Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Eden's crazy hair

Eden's crazy hair for dance night. She got quite a few Oooohs and aaaaahs out of it! AND she won the prize! It was a pencil with a funky eraser...haha. But it was fun. We actually sprayed the ends red and black but I didn't photograph that.

Everyone was wondering how we did it. She has a plastic popcorn container on her head under all that hair. I think for the next crazy hair event we might try two party hats on top of her head, that might look kinda cool. Her hair might look somewhat like this:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Crazy Hair

Last night at dance it was "crazy hair night". The girls could do something crazy to their hair if they wanted and the winner would get a small prize.
This was our attempt at crazy hair:

Fun, right? Anyway, at the end of class, they all lined up and us parents clapped for the one we thought had the craziest hair as the teacher went down the line of girls. Emma didn't win the prize but she should have. I might be biased but it was pretty obvious she had the craziest hair.

She was a little sad she didn't win :(

It's so hard to watch little ones experience that disappointment. There is so much anticipation and hope in those little eyes, and then sadness. Even if the prize was small, it meant something big to her. But she has to learn that she can't win them all.

I made her my fabulous 3 minute microwave chocolate cake to cheer her up. And she forgot all about it =)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Little Before and After

This is a cute picture of Emma. I love this dress and I love her hair that day. She wasn't in the mood to take pictures (can you tell?), her face shows her enthusiasm. But, I'm a mom and I thought she looked sweet so I had to get some pictures of her. Now, I may not have been able to make her smile, but I could at least fix some dull light issues (thanks Photoshop).

I kept the edges darker for a vignette look. But isn't it amazing how much you can lighten up shadows on the skin? Once again, I like bright skin in photos, just my personal preference. But it's easy to tone that down if you desire. Awesome technology!

When I grow up...

I overheard a conversation between my husband and our sweet little 4 year old daughter Emma tonight. I was putting some laundry away in her room and pappa was getting her jammies on and I'm not sure how it started but Emma says, "Boys go to work and girls stay home". This is the first time I realized how being a stay-at-home mom has shaped her perception of her own future. Then pappa promptly said she didn't have to stay home, because secretly I think he hopes she will become a rocket scientist someday. And I do too. Well, a rocket scientist, or an artist, or a teacher or whatever will make her happy. And if she wants to be a stay-at-home mom like her mommy, well that's ok too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Fish Chowder

It's what I made for dinner tonight. No one was excited about it when I announced what I would be cooking but everyone liked it. Even the kids! It smelled soooooo good while it was cooking. And soup was the perfect meal on a blustery winter night.

That sounds so weird. Blustery winter's nearly April for crying out loud! But as I type this, I am lying in my bed watching the snow and wind out the window, a scene that looks more like Christmas than almost Easter. At least the snow has covered all the Lizzy poop again. There is a winter's worth of soggy turds in our yard and it wasn't purdy. AND it was thundering and lightening earlier today too. Odd weather.

I think everyone is giving mother nature the middle finger right now. I'm a little bit afraid to sign up for the 10k in May, never know what kind of conditions I'll end up running in. I'm a bit of a cupcake that way. I prefer the treadmill in my basement to frigid temps, ice, sleet, snow, rain, and what-have-you.

I have officially run out of things to say since I've sat here for the last 30 minutes or so typing and backspacing stupid pointless words. I have nothing interesting to say. No one wants to hear about my day of laundry, vacuuming, cleaning bedrooms and rearranging furniture. That's all I got, sorry. Guess it's time to quit and watch some Red Dwarf with the hubs. An episode or two of Lister making fun of Rimmer's nostrils and hearing "smeg" every 15 seconds. Smegging smeghead. Oh smeg! I'll smeg the smeg out of you! Is it a verb, a noun, a pronoun? It's a smegging sentence enhancer! Just for the smeg of it! (it's a bbc show, if that explains anything)

Here's a little fun fact for you: my husband and his coworkers used to have a mannequin at work. They bought clothes for her and changed her outfits and everything. As if it's not odd enough for them to have a mannequin at work in the first place, they named her Smegs. I have to say, I had never even heard that word before working at the nerdery and seeing "Smegs". Now I wish my mind had a handy dandy delete button.

