Monday, February 28, 2011

project 52, week eight.

The weather was so great, and the relaxing thanks to break was so great, that I didn't even blog for four days straight.

But I did take pictures. Niki's almost always by my side, or at the very least, within close reach.


Me and my mommy.

A pretty little Rosebud.

I think I like driving way too much.

My iPhonearoid of the week is another self-portrait. And oddly enough, it's lovely. You should see it. It's right here.

And My Weekly Vlog is right here.

Have a great week, folks.

the joy of love, final days.

It is the final day of The Joy of Love, hosted by Kelly Willette, and as soon as I finish writing this post I am going to go downstairs and share all of this month's posts with my husband.

The last theme was "the future." And for this, I am posting a simple photo taken by a friend of ours at a wedding.

And here is where I get cheesy. So, indulge me for a moment, if you don't mind.

We are bonded for life. We have weathered every storm imaginable, and will continue to do so. We will raise our family, see our oldest graduate from high school in a few years, slowly (hopefully) watch each child, one by one, leave our nest, and eventually usher in a new era of our life with grandchildren.

We will see things, do things, say things, and make things that we hope will have a lasting impact on the people around us.

We will continue to smile, cry, and laugh together and even sometimes quarrel together.

We will continue to ride in the car together, watch TV together, dine together, and sit and do nothing together.

We will gaze into each others' eyes and get lost, knowing it's okay because we have already found each other.

We will watch our hands grow old and wrinkly as they hold one another tightly over the years.

We will refer to each other as "honey" or "baby" at least a million more times.

And we will continue to love and serve God, love and serve others, and love and serve each other.

That is our future.

the joy of love, day twenty-five.

"When do you love them best?" That is the theme for day 25 of The Joy of Love.

When I finally sat down and read my email for this day's theme, the day had been over for a couple of days! So, I've had some catching up to do, and today, my husband is not really in the mood for me to be snapping pictures of him. Long day. For both of us.

Fortunately, I do have some recent photos that effectively convey who my sweet husband is, and when I feel like my love for him is almost too much for me to take without feeling like I am going to burst. Those times are the precious moments when I really sit (or stand) and observe him being Daddy.

He is a good one.

the joy of love, day twenty-four.

The theme for day 24 of The Joy of Love is,


As in, where we fell in love.

Well, here it is.

(And no, this isn't a photo of that exact time, because I took no pictures then. This is more recent, and representative of where and how we fell in love.)

One day I'll tell you the whole story. It is sweet.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

the joy of love, day twenty-three.

The theme for day 23 of The Joy of Love is,


I had planned on using the photo that I took of my husband that he actually used as his profile picture (and is still using, almost a year later), but when I went to the Facebook photo album in which it is located, I found this one.

Sigh. I love it. So much. I have many favorites, but had all but forgotten about this one. And it is definitely a favorite.

the joy of love, day twenty-two.

Hello, everyone! For the past several days I have been having a blast, enjoying some needed down-time with my family, resting, and visiting with friends. I've got a few days' worth of blogging to catch up on, and am starting this evening.

Before I get on with my Joy of Love photo, a couple of updates...

I did make a crock pot meal last Wednesday. It was a fail for me. Not because my family didn't eat it or said that they hated it, but because I couldn't taste it.

Or smell it. Due to heavy sinus congestion.

I knew going into it that I wouldn't be able to gauge how good the meal was, and that, coupled with the fact that I was really just cleaning out my freezer and throwing stuff together with random spices out of my cabinet, meant that I wouldn't be able to tell you all anything about it really, except that my guys ate it and said it was fine. I might as well have been eating paper soup. So, I didn't write about it. I will tell you, it was pretty much chicken thighs, shrimp, large potatoes, and a heap of spices that I just randomly grabbed... cajun spice, basil (I think?), Old Bay seasoning... can't remember what all I did.

And I still don't know what I will be cooking this Wednesday.

Also, about the button above. My first entry into the I Heart Faces challenge yielded an honorable mention, meaning my shot was one of Angie and Amy's favorites! I'm psyched. I'll be putting that button in my sidebar.

And NOW, on to day 22 of The Joy of Love. The theme was, "face."

I almost scrapped getting a portrait of my husband altogether, because he was being rather difficult that night. He did not want me to take his photograph, and would not be still, or take it seriously for any extended amount of time. I did manage to get a couple of useable shots, thank goodness, and here is one of them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

phone photo challenge.

Ever since I got my first iPhone three years ago, I have fallen in love with iPhoneography and the convenience of having something handy to take quick snapshots when a DSLR might not be readily available or practical. I quickly grew fascinated with my phone's photographic potential due to the large number of apps available in the Apple App Store. And I have had some good fortune with some of my shots, as they have been featured on other sites in the past, including the CameraBag site.

