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Friday, July 3, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 6/14/15 - 6/20/15

Our first week off from school!  Finally!  Thanks to all the "snow" days, which were more like "too stinkin' cold to go outside" days, the kids' school year got extended by a week.  After losing almost their whole Easter break.  :/  It was another busy week (aren't they all?) but we had some fun in there too.

{June 14: Within My Reach}
June 14:  Within My Reach
My camera is almost always within my reach so when I see something cool, like one of my Black Swallowtail caterpillars eating while upside down, I can snap a quick pic.  :)

{June 15: Masculinity}
June 15: Masculinity
Apparently the proper way to show their masculinity was to scowl at the camera. No smiling allowed when you are trying to look manly.

{June 16: Hat}
June 16: Hat
About this time last year Nick learned how to make paper hats. This is one of his creations.   

{June 17: Begins with "C"}
June 17: Begins with "C"
I was pondering what to photograph for this prompt and then it hit me. Caterpillars and Chrysalises ... in a Collage.  :)
These are my babies right now. As of today, we have three Black Swallowtails in chrysalis, one getting ready, and two still munching away. Their names are (top row - left to right) Cupcake, Sylvester, and Stallone; (bottom row - left to right) Rocky, Pickle, and Rambo. Nick named four of them and Alex named the other two. I'll let you figure out who named whom.  :)

{June 18: Inside}
June 18: Inside
Alex bought a new toy at our church's rummage sale today and then we went to buy batteries for it. He loves it! However, he's not allowed to play with it inside because it makes a lot of noise.   :)

{June 19: Casual}
June 29: Casual
Just a casual, make-believe phone conversation on a cool, old-looking phone that doesn't work.  :)

{June 20: All Dressed Up}
June 20: All Dressed Up
How convenient that Keira was participating in a Story Book Princess day today and the prompt is All Dressed Up. She certainly was all dressed up and had a great time playing princess with some sweet little girls.

About our week:
Doug cooked supper on Sunday.  I love when he cooks!  Even if it does usually involve sweet potatoes and corn.  :)  I'm actually starting to like sweet potatoes.
Monday morning I taught a friend how to use her camera in manual mode.  We had a fun time learning and exploring her property.  Alex came with me and had a great time playing with some trains she has for her grandkids.  After that we went to my friend Sam's to fill up her bird feeders.  She was away on vacation and wanted to make sure the birds didn't go hungry.  :)  Keira's violin lesson in the evening wrapped up our day.
Tuesday we lost power for 9.5 hours.  It went out while I was in the shower.  I was almost done so it wasn't a big deal.  But it is so dark in the bathroom when the lights are out!  :)  We were gone for a lot of the down time.  I had a meeting regarding VBS prep work.  And we finally had a day that was nice enough to get in Abby and David's engagement session!
Wednesday we did more VBS stuff.  :)
Thursday too.  And the youth group's rummage sale started.  Keira helped with it all weekend.
On Saturday morning Keira got to dress up like a princess and help entertain some little girls.  She had a great time.  I stayed to help with registration for a little while.  I went home for lunch and then the boys and I piled in the car with my sister in law and one of her girls and drove to Pittsburgh for my cousin's birthday party.  The kids had a blast!  The rain held off until almost the very end.  My mom and sister were there along with a bunch of other people I didn't know.  :)  The boys swam and played kickball and had a really great time.  We all came home exhausted.  
I have to add that I am proud of Keira for making the tough decision not to go to the birthday party.  She had already agreed to help tear down the rummage sale and didn't want to go back on her word.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Mickey Matson ~ Movie Review & Giveaway

Since no one entered to win here on my blog, I took the giveaway to Facebook and Jennifer S. is the winner!  This giveaway is now closed.

We are big movie watchers in our house.  Friday nights have been designated "popcorn and movie night" so we can make a point of getting together as a family, if only for a few hours.  Although now that the kids are on summer break, they watch a movie almost every night to unwind after a fun and busy day.  Some nights I join them.

Last night I did just that and we watched Pirate's Code: The Adventures of Micky Matson! again.  The boys really like this movie.

About the movie:
In this follow up to Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Treasure, Mickey Matson is at it again; this time pitted against the evil Admiral Ironsides and his gang of pirates who are intent on destroying civilization.  They're new invention, the Tesla Coil, is a weapon of mass destruction that will send an electromagnetic pulse throughout the world, destroying every electronic device in existence.  With the help of a secret organization, Mickey and his best friend Sully embark on a mission to stop the pirates from taking over a submarine and stealing the last part needed to complete their devastating weapon.  If Admiral Ironsides succeeds in his plan, civilization will be sent back to the Stone Age.  It's a race against time, and the fate of the world hangs in the balance.  

