93/365 - My Sous Chef

Brian served as my Sous Chef this evening, cutting up the green onions for tonight's Pad Thai dinner. He also helped me trim the bean sprouts and chop some garlic.

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For some reason, Brian really likes to eat raw green onion. So when he became bored working on the bean sprouts, he decided to cut up another green onion stalk and proceeded to eat it. That was all fine until he realized the green onion was quite pungent in taste and started to burn his mouth. He then spent the next 2 minutes or so scrambling to get a glass of water and gulping down several cups. Just some routine fun in the kitchen!

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POTD - Temperature at Home [Ways to Save]

The temperature when I got home this afternoon. We keep the heat turned down in the winter, especially at night. During the day, the heat gets set to 68 degF, which can still feel cool. So we have to wear a sweater or extra layer. Better than a $500 gas/electric bill (we topped out this winter at $450 - December into January when we were home during the Holidays - OUCH!)



Texture by NianLif

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92/365 - POTD - Weekly Dinner List [Ways to Save]

I normally plan the coming week's dinners on Saturday, trying to base the menu on grocery store sale items. From the menu, I generate the shopping list and try to stick to it. I post the menu on the fridge (so that I remember what I'm supposed to make on any given night).



Tonight's dinner - Chicken Enchiladas.
The chicken was on sale for $1.79 / pound, and many of the other ingredients are the store brands. A tasty dinner that the kids like.


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91/365 - Spring Snow

We can add the re-emergence of snow to our lovely Spring-time weather.
I do feel fortunate that we didn't receive 4", like some of our neighbors, and it had all melted by the time we left church at noon.


Now that the obligatory "Snow in Spring" has occurred, can we bring on the real Spring weather?

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POTD - Maybe the Phantom was Here

A Pipe organ in the City Museum. Can you hear the Phantom of the Opera Theme?

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I used a texture from Boccacino.

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Random Picture Challenge 4


This week's Random Picture Challenge from 4 Little Men and Girly Twins

27th folder
or December 2007
27th picture



OK, I don't think I had 27 pictures, so I picked the last picture taken in Dec 2007. Hannah is sleeping on the glider with her tongue slightly hanging out, which was the reason I took the picture. It's like she is taunting you because she's all comfy and asleep, probably dreaming about catching some mouse, LOL!

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90/365 - BLT Pasta Bake

Erica's (current) favorite dish - pasta with bacon, leeks and tomato, in a cheese sauce. The recipe is from Rachel Ray's 365 - No Repeats cookbook.


It's a perfect comfort type food, and with today's "Spring" weather, very appropriate. Yeah, Spring today consisted of 20 mph whipping winds, 35 degree temperature and rain. Love that mid-west Spring weather.

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POTD - Water Spray

Brian helped me wash the car this afternoon. While he was spraying off the front of the car, I liked the effect of the water streaming off the side panel.

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89/365 - Car Wash

I succumbed to Scott's gentle suggestion that I take better care of the Corolla. I enlisted Brian to help me wash the car. I don't remember the last time I actually washed a car - it's probably been years!

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POTD - City Scapes

St Louis' City Museum is a photographer's dream or nightmare. So many cool textures, structures, artwork, tilework, sculptures and more to photograph. Here are just a small sampling of what I found interesting. I think I have another 2 dozen highly varied photos to sort through yet. If you ever get to St Louis, make sure to visit and bring your camera.

A whole wall of glass bottles adorned the entrance to the Vintage Clothing shop.
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Using scrap or salvaged rebar, someone told the welder / artist to "create whatever you want".
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Kids climb the metal structure to get to the slide.
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Spools of thread that feed the shoelace machine. They design and sell all sorts of flat woven shoe laces, wrist bands, etc on the spot.
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Hundreds of these painted ceramic balusters adorn the staircases and covers one of the slides. They spin, too.
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In the dark recesses of the back part of the warehouse - staircases that lead you to the 7th floor spiral slide.
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Hopefully I'll get to post more pictures over the next several days.

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88/365 - Goofy Kids

Grandma concluded her visit with us this morning and she's on the plane back to NY. We really enjoyed her visit and can't wait for her to come back at Christmastime.

With Grandma gone, Kathleen came over this afternoon, and they all played Clue / Pirate dice. When I announced I was going to take a picture, they got all silly on me (not too surprising), grabbed Hannah and this is result:

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They are getting ready to torture Hannah, for sure. And that's Brian's foot. This picture just makes me want to laugh!

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New Blog Layout

After a couple nights testing this new Blog Layout, I finally uploaded the tweaked template.

I am using the "Spain" Template from OurBlogTemplates. I did widen things out a little bit - this will allow my linked pictures from Flickr to display properly.

