My Pictures folder - it'll probably be the same thing for you with Windows 7 or vista or whatever).  It'll show your finished collage in your library view.  Double click it to add text if you want (button in the red circle below).
I love adding the text - I think it makes it fun and interesting - just play with the options in the text box -- for this one, I wanted it all the same font, right justified. Piece of cake!  Once you're done adding text, save the changes - back in your library view it's the little disk button at the top of the folder (did that make sense?!). 

And here's the collage (blogged straight from picasa - see the little blogger button in the bottom button bar??  It'll upload 4 pictures at a time for you - it only works with blogger.  If you use a different blogging platform, just upload the pic as you usually do - you can copy the full path of the collage by right clicking it in picasa):

Wasn't that easy?! LOVE free picasa goodness! 
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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Collage Catch-up Part Deux

Thank you for the birthday wishes!  You are all wonderful!

Now, forgive my untimeliness (yes, I know it's February!), but I've got to finish the collage catch-up -- here's Christmas!
After driving all day in rain, we made it to Grandma & Grandpa's the evening of the 23rd.  It started raining ice on Christmas Eve, and by Christmas morning, we were in a winter wonderland!
We spent Christmas Eve with all the local family who stayed in town, and then had Grandma and Grandpa all to ourselves on Christmas morning - we felt so spoiled!
By the time the Jake and Jen came around we needed to get out, so we went sledding - behind Jake's CRV!!  It was so fun sliding around the parking lot!
I wanted to try for a more home-made Christmas this year - I can't figure out if I'm trendy because I make stuff or if I'm nerdy because I make stuff.  (just to clarify - I think everyone who "makes stuff" is awesome - I just want to be like you)   Anyway, above are pics of most of my Christmas gift crafts (& links if I found it on the web). 
1. super hero cape & mask for nephew (made it up)
2. Let It Snow sign for Dave (love that Cricut)
3. Black Apple Doll + accessories for Bailey (Black Apple Doll pattern here - I made her a little skirt and blazer because I'm not modern enough to leave her lower half nekked! I made up Bailey's skirt, too.  I found the flower clip here)
4. reversible apron for my mother-in-law (from this book I found at our library, probably the most complicated thing I've ever sewn on my own!)
5. another black apple doll w/ hair flower clip for another niece
6. baby Sling for Angela (from KarmaBaby)
7. buttercup bag for Heidi (from Made By Rae)
8. notebook & crayon caddy for K & J - made it up -- it's a modified crayon roll w/ a big pocket for the steno notepad.  These are for church, and I LOVE THEM.
It was really fun to be all crafty - I really do like to make things (be it nerdy or not!)

Cute little blizzard-maker!
We went to our old stomping grounds in OP, KS, to see our best friends and attend our old church.  But mother nature foiled our plans - church was cancelled because of the weather (as my sister said, "Church was canceled by an act of God!")  So we had a good snow day and just played all day.  We still got to see a handful of friends (at least most of those who were in town for the holidays!)
We CUT HER HAIR!  I finally decided her long, gorgeous, coveted hair wasn't worth the damage it was doing to our relationship every morning as we sorted out the tangled mess before school.  (whew, run on sentence!)  She wanted to look just like her best friend, Madeline. :) Thanks for your good work, Jen!

Best Friends!!  How cute are they?! 
Uncle Jake fooled Baby A into loving him by pretending from the get-go that he was daddy!  Baby A just went with it, and Jake didn't have to endure the 'warm-up' period she put everyone else through. :)
I love my kiddos!

And if you made it to the end of this mile-long post, I love you.  Consider yourself hugged. :)
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