Monday, October 25, 2010

This past weekend...

Remember the pumpkins? We finally carved them. Scooping out the gunk.
Daddy hates this part, so mama helped.

Mmmmmm...pumpkin seeds!

Gross Pete! Don't eat that!

Joey does not like this part either.

Pete does not mind it.

Now it is time to carve! Joey telling daddy how he wants his to look.

Joey supervising, happy with the results so far.

Paul supervising.

Paul wanted perfect little circles for the nostrils, so there ya go.

Ta-da! From L to R, Paul's, Joey's, and Pete's. About that sharpie, lol...

Later on...a little sunflower oil, kosher salt, and baking time...

I love these little condiment bowls I got at Wal-Mart. They are the perfect size for a toddler-sized snack.

Do you want to make this? Here is the recipe...pretty basic. :)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Whole pumpkin
Sunflower oil
Kosher salt


Scoop out the inners of the pumpkin
-Place seeds and flesh in a bowl of water. Separate the seeds from the flesh.
-Rinse seeds. Shake out excess water in a colander.
-Place seeds in a bowl. For every cup of pumpkin seeds, add 1 teaspoon sunflower oil. For every cup of sunflower seeds, add 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt(this is not an exact science. Add more salt of you want). Toss to combine.
-Spread seeds on a parchment lined baking sheet.
-Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, tossing them a few times during baking, until they are golden brown.

Playing around with self portrait and black and white conversions.

And, lastly, I did not, definitely did not, put this in my cart. Not that I have anything against sugar. When I got to the check-out line, I turned to Paul and said, "Did you put this in the cart?"  Paul said "NO!" Pete volunteered, "Me did! Me did!"

Have a great day! ;)


Love them. And, I am a sucker for giveaways(have not won one yet, but someday...someday!). So, here is the latest I want want want! I adore Paint The Moon actions! Oh, I hope I win! :)

And, I will be back later with some seriously cute pumpkin carving action. ;)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall leaves and such

This past weekend, we do what we do every year in the Fall...we rake up a huge pile of leaves and let the kids play in them. Over the years, we have collected lotsa funny pictures of the kids being goofy in a big o'l pile of leaves.
This year was no exception.
I think Pete had the most fun with it all.

Can you find the toddler in this pictrue?

Jude had a good time too. But, he did not like it when leaves landed on him.

Joey always has fun throwing leaves.

Then, Joe says, "hey, use the timer and get a family pic." So, I throw it on auto, set the camera on self timer, place on top of the charcoal caddy, and this is what we got.
Not the best pic. But you know what? It shows us as we really are(mama has messy hair, no make-up, and mismatched clothes, the kids are not wearing anything nice, I am trying to prevent Pete from whacking me in the face with a stick, Jude is just fidgeting around, and Paul is grumpy), so I love it.

Then, I took some blurry pics. On purpose. For fun. lol

While we were outside, the kids water color painted on a table Joey made. Yes, Joey. Joe dismantled some wooden bunk beds we had. The wood was just in a pile outside. When Joey was playing outside, Joey ran inside for some screws and a screw driver. He then pieced the wood together, piece by piece, until a table top was made. He referenced his boy scout book and learned a new trick: if you slide a screw in soap, it goes into the wood easier. He was so excited about this. Honest, he did this all by himself. Joe put some legs on it for him. It is not the sturdiest thing, but it works. Here are the watercolors...he made me an early birthday card and painted some flowers. On the flower painting, he painted, 'for mom.' :)

And, ever since Paul found that Potter book, we have been reading it. This was too funny. Look at this scared cat! He is about to be cat pudding for Samuel Whiskers and his shrill wife, Anna Maria(do not worry, he was saved!). What a funny illustration.

Monday, October 18, 2010


To start the post off is the sweetest baby ever. I was playing around with iso in our dark bedroom. I actually woke this baby up when I snapped a pic. But, he was happy to be awake, apparently, so I snapped these. He has been a terror at night, but you can't really tell from these pics, can ya? This past weekend was fun. We rented a big carpet cleaner from Lowes(that was not the fun part, just mentioning it). WOW. I cannot believe how dirty our carpets were. We also played in the leaves. I tried to take a family picture, setting the camera on timer. Worst picture ever. But, it is really funny, so maybe if I can steal some time, I will post it. I don't think we have had a family picture since...before Peter? Can that be right?!??!! Hey, funny, if you look real close you can see me in Jude's eye, lol. Joe made plans to go fishing for steelhead in Erie next weekend. He will take Joey. They have to sneak out without Paul freaking out. They should have a great time. We are having trouble finding waders that fit a 7 year old though...Hey, Eva, if you are reading this, Jude is wearing one of Danny's rompers, so thank you! ;) Jude is clapping! It is super cute. I volunteered to teach a lesson at boy scouts Wednesday, and I still don't know what I am going to do. I need to get on that. It is getting cold here. I sneaked over to McDonalds and got one of their fancy coffees. I got the kids hot coco. Shhh...don't tell Joe. And, I did this despite telling McDonalds that I would never ever patronize them again after they refused to honor my expired 'free coffee' card. he he he. Okay, to be honest, I am writing anything to fill this space. This picture looks good to the left, but I had all this dead space.   