The Title Banner picture is from the North Coast of Mull, an Isle of Scotland. One of the most beautiful places I have had the privilege to visit back in 2007.

Hope you like the new layout. OurBlogTemplates has a wonderful assortment of Blog templates designed for Blogger, so if you want something like the Horizontal Link List or 3+ Multiple columns be sure to check them out.

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87/365 - Harry Potter Clue

With Grandma visiting, we always play Clue.
How many versions do we have? At least 5 different versions! The nice thing is each version is played differently (unlike Monopoly, which only changes up the property names and icons).

So tonight's version is Harry Potter Clue. So far, Scott reigns as the HP Clue champ.
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86/365 - St Louis Arch

A trip to St Louis wouldn't be complete without a trip to the top of the Arch. This was Grandma's first trip to the top, and our 3rd time. Even after several trips up, it was still enjoyable.
The high winds added some thrills to the trip - you could feel the Arch moving with the wind gusts!

A Panoramic view of Downtown St Louis:
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To get the full effect, click to access my flickr stream and select the bigger size. I used AutoStitch to create the panoramic from 4 different photos.


Shirley and Scott at 632 feet:
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Looking up at the Arch:
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POTD - Hungry?

Probably not, but best not to find out. This Amur Tiger will turn 12 months old in April. Yeah, she's only 11 months old now. How scary is that?




She and her 4 siblings reside at the St. Louis Zoo, in a huge, open air enclosure with several vantage points. I used my 300mm lens to capture her licking her chops after some playful exchanges with one of her siblings. Even these huge creatures are cute when they play together.

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POTD - Determination [Emotion]

Brian had just maneuvered himself through the body of a gutted airplane. If he had trouble, think about how I felt. Squished, for sure. And I had on these boots with 2" heels. Not the ideal shoes to be climbing in.

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85/365 - St Louis Zoo, Union station

On Monday we ventured to the St Louis Zoo. The last time we visited, we only saw a fraction of the exhibits - in the summer, the kids really melt in the humid St Louis sun. Today's spring weather was perfect.

The Humbolt penguins don't mind the warmer weather and enjoyed being outdoors.
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The Emperor penguins thrive in cold temperatures. The exhibit is maintained at 40 degF and even at those cool temperatures, these guys gathered around the air conditioning vents.
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After dinner on The Hill, we explored Union Station where Erica, Brian and Shirley jumped on the trampoline / bungee cord Power Jump.
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84/365 - City Museum Monstrocity

A visit to The City Museum in St. Louis elicits many emotions - wonder, awe, fear and determination. Labyrinths of tunnels, climbing structures, multi-leveled slides constructed of various materials dominate the eclectic and artistic facility. Perhaps the museum's most impressive feature - an enormous outdoor climbing structure called "The MonstroCity".

At first, we (the adults) let Brian (the most adventurous) climb and explore while we remained spectators.


But it didn't take long for the rest of us to join in the adventure of climbing up some wrought iron structure into gutted planes, wire cages and the like.

Brian and Scott maneuver across a wire tunnel to reach the 7 story high slide.



I'll post more pictures I as get them processed (we took over 180 pictures over our 3 day trip).

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POTD - Monstrocity [Safety/Risk]

A small portion of the outdoor climbing structure at the City Museum in St. Louis. Nothing like a bunch of mangled metal to make you feel safe as you climb upwards to the gutted plane, 7 stories high.

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83/365 - DVD Release

We didn't stay up until midnight last night to obtain our copy, but we made a special trip to the Wal-Mart to pick up a copy this afternoon. Two screenings so far since.

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Random Picture Challenge


This week's Random Picture Challenge from 4 little men and girly twins

3rd folder
1st picture with the color BROWN



A picture from August, 2005 - Brian in the jaws of a T-rex at the Children's Museum at Navy Pier, Chicago.

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Broken Window

Because of the extreme cold weather in January, one of our double paned windows cracked. We covered it up with cardboard to prevent more breakage and keep little hands / feet from getting cut. Scott uncovered it today and took it to a local glass shop to have it measured for repair. A perfect opportunity for Two Peas theme of Safety / Risk.



This is my first picture using a texture! It was super simple. I followed one of CoffeeShop Rita's great tutorials.

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82/365 - By the Window

For Project 365, I have been taking a self portrait for the past 4 or 5 Friday's. Being behind the camera all the time usually means I am not in any of the pictures. And while I really don't like having my picture taken, I realize having a record of me (aging more every day!) is just as important as pictures of my kids.

So here you go - I'm relaxing with a strawberry banana smoothie after work.


Today was a little cooler (high of 50 deg F), but still plenty of sun. With daylight savings time, we can enjoy more of the bright sun after getting home.

