Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

We welcomed our new son Colin Dominick into the world on December 26, 2011.  I look forward to all the wonderful memories we get to make in 2012, especially watching these two little men grow up and learn as brothers and friends.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread House

Every year, the school where I work offers families a chance to order a pre-finished gingerbread house to decorate.  I ordered our first last year when Scott was one and he loved it!  Typically the families decorate them at the school Christmas party, but some choose to take them home.  With the Kindergarten class putting on a small play every year on that night, it leaves me little time to work on it with my family at that time.  We chose to bring ours home again this year and tonight we decorated it together!  Scott had a lot of fun (eating candy mostly) but he did help a lot placing the candy as well.  I hope we can continue this tradition for years to come!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top 5 Photography Tips

I'm no photography pro, I barely know half of what my NikonD3100 can do, but what I do know is that I have a love for taking photos.  I guess I could call myself a shutterbug.  I always have a camera on hand, whether it's my iPhone, my small Sony Cybershot or my DSLR.  I just never want a photo opp to pass me by!  Anyway, as much as I take pics I have developed sort of a routine for the way I handle my cameras and approach my photo set ups.  These small tricks have really helped me capture some great shots.

1.  Don't be afraid to turn your camera.  I like horizontal shots, but turning the camera vertical or even on small angles can add a bit more excitement to the end product!

2.  Get down, get down, get down...especially when photographing children.  It's important to capture some moments from the level of the subject instead of always shooting them from above.  It usually seems to add a nice perspective to the completed shot! 
This has been and probably always will be one of my favorite photos of my son.  It was taken at Trunk Bay on the island of St. John USVI.  I took it with my little Sony Cybershot (a simple point and shoot digital), but I followed the previous two tips I mentioned.  I turned the camera vertically so I could capture Scott, the beach and the island in the background, and I got down on a level that worked to achieve all of this (my hand with the camera was just about touching the sand).  I'll let you in on a secret too,  the sun was so bright that day that I could barely see my camera screen so I really just held the camera low and shot a bunch, without seeing the framed photos before I shot them.  What luck right?!?!?!  Which brings me to my next tip.

3.  You have a digital camera without film so don't be afraid to take multiple shots of the same thing.  I always do this and then choose the nicest out of the bunch at a later time.  There are usually only slight differences between the photos, but they could be differences that make or break how happy you are with your photo, so click, click, click!

4.  Turn off that flash!  Try using natural light as much as possible, it really makes for a better photo in most cases.  I'm still figuring how to compensate for low light with my big camera, but I'm getting there.  Honestly though, the shots without the flash always turn out to be the ones I like better!

5.  Have fun!  Don't be too serious about your photo list.  Yes, there are always certain shots you'd like to capture while on vacation or while attending special events, but always remember to catch the details, a laugh from a relative, a sleeping pet, a close up of that graduation tassel.  Anything that helps your final album tell a complete story will be a positive element.  Remember, your shooting in digital, you can always delete what you don't like.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As I sit here and indulge in more than a few addictive Hershey Kisses, I can't help but think of one of my favorite Christmas commercials...

now, for more chocolate!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

I a redhead in my 30's (eeek) a wife a mother a friend creative kind quiet most of the time not afraid to speak up when something bothers me trustworthy taking photos mashed potatoes Yankee candles my job traveling Target decorating bacon pizza my iPhone caramel creams quiet nights blogging comfy clothing

...dislike Manwich
...dislike spoiled brats
...dislike driving in the snow
...dislike early mornings
...dislike high fashion
...dislike ingrown toenails
...dislike road rage
...dislike lies
...dislike taking out the trash our troops Democrats and I Republicans children recycling the Phillies breastfeeding (at least trying) my husband

...have ideas
...have a baby growing inside me
...have gay friends
...have a happy home
...have my health
...have a cat
...have happiness

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Bark

This is a holiday treat I have been making for the past few years.  It is fairly easy and requires only a few ingredients!  It's very tasty and perfect for Christmas munching!  All you need is...

                                                     one bag of white chocolate chips
                                              (a 12 oz bag works well for one small batch).

Candy canes (8-10 for a small batch)

peppermint extract for extra flavor if you like

wax paper and a cookie sheet

I choose to melt my chips in the microwave, but a double boiler is recommended

Unwrap candy canes and place in a ziploc bag...have a little helper smash them up with a heavy kitchen tool that he could easily hurt himself with

spread melted chocolate on cookie sheet (add extract right before spreading if you are using it) and sprinkle candy cane pieces all over the melted chocolate

place in the refrigerator for about 1/2 hour or until cool and firm then break into bark sized pieces... enjoy for yourself or package for gifting.

Reward your little helper with a sugary treat and praise him for not breaking the glass table or his finger

He'll be happy!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hipstamatic Holidays!

I have an iPhone and ok, I'll admit part of the reason I wanted an iPhone was so I could buy the awesome Hipstamatic app.  For anyone who doesn't know what it is, first check out the website...  and then believe me when I say it's really, super cool!  Hipstamatic is a fun way to vary the photos you take on your phone using options that make your pics look like old, square instamatic prints.  I love it, and use it when I am just fooling around taking fun photos.  I still adore my big camera, but for something neat and different, this is the way I go.  I use the free "film" and "lenses" that the app comes with, but there are some cool bundles you can purchase with even more choices.  (I'm sure it won't be long before I'm spending a bit on those) Anyway, check out some of my more recent holiday hipsta prints and enjoy!

Home for the holidays

30th St station Philadelphia

Watching Dad hang some lights

Scott's first hockey game

Hershey Bears hockey

Ready for a holiday outing

immersed in The Polar Express


My cookie sprinkler

Our tree

Setting up Grandpops trains

Ho Ho Ho!

Holiday flavors, best part about Starbucks

Favorite pastime, Christmas or not

Brushing in the Santa PJs

Macy's light show in center city Philadelphia

Our kitchen chalkboard/Christmas card display