Released on DVD June 2, 2015
91 Minutes // Genre: Adventure // Rating:  NR

Nick give the movie 1.5 thumbs up because the fight scenes aren't quite convincing to him.  :)  Alex gives it 2 thumbs up.  He loved the movie!  I liked it, though it is definitely geared more towards kids.  If you have younger kids in your house that like adventure movies, they will love this one.  Oh, and Christopher Lloyd (Back to the Future) is in it.  I love him!  And the movie is Dove approved for all ages.

Here are some places to find out more about the movie:
Facebook:  Mickey-Matson

Official Website:  http://mickeymatson.com

Trailer:   You Tube Mickey Matson

Official Website to Purchase:  http://pureflix.christianbook.com/

One of my readers has a chance to win a copy of the DVD movie!  Just enter via Rafflecopter:

Last day to enter is June 27.  A winner will be chosen and announced right here on this blog post, so be sure to check back.  If you include your email in your comment, it will be easier for me to notify the winner.  :)

Thanks for stopping by!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 6/7/15 - 6/13/15

I realize that it is already Thursday and I am just now getting a chance to post my weekly pics, but I didn't want to have a super huge post next week.  Besides, VBS starts on Monday so who knows if I'll get a post up next week.  :/  Between VBS prep and having no power for almost a whole day on Tuesday, I'm just a little behind. :)

{June 7:  Inspired}
June 7:  Inspired
A friend first inspired me to raise Monarch butterflies several years ago. She gave me 4 big, fat caterpillars to take home and raise. It was the coolest thing. Since then I have raised approximately 250 Monarchs over a 5 year span. This year I am branching out to raise other butterflies. Like this black swallowtail. Sylvester, our largest caterpillar, is getting pretty big and will be pupating soon. I can't wait to see if Sylvester is a male or a female!  :)   I also can't wait to start finding Monarchs to raise! Hope they get here soon!

{June 8:  Urban Geometry}
June 8:  Urban Geometry
This prompt taught me something about myself. I very seldom take photos of buildings and such. I'm such a nature lover and people person. However, I did take a few photos with my phone when we went on my son's field trip last month. (I actually left my big girl camera at home). And since we went to the city and this photo has geometric shapes in it, I'm using it.   :)  The artwork is made entirely out of license plates.

{June 9:  Smile}
June 9:  Smile
Somehow I got a "smile" out of Kobe during a recent visit.   :)   She's so much fun!

{June 10:  Balloons}
June 10:  Balloons
Or in this case ... balloon. I ordered these "light-up balloons" to try and they just so happened to come in the mail today. Alex couldn't wait for it to get dark(ish) so we could try them out. However, we were a bit disappointed as they don't light up very well. At least this one didn't. We will try the others tomorrow night when the kids can stay up later and enjoy them if they do work. Tomorrow is the last day of school before summer break. Yahoo!
*** This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT! ***

{June 11:  Jagged}
June 11:  Jagged
The jagged look of a future coneflower that is ready to bloom in my garden.
*** This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT!  Two days in a row! ***

{June 12:  Forced Perspective}
June 12:  Forced Perspective
This was not my original plan but rain keeps interfering with that idea, so when the sun actually came out for a bit today, I ran outside to capture this.

{June 13:  Clever}
June 13:  Clever
Keira is so clever. She sees something she wants to make and figures out how to make it. Like this crocheting project which she says will be a shawl when it is done.
*** This photo was chosen among the Top Shots for the day!  WOOT!  That makes three in one week! ***

Normally I link up with Tamar but I missed the link up this week.  I think things will be hit and miss around here this summer.  Spending time with the family and in my garden instead of on the computer seems more important.  :)  Instead I will link up with image-n-ing this time and see how that works out.  :)


