Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Pay Phone

My nephew and I were talking the other day about driving places and his fear of driving in large towns.  I told him to drive in larger towns and/or cities anytime anyone would let me while he's still learning and it'll not be as 'scary' the first time he does it by himself.

Anyway, while we were talking about this I started talking about the summer I drove to New Jersey by myself (I was 19).  I told him I had to stop every 3 to 4 hours to call home so they could track my progress.  Our conversation......

Nephew:  why didn't you just call from the car?

Me:  I didn't have a phone (which got a suprised look from him) so I had to stop at a gas station & use a pay phone.

Nephew:  you had to pay to use a phone?"

Me:  Yep, had to deposit quarters in it to make a call

Then after sitting there a few minutes he asked me:  how did you find your way out there without a phone?

This threw me for a second and then I laughted (I realized he was talking GPS on our phones).  I still have an atlas in my car so I pulled it out and gave it to him.  Talk about a puzzled look.  Guess I need to teach him how to read a map!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2-Week To Do List 04/22/2012

It's going to be a busy couple of weeks.  I hope to get my guest bathroom pictures posted on here this week, but I'm not going to hold my breath!  I would like to get the picture/canvas I'm going to paint done first - haha, silly thought.

Monday 4/23 - have a client coming over after work to determine her print order and design a storyboard of her son

Tuesday 4/24 - Brittany's school play at 7pm which gives me just enough time to get home, grab my camera and pick up Dad & Johnathon.  Won't be home until around 9pm so I doubt I get much accomplished at home, may throw the clothes already in the washer into the dryer.  Have to edit one picture for a client - a special request.

Wednesday 4/25 - I need to go in early, early, early to prep for Thursday's meeting, baseball game after work, order pictures for a client when I get home from the game

Thursday 4/26 - get to work in the early, early am hours again, Board Meeting that afternoon (boo - hiss), baseball game after work

Friday 4/27 - Johnathon has a baseball game after work (away game, doubt I'll go - don't tell), design & order a storyboard for a client, most likely have another order or two to place

Saturday 4/28 - cheerleading competition at 10am, lunch with Martin's at the parents house afterwards - hope to get to take a few pictures with the Martin's, grand opening of Stark's Fitness Center in Benton - make appearance & finish registration (I'm joining a gym!!), Spring Gathering in Marion (kind of a big rummage sale of antiques & 'junk') that I have to be at it before it ends at 3pm, 2-year old photo session in the early evening

Sunday 4/29 - two photo sessions - toddler & high school senior, finish up a wedding decorating quote, edit a photo session, maybe clean my house a little?? maybe

Monday 4/30 - end of the month at work (involves a lot of work for accounting), work on assemblying wedding invites I designed

Tuesday 5/1 - first of the month at work (first day of the month means even more work for accounting), spring band concert at SV High.

Wednesday 5/2 - quarterly financial meeting in St. Louis with the banker, lecture that evening on lighting for photography (this is a fun thing for me), spending the night in STL

Thursday 5/3 - on-hands seminar in St. Louis on photography lighting at a local studio!!  I'm really excited about this, it'll be the first training I've ever had on photography.  Johnathon has a game in the afternoon, doubt I make it back in time.

Friday 5/4 - Johnathon has a baseball game after work, finish all the wedding invites after the game (150 with rsvp to make, easy peasy)

Saturday 5/5 - something is going on this morning but I can't remember what right now, deliver wedding invites to the bride, baseball game, Prom night at SV - I have multiple high school students to take pictures of in the late afternoon, and it's my BIRTHDAY!!! 

Sunday 5/6 - shooting an engagement session, edit a few pictures from the previous weekend

Monday 5/7 and Tuesday 5/8 - audit at work, oh the joy

And that's what my next two weeks involve!
I have all the supplies, tools to install my crown molding in my kitchen - now to find the time....

Random Facts

I get ear infections easily, a trait I think I inherited from my father.  Johnathon had two baseball games yesterday and the high temp while we sat there from 11am until almost 4pm was only 50 degrees with a strong northern breeze.  I didn't feel well when I get up yesterday and should have stayed home/inside, I woke up this morning with an nasty ear infection - YUCK.

Johnathon made Varsity baseball, we (Sesser-Valier) co-op with Waltonville in football and baseball.  They play football at SV and for baseball we're the Spartans.  Here are a few pics from this season, when Johnathon gets to play it's typically in center field.  He's gets to pinch run most games (he's fast and likes to steal bases).  He can throw the ball from dead center to home without the ball hoping, meaning no bounce before it gets to the catcher.  He's #27, this is his freshman year and he's a 1/2 an inch shy of 6 feet tall.  We're not sure he's actually hit his growth spurt yet either!

His batting has improved this year.  Pretty sure the major part of the problem he had batting last year was due to an incorrect prescription in his contacts.  Amazing when you can actually see the ball, you have a much better chance of hitting it!