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Blog Adjustments

Since launching my second blog and posting all of my Project 365 pictures there, I feel the content of this blog has been less about our family (it's original intent). So I have decided to incorporate more of my Project 365 pictures to this Blog and use Behind the Lens to house my photography endeavors - techniques, photo challenges and creative post processing experiments.

Most likely, my daily pictures will be split between the two blogs, so be sure to check both of them out.

I also plan to change out this blog template. I like the general layout, but I think it is time for a CHANGE. Yeah, color me crazy today.

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Friday Fill Ins #116


Brian says "talk to the foot"

1. Why do we have to be exposed to the constant drone of doomsday news? Some good news has got to be around the corner.

2. Working out, photographing the daily stuff and driving slower are now habits.

3. I have a winning March Madness Bracket. Really.

4. I had never heard the phrase "talk to the hand" and it struck me as very disrespectful. My kids don't use the phrase (they tend to make a joke out of it - like "talk to the foot", then they fall over laughing)

5. It would be nice if the kids would hang up their coats the way I always do.

6. How was I to know these tween years would be so challenging. I know, the real fun is just about to start.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to actually getting some scrapping done (after 3 or 4 weeks without creating anything), tomorrow my plans include running 11 miles and Sunday, I want to enjoy our trip to St Louis!

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81/365 - Preparations

Grandma Nai Nai arrives tonight for a Spring Break visit. This makes up for the 2 days she spent in the Detroit Airport Christmas Eve and Christmas day. In preparation for her visit, we had to move Hannah's stuff out of the spare bedroom. Normally, the bed and floor are littered with cat toys, cat hair, cat beds and more cat hair. But after cleaning up and vacuuming, here's what the room looks like:


The cat toys migrated to Erica's bedroom where they now litter the floor.


Hannah will stay with Erica for the next week. Hopefully both of them will be able to sleep with the added distraction.

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Start of March Madness

My picks for the 2009 NCAA Tournament:



And since I know you can't read that, here's my Final Four, Champion Game and overall winner:

Final Four: Louisville, UConn, Villanova, and North Carolina
Final Two: UConn and North Carolina
Winner: North Carolina

The funny thing? Scott has the same exact picks. And we make our picks in complete secrecy. I guess marriage makes you think the same.

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80/365 - Broad Sword

One element that draws Brian to the advanced TaeKwonDo classes is the use of weapons in various forms and routines. This month featured the Broad Sword, which Brian loves.



It's even more impressive in use, swirling around through the air. Hopefully I'll get capture that in the future.

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79/365 - Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The latest book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series arrived for Brian.

I'm sure there's some potty humor, but if it gets him to actively read, I'm OK with a little bit of it.



Erica has been reading it, too. She'll probably finish it tonight.

Edited on Wednesday, March 18 -
Erica and Brian fought last night over this book - they both wanted to read it. Erica finished it on the drive to school this morning and Brian finished the book this afternoon! Normally, one of Brian's homework assignments is to read for 20 minutes each day, which I have to actively enforce. Not this afternoon. That's progress.

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78/365 - New Toy

Scott received an iTouch as a reward for accumulating a gazillion points on his American Express card over the past 5 years. He got the card in order to earn golf gear, but he never accumulated enough points, and they switched award offerings that now include electronics.

The new toy arrived today and generated lots of buzz in the house. We even drove to Wal Mart after dinner to purchase a wireless router in order to take advantage of the wireless internet access. Yeah, we're late to the wireless network stuff, but we're there now.

Erica and Brian compete in TapTap Revenge 2 game.


Erica checks out her email.


Scott finally got to play with it after the kids went to bed.


Hmmm.... it may be time for me to upgrade my 4 year old iPod......

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77/365 - Bracket Decisions

Scott is back from his Basketball weekend with Dave G - since both Illinois and Michigan State crashed and burned last night, the boys simply parted ways this morning.

After the Selection Sunday announcements, Scott found a printable bracket and went to work on his "first pass".



As for my bracket - I'll randomly pick out the teams on-line for our NCAA March Madness pool. Once the tournament starts, I'll post my picks.

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More pictures - Illinois Expo, Krannert Art Museum

I posted on my photography blog some pictures from the day's visit to the Naturally Illinois Expo and Krannert Art Museum. Here are the rest of today's pictures:

Row of unearthed fossils


Brian inspects his fossil


George and his fossil


Henry shows me his fossil


Walking through the Krannert Museum


I love the curves of the main exhibit hall


Early African art

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All images on this blog (unless stated) are the intellectual property and copyright of Shirley LeMay Photography and Shirley Behind the Lens (© 2005-2014). Do not steal, borrow or pirate the images here.

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code. and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act) prohibits the use of digital property to be used without the consent of its owner.

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