336/365 - Ornaments

I got the tripod out this evening and shot a couple ornaments off the tree. Well, they are still on the tree, I took pictures!

We've had Old Saint Nick for years, and I always nestle him far inside the tree since he is quite big. He was a gift from my sister, Michele.
Old Saint Nick

Another gift from our friends and neighbors back in Indiana - Jeff and Janine gave us this ornament when we moved away 7 years ago. We don't see them nearly enough.
S'more Fun
He's really a S'more snowman and really cute.

That's all I could photograph decently. I've determined that Scott needs to put more lights on the tree, because these guys are really hard to photograph with the limited lighting.

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Best Shot Monday - Tall Prairie Grass

OK, another sunset picture in hiding. Most of the prairie grass has been cut, all except that last edge - you know, the edge the mower or combine can't get to.

Tall Prairie Grass


Check out the other Best Shot Entries here. Have a great Monday!

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POTD - Christmas Cactus [traditions]

We always look forward to the holiday season and the blooming of our Christmas Cactus. Or is it a Thanksgiving Cactus?

Christmas Cactus

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335/365 - Sound of Flowing Water

After two months of dormancy, our water garden's recirculating pump is back in business, flowing water over the waterfall, filling the air with the soothing sound of flowing water.

All it took was two trips to the Home Depot, two trips to Lowe's, one trip to the Do It Best Hardware store, numerous calls to the local water garden contractor, research on the internet, and finally, a call to a pond outfit near Atlanta, who gave me the key information I needed to retrofit our new pump into our existing pond system.

The new pump is slightly taller than the old pump, and the pump outlet is 1.5" instead of 2". I bought several reducers, but the piping always ended up being too tall. I didn't know I was supposed to cut off part of the riser piping! So that was the trick. And the water is flowing once again.

Working Pump

The replacement pump is guaranteed to work for three years. After replacing the other model 3 times in 6 years, I certainly hope so.

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334/365 - Trim The Tree

We waited until today to trim the tree, as Erica had plans Friday afternoon with some friends (she finally saw New Moon, then slept over Jen's house - which means she got no sleep last night).

I only took one picture. Really, this is poorly framed, with lots of noise. I added a texture in an attempt to "cover up" the noise. But here it is:
The Ornaments were Hung On The Tree

Erica put on a couple of ornaments before declaring she was too tired (imagine that!), the boys got 80% of the tree covered and I finished up.

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SOOC Saturday - Glimpse of the Moon

Captured during yesterday's late afternoon walk.
Glimpse of the Moon

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333/365 - Tradition

Tradition dictates that we go out today to get our tree.
Tradition dictates that we buy the tree at the local Prairie Gardens.
Tradition dictates that I take a picture of the Scott and the kids after we choose the tree.
Tree Picking 2009
Tradition dictates that the kids goof off in the store while Scott pays for the tree.
Goofing Off in the Store
Tradition dictates that Scott and I anxiously monitor the tree on the top of the vehicle as we drive home from the store. [That's because back in 2002, the tree started to fall off the truck as we drove home. We stopped twice in an attempt to secure the thing better, but it still almost ended up on the road.]

Don't you love Tradition?

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POTD - Rural Decay

I saw the barn from the road, and was surprised to find its sad, disintegrating situation. Makes me curious about its history, and what event led to its current state.

Rural Decay

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332/365 - Thanksgiving

Just a smattering of photos from today's Thanksgiving Holiday:

I love the color of cranberries!
Cook Until They Pop

Scott pours the kids "wine", aka sparkling grape juice.
Pour the Wine

Fun family picture:
Click the Remote


Happy Thanksgiving!

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POTD - Giving Thanks

I took a couple days off posting to prepare for Thanksgiving, so now I'm catching up.
That doesn't mean I didn't take pictures, I'm just tardy in posting them.....

Give Thanks

Thank you for stopping by!

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331/365 - Preparations

Preparations for tomorrow's big day of cooking, eating and most importantly, giving thanks.

Pre-Stuffing

Even the dining room table has been cleared (normally it's covered with "stuff").

Preparations

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330/365 - Here Comes the Rain Again

After a 4 day respite, the rains are back, with a possibility of snow on turkey day!

Rains Are Back

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329/365 - Bubble Arch

I think Brian put too much foaming bubble bath in the foot spa. The bubbles formed a fluffy mound at least 12" high. And these bubbles are robust enough to bridge across Brian's feet!

Bubble Arch

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POTD - Family Farm

One of the smaller farm / grain silos along the road to work. One of the buildings is the farmhouse, and I can guess the family has been farming for many generations.

Family Farm

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328/365 - New Moon

Of course, how could we go through this weekend without some mention of the highly anticipated opening of the New Moon movie? Well, here is my [boring] contribution to the countless blogs devoted to all things New Moon and The Twilight Saga.

New Moon Poster
We have this hanging in our kitchen, along with the kids' art work and other random print outs.

I am the first of the family to see the movie. Erica will attend later this week with a group of friends, and Scott will go in a couple of weeks (when it is less crowded - and he might take Brian). The theatre was crowded for a Sunday afternoon matinee, the audience comprised of mainly female, mainly tweens.

