Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hold on to your treat bags!!!!

Saturday afternoon was trick or treat... and the weather was not so cooperative! It was cold (mid 40s) and very windy (there were even a wind advisory)...which made it even more cold. Trick or treaters were bundled up in coats, hats, and gloves on top of their costumes. Poor Jenna had to hold on to her witch hat the entire time so she didn't lose it. But, they still managed to collect quite a bit of candy and have a lot of fun! We just went around our neighborhood with the Chiles' boys - Cade, Gage, and Dane. We have trick or treated with them since Jacob was 2 and Cade was 1! TRICK OR TREAT!!

Jenna doing her best witch "cackle"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cuyahoga River

Last weekend, while we were visiting Dad and Mom, we went to two different parks along the Cuyahoga River that have recently been restructured. Although it was cool, the sun was shining and the leaves had turned - so it was really pretty out. I wanted to go somewhere different to practice photos for my class, so everyone came along.

The first 3 photos are from Kent and the last 3 photos are from Munroe Falls. Brenda and Jill - they took out the dam that made the water fall at Munroe Falls (Hmmm...I guess it isn't technically Munroe FALLS anymore, is it??) and it looks really different. The big rocks we are standing and sitting on were part of the dam.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Skeleton Cookies

I signed up to bring treats for Jacob's "fall" party at school...and then found this fun idea in a magazine I was looking through at the check out at WalMart. So, last night I found myself making 4 dozen skeleton cookies. I love how they turned out!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Birthday Bash part 2

Just a few more fun photos from Sunday's big birthday bash!

1. The Birthday Girls - Grandma, Kara, and Payton (in the photo) all share the same birthday!
2. Cousins - My dad's cousin's and their spouses: Dave & Delores and Lynn & Paul who travelled from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to be there
3. Grandkids-in-law...Chris and Ryan (Kara's husband) (the only 2 husbands that could make it) - we realized that they had escaped ALL the photo hoopla, so we decided they needed their own photo. Notice how they both have the same expression on their face??
4. Kyle (my cousin) and Jacob - 2 bored "kids" at the restaurant who headed to the bar to watch football
5. Bearhug - Kyle and Jenna
6. Rylee (my cousin Kara's daughter)....sneaking frosting when she thought no one was looking

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sick Day

Jenna had a fever last night and didn't sleep well. She woke up at 6:45 complaining of still not feeling'm home with her today. Her fever is pretty much gone. I'm hoping she will just sleep a lot and I can get caught up on a few things around here.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Birthday Girl

Here are some of the photos from Grandma's 90th birthday celebration. Doesn't she look great? I think she really enjoyed her special day with her family as we all honored and celebrated her! (part 2 of the photos will come tomorrow)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

It was a good weekend....

We had a really good weekend!

Friday we drove to Stow to visit my parents. The trees were beautiful the whole way there! I wanted to stop the car and jump out to take photos...but decided that wasn't the best idea on a busy highway!!We enjoyed just relaxing and spending time with them Friday evening.

Saturday we slept in and then Jacob and I ran errands with my mom - including a stop at Osman's to pick up Grandma's cake (and some extra goodies for us!). Grandma came Saturday afternoon (dressed in jeans and a black leather many 90 year olds dress as stylish as my grandma???) and then we all went to Kent and then Munroe Falls to see reconstructed parks along the Cuyahoga River. The views were really pretty with the fall leaves and sun shining on the water. (photos to come!) We stopped by Starbucks for caramel apple cider - yummy - before heading home. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and visiting some more.

Today we celebrated Grandma's 90th birthday. Several family members went to church (I always enjoy going back to the church where I grew up) and then more family members joined us for lunch at Triple Crown. We then went back to mom and dad's for gifts, cake, lots of photos, and visiting (photos to come!). I spent most of the car ride home reading a good book while Chris drove and the kids watched a movie.

PS HAPPY 1st BIRTHDAY PAYTON! We hope you had a fun party and a special day! We wish we could have been there with you to celebrate!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

As requested, here is the pumpkin chocolate chip muffin recipe (that Jenna and I were making in her cute mixer photo!):

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 16 oz can pumpkin
1 1/2 cups oil
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

In large bowl, mix eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until smooth. Add dry ingredients. Fold in chocolate chips. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

CrAzY BuSy!!!

