Sunday, May 25, 2008

Rah for RAW!

Shooting in RAW is a whole new world! I learned how to adjust my white balance today - well, I knew how before, but it didn't make much difference on a JPEG pic.

Now if only my kids would smile normally for me...

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Experimenting with ISO

These pics were taken at 400 ISO with my f-stop all the way open (for my zoom). Any tips? It's a cloudy day.

Okay, now I'm motivated

I think it's funny that, after 9 months of running, all it takes to kick my butt into gear is my sister's admission that she is running further than me. Go figure. I am so competititve, I guess!

Or maybe I just need some motivation to try harder. After all, several year ago I was running 4 or 5 miles a day. Why can I barely make it a mile and a half now?

So I'm kickin' it up a notch - I am going to get in better shape.

I'm headed out for a's a gorgeous spring day, and hopefully I can get a good one in today. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Soccer Awards Night

First he went down with mom....

Then he braved up....

After all, big brother was doing it!

Did I mention that I like to paint?

Remember this? I do - like it was yesterday! I still remember laughing so hard at the expression on his little naughty face. He is such a little booger...still is, even though he's a few years older and can talk his mommy's head off.

Check out that computer armoire though. Don't you just love the fake wood grain? Me, neither. Well, I finally got my act together and painted it. It was way easier than I thought, and boy, what a difference a can of paint makes!

Ignore the laundry basket on the couch. I didn't notice that when I took the pic!

I used an oil-based primer (after sanding a bit) and then oil-based paint. Supposedly this will give it a pretty hard finish, to prevent chipping. The best part about it was I didn't even have to move this ginormous piece of fake wood (it is so heavy - Dave said he won't move it again until we're getting rid of it :). I just put a drop cloth down and painted right here in my kitchen. And, Mom, just so you don't worry, the windows were open. :)

This is my favorite thing right now, my little organization hub right here in my kitchen. I could look at it all day! My best find was that black and white damask file folder for $3.99 at TJ Maxx. I love that store!

I've toyed with the idea of putting some scrapbook paper up on the back of the armoire, but I love it how it is now too. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Randomness...and where, oh where, did my header go?

I messed with some internet settings on my laptop (on ACCIDENT!), so I couldn't use it for almost a week now. I have missed my laptop! Boy, a desk top computer is just NOT the same.

Beth tagged me a few days ago, so I need to respond to that. Anyone care to know 7 random things about me? Oh well! You don't have to read it if you don't want to!

Here's the rules:
  • Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird.
  • Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
  • Let them know they are tagged by leaving comments on their blogs.
So here we go:

  1. I love brussel sprouts - they are one of my favorite veggies. I have found the best way to make them is to roast them at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, tossed in olive oil, salt and pepper. This is Reagan's recipe, by the way. Yummy! (Dave does not agree, by the way)
  2. One of my absolute favorite things to do is work in the yard. You never would have guessed this watching me grow up (I was horrified by dirt - if it got on my shoes, I cried! Even when I was 15! :), but now I just LOVE to dig in the dirt and move plants around, mow, landscape, etc... in fact, Dave and I spent the weekend doing this, and obviously we are a match made in heaven, because we both agreed, it was so fun!
  3. Even though we are technically 21 months apart, my mom claims that my sister and I are really twins. She has validated this by watching us choose the same paint colors for our homes even though we live miles apart. And then for Mother's Day, apparently we both sent her red and yellow tulips on the same day. Even though neither of us have ever sent her flowers before.
  4. I started running again last fall, after a 5 year break. And wow, it has not been easy. I still rarely run more than 1 1/2 miles at a time, usually 4 days a week. It kills me to see how out of shape I am.
  5. I have an obsession with all things black: furniture, accessories, you name it - okay, you probably already knew that! But does that make me morbid?
  6. Some of you may know this; others may not. My email addy is based on the brand of guitar that once upon a time I used to play. That seems like a different life, but I'll always love my Guild!
  7. I am so pumped because I just saw that the show The Mole is coming back to ABC after 4 years! Dave and I used to watch this show back when we were dating. We lived in 2 different states at the time, but late at night he'd call and we rehash the show and make bets on who the mole was. That brings back such good memories!
I'm tagging:

