Saturday, January 30, 2010

Italian Meatball Soup

italian meatball soup

I haven't made many of Pioneer Woman's recipes, but I love her site.  She's amazing with everything she does!  When the weather started to turn cold this week, I decided to make something hearty and ran across her Italian Meatball Soup.  It turned out good.  Joshua ate his whole bowl which usually says something!  I think next time I would add a bit more salt or some kind of seasoning.  I was in a hurry to get it on the table and didn't do a proper taste test before serving.  But it is good and has lots of great veggies in it!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Makes My Heart Smile

love

Photography 101...Composition

This week's class focused primarily on composition and also touched on histograms and white balance.  Did you know that you can pre-set your white balance?  If you want to get photos with good exposure, you can take a pic of your subject holding a gray card and then set your white balance to that photo.  If you don't have a gray card, you can also take a pic of someone wearing a white t-shirt.  If you don't know how to set your white balance, simply go to your menu and choose white balance.  If you scroll through, you will see where you can pre-set it.  Choose that and then choose the photo to set the balance to.

a gray card

Talking about composition, here are some things to think about to take better photos.  I'm not going to go into detail but just list them and show some photos that display what I'm talking about.  If you are interested in reading more on each one, go here.
  •  Rule of Thirds
  • Balance...placing the main subject off-center can create a more interesting photo.
  • Leading Lines 
road
  • Symmetry and Patterns
  • View Point
  • Background
  • Depth
  • Framing
  • Cropping
  • Experiment
That's it for this week.  I mentioned last week about an assignment.  Well, I skipped that assignment, because I missed Monday's class so I jumped to the next assignment.  A park bench.  I only had one day and no car so I took a pic of an outside chair at my parent's house.  It's definitely not one of my finer pics, but I will still let you see it.

chair
ISO 400, white balance : cloudy, aperture f/4.8, shutter 1/400

I honestly don't know what I was trying to capture which was part of the problem.  My head was still in a tired fog from our trip and my creative juices were not flowing.  I'm excited about next week's assignment and hope that between now and then the creativity starts flowing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I Like To Fly

airplane wing

I was reminded on this last trip that I like to fly.  Everyone has a purpose, a destination.  Some are coming, others are going, all ending up somewhere.  For me, it's always been a place where I can breathe a sigh of relief.  All the craziness and hustle and bustle of getting ready is over.  No need to worry about what didn't get done, because frankly, there's nothing you can do about it now. 

And as that plane takes off, there's nothing better than letting that soothing lull take you off to dreamland.  And those 1, 2, 3, or 17 hours in the air, well, it's like forced stillness (sometimes I need that).  No busyness, just reading, knitting, or whatever else you like to do to pass the time.  I've done and will continue to do a lot of flying, so it's a good thing that I like flying.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Reading Healing Sands By Nancy Rue And Stephen Arterburn



Let me set the stage. After returning from Africa, Ryan Coe lands a job as the photographer for the local newspaper in Las Cruces, New Mexico. She is great at what she does and has a passion to tell the story through pictures. She gets called out to a scene where a local boy is hit by a truck and in critical condition. She arrives on scene snapping away. That is until she sees who the police pull out of the front seat of the truck. Her son. And that's the first chapter. And it made me want to read more.

I loved the author's choice of words to tell the story. It made me want to keep reading. I always like it when a book does that. There's plenty of drama that weaves its way into the book, but it's also a beautiful story of a life changed, justice found, and relationships strengthened. I really liked this book.

This was one of my favorite parts of the book...

"When I was in college, I took a literary criticism class, and we spent one whole session talking about whether there's anything in the Humpty Dumpty poem that indicates he's actually an egg...we think of him as this giant ovum because that's what's always in the picture.  I think that's one of the things that sealed my decision to become a photographer.  Pictures have an even more powerful influence that words."

Maybe it's because I love photos but I just love that!

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm Back...

on the road

Just popping in to say that I am back from the memorial. We were able to re-connect with old friends but we all despised the situation that re-united us. It was, however, a beautiful time of remembering Karen and her life. Re-telling memories that made everyone both laugh and cry. I feel so blessed to have called her my friend.

I have some things brewing in my head, but right now I am emotionally exhausted. Today will be a day of resting for me and loving on my kiddos. Don't forget about the giveaway that ends tonight. I will pop in to announce the winner around 9 PM. Love you all and have a wonderful day!

Labor Of Love

digging


There were many opportunities
To learn, to work, to stay
But instead your hearts responded
To a calling far away


A growing crisis magnified
Disease and loss defined
The children's cry resounded
In the spirit of your mind


Their parents just a memory
Their houses not a home
They wondered who would care for them
And why they were alone


So you introduced them to the One
Who promised to never leave
You gave them hope and confidence
And taught them to believe


In answer to the question, Who will go?
You said, "Send me."  His reply?
"As you've done it to the least of these,
You've done it unto Me."

