Friday, October 5, 2012

This, That & A Giveaway

I can't believe this is my 50th published post. Thank you, whoever you are, for following along.

As I was looking through my recent photos, I realized I have several that don't really fall under a specific topic. So here's a little peek at what we've been doing lately. I apologize for an duplicates.

Also, in celebration of my 50th post I am giving away a set of 18 Christmas cards.
Check them out below. Just leave a comment below to enter. Get another entry for sharing on your blog or Facebook. Just let me know where you shared. The winner will be announced on next Friday, October 12th.

Getting dressed in preparation for a Vietamese wedding. It was definitely a learning experience. Lots of food, singing, dancing and celebrating.
As Fall approaches, the warm beverages become a staple. These have been replaced now by Tazo tea and Pumpkin Spice coffee. The Kuerig is one of Ken's favorite things. I just like the hot cocoa. Yum!
Anique drew R2D2 and C3PO with her sidewalk chalk on the bottom deck.
Sweet Ken brought me flowers on Wednesday. It had been a rough, tearful week. These brought a smile to my face.
And finally, here's a cute set of 18 Christmas cards. 6 of each style is included.
Inside: Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful. -Norman Vincent Peale
Inside: May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace, The gladness of Christmas give you hope, The warmth of Christmas grant you love.
Inside: Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Thanks for celebrating with me and have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quality Question

It's that time again. Time again to answer the Burning Question by Danielle Laporte. (read the previous with a game show host voice)

Her latest question for introspection is in relation to quality. She encourages us to address quality in our choices, people and stuff.

What in your life do you want to be of the highest quality?

Here's my list and several of these I need to work on:

relationship with my husband:
He often gets the tired left overs at the end of the day, the tears, the frustrations, too much negativity. I need to work on focusing on us, find our common ground and leaving the rest of it at the door.

relationship with my children:
I need to work on listening, not tuning out to the next chore, the next item on the to-do list. I want to develop more trust and be a safe-place for them to come.

relationship with God:
Somewhere along the way I pushed this down on the daily priority list. Time for prayer and study got set aside and never picked back up. I think about it, pray when something is on my mind, but I am not worshiping Him in a meaningful way.

relationship with friends and other family members:
I've let friendships fall off, fallen out of touch because I didn't make the effort to stay connected. I need to reach out, make the effort, take the time that always seems so limited. It's important.

choices made regarding my future-career, schooling, direction:
I know I don't want to keep doing what I'm doing. I'm not happy and I don't like what I'm becoming. I need to make positive decisions, figure out what makes me happy. I'm having trouble balancing this with the responsibility to bring income to the family.

work ethic:
It's important to me to work hard. Give whatever I'm involved in my best effort. I'm feeling spread too thin and not giving anything the attention it needs. Need to determine what needs quality time and what needs to be let go.

If you're going to do it, do it happily. Somedays this is harder than others.

serving others:
I volunteer for school projects, on the soccer board, but again I'm feeling busy and not giving it the quality job it deserves. I would like to give more but am feeling drained.

I need to work on positive emotions. Anxiety, anger and frustration are draining.

surrounding people:
Well, I've let alot of my relationships fall off with friends. And who do you call at 2 am in a crisis, there's always Mom, she's always there for me. I need to find a network of people who will love me no matter what.

I try to find the best bargain with a lot of stuff but I do like having my DSLR camera and lenses. And my computer and software. I really feel you often get what you pay for in these areas.

So many areas for growth and opportunity. What areas do you want quality in? Are you giving quality? Receiving quality?

Urban Field Trip

With Bailey having really settled into his teen years, he is often hanging out with friends and away from the house. Anique loves "adventures" but doesn't have the opportunity often.

She had really begging Ken to take her on a trip on a bus, one of the "bendy" ones. We looked for a good bus route but just to make it from our town to the next was a couple of hours and a bus change through the biggest city in the opposite direction.

So, instead we headed to downtown Seattle to take a ride on the monorail. It's a short trip from Seattle center to the Westlake Mall but something out of the norm. Anique was very excited about the day and kept telling us she would never forget it and it was the best day ever. Obviously, we don't take her out enough.

We walked through the mall and across the street a little just to peek and see what what going on. I had totally forgotten about the blue trees. I had wanted to see them when I heard about them earlier this year during a photo class I was participating in. They were done by an Australian artist Konstantin Dimopoulos to bring awareness about deforestation. You can read more about the project here.

Anique was loving the pigeons and took some video of them walking around which she declared her best movie yet.

We hopped back on the monorail after a quick stop into the Pro Shop where Ken checked out the new Seahawks gear. Back at Seattle Center we ate some lunch, picked up some Seattle Fudge (a must!) and Anique got an ice cream cone for dessert.

It was a fun day and a nice opportunity for dedicated time spent with the chatter baby of the family. She's quite the entertainer and talker. She filled us in on everything!

Ken really hates having his picture taken yet that doesn't stop me. Probably not very polite of me, but he handles it well up to a point.
A messy eater!
Payback for the pictures. My camera was hi-jacked. This is my "okay, that's enough now" face.
Someday I really want to go in and explore the Chihuly Gardens. I have a deep admiration for blown glass and his works and the scale of them are awe inspiring.
And of course, you can't help but check out the EMP (Experience Music Project) building. It's a music museum with interactive exhibits. Ken and the kids have gone and enjoyed it before. The building is definitely unique. This is just one side. I didn't capture the other sides.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Lunch Challenge

First off, let me state I am not a food photographer. No matter how many times I whip something yummy up (which sadly isn't often) the picture does not seem to accurately represent what I've made.
Having gotten that off my chest, I'll move on to the point of this post. School lunches. I have two children who don't care for sandwiches. Bailey doesn't want a big lunch because his lunch time falls so early in the day and Anique just eats the fillings. She never eats the bread, on anything.
Of course, I found lots of inspiration on pinterest for sandwichless lunches. The biggest hit this year has been the Mac & Cheese muffins. Both kids love them! That never happens!
I made one batch and then went back to my Pinterest post again for a second and the link wasn't working. Here's the recipe I used when I was winging it and they still turned out yummy!
Mac & Cheese Muffins:
8 oz. elbow macaroni
1 can cheddar cheese soup
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 cups shredded cheese
Ritz crackers
Cook elbow macaroni as directed and drain. Stir in cheddar cheese soup (do not dilute). Add 1/2 cup milk (I think the original recipe said you could use half and half as an alternative.) Stir in egg. Mix 3/4 of your shredded cheese into the mix, reserving some for later.
Okay, now to muffinize...I used liners because I don't like cleanup, but you can just grease your tin too. Place one cracker on the bottom of each cup. Top with your noodle mix. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Bake for 20 minutes, or until cheese melts, in 350 degree oven.
Easy cheesy. The muffins below are an egg and bacon biscuit recipe but only Bailey likes those. I also tried the corndog muffin recipe but so far no one has liked those. Even the husband. I personally think the corndog muffins look like mini boobies, but that's just me. :-)  Look them up and let me know what you think. ha ha!