My quick rundown of the week:
Sunday after church Keira and I went to my friend Rainey's for some crafting and girl time.  We did more girl time stuff than crafting but that's okay.  We had fun and got away from the boys for a few hours.  :)  We ran to Panera to pick up dinner.  Yum!
Monday was all about VBS.  Met with Sharon, the leader, about what still needs done.  We were supposed to take Abby and David's engagement photos in the afternoon but Mother Nature had other plans for us.  Just at the time we were to start (after we had already decided to reschedule), the skies opened up.  I did manage to get some weeds pulled in my garden before and after the rain though.
Tuesday I made cupcakes for the 6th grade awards ceremony and Keira had a violin lesson.  And I spent more time pulling weeds.  So.many.weeds!  :)
Wednesday I attended the 6th grade awards ceremony at Nick's school.  Honestly I wasn't expecting him to get much in the way of awards based on his performance and attitude this year but I was pleasantly surprised that he received a few.  Even an academic one!  And every year the teachers give candy awards based on the kids' personalities ... Nick got the Whoppers award for being quite the story teller.  :)  At the end they showed a slideshow of photos from the year.  I somehow managed not to cry.
The kids brought home the yearbooks on Wednesday also.  They turned out great!  Diane did a wonderful job designing it.  It was fun being a part of making the last Oakland yearbook the best one yet!
Thursday was finally the last day of school.  The kids only had a half day.  I picked Keira up at 11:15 and we zipped home to be here when the boys got home.  Once they did we hopped in the car and went to eat lunch at Valley Dairy.  I usually try to do something with them on the last day of school.  The restaurant was busy and the kids were whining about it taking so long to get our food.   I joked with our waitress when she finally brought our food that I wasn't going to be able to take their whining much longer.  :)
Later in the day Alex managed to get a wire stuck in his mouth.  Apparently he was trying to straighten a wire that was in a circular shape - like a key ring - with his teeth, and managed to get it through his bottom gums.  I took one look and knew it was more than I could deal with - beyond my mom expertise.  :)  So off to the ER we went.  They were really great.  The PA that took care of him was incredible.  She answered all his questions and made him feel at ease.  She numbed up his mouth and wiggled the wire out.  We were in and out of the ER in just about an hour.
In the meantime Keira was supposed to be at worship practice at 6:00.  But we were at the ER.  Thankfully Doug got home just after 6:00 and took her.
When we left the ER, we zipped home, picked up Nick, and went to the church for a pasta dinner fundraiser for MS.  I wasn't all that hungry after eating lunch late, but I ate anyway.  The boys both took a few bites and went off to play so we ended up taking their dinners home.  Along with a couple to-go dinners for Doug and Keira.
Friday I spent a good part of the day in my garden pulling weeds.  So.many.weeds!  Wait, I think I already mentioned that.  My strategy is to dig up everything and pitch the bad stuff and save the little milkweed seedlings that are growing.  I have way more milkweed than I will ever need so I plan to give some away to friends.  I'm about 1/3 of the way through the garden.
The sun actually came out on Friday for a while.  We have had so much rain and so many thunderstorms, it was so nice to have some sunshine!  Even if it didn't last.
We also went up to help our neighbor with her pool.  She told me that if I helped her get the pool ready to swim in that the kids could swim in it whenever they wanted.  With all the rain and thunderstorms, however, it has been hard to find time to get it going.  And now with VBS coming up, it may not be ready until July.  She shouldn't have to worry about the water getting low though.  :)
Saturday was spent pulling weeds (when it wasn't raining) and doing stuff in the house (when it was raining).  I made gnocchi soup for supper.  Yum!

Well, I think that's about it.  If you made it through all of that, thank you for stopping by!
I will be posting a movie review and giveaway either later today or tomorrow so be sure to check that out.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 5/31/15 - 6/6/15

Hey look!  It's Tuesday night and I'm just now getting around to posting my weekly pics.  {sigh}

Thursday is the last day of school.  Then we're gearing up for VBS.  Then hopefully things will slow down a little.  Although then photo sessions will be picking up.  Oh well.  In the meantime, here are last week's photos from the 365 Photo challenge on Facebook.

{May 31:  Iconic}
May 31:  Iconic
Digging into the archives for today's shot as I haven't shot anything "iconic" lately. And this week was way too busy to go searching.
Anyway, the American bald eagle is certainly an iconic symbol. It was officially adopted as our national emblem in 1787 because of its association with authority and statehood. (Yes, I looked that up).  :)  This particular photo was taken in June 2014 in a zoo in Virginia.
This photo got chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT! Two days in a row!

{June 1:  This is where ... }
June 1:  This is where ...
This is where I embarrassed my daughter because I pulled over to photograph these flowers I have been admiring. They are in the front of our local VA hospital. She waited in the car.  :)

{June 2:  Leading Lines}
June 2: Leading lines
Nothing much to say about this except that I need to take more leading lines photos. It is a concept I don't practice often.  :/

{June 3:  Generations}
June 3:  Generations
For the 2nd time that I am aware of there are two generations of gorillas at our zoo. The first baby that was born a few years ago unfortunately passed away. But this little one looks to be very healthy and happy.

