30 November 2012

Girl Time

Brush-Swirls by Jessica Sprague; Papers and elements- "A Kit for Kate" by Creativity by Crystal.
Template by KariStamps


We were so focused on Dogger when he was born, as it should be.  But it was fun years later to look through photos that my sister-in-law gave me and find pictures she took of Chloe while we were at the hospital.  She was kind enough to come stay with Chloe, and I love that there's a record of their time together.

29 November 2012

Modest is good



I love the neighborhood this sweet little home is in.  It's full of modest, classic, brick homes.

27 November 2012

Snow Days

The boys heading to the bus stop.
When I was growing up, in Oregon, it only snowed once or twice a year.  Big, wet flakes would create a slush-like covering of an inch or so on the ground.  Everything would grind to a halt.  No school, stores closed, and necessity driving only until everything melted--which usually didn't take long.

I attended college in Utah.  Snow is a little more common there, though it most often comes in the dry powdery form.  Utah never had snow days.  Ever.  I remember trudging through snow up to my knees to get to class, my nose feeling numb, and my wet hair literally frozen when I arrived at my destination. I hated it.  I hated that I had to go to school in that weather.  I wanted my Oregon days of curling up in front of the wood stove with my quilt made by Grandma and a good book.  So every year I gifted myself a snow day.  The first snow of every season I didn't go to class.  It made me resent all the rest of the snowy days a little less.

A pretty bush in our front yard.
And then we lived in New Hampshire, where the snow starts in late October and doesn't end until early April.  I would've given anything to go back to the Utah weather during those years.  It's so, so cold, all winter long, that the snow just doesn't melt.  It piles, and piles, and piles.  And the wind.  Oh, the wind!  Six months of winter.  Boooooo!

Out my back window.


Today is our first Pennsylvania snow storm.  I love the quiet peace that comes with a snowfall.  No one is on the road unless they have to be, the kids are at school, and I look out my windows to watch huge, fluffy flakes falling to the ground.  I still don't love snow (don't ask me to go skiing!), but I've made peace with it.  It just feels right this time of year.

26 November 2012

Mendy, Photographer and Former Social Worker


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.

Mendy and her family.


Today's interview is with my friend, Mendy.

Where do you live?
Pittsburgh, PA, the nation's most livable city. Yinz need to visit da 'Burgh.

What are your hobbies or special interests?
I believe I have hobby ADD. I can't get into something too far before I need to do/try/make something else. Knitting, sewing, baking, stalking old boyfriends, writing essays, rearranging furniture, painting things turquoise - these kind of things. PInterest is like crack for someone who suffers from HADD. So, I guess we could just say my hobby is collecting hobbies. Special interests? Travel. Give me a destination and few days off. I am addicted to seeing new places. 

What is your current profession?
Blah, I totally hate this question in any social situation. It's like being a super awkward dancer (and truth be told, I'm a pretty awesome 90s dancer) - everyone likes to watch, nobody wants to talk to you. Um, I got my degree in social work and worked for Child Protective Services for a few years. I'm pretty sure it's the most hated job you can do. Or at least that's my take away from all of the death threats (no, I'm not joking). Then I started my SAHM life with my three kids - which coincidentally corresponds with my development of HADD. And recently I've decided that instead of going back to graduate school, I'm embracing my love of photography and trying to start a small business. Shameless plug:www.blackroomphotography.com 

What made you choose that line of work?
Oh man, I guess I should have read ahead before I started rambling about everything I ever spent five minutes doing. I chose social work because I was a young, idealistic girl looking for meaning and hoping to change the world. I chose children because I knew it would change me as a person and because I am madly in love with my husband. And well photography, it feels like photography chose me, but photography allows me to be creative and express emotions that are hard for me to articulate. 

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
People usually ask me what was my worst case while working for CPS or if I've ever taken people's kids away. Nobody asks anything about moms - except stuff like, "just what do you do all day?" I'm still working on telling people I'm a photographer. It's a new party of my identity that I'm trying to get comfortable with. But the people who do know usually ask what kind of photography and what kind of camera they should buy. 

What question do you wish they would ask?  Or, what insider information would you give them?
Let's see, I like it when people ask me about my crazy CPS stories. I would like people to ask about the cute or funny things my kids do, but that would require them to really mean it and really be interested, so....maybe just ask me about good books because I actually don't just talk about my kids all the time. Here's what you need to know about cameras - NIKON, baby. 