In a nutshell, the movie covered all of the main parts of the book, although it moved along at a snail's pace. Our group of 30-40 year old women are in the "Team Jacob" camp (and watching the movie confirmed our choice).

We interrupt this blog post for some commentary by Brian: yo my name is potato joe

Pardon the interruption - I stepped away from the computer momentarily.

So, we all enjoyed the movie. I'm sure those who are big fans of the Twilight Saga will enjoy it as well. I just don't want to see so much of Rob Pattinson in the future. 'Nuf said.

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POTD - Details

I loved the dragonfly button on these mittens by Baabaazuzu, a company that creates garments out of recycled sweaters and knitted items. You can check out more of their unique creations on their website. I purchased a pair of fingerless gloves - they'll be perfect for handling the camera this winter.

Details

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327/365 - Start of Holiday Goodness

I know it's too early to post about Christmas-y stuff, but so much merchandise has infiltrated the stores and media, it's hard not to be slightly influenced by it!

[As a side note, every time I hear a Christmas song on the radio, I change the channel or switch to my iPod. And I was down to a two day supply of coffee]

My favorite coffee of the season:
First Taste of Christmas

A traditional holiday snack:
Homemade Tradition

I've purchased all the goodies for our upcoming Thanksgiving feast, so these really start our Holiday Eating Season!

What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving / Christmas treats?

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SOOC Saturday - Mile 3

I run past the main lake around mile three during my Saturday runs. The right edge of the lake features the island green for Hole 4 of the golf course that winds through the subdivision. I normally run past in the morning, and I drove back Saturday afternoon to take the picture, so the light is very different.

Mile 3

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326/365 - Glitter and Gloves

Tonight I went to the Festival of Trees with my friend, Jill. The major fundraiser of the local Junior League, the Festival raises funds for community. We enjoyed music from the Edison Jazz Band and viewed the holiday themed trees, kick starting the holiday season.

I loved the details on this wreath:
Greenery and Glitter

We found a unique clothing manufacturer who creates gloves, mittens, scarves, hats and vests by felting recycled sweaters and other knitted materials. Aren't these fingerless gloves adorable? (Modeled by Jill, whose hands are much nicer than mine!):
Recycled Gloves

Here's the company who creates these cool items:
Custom Glove Maker

So I bought the pink and grey pair - they will be perfect with my iPhone and camera use during the winter months.

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POTD - Misty Fog

Love these foggy autumn mornings - especially when the sun starts to burn away the mist.

Misty Morning

Vanishing

Fog, Burning Off

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325/365 - Expensive Mesh

I've wanted to replace these grease spatter screens for over a year now. They are installed on the microwave / vent hood that sit above the stove, and since I do my share of pan frying, wok-ing (is that a word?) and egg/bacon frying, well, they are quite plugged with oil.

Scott searched at the Home Depot (no dice) and finally found them on the internet a couple nights ago. $45 bucks for two flimsy mesh screens!!! Oh well, we'll suck it up, and maybe one day, I'll have a Viking stove with a heavy duty vent (no mamby-pamby microwave vent thingy).

Expensive Mesh

Bonus shot - I finally saw blue sky this afternoon as the clouds started to clear away.
Clearing Skies
I posted a monotone version on my other blog.

Have a great Thursday night!

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POTD - Partial Clearing [noise]

The edits I made added some grainy noise that I liked. I saw clear sky for the first time since Saturday. As a bonus, the skies started to clear as the sun was setting.

Down the Street Where You Live

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324/365 - Fully Protected

Brian in his new TaeKwonDo Sparring gear - he outgrew his original (red) headgear and chest protector. All Black now, baby!

Suited Up

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Wednesday Morning - Dusted With Sugar

Apple Cider donuts from the local orchard. Perfect with apple cider or pumpkin spice coffee. Probably the last dozen we'll enjoy this season.

Breakfast of Champions

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POTD - The Flame

No, not the Cheap Trick song from the 80's (one of my favorites, though - lots of great memories from 1988), but the single flame from the Mistletoe Yankee Candle I lit tonight. I wish you could smell the nice pine scent that filled the room.

The Flame

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323/365 - In Its Natural Habitat

Back in the beginning of January, seven days into my Project 365 collection of photos, I posted about "Something Just Not Right". [I started Project 365 on my Behind the Lens Blog, so the link will take you there].

I followed up in February with "A New Stool In Town".

Now, the final picture in this "Trilogy" of blog posts featuring the ever popular John Deere Stool - in its natural habitat, otherwise known as the garage:

Natural Habitat
And next to the workbench.

Doesn't it look perfectly at home there? So much better than in the kitchen!

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322/365 - Mango Obsession

What to do on a dreary, cold, windy, rainy November day?

Mourn the Patriot's loss to the Colts in last nights "Battle of 1812"? I guess since Scott is a rabid Colt's fan, I really can't do anything but accept defeat....

