Saturday, July 26, 2014

Our New Playset!

The kids in this house have recently been spoiled.  We decided to purchase a play set for the backyard.  We weren't able to get it together immediately, but we finally got a free day on Sunday (I think) and used the day to work on it.  We got it finished and were so excited to show the kids!  Here are a few pictures of it and the kids using it.

Our selfie upon completion!

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Quick Catch Up!

It seems like every post that I've written lately starts out with an apology that it has been FOREVER since my last post.  Well, today I'm not going to apologize.  I'm just going to tell myself that I'm doing the best I can and that something has to give.  Lately, that something is the blog.  With all the constant work I have to do around the house, working part time Online, taking care of the kids (and trying to keep them entertained) all day, and lots of outdoor work/projects that we are trying to take care of this summer I just haven't had any time leftover for much of anything- much less blogging.  But this morning I found a few minutes and thought I would share a couple of recent things that have happened.

Our biggest and probably most exciting happening is our new addition- our cat, Rocky.  We decided that the kids were ready for a pet, and after a pretty extensive search, meeting a few different cats (most of which didn't really like kids:/) we finally found a little kitten that seemed like he would be a good match for us.  Kittens seem much more adaptable to kids and changes than a full grown cat would be.  Rocky was at our local humane society, and thought I kind of wanted to change his name, Brennan wouldn't allow it.  Rocky is the name of a member of the Paw Patrol, so his name stuck.  He has been working out well with our family and I'm glad we've been able to give him a good home.

Rocky is now a little over 5 months old and much bigger than in these first pictures!  Here is a more recent one.

Brennan is happy to announce that has moved up to 4-year old preschool for next year.  He will be going two half days per week and he is very excited!  His summer rec Tot Lot class begins this morning, too.  More excitement for him!

The kids are doing a better job of playing with each other lately, too.  Yes- they do still fight like cats and dogs sometimes, but quite often I can hear them playing and imagining together and I love to just quietly listen to them.

We have a lot of outdoor improvements planned for the summer- mainly getting our grass growing better, doing a little more landscaping in front of the house, building a fire pit in the edge of our woods, and doing lots of cleaning up of the dead trees and brush in our area of the woods, as well.  The kids are ready to help!

We are coming up on our 9th anniversary already on June 17th.  I can't believe where the time has gone!  Ryan will also be celebrating his 30th/Golden birthday this year.  If he thinks the old man jokes are bad now, he has no idea what he has in store! :)

I know this summer is going to be very busy, but I'm hoping I can find some time to write a few posts at least!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Another Round of Birthdays!

 Well, I can barely believe it, but the kids both just gained a year.  Brennan is now a handsome, clever 4 year old and Bryleigh is a pretty 16 year old stuck in a 2 year old's body.  Time has sure flown. 

We had some nice, but low-key birthday parties for them and I just wanted to share a few pictures.

Brennan had a 'Paw Patrol' themed birthday, and honestly, we could have done a joint birthday party since they both LOVE Paw Patrol.  But it is fun to have a day that is all centered around you!  The Grandmas pitched in to help with Grandma Mary embroidering him a Paw Patrol shirt and Gigi (my mom, Grandma Sue) making the 'Marshall' cake.

And since we celebrated his birthday the day before his actual birthday, we decided to try to make his 'real birthday' supper a little more fun.  He had his favorite, peanut butter and chocolate (Nutella) and Mama surprised him with some candles in it. :)

For Bryleigh, we just did a hot pink and zebra theme.  Her Grandma Mary made the shirt and the bloomers and Mama made the hair clips. I also made her cake (a successful first with marshmallow fondant), which I'm quite proud of!



Monday, March 3, 2014

Our Reptile and Amphibian adventure

Last Saturday, one of our local libraries held a special event where they brought in lot of different reptiles and amphibians.  I'd been to a show like this before a long time ago when my niece and nephew were little, but never with my own kids.  When I heard about it, I knew Brennan would love it!
Brennan did really enjoy it.  The zookeeper brought 3 different kinds of an alligator, turtles, some crawly things like a toad, salmander, and legless lizard, and of course, the highlight of the event, the snakes.  During the show, Brennan had answered a snake question about an Anaconda (with a little help from Mom), so when it came time to find volunteers to hold a Boa Constrictor, the zookeeper was looking for Brennan!  He was VERY happy to help.  Ryan's really NOT a snake person, so it's funny that Brennan was so excited to do it.  Bryleigh even got pretty mad that she couldn't go hold the snake, too, and got to pet it later.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Ella Bella Photography Backgrounds Review and Giveaway!

I've been using cloth backdrops for my indoor photography since before I even had a backdrop stand or 'real' backdrops.  They work fine- some better than others.  But still, I've been very interested in trying a paper backdrop.  I love how they look in pictures- so smooth, crisp, and clean.

To my delight, I was given the opportunity to do a product review of Pacon's Ella Bella Photography Backgrounds.  Ella Bella is an up and coming photo backdrop product that offers nice, affordable backdrops suitable for both amateur and professional photographers.  You can find out more about it, giveaways being offered, and get awesome photo tips by liking their Facebook page: Ella Bella's Facebook Page.

I received four different designs to try: Vintage Wood, Classic Damask, Dots- Soft Pink, and Dots- Soft Blue.  I really like them all.  Each would work wonderfully for different applications.  Pacon encourages the backdrops to be used for infant, child, and product photography or even video backdrops, etc.  They would also be great for any sort of close up photo or head shot, as well.  The Classic Damask would would be stunning for a young lady's senior pictures!

Set up was quite easy.  I just slid the tube onto my backdrop stand and used a clamp to hold the paper against the top bar so that it couldn't unroll. I laid another one of the backdrops on the floor, going under the other vertical one.  Then I set a piece of white baseboard that I had along the bottom to hide where the backdrops met.  I used another clamp on each end of the baseboard to hold the paper nice and tight against it.  All set up it looked beautiful!  I took a picture to show you how simple the set up really is.  You don't even need a backdrop stand to use this paper.  Just tape it up to a wall and shoot away.

My almost 4 year old son was anxious to help me try out the new set up.  He isn't always a huge fan of getting pictures taken, but the newness really helped.  Plus, he was pretty sure his dinosaurs wanted their pictures taken, too.

Here's what we got!

My daughter was up next.  She was wiggly and not real cooperative, but I got a few good shots of her, too.  One is frame-worthy.  I just need to decide where to put it!

The paper is pretty durable.  Of course, it is paper, so it can tear and wrinkle, but it seems like it takes a lot to make it do so.  I got a couple little tears on the bottom of the hanging background where I had the clamps on the baseboard, but only because my daughter dove into it before I could grab her!  But even with that dive, it made no creases in the paper.

Besides the gorgeous prints, the thing that impressed me the very most about this backdrop paper is how non-see-through it is!  That is one of the things that frustrates me most about using my fabric backdrops.  You can always see light through them.  I could see NOTHING through the paper. It was wonderful.  Actually there was a window behind part of the backdrop and you couldn't make it out at all!

The price of the paper is also great!  You can pick up a roll of backdrop paper at Hobby Lobby for only $11.99.  Use one of their 40% off coupons and pick that same roll up for only $7.19!  Yeah!  This product is definitely a winner!  For that price, everyone should keep a roll around.  What an easy way to improve the look of the snapshot you take of your kids, pets, products you are selling on eBay, etc!

Pacon has generously offered to give away another 4 rolls of backdrop paper to one lucky winner!  Good luck!

*I was given this product for review purposes.  All of my opinions about this product are solely my own.  Your opinions may differ.  I was not compensated to write this post in any way.*