Diana Hickman-Platt
December 24, 2009

Someone I've known for quite a while wrote this for us and recently gave it to us.  I read it and think, "But I'm nothing special.  Just one of many who is following Jesus on this journey called life."  But I post it, because I was so blessed by reading it.  Someone taking time out to hear from God for us.  It's humbling and amazing at the same time.  Through her obedience I am blessed.  And then I am reminded of obeying God when He tells us to encourage others.  Whether it be through writing them a poem, calling to see how they're doing, or baking someone some cookies.  We should never underestimate those simple nudgings, because through our simple obedience, someone's day is sure to be brightened.  Let's be challenged to encourage someone today!

Oh, and I highly encourage YOU to enter my giveaway!  It ends tomorrow night!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spanish Rice

spanish rice

Another rice post? Well, yes, I believe so!  Since we are currently staying at my parent's house, I try to make dinner to help out.  I usually go through the fridge and cabinets and see what's available to make.  I never thought I was good at that but it's been fun!  The other night was Mexican night so I made some spanish rice.  Here's what I did.

olive oil
1 small or 1/2 a large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups white rice
1 can whole, peeled tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in pan.  Throw in onion and bell pepper.  Saute for a couple of minutes.  Throw in garlic and saute until lightly browned.  Pour in rice.  Cook until light brown and almost clear.  Add tomatoes (including the sauce), crushing each tomato in hand.  Add chicken broth 2 cups at a time, letting it cook away, about 30 minutes.  If rice is not tender, continue adding chicken broth a little at a time.  Salt to taste.

Speaking of food, there's a fabulous giveaway here to win Make It Fast, Cook It Slow!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Hero, Cardboard Boxes, And A Green Roof

I thought Thursday was going to be one of those days.  Maybe you know what I'm talking about.  My kids woke up a little on the grumpy side.  I swore their mission was to disagree with everything I said in a whining tone.  My nerves were starting to get frazzled.  That is, until daddy came to rescue!  I always knew he was my hero!

A little project to keep them entertained was just the answer (and peace) we all needed.  They worked together beautifully (with a little of mommy's help on the cutting part) creating a house out of cardboard boxes.  And when the disagreement came about whether to use a certain piece as a garden or a roof, they worked it out and decided on a green roof!  They got straight to work "planting" grass, strawberries, and flowers!

strawberries

green roof

And when the work became too exhausting?  No problem.  A little rest on the outside porch gave them the boost they needed to continue their labor.

swinging

cuddling

And the finished product?

cardboard house

peeking through window

green roof

outside cardboard house

Beautiful, just beautiful...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Photography 101...Aperture, ISO, Shutter Speed, White Balance, Huh?


I use a Nikon D40 DSLR 6.1 megapixel

Several of you asked me to share the knowledge from my photography class.  Let me start by saying there is no way I can squeeze 3 hours worth of class into this post without making it very l-o-n-g.  I might lose you in the process.  F-stop, aperture, white balance, shutter speed, ISO.  Have I lost you yet?  I'm sure you've heard of all those words, but if you're like me, how they work together can be a mystery.  A dense fog used to appear in my mind whenever I would try to understand all this and how it all worked together to create a picture!  But the light is starting to come on, and it's exciting!

Let me just hit some of the highlights.  Some of you might already know some of this, so excuse me if it's a repeat.  How many of you thought a higher pixel count was a good thing to look for on a camera and meant better photos?  Well, it can mean better photos, but it only matters on printed photos.  If all you're going to print are 4 X 6 or 5 X 7 prints, then you really don't need a high pixel count.  The benefit to a high pixel count comes when you want to print large photos.  Some food for thought.


an example of an image at different sizes as it pixelates found here

In this first class, we already learned about the benefits of changing your aperture, white balance, ISO, and shutter speed.  Up until this point, I've mostly kept my camera on P (meaning programmed), but as we played around with the M setting, it's like it opened up a whole new world for me.  And by "M" I don't mean manual focus, but manual where I can change the aperture.  The aperture adjusts the size of the opening through which light passes through.  It also controls the depth of field.  Just some FYI.

Here are some shots taken in class playing around in manual mode.  I switched between an ISO of 200 all the way up to 1600 using no flash and changed my f number (or aperture) to about 4 (my particular lens would only go down to 3.5).

wooden peg

wooden items

altoids

So why might this little setting be important?  By changing these settings, you can control what you want to focus and your depth of field.  Say you want to take a shot but there's lots of stuff in the background you don't want.  This would be handy.