That's how I feel this week...I'm CRAZY BUSY!! I have some fun pictures of the kids playing in the leaves I've really been wanting to put on here, but unfortunately that task didn't make my to do list for this week (You'll just have to wait until next week when things calm down). Here's a peek at my to do list of things I need to accomplish before Friday:
  • finish Grandma's memory scrapbook for her birthday party on Sunday
  • hem my new pants so I can wear them to Grandma's party ( I really wish I was average height so I didn't have to mess with it!)
  • make Jenna's Halloween costume so she can wear it to sing at the nursing home (with daycare) on Monday...have to finish it by Friday since we'll be gone all weekend
  • upload and submit my photos for my second photography lesson by Wednesday
  • oh yeah...and finish taking the photos for my second photography lesson sometime in the next 24 hours (I have totally put them off because the weather has been so yucky!)
  • photo "shoot" for my friend's 6 month old tomorrow if the weather cooperates
  • finish laundry, so I can pack for Jacob, Jenna and I for the weekend...Chris is on his own
  • get my hair cut and colored (appointment for Thursday)
  • take Jacob to Mustard Seeds (Wed) and piano lessons (Thurs) and Jenna to dance (Thurs)
  • find time to get Jacob's haircut before Friday
  • call the eye dr to see if my contacts have come in yet (it's been a month since I ordered them - crazy!)...and if not, beg for some samples so I don't have to wear my glasses this weekend
  • do lesson plans for next week (I have a sub Monday morning for a training I have to attend, so my plans HAVE to be done before I leave on Friday)

I think that's the big, important stuff. There are still the little things like eating, breathing, and teaching. Start praying for a fog delay!!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Baking Muffins

One of my favorite things about the different seasons is the special recipes I have for each particular season. I get so excited to try them out again. This weekend Jenna and I made pumpkin chocolate chip muffins of my favorite fall recipes. She loved helping and even cracked the eggs by herself (with limited egg shells falling into the batter). I took this picture while she was watching the mixer do the work. There's just something about it that I love! It's definitely one of my new favorite photos and I'm seriously considering blowing it up and framing it for our kitchen (I have photos in almost every other room of the house, why not add the kitchen, too!?!).

Friday, October 13, 2006

A little pat on the back for me.....

For my on-line photography class we get a lesson each week, study it and take photos for the assignment, submit them by the following week, and then nervously wait for the instructor to critique them. I really was nervous for this first assignment. I had to read the lesson several times to grasp all the terminology and concepts...and still wasn't totally sure I understood it correctly. I had a really hard time taking pictures of objects rather than people. These photos were the first photos I have ever taken in "manual" mode (which basically means I have to set ALL the camera settings rather than just clicking like I usually do). Even when I submitted my photos, I just wasn't really sure that I had correctly interpreted the assignment and questioned whether I had submitted the "right" photos out of all the photos I took last weekend. we got our first critiques......and I did good!! The instructor (Simon...he lives in about long distance instruction!) really liked both of my photos and commented that I really seemed to "grasp the overall idea" of the lesson (if he only could have seen me doubting myself all week!). But the best news is that the photo below was chosen by him as PHOTO OF THE WEEK out of all the students currently taking the course. Here is what the instructor had to say about my photo (don't worry if you're a little confused after reading it...I was too...but it sounds good!)

Hi Amy,
I am sure you can see the improvement between the before and after versions of your picture, with the brighter rendition of the after shot looking much more appealing compared with the rather dense tones of the before shot. The camera has been "fooled" by the bright sky and attempted to set an approriate exposure for the light level that would render it as a mid-tone, which clearly it is not. Well done, you have certainly grasped the idea behind adjusting the exposure when necessary and turned out a good photo.
Congratulations on my Photo of the Week!

Regards, Simon

I was so excited!!!! YEA FOR ME!!!!! Now...I'm off to try to understand and tackle this week's lesson.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lovely Ohio weather

It's October 12th and I just looked out my classroom window and saw SNOWFLAKES flying through the air. How depressing!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Photography 101

I am taking an on line photography class specifically for my camera. My goal is to learn more about the settings and mechanics of my camera so I can continue to improve my photos. I got my first lesson last week and was pretty overwhelmed after reading it. So I read it again, and again, and again....and it finally clicked. I think the hardest part of the assignment was that the photos were supposed to be of objects, not people. I am definitely a people photographer more than an object photographer. At first I wasn't sure what I wanted to use as a subject, but the more photos I took, the more good subjects I found. My first assignment was due today. I won't go into the details of the assignment because it really won't make sense to most of you, but I thought I'd share the 2 photos I submitted. I'm still nervously waiting for my feedback from the instructor, but overall I was pretty happy with how they turned out and what I learned.

