Friday, November 30, 2012

Do you see anything wrong with this picture?

There isn't anything wrong with this picture, is there?
A Bible opened up to Luke 2, the story of Jesus' birth.
Nativity pieces.
Advent wreath and candles.
But wait, the candles are the wrong color, aren't they?
In the past, this really would have bothered me, the wrong color candles. There is 'suppose to be' 3 purple candles, one pink candle, and one white candle in the center.
My first-born, type-A tendencies would put me on a quest each year before Christmas trying to find the 'right' color candles. But you know what I have begun to realize over the last few years? Jesus doesn't really care what color the candles are. He wants us to take the time during this season of advent to reflect on the miracle of His birth. He is the Savior of our world. That should be the focus of my worship to Him, not the color of my candles.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Holiday Countdown winner is...

A couple of days ago, I posted about a giveaway for this cute holiday countdown. Today was the day to pick the winner, and the winner is...
 Yay Jill! Be sure to send me your mailing address to kymk99 at yahoo dot com. I know your family will enjoy this!
I really enjoyed reading everyone's Christmas tradition, so now I am going to share one with you. Years ago, I read in an article in a Family Fun magazine about wrapping up your Christmas books each year at Christmas. Each day, the kids choose a 'present', open it, and then you take the time right then to read the book. Over the years, I have accumulated quite a few Christmas books! Our Christmas books are always packed away and only come out at Christmas time, which makes reading them each year quite special.
 Now that my kids are older and our schedule is sometimes a little busy, we don't always have a chance to 'open' and read every book that has been wrapped. These were the leftovers from last year.
 Since Matthew was at school today, Kelsey went through and picked these books to read this year.
 These are the extras! This is the result of lots of after Christmas half off sales.
Our stack of books is wrapped and ready to be read! I wonder which one the kids will pick in the morning?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Snowflake Window Decoration Tutorial

I am not really a winter person, but I do really like snowflakes. And as much as I love decorating for Christmas, I love having decorations that can be up past Christmas. The house always looks so bare after Christmas when all the decorations are put away, so to be able to keep some 'winter' decorations up, helps me to keep the 'winter blues' away.
One of the very first things I pinned on Pinterest was a window decoration using ornaments. This year, I have been pinning some crochet snowflake projects and thought I could use the same concept as the ornaments, but use snowflakes instead.
So I used this snowflake pattern, but instead of making the garland, I made single snowflakes.
 Then I gathered some pom poms, fishing line, a needle and a pair of scissors.
 I tied a knot at the end of a length of fishing line and put this through a pom pom.
 Then I threaded the fishing line through one of the snowflakes. To kind of keep the snowflakes and pom poms from slipping down the fishing line, I looped the fishing line around again and put the needle through the same spot. You can add as many pom poms and snowflakes to a length of fishing line that suits you. Then I made a loop at the top of the fishing line.
 I placed tension rods in the window frame
 Then using ornament hooks, I hung the lengths of snowflakes and pom poms onto the tension rods.
 You can add as many lengths to your window as you like.
I just love the way it looks!
What projects are you working on?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Holiday Countdown Giveaway!!

Have you seen this '12 Day Holiday Countdown' from DaySpring?
I happened to purchase 2 of these last month, thinking that one of my blog readers might like to win one of these to share with their family during Christmas. What is really neat about this countdown is that you can use it during Christmas, Easter, and Thanksgiving!
The numbered drawers have different pictures on each side for the three holidays.The countdown also comes with a devotional book to read with your family as you countdown to each of the holidays represented. You can read one of the sample devotionals here.
Would you like to win one of these for your family?
Here is what you need to do - tell me in the comments what is your favorite Christmas tradition in your family?
Entries will be accepted until Wednesday, November 28th at midnight pacific time. We will draw a name from the comments left on Thursday and announce the winner on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Taking a bit of a break

"Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness;
Come before Him with joyful singing.
Know that the Lord Himself is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter His gates with thanksgiving
And His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him, bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His lovingkindness is everlasting
And His faithfulness to all generations."
-Psalm 100
dwelling on these verses this week
have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
blog giveaway coming next week, so be sure to come back for a visit

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Photography Class Field Trip

A couple of nights ago, our photography class met downtown in the nearest 'big city' to take some night time photos. Our focus that night was using a tripod and using a slow shutter speed while shooting pictures. Because we were using a slow shutter speed, we didn't need to use our flash while taking these pictures. Out of the almost 30 pictures I took that night, here are my favorites:

 ISO 100, 35mm, f/5.0, 0.5 sec
 ISO 100, 18mm, f/4.5, 1.0 sec
 ISO 100, 44mm, f/5.3, 2.0 sec
 ISO 100, 18mm, f/4.5, 1/3 sec
 ISO 100, 32mm, f/4.8, 1/6 sec
Good reminder that 'The Hobbit' is coming out next month!
ISO 100, 40 mm, f/5.3, 0.4 sec
When using a tripod and a slow shutter speed, our instructor gave us a good tip. If you have a self-timer mode on your camera, set it for about 2 seconds. This way, once you have set your focus and pressed the shutter, you can take your hand off of the camera and not have any camera shake (basically, this will help to eliminate blurry pictures!)
This lesson will be fun to put into practice next month with all of the Christmas lights up everywhere!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Take the time

We live in a very busy world.
We have instant everything.
We get impatient when we have to wait.
One of my favorite Bible verses is Psalm 46:10.
"Be still and know that I am God."
Be still.
When was the last time that you were still?
The children that we sponsor through Compassion want us to be still.
They want us to take the time to pray for them.
They want us to take the time to write to them.
They want us to take the time to send them encouraging words.
They want us to take the time to share our prayer requests with them.
They want us to take the time to share about our daily lives with them.
They want us to tell them about the hope they can have in Jesus.
The letters we write to our Compassion kids can be the 'hope in the darkness'.
Please take the time to read about Marco.
Will you take the time to write to your Compassion sponsored child today?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Peru - follow along!

The Compassion Bloggers Team is in Peru!
Kelsey and I just looked at the pictures that have been uploaded today on Flickr.
Here are a couple that we really liked:
Compassion Bloggers visit to Peru November 12-17, 2012 to write about the ministry of Compassion International.
Compassion Bloggers visit to Peru November 12-17, 2012 to write about the ministry of Compassion International.
Compassion Bloggers visit to Peru November 12-17, 2012 to write about the ministry of Compassion International.
Compassion Bloggers visit to Peru November 12-17, 2012 to write about the ministry of Compassion International.
Compassion Bloggers visit to Peru November 12-17, 2012 to write about the ministry of Compassion International.
Oh, to go on one of these trips and have the experiences that all of these bloggers are having. I am so thankful that I can follow along from my home until I have the chance, if the Lord wills, to visit one of my sponsored kids. Just today, I received a letter from Lina. She told me it would be wonderful to meet me in person and to give me a big hug.
Are you following the bloggers in Peru?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Window Light - Take 2 Edits

A couple of weeks ago, I took some pictures of my kids using window lighting as part of my photography class assignment. I was pretty happy with the results, but now that I have been playing around with Lightroom, I am really able to see what just a little bit of editing can do to make these pictures 'wall worthy'. And since our current class assignment is to play with our current photo editing software, this has given me a chance to learn more about this new program!

Here is the before picture of Matthew, straight out of the camera...

...and here is the after picture.
 Here is teh before picture of Kelsey, straight out of the camera...

...and here is the after picture.
Can you see a difference?

Update: 1/9/13 - I am entering the picture of Matthew in the I Heart Faces Photo Challenge!

Friday, November 9, 2012

A quick Lightroom edit

Last weekend, while we were walking out to Mirror Lake, there were so many fallen leaves all along the path. I thought it would be fun to try something, like take a picture of the kids throwing leaves up into the air...

