Wednesday, April 30, 2008

WWWAT: Self Portrait

*I didn't realize the way I worded my awkward tabletop picture taking experience made it sound like i had sprained my ankle. I actually DIDN'T sprain my ankle, I only ALMOST redid the damage I have just recovered from :) thanks for the sympathy though, i'll take it!*

I have to say that this was one of the harder assignments for me. I mean i have taken *countless* self photos, you know, stick your arm way out, smile, and snap! But alas, I wanted this to be a little nicer/different. Well it still looks like i could have held my arm out and taken it, but I didn't! I actually used a tripod.

I almost killed myself a few times in the process as my first thought was to set the tripod up as high as it would go so that I could stand beneath it (i do that often with people I photograph and I love the look) but in order to make it high enough, it would have to be taller than me, requiring that I climb to get up high enough to see what i am photographing! Picture this: tripod on chair (two legs on the chair, one leg balancing on the table), me ON table (a not very sturdy kitchen table) aaaaaaaaand a ten second timer. Let's just say that my sprained ankle is finally feeling normal again, and I almost reversed that trying to get off the table... and my face was always out of focus. HA!

So I resorted to *sitting* Whoa! what a concept! that way one can be lower than the camera and still not have to climb to see through it! It's genius time! Anyways, I'm sure you want me to stop rambling on about this and just get down to business, so here you go...

let me know what you think *grin*

Now head over to American Mum and check out some more faces (beautiful ones i might add :)... and if you've got it in ya, let's see your face up there too!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

i have a question

I know many of you who read my blog, but i'm interested to see just how many there really are. I've seen a few posts lately where people are asking to see who is peeking in on their lives, so i thought i'd do the same.

if you read my blog, then leave me a comment! i always love finding new blogs to read and getting to know new people :) if you don't have a gmail account you can still leave a comment under the "anonymous" option, so no excuses!

oh yah, and if you can't think of anything to say, then comment about how cheesetastic the picture i pulled for this post is!

Also, I like this idea... if you linked me on your page, let me know so i can do the same for you! This world we call blogland can't be explored if we aren't sharing the linky love!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

an ode to Grandma

My Grandma died about two and a half years ago... and every once in awhile something comes up that makes us remember her and the joy she brought to our house. So today, while my mom and I were playing with my new lens, we took some pictures that imitated my Grandma's style of photography.

Now you see, there is a trick here. When your finger pushes the button down, it has to push the whole camera either down or down and to the side... resulting in this.

Anyways, as i was writing this, it occurred to me that there may be some people who think this is somewhat disrespectful... I gave that some thought, and decided that all i have left of my Grandma are memories (and a few things she gave me that i've held onto) and this is one of the things that makes remembering Grandma fun *grin*

I love to get my mom laughing, and if my Grandma were here, she would be laughing right along with us. It's just how we were (are!)

I love you Grandma

The Daring Bakers Do Cheesecake Pops

A little over a month ago i found the Daring Bakers and was so completely thrilled with what they are doing decided to join in on the fun! Each month one of the DBers host and post a recipe that over 1000 members work on throughout the month and then publish all on the same day. It was a lot of fun and I am really excited to see what fun things we will have to do in the months to come! If you'd like to see what others came up with for this assignment, you can head over to the Daring Bakers Daring Bakers blogroll here.

This month was Cheesecake Pops. I had never heard of such a thing, but seeing as how I am a huge fan of cheesecake AND chocolate, how could I go wrong?!?! So I set out to complete my challenge, and it turned out great! I took them to my small group last week for everyone to enjoy and they received rave reviews... in response to my explanation of why and where the idea had come from i explained that i had joined a baking community online. in response to that I heard , "words you will never hear me say..." from our beloved and fearless leader Bob.

Anyways, I digress. I dove into the challenge super excited and I came out satisfied with my work. This is a super dessert to take to a dinner party or some sort of special event. They're not that hard to make, they're just time consuming :) The only thing i had a slight problem with was the baking time. I started checking the cake at about 35 minutes and then after an hour and then every 5 minutes or so. It rose high above the top of the pan, which since this was my first time making a cheesecake still do not know if that is normal, but when I took it out, it settled back down into the pan and ended up being fabulous.