Monday, March 21, 2011

More photos

I am having SO MUCH FUN playing with photoshop. Saturday, I literally sat ALL day at the computer editing. And the day before that. And the day before that. I'm seriously starting to worry about how this photo enhancing career I'm choosing might have a negative impact on my fitness goals. I like to keep busy in an active sense. When I sit on my butt all day, even though I might have accomplished a lot on the computer, it really doesn't feel as though I've done a thing. And it makes me tired. And I feel lazy. I don't like that feeling.

BUT, on the plus side, it's so much fun. It's a satisfying hobby and I am thrilled with what I've been able to learn in just the two short weeks that I've had it. I'm not saying that I think I'm very good at it yet, rather that I am pleased with the tutorials and helpful actions that I've found. Actions are kind of like a "cheat". They are a great way to get a desired look without having to do a ton of work. A lot of them still require a certain amount of input from me (like selections and painting on layers) but still, a great help for a beginner like me.

I am personally IN LOVE with the looks of bright soft skin. I like these images. It's my own personal preference. My style tends to get really bright and bold I guess. But I also really love softer tones and pale or faded colors. This is a technique that I need to practice. It seriously needs to get nice outside because I'm going to be in desperate need of more pictures to play with soon.

I had my niece here last week for some pictures. I completely emptied my kitchen of all clutter (nothing on the fridge or countertops), I even took out the kitchen table so I would have a nice empty wood floor as a "studio" where I could use the best light in the house - from the kitchen patio windows. Now I am trying to convince my husband that we need to tear out the carpet in the formal dining room, put in hardwood and add windows all around the walls so that I could have a natural light studio in 5 minutes if I needed one :) But you know us and home improvement projects....

Here are some shots from the day I turned my kitchen into a studio:

And we even took a few outside!

And managed to talk the little girls into a few!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I thought Photoshop was fun I have discovered how incredibly addicting it is to use textures! Oh dear Lord, will I ever get my butt off this chair? I definitely need to get some lumbar support before I'm all hunched over like an old lady!

Check out these fun pics:

Obviously I'm partial to the edge burn look.

I am in love with photo editing. Since I can spend an ENTIRE day doing this and time goes by at fast forward speed, I think it's safe to say it's something I could spend the rest of my life doing ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oops I did it again

I have successfully bought my husband yet another gift he doesn't want. I really have a natural talent for this, apparently.

The man loves books. He reads them quickly and so has no more new books to read until his mom sends him more or he goes shopping and gets one. So what is the perfect remedy for this constant state of out-of-books-to-read-ness? A kindle. Or so I thought....

Get a new book in a matter of minutes (or seconds) and start reading. Cool right?

But here it sits on the desk, still in the box. He never even took it out to look at it. So I asked him, "Are you ever planning on taking it out of the box?" and he says, "Welllll......."

uh oh

"You don't like it." I said, matter-of-factly.

"It's just that I like the idea of actually having the book." he says.

"Oh" I said, "so you can pack it in a box and keep it in the basement with the other 10 million books taking up oodles of storage space in our basement?"

"But I am hoping to have a library some day." he said.

me: blink....blink

We've been in this house nearly two years, have managed to paint only ONE room, and this is as far as our home improvement ambition has gotten. But we'll have a library someday? uh huh.

Whatever. The point is, I'm a miserable failure at buying gifts for this incredibly picky man so I give up. I give up princess cake making and gift buying. So next year when the hubs turns 41, he's going to unwrap a box with a whole lot of nothing inside. It will probably give him the same amount of disappointment as any other gift I would pick out, he just won't have to return it this time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shooting RAW

I've been playing around with RAW camera images the last couple of days. Mainly because I've been viewing Photoshop CS5 tutorials and there are some really interesting things that you can do with RAW files that I've never done before. I've been scared to shoot in RAW because A)it takes up a lot more space on my memory card and B)I've never really known how to edit a RAW photo before. But I've got a camera with this awesome capability so I might as well learn how to use it.