{June 4:  Barrier}
June 4:  Barrier
While I am glad that there is a glass barrier between us and the polar bears, Kobe probably wishes there wasn't so she could get my backpack.   :)
Sharon and I met up at the zoo again yesterday. This time we didn't stay with the polar bears the WHOLE time; we did actually walk around. And we discovered that our zoo actually has other animals there! It was the craziest thing!   :)

{June 5:  Evolution}
June 5:  Evolution
Many believe in the theory of evolution - that humans evolved from apes. I believe that we were made by our Creator, God, in His image. I do like to visit the apes at the zoo though. They are interesting animals.  (From Wednesday's zoo trip.)
This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day!  WOOT!

{June 6:  Bucket Listed}
June 6:  Bucket Listed
Today's prompt was a tricky one - without going into the archives for an old photo and with no plans to travel to any of the places on my bucket list today.  :)
But I did get to see something I haven't seen before. One of my Black Swallowtail caterpillars happened to be shedding its skin as I walked past. I have seen Monarchs shed their skin as they form their chrysalis many times, and I've seen caterpillars AFTER they have shed their skin, but never before have I watched one wiggle out of its skin. It was really cool! Now the only other things on my butterfly bucket list is photographing them mating and a female laying her eggs. I think. There may be more cool things that I just don't know about.   :)

Linking with Tamar:

I'm going to try to keep this short and sweet as it is late and I need to get to bed.  :)
Sunday we had our Bible Quizzing fundraising dinner after church.  The kids did a pretty good job helping, although I think the parents did most of the work.  I have no idea how much we raised, but I'm sure it is enough to get the kids to Boston and back.
If I didn't have to be somewhere this week, I spent time in the garden weeding.  When we first decided that my garden would be my butterfly garden, I thought it wasn't very big.  And then I started weeding it.  Now I think it is huge and overwhelming.  :)  But I'm making good progress.  A little at a time.
Tuesday we had a VBS meeting to discuss plans.  It is all starting to come together!
Keira had her dental cleaning in the afternoon.  Everything looked great.
Wednesday Nick had his field trip.  Tuesday night my friend Sharon asked me if I wanted to meet her at the zoo on Wednesday.  I didn't have any other plans (except weeding) so I said yes.  We had another great day as you can see from the above photos.  One of these days I'll post more from our visits.
On Thursday I went with my friend Sam to an art boutique to see if they would sell some of her paintings.  She does gorgeous watercolor paintings.  The lady was excited about having them there.  When Sam got to my house in the morning, she told me that I should bring some photos to see if they wanted to sell them also.  I wasn't at all prepared so I grabbed a bunch of 8x10s and sorted through them in the car on the way there.  I showed them to the owner and she loved them.  I have to get them ready for display and take them down.  I'm excited to have some photos on display in an actual shop!  Here's hoping they sell!
We also shopped at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods while we were in the area.  That was actually why I was going along in the first place.  I had never been to either place and wanted to check them out.  I bought some things at Trader Joe's, but Whole Foods is quite expensive, so we just ate lunch there.  Lunch was expensive too.  :)
Thursday afternoon the boys and I went to a local greenhouse to buy some more dill for my hungry caterpillars.  One of my potted plants isn't doing so well, so I wanted to move the caterpillars off of it and get it outside in the sunlight.  The greenhouse was really cool and the folks there were super nice.  The owner's mom helps out and we talked for a while.  I gave her a quick lesson on raising Monarchs.  :)  I also bought a Monarch picture that they had in their little gift shop.
Nick was finally done being on restriction on Saturday.  He was so excited.  He couldn't wait to start breaking the rules again.  :)
Saturday morning we had our Christian Women's Artistic Connection gathering.  Kim showed us how to make altered dominoes.  They are like little pieces of art.  Very cool!  It was a fun time, as always.  Next month I'm teaching the ladies (and maybe some kids) about Monarchs and other butterflies.

That's it for me!  I'm heading to bed.  Tomorrow is another busy day!
Have a great week!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 5/17/15 - 5/30/15

Let me just say - I apologize for slamming you with two week's worth of photos.  Memorial Day came and went and we had a great time parading and visiting with family, so blogging didn't happen.  Then the rest of the week was super busy - all with school-related activities, so yeah.  I really should try to get the posts ready on Sunday night.  Someday I'll be that organized.  :)

{May 17:  Windows}
May 17:  Windows
Another photo from our trip to the zoo on Wednesday. (Sorry, not sorry!)   :)   Kobe, the female polar bear, swam up to the window to say hello to my friend Sharon and me. You can see Kona, the male, in the background. We are hoping the two of them make beautiful baby polar bears together.

