Sunday, January 29, 2012

Changes - Sunday Snapshot

Changes - 1
There's been a couple of pretty big changes happening this week for Grace.
She had her ears pierced (completely her idea)
and she got glasses.
I think she looks quite grown up and studious in these pics.
Changes - 2
I didn't need glasses until ~ 4 years ago and I'm still adjusting to them.
My husband has worn them since he was 5 years old.
Grace is starting at 9.

I still remember when I got my ears pierced
at was very exciting.

Changes - 4
She's embraced both changes and is acting very responsible about taking
care of her ears and brand new glasses.

Changes - 3
We found out Grace is nearsighted,
she was having difficulty seeing the clock's numbers
in the classroom.
We think she's beautiful!

Sunday Snapshot

Thursday, January 26, 2012

4/52 and Favorite Photo Friday - Celebrating the year of the dragon

{lion dance costumes}
CNY celebrate - 1

This was a first for us as we joined our local FCC group
and participated in their Chinese New Year celebration.

CNY celebrate - 2

Grace loved the crafts and made a few beaded items,
a bookmark, and various other things.
She was in heaven!

Celebrate CNY Diptych
Will was in a parade with the golden dragon.
He also met a friend from his kindergarten class
who has a twin sister.
The three of them hung out the entire time.
He was delighted to see Hope and Stella there.

CNY celebrate - 3

 One of the highlights for us all was the Lion dance.
There were 6 lions dancing around the large room.
This was the first time that Will got to put hong bao in the lion's mouth.
(so fun!)

CNY celebrate - 4
The other highlight was seeing this Chinese dance group perform.
The peacock costumes were designed and hand made in China for this event
and shipped back here.

Celebrate CNY Diptych 2
There were also performances by a kung fu group,
 of course fireworks (bubble wrap)
and plenty of food.

We definitely will be back next year!

the long road

Sunday, January 22, 2012

(Sunday Snapshot) - Xin Nian Kuai Le!

{Chinese New Year Portraits}

  CNY - 1
Chinese New Year started a little early for us.
Saturday was our Madison FCC celebration.

CNY - 2
I took advantage of the fact that Grace and Will
were dressed in their Chinese silks and took some portraits.

CNY - 3

It's fun to see how much they have grown in a year.

CNY - 4

8 years ago we celebrated Chinese New Year 
for the first time
with Grace's travel group.
Grace was 17 mos. old.
Every year we try to do something.

CNY - 5

Xin Nian Kuai Le!
(Happy New Year!)

CNY - 6

Gong Xi Fa Cai!
(Congratulations and Be Prosperous!)

CNY - 7
Wishing you a healthy, blessed and prosperous Year of the Dragon!!

Sunday Snapshot

Friday, January 20, 2012

(Just enough) - Beyond Layers week 1

{just enough}

Just Enough - Beyond Layers week 1
Keeping it simple with oranges in a white compote.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Favorite Photo Friday - Snowy days

Snowy days Will blog

Old man Winter has finally arrived in these parts,
with snow and more snow this week.
Tomorrow's forecast is another 6-8 inches and there's already
talk of school being cancelled (which rarely happens here.)
Snowy days storyboard
This is our pup Zoe's first Winter and she LOVES it.
I think because she's a lab/husky mix she's absolutely built for snow and cold.
She and Will are big fans of laying down in the white stuff.

Snowy days Grace blog

I have fond memories of me as a little girl playing for hours with my siblings
making tunnels and snow caves.
Why is it that children don't seem to notice cold faces and frozen fingers?
It's because they're having so much fun!

Snowy days Grace portrait blog

My snow bunny Grace.
I love the snowflakes in her hair and on the hood of her jacket.

I shoot quite a few snow pictures here in Wisconsin,
thought I'd give my camera settings:

F/ 2.2
1/2500 sec.
ISO - 160
50 mm lens

Edited with Florabella's
Classic Workflow Photoshop Actions.
I used Classic Color at 50%
and Basic Color Boost at 25%,
with Highlight Protector added and a little sharpening.

the long road

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3/52 - preparation

Chinese New Year Lantern
3/52 - preparation

We have the house decorated and ready to welcome the Year of the Dragon that starts Jan. 23.
I've been asked to give Chinese New Year presentations
 to both of Grace and Will's classes this year.
It's been fun to prepare and we're pretty excited.