Cheesecake Pops (Makes 30 – 40 Pops)

5 8-oz. packages cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon salt
5 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream

Boiling water as needed

Thirty to forty 8-inch lollipop sticks

1 pound of flavored coatings (you know those chocolate wafers that you can get at different craft stores like Michaels, Joanns, sometimes even Walmart. You may want a few different colors/flavors for variety :)

Assorted decorations such as chopped nuts, colored jimmies, crushed peppermints, mini chocolate chips, sanding sugars, dragees) - Optional


- Position oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F
- Grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan)
- Set some water to boil
- In a large bowl, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour, and salt until smooth
- If using a mixer, mix on low speed
- Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition
- Beat in the vanilla and cream
- Pour the batter into the cake pan
- Place the pan in a larger roasting pan
- Fill the roasting pan with the boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan. - Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top (the directions originally said 35-45 minutes, but I found that it took much longer, closer to an hour and 15 minutes)
- Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature
- Cover the cheesecake with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or up to overnight
- When the cheesecake is cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2-ounce balls and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet
- Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball

- Freeze the cheesecake pops, uncovered, until very hard, AT LEAST 1-2 hours. (mine were MUCH better after 3 hours but i jumped the gun and started some of them after just an hour and a half)
- When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate by heating in the microwave at 30 second intervals stirring in between
- Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely
Shake off any excess into the melted chocolate
- If you like, you can now roll the pops quickly in optional decorations
- You can also drizzle them with a contrasting color of melted chocolate (dark chocolate drizzled over milk chocolate or white chocolate over dark chocolate, etc)

- Place the pop on a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet to set
- Repeat with remaining pops until done
- Refrigerate the pops for up to 24 hours, until ready to serve.

pre-lilac season

Each year long about May, the city of Rochester is filled with the scent of lilacs. Each city has their own unique festivals that happen throughout the year, like the Snowflake festival in Corning, or the Corn festival in Avon... But i have to say that my very favorite is the Lilac festival.

this is what most of the lilac bushes look like right now,

but there were a few that were early sprouters and had some beautiful blossoms.

Around the park there are some other really beautiful flowers,

so before we had to run back to the car, we were able to capture some beauty there as well.

My friend Melissa (who also has some pics up on this same topic) lives within walking distance of Highland Park... so yesterday we decided to head on over to take some "pre-lilac fest" pics. However, we drove because of the impending storm over yonder. The weather yesterday seriously went from about 80 degrees to total downpour with shooter marble sized hail! I can say though, that when it's summertime weather i do enjoy the occasional storm :)

aaaaalso, another reason for this picture taking outing was the very recent purchase of my new lens! I ended up getting the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8. To say I love this lens would be an understatement. I tried really hard to get everything I wanted in a single lens, and I can honestly say that the only thing i could have made better is for the f stop to be like 1.8 or 1.4, but i couldn't get it all! This lens really is amazing and i am glad i saved the money for it.

After the storm had passed and the only water falling was leftover raindrops on the trees above, we got out of the car to enjoy these beautiful magnolias (ok i think they are magnolias, but if they're not, then let me know!)

Thursday, April 24, 2008

where do i live?

I live in America. Land where convenience is one of our top priorities. Ya know, one convenience that i really love is hot water. Yes, that's right. When you turn on the faucet with the "H" or some red on it, you expect hot water to come out.

Can you guess what these two pictures mean?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

another post about spring

When springtime gets here i melt into a permanent euphoric state. It really doesn't matter how tired i am, or how many things i have to do... I just LOVE this time of year. In the past, I have reasoned with myself that winter isn't really as long as it seems and summer isn't really as short as it seems, because really, there have been years where we are still swimming in october, and have been out sun bathing in shorts and tank tops in april! So therefore, my reasoning is that the seasons are actually the same amount of time.

