Saturday, November 3, 2012

annual nc zoo trip

 Well, as you can see here, we made our annual trip to the North Carolina Zoo.  It was a wonderful day.  The weather was perfect, the animals were active, and it wasn't crowded.  Going in the fall is the best time to go.  We have tried many different times of the year, but right after the start of school it's too early for field trips so there are no bus loads of kids.  So, we pretty much had the zoo to ourselves. 
 Two of the gorillas had babies in August so they were almost two months old.  The.Cutest.Babies. Ever. 
 The giraffes were quite beautiful, although they were fighting.  They kept banging their necks together.  The sound that it made was really loud and sounded pretty painful.  We got to feed those very giraffes later in the day. 
 Oh, the lions, my personal favorite.  We always stop at the lions first hoping they'll be more active early in the morning.  Usually they are sound asleep in the sun.  But this time, oh, this time, the female was awake.  She is so beautiful.  I was so glad I got some great pictures of her.  Yay for great zoom lenses!
 The elephants were pretty active this time, too.  They were closer and not hiding in the shade.  They were throwing dirt on their backs and drinking water.  And the adorable thing is, they seem to be constantly smiling. 
 Yes, more gorilla baby pictures.  Come on, you know you love  it, too. 
 And this here chimp, the same one pictured above, seemed annoyed that I constantly tried to keep his attention.  He wasn't fooling me though.  I think you can tell by this pose that he loves being photographed.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

snapshots from spring

On days when we are hanging out at home we like to entertain the cat. Or rather, he entertains us. Oh, he looks so fierce with his crazy eyes and needle sharp claws.  The thing is though, he's a big ol' sissy.  He loves to play like a kitten in between hours and hours of sleeping on the recliner.

And here is our first garden harvest. Yep, that's some delicious yellow straight neck squash and zucchini. I've got to get a picture of the garden now so you can see how big all of the plants are getting. The leaves on the zucchini plant are elephant ears. We've had perfect garden weather recently. Lots of hot sunny days with shots of rain here and there. Perfect.

Oh yeah, and back in April we all hiked a mountain. The weather was perfect and the view from the top was beautiful. My girls did a great job hiking. There was minimal whining along the way. Nothing that a trip to Sweet Frog when we were done couldn't remedy.
See? We have been doing things. I have been taking pictures. And I'm glad I have time to share them with you now. XO ANG

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

alive and kickin'

Contrary to what you may believe, I am still alive and aware that I have a blog that has been terribly neglected.  Life has been incredibly busy and exciting and full.  It's summer now, which should allow time for me to catch you up on all of our adventures.  I must say, though, that summer itself tends to be full and I'd rather be outside with my family summering than sitting in front of this here computer, but I will do my best to share all things exciting or crafty. 
So to be true to my word, let's back up to May 26th when my baby, yes baby, turned seven.  Seven! How did that happen?  Life doesn't stand still.  You can't press pause.  The girls, they continue to grow and change.  Well, the theme for this year's birthday cake was Blue Jay.  Yes, a blue jay.  So a blue jay cake she got.  She also got a new birthday dress with fabric with birds on it. I couldn't find any fabric in town with blue jays so she said as long as it has blue birds, real looking blue birds not cartoonish or drawings of birds, it would be fine.  I followed the adorable dress tutorial from Craftiness is Not Optional.  It was such a simple, yet uniquely adorable, dress to make.  You can find the tutorial for it here.  The only thing I changed was adding a nice, big box pleat to the front to accommodate running, jumping, swinging, and other activities that may happen while wearing this dress.  It lacks only one thing...the perfect bird buttons.  I love covered buttons and thought I might make some, but I just know I am going to find just the right little birds to sew on the bodice to make it perfect. 
So, here's to a great start to summer! Fun and exciting, warm and sunny, refreshing and relaxing! XO ANG

Friday, April 6, 2012

{this moment}

Linking up with Amanda this week for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
Happy Easter

Sunday, March 18, 2012

a month ago::a week ago

A month ago we finally got our snow. About 7 inches of snow. It was beautiful, it piled up quickly. We played in it all day. And the best part, it warmed up in the afternoon and melted every last bit of it. No shoveling, no scary driving, no dirty slush piled up for days.

The majority of our winter has been like spring.  Warm days, cold  nights.  But the warm days really filled almost the entire calendar for the season.  I think we wore heavy coats a total of 10 or 15 times...and mostly it was because of the wind.  We have enjoyed so many days of sweatshirt weather playing outside.  What a wonderful winter this has been.  And climbing trees has become a new favorite!

