Monday, October 15, 2012

Snapshots of a good life

Although I studied fine art in college (for the first year anyway), my first official photography class was from an amazing gal…Karen Russell. Her photography workshop is AMAZING (and registration opens in 20 minutes for her 2013 class…it sells out fast. Like in < 5 mins fast)! The workshop is one of the best investments in yourself and for documenting your everyday life…and anything else, for that matter. Every now and then, I go back and reread the ginormous 4" binder of class information and learn something new…even 3 years later! So much good stuff!

Here's one of the many (many, many) things I learned in her class:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

A little adventure

Last weekend, I went to Cincinnati for a photography workshop with my friend Jody. Knowing that we only had a day and a half to hang out without our kiddos (she has 3…whew!), we tried to pack in as much fun as we could.

We met at an orchard (Peifer Orchards) in Yellow Springs. It was so hot that day…I think it was 94 degrees and humid (you know, typical August in Ohio weather). One of my favorite things about our visit, aside from the acres of sunflowers right across the street, was their apple cider slushy. It was so crisp and refreshing and flavorful - it totally hit the spot! If you make the trip there during the late summer months, I highly recommend trying it.

The sunflowers across the street were amazing! I've never seen so many of them at once. Although, Jody said it reminded her of her recent trip to Italy (just one more reason to visit Italy!). 

Yummy sun flare! Sun flare in your photo is a matter of tasteI've found you either love it or hate it. I kinda like it, but I also think it depends on the mood you're trying to capture. :) 

We had to get pretty low to get some of the blue sky. It was somewhat overcast, but we could see a tiny bit of storm clouds building up as we were getting ready to leave.

Jody read somewhere that flower images are much more interesting if they have an insect milling about on them. We had no trouble at all capturing that because there were lots and lots of bees.

In fact, I even captured a bee in mid-flight! Truly a happy accident, because I don't think I could've done that on purpose even if I tried! hahaha!

And Jody turned my camera on me…because when you're the one with the camera, you're usually not in the pictures (I kinda like it that way though...and I may or may not have been sucking in my stomach-bwahaha!!).  :)

After our romp in the sunflower fields, we headed over to check out Clifton Mill/Gorge. It was like stepping back in time. At Christmas, they have it all lit up with beautiful white lights…I can only imagine how pretty it is.

This side trip was definitely a great start to our adventure…next stop: Hollywood Casino! We didn't get back to our room until 2:00 am! We didn't have much sleep before our 9 hour Folio-Love fest the next day…and the train that ran by our room at 4:00 am didn't help much either-hahaha!! We had a really good time!  :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Back to school - 6th grade

Michael starts back to school in a couple of days. I think he's getting excited about it…as far as we can tell anyway. A few days ago, I saw one of the buses pass by our house timing the new routes. Michael saw it too and scooted so fast to the front door just as the bus turned down another street. He was so upset that the bus left without him. He started banging on the window and throwing a fit…like, "hey, you forgot me!" Poor kiddo. I hope he's that happy to see the bus when it's here to really pick him up (he wasn't).

I am so fortunate that Grandma Carole does the school clothes shopping for Michael, because you all know that I am NOT a shopper (thank you, thank you Carole). She usually buys a few outfits for each grandkid starting back to school, but this year we told her Michael only needed 1-2 pairs of jeans and a pair of athletic pants…he was good with everything else.

And this is what ended up in her shopping bag (because she's magic and finds the most amazing deals):
Michael is so lucky she doesn't listen to me (hahaha)!!!  :) Because of her, Michael is going to be sporting some serious style this school year. Gma has great skills in putting together adorable outfits. 

Would the outfits still be called "adorable" if they're for a 12 year old boy? Wait…would I even use the word "outfit"? Gary said girls have "outfits"…I guess boys have "a set of clothes that happen to match". Either way, Michael's definitely gonna be one hip little dude.

Friday, July 27, 2012

I'm back! Again. :)

It has been FOREVER since I posted on this little blog of mine and I have so, so much to share (birthdays, vacations, family-ness, Arty [oh our sweet Arty], Michael updates, summer fun, recipes, lots-o-stuff).

I have so much I want to share, that it's almost stressful to decide where to begin. Should I start chronologically oldest stuff to newest, or newest first and work my way back, or just scattered little bits here and there? Those who know me realize that these are tough decisions for me (because I can't make a decision to save my life, let alone decide what's for dinner or how to get back to blogging…I'm such a Libra)! So I might as well just jump in and get started.