Taking this another step, I decided back in late october when my bedroom window finally had to be shut due to unbearable sleeping conditions, I would open my window again as soon as april came. And i did!

I decided that my "summer" experience would from now on begin in april because if i wait til the end of may or beginning of june, i'm missing out on too much of it.

Thankfully, the weather has complied with my determinations... or is my determination altering the weather?

Anyways, here's a picture for the day... andy's in the background picking up bugs with "chopsticks" :)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Click - The Photo Event April 2008

Recently i found a really cool new site that hosts a food photo contest each month. Since i have really been enjoying photographing food lately, i was totally psyched and signed up! It's not a memebership thing, it goes month by month and anyone can join, even non-bloggers! You just submit a photo that fits the theme for the month and it doesn't have to include a recipe... although if it does that's ok too :)

The theme for April 2008 is Au Naturel. The photo should feature food in its natural state without any processing or cooking... and since a couple weeks ago I had some really lovely pictures of fruit that I used for WWWAT I decided to recycle one of them. So here goes... enjoy for the second time, and if you have any cool pics you should totally head over and enter yourself!

camera: canon digital rebel
ISO: 800
exposure: 1/500 sec
aperature: f/5.6
focal length: 55mm
flash: no


i decided to let the Campus Target team borrow my laptop to use for writing their support letters this weekend. I thought to myself, no big deal, i can go two days without it...

yah, not so much. I have a plethora of pictures on my camera and i'm using a substitute computer that is working oh so slowly. i've been trying to dl them for the last 40 mintutes! and now, because it has taken so long i don't even have to time to get them on here!!!

i never really realized how much i love my little lappy :) she's been good to me, and it's her 2nd birthday this month... so happy birthday lappy!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

a new love

Yesterday I discovered this amazing little tool called Google Reader. It's like an email inbox for the web! Any site that you visit often ie blogs etc. You can subscribe to almost any website that updates. So last night I spent about an hour inputting all the pages that I want to keep up with.

I'm one of those people who gets excited about SPAM (well not really, but i do love getting any kind of mail), so having more stuff sent to my reader inbox is like compounding the excitement all day long!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Spring Break part 2

I’m not promising anyone that I will do fun and exciting things everyday this week… but if it works out that way, then great. Today, we (and by "we" i mean my mom, the two kids she watches occasionally Joy and Jeremiah, Andy and me) went to Pittsford down by the canal and fed the ducks.

This is one of Andy's favorite things to do. There weren’t many little duckies there, but at least I got some good pics out of it. I’m starting to think that my “hobby” is turning into an ADDICTION. If you are one of these addicted to taking pictures people, you know who you are and exactly what I’m talking about.

And as a side note, there was a pirate duck there. He was blind in one eye, and I tried to get a picture, but it really didn't work out so well. ARRR!!!

Notice the extreme handful of cheerios. Yes, cheerios. The ducks weren't crazy about them, but whatever... the minnows were

Not sure what the face is all about, but i'm guessing it was after an extreme bread throw. Probably some duck eating the entire piece in one bite or something like that. These things need to be moderated ya know.

sophie and the fishies

Sophie joined our family a year and a half ago. She has brought so much life into our home. She has one of the most distinctive cat personalities I’ve ever come across. She has a mind of her own (of course, they all do) and she rules over all. Our other kitty, Carina, should have dominated as the alpha cat with the passing of our beloved Scamper. However, as she mourned in the wake of losing her grandmother and then Scampy, she was left ineligible for the “alpha cat” position when it was commandeered by the Sophinator.

Shortly after Soph joined us here, she found the fish tank. It’s a 45 gallon tank with two ENORMOUS gold fish, a pleco, a mini shark-like thing and other fish that come and readily die. She would sit beneath this tank and “talk” to the fishies for HOURS. Literally. Hours. A. Day.

