Thursday, September 30, 2010

crock pot wednesday: teriyaki beef.

I contemplated doing my crock pot meal on Tuesday or Thursday this week, since I knew I had to lead worship at church tonight. But, everything worked out! I had justenough time between Master's and church to get everyone home and shove some dinner into my mouth!

And what did I make for dinner today? Teriyaki Beef.

Here were my ingredients.

And, of course, the beef. I used London Broil.

Now, as an aside, I NEVER buy pre-prepped/cut/chopped veggies, not when I can buy whole ones and just prep/cut/chop them myself. And these veggies were expensive. But I knew yesterday that I may not feel like doing all of that prep work when I have other things to get done prior to leaving the house for Master's, so I did buy them this time.

I put the London Broil in first, seasoned it with a little bit of cracked black pepper (which I neglected to include in the photo...sorry), then added the entire bottle of Teriyaki sauce, the peppers, and the onions. I decided to use only one can of the pineapple since one can looked like plenty once I had added it. I then filled half of the pineapple can with water and added it to everything. Cooked on low for eight hours.

Actually, it only cooked for five and a half hours, since I turned it off once we got home so that I could eat some. The meat was fork tender. Not as tender as it could be (given that it hadn't cooked the full eight hours) but still sufficiently tender nonetheless. I put some on my plate, along with some spinach salad with Asian Ginger dressing.

I almost forgot to take a picture of the plate (as per one of my reader's suggestion...thank you, Eleana!) I was in such a rush to inhale the food so I could get to church on time, so this totally is not the greatest food picture. But you can see the beef and the salad, so you get the idea.

And, as per another of my reader's suggestion (thank you, Kathy!), I will include the food bill.

teriyaki sauce: $3.50 (yes, pricey, especially for WAL-MART, but it was a large bottle)
meat: $7.29
can of pineapple (only including price of one since I didn't use the other): $1.39
diced peppers: $2.99
diced onions: $2.00

And now, to figure out what will be on the menu for next week's Crock Pot Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

you capture: flowers.

This week's theme over at You Capture was flowers.

I like flowers. I like taking pictures of flowers. Not as much as other things, but I can totally appreciate a pretty flower when I see one.

So, this week I planned to find some pretty flowers and shoot them. Each day came and went, and no pretty flowers. Or no time to even go and find some pretty flowers. Ho hum.

Fast forward to today, and still no pretty flowers have been photographed. I began to think, "Wellllll, I guess I won't be participating in the theme this week. Oh well. It happens."

And then, lo and behold, I stumbled upon some of the prettiest flowers I have ever seen.

This may be a bit unconventional, or even a bit rule-breaking-ish, but please indulge me. These flowers are just way too pretty to not share.

And last but not least, the prettiest flower of them all (and that's saying A LOT, because aren't they all gorgeous?)

And just as real flowers bend and sway in the wind, these flowers move about freely as they laugh and giggle and smile. Hence, some of the photos came out a bit blurry.

I totally don't mind.

There you have it, folks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

homeschooling log 2010: chapter six.

The week has flown by, and many times I have felt like there weren't enough hours in the day to do all that I needed to do. Like, I still need to do laundry. Still. Gaaaahhh.

Annnd it looks like this week's Crock Pot Wednesday might have to be Crock Pot Tuesday, as I will be helping lead worship at church this Wednesday. I'm thinking... teriyaki beef? Dunno yet.

What does that have to do with homeschooling? Nothing.

Let's see, what were some of the highlights of our week?

On Monday, we capped off a long and fun day at Master's with singing songs in the car (Ian taught Natalie one he had learned in Music class, and of course they had me sing my regular rotation of songs a few times) and Chick Fil A night. We love Chick Fil A. Ian used to call it Chicken Flay.

On Tuesday, Bobby had Classical and got out with an aced Latin quiz (the normal) and aced memory selection. He also spent time telling me about why he was not all that impressed with Robinson Crusoe when he read it (didn't really hold his attention). Here's hoping the next literature selection is not a snorer for him. Oddly enough, he has LOVED reading through A Theological Interpretation of American History. Go figure.

