Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011!

So looking forward to the stroke of midnight when 2011 goes away for good! 

I'm thankful that we've gotten through it, but whew! why did it have to be so rough?  Seems, it takes a good hard knock on the head to get my attention and teach me a few things:
  • Be humble
  • Love harder
  • Live simpler
  • Happiness is not found in things
  • Appreciate what we have and what we've been given
  • Open my heart, my eyes and my ears
Hello 2012 – the beginning of fresh starts and new growth.  The possibilities are endless...

I have much to do in 2012, let's get on with it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Past

Feeling a bit melancholy today for some unknown reason.  Dug through some old photos to find my Christmas past.  Circa 1961.

Just look at the two of us!  1960's version of Glamour Shots!
Really missing this lady today!

The Hartson Family.
Guessing my dad is the photographer.
Sadly, only three of us still living this Christmas.

Check out my festive apparel.  Was that darn jumper reversible?
Or did I have one in every color?

Merry Christmas Eve.  I'll be enjoying the next precious time with my family.  Hope you are doing the same!

Once again we are weaving the tapestry that is Christmas.
-Polly McKinstry

Friday, December 23, 2011

Making a list...

presents? check.
wrapped? check.
snow? check. check. check!
stocking stuffers? check.
cards sent? check.
grocery store list? making.
baking? later.
Checking it twice.
Already know who's been naughty...

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Must-Have" Holiday Photos!

I had planned to post this early after Thanksgiving, so we could all get those December photos and not have to be wishing we had taken a picture of this or that come January when we sit down to scrapbook them or put them in our Project Life books.

So, better late than never right?

Since we're down to almost "the day" and besides the routine normal holiday photos, here are my ideas for some new, "must-have" Christmas photos (and in no particular order):

  • Relatives (either coming or going) (bearing gifts would be nice!)
  • Setting the table (remember this photo before you all sit down) (don't forget to light the candles)
  • Baking and/or candy making (either the process or the beautiful trays of goodies)
  • Wrapping presents (set your photo on the table and use your self-timer for a great perspective of your hands in action!)
  • Last minute shopping? (parking lots, lines, cash register, receipts, etc.) (I also love retail signs on doors stating holiday shopping hours)
  • Group family shots (those are a tradition at our house, using a tripod and the timer)
  • Stockings ready for Santa (love the shot of them stuffed to the brim on Christmas morning)
  • Leaving cookies out for Santa (don't forget the milk)
  • Holiday cocktails (peppermint martinis anyone? so festive with a candy cane garnish) (I also love eggnog with nutmeg sprinkled on top with a shot of most any kind of liqueur)
  • Family traditions (what is that your family does without fail?)
  • Christmas PJ's (either opening them or wearing them on Christmas morn)
  • Christmas love/joy (kisses, hugs, mistletoe)
  • If you don't already have a gazillion shots of your tree, remember to photograph it in low light on Christmas Eve
  • The "aftermath" (the mess/chaos of gift opening)
  • Pick a shiny ornament from your tree and see if you can photograph the reflections (the dog, the family, gifts, lights, etc.) (use your macro setting)
  • Don't forget your pet (see if you can get yours to sit or lay under the tree) (mine won't)
Camera settings/hints/know-how/practice reminders:
  • Turn off your flash
  • Use your tripod in low light situations
  • Use the self-timer
  • Remember to "get in the photo"
  • Charge your batteries!
  • Look for candid shots (not posed)
  • Look for people interacting with each other
  • Take loads of pictures/edit & delete later
  • Hand your camera to someone else 
Enjoy your holiday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Scrapbooker for Hire!

Look at me.  A real professional now.

Notice the link at the top of the page (just above Emerson's quote)?  Yep.  I'm finally pursuing my passion. I've taken thousands of photos.  I've made many, many scrapbooks for my family, friends, and gifts.  Ten years of scrapbooking.  Ten years of being a Creative Memories consultant.  I have taught many others how to preserve their family memories.  I think I've earned the name "teacher" by my friends.  But, now I am doing it for "real."

I thought I'd share my first scrapbook that I was hired to do from start to finish.  This precious little girl is almost two and her mommy wanted her baby photos preserved (smart mommy).  I've been working on this since August and delivered it right before Thanksgiving (yep, took me quite awhile), but I enjoyed every darn minute of it.

Of course, I consider it a masterpiece and I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  Enjoy.
Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh, how I love pumpkin!

It's about time for a recipe, huh?  Been awhile.  Even though the calendar says December, we're technically still in the fall season.  I stocked up on canned pumpkin right before Thanksgiving (yea, Costco!).  I really should be thinking about sugar cookies, fudge, snickerdoodles, and peppermint cookies. There's still plenty of time, right?

See, I really do love to cook and love to bake.  (I love to eat, too; but I'll save that post for another time, eh?)  This, coupled with my love for pumpkin, equals:

Pumpkin Muffins Cupcakes!

Super easy.

1 box yellow cake mix (any brand will do)
1 can pumpkin puree
1 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground cloves
1/4 t ground ginger
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Mix all together and fill your cupcake pan.  That's it!  I used paper cupcake liners (so easy).  You could also just grease & flour your pan.

Yum-O Topping:
1 stick softened butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar

Cut the butter into the flour & sugar (or use a pastry blender).  You want this to be a very crumbly consistency.

Generously top each of the batter-filled cups with a mound of topping and pat lightly.

Bake as directed for cupcakes (look for directions on the back of your yellow cakemix box).  I'm at high altitude and baked mine about 25 mins.  Yield:  18 muffins cupcakes



Enjoy the yummy pumpkin goodness.  Warning:  they are a bit messy!  They are sublime with your favorite coffee drink or even better with a cold glass of milk.  Afternoon snack.  Or, breakfast!  Most times...Bill eats two (at a time).

Don't forget to share.

iphone testimonial (pardon the text-ease): 

"U better save me a couple more of those muffins.  Those darn things r incredible!"
-Eric, my 25-year-old son