Monday, November 30, 2009

More stories, more POVs

Ree (aka: Pioneer Woman) Yes we are on a first name basis every since we meet, :-P

She posted her story about coming to the Mall of America, just like she has done with all the places she's done book signings at. When she posts the stories, she often links to other blogs (such as mine... yipee!) that have told their point of view (that's what the POV stands for mom, hee hee). If you want to see the many other blog entries of her visit to MoA just click here to see the list at the end of her blog entry.

Anyway after reading everyone else's encounters I came across this news clip of Ree Drummond that our local news station did and wanted to share. Thanks to The Single Sister, which is where I first saw it. Here is the link to the webpage with an article and the same clip that I am embedding below.


PS: in order to get these videos that I post to work, you will most likely have to come straight to my blog, I have been told the videos do not work via email subscriptions.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Just wanted to share...

I'm getting in the mood :) going to visit family always does that for me!!! And I turned on the Christmas Music radio station today!!!

So in celebration of the upcoming season a few clips I wanted to share:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week 14 out of 52

Here's another week!! And just a brief update on our dining room... so the goal of completing is by Thanksgiving is a flop. We were close to getting it done, we started on the crown molding last night and we learned a lot... meaning we are starting over and going at it a different way. So the molding will continue after the turkey weekend.... I have faith it'll be done the next free weekend we have. So until then, there won't be any dining room before and afters.

Okay without further ado, here is week numero catorce.
Week 14 blogsize

#92: Vikings game: We got tickets from Kyle's bosses to attend the Vikings vs. Detroit game. Minnesota won!!!

#93: Student ID: It's official, Kyle is going back to school. Student ID in hand and all! Sweet now we can get student discounts again!!!

#94: Painted Wall: We completed our dining room painting this day!! What a relief we ended up putting about 3 and a half coats on. We were low on paint Sunday, so we went back to get a quart. Well that wasn't enough, so I went back Monday and got another quart to touch up some spots. FINALLY it's complete... the paint that is, that leave the trim.

#95: My Next Gen Student at PRISM: For our monthly service environment for Next Gen Mentor program, we went to PRISM, a non-profit program that helps those in need... we helped out organizing their food shelf.

#96: Clean Floors: Before putting the trim on I wanted to get down and clean the floors REAL good! I had searched and searched the Internet looking for a good method of cleaning hardwood floors and came across a fun little solution involving vinegar, water, and vegetable oil... but not ALL together ;-) I think it did a GREAT job. And I love using el natural products.

#97: Harpo's nose: I just love him and his little black nose!!!

#98: PDubs appearance at MoA: Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, came to Mall of America to do a book signing for her new cookbook. I stood in line for 5 and a half hours to get my picture with her, and get my book signed (oh and a book for my new mommie friend: Ella! she she was at home with her week old daughter)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

My encounter with fame!

Or one of the closest I've come.
Daisy w book

The Pioneer Woman was at the Mall of America, signing copies of her newly released cook book!

As soon as I heard about this date, I put in on my calendar and yesterday - this day ARRIVED! I was so excited!!! I had written down that it was to start at noon. Now after following her recent blogs I KNEW there was going to be a line. But I was attending an information session from 9 to 11 and there was just no way I was going to make it to the MoA before noon... oh well I'll just have to wait in line! Well I arrived to see this sign:
signing sign

So I was kinda glad I had told myself that it was to start at noon, so I did end up getting there a 'little early' only to wait in a CRAZY long line.  The gals that were in the FRONT of the line had arrived at 7:30 am. I thought they were NUTS for waiting 5.5 hours and I thought luckily I got there when I did because I'm going to be out of here way before five hours. BOY WAS I WRONG!!!!  I started in line at 12:00 and ended up getting to see PW/Ree at 5:15.  Anyway back to my story. So while waiting, my wonderful husband (who I sweet talked into coming along) ran away to get us some food, we were both STARVING! So part of the waiting wasn't so bad, at least I got to eat and also stay fascinated with the holiday decorations
christmas balls

I wondered, if they were to fall would they shatter like normal Christmas balls?? hhmmmm?

Okay back to waiting... waiting... waiting... if only we were INSIDE the taped off line, I'd be a little closer...
waiting outside the tape

A little after one o'clock, Ree showed her face, I was actually seeing THE Pioneer Woman
I see her

She answered a few questions then started her autographs, the excitement BEGAN!  Shortly after, Marlboro Man (Ree's husband) and two boys took some time away from the amusement park to show their faces
mm w boys

and the boys even did a little autographing themselves:
boys signing

There was a camera crew, which at first I thought were there for Ree... but later found out they were shooting a documentary on MALL COPS! Oh boy!
mall cop documentary

This security guards job is HARD!
ree and guard

Ree's boys were just too cute and rambunctious!!!  They couldn't keep their hands off each other, it kinda reminds me how my brothers were to me!! ;-P
boys fighting
Oh yeah and that's MM pointing his pen at the boys telling them to cool it!