On Wednesday, we had another full day at Master's. Bobby's drama club teacher took the time to tell me how much she loves him, and how much fun he is in rehearsals. They have rehearsal from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., and they are doing the musical Honk, Jr. Bobby is the lead. I had to twist his arm to audition for that thing, as the teachers were begging me to convince him to do so. They thought he would be perfect in it. He had ZERO interest at first. I finally convinced him to go out for it, and now he is so excited to be in it.

On Thursday, like every day just about (not really on Mondays), my little ones brought Ian's big binders in the kitchen letting me know it was time to do our schoolwork. Natalie is not always there when Ian and I work, but she does help to bring the binders to whatever room we are in. No, I do not have a designated "school" area. I don't see the point really. Sometimes we're in the kitchen, sometimes we're in the living room, sometimes we're in my bedroom, and it just doesn't matter.

Ian is making such great progress with reading and is starting to read short sentences. Natalie, meanwhile, is still recognizing her letter sounds and having fun. And counting. A lot.

On Friday, we went out to the mall and to church that evening. And yesterday I assisted Tasra Dawson on a photo shoot, so Bobby stayed with the kidlets and they just played and chilled out.

Today was a rainy and messy day, and I totally planned on doing schoolwork with them, but we just didn't. No biggie. I realized years ago that I was very much a RELAXED-Classical-Charlotte-Mason homeschooler.

More on my homeschooling philosophy to explain that term in a later post, I promise. Along with more resource lists and whatnot. I totally am going to get to it. Hopefully this week? Maybe? Possibly? Yes? No? Ummm?...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

crock pot wednesday: peach salsa chicken.

I realize I'm sharing my Crock Pot Wednesday post on Thursday. That may happen quite a bit. Sometimes Wednesdays leave me so drained that I just do not feel like blogging.

But I did cook. And dinner was great. I made peach salsa chicken.

Here are my ingredients.

I did not pay attention when I bought the chicken thighs. These were not boneless. Not a huge deal, but I definitely would rather not have to pick through bones in my soup.

Anyway, I used two cans of peaches, which I poured over the chicken after I put it in the pot. Then I added the salsa, sprinkled a bit of salt over everything, and a jar-full of water. And set it to cook for eight hours.

When we got home, I cooked the vegetables in a separate pot. I was not prepared for how spicy they would be, so I ended up doing a pot of rice as well so that my little ones could eat that instead of the spicy vegetables. I spooned some chicken, peaches, and juice over the rice and it was excellent. The kids all loved it, as did I. I had my bestie over for dinner too and she also enjoyed it.

The only thing I think I will do differently next time (besides using boneless chicken thighs, of course) is add the peaches the last hour. I think they might retain even more of their sweetness that way.

And now, to decide what will be the meal for next week's Crock Pot Wednesday.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the "unofficial" challenge.

I've been toying with the idea of having an "unofficial" or "secret" (except it's not so secret) challenge to accompany my "real" challenge of my Project52. I've been thinking about it for the last several weeks, actually. It's kind of a la that fabulous Ali Edwards, and how she had her "unofficial" or "secret" word for the year in addition to her "real" word for the year.

I only have one word for the year. But. I have decided to go ahead with my "unofficial," "secret" challenge.

Yep, it's official.

I apologize for the shoddy (indeed, CRAPPY) sound quality. Make sure your volume is turned waaaay up! And use headphones! Sheesh.

Aaannnd the poor lighting. Gah. You can't even see how fantastically cute my hair really did look! Fail.

I will get better with these iMovie videos. Oddly enough, every time I decide to make a video, my son is away somewhere and thus unavailable to help me. He is my video-making guru. He keeps begging me to buy Adobe After Effects orsomethinglikethat for my computer so that he can use it! Haha.

Maybe I will.