Edited later to say:
So I've been asked about resources and what am I presenting?
I try and keep it age appropriate, Will is in Kindergarten so
I'm reading Bringing In the New Year by Grace Lin.
I'll show the class where the country of China is as related to the United States
on a globe or map in the classroom.
We'll do a craft and make a paper dragon,
have a snack of oranges
 and hand out red envelopes with chocolate coins in them (at the end).
We may play a game.
For Grace's class(3rd) we'll do a little more.

A great resource that I highly recommend is the book,
Chinese New Year For Kids, by Cindy Roberts.

Both of the above books are found on Amazon and I linked to them.

Some other web sites I love are
China Sprout for everything Chinese and culture related.

Oriental Trading for red envelopes, items for a party, etc.

Please let me know if anyone has other resources,
would love to find out more!

Friday, January 13, 2012

2/52 and Favorite Photo Friday - He's a rock star!

Rock star - 1

The other day while I doing something in the kitchen,
I heard the sound of Will's
guitar. (A favorite birthday gift).

Rock star - 2
I sneaked around the corner to spy for a little while.
 I simply watched, no photos were taken at first.
Then the guitarist started to play a second song...

Rock star - 3

perhaps we have another Eddie Van Halen or Eric Clapton!
(Complete with a blue tongue from a popsicle). ;)

Ah...little boys.
I adore this one.

Rock star - 4

Hope everyone has a great weekend.
Stay warm, we had our first big snow yesterday, can't
wait to get the kids outside.
I have to say I was gettin' pretty used to 50 degree temps in January!

the long road

Monday, January 9, 2012

I Heart Faces - Best Face Photo of 2011

Grace (age 8) - Summer 2011.
I Heart Faces best face 2011

It wasn't hard for me to choose a photo for I Heart Face's Best Face of 2011.
Taken on July 2, 2011, Grace and I had spent part of the morning at a local botanical park 
for a photo assignment for a class I was taking.
We were almost ready to leave and stopped near the gate to sit down.
She looked up at me and I think I love this so much
 because it's such a natural expression for her.

Check out more at i heart faces.

I Heart Faces Photo Challenge & Photography Tutorials

Friday, January 6, 2012

1/52 - journey

Camera Diptych
It's a new year and pretty natural
for self reflection and looking ahead.
I was recently thinking about how it was just about 3 years ago
that I received my first DSLR camera.

My journey with photography has been interesting to say the least
and I couldn't have possibly ever seen what was ahead.
I've had a fun year, and my photography continues to change and grow.
I'm very much looking forward to learning more
 and seeing what 2012 brings.

Probably the best part for me personally has been that I've been able to give back.
A few months ago I was asked by An Orphan's Wish to be
one of their photo editors.
I have the great pleasure of choosing and editing photos each month
for their web site home page.

An Orphan's Wish provides a loving, caring environment for orphaned children in China.
It specializes in helping children with medical conditions, special needs and cerebral palsy.
I hope you'll click on the link and meet these special children.
The huge bonus is that I get to fall in love with these precious ones
as I edit away.

Hoping the New Year is all that you hope for and then some!

Kodak Brownie Hawkeye camera (circa 1950-1961).

the long road

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cupcakes and cocoa

About 5 days before Christmas
Grace expressed the desire to have a little tea party with a couple of her friends.
It was hard to squeeze it in before the 25th, but we managed to have
a little get together just before New Years.
Cupcake friends 1
She had a little notebook and had written down
everything she wanted.
She's a list maker like her mom.

Cupcake friends 2

Marie Grace was invited,
as were Lydia and Izzy.
The tea party theme eventually turned into cupcakes and hot chocolate.
(Definitely their favorite Winter time drink.)

Cupcake friends 3
Grace and I baked and frosted the cupcakes the night before.
If you ever bake mini cupcakes, you fill
the papers about 2/3 full and bake at 325 degrees for 15 -18 minutes.
They turned out perfect.

Hot chocolate Diptych

3 sweet girls who happen to each live only a few houses away.
They're beautiful on the inside and out,
we're so thankful for best friends!

Cupcake friends 6
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