Here are some more shots playing around with the white balance settings.

altoids cloudy white balance

Taken on the cloudy setting.  You can see that it looks a bit yellow.  But when I change it to fluorescent (because we were in fluorescent lighting) it brings out the colors without distorting them.

altoids fluorescent white balance

I'm already glad I signed up for the class.  And I'm glad I have a Nikon as the instructor also has one and is a little partial to them as am I. :)  So before this goes on the record as the longest post ever, I think that is all for now.  I have an assignment that I am looking forward to shooting but more on that next week.

If you are at all interested in learning about all these things, I highly recommend a class!  I've tried reading about it online, but hearing it in person and being shown on my camera how to adjust the settings was way more helpful than reading words on a screen.

I leave today to attend the memorial of my sweet friend, Karen.  Enjoy the posts while I'm gone, and I'll see you next week.  Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My Sweet Girl And A Ball Of Yarn

Once upon a time there was a sweet, sweet little girl.  She was very caring and compassionate and always in tune to the likes and dislikes of others.  It was the Christmas season and her mind was reeling with the perfect gifts for her loved ones.  As she browsed the aisles, her eye spotted the perfect gift for her mama.  You see, her mama loved to knit and was always making things.

a big ball of yarn

The sweet, little girl could hardly wait for Christmas day and to see the look on her mama's face when she opened her gift.  Christmas gifts were passed out and the sweet, little girl handed hers to her mama with a twinkle in her eye.  As mama opened it, her heart swelled with love as she knew her sweet, little girl put so much thought into this very special gift.

with her baby

Several weeks later, mama asked the little girl, "What should we make with this beautiful yarn?"  "Something special!" was her reply.  Her mama knew this yarn could make a lot of something specials!  "How about a hat and scarf for your doll?" she suggested.  The sweet, little girl's eyes grew big, a smile appeared, and she said, "Yes!"

baby doll hat and scarf

So mama got to work making the first of many something specials with her new yarn.  Now that sweet, little girl's baby will stay warm on those chilly days!

Don't forget you can have your own hand knits!  The sweet, little girl says to check out the giveaway!

Counting The Cost

I have been so excited about this sabbatical (probably because I really needed one!) but now I'm actually starting to "count the cost."  I know it sounds weird and confusing.  You see, life doesn't stop just because the Price's aren't there.  It goes on.  And it MUST go on.  It NEEDS to go on.  But now I'm starting to realize what I'm missing out on. 

Our third and largest DTS started on Sunday.  This school is like my baby.  I love discipleship and I love working with the students that come.  I handed the school over to some wonderful and capable leaders but I still feel like I'm missing out!  I communicated with a lot of these students before I handed it over, and I will more than likely not meet them.  This is so strange for me!


dts 2010 staff and students

And the babies that are being born while we are away!  One of those being a new niece!  For the first time ever, we live and work with Jeremy's brother and his family, and we won't be there for the birth of their third baby.  It really eats me up!


my pregnant sister-in-law due in april

So I am counting the cost.  I think it's a good thing that this has come now.  We are still traveling around speaking, fundraising, and securing our housing.  The plan is to begin the active "neutral" phase of the sabbatical by the end of February.  So I will take the next 5 or so weeks to process this.  Life needs to go on without us, so it's not dependent on us.  And it WILL be different when we go back.  I know that.  It's just a strange, crazy feeling going on inside of me right now!

These photos were stolen from Brittany!

Monday, January 18, 2010

New Stock In My Shop Calling For A Giveaway!

First I want to say THANK YOU to everyone who has purchased items from my shop!  It has been such a warm welcome as I've stepped out into selling my hand mades.  The proceeds have been safely tucked away for that family vacation we are hoping to take!






After Christmas I started re-stocking my little shop and adding some new inventory!  Most new items you have seen here, but they are now available for purchase!

In the Chocolate And Vanilla Scoops series...

Waffle Cloths
waffle knit cloths

Grandmother's Favorites
grandmother's favorite

New colors in the Triangle Cloths...
lake/almond cloths

triangle cloths

Doll dresses...
blue dress
more colors in the shop

And with Valentine's Day around the corner, Valentine's Day cards!
valentine's day cards

To celebrate my new stock and new items, I'm offering a giveaway!  Have I mentioned that I love giveaways?  Here's how it works.  To enter, visit my shop, take a look around, and then come back here leaving a comment on which item you would like to win should you be chosen via random.org.  (And also if there's any items you would like to see for sale over there, let me know that, too!)  And this time you can earn extra entries!  Additional entries can be earned by promoting the giveaway on facebook, twitter, or writing about it on your blog.  Just come back here and leave an additional comment with the link.  Comments will close January 26th at 9 PM CST.  Happy commenting!


And the winner is...The Herd!  Some waffle cloths coming your way!

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