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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.  :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Exhale by Plumb ~ Music Review and Giveaway

UPDATE:  My apologies for getting busy and forgetting to choose a winner until today.  According to random.org, the winner is Jennifer Pittman!  Congratulations!  

I have another music giveaway opportunity for you today!  It will be my last for a while.  May is getting busier and I hate to let something fall by the wayside because I got too busy.

I'm sure you know the singer/songwriter Plumb.  Well, she has a new CD out called EXHALE.

About the album:
EXHALE, the seventh studio album from acclaimed multi-genre singer, songwriter and author PLUMB, expresses a new focus and vision. After the runaway success of NEED YOU NOW (the album, title track and book), which coincided with her own moving story of brokenness and ultimately healing, Exhale brims with worshipful songs of gratitude and hope.

The defining concept of EXHALE was born from a sermon at Plumb’s home church, wherein her pastor Pete Wilson expressed the notion that the Church doesn’t exist for itself. Rather, believers come to church to breathe in grace and truth, be changed, and then go out and “exhale” that hope into their surrounding community.

“That idea of exhaling hope hit me right away and I couldn’t get to the Notes section on my phone fast enough. I started writing the chorus of Exhale right then and there,” explains Plumb. “I have been made new by the ultimate hope, and I want to share and exhale that hope in everyway I can.” 

About PLUMB:
Tiffany Arbuckle Lee, better-known by her stage name Plumb, is a songwriter, recording artist, performer and author. Plumb has sold more than 500,000 albums and over two million singles worldwide, co-penned songs for numerous other artists, including Michelle Branch, Mandisa, Mandy Moore, Jaci Velasquez, and Natalie Grant, and had music placed in many films and television shows.Originally signed as a Christian Contemporary Music (CCM) recording artist in 1997, Plumb is now known as well as or better in alternative rock, electronic dance music, and for the use of her music in film and television than she is in the CCM market.

I enjoyed this CD.  You can feel the emotion in every song - the way she poured her soul into these songs.  And she has such a beautiful voice!  I expect this will be music that gets played often here.

Now for your chance to win a copy of this CD ... just leave a comment telling me the last music CD/digital download you purchased.  If you haven't purchased any music lately or can't remember, you can just say hello.  :)

Last day to enter is Thursday, May 14.  Winner will be chosen randomly among the entries and announced here on Friday, May 15.  Be sure to check back to see if you won!

"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.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 4/26/15 - 5/2/15

First of all, I wanted to mention a giveaway that I am having.  Head over to this blog post to enter for a chance to win the digital download album from Christy Nockels - Let It Be Jesus.  Today is the last day to enter and no one has entered yet.  :(  Which is good for you!


May has arrived!  Let the craziness begin!  :)  As we wind down the school year, May always brings with it many last-minute things.  Some fun.  Most fun, actually.  Things like Grandparents' Day, Family Fun Night, and Field Day.  Not to mention Nick's 6th grade celebration at the end of the month.  And Alex's field trip this week.

We also have orchestra concerts, NJHS ceremonies, Mother/Daughter banquets, and prom pictures.  My nieces birthday party is this month also.

I did manage to squeeze in a day at Phipp's Conservatory yesterday with my friend, Sharon.  We met on Facebook, discovered that we lived in the same area and both love photography, so we decided to meet.  We had such a good time yesterday.  We're already planning our next outing.  :)

Anyway, I'm short on time, so I'll get to last week's photos ...

{April 26:  Down}
April 26:  Down
Sometimes it is necessary to get down on the ground to get the photo you have visioned. Yesterday the kids and I volunteered at a local state park pulling an invasive, non-native plant. While in the woods, Keira found these fiddlesticks and called me over as she knew I would be interested in seeing them. My kids are trained well. :) We marked where they were so I could come back with my camera when we were done with our work. They were only a few inches off the ground, so down I went to get my photo. A position I find myself in often in order to "get the shot".

{April 27: Strong}
April 27:  Strong
Bumble bee wings must be pretty strong in order to carry such a large body around.

{April 28:  Weak}
April 28:  Weak
The light from the moon during the day is pretty weak. (I realize the moon doesn't actually give off light, but I had to come up with something for today).  :)

{April 29:  Is}
April 29:  Is
This is my first butterfly capture (photographically speaking) of the year. It is called an Eastern Comma. Looking forward to many more butterflies this spring/summer!