If anyone happens to pass by as she is keeping watch at the tank, she will promptly begin circling your feet while purr meowing. This is her way of saying she would like to take a drink out of the fish tank. If we let her, she would probably drink out of the tank for a few minutes straight, but I usually get bored with it quickly, so she only gets about 30 seconds.

However, in the morning, she has developed a routine with my dad. They feed the fishies together. And if they don’t, that cat will meow and meow and run back and forth between the kitchen and the fish tank until someone comes in and feeds those dang fish. She takes very good care of them. Apparently she doesn’t know they could be her dinner.

A docile cat indeed.

no, far from it.

I have determined that a cat’s outrageousness (especially this one) is directly proportional to their owner’s insanity…although it could have something to do with all the fish water she drinks.

Monday, April 14, 2008

the picture

This is the picture I have been waiting to take... The one i got with THE LENS. oh it makes me happy :)

it's been awhile

... since I posted anything about andy. So i decided that since i have some good pictures, i would go ahead and fix that right now. The girls are on spring break this week and are at their grandparents house... i'm kinda bummed actually cuz i was really looking forward to doing a bunch of fun stuff together, but it's ok. I decided that andy and i would have our own spring break :) Today we started off by going to the zoo. it was a little chilly, but totally doable. Then later we just played around outside... and here are the pictures to prove it! (but really there weren't any spectacular/noteworthy pictures from the zoo... hence the lack of evidence. but honest i swear we really went!)

notice the old school bubbles. they were bought at an estate sale. they have a metal cover!

I call this face "the one that got away."

get ready

cuz i have a lens i'm borrowing from melissa! it's almost the one i'm going to get, and after doing some research, i think i might be getting two :) But i'm going to go out today and tomorrow and put this baby to the test... so get ready for some more pictures!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

another late night

Disclaimer: this post will make little to no sense to most of you. It’s actually intended for one unnamed individual who will surely know exactly who they are. If when you are done reading this, you feel like you’ve just wasted the last 5 minutes of your life, then you’re probably right. If though, you actually make it to the end, there is a fun anecdote about the night I thought I heard a mountain lion. Have fun.

For the sake of friendship and good memories, I am writing this from the country hillside where I spend many Saturday nights. Yes, that’s right… I’m babysitting again. And as a tribute/flashback to the last time I was here, I decided to come up with what I’ve been up to since I got here at approximately 7:47.

play game with kidscheck
brush teeth and go pottycheck
read storycheck
kids in bedcheck
raid kitchen for fooddried fruit found, eaten and put away
not really that hungry anywaysfood search complete (besides all the cheese is gone)
search tivo for anything worth watchingfail
connect to wififail
surround soundstill lame

just shy of 3 hours in, it is now exactly 10:41. update is as follows:

still searching for tvno luck
starting to get hungrycheck
wifi statusstill fail

current surroundings:
uncomfortable pre-slept on loveseathave found semi-comfortable position and trying not to move
laptopon lap
keeping me warm
tvChristina Aguilera snl rerun in background
bright but I still feel a little creeped out

As promised, here is the story about the mountain lion. This is a TRUE story, I kid you not. It may sound unbelieveable, but I assure you it is completely factual. Out here in the country, one never knows what to expect as far as nature goes. Last summer, I was here, sitting on the couch in the usual fashion. Out of NOWHERE (except maybe the woods?) there came this horrifying howl that was more like a growl/roar and it was near. Like it felt like it was right near the front porch, that kind of near. I have never been more legitimately scared in my entire life. I immediately thought that it had to be some sort of large cat. A VERY large cat.

So when the rents got home, I let them know about aforementioned experience. Without batting an eye, the mom told me that it was probably a mountain lion. She said that the DEC have been letting wild mountain lions loose in the Bristol hills to help control the deer population. WHAT?!?! She went on to tell me a few horror (and supposedly true) stories about mountain lions abducting (and I would guess killing and eating) people! I’m not one to get freaked out easily, but that night the idea of walking across 50 feet of open yard to get to my car that eerily black night I was SCARED BEEPLESS.