Didja miss me? I've been missing you!!  :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Michael's Zoo Birthday

We have a wonderful aunt, well, we have LOTS of wonderful aunts…AND uncles, but we have one aunt that works for the Columbus Zoo (Hi Suzi!!). She has always been gracious enough to invite us to her office occasionally so we can do Behind the Scenes stuff with their promotional animals…you know the ones - the animals that tour with Jack Hannah and make the rounds on the various TV shows like GMA and David Letterman.

She even hosted my bridal shower, and a few years, later my baby shower, at the zoo with adorable animals for everyone to see and hold…yeah, she rocks like that. Anyway, I asked her if we could do something with the animals for Michael's birthday at his school. I chose to have it at his school for a few reasons, with the main one being so I don't have to clean the house (hahaha!!). But also because most of his classmates are all special needs and our house (even with Michael having special needs) is not handicapped accessible. Plus, I don't think we'd have enough room for 20+ kids and their parents and the animals.
Shannon with a baby kangaroo and Whitney with a fennec fox (M just wanted to hug Whitney!)

Michael's BFF (Keith) was able to attend as a special guest…he got to hold the baby kangaroo!
Shannon with an armadillo and baby lynx
What I didn't realize was all the extra steps it took to have it at the school (asking permission from the administration, the superintendent, and signed permission slips from all the parents), but it all worked out great in the end.

Aunt Suzi ended up not being able to attend, but she sent two of the most wonderful and caring gals to do the presentations. Shannon and Whitney were fabulous! They were amazing with the kids and there were lots of smiles on their faces. The girls were so good and patient with how they interacted with the kids and answered all of their questions. If you ever get an opportunity or chance to book the zoo's program, I highly recommend it!

After the party at school, we celebrated at home with Grandma Kita. We had cake with a Buzz Lightyear candle (from Gma Carole) and lots of hugs and kisses.  :)
Me, Michael & Michael squeezing Gary's neck (hahaha); Michael and Grandma Kita

Monday, March 26, 2012

French-Toasted Angel Food Cake

I found this recipe on Better Homes and Gardens ( and made it this weekend. It was so good! What I loved about this recipe is: how easy it was to make, it was delicious, it satisfied my sweet tooth and there are a crazy amount of ways you can customize this for your family. I made ours with strawberries and powdered sugar.

But the part I loved most? It was my excuse to have cake for breakfast (part of any balanced, nutritious meal plan)!!  :)

French-Toasted Angel Food Cake

  • 1 7 - 8 inch angel food cake (ours was store-bought)
  • 6 eggs, slightly beaten (we used know, to make it "healthier")
  • 1 1/2 cups milk (We used skim milk...again, with the "healthy" thing)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar (we used 1 tablespoon)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter (non-fat spray stuff was used instead of butter)
  • Whipped cream or creme fraiche (we didn't have any on hand)
  • Maple syrup (we did powdered sugar instead of syrup)
  • Cut-up fresh strawberries (ours were frozen...would've been better if they were fresh though)
Slice the angel food cake into 10 to 12, 1-inch thick wedges. In a shallow dish combine eggs, milk, sugar; and vanilla. Soak wedges in egg mixture for 1 minute per side. In a nonstick skillet or on a nonstick griddle melt butter over medium heat. Cook 4 wedges at a time for 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown. To serve, stand slices in cake formation. Top with whipped cream or creme fraiche. Drizzle with maple syrup and top with strawberries. Serve immediately. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

            If you make this or a version like it, let me know what you think!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Skiing 2012

Although the calendar says it's winter, we've been very fortunate to be having a mild one this year. Luckily (for Michael), there is snow at Mad River Mountain where Michael participates in adaptive skiing.

He LOVES it! He signs "please more go bye" almost every time he swooshes past us. At times, we noticed that he's leaning forward in the sit-ski trying to make it go faster, the speed demon.

Here's video of how they get him on the lift. They leave him strapped into the sit-ski and then lift him onto the seat and attach the tether and lock him onto the back of the lift.

We signed Michael up for Friday and Saturday sessions, so even Grandma Kita was able to see him ski this year (and we got to watch her race)!

This year, the volunteers advanced him to an even bigger hill and he is enjoying it immensely! We can hear him on the lift making excited noises and sometimes hear him coming down the hill.

We are so glad to have this wonderful program (minus the freezing cold part-brrr!) so close to our house. Last weekend, they had an extra lift ticket because a student didn't show up. So they gave the ticket to us and Gary skied for the first time ever. Of course, I didn't have my camera to capture it all (dang it!)...but he did amazing and even came down the hill with Michael once.  :)