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I would not choose social work again. I got so burned out, so quickly. It was depressing and arbitrary, and dangerous sometimes. It was a wee bit stressful. I wish I would have given more thought to how my schooling and education would work with being a mom, which is to say that I often think I should have kept one foot in school or the workforce. I am glad to be a mom - definitely wouldn't give that up. I think it would have been sweet if I had picked up a camera a decade ago. It's hard not to think about where my photography would be if I'd started when I was younger.

23 November 2012

Christmas Dress

Black paper-"Be Mine" by Echo Park; damask-"Central Park" by Royanna Fristchmann; red paper-"4Ever" by Splendid Fiins; Small dots-"Ocotober Spooky" by Crystal Wilkerson; large dot paper-"Circa 1934" and flower by Cosmo Cricket. Template by pckj.
I love the black, textured background of this page.  It's different from most of pages, it just stands out.

19 November 2012

Delia, Licensed Tax Consultant, Enrolled Agent


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.



Today's interview is with my cousin, Delia.

Where do you live?
I live in the great Northwest :) Roseburg, Oregon

What are your hobbies or special interests?
In my spare time I like to engage in activities such as hunting, fishing and various water sports.  I enjoy anything that involves the out doors. I am also on a city pool league which is a lot of good times.

What is your current profession?
I am currently the owner and operator of Neilsen & Associates, LLC.  It is an professional Accounting and Tax firm.  The services we provide to our clients include; Bookkeeping, Payroll, Notary, Business and Individual Income Tax Preparation, IRS and Oregon Tax Litigation, Small Business and Organization Set up.

What made you choose that line of work?
During furthering my education I met a excellent professor. This professor inspired me to follow this career path through his superb teaching abilities and dedication to student success.  I wouldn't be where I am today with out his guidance. I am very thankful to Professor Kuk for his time sincerity.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?

1. My title is Licensed Tax Consultant, Enrolled Agent: People immediately ask if I work for the IRS.  I don't work for the IRS. I represent individuals and businesses to resolve issues before the IRS.

2. Will you do my taxes.  By the way I can't pay you. LOL

What insider information would you give them?
The insider information I would provide is that although you may believe you are filing your taxes correctly and for your best interest, you may be missing deductions and credit that a tax professional may be aware of due to the fact that they deal with these items every day.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I would definitely do it all over again.  I really enjoy the work that I do.  Even though I work a lot of hours and the work is very complicated, I enjoy helping people.  I enjoy meeting various types of people and no job is ever the same.  We have a motto on our door "May all who enter as guests, leave as friends".

16 November 2012

Hanging by a Thread

All supplies and elements- "Be Mine" by Echo Park Paper Co., template by mm.
How adorable is this layout?  I love the look of the photo hanging from a string.

15 November 2012

Morgan Log House


 I love historical homes.  This home was owned by Daniel Boone's grandfather.  How cool is that?












Gorgeous surroundings.

Look at the construction.  How amazing is that?



And there ain't nothin' wrong with a sweet little gate either.


14 November 2012

Time to celebrate!

Last year's turkey.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and every year I get emails from friends asking me about the relish tray "turkey" tradition.  It was inherited from Craig's side of the family, and is much beloved by my kids.  You can find the "how-to" here and variations on the theme here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

13 November 2012

Zippo Emergency Fire Starter review



This past summer, at BlogHer, I was thrilled to meet up with a representative from Zippo who was showing off some of their new products--none of which were lighters.  Because, let's be honest, while a Zippo lighter is absolutely classic, smoking is on the way out friends.  One of their new products is an Emergency Fire Starter kit.



While the product is intended for outdoor use, I decided to test it out in our fireplace.  During the last two weeks we have been in the path of both a super storm and a nor'easter.  In both cases thousands of household lost power, which usually means they lost heat as well.  So, in the spirit of preparedness, I like be ready for any storm that might come our way.



The kit comes in a handy water resistant container, about the size of a pack of floss.  The container houses the spark wheel, and it also holds four tinder sticks.







The tinder sticks are waxed, again to help with water resistance.  The heads are cottony and catch fire pretty easily.

