Friday, August 31, 2012

Tiny Tim the Turtle.

Last year in school, Brayden learned the song "Tiny Tim."

There was a little turtle.
His name was Tiny Tim.
I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim.
He drank up all the water.
He ate up all the soap.
And now he's sick in bed with a bubble in his throat. POP!

It's one of his favorite little tunes, and he often walks around the house humming or singing it to himself.

This is why I was a crazy mom, and stopped in the middle of the road the other day, turned on my hazards, and ran like mad towards this little guy:
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Yes folks. We finally have our very own, Tiny Tim. Affectionately named by our resident 3 year old.
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He's mighty proud of his newfound friend. I'm not sure the sentiments are shared by Timmy, who tries to run like mad whenever we let him out of his box.
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Connor loves the "tuttle" too.
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So far we've fed him celery, melon, banana, grapes and kale. He loved the melon-- ate that right up. Only took a few bites of everything else.
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We'll be releasing Tim back into the wild this weekend. I'm sure it will be a sad moment for two little boys, who have loved petting and playing and watering and feeding for the past two days. Hopefully it will be a fun memory for both of them.... here's to hoping we find another turtle soon!

PS-- My DIY Antique Window Frame Tutorial has been syndicated by BlogHer. You can click HERE to see the syndicated post!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

How to Use Bokeh in Photoshop {A Photography Guest Post}.

I have another guest post for you guys today that I think my fellow photo junkies will enjoy. I'm not really sure how I found Becky's blog (www.thejavamama.com), but I've loved following her stories and pictures. She has a precious little boy named Connor (great minds think alike!), who has the cutest head of curly hair I've ever laid eyes on. Becky's a fellow photo junkie like me, and thought she'd share a little tutorial on adding some bling to your pics. Enjoy!
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Bokeh can be a fun effect on a photograph.  It sort of jazzes it up.  It looks like balls of light or little glimmers in the photo.  I like to use this effect around the holidays.

First open Photoshop.
I am going to open the first picture.  This is going to be your bottom layer, or the picture you want to apply the bokeh too.
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I just took these photos of Connor….so this was what I had on my desktop!
Then I’m going to open my “bokeh” photo.  If you don’t have one just Google “bokeh photos”.
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Now I have both photos open in Photoshop.  You want to make sure both photos are the same size.  You can play with the size and position of the bokeh later on.

Okay, now that you have both photos open you’ll want to copy the bokeh photo over your original photo.  I just hit Control+C the photo and Control+V to copy and paste the photo over.

Go to the Layers tab and scroll down to SCREEN.

Then you’ll want to adjust the opacity and fill a little bit, you can see that to the bottom right of the photo below:
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Then just adjust it until you get it how you want and “bling bling” there you have it!

A bokeh photo bedazzled!
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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homemade Salsa.

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If there was one party staple that people literally beg me to bring, it's my homemade salsa. This stuff is AMAZING, and SO easy to make. My favorite part about it is that you don't have to put it in a blender. Just chop, combine and let it sit for a few hours, and you are ready to have an amazing fiesta. This recipe is actually built off of a recipe that a friend of mine gave me years ago. I've tweaked it over the years to adjust to our taste buds, and this is the final result.
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Homemade Salsa
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 small/medium white onion, diced (I try to make the chunks small)
1-2 small serrano peppers, deseeded and minced (these things are STOUT. After you cut them up, anything you touch will burn like fire. Consider yourself forewarned)
3/4-1 whole bushel of cilantro, chopped fine
lime juice, to taste
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 can of rotel (I use mild)
1 tsp salt
cumin and coriander seed to taste.

*Sometimes I add garlic salt if I think it needs more salt.

Combine all ingredients, refrigerating for at least 2 hours before eating (I like to refrigerate overnight).

Also... On The Border Cantina Thins. They are like restaurant tortilla chips. You can even put them in the oven for a few minutes before serving, and you've got restaurant quality chips and salsa.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

First Day of MDO.