Many of my images last year during my 365 photo project were iPhonearoids, and this year for my Project 52 I include a link to my iPhonearoid of the week each week. This is the first time this year that I am entering an iPhone shot in a photo challenge. It is the I Heart Faces weekly photo challenge. I have wanted to enter one of their challenges for over a year, and have always somehow forgotten or gotten sidetracked with other things. Hopefully this will be the first of many I Heart Faces challenges that I will enter.

The above photo is, to date, my most popular post on Instagram, and one of my many popular posts on Posterous. It's my five year old Fro Magnum, back in October when we were on our AWESOME family vacation in Chicago (see my posts here and here), at the Navy Pier. This, of course, was long before we cut his hair.

This image is my entry into the I Heart Faces Cell Phone Photo Challege. It was shot and edited entirely with my iPhone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

the joy of love, day twenty-one.

The theme for today is "hands." Self-explanatory.

I love my husband's hands. They work; they've even toiled at times. They make things and they fix things. They hold, caress, and comfort. They are strong, but have every capability of being as gentle as possible.

And I love that his hands always want to hold mine.

the joy of love, day twenty.

The theme for day twenty is "when they're home."

When my husband is home from work, there isn't really anything super-glamorous that goes on. What does go on, though, always gives me a sense of peace, that everything is right with the world.

Dishes get pulled out so that I can make dinner.

Laundry gets done.

He makes sweet tea.

Kidlets hang out, watching Mommy cook...

...and playing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

project 52, week seven.

I must say, this has been a banner week. No sarcasm this time. Just pleasant times all around. Lovely weather, and fun times spent with family and friends. And this is probably the most rewarding week (possibly even month) of blogging that I have ever had. Participating in The Joy of Love this month has definitely filled some voids in inspiration.

Snapshots for the week:



And what an awesome car. If I had the money, I would buy it.

My iPhonearoid of the week is lovely. You should see it.

And here is my weekly vlog.

Have a great week, folks.

the joy of love, day nineteen.

The theme for today is "when they're gone."

When my husband is at work, my little ones get a lot of playtime. My son studies. I also do schoolwork with my five year old. He and his little sister greatly enjoy it. They love to read.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

the joy of love, day eighteen.

The theme for day eighteen of The Joy of Love is:

"going out."

We don't go out on date nights very often. As a matter of fact, I think in all of 2010 we went out on a date... I want to say four times, all of which happened to be in the last three months of the year. I wish we could do one every month, or once a week for that matter, but it's just difficult sometimes to make it happen. We have, however, seen some good fortune with date nights the last couple of months.

We didn't go out on our anniversary because I was sick with strep throat, so we rainchecked that until the last week of December. The next time we went out was actually in January (lucky us!), because the restaurant that we went to for our belated anniversary dinner (with a gift card) gave us our meal for free as compensation for the ultimate in bad service. With the gift card that we had for said restaurant still unused, we were able to go out AGAIN, and did so later on that same month.

We, of course, went out for Valentine's Day, although we had our two younger children with us (the oldest was at a high school dance). But we still have the opportunity to go out on another date soon, for another free meal, thanks to the above gift certificate.

Once we've used that one, we will have been out FOUR times since January. Score.

the joy of love, day seventeen.

Today's theme is "staying in."

Most evenings, we are chilling in the living room, watching TV indirectly. I say indirectly because I am usually on my computer (like I am right now, blogging) and my husband is buried in his iPhone. But we are in the same room!

This project is being hosted by Kelly Willette.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

the joy of love, day sixteen.

The theme for today is "us." I am supposed to show you an image (or images) that says, "this is us."

So, here we are.

By many accounts, we would be considered an odd couple.

Although our backgrounds and life stories are very different, we spent our childhoods living not very far from each other in the city of Atlanta.

One of us is willing to try new foods, and the other is fairly picky (though not nearly as picky as when we first got married, which is a good thing).

One of us is the youngest of seven children, and the other is an only child.

One of us experienced early in life the pain of losing a parent.

We both have had our hearts broken, and have suffered through the pain that results from divorce.

We both know what it is like to feel like we are all alone in the world.

We both have a fierce love for our children.

And we both share the same view of what marriage is and should be, and are committed to each other and each other only, for the rest of this life.

That's us, more or less, in a nutshell.

crock pot wednesday: the pot roast, revisited.

And it will probably be revisited at least a couple more times this season, because it's always so good.

Pot roast is an excellent standby crock pot meal. Sure, I'm always trying to think of new things or look for new recipes that I haven't tried before, but when I'm at a loss, I can always go right back to good old pot roast. That's what I did yesterday.

I started out by chopping a large, sweet onion into a few sections.

I tossed the onion in with my frozen chuck roast.

Then, I chopped a few parsnips into large chunks.
I really love parsnips, but my husband and son have decided that they are not crazy about them. 
I like that they have a texture that is much like a potato, but they are sweeter than carrots. They satisfy my sweet tooth while making me feel good about having vegetables.