Then one week ago we got chickens!  Oh yes, chickens!  I have wanted to have chickens  for years but we had such a tiny yard at our old house and the neighbors had so many dogs.  So with the limited space and the barking, which would probably have kept any hens from laying eggs, we decided to wait.  But now in our new house with a spacious yard and a friend that needed to find a new home for their urban flock, we have chickens.  They are so cute. We have 4 leghorns and 4 golden comets.  They are adjusting to their new digs quite well.  They cluck loudly and greet us at the fence when we enter the yard.  The squat down and spread their wings so we can pet them, and oh, if you are holding a tiny treat they may very well peck the end of your finger...ouch!

There's nothing like fresh eggs and the beginning of spring.
Oh, and Shelby, this post of mini updates and multitudes of pictures is just for you!
xo ANG

Friday, February 3, 2012

you capture::still life

When I think of still life I think of a bowl of fruit, maybe a vase full of flowers. Well, I have a bowl of citrus fruit on my table, but it just felt too easy, too expected. Don't get me wrong, the grapefruits, lemons, and oranges are beautiful and bright...perfect pops of color during the winter, but recently here in Virginia we have had some of the warmest winter days I can remember. Oh sure, we usually have a warm winter day here and there, but they are usually sandwiched between weeks of frigid temperatures. But this winter we have been blessed with long stretches of spring-like weather. I love warm weather. Love.It. The girls and I have spent much more time outside than we normally would this time of year. I have been staking out my garden spots, choosing seeds to start, finalizing chicken coop/yard plans, and pruning the fruit trees. I have read a half dozen books on how and when to prune them so they will be healthier and produce more fruit - any fruit. The poor things look like they haven't been pruned in 20 years. They didn't produce much last year when we first moved in, so I'm on it. I am the crazy neighbor with super-cute pink Liberty of London gardening gloves, a ladder, bow saw, and long handled loppers. Yep, that's me. Oh, and what's that thing on the ground I keep looking at...well, that would be my most favorite pruning book, Storey's Pruning Made Easy, that has great tips from master gardeners and the oh, so helpful illustrations. I laid my sweatshirt across the top of it to hold the pages open because the nice tropical feeling breeze kept making me loose my place.  That's right, it was that warm.  I was pruning a fruit tree on the last day of January in a short-sleeved t-shirt!  Go ahead, snicker a little...or a lot. I know I'm a big nerd, but if I do it right my trees will thrive and I'll have apples and pears this summer.  What better way to spend a 71 degree day at the end of January than playing in the yard with my girls counting the daffodils that are popping up and working on my trees. So as the sun started dipping back down in the sky and I set my tools down to clean up the pile of branches I saw still life.  Hmm, still life.  We have been anything but still.
see more you capture still life photos

Thursday, January 26, 2012

you capture::colorful

I haven't joined in on You Capture for quite a while and when I popped in over there yesterday to see the new challenge I just had to be a part of it.  The challenge this week was colorful.  I had hoped to capture a new flock of Cedar Waxwings that have been foraging in the cedar tree right outside the schoolroom window, but no such luck.  I guess it was too late in the day.  Then, as the day, the crazy, exhausting, fun day that we had was winding down I noticed a pinkish hue being cast on the wall through the curtains.  I looked out the living room window...a prime sunset watching spot...and saw the most beautiful pink sky.  And yes, I captured it.  After two or three days of rain and gray, overcast skies, it was quite the special treat to see this last bit of a beautiful sunset. 

This picture is straight out of the camera (SOOC). I didn't doctor it up at all. I didn't even crop it. Now, I could have probably intensified the color or cropped it a little, but I didn't want to. I usually do edit my photos, but this one, it was just right for me. I love the tree silhouettes and the  pink billowy clouds.  xoANG

Monday, January 23, 2012

you did what?

Oh, that.  This is the fun my girls had with Dad while I was out. Thanks to Dad it was all documented. And yes, they're in their pajamas. I thought my bed felt kind of lumpy last night.
Oh, and ignore the awful wallpaper border and miserable paint you see. We haven't touched our room since we moved into this house. We are focusing on the rooms that we spend the most time in right now. My bedroom will be the last to get a face lift. All in due time, all in due time. It's going to take me some time to pick a color and new bedding anyway. No rush. No rush at all.
But, oh, those girls had so much fun.  I'll have to catch Dad in the air next time.  xoANG

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Luau is in the house!

I thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures from the most recent birthday party. Well, I know my grandma is waiting to see some pictures anyway. But if you're here, I hope you enjoy what you see. The theme that was chosen this year was Hawaii. Nothing specific other than wanting palm trees on the cake. Everything else just came together. The awesome paper lanterns were actually a house warming gift from our mortgage broker. Awesome, yes she was. Grandma took the birthday girl shopping for her party gear...cups, plates, table cloth and some other goodies. Then Daddy took her out to get a few more things to really get us in the Hawaiian mood. With Pandora playing hula music in the background and a warm sunny day outside in January, it really was a nice party day.
The fabric bunting I made a couple of years ago and they come out for every single birthday. I love them.  They make me feel happy because they're so cheery.  Truth be told, they're still up.  No one has said a word so I think I'll leave them up as long as I can. he!he! You can see above the birthday outfit...a dress this year, with fabric I bought when I lived in Hawaii and have been hording, I mean holding onto, for a good 10 years.I was saving it for just the right time and that time finally arrived. I could only find the pattern pieces for this dress, no instructions. Thankfully it came out just right. Instead of a zipper though, which I have in no way mastered, I made a matching covered button and loop for the closure. I do love me some covered buttons! I also sewed the grosgrain ribbon sash right to the dress on the front side. My girl is slim so I knew she'd need a pretty sash to make it fit just right, but I also knew she would not want it being mobile, sliding up or down or twisting, and sewing it did the trick.
Then there's the cake. I used the Hawaiian Cupcake recipe from the Cake Mix Doctor Bakes Gluten Free cookbook and doubled it to make a nice big cake instead of a bazillion cupcakes. The cake was muy delicioso! Although I made it too late in the day to ice it the night before. So, a mistake never to be made again, I iced the cake the day of the party. It's not my best work, but the birthday girl squealed with delight when she saw it and that's all that matters.
Oh yes, I made a cute fabric flower out of fabric scraps left over from the dress.  I just sewed it right to a nice knit headband.  Comfy, cute, makes me want one, too.
I love this shot of my girl, her hair flying.  I believe she was twirling or doing a hula.  Something fun, I'm sure.  Yes, I do love that Hawaiian fabric.  I have a little bit left...I may have to hide, I mean save, that for another special occasion.
Here's a shot Tim took of the action.  Not everyone is in the room, but it was time for cake and ice cream so about 2 seconds later everyone was in one room.  See my beautiful art on the wall?  I owe you a post about that...soon.  Regina painted those, well, they're prints, but I love them.  I fully intend on making a wanty list for my summer birthday.  And there up on top of the fridge is our thankful tree.  For the month of November, whenever someone came to our house, they got to write something they were thankful for on a leaf and add it to the tree.  We added our own almost every day.  I think some have fallen off, perhaps because of a cat paw, hence the reason for such a high place of display.  I think I'll save those leaves and then start anew.  We don't have to wait for Thanksgiving to be thankful.
Ah, the morning after the party. The girls were enjoying the horses for their American Girl dolls.  And there, stack in the chair behind them, more gifts.  Among the favs...Battleship, who doesn't love that game?  As a math teacher, I love the fact that they learn how to use the x and y axis to find points on a graph, I mean in the ocean to blow up your ship.  Yea, I'm a nerd.  You gotta problem with that? I didn't think so.  Also, a game my sister bestowed upon the birthday girl...Blokus.  She told me it was the best game ever.  And she may be right.  Well, after Scrabble, of course.  Blokus is like fighting the urge to play Tetris, and well, it's pretty mathematical, too.  Yes, I see the pattern emerging in my style of games.  I also love Boggle and Scrabble Flash and Scattergories and Dominos.  Math and reading, math and reading.  Giant nerd...that's me.  And I really hope and pray that my girls follow right along in my footsteps. 
So there you have it...and actual lengthy post with pictures.  Thanks so much for stopping by. Now, go play a fun game or something! xoANG

Monday, January 16, 2012

last single digit year

The years have passed by so quickly. Nine of them, to be precise. It's hard to believe that the little baby born two weeks late is now in the last of her single digit years. She is a girl that is a wonderful big sister, a loyal friend, a lover of animals, an unstoppable reader, a budding artist, an outdoor explorer, a hilarious comedian, a constant dancer, and a gift from God.
Q:What do you want to be when you grow up?
A: A cartoon artist or a veterinarian.
Q:What is your favorite color?
A: Pink, hot pink.
Q:What was your favorite birthday gift?
A: I liked them all.
Q:What is your favorite song?
A:Amazing Grace
Q:What do you like to do when you play outside?
A:Go pretend-hunting in the woods.
Q:What do hunt for in the woods?
A:Wild turkeys, we saw some back there.
Q:When you get married, how many children do you want to have?
A:Three, not too much, just the right amount.
Q:Do you have names picked out already?
A:Ruby, Pearl, and Diamond.
Q:What if you have boys?
A:I have no idea then.
Q:What is your favorite animal? at home and at the zoo?
A:a cat, panda
Q:What is your favorite meal?
A:pizza, cheese only
Q:What is the thing you like to the least?
Q:What is your least favorite thing to do?
A:Walking trails for a long time, it makes my legs hurt.
Q:What is your favorite part of school?
A: History.
Q: What is your most favorite thing you like to play with your sister?
A:A game we made up called Mom and Kid.
Q:Do you think any of your answers will change by the time you're 10?
A:only a few
Q:Which ones do you think will change?
A:Maybe the answer about what I want to be when I grow up and the names I chose for kids.