Yesterday was the boy's first day of MDO for the school year. I don't know who was more excited, me or them. It's crazy to think how much they've changed over just these summer months of being off. We were all ready for them to be back though... don't get me wrong, I love my boys to death. But the time away is healthy for all of us.
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On the way to school this yesterday morning, Brayden asked about some of his friends that had been in his MDO class last year (specifically Collin, Marlow and Ben). He was so sad when I told him they wouldn't be at school this year with him (we switched MDO programs this year). I felt kind of sad for him too, and a little guilty that I was changing his environment. He did get a little sad at the door and asked for his buddy (his blanket). Thankfully I had packed it in his backpack. He did great though, and I think he really enjoyed his class.
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Connor screamed when I left him, which is not unusual for him. But he was happily playing when I picked him up, and his teacher even told me she wanted to pack him up and take him home :) Glad that he was such a sweetie for them.
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The beauty of our MDO program this year is that they don't do naps at school since it ends at 1:30. I was kind of bummed about this at first, but I think it's going to work out great, because both boys were asking to nap when we got home, so not only do I get a morning to run errands and do stuff at home, but then I get to come home to a quiet house for a few hours. Score two for momma!
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Here's to hoping our school year goes great!
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Monday, August 27, 2012

A Visit from the Great and the Grands {Weekend in Review}.

We had the extra special treat this weekend of hosting my Great Uncle Mike and my parents. We were all very excited to see everyone, but none was more excited than my Brayden and Connor. They were over the moon happy to wake up on Friday and be greeted in person with 3 of their very favorite people in the world.

Friday morning Uncle Mike and my dad brought Brayden and Connor for donuts. Brayden was so excited when he came home and told me he got one with SPRINKLES. He also excitedly told me that he ate 5 of them. YIKES. Thankfully his tale was a bit of an exaggeration. It was not an exaggeration when my dad told me Connor packed away a dozen donut holes. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous how our Friday would unfold thanks to the good sugar rush they started with.

My Uncle Mike loves the outdoors, particularly plant life, so I knew that we would need to take him to see some of our walking trails. Friday morning was perfect weather, so we all packed up and headed out(well, everyone but Drew-- he was at work :( )
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Please notice the nerf gun in Brayden's hands.

I LOVE this LOVE statue at our museum.
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Uncle Mike and the boys
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Gigi and Poppa D
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And this was our attempt at getting me in the picture. Everything about this picture is hilarious. Especially Brayden hiding under the letters with his gun.
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Uncle Mike in front of the Walton 5&10.

Friday night we had my Uncle Paul and his family over for dinner. The boys enjoyed pie out on the patio.
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My cousin, Sophie, was playing outside after dinner with the boys, and came running in at one point with both kids, saying there was a snake outside. Sure enough, this guy was slithering around. Thankfully my dad killed him. FYI: this is a copperhead. Lovely thought to know that a baby copperhead is in the same grass my kids tromp around in barefoot. Lovely.
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Saturday morning we headed to the farmers market before the boys swim lessons.
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watching Uncle Mike's crepe being made
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Have I mentioned how much I love all of the colors?
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such a sweet pic
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Uncle Mike shared the first bite with his little buddy :)
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helping Gigi pick out some new jewelry
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love him!
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Uncle Mike brought the boys into the Walton 5&10 and let them pick out a little treat. They got harmonicas and sweet taffy-- the perfect combination!

We spent the rest of Saturday with family, but I rarely pulled my camera out, so most those memories aren't really recorded :(
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I love this picture! 3 generations!
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Mom, Dad and Uncle Mike left yesterday morning to head back to Louisiana. Please pray for them as they brace for Hurricane Isaac.

We had a relatively uneventful Sunday, which included rain, something that we are ever so grateful for!

The boys start MDO this week... we're all excited, and I am thinking that it will add some stress relief for everyone, as it gives me a break and them so consistent social time with other kids. This week is also GAME WEEK! Yay! Can't wait for college football to start up. Here's to hoping my Hogs do well this year! Happy game week!