Anywho, I plan to make a short video each month chronicling my hair growth journey. The longest it's ever been is just below my bra-strap, in the middle of my back. That was when my oldest was an infant. So, I would like to get there. That's my goal. Can you imagine what kind of a SICK afro that would be??

I can. Sigh.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

crock pot wednesday.

I really love my crock pot.

It's a cheap crock pot, and it's seen a lot of use over the last few years.

Since Mondays and Wednesdays are our busiest days of the week, and Mondays' meals are pretty much planned already (Chick Fil A night the first Monday of the month with Master's, take out the other Mondays), Wednesdays are going to be crock pot meals.

Yesterday, I asked my boys what they would like and gave them two choices. Ian piped up and said he wanted the tequila lime chicken. So that's what I did.

These are the ingredients that I used. In addition, of course, to the chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken thighs.

I put the black beans in the pot, placed my frozen chicken on top of that, and seasoned the top of the chicken with cumin.

I then poured the jar of Newman's Own Tequila Lime Salsa (mild) on top.

And cooked it for 8 hours, though I'm positive it was probably done in 6, since I made a potentially fatal mistake that I have never made before.

I got distracted after pouring the salsa... something the kidlets said or did. So when I went back to the crock pot I turned it on and forgot to add liquid! No water or broth or anything. We arrived home and the edges of the dish were burned.

Be that as it may, it still smelled good. I immediately turned off the crock pot and started some rice.

Got out my trusty little pot, boiled one cup of water mixed with one cup of Simply Limeade, added a cup of Jasmine rice and a bunch of culantro that I tore into pieces. (Culantro is some heavier-duty, stronger-flavored form of cilantro that is sold at Publix.)

Once the rice was done, we ate, and I realized that even with the mistakenly lacking liquid, it was still yummy. I will definitely be making it again. I won't forget the liquid next time though. A couple of cups of chicken broth will do it just fine.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

you capture.

There are tons of blog hops and carnivals and photography challenges and whatnot out there.

I can't keep up with them all. I won't be trying.

One that I noticed a couple of months ago is called You Capture, and there is a different theme every week. I think I can do themes.

This week the theme was... wait for it...


So, here was a theme I felt ready to jump on and thus, I am contributing to my first blog-hop-carnival-challenge-thingy.

Signs, as you know, are some of my favorite things to photograph. I plan to start selling prints of the signs that I have on the Rosebud Photography fan page very soon. I'm quite excited to do so. In the meantime, here are some signs that I "captured" today.

On the wall at school.

More wall art.


Wendy's. I love how the traffic lights look like hearts. It's like, I heart Wendy's. 
In all honesty, I heart this photo.

I think this is a suitable definition of happiness.

Annnnd... Crane's Taxidermy.

There you have it. I hope everyone's having a wonderful week.

homeschooling log 2010: chapter five.

So, last week came and went and I didn't do a chapter of the homeschooling log. I apologize. We did do our schooling; I just didn't write about any of it.

Last week was pretty spectacular, as weeks go. We had a week with Daddy in Ohio, and it was great. We relaxed, got a lot of much-needed rest, and had a lot of fun. Our week culminated in going to our first baseball game as a family, and my little ones' first baseball game ever. Then the next day I finished my 365 photo project.

This week, the first half of it has gone in a flash. Monday was spent recovering from the drive through the night to get back home coupled with a full day at Master's.  Tuesday meant more recovering, and today was another full day at Master's. Tomorrow through Saturday I will get through everything that I wanted to finish this week with the kidlets.

They're no worse for wear, though. Somehow, they are both reading words that I haven't even taught them yet. What's more, their big brother has been taking it upon himself to do reading and games and things with them. I have some special children. Man, do they make my heart sing.

Speaking of singing, Ian walks around telling me, "Mommy! I can sing Beethoven!" And sure enough, he will sing the theme to Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. He does the same thing with Mozart's first movement from "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik." Natalie, of course, follows him and repeats what he does. They fell in love with Mozart last year and to see them still remembering and continuing to enjoy this music is awesome.