Have fun, girls!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Garage Sale Thoughts

I had a garage sale this weekend, kinda spur of the moment. All year I've been going back and forth about having one, because last year's neighborhood garage sale was so exhausting, and because I really didn't have anything big to sell this year anyway. It is always hard to figure out how worth it having a garage sale really is, even if you make a lot of money out of the sale. When you factor in your time, stress level, the state of your house....well, sometimes it just isn't worth it. Know what I mean?

I have kept to my habit of sticking things in the sterilite boxes in the corner of our garage throughout the year though - just any time I felt the urge to clean out a closet or cabinet or something, the stuff we weren't using went straight to the boxes. And a couple weeks ago I realized I had about 12 of them full.

A friend of mine was planning to have a sale this weekend, and she invited me to join her at her house. I went back and forth in my mind about it, wondering if I'd make any money after the gas it would take to drive my junk across town. By the beginning of last week, I had just decided to set up tables in my own garage, put a few signs out, and see what happened. I was bummed to think about missing out on spending a day with Jessie (the fellowship is what makes having a garage sale fun!), but to keep the stress out of it, Dave and I both thought it would be best to keep it simple.

Monday night when he was at church, Dave picked up some tables for me, so on Tuesday afternoon, while the kids played in the driveway with their neighborhood friends, I got everything set up and priced. It was by far the easiest set up day I have ever had. Usually, before a garage sale, I am up pricing things into the morning hours the night before the sale. Note to self - remember this next year!

I opened my sale Friday morning at 8 am, and the traffic was amazing! There was never any break in traffic until 10 am, when a neighbor called to say that she saw the city taking down my signs. Oops. We thought they were in the right spot, but apparently not. Since I was home alone with the boys, I just closed the garage doors and called it quits for the day. I have to admit, I wasn't too disappointed - I had already made almost $300 in just 2 hours! Isn't that insane?

Dave wanted to open for a couple more hours on Saturday. The traffic was still really good - we live in such a great location for garage sales. But we had sold most of the good stuff on Friday, so we only made just over $100 more. Dave likes to start calling out "half-price everything" an hour before we pack up and head to the Goodwill. Just like in previous years, people started gathering up arm loads of clothes as soon as he said it. :)

After a couple hours we bagged the remainder of stuff in trash bags and took it to Goodwill. I kept thinking, That was so easy! Why am I not exhausted? And it really got me thinking....

Because I've had a garage sale every year of our marriage, I think. Usually with a big group of girl friends. And while we usually rake in the dough, it takes me awhile to recover from them. So much so that I almost didn't have a garage sale this year.

So here's what I think helped make this garage sale the easiest one I've ever had:
  • I collected items throughout the year to sell - no major house overhaul to get ready.
  • I set up for the sale during the day instead of in the evening.
  • I didn't wait to join my neighbors for our neighborhood garage sale in June. I have done it with them the last 2 years, and it was obvious that people felt like they needed to move through quickly and then head to the next sale. Since my sale was the only one on the block this time, people stayed for quite awhile, browsing through everything.
  • I sold all the extra household/toiletry items from my CVS stockpile. This probably accounted for almost half my earnings, to be honest. People went nuts for $1 tubes of toothpaste and shampoo bottles. I sold a ton of medicine too - it cracked me up when people would buy like 6 things of Beano. They were stocking up! :)
  • I had the sale by myself (sadly) and was only open for a short amount of time each day. Since the boys didn't have other kids to play with, they sat beside me and helped me count change. It ended up being pretty fun, for them and me!
Okay, so there are my thoughts. What are yours? Are you a garage sale person? I'm sure I will go back and forth next year too - is it worth it or should I just donate my items? Well, this year it was definitely worth it to me!