Friday, August 24, 2012

New House: The Laundry Room.

Oh friends. You just thought I was done with my new house tour. But I saved the best for last.

At our last house we had a laundry closet. I always said I wanted a laundry room, and the Lord was good in providing for me in that department in our new house. Meet my laundry room.
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The door you see there goes to the garage. To the right is a sink. I'm planning on putting a cute canvas/saying over the sink. Haven't quite decided which one yet. I would like to eventually put a shelf over the tops of the washer/dryer, like this one:

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I about did a little jig in the laundry room when I saw this hook wall when saw our house for the first time. I mean, what mom wouldn't?!?! This is kind of cluttered right now with all of our pool bags. The hooks span across the entire length of my laundry room.I love having this here, because when we get out of the car I can hand Brayden his bag and he knows exactly where to put it.
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This sink is awesome to have! I love being able to throw dirty towels in there, or to wash out nasty stuff without feeling like I'm germing up my kitchen sink.
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I'm planning on making a little key holder to hang on this wall.

And that's our laundry room. I know it doesn't seem like much, but when you're coming from a laundry closet, this thing is like gold to me! Be sure to check out the other laundry rooms over on Show Us Your Life at Kelly's Korner.

Here's a breakdown of all of the spaces of the new house in case you're late to this little party :)
Connor's Room/Master Bedroom
Kitchen
Living Room
Brayden's room/guest room
backyard
entryway
and an updated entryway post
playroom 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just Some Randoms.


Thought I'd dump some of the recent phone pics on here. Have I mentioned I love having a camera on my phone? Great backup on those days when I don't want to lug around my big guns.
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The boys are almost always in some sort of superhero gear. This particular morning I needed to get ready so put on Toy Story. Connor plopped down to watch, superhero gear and all. Melted my heart.
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The other night Drew yelled at me to come to the kitchen quick. This guy had hopped in when he opened the door. I SO wished Brayden had been awake-- he LOVES frogs!
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One morning last week I walked outside and was greeted with this. The earth declares the beauty of the Lord.
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He's slowly losing all of his baby face and looking more and more like a big boy. Makes me so sad!
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A few days ago Brayden ran into the house saying he had found a snake. I about had a heart attack, and was SO relieved to find that it was just a little lizard. It had a blue tail. We kept him in our container for a bit before returning him to "his mommy." ;)
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We love sitting on the back porch in the morning together. Such sweet boys to hang with (most of the time).

*Speaking of photography and big girl cameras, I get a lot of questions about what gear I have, how I shoot, etc. I'd love to address some of the common questions I get in a blog post, so if you've ever had questions about my photography, will you leave a comment on this post, or if you're too shy to comment, feel free to shoot me an email instead? I'll compile everything and then make a post.

*While we're on the blogging subject, just thought I'd plug the fact that I am now taking sponsors! I'd love to spotlight your blog or business... You can find out my ad rates and more info on my menubar under the sponsor link. And if you sign up before August 31st, you can use the code startup10 to get 10% off your ad rate!

*The temps here have dropped drastically over the past week. We've gone from being over 100 degrees every day, to not getting out of the 80s. It's perfect, because it's still hot enough for the boys to run around barefoot, but not so hot that I have to worry about heat stroke or heat exhaustion. I even overheard Brayden say yesterday "thank you God for the weather!" I think he really gets it... that God gives us blessings even in the form of good weather!

*Connor can officially open all doors in our home now. This means that I spend a great deal running back and forth, between Brayden getting into things and Connor trying to escape and/or shove large amounts of dog food in his mouth. Brayden's not much further ahead of Connor in regards to age, but it's still funny how I've forgotten how tiring it is to have a curious 2 year old in the house. No wonder I was losing my mind when Connor was first born-- a newborn AND a 2 year old combined is like mixing fire and gasoline. You're bound for an explosion of mass proportions.