 ISO 800, 32mm, f/4.8, 1/1250
We had a lot of filtered light along the path, but it was still pretty dark, even with the ISO up. I wanted the fast shutter speed to try to capture the leaves in the air after the kids had thrown them. With a little work in Lightroom, here is the after picture...
In the 'Develop' mode in Lightroom, I adjusted some of the basic settings (exposure, contrast, highlights, etc.) and was able to brighten up the photo, which is something I wasn't able to do straight out of the camera.

As much as I was dragging my feet on this photo editing stuff, I might just be a new convert!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Making time to be a blessing

Today was yet one more day that we put away the books and did some 'home ec'. This time, Kelsey and I gathered up some art projects, some reading books, and some cookie dough and headed over to the house of a young couple from our church. Right now this couple is taking care of two of their neices while their mom and dad are out of the country taking care of arrangements to adopt and bring home their new little brother. Due to some circumstances beyond everyone's control, the girls will be staying a little bit longer than anyone anticipated with aunt and uncle, who already have three young children of their own.

It is times like these that I am so thankful we have been homeschooling and I am working toward the other end of our homeschooling journey. Book work has its place, but when we can take time from that book work and bless a young family, it just warms my heart. The girls were all so excited when we arrived!

There are many things our kids can do to be a blessing in our communities: rake a neighbor's yard, help to prepare a meal for a new mom and her family, be a mommy's helper, help in the nursery at church, make cards for soldier's serving overseas, etc.

What types of service projects do you and your family do in your area?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was having Yosemite withdrawals and was trying to find a few friends to come along with me for a day trip to the park. I had no takers! So Kev suggested changing the day that I was planning on going and said we could go as a family...yay!!

So Saturday, we packed up our lunches and started the 2 1/2 hour drive to Yosemite Valley. On our last trip to the park, we spent time in the Mariposa Groves and Glacier Point. This time, I wanted to hike out to Mirror Lake and just spend some time walking around in the valley.

Bridalveil Falls is usually the first stop we make in the park when we spend time in the valley. Not a lot of water coming down this time of the year, so Matthew and I climbed up some of the rocks to get a different perspective for our pictures.

We had never stopped and walked through the church before. The original church building had been there since the 1870's. Services are still held here, might need to make a Sunday day trip for one visit.

 The first of many deer we saw.
 Half Dome from Sentinal Bridge with some fall color.
As I was looking around, I kept thinking that something was missing...and it was! There was no water coming down Yosemite Falls! Can you see where the water usually comes down?

On our walk out to Mirro lake, there were many, many leaves on the ground. I thought it would be fun to shoot a picture at a high shutter speed, have my kids throw leaves in the air, and try to catch the leaves in the air in the photo. Might need to see what I can do to brighten this one up a bit...

 My favorite of the day
I brought along my tri-pod with the hope that I could get a good family picture while we were there. Guess I need to inform my family that this is an expectation I have. Not everyone was prepared and I wasn't really happy with any of the pictures of the four of us. Guess we will have to go back... :o)

Mirror Lake...with no water. Last time the kids and I walked out here, there was plenty of water and I was able to get some amazing pictures with the mountain reflections in the water. I love that we can see the changes in the different seasons.

 So many beautiful fall colors!
 This was a group of 7 deer wandering around near one of the campgrounds.

My family had never seen the Ahwahnee Hotel. We will probably never stay there (so expensive), but it is nice to walk around this beautiful hotel.

 The dining room is amazing!
 But at these prices, like I said, we will probably never stay there or even eat there!
One last stop before heading out of the valley.
Until next time Yosemite! Our National Park Pass is good until May of next year, so I am sure at least I will be making another trip...soon... :o)

Monday, November 5, 2012


The Compassion Bloggers are getting ready to head out to Peru next week!
Shaun Groves has all sorts of things prepared to make it easy for all of us to follow along on this trip.
Will you join in praying for this team?