Ian is continuing to practice spelling words on the refrigerator, which is something he started doing earlier this summer. He still spells 'hulk' h-u-k, though, even though I have corrected him. He just argues with me and says there's no 'l' in it. Funny.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

day 365: nothing special, but something special.

Okay. I cheated.

I did not take this picture. My son did.

It's a tad fuzzy, unedited, un-cropped.

Yes, I could have used the self-timer. But I didn't. I wanted him to capture this moment for me.

The moment when I could say that my 365 photo project is done.

And it is.

The photo is nothing special, but ending this project is special. Indeed, this entire year that I have been on this journey is special.

During this journey, one of my photos was the finalist in a photography contest.

During this journey, one of my photos was featured in a Chicago travel guide.

During this journey, one of my iPhoneography shots was featured on a prominent blog.

During this journey, my work was THE feature on two other blogs.

During this journey, I was quoted on another prominent photographer's blog.

During this journey, I got the chance to meet nationally-known photographers, and actually converse with them.

During this journey, I was given the privilege to photograph several fine folks' engagement, family, and headshot photos.

During this journey, I started a club mentoring young girls through the shared passion for photography.

And during this journey, Rosebud Photography was born.

Now, I could have gone through this year and done nothing more than snap photos of my children, and I would have been happy. But to think back on what all has transpired this year, I am beyond overwhelmed. Humbled. And newly inspired.

And so, I will be doing another project. Yes. ANOTHER project.

I won't be starting until the beginning of the year though, so I will go from January to January. That gives me time to just take in all that is my favorite time of year (now until the end of December), meandering through it with all the wonder of a young child.

But come January, my new project will be a Project52 instead of a Project365.

I will do 52 weeks of photos, sharing with you each week:

a self-portrait,
a family portrait,
and a still-life art portrait, which you know I love to do.
And maybe some other goodies.

I will still do technical reading and image-hunting, and share with you each week what I've done.

And I will continue to grow as a photographer.

Let's see where I am in January 2012, Lord-willing.

Thank you so much for following along on this journey with me. Many blessings to you.

day 364: always remember.

September 11.

Last year on this day, I spent the day watching videos and reading accounts of what happened that terrifying day. I was remembering where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news, and I was remembering explaining to my very small little boy what had happened. It was a sobering day. And it was eight years later.

Today, I spent the day appreciating what I have. My life, health, strength, energy. My wonderful husband. And my precious family. Today's date served as a potent reminder to me to look around me and realize how tremendously blessed I am. It's something we should all do, every single day. Because tomorrow, or even the next ten-minute period of time, is not promised to us.

Let's all take a moment and not complain, or obsess about what we don't have. Let's just take a moment and truly appreciate what we do have, and in this moment, thank God for what He has given us, and acknowledge that if we never receive another thing, we are complete in Him and grateful for it. Shall we?

How did I acknowledge and appreciate my blessed life today?  By being a mall rat with my family, and taking in a baseball game afterwards. It was my little ones' first game. They enjoyed it so much. We all did. It was tons of fun.

I could not share just one photo today, so since today is kind of special (the day before the END of this photo project!), I decided to do something special. I will share several highlights of my day, straight out of my camera.

Bobby took this one.

Yep, they won! We cheered for them like they were our home team. And yes, they were THE home team, as we were in Cincinnati and not Atlanta!

We got home super-late after being gone all day, so I jumped right in the bed and did not do any reading or image-hunting today. I don't think I will tomorrow either, as I will be trying to get everything prepared to get back on the road. But, tomorrow IS my last day of this project and I am way excited!

day 363: awesome.


That pretty much describes how today has been. How this week has been. How life has been.

We've had a wonderful time of rest and relaxation, not to mention fun family time.

In a couple of days, I'll have another three weeks away from my husband, as we'll be back home in Atlanta doing our daily routines. I'll be steadily counting the days until I am in his arms again. I will try not to let the days just go by without really appreciating them, but there will definitely be a countdown. All is right with the world when we're together.