{April 30:  Was}
April 30:  Was
This guy was flying overhead, probably looking for his next meal.

{May 1:  Rectangle}
May 1:  Rectangle
Nothing too exciting.  Just a plaque I have on my wall and my little mirror hanging under it.  :)

{May 2: Beginning with "S"}
May 2:  Beginning with "S"
Sun flare.  {love}
This photo got chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT!

Linking with Tamar:

Last week I:
Did some more Couch to 5K.  Week 2 is complete.  However, week 3 will probably have to wait until next week.  This one is super busy!
Walked several mornings with my friend, Sam.  I actually ran Monday and Wednesday before she got there and then walked with her for a bit.  I thought that would be better than the other way around.  I wouldn't feel like running after walking 30 minutes with her.  :)
Played in the dirt quite a bit.  Weeding and planting.  Love it!
Had lunch with my friend, Amy, at Rachel's.  It was great getting together with her.
Saturday morning I attended a workshop at a local greenhouse.  Like really local.  Like I walked there.  :)  (Sorry for all the "likes").  Bob, the greenhouse owner/operator, was gracious enough to teach us about flowers and planting and watering/fertilizing.  It was a gorgeous morning!
Went to Preston Park with the boys on Saturday evening.  Even though Nick is still on restriction due to his grades and his 12-year-old-boy attitude :) I wanted to get his pictures taken.  His birthday was April 13 and we hadn't done them yet.  
I think that's pretty much it.  It was a great week!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Christy Nockels - Let It Be Jesus

Do you enjoy good worship music?  I know I do.  Well, I must tell you how impressed I am with Christy Nockels' new album, Let It Be Jesus.  

After previewing the songs on this album, I can wholeheartedly say that you must purchase this music.  Her voice is amazing and the songs are inspiring.  She leads you into worship and praise in such a wonderful way.  I just can't get enough of this album.  It will be on repeat on my phone.  One song in particular that I love is called "The Wondrous Cross".  And "Freedom Song".  And "My Anchor".  Okay, I pretty much love them all.  :) 

About Christy:
As a worship leader for many years, she has been an integral part of Passion Conferences from its inception in 1997.  She's seen first hand music sweep people into the presence of God in a powerful way. A pastor’s kid, who was born in Fort Worth and raised in Oklahoma, she grew up singing in church. She met her husband, Nathan, in 1993 at the Christian Artists Seminar in Estes Park, Co. They recorded an independent record with fellow worship leader Charlie Hall under the name Sons & Daughters that led to an invitation from Louie Giglio to participate in the first Passion conference in Austin. Christy’s voice gained a national platform when she and Nathan formed the duo Watermark, recording four acclaimed albums before that musical season ended, paving the way for Christy’s solo career. In 2008, the couple moved to Atlanta to become part of Passion City Church where she serves on the worship team with sixstepsrecords labelmates Chris Tomlin and Kristian Stanfill. The following year, Nockels released her acclaimed solo debut, Life Light Up and spent much of the next two years touring with Tomlin and Passion.

This album was just released yesterday, April 28.  You can find it on iTunes.  However, I am able to extend a chance for you to win a digital download of the entire album.  So before you go out and buy it, enter for a chance to win it here first.  And then if you don't win, be sure to go buy it.  I promise you won't regret it!  :)

In order to enter, just comment on this blog post telling me your favorite type of music.  Are you into country?  Rap?  Jazz?  Just shout it out in the comments.  Last day to enter is Tuesday, May 5.  Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on Wednesday, May 6.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you have a wonderful rest of your week!  May starts on Friday!  WOOT!  Getting closer to butterfly season!  :)

"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.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Monday, April 27, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 4/19/15 - 4/25/15

Another fun but busy week.  I started the Couch to 5K training program.  I hadn't planned to start but my friend Rainey said she was going to start so I offered to do it with her.  Last week went pretty well.  The one-minute running intervals mixed with the 90-second walking intervals weren't too bad.  My shins kept cramping up though.  I had to stop and stretch them multiple times.  To think I used to run a full 5K once upon a time.  Oy!  :)

Did I mention that I stopped eating sugary junk?  The Monday after Easter was the last time I ate something like that.  So far I have lost 5 pounds.  I usually weigh myself on Mondays but I forgot today, so I'll do it tomorrow.  Hoping I'm down a couple more!