I really wanted to test this out, so I picked up sticks from my yard.  Wet sticks.  I was impressed with how long the tinder sticks burned--much longer than a match.  They also stayed lit when being moved around.

 And....we have fire!



Once I got my kindling going, I transferred it up to my logs, and voila!  A fire!  My fire crackled and burned for a few hours this morning.

I'm thinking that I'll be purchasing a few more of these fire starting kits. I want one in each car, as well as one in our 72 hour kit.  I also think they'd make fabulous stocking stuffers for the hikers and campers in our family.

*Zippo sent me an Emergency Fire Starter kit and replacement Tinder Sticks to review.  I was in no other way compensated for this post.

12 November 2012

Kim, Web Designer


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.


Kim with her family.


Today's interview is with my friend, Kim.

Where do you live?
Salem, Oregon

What are your hobbies or special interests?
Hiking, Camping, Football, Basketball, traveling, doing anything as a family.

What is your current profession?
Web developer/designer for SAIF Corporation. (workers Comp for Oregon)

What made you choose that line of work?
I studied Computer Science, but didn't really want to be a programmer my whole life. I loved art, so I combined my two interests and became a web designer.

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?

Most people focus on the fact that I work for a workers comp company and tell me about their experience with a claim they had or one their friend had. At first I thought,, "um, I'm a web developer, I don't have anything to with the claim." Then I realized, we (at SAIF) are all working together to help each person. Once I realized that I did play an important role in helping the injured worker, I feel like I became much better at my job.

What question do you wish they would ask?  
I love talking about my work, so any questions are great.

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
I would definitely do it all over again! My "team" at SAIF has become an extended family. We do things together outside of work. I like the company I work for and I feel like I really can make a difference with the work I am doing.

09 November 2012

Sleeping Angel

All papers and template by Jessica Sprague.
I mostly love this page because it's my first baby, sleeping so peacefully.

08 November 2012

Roof deck = smiles

This house really does make me smile.  I love the gable over the front door, and the roof deck over the addition.  Happy house.

05 November 2012

Shelly, Dental Assistant


Last year I wrote a blog post about my brother-in-law that generated a comment about how interesting my family is.  I realized that it's so true!  My family is super interesting.  Each Monday I'll be interviewing a family member (or dear friend).  I hope you enjoy these Meet Me Monday posts.


Shelly and her husband.

Today's interview is with my friend, Shelly.

Where do you live?
Utah

What are your hobbies or special interests?
Home improvement projects, sports (mostly watching my kids play), riding ATV's, and home decor.

What is your current profession?
I am a part-time Dental Assistant.

What made you choose that line of work?
When I was a senior in high school I really wanted to go to beauty school after I graduated. My high school counselor said to me,"That isn't a real career". So sadly enough I took his not so great advice and went to UVSC (now UVU) for one semester. I had no clue as to what I wanted to major in. After not enjoying my classes at UVSC I enrolled at Provo College and graduated with high honors in dental assisting. 

When people find out what you do, what question do they usually ask you?
How can you stand looking in other people's mouths?  Is flossing really necessary? Did you have braces when you were a kid?

What insider information would you give them?
Yes, flossing is necessary along with brushing at least twice a day, morning and night. 

If you had it to do all over again would you choose the same thing?  Why or why not?
Yes, I would do it all over again and choose dental assisting. I really enjoy what I do and who I work with. Being around co-workers that you get along with makes all the difference. 

02 November 2012

Scrapbooking 101

Template by Jessica Sprague

I've decided to branch out and share with you all a little more of my hobbies.  A friend turned me on to digital scrapbooking a few years ago.  I figured if all my photos were digital, why shouldn't my scrapbooking be too?  It's also a lot less messy than paper scrapping.

I dinked around with Photoshop Elements for awhile, but decided I really wanted to learn more about what the program could do, so I started taking classes at JessicaSprague.com.  I love her.  I love her classes.  I started at the beginning and have worked through lots of classes and tutorials to build my skills.  I'll be sharing some of my favorite pages with you each Friday, until either you or I get sick of it!

01 November 2012

Beauty

This house is gorgeous.  Just gorgeous.  Bay window with copper roofing, the half circle window, the stone work with white trim.  I love this house.
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