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DIY Antique Window Picture Frame

Well, I finally finished my antique window picture frame. And if I do say so myself, it's pretty fabulous.
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Here's the deal. When I looked on pinterest and the internet, there were a tons of pictures of these antique window turned picture frames. But no tutorials or help on actually how to convert it. And not that I'm saying that what I did should be the gold standard, but in an attempt to at least help other sisters (or brothers) out, I thought I'd outline what I did.

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It started out like this. We actually purchased this window from a litle shop that upcycles a lot of antique items (ie doors, windows, etc) and resells them. This is the same shop that we purchased our antique window turned mirror, which hangs in our entryway.

I had been looking for a window that had symmetrical panes (I'm weird like that), and this was the first one we found. Drew got it for me as a surprise! Hindsight, we probably paid a little too much for it, as I've seen a lot of windows that are similar (albeit without the large 12x12 panes this one has) at area flea markets for significantly less. But this one is still my favorite out of everything I've seen, so I try not to focus so much on how much we paid :)

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I originally thought I would sand it down and then stain the exposed wood. The problem I ran into is that I kept sanding. And sanding. And sanding. Underneath the 10 layers of white paint was a thick layer of manilla colored paint. That would NOT sand off. I'm not really sure what it is... even paint thinner didn't work. So I settled with how it sanded. I actually really like it, and think it compliments everything else in the living room. Since not much of the actual wood was exposed (only the edges), I decided to just leave it alone and not stain it either.

For my pictures, Drew and I picked out our 3 favorite pictures ever taken of both boys. This was a daunting task, but I was surprised with how quickly we were able to decide. We ended up picking an infant picture, a 15 month picture, and then a current picture for each boy. I had the pictures developed at mpix.com. I always recommend mpix to all of my clients/friends if they are wanting to have nice prints made. They are very reasonably priced, and their quality is SO much better than any drugstore or supermarket that you could get your pics printed at locally.
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(the top right picture of Brayden is one of our all time favorite pictures EVER, and is also my proudest as a photographer. It's currently published as a greeting card by DaySpring. You can find it at most Christian bookstores and Hobby Lobby in the "praying for you" section). I wrote about the story behind how it got published HERE.
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I'm sure you're wondering how I attached my pictures. I would only know this because that was my biggest dilemma and the question least answered when I searched google for answers.

Initially I thought some sort of craft sticky adhesive would work. So I tried this:
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It worked. But only for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes my pictures fell off, one by one. So I went back to Walmart for a better option. In the craft section I found these:
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I was a bit apprehensive, since they aren't really made for photographs. But after the dot runner didn't work, I was kind of out of options again, unless I wanted to use regular tape, which I was pretty sure wouldn't look that great. Thankfully these worked like a charm.
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I was worried that you would be able to tell how the pics are attached to the panes, but unless you are 1 inch away from the frame, you can't tell at all. Also, these say that they are permanent, but I had to reposition one of the pics and was able to get it off fairly easily. Not sure that will be the case once they are on there for a while, but I plan on redoing the pics every couple of years, so it doesn't bother me that much if one of them gets crimpled while I'm taking it off (also, is crimpled a word?)

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I feel like the original hardware on the window is the perfect finishing touch.
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it's my favorite part of the window/frame (aside from the pictures of the cute kids).

I think the hardest part of this entire project was trying to figure out how to hang it. I went to Hobby Lobby and asked one of their framers what she would recommend. She sent me home with these:
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(I forgot to take a picture of these before Drew put them on my window-- oops!)

Drew had to be really creative because I am so difficult to work with and decided I didn't want hanging hardware or wire to show through the panes. He's a sport. Thanks for putting up with my difficult personality, babe!

He decided to put these bad boys on upside down, which meant he had to widdle a little of the wood away. This window is HEAVY, so he had to put screws in two separate studs-- thankfully the way the window measured it worked out perfectly (our studs are 16" apart). This is how it looks on the back on each side:
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Now I can sit back and relax, knowing that another project is complete. Now if only yall could help me figure out what to put to the left of it on the wall... that spot looks kind of bare? Ideas anyone?
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ETA:
I'm linking this post up with these blog parties!