{May 18:  Laughter}
May 18:  Laughter
Okay, so I have been back and forth all day about whether to share another polar bear photo and, as you can see, I decided yes. :)
Our day with the polar bears was filled with smiles, laughter, oooohs and aaaahs, and even some squeals of delight from the kids passing through. I think I'm going to have to go visit them again soon. I'm having withdrawals. 

{May 19:  Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner}
May 19:  Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner
When these Black Swallowtail eggs hatch, my dill plants will become breakfast, lunch, AND dinner for the hungry caterpillars. I'm so excited to be a caterpillar mama once again! Hoping this is the beginning of a great, butterfly-filled summer!  :)

{May 20:  Running}
May 20:  Running
I have never considered running for an elected office, but I will be sure to exercise my right and privilege to go vote on Election Day. Yesterday was a Primary Election Day in our area. I almost forgot to go vote but thankfully remembered just in time!

{May 21:  Odd}
May 21:  Odd
This odd, unusual thing caught my eye the other day. I believe it is a cluster of leaves waiting to open up. Nature is so fascinating!

{May 22:  Brilliant Invention}
May 22:  Brilliant Invention
The key fob is a brilliant invention in my opinion. Being able to have your arms full of groceries or whatever and still be able to unlock and open your car doors comes in very handy! Must have been invented by a woman!

{May 23:  Tree}
May 23:  Tree
I really loved the way the sun was peeking through this tree. And I love that there are leaves on it again!
This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT!

{May 24:  Daily Habit}
May 24:  Daily Habit
I have several daily habits, as I'm sure most of you do also. Of them is, of course, photography. I try to take at least one photo a day. Usually for the 365 Photo prompts. Most days I take many more photos.  :)

{May 25:  Street Art}
May 25:  Street Art
I spent this Memorial Day holiday with family so I had to pull a photo from the archives for this prompt. We came across this mural painted on the side of a building a couple years ago. Since my youngest is crazy about trains, we had to stop and take a photo.

{May 26:  Fresh}
May 26:  Fresh
I'm so excited to announce that I now have a freshly-hatched Black Swallowtail caterpillar happily munching on my dill! Actually I have two, but the one pictured is the first little guy to hatch today. So happy to be a butterfly mama again!

{May 27:  Parallel}
May 27:  Parallel
Had a bit of fun with today's prompt. Alex agreed to help me. He wanted to look like he was behind bars.  :)

{May 28:  A Dime a Dozen}
May 28:  A Dime a Dozen
Canadian geese are everywhere around here these days. I have mixed feelings about them. I like seeing them around, but they make such a mess everywhere they go.

{May 29:  Close}
May 29:  Close
Thanks to my lovely macro lens I was able to get up close to this newly hatched Black Swallowtail caterpillar and watch him enjoy his first meal, his egg shell. I actually had the pleasure of watching him hatch. I was giddy like a kid on Christmas morning! :)  We now have 6 babies happily munching and growing.

{May 30:  Valuable}
May 30:  Valuable
It is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Well, I think value is also. We all have different perceptions on what is valuable. My family knows what is valuable to me. Life. Even the life of a small caterpillar. My 12YO son brought this caterpillar to me this afternoon, so excited because he knew I would be excited. And I was, of course. It is another Black Swallowtail. The 7th and now the largest of the babies that I am currently caring for. (He's only about half an inch long - my macro lens makes him look much larger). I'm so excited to be a butterfly mama again.

Linking with the lovely Tamar:

Since I have two weeks to summarize, I'll try to be quick and just hit the highlights.  Of course, that's what I usually do anyway.  :)  Feel free to skip this part!
Doug was away the 18th through the 21st - in Scottdale working on his plant.  Fun times.
On Tuesday I watched a Black Swallowtail butterfly lay an egg on one of my dill plants!  So I checked the other one and found two more eggs!  WOOT!
Alex brought home a letter he received from his pen pal at his new school.  Turns out it is from my friend Julia's son.  What are the odds?!  :)
Oh, and I voted in the primary election.  I'm happy to say that several of the school board members that voted for the consolidation are no longer board members.
My friend, Sam, and I went to lunch after our walk on Wednesday.  It was nice to sit down and enjoy each other's company.
Thursday evening was Family Fun Night at the boys' school.  Everyone seemed to have a good time.  Before we left Doug gave both boys a Gatorade.  I was thinking I should have let him take them to FFN if he was going to sugar them up like that.  :)
On the days that Sam and I don't walk, I try to go to the bike trail for a change of pace.  On Friday Honey and I went and made it as far as the golf course (1.5 miles from where we parked) and saw a family of geese.  I didn't have my camera (can't carry it while I run) so I snapped a cell phone photo.  Instead of the geese being scared and moving away from us, they hopped in the pond and swam closer.  It was pretty cool.
Keira had a youth group sleepover on Friday night.  Then on Saturday morning the teens served at a prayer breakfast.  It was good food and a great message.
Saturday afternoon I went to a Lemongrass party at my friend Rainey's house.  Our friend, Kim, is a new consultant and this was her first solo party.  She did great!  They have some great products!  I wish I had more money; I would have bought more stuff.  :)
Sunday after church Doug, Alex, and I went for a bike ride on the trail in Emlenton.  We weren't even 1/4 mile down the trail when Doug's phone started ringing - trouble at work.  He told them he couldn't help them right now and we kept right on biking.  It was a beautiful day and a really nice trail to ride on.
Monday was Memorial Day so we went to the parade, as always.  Then my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and nieces came to visit for the day.  Doug cooked for us.  We played UNO, as usual, and just had a great day.
On Tuesday my first Black Swallowtail egg hatched!   I also spent a good part of the day shopping and prepping for our school's staff luncheon which was on Wednesday.
We had our last Wednesday night kids' class at church.  We celebrated with a pizza party and I spoke to the kids about Monarchs and other pollinators.  It was the fastest presentation I have ever done since I only had 30 minutes once they got done eating.
Thursday was spent at the school once again for Field Day.  I was the official yearbook photographer so I could walk around freely.  It was nice since it got really hot in the afternoon.  We had a pot luck lunch (so much food!) and everyone had a great time.  At the end of the day, I got to climb a ladder to the roof in order to take a whole-school photo.  Going up wasn't too bad; going down was a little scary.  :)
Doug and I went out to dinner at Applebee's Thursday evening.  I received a couple gift cards from helping at church and doing my presentation, so we ate for free.
Friday I spent the day editing the field day photos.  Thanks to Lightroom it went very quickly.  Then we had the 6th grade dance that evening.  I can't believe Nick is finishing up 6th grade this year!  The kids had a blast!  Once again I walked around taking pictures for the yearbook.  We don't usually get to include 6th grade dance photos in the yearbook but thanks for all the extra days added at the end of the year (snow days!), we have time this year.  Which is great since our school is closing forever on June 11.
I was able to finish editing all the photos from the dance on Saturday and getting them to Diane so she could finish up the yearbook and get it sent to the printer.  I can't wait to see it!
I found more Black Swallowtail babies on my dill, parsley, and rue plants.  That put us at six so far!  Then, as I shared above, on Saturday Nick was helping me weed one of the flower beds and found another caterpillar on some wild carrot.  The biggest one yet!  He is now inside happily munching on my dill plant.  Once I have a series of photos of the beauties, I will post them.  Gotta wait for a butterfly first.  :)

Okay, so maybe that wasn't so short and sweet.  If you made it through all of that, good for you!  Now that school is winding down, I shouldn't be nearly so busy.  A few photo sessions here and there and a wedding or two, but this summer should be pretty relaxing.  I hope!  :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 5/10/15 - 5/16/15

We had another busy, fun week!  Mother's Day was great!  The boys (aka Doug) made me breakfast in bed.  French toast and tea.  I'm not a breakfast eater - usually just drink a protein shake - but for them, I ate and enjoyed every bite.  :)

Last week I mentioned a Plumb CD giveaway.  I got busy and forgot to choose the winner, so thanks to random.org, I chose it today.  The winner is Jennifer Pittman!  Congratulations!

I haven't mentioned it in a while but if you ever want to check out my Facebook photography page, here it is:  Kimberly Vensel Photography.  I'd love it if you'd go over and give me a 'like'.  :)

Now onto last week's pics:

{May 10:  Something Orange}
May 10:  Something orange
The sun glowing behind a dogwood tree at golden hour.  {love}

{May 11:  Eyes}
May 11:  Eyes
Somehow I didn't manage to get a photo of eyes today, so I'm sharing a photo from last week. The eye(s) of this Julia Longwing butterfly look like a checker board. Pretty cool! 

{May 12:  Pieces}
May 12:  Pieces
Many little pieces make up this dandelion fluff.