Continuing with 365 Photo's challenge ... opposite month is proving interesting.

{April 19:  Mine}
April 19:  Mine
This magnolia tree, that is just beginning to bloom, resides at a local school. But every spring I wish it was mine.  :)
This photo got picked as one of the Top Shots of the day! WOOT!

{April 20:  Theirs}
April 20:  Theirs
Our maple tree is theirs, as long as they wish to stay.  I love seeing all the different birds in our tree.

{April 21:  Neat}
April 21:  Neat
The tiny flowers growing in the middle of the bigger flower look really neat to me.  (This "flower" which is probably actually a weed is not all that big.  Maybe about the size of a nickel.)

{April 22:  Messy}
April 22:  Messy
Squirrels are just plain messy. Especially when they get into my bird feeders. I don't mind them eating the bird seed on the ground, but I get upset when I see them in my feeders making their messes. This one is kinda cute though. Looks more like a chipmunk than a squirrel.

{April 23:  Fast}
April 23:  Fast
I had to be pretty quick on the shutter button in order to capture this "Dory" fish at the aquarium. They move really fast!

{April 24:  Slow}
April 24:  Slow
I had to use a pretty slow shutter speed in order to show the movement of this pinwheel. Alex was happy to help me achieve my goal.

{April 25:  Up}
April 25:  Up
Our dog, Honey, will often go look up our maple tree to see if there are any squirrels hanging out up there.

Linking with Tamar:

As I said, I started the Couch to 5K training program on Sunday.  I ran again on Tuesday and Friday.  So far, so good.  I bought myself a new pair of running shoes after the first run.  I felt like I needed more cushion if I'm going to do this.  :)
Monday I dropped my car off to get a couple irritating noises fixed.  My friend, Jenn, came by to pick me up and we went to Panera for lunch.  Our friend, Kiersten, joined us a little late.  The garage said they fixed the noises, but now that I've been driving my van for a few days, I don't think so.  Good thing it didn't cost me anything.  But now I will need to make another appointment so they can actually fix it.  Hopefully.
On Wednesday I went to St. Luke's Lutheran School to talk to a 6th grade science class about Monarchs.  My friend, Melissa, their teacher, invited me.  That was the oldest group I have spoken to (formally) about Monarchs.  They were really a great group of kids.  Lots on input and questions.  One girl in particular caught the bug.  No pun intended.  She was like, "I'm gonna do this!"  Meaning raising butterflies.  Yay!  That excites me!
A few days this week I spent repotting some of my starter plants.  I needed to thin some out.  I'm nowhere near done yet but I don't know where I'm going to put everything.  If it would only warm up and I could plant outside!  I told my husband that I need a greenhouse.
On Saturday the kids and I went to a local state park to help with some work they needed done.  They were pulling an invasive, non-native plant.  We showed up with our gloves and willingness to learn and help.  The kids did pretty well.  They started to get a little grumpy near the end because they were getting hungry - despite all the snacks that they ate while we were working.   So we went to lunch afterwards.  A late lunch.  Or an early supper.  :)
The ladies we were pulling weeds with are part of the Penn State Master Gardeners group.  I was telling them that I will be speaking to their group in July about raising Monarchs.  They were excited to hear that.  They tried to talk me into joining the Master Gardener group.  I told them that I'm not a gardener (yet) and have much to learn about all of it.  That didn't seem to matter to them.  So we'll see.  Several of the ladies said they have butterfly gardens at their homes but have never actually raised a butterfly.  I can't wait to teach them how!

That was pretty much my week.  Hope you had a great one!  And this one is even better!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Weekly Summary ~ 4/5/15 - 4/18/15

My apologies for not posting last week.  It was a week of deadlines and blogging just wasn't high on the priority list.  So that means you get two week's worth of photos today.  Oops!  :)

Continuing with the month of opposites in the 365 Photo group on Facebook ...

{April 5:  Black}
April 5:  Black
After celebrating Easter all day with my family, I realized I hadn't taken a picture for today's prompt. So I used my fall back - a silhouette of our neighbor's tree at dusk.

{April 6:  White}
April 6:  White
The tulips I bought from a friend recently are two-toned white and pink. They are so pretty!

{April 7:  Ahead}
April 7:  Ahead
Spring is always such an exciting time. So much potential lies ahead. It is like the slate has been wiped clean and we can start anew. I love spring.
This photo got chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day!  WOOT!