It seems as though it's really handy to shoot in RAW or even both RAW & jpeg simultaneously (which eats up even MORE space on your memory card) for those instances where you might need to reduce noise due to high ISO or over/under exposed images. I don't know how many times I've shot a super cute photo that is unusable because of an exposure error or noise.

Anyway, I had taken these photos over a year ago with the intent of playing around with the RAW images. I've just now gotten to it. haha

Now, in the first couple of photos you should be able to see a slight difference in regards to noise reduction. The second set of photos I've actually blown up the same photo so that you can see the difference better. The thing that irks me a little is that the top photo isn't the original RAW - it is already with some editing. I had recovered some lost light (you could barely see the roses before) and changed the temperature a bit, so you really aren't seeing the full effect. But believe me, it was huge. This is actually after a second round of noise reduction when I realized my first go round wasn't enough. Somehow I managed to save over the original file so I no longer have the original to compare and I was too lazy to edit another picture for the blog and I'm hungry and want to make dinner. So there. Maybe I'll do another one tomorrow. Playing around with this cool software is time consuming but oh so fun!

Big difference in noise reduction there. Pretty cool. And I wouldn't have been able to do that with a jpeg.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mama makes the best tents

Seriously. I do. Check this one out...lights and everything =)

They played in this one for a week straight. Good thing we don't use our dining room table much.

Since the girls don't have school today or Monday, we have a nice long weekend to evoke all kinds of creative ideas. But first, a trip to the bookstore and possibly KFC...because Hanna is craving "something fried". I'm sure I'll enjoy the all you can drink water.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Life as usual

Now that the birthday hoopla is over, it feels like things have slowed back down to a normal pace. Actually, it feels like time has moved backwards because when I look out my window I see December. It has been snowing nonstop for 3 days! I admit it is beautiful, however, it's March and we North Dakotan's really want spring weather...NOW.

But yeah, birthday surprise = success. Homemade Swedish princess cake = nooooot so much. Ok, the cake was fine. It wasn't a total disaster. But the marzipan I picked up at the store felt like it was about 10 years old. A real pain in the butt to work with. By the time I had it all rolled out, it was so dry and cracking all over. Luckily it tasted good (so I heard).

Another plus, our dog, Lizzy, has finally stopped bleeding. So today I plan to take her to the dog wash and tear down the barricades we had set up to keep her from bleeding all over our carpet.

I guess now I'll be focusing on my picture editing skills again. I've downloaded the trial version of CS5 and plan on test driving that to see how much better it is than Elements. I'm not super excited about sitting on my duff day after day while doing it but I guess I'll just have to get up and do some sprints every hour or something.

Last night I helped Hanna with a school project. She had to make a life size cut out of Michelle Kwan from foam board. Let's just say she looks more like a sumo wrestler than the beautiful figure skater she is.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Last night was a night I had been planning for months. My husband turns 40 on Monday and I knew I wanted to do something very special for him. He is such an awesome husband/father/friend and I love him so much!

I never thought I would be able to pull it off without him suspecting anything but I did it! He was truly surprised! I'll never forget the look on his face when the doors opened and he saw all his friends standing there to greet him with a hearty "surprise!"...priceless.

This is a man who always figures out every gift I get him. It's really rather annoying. But this time....I got him! I'm so happy it all worked out.

After the initial shock, he took his coat off and said "alcohol" and walked straight to the beer and wine station. BAHAHAHAHA!!! It's especially funny because he never drinks. And when he found out I had a prepared a little "best of andreas" movie, he was probably wishing there had been hard liquor in the room. LOL

He works with some really great people. It's never boring around those Microsoft nerds :)

And of course my family was there too. A couple of them sicker than dogs but still there to celebrate. I have the coolest family ever! Thanks for always being there.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


She's been pretty mellow lately. She is in her 3rd week of bleeding. We are all hoping it is over by the weekend. I can't even tell you how many times we've washed the floors in the past few weeks. At least 3 times per day. We've been able to keep adult incontinence under garments on her pretty good though. It's just a matter of keeping an eye on her otherwise she would chew it off. And taking it off when she goes outside.

As soon as it stops, we are taking her to the dog wash. "Goin to the dog wash...Goin to the dog wash yeah"