Luckily since there were two of us, Kyle and I, we were able to take turns standing in line. Although it was mainly both of us standing there, I did leave to go to the bathroom... only to miss a camera man falling off stage!!!  Kyle said he fell flat on his back, I felt so sorry for him, by the time I got back he was packing up his ginormous Nikon and heading out the door, I sure hope he's alright. From the sound of it, it was a pretty hard fall.

Finally, we made it INSIDE the tape, this was a very joyous moment!!!
line bokeh

We passed behind MM signing books again, this time they found the poor guy a seat. He was no longer getting 'attacked' by crazy ladies whistling at him... now he was able to separate himself from them with a table.
MM signing

The boys were being good coloring
being good

Although the one on the left had a bunch of markings on his face so I'm not sure how nice they were being about coloring ;-P

We were getting closer!
getting closer

Notice Ree's camera there on the table to her right (our left)... yeah I totally had camera envy after seeing that Big Girl!!!!

Around, around. Shuffle, shuffle. Being in the taped off line wasn't as fun as I thought it was going to be. I took a break and ran to get us some Orange Julius drinks and we continued to shuffle.

I couldn't believe how many books some people had:
a lotta boks
Maybe he was wanting a separate book for each recipe so he could cook them all at once?

Ree's poor hand is going to fall off after all these book signing tours!!!
signing lots of books

I FINALLY made it!!!
daisy & ree

I got my cook book signed and my picture taken with the Pioneer Woman! My life is now complete :-)  or a little more exciting at least, hee hee.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Service Environments


As some of you know, Kyle and I are volunteering in our church's Next Gen program (Next Generation) It's a high school/middle school mentor program. We go to church every Wednesday and meet with our student to mentor them and provide support, basically just be there for them and listen to them. Starting out we had to do a 3 week long matching process, basically like speed dating but with mentors and students, :-P  After the three weeks, students pretty much said who they'd like to be their mentor and then everyone was matched up. I was matched up with an eleventh grade girl, and Kyle was matched up with 3 tenth grade boys (yes, 3, they were a little short at the start, he now just has two and they are still trying to recruit more mentors - the goal is for everyone to be one-on-one by the new year).

Anyway, once a month our Wednesday night time is spent somewhere doing a service learning project. This past week, my location was PRISM. PRISM stands for People Responding In Social Ministry and is a community-funded social service agency that provides families in need with food, financial assistance, transportation and other services in times of financial hardships (taken straight from their website).  It's actually a really cool organization. One of the things I thought was cool about it was they have a service shop to fix vehicles, so if someone donates their car they don't just impound it for the money. The car is actually fix up and given to a family to use. They also provide oil changes and repairs for families in need so they can keep their transportation reliable.  Another cool purpose of PRISM is to promote dignity, instead of just handing a family a bag of food that will last a few days and maybe consist of lima beans and bread or be items that won't even get eaten, families are given a list of what they can take. They go into the 'food shelf' and pick out what they want themselves. So they might have a list that states they can get cereal, milk, etc. and instead of being given any 'ol cereal they can pick out which kind they want. I like the way our guide put it "they are already dealing with enough and having to break down and ask for help, so why not provide them with a little bit of dignity so they can choose their own groceries".

They also had a clothing store. Things weren't free but pretty darn cheap, and again they could pick out what they wanted or needed. And a birthday store! This was pretty cool, families pay $15 and get to choose a small, medium, and large gift for their child AND get cake mix, frosting, and other various party supplies (hats, plates, napkins, depending what was there). It's pretty awesome that there are programs out there like this one.

Our job for the weekly service environment was to help make room for the many donations that will be coming in the next few months. So we sorted bags of groceries into these little boxes by category:

Then once they were filled, other students and mentors (we do our service environments as pairs) would take a cart and put them in the appropriate places throughout the warehouse 'food shelf'. You can kind of see the rest of the shelving in the background of this picture:

These service events are really fun and it's great to be able to help out our community! I particularly liked this one!

Thanks for reading!

Clean Floors!

096 clean floors

Before we get the trim put in, I wanted to make sure and give the perimeter of the floor a good cleaning. I searched online looking for the best ways to clean a hardwood floor and found a lot of helpful ideas.

The idea I ended up going with, and happy I did, was to use ALL natural products! Can't beat that!!