{May 13:  Lucky}
May 13:  Lucky
While I really don't believe in luck, in the spirit of playing along with today's prompt ... 
I feel super lucky (blessed) to have spent several hours with my friend, Sharon, and the polar bears today. They were in the water MUCH longer than normal and Sharon and I had a blast interacting with them and taking pictures. This is Kobe. She's 14 years old and is AMAZING!

{May 14:  The Human Condition}
May 14:  The Human Condition
The connections we make and the emotions we feel aren't always with other humans. Love and admiration for God's creatures is indeed part of the human condition. After all, He did put humans in charge of them. 

{May 15:  Under Pressure}
May 15:  Under Pressure
Nick was under pressure this afternoon during his 1600 meter race. He was determined that he "wasn't going to get beat by a girl. No way. No how."   :)  Boys!
He did great and finished in 5th place! He was in the back of the pack in the beginning - starting out slow - but he really picked up the pace and passed several of the other kids during the 3rd and 4th laps. I'm so proud of his effort!
This photo was chosen among the Top Shots of the day! WOOT!

{May 16:  Connections}
May 16:  Connections
I would have to say these two frogs were feeling a connection, don't you think?    :)

Linking with Tamar:

Sunday afternoon my mom and sister came up.  Linda made an incredible apple pie.  I broke my sugar fast for the day just so I could have some.  And some chocolate chip cookie pie that Keira made.  I had a slight headache on Monday - probably because of all that sugar.  :)  We played UNO as usual.  The kids love playing UNO with them.  Doug made dinner.  It was a great day!
Monday night we attended Keira's National Junior Honor Society ceremony.  She wasn't really into it.  I guess knowing that she's going to be cyber schooling next year (her choice) is making this year's events less exciting to her.  Either that or she's just ready for school to be done.  Maybe a combination of both.  :)
Tuesday morning I went to the boys' school to take some pictures for the yearbook.  A couple students and staff members needed their photos taken.  The kids are much more cooperative than the adults are.  :)
Wednesday I met my friend, Sharon, at the Pittsburgh Zoo where we spent the entire time with the polar bears.  Fifteen minutes or so after arriving, Kobe, the female, jumped in the water, followed shortly by Kona, the male.  They were in and out for the next four hours.  That is the longest they have ever been in the water while I've been there.  Sharon, who visits them more often than I do said the same thing.  They were so fun to interact with!  So playful!  Kobe was very interested in my blue back pack.  She tried to bite it through the glass many times.  (That is what Sharon is holding in the photo from the 13th).  She must have thought it was one of her toys.  I can't wait to go back and visit them again!  Hoping to post photos of our visit soon.
Thursday I went to get my car inspected and fixed (again!).  The same thing they "fixed" back in April.  Which still isn't fixed.  :(  Good thing it is under warranty.  While there I had the pleasure of meeting a World War II veteran, Chester.  He's 91 years old and was a joy to listen to.  We told him he should write a book about his life.
After a PTO meeting, I had to dash out to a Monarch presentation.  I spoke to 22 Girl Scouts about Monarchs and other pollinators.  It was fun.  Every time I speak it is a completely different set up that I need to adjust to.  This time I actually took notes to refer to.  I had written them out while waiting for my car to get inspected/fixed.  It went really well.  Several of the kids there had raised Monarchs in 1st grade at school.  And I believe I inspired several of them to try to raise more outside of school.
Friday evening Nick ran the 1600 meter race at the 6th grade track meet.  (See the photo above).  He likes running and thinks he'll stick with it.  Afterward we stopped and ordered pizza, then met Doug at Home Depot so I could pick out a toilet for our newly-remodeled bathroom.  The original one that I had picked out wasn't going to fit.  :(  Then Nick and I stopped to pick up a couple half gallons of ice cream (instead of going to DQ to celebrate his effort at the track meet), picked up our pizza, and went home to relax.
We rented the movie UNBROKEN and watched it Friday night.  Wow!  An amazing story.  If you haven't seen it yet, you must watch it.
Saturday morning Honey and I went for a walk, came home and did some planting.  Doug helped me plant my Spicebush trees and Black Cherry trees - both host plants for butterflies.  :)  After a shower, we headed over to the Spring Garden show at a local park.  We made sure to visit the Master Gardener's area and talked to the ladies we had met last month while volunteering at another local park.  I bought some dill plants (another host plant) and some Shasta Daisies.  Then we went to my niece's birthday party.  It was a bowling party.  The kids had fun bowling.
Oh, and I did week 2 of couch to 5K over again since I had missed running all the prior week.  Today I started week 3.
It was a fun week!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 5/3/15 - 5/9/15

Not much to say today so I'll get right to the pictures from last week.