This first photo is actually taken at the cemetery. It's a iron window on a building in the cemetery.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Fall is here

Just some random photos of some of my favorite fall things.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

I scrapped!

It's been a while since I scrapped, but I finally made time to sit down and get some pages done today. I did my "homework" for the on-line scrapbooking class Brenda and I are taking (see tidbit #5 in the previous post). Here are the results. The first one is my favorite. The second one looks much better in person. On here you can't really see the background paper and it looks like the green accents don't match -but in person they match perfectly. There's also an annoying grey spot on the bottom and the date got cut off. I really need to improve my scanning and stitching skills before the next assignment....but you get the idea!


Just some random things I thought I'd share.....

-All the 3rd-5th graders in all the VW elementaries participated in the 1 mile fun run on Friday. Jacob finished 15th out of 123 3rd graders! I had no idea his short, little, bow-legs could go that fast. He definitely doesn't take after me in the running department!

-I signed up for an on-line photography class. It a class specifically for my camera, so I should learn a lot about the settings and mechanics of my camera. I'm excited to learn...but feeling VERY overwhelmed right now with the amount of information! I'll be sharing photos for my assignments here each check back!

-Fall is here!!! The leaves are changing colors, our fall decorations are up, we've been eating M&Ms/candy corn/peanuts mixture, I have fall scented candles burning, the kids have picked out Halloween costumes, we bought pumpkins, the nights are cooler. I have a bunch of fall photos to share...but I think I'll wait until tomorrow. Stay tuned!!

-I found out this week that Brenda, Jill, Luke, Carsyn, and Payton are coming to Ohio for Thanksgiving! I can't wait to see everyone, eat yummy Thanksgiving food, take photos, and go shopping with them!

-Brenda and I are taking an on-line scrapbooking class together. This week we got our first assignment. I actually sat down and scrapbooked this afternoon...UNINTERRUPTED! It was wonderful. I'll post photos of my layouts later. I love how they turned out!

-We had family night on Friday and ate at Buffalo Wild Wings.....our favorite place to eat. YUMMMMMMMY!!

-I unexpectedly got paid for a recent photo session (I had told them NOT to pay me...but they didn't listen). Now I have enough money to buy a new lens I've been wanting. It should be here this week! Can't wait to play with it.

-My sister-in-law, Becca, has jumped on the blogging band wagon. You can visit her blog here.

-With the help of my sisters and cousins, I'm making a memory book for Grandma D's 90th birthday with 90 memories we have of Grandma. I can't wait to read all their memories and put it all together (I need your "memories" no later than this Friday so I have some time to put it together before her party. THANKS!!)

-It's Sunday night...and that's means pizza with the neighbors....which means I don't have to cook. What could be better than that??

HAVE A GOOD WEEK! And check back often this week....I have lots of photos to share!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

You just gotta love small town news

One of my favorite things about living in a smaller town is the articles that actually appear in the newspaper. I think sometimes they really stretch to find something to fill the pages (and don't even get me started on their lack of proofreading abilities!). This article appeared on VW's on-line newspaper today (which I generally prefer over the actual newspaper). Be sure to read the ENTIRE article...all the way to the end...and see if you laugh out loud like I did.


Whether it was envy or revenge, a couple of local Buckeyes fans lost some OSU yard items to thieves over the weekend. Van Wert optometrist Dr. Mark Bidlack -- a dyed-in-the-(scarlet and gray) wool Buckeyes fan -- and his neighbor, Judy Davis, both reported thefts of OSU-themed items from their yards. The thefts took place sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning. Dr. Bidlack reported the theft of an Ohio State flag and OSU landscape stone from his residence at 648 Monroe St. Davis, who lives at 642 Monroe, also reported the theft of an OSU flag, as well as a football-shaped wooden OSU sign and a Buckeyes wind sock banner. Police are investigating the incident, but no one wearing maize and blue was reportedly seen in the area.

Becca and Lori - do you know where YOUR husbands were on Sunday night/Monday morning?? HA HA HA

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Here are some pictures from Jacob's soccer game last Saturday. It didn't rain, so I was able to take my camera (but we were FREEZING!). He didn't score any goals this week and they ended up losing again, but he played really hard ....and was covered in mud!