  • I first wiped (on my hands and knees with a rag) down the floor with a water and vinegar solution (1 gal of water with 1/2-1 cup vinegar), wow did this get some dirt and grime up.
  • Then I went back over it (yes again, with rag in hand) with a clear water solution, this also got a little more of the gunk up. 
  • After that I went over it a THIRD time (again back down on the floor) with a solution of vinegar and vegetable oil (equal parts vinegar and oil). Yeah you heard me right, but it ended up looking amazing! The oil helped to buff it up a bit and leave it with a shine. You can see the reflection of the door frame in the picture!!
I didn't get the middle of the room, but I'll get that once the trim is on and the furniture is moved back.

Oh and here's another peek at our 'New Penny' wall! Much better than straight out of the can... it de-oranged quite a bit. Pictures just don't give it justice. :-P

094 painted wall

Thanks for reading,

Skol, Vikings Let's GO!


Last Sunday, thanks to the guys Kyle works for, we attended the Vikings game against Detroit.  Not a super exciting game, but hey at least Minnesota won!

vikes kick

Instead of driving downtown and messing with paying to park in a ramp, we drove a few miles away to a park and ride and took the Light Rail into downtown.
light rail

This was the first time either of us had rode the light rail. It was fun, I loved it because it made me feel like I was in a big city again. Now if only it came closer to our house.

in dome

We enjoyed the game. I'm learning that professional stadiums do not like people with SLR camera's... but due to the KC incident I looked ahead of time and prepared by bringing my point and shoot.

daisy kyle vikings

And this is the reason we will probably NOT be taking the light rail to a sports event again:
crowded light rail

We had to wait in a HUGE line after the game. We watched 6 trains go by before we were up to the doors and able to get in one ourselves. Then it was jammed packed! But it was still fun :-)

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Yard Work

We don't have a very big yard. It's actually quite small and we've made it just fine with our reel mower the past year, but we did break down and by an electric mower about a month ago. Not for the sake of mowing the yard, but to make fall clean up soooo much easier!!

Last year we raked the whole yard, this was not fun.
This year I used an 'electric rake' and it was MUCH easier.
electric rake

Last year we ended up using over 10 bags to put our leaves in for the recycling guys to pick up.
This year we only needed 4 bags!
089 bagged leaves

Thanks for reading,

Monday, November 16, 2009

Project 365 continues... week 13

Funny how this past week ALSO fell on a Friday the 13th!! Doodoo do do doodoo do do (that's the twilight zone by the way)

Well I'm almost to picture 100!!! This week was 85-91...
Week 13 blogsize

85- Chicago building bokeh: I recently got a new lens that has a WIDE aperture, making it possible for me to catch such lovely bokeh (blur in the background). I just LOVE LOVE l.o.v.e. it!!!! Oh yeah, this was shot in Chicago, but if you've been following my blogs at all you already heard all about it :-)

86- Evening sunset: Can you believe it is already getting dark when it's time to go home from work? I was on my usual route home, when I was driving into this! It was too beautiful to pass up. Luckily I snapped a shot with my camera phone because I didn't end up taking any other pictures, that day. Phew, that was a close one - heaven forbid I miss a day ;-) Camera phones count, right?

87- Twentieth Century: One night, okay most nights, we lie in bed looking at our phones before falling asleep. I thought what a funny picture of the day it would be so I waited for a day when I hadn't taken a picture of anything else and thought "this would be a good day to get our 'before bed routine' shot" so I set up the tripod and got in position.

88- Patchwork: Since we had to cut a whole in the wall to get the line through for the ceiling light... that meant we had to patch it. After watching some YouTube videos I ran to Home Depot to get the needed supplies and presto! hold-be-gone!

89- bagged leaves: If you wait long enough to bag up the leaves, you'll only have to do it once. But in the meantime we were the 'slacker house' since everyone else had cleaned their leaves up but us. I used our new mower and bagged them with that then transferred them to the bags... MUCH easier than raking!

90- brave painter: In our 'dining room makeover' we are painting it as well. This is called 'New Penny' I'm not quite sure if this is the color we had in mind when thinking up colors for the dining room... but it's what we ended up with - so it will have to do.

91- mother's love: I did a photo shoot this day, with this cute family: mom, dad and baby. For the baby's six month photos. I really learned a lot and I think I ended up with some pretty good shots. Every time I would open up another photo to edit, I would get a huge smile on my face from how cute this little girl was!!! She was so easy going and the session helped me learn more about shooting a portraits.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Just wanted to share

I've been wanting to have a place that I could just put pictures, sort of like a portfolio. So I've made another page, just for pictures :-)

It's located at:
I'll work on getting a link at the side of my blog once it's a little more filled. Now there is not much over there.