But I digress, because today's pictures feature Mango. Luscious Mango. Summery Mango. But since we don't have real Mango, we have to settle for Mango flavor. In the little shape of a stick of gum:

Yummy Mango Gum

The back story - Erica had an orthodontist appointment this afternoon, and somehow we've "added on" to these appointments by going to the Walgreens afterward to buy gum. [Kind of like going out for ice cream after a music concert or big game, but in a distorted, kind of way]
I'm always wary of buying fruity-minty gum, but Erica picked out the Mango Surf gum. When we got home, she declared it tasted like our favorite Mango Italian Ice:
More Yummy Mango
[Note that the Mango Italian Ice is sold with Pina Colada Italian Ice. Guess what's in the box? Yup, several servings of Pina Colada Ice. I'm not buying another box until all of the Pina Colada Ice is GONE!]

We drove back to the store after dinner so that I could have my own box of Mango Surf gum. Like a small explosion of summer on my tongue! Couldn't ask for anything better this cold Fall day (after the Patriots lost a game they should have won!).

Aren't you glad you read this post?

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Best Shot Monday - Another Sunset

What is it about sunsets and sunrises that compel me so? Maybe it's knowing that each day gives us two great possibilities of beauty.

Another Prairie Sunset

Share your Best Shot Today. I hope you get to witness a great sunrise or sunset in your neck of the woods.

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POTD - Dreary Fall

We've been spoiled by nice, sunny fall weekends. Not so today. Rain and wind all day long. We holed up in the house and watched football.

Dreary Day

I guess it's time to bring in the patio furniture.

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321/365 - Scott's Workbench

After depositing Erica at her Sunday job at the horse stables, I was out trying to find something to take a picture of - some big crows were circling the cul-de-sac, but they flew away. I walked into the garage and was struck by Scott's orderly workbench area.

By the Work Bench

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320/365 - Hunter Hannah?

A beautiful Saturday morning and afternoon, until 3pm when the clouds rolled in. Something prompted Hannah to venture outside. She chased after some leaves and ate some grass. She and Rascal played "keep away from each other because we hate each other".

Hunter Hannah?

Just another Saturday here among the cornfields.

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SOOC Saturday - Oak Leaves

The Pin Oak leaves never turn a pretty red or yellow. They just turn brown.
SOOC Oak Leaves
Because the clouds rolled in, I used a fill flash for this capture, with the flash compensation set to -1.0. Just enough light to give the leaf some detail.

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POTD - A Second Glance

Reflected Walkway

When I first framed the scene in my viewfinder, I was drawn to the golden color of the setting sun on the brick building. Then I saw the light reflected off the glass of the building which cast its own walkway of light along the pavers. Amazing what you don't see at first. I guess everything is worth a second glance.

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319/365 - Dress Rehearsal

Courtesy of my violin teacher, I was given access to UI's Chamber Orchestra dress rehearsal this afternoon. Tonight the orchestra performs "La Tombeau de Couperin" by Ravel; "Serenade for Strings" by Suk; and the "Concerto for Violin" by Brahms.


A couple pictures to share:
Audience Seating

Cello Section
I wanted to take more pictures, but knowing how loud my shutter release is, knew that it was not appropriate. The acoustics in Foellinger Great Hall are great, which means every little sound may be heard clearly.


I enjoyed watching and listening to the musicians and missed my days playing in such a group.

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Friday Fill-Ins - November Edition

1. The last band I saw live was Sara Bareilles – it was a fabulous show, read about it here.
2. What I look forward to most on Thanksgiving is all that food!
3. My Christmas/holiday shopping is going to be light this year because we’ll be traveling.
4. Thoughts of tasks I need to accomplish fill my head – isn’t that sad?
5. I wish I could wear those really high stiletto heels (since I’m only 5’3”). But 2” is about my limit. Plus I can’t balance on those tiny heels.
6. Bagpipes are loud! We know because we had the privilege to watch the opening of the Highland Games in Oban, Scotland back in 2007:

Highland Games Parade

Have a great Friday!

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12 on November 12 - Ordinary Day

Just like the song goes, today was an ordinary day:

Just a Day,
Just an Ordinary Day,
Just Trying to get by

Ordinary Day by Vanessa Carlton



From the Morning:
Morning Dining Room View
Dining Room Morning View

iPhone Apps
Gotta Check My iPhone - my Most Used Apps

Hannah is Hungry
Hannah Eats Her Breakfast

Morning Line Up
Kids Dropped Off

To My Lunch Time walk around the workplace:
Rushes at the Fire Pond
Rushes at the Fire Pond

Graffiti Art at Work
Artists Hard at Work

To Late Afternoon at Home:
Miniature Empire State
Brian's Latest Lego Creation

Latest Indulgence
Erica's Latest Indulgence - The Foot Spa

Franck Violin Sonata, Movement IV
Time Spent Practicing

To Dinner Time and Beyond:
Red Pepper Chop

Double Single Sticks

Yummy Mozart Kugels
Favorite Indulgence Confection - Mozart Kugels

And even though it was ordinary, I cherish it just as much.
Hope yours was an Ordinary day.

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