{April 8:  Behind}
April 8:  Behind
My first blooming daffodil looks much better from the front than from behind.  :)

{April 9:  Brave}
April 9:  Brave
I have several necklaces that I wear from time to time. This was today's choice, which ended up being the right one. Not only for this prompt but because we had a tornado warning in our area this evening. And now that it is still thunderstorming, I keep telling my dog that she can be brave too. I don't think she's convinced though. :)  Guess I know what tomorrow's photo will be.  :)

{April 10:  Scared}
April 10:  Scared
Honey was so scared during last night's thunderstorms. She couldn't seem to get close enough to me. At one point she decided it was safer to lay under my desk at my feet. The storms continued through the night and finally subsided this morning. She's feeling much better today. Although she still followed me around all day.  :)

{April 11:  Many}
April 11:  Many
Honey and I went for a walk on the bike trail this morning. We saw many of these "weeds" along the way. It was a great morning for a walk!

{April 12:  Few}
April 12:  Few
Imagine my surprise when I discovered a few of my Johnny Jump Ups survived our bitterly cold winter and are growing in our flower bed.

{April 13:  Hot}
April 13:  Hot
Today was an absolutely glorious day! The temperature got up to about 77 degrees F and the sun shone most of the day. The kids and I spent most of the afternoon out in the sun, which felt pretty hot, but oh so good. No complaints here after the record-breaking low temperatures we had this winter. I hope we have many more days like this!

{April 14:  Cold}
April 14:  Cold
Snakes are cold-blooded animals. This particular one was caught by NIck while we were out on a nature walk back in the fall.
Sorry for the archive pic today but it has been a busy one!
This photo got chosen as one of the Top Shots for the day!  WOOT!

{April 15:  Tame}
April 15:  Tame
Our sweet golden, Honey, is very tame. Not much gets her worked up. Except maybe chasing an occasional squirrel.  :)

{April 16:  Wild}
April 16:  Wild
I found these cute little flowers growing on our hillside yesterday. I don't know if they are wild flowers or if we planted the seeds to grow them. Either way, they are a welcome sight.
This photo got picked as one of the Top Shots for the day! WOOT!

{April 17:  Curly}
April 17:  Curly
Found this little curly cue plant while walking around the yard today. I have no idea what it is, but I was happy to see it.

{April 18:  Straight}
April 18:  Straight
My church's steeple points straight up to the sky.

Linking with Tamar:

A quick rundown of our weeks: (feel free to skip this part)  :)
On Easter Sunday I hosted everyone at our house.  We celebrated Easter and Nick's birthday on the same day since everyone was here - instead of asking them to come in two weekends in a row.  The weather was pretty nice and everyone had a good time.
Monday I attended a community meeting at our school regarding the proposed consolidation.  It ended up being a big pep rally about consolidating.  I didn't really learn anything new.  I did get to put a face with a few names though.
PTO meeting on Thursday - making plans to end our school year with a bang, which might be the last one ever at our building.  :(
After PTO the boys has Bible Quizzing practice.  I was supposed to help but ended up not having to so I had a couple hours of peace and quiet at home.  Keira was at worship practice.  Doug was home but he was working on the bathroom.
On Saturday Doug put the tub and shower walls in the bathroom.  We ended up missing the last symphony concert of the season because we couldn't get showered beforehand.  Not a big deal, but I was kind of bummed.  We were finally able to shower late that evening.  It is nice having the new tub/shower in!
Also on Saturday Alex and I were outside enjoying the nice weather when an ambulance and several first responders went to our neighbors' house behind us.  We prayed immediately for the situation but didn't hear anything until the next day when Charlotte called.  Turns out our neighbor, Ken, passed away.  He'd been having renal failure for a while and was doing dialysis.  He laid down for a nap Saturday afternoon and never woke up.  :(   My heart breaks for his wife, Charlotte.
Sunday after church the kids and I walked back to visit Charlotte and offer our condolences.  She gave me a big hug and cried and cried.  They didn't have any children but they do have family nearby - nieces and nephews and cousins - so she is not alone.
Monday was Nick's 12th birthday.  We went to Arby's for dinner, ran a few errands, and then went to Dairy Queen so the kids could get ice cream.  I was tempted to get something but resisted the urge.  Yay me!  :)
Tuesday, April 14, I visited Community Women, the Bible study that I have been attending for a couple years.  I took a break this semester and was missing the ladies.  Tuesday was a work day so I told them I would come.  It was great seeing everyone.  Even though I had to leave a little early to go to Ken's funeral.
The funeral was a nice service.  Very private.  Only family and close friends were there.  Charlotte was surprised to see me, but I had told her I would be there.  She invited me up to her house afterwards where they would be having "coffee and donuts".  I don't drink coffee or eat donuts but I went anyway.  :)  They ended up having pizza, donuts, and pie.  Honey came with me and stayed outside the door the whole time.  After about an hour she barked to let me know it was time to go home.  :)  It was nice meeting Charlotte's family.  
I forgot to mention that the Monday after Easter was the last time I ate sugary desserts.  I ate too many between Sunday and Monday and decided it was time to take a break.  So going to Charlotte's where there were donuts and pie was a bit of a challenge, but I stayed strong.
Charlotte introduces me as her neighbor who raises Monarch butterflies.  It makes me chuckle.  She wants me to teach her about Monarchs this summer.  That makes me happy.  She has about 22 acres - lots of room to grow milkweed.  :)
On Wednesday we got hoagies for dinner.  A friend was having a fundraiser for her girl scout troop.  They were really good hoagies!  And I love not having to cook dinner.
I also had the privilege of speaking to a Daisy troop and a Boy Scout troop about Monarchs that evening.  A friend invited me to come.  The kids were adorable.  So attentive and well behaved.  Mostly.  They love asking questions and telling their stories.  Hopefully a few of them will catch the "bug" (no pun intended) and start raising their own butterflies.
Thursday was a repeat of last week.  The boys had quizzing practice and Keira had worship practice.  Except this time Doug wasn't home.  He was helping with a plant shut down all week, which means long days.  Hopefully they got everything fixed that needed to be fixed.
On Friday morning I met my friend Nikki on the community trail and we walked for about an hour.  She had asked me to have breakfast or lunch with her and I suggested that we walk instead of eat.  It turned out to be a great idea.  I hope we do it more.
I had my 6-month dental cleaning at 1:15.  Walking in the door of my dentist's office I got my happy buzz.  When I reach my 10,000 steps on my FitBit, I call it my happy buzz.  :)  I think that is the earliest I have ever reached my goal for the day since I have been wearing this thing.
Keira stayed after school to help set up for an art show so we picked her up at 5:30.  We ran to Sam's to pick up some ice cream treats for her to take to a sleep over and some dinner rolls to have with supper.  I had made chicken noodle soup and promised Charlotte I would bring her some.  She was coming down with something - probably from all the stress she had just encountered with Ken's illness/death.  We took the soup and rolls up to her and she was so grateful.  She wanted to hug me but decided not to so she didn't give me her germs.  :)   Alex and I dropped Keira off and then went to a local elementary school to check out their magnolia tree.  It was just beginning to bloom.  You'll have to wait until next week to see some photos from it.  I used one as my photo of the day on Sunday.  Unless you follow my facebook page, Kimberly Vensel Photography.  Then you can see it sooner.  :)
Saturday morning the boys had their Bible Quizzing Invitational.  Alex earned a Bronze award and Nick a silver.  Nick qualified to go to Regionals in Boston in June.   Quizzing days are long days.  I have a hard time sitting there doing nothing for hours and hours, so this time I took my sneakers and walked around the cul de sac for about 45 minutes in the morning.  It was actually getting hot being out in the sun.  No complaints here!  I ran to Panera to get a salad for lunch (didn't want to eat a hamburger or hot dog there) and came back and ate lunch with the kids.  Then I hung out with the younger kids while they did their memory verses and went outside to the playground.  I ended up getting sunburned on my arms and neck.  It was such a nice day!
We were supposed to go to the art show that Keira helped set up for but she was tired from her sleep over (you know they don't sleep much at sleep overs) and ended up sleeping through most of it.  So we missed it.  Alex wanted to go without her but that kind of defeated the purpose.  She had photos in the show and I wanted to go see them WITH her.  Oh well.  We popped popcorn and watched a movie.

Okay, if you made it through all of that, I'm impressed!  :)

Thanks for stopping by!  I'll try not to miss another week.  It is hard to remember everything when I go that long between posts!