I will mention the giveaway that I am hosting though.  Go check out this blog post for your chance to win a CD from Plumb.

{May 3:  Color theory}
May 3:  Color Theory
Not sure if I got this one right, but the soft greens and purples in this photo are very soothing to me.

{May 4:  Rough}
May 4:  Rough
Don'tcha think?  Ouch!

{May 5:  Falling}
May 5: Falling
I decided to dig into my archives today and share a photo of the famous Fallingwater house that Doug and I toured in 2011. It was built by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Kaufmann family between 1936 and 1939. It is built over a waterfall and is one of a kind. Now owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, it is a much-visited national monument. If you'd like to learn more, check out fallingwater.org.

{May 6:  Inanimate object}
May 6:  Inanimate object
There's nothing like a fresh, new box of Crayola crayons.
Surprisingly, this photo was chosen among the Top Shots for the day. WOOT!

{May 7:  Tickle the senses}
May 7:  Tickle the senses
My neighbor's lilac bushes are starting to bloom and they smell divine!

{May 8:  Minimalist landscape}
May 8:  Minimalist landscape
It is hard to get minimalist landscape pictures without trees in the background when you live in western Pennsylvania. All these rolling hills. Not many big wide open spaces.  :)
This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT!

{May 9:  Cars}
May 9:  Cars
This rusty old car is part of a bigger display of antique items on a road that we traveled today. I have passed it before but today I was brave enough to stop and take a photo.  :)
This photo was chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT! Two days in a row!

Linking with Tamar:  (late again - sigh)

Sunday we had a meeting about the upcoming Bible Quizzing trip to Boston.  Nick is pretty excited to go.  I have no desire to spend 14 hours in the church van again.  :)

Monday I spent the day at Phipp's with my once-Facebook, now in-real-life friend, Sharon.  We "met" in the FMS PAD Facebook group and realized that we lived near each other.  We both love photography and Phipp's so we decided to meet up and spend the day shooting.  It was great meeting her!  In fact, we are meeting at the zoo tomorrow.  She is the "polar bear whisperer".  Her photos of the polar bears in the water are spectacular!  So I'm hoping that she'll rub some of that off on me and I'll get some more good shots of them.  She calls me the butterfly whisperer.  :)

Tuesday I spent the day gardening.  Weeding and planting. 

Wednesday was Grandparents' Day at the boys' school.  My in laws came to visit with the boys.  I was having a rough morning so I decided to stay home.  I usually go to help with PTO stuff, but they had plenty of help so it was all good.

Thursday was Alex's field trip.  I was picked as a chaperone so I got to go to this one.  It was fun.  We saw an IMAX movie at the science center.  That was a new experience for both of us.  We saw the movie, Born to be Wild.  After lunch we walked over to Heinz Field and took a tour.  It was neat.  The kids certainly enjoyed it.  None of the Pittsburgh Steelers players were there though.  :(
Thursday night was Keira's school orchestra concert.  Doug brought the boys and my in-laws came also.  I had to take Keira early so she could make sure her violin was in tune.

Friday the kids had a day off of school - an Act 80 day.  Since the consolidation was voted in during Wednesday's school board meeting, the teachers needed an opportunity to meet at their new schools.  We didn't do much.  Stuck around home most of the day.

Friday evening I had a prom photo session with one of the seniors I photographed back in the fall.  She looked like a princess.  :)  Hopefully I will share those photos soon.

Saturday Keira and I went to my mother-in-law's church for a mother-daughter banquet.  It was really nice.  They had a medieval theme.  There were grapes and bread with comb honey on the tables for appetizers.  Then we had this super delicious salad and shepherd's pie for our meal.  The shepherd's pie was like a turkey pot pie except with mashed potatoes on top.  Yum!  

On the way home I stopped and took the photo of the car that is pictured above.  I have never been brave enough to stop.  I'm not one to trespass on someone's property for the photo.  Knowingly, anyway.  :)  But I was assured that the owners put all that stuff there for the purpose of people to stop.  No one yelled at me, so all is good.  

When we got home, I changed into my gardening clothes and went back to pulling weeds and planting.  I planted my dahlia tubers in the front.  I still have more to plant but this week is so busy, I don't know that I'll get a chance.

I think that about covers last week.  I'm sure I forgot something but this is long enough.  :)