Finished Jude's sweater. :)
Joe says, "hey, you should make these and sell them." He is always saying stuff like that. A real entreprenuer. I told him it takes too long. I have no time. He asks, how long did it take you to make this? I say, "I started it when Peter was a baby." End of discussion. Yes, that is a lens cap. No, he was not interested in the baby toys. You do what you gotta do to get the shot.

Some pictures are prettier in color...sweet baby hands...

and lips...

I love kimonos.

We read a book inbetween all of this.

I love how babies look from the back sitting up. See Pete too?

Then we read another book. This picture is for my mom(who I miss dearly and has been begging me to get in the frame) and for the kids who probably will want pictures of me, not them, when they get older.

And, I kid you not, this is a note I found Saturday night. Joe wrote it to Joey and Paul when Pete was around, I guess.
1. They did not clean the 3rd floor.
2. They did tell Pete about the corn maze.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pumpkin patch!

Went to the pumpkin patch this last weekend. It was hot. It was crowded. But, we had so much fun. :)
The rule was that you had to be able to pick up and carry own pumpkin.

Pete needed help finding a pumpkin that was just the right size.


Paul is always pretending that he has found a 'nature bed.'

32 cents a pound.

Then, we picked some apples off the trees. I found my new favorite variety, 'Ida Red.'

Oh yeah, and here is some artwork from Joey he brought home on Friday. He says the guy on the left is him, and the guy on the right is his bff, Cameron. :)

More photographic adventures

In my on going quest to take better pictures of these boys, I got Don Marr's 'Available Light' 4 months ago. I have only skimmed it. Well, after taking some of the scariest pictures ever at the pumpkin patch this past weekend(Shadowed eyes, etc., oh, and I promise I will get those up soon), I decided to pull the book out. I know lotsa other gals like me have the book, and I figured it would be fun to read the book together, post pics with each other, and so, I started a little 'read along' at Clickimoms. Oh, yes, that link again. lol I am learning so much there. Anyhow, here is my project for this week. Paul was the best model ever. I first asked Pete to do it, but I got lotsa frowny faces!

Okay, this is part of the 'sunny day' project. This is a BAD sunny day pic. It is 12:00 noon. No clouds. The sun is high in the sky, to his left. See the harsh shadows? You cannot even see his eyes! And, the part of his face that you can see is just too light.  iso 100/1/4000/2.0

Okay, so to remedy this, I put his back to the sun. I spot metered the face for proper exposure. because the sun was so high in the sky, I had to get down below him, kind of using his head as a flag.
iso 100/1250/2.0
If you look real close, you can see me in his eyes snapping the pic. he he he.
See the sun just peeking out at the top right of his hair? So, this is better than above.

Okay, so these are my open shade projects. 
This is the open shade I was working in. Please note that the pink flowered tree was not a canopy. It was in the background, and not over Paul. Still, some of the rosy bounced light did make it into the scene. Will talk about that in a sec. This is like the 'tunnel of light' discussed in 2-14. Light is bounced off the wall. The wall is a tan color. The hedge is obviously green. I have taken pictures here before, because the light is nice. Now I know why. Anyhow, I have noticed in my past pictures that the skin tones have a yellow or green cast. I assume the hedge was to blame for some of that(like if they are facing the hedge, the bounced light is greenish).

Okay, so I have camera CWB set to shade setting. I took a picture of Paul at the very edge of this open shade(his tippy toes are in the sun). I am in the sun when taking pic.
Light from the edge of open shade is nice and soft. I think this shows that. He is rosy though. I wonder if bounced light from the wall to the the pink flowers is causing this?

Okay, so I move him deeper in. I put his back to the bushes, so the wall is the reflector. By moving him further back into the shade, the light should have more contrast. I think I see more shadows on the face. Just a bit more.
Still not crazy about his color. Thinking about the colors of the wall, flowers, and bush...all of these things can bounce some hue onto his skin, making it a different color cast. Knowing this, I decide to try some custom white balance using my gray card.

I move Paul back to the edge of the open shade for some nice soft light.
I think the color is much better. Still a warm image, but not as orange/yellow. Now, looking at this, I think that if I had pivoted him just a hair to the right, the left side of his face would have more light.
 Oh, and I did not check my f. stop before snapping in the sun. I could have raised it(I took the sun pics after the shade pics). What a goof-I was at my max shutter speed in the first pic.

Okay, here are yet more...
This is at the edge of the shade, but I turned his back to the light. Used spot meter for exposure, and I had him back up to get a rim of light on head.

Here, I had him stand on the edge of the open shade, with his back to the shade. I used a fill flash set at -2.

One more in open shade, just working with comp. :)

I was not thrilled with my first edit, so here is a lighter one...

Flare fun at the park. I am such a dork. I was laying on my belly to get this shot. I am sure I looked like a total nut job. Not to mention I had a big gray card sticking outta my back pocket. If any moms were thinking about befriending me, I am sure they quickly did a 180...Anyhow, I have a few things to learn in re to flare...found some answers to my burning questions...will play again. Yeah, wonky composition, I know. I was trying to get the sun in the frame and went nuts.