I seasoned with a bunch of stuff.
Seasoned salt, hamburger seasoning, black pepper, generous helpings of Worcestershire sauce and steak sauce. Then I added (I think) five cups of water. Cooked everything for eight hours. 

Once we got home from Master's Academy, we still had an hour left for the meat to cook. So, I added these.

The purple ones are fun. Their flesh is purple. And the red ones in the bag? Very sweet, which I personally like.

The whole thing was yummy. I am always grateful for yummy meals. I also had the bestie over for dinner, as well as an additional guest, and they enjoyed it too. Being able to cook food that is enjoyable for people besides just my family makes me happy, because I do love to entertain.

I had all of the seasonings on hand, so what I had to buy was the roast, as well as the potatoes, parsnips, and onion. And, since I bought the roast at Target a couple of weeks ago, the only thing I bought this week for the meal were the vegetables. I seem to have misplaced my receipt from Publix, so I won't list the price of the onion because I cannot remember. I do, however, remember exactly how much the other food ingredients cost.

Roast: $8.58
Parsnips: $2.50
Potatoes: $3.99

Let me just say, the last few weeks I have had people come up to me and tell me that they've either enjoyed reading my crock pot posts, or they have tried one of my crock pot meals and liked it. That really does my heart good, so thanks. (And these are people who have never commented, so I wonder if I have even more than tens of readers! haha)

And now, to decide what to cook for next week.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

the joy of love, day fifteen.

Today's theme is "kiss."

That's easy enough. Let's see if I can keep the camera straight...

This project is hosted by Kelly Willette.

the joy of love, day fourteen.

I did not get to post the photo for day fourteen on Valentine's Day, as the whole evening was a busy one. My oldest son was at a high school dance, and so the kidlets accompanied my husband and me to Applebee's for dinner. We chose Applebee's because a.) it was close by, b.) we wanted to go SOMEWHERE for Valentine's Day but were both so tired from work we didn't want anything too fancy or formal, c.) we knew the kids would devour the mac and cheese there, and d.) we knew they had a good blondie for dessert that we could all split. We do have a gift certificate for a fancy dinner at a nice restaurant, so hopefully we can take advantage of that later on in the week. There's no food like free food.

Anywho, before I move on with the topic for day fourteen, I do want to share my husband's Valentine's Day present with you.

I've discovered that I really enjoy making videos for him. Even though it took me three tries to get this right because I wouldn't stop coughing (gaaahhhh!!!), it was fun to do.

And now, on to the theme, which is "wedding band and jewelry."

My husband and I are the types of people who never take off our rings. In fact, I tried to take mine off Valentine morning because my finger was itching really bad and had the hardest time getting it off. I didn't pull it all the way off; I just waited until my finger felt better then struggled to get the ring back down my finger. Our rings are not just jewelry; they are part of us, an extension of who we are and a potent reminder of our covenant and our security. I really love that.

This project is sponsored by Willette, and I know I've said it before but I will say it again. It has been so much fun.

Monday, February 14, 2011

project 52, week six.

This was a fun week. A few days of lovely weather, a great weekend, time spent with good friends, and always lovely family time. I have a few more snapshots than usual this week.



Another family portrait. This one isn't great technically but I kinda don't care. I kinda love it anyway. I pretty much love it anyway. All the way.

My son got a new vinyl album.

A gorgeous Sunday afternoon at the park.


And the fun continues. I've got a slammin' iPhonearoid of the week for you guys. Go check it out right here.

Annnd my Weekly Vlog this week was actually a song I did for my husband, for Valentine's Day. An Ingrid Michaelson cover.

Have a wonderful week, folks.

the joy of love, day thirteen.

The topic for day thirteen is:


I was kind of at a loss with this one, so it took me a minute to think of something. Then I thought of what my husband does in the mornings, which is jump in the shower.

the joy of love, day twelve.

The theme for day twelve of The Joy of Love is:

"the eyes of our loved ones."

You have no idea what a big deal it is that I am getting any photos of my husband at all. He has been so gracious and such a good sport, even though I know he would much rather NOT be the subject of Niki's lens. After several attempts, I finally got a couple of shots of his eyes.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

the joy of love, day eleven.

The theme for day eleven of The Joy of Love is:


My husband loves to sing. He has a great voice, but very little confidence. Still, one can find him at any given moment singing something. It is a secret dream of his.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

the joy of love, day ten.

It is day 10 of Joy of Love. This has been such a fun project to do.

Today's theme is:


My husband has his side of the bed, his side of the bedroom, his side of the closet, his side of the drawers, and his side of the top of the dresser. Those are all his spaces. 

Of course, his side of the top of the dresser is smaller than mine. Not because I am controlling or anything like that, but because he just doesn't need as much space as I do. Here is what is occupying his space there.