This week has been pure bliss. And I totally can't get enough of balloon volleyball.

Digital Field Guide: page 108

Images: the Commons section on Flickr

day 362.

When we go to the grocery store, my children love to explore the produce section. They want to smell everything and hold everything. I totally get into it with them. Today we examined the many types of squash/pumpkins.

Most of the time I don't take them with me when I do the grocery shopping because I get things done a lot quicker when I am by myself. So, going to the grocery store is a fun little treat for them.

Digital Field Guide: a page in Niki's manual

Images: casso catena on Flickr. Beautiful black and whites.

Friday, September 10, 2010

day 361.

My son.

He goes by many names.

DJ Cue and The Techie Nerd are a couple.

I mostly call him Bobby. Because that's his real name.

He's a lot like me. When he gets into something, he REALLY gets into something.

Skateboarding is something he's really into.

He's had his skateboard for a couple of years, and lately he seems to be on it all the time. That is, when he is untethered from his guitars.

He also seems obsessed with me taking pictures of him skateboarding. So... here I am. Taking pictures of him.

Digital Field Guide: a page in Niki's manual.

Images: sidewalkshoes on Flickr

day 360.

Seriously? A spider web hanging onto my car mirror? As much (and as far) as I drive? That's amazing.

No sign of the spider. That's a good thing. My kidlets hate spiders.

They don't freak me out much, unless they're big and nasty-looking. But even then, I think I'll take a spider over one of those horrendously disgusting waterbugs any day. Why, God. Why.

Digital Field Guide: page 107

Images: yltsahg on Flickr

day 359.

Went out and fed the ducks today. Once the bread (and thus, the ducks) were gone, my son felt the only thing left to do was toss rocks into the pond. Little sister agreed. So did Daddy. Big brother spent his time skateboarding, while Mommy got more pictures. Yes, MORE pictures.

It sure has been a relaxing weekend. Blissful times like these are precious blessings. The magnitude of how sublime it all really is is not lost on me.

Digital Field Guide: page 107

Images: new additions from my Flickr contacts.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

day 358.

We had a lovely day today, which culminated in a lovely date night for me and my husband. It was a real blessing, since the last actual date night that we had was a year ago!

We spent a lazy Sunday morning playing balloon volleyball with the babies, then went to Skyline chili for lunch, and after that we headed to The Greene to walk around and chill out. The Greene is a nice open-air shopping mall, similar to Atlantic Station in Atlanta but smaller.

There was a jazz band playing in the courtyard, and we sat and listened. In the middle of the courtyard is a fountain that children can run and play in. My kids weren't wearing their bathing suits so they didn't play in the fountain. They weren't interested in doing so anyway, so we all just sat and listened to the band. I caught quite a few shots of several children frolicking in the fountain, like this little buddy.

We went home and Bobby watched the little ones while Daddy and I headed to dinner in Cincinnati. Coming back, we caught the fireworks at the end of the Cincinnati Reds game. They lost. Good to know they shoot off the fireworks no matter what. Maybe we'll all go to a Reds game next weekend.

Digital Field Guide: read a page in Niki's manual.

Images: my LIFE Magazine app

day 357: scotty's hamburger.

Aaannnd we're back on the road.

My plan was to get on the road headed back to Ohio very early, like around 7. I pretty much knew that wasn't going to happen, since it was almost 2 when I got home from Dragon Con. But I didn't do too badly. I managed to get on the highway before ten o' clock, and somehow we got to Dayton by 4:30. That's called making REALLY good time. My son called it "Mommy's a Road Runner."

I promise, I was NOT going that fast.

Meanwhile, the trip up (and back) is really nice. Lots of interesting signs. And you know how I love signs.

This one had already caught my eye on the last couple of trips. It turns out that I had to stop for gas and was able to stop right next to Scotty's Hamburger. So, squeeee.

Digital Field Guide: page 107

Images: Daily Dose of Imagery