The only consoling factor amidst this onslaught of “let’s scare our babysitter away forever” tactics, was that she also began talking about wild chihuahuas they have in their front yard. I stood there with my mouth hanging open and asked her in all seriousness at least 3 times if she was joking. She neither denied nor confirmed whether she was joking or not, but I’m banking on the fact that it was near to 3am and either I was hallucinating or she was talking in her sleep. Either way, I left their house both confused and scared out of my mind.

I did some research to find out about wild mountain lions being in this area, and I found that they really aren’t being let loose. Thank GOD. I also went on the national geographic site and listened to many different large cat growls and roars and what I found was the noise I heard that night wasn’t a mountain lion at all. The closest I came to it was a lynx, which are in fact indigenous to the area. I can deal with lynxes… mountain lions I cannot.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

here comes the sun

and all i have to say is that it better stay!

it only went cloudy for a couple hours this morning and that is when i realized how utterly dependent i am upon these sunny days. I don't know what to do because frankly, it freaks me out to think that every year for the rest of my life i may have to endure a 6 month winter.

A couple years ago i went through some soul searching and asking God to help me to deal with my rollercoaster emotions during the winter months, and I really feel that He has. I have not had so much trouble the last 2 winters, however, now that we're coming out of it... I am scared to think that this nice weather will only last a few months and back to winter it goes!

I am seeing, even as I am writing this, that God does indeed give us grace to go through the things that we are going through. and right now, the grace has run out! So that's what I'm going to bank on... that when winter comes again next year, i'll have a new measure that God's saved up for me... cuz otherwise i'm not sure i could handle it.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday with a Twist - part 3

Since I had a hard time figuring out how to put this one together, it has ended up being a mix up of pictures and being categorized as "my favorite colors" :)

And just as a little forewarning... when i'm asked what my favorite color is, I tell them "rainbow." I'm dead serious, I love so many things about all colors, I couldn't possibly choose one. I tend to gravitate towards the brighter colors, but I try to keep the color pallette of my mind wide open!

So I went on an adventure to find things that were aesthitically pleasing to my eye, and hopefully they are to yours as well!

Monday, April 7, 2008

chinchillas say "meh"

There are only a handful of people will be able to appreciate this. and when I say "handful" i mean like two people. In actuality, this post is really a counter post to this one.

First, I will provide commentary on my own personal feelings regarding this certain word.

The word that I have in mind is short, but says much more than you might think. In fact, on some days, you may even be able to describe your entire state of being with this one word.

When overused it becomes annoying and ineffective to it's recipient... however, for me, who is usually the one who delivers the word, it is hilarious each and every time. (i think this is where I discover that I need to learn some self-control... just in this area though, of course)

The word is... Meh.

After careful consideration on the true meaning of this word, this is what I have come up with.

The word "meh" can describe feelings of mediocrity, apathy, lethargy and/or indifference.

Of course, there are other adjectives that can be used, however, I feel that these are sufficient. They get the point across.

Since this word in the English language is classified as an adverb, I would like to suggest that it be moved to a new function of grammar and be deemed as a NOUN.

Instead of using this word to describe a feeling, it could actually be used to portray an entire person, place or thing... and not just as a describing word. it would actually BE the word for said person, place or thing.

With all that said, I would like to credit alicia for the inspiration of this post, and the next thing here. This picture portrays the epitome of the use of the word "meh." Please, use this word appropriately, and be cautious so as not to overuse. Thank you.

some of my favorite people

In addition to this being my so far favorite photo shoot, it also happens to be of one of my favorite people... who also happens to be mommy of a little boy named Samuel who holds a special place in my heart... and always will :) I was really glad to have the opportunity to take some pictures for Michelle while she is still pregnant with their second baby... and she's letting me share a few with you.

This is my very favorite of them all. When I took it, i didn't think that it would come out at all... but it captures the two of them in such a natural and perfect way. plus it helps that i get to see sam's smiling face when I look at this one. Honestly, my favorite thing to do with him was find new ways to make him laugh and smile... and it wasn't hard :)

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