It's really just the same pictures from here, but only pictures, no story or dialogue. I also plan to use that page to give families sneak peeks of photo sessions. I got to shoot a family this weekend, which was so much fun and I learned a lot! Head on over there if you want to see this super cute family!!!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Dining Room Update

So I left off that we installed the light... after many hours. The next day we got the window and door trim painted and the base trim removed
078 trim removal

I patched the hole
088 patchwork

Then we broke out the paint
are you ready for this?
get excited...
090 brave painter

That's ORANGE! lol The color we chose was called 'New Penny' we wanted a copperish, orangish color. I'm not sure if it is really what either of us had in mind, but it is what is on our mind now. And there's NO turning back, lol.  I think it'll be good when we finish it up.  We still have the base trim which is white and the crown molding which is white. I think both will compliment the wall color and help the room 'pop'.

are you ready

Are you sure you want me to put this on the walls? lol

dining first coat

I had to play, just a little. As soon as I finished Kyle said "okay now go take a picture" I asked "how did you know I would want to take a picture of it" he just looked at me :-P

love artist

So tomorrow's plan, put second coat on walls... maybe a third coat if needed. Then start on the trim and crown molding, either this weekend or next.

And then there's Harpo.

Poor, poor Harpo...
harpo eyeing that water bowl

Look at him eye that water bowl.

That water bowl must have done something REALLY mean because Harpo wants nothing to do with it.

Oh the fear. But we're gradually working on it. I can now cohorse him to walk through the door by the water bowl if I am guiding him with a treat :-)

Can I tell you a secret? I really have no clue how to spell co-horse, co-orse... anyway I'm so off that even my spell check didn't recognize it. You get the point thought, right?

Sunday in Chicago

Okay so I left off on Friday night... Saturday I got up and hitch-hiked a ride on the conference shuttle. (The conference hotel was two blocks from our hotel... but the actually conference was another 45 minute shuttle ride south).

All day Saturday I attended the Midwest Child Life Conference held on the University of Chicago campus.
084 child life conference

Mean while, Kyle walked a little more of the city streets and went to the Planetarium. Saturday night we had reservations at a little Italian place near our hotel.  We were also celebrating the fact that we had met 4 years ago on that Saturday evening - well it was a Monday evening when we met, but it fell on a Saturday this year... anyway on with my story.

Sunday was our last day. I had two workshops at my conference, which I decided to skip out on. SSShhhh, don't tell. LOL I was actually kind of disappointed in the ones I attended Saturday and didn't want to mess with transportation to GET to the University Campus, so we decided to just take another site seeing day.

We started off with a little 'pick me up' stop at the scrumptious Starbucks and a moment to check our email and sports scores:
morning jumpstart

Then proceeded on toward the Chicago Tribute building
chicago tribune

If you've ever seen the CSI:NY episode where Mac Taylor gets clues that lead him to the Tribune Tower then you know what I'm about to talk about. The Tribune building is covered in samples of rock from all over the world
rocks on tribune bldg

Can you see them sticking out?  Here, here is a sample from Missouri:
missouri in chicago

There were a lot more rocks than what I list here, but these were the ones I got pictures of:
Antarctica: U.S. Navy Expedition 1947
Kansas - John Brown's Cabin
Aachen City Hall - Germany
City Palace Potsdam, Germany 1669
Pearl Harbor - Hawaiian Islands
California - Petrified Redwood Forest
House of Parliament - London, England
Great Wall China
Dome of St. Peter's Cathedral - Rome, Italy
Holy Door - St. Peter's Rome
Minnesota - Site of Kensington Rune Stone
Lincoln Home - Springfield, Illinois
Clementine Hall - Pope's Residence
The Alamo - Texas
World Trade Center - 2001 New York

After walking that building, we went over by the river and walked along there for a while.
state street bridge

I have a little obsession with my new lens... okay I admit, it's a BIG obsession. I just love the bokeh it produces (the blur in the background) Which is caused from having a really wide (small number) aperture, I won't bore you with all the details.
city bokeh

We even walked in view of the Sear's Tower.  EH hem I mean the 'Willis Tower' as they now call it.
sears tower

We walked down through the 'Chicago Loop'.  All the elevated trains (the el) meet in the middle of town and make a loop in the middle of the city.

We grabbed some lunch then headed back to our hotel to grab our bags and hop on the subway to the airport
subway home

We arrived 2 hours early at our gate, but luckily there was another flight boarding at 2:45 for Minneapolis, so going against what Kyle had said - I went ahead and asked the lady if there was any way we could get on that flight since ours wasn't coming until 4:50.  She said YES!!  So we got the last two seats on the plane, they weren't together but it was only an hour flight. We got home before we were even suppose to be in the air. We were able to pick up Harpo Sunday night and call it a night!

I can't wait til we can go back!!! :-)

That concludes our trip, back to dining room work...
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