If I'm flipping through channels and find the movie Armageddon is on, about 97 times out of a 100 I'll watch it.  I always cry at the end.  I know Bruce Willis is going to die, but I still cry. (oh, it was on today and of course I watched it)

I HATE folding white socks.  Let me repeat that, I HATE folding white socks.  They tend to sit in a pile on the couch for a few days before I fold them.

Finding men's jeans in 28x33 is darn near impossible - Johnathon needs to gain a little in the waist!

I made blueberry muffins for breakfast this morning and shared one with my puppy.

I order from Schwan's about once a month.  If you haven't tried the "Roasted Baby Bakers" give them a try next time you place your order.  They're probably one of my favorite side dishes from there.  They cook up in less than 20 minutes in the oven on aluminum foil so clean up is quick too.

I think that's enough randomness for one day.  Hope you have a great week!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Recipe: Bacon Wrapped Chicken

This is what I had for dinner tonight.......bacon wrapped chicken, oh my.  I saw a variation of this on Pinterest, you can find it HERE she has more detailed directions (with measurements!)

First step is to gather your ingredients:  Chicken Breasts, bacon, brown sugar, honey, can of pineapple chunks in juice, and I used a little BBQ dry rub from a local BBQ joint. 

I foil lined a baking sheet and sprayed it with Pam - basically I didn't feel the need to clean the baking sheet after cooking these and with Pam on the foil they slide off.

Slice the chicken breasts into strips (be sure to trim off as much of the fat as you can), I cut the chicken diagonally.  My chicken breasts were huge, so I then cut each strip in half because they were so thick.  I only used 2 of the breast because I ran out of room on my baking sheet, telling ya they were some big breasts!

Next cut your bacon in half and roll each piece of chicken and place it on the baking sheet.  You don't need anything fancy to keep the bacon in place, it'll stick to the chicken.  Don't over crowd your baking sheet, give them a little breathing room - you don't want them to stick together when you bake them.

After you get all the chicken pieces wrapped in bacon and laid on your baking sheet, I lightly pepper mine.  If you don't like pepper, don't use it.  

I don't use salt - EVER - so I will never tell you to add salt, plus they are wrapped in bacon so they have some salt already (oh I buy the low sodium bacon so my bacon has the minimal amount of salt)

Now for the sauce - I don't have exact measurements, sorry that's just not the way I cook.  Measuring cups only come out when I absolutely have to use them. 

I wisked together 'about' a tablespoon of honey, a couple cereal spoons of brown sugar, about half of the juice from the can of pineapple chunks and several shakes of the dry BBQ rub.  Suggestion, after you wisk together the ingredients - taste it!  If you don't like it now you won't like it on your chicken.

Last time I made it I used a squirt of BBQ sauce instead of the dry rub.  I like the dry rub better but ate all of it last time I made it too so it's not like it was bad.  You could also add a little soy sauce with the pineapple for more of a Hawaiian flair.  Basically you can mix up any type of sauce that you and your family like.  This isn't an exact science.

Now brush your chicken with whatever kind of sauce you decide to use.  I threw in a handful of pineapple chunks.  Next time I'll throw in ALL the pineapple chunks cause I love them.

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes (basically until the chicken is done in the middle).  Then turn your oven up to 450 degrees to get the bacon as crispy as you like it.  It took about 15 minutes to get mine to look like this.....

.....and this is what I had for dinner!  Trust me, it was GOOD! 
I mean, come on it's wrapped in bacon - what isn't good wrapped in bacon. 
The chicken will shrink up a little when you bake it, just to let you know.

My aunt happened to stop by for something on her way home from work and decided to eat supper, she really liked it too & asked me to pass the recipe along to her daughter.  I ran a few pieces down to my parents house for them to try, didn't take dad long to eat all I sent down there - I think he was a little disappointed I only took about 5 pieces!

I'll be making this again, no doubt about that.  Hope you enjoy it if you give it a try!

Product Review: Breville Gourmet Single Cup Coffee Maker

 I purchased the Breville Gourmet Single Cup Coffee Maker over a year ago for both my home and office - it was the BEST purchase EVER!

I have nothing bad to say about this machine, I love it!

1.) It has 5 cup sizes, the largest works perfectly for both my travel mug and my large Longaberger coffee mugs. 

2.) It has an adjustable thermostat, I like my coffee piping hot!

3.) It has a refillable filter so I can use my own coffee & don't have to purchase the K-cups.  I keep a selection of K-cups on hand for company - they love getting to select their coffee flavor.

4.) It brews my cup of coffee in under a minute and is relatively quite in doing it.

5.) My morning cup of joe tastes the same every single morning.  This doesn't happen with other coffee brewers.

6.) I love that I can easily brew a cup when I want it, no stale burnt coffee in the pot & I can brew myself a cup of coffee anytime of the day without feeling that I have to drink an entire pot of coffee (or half pot, you get the picture). 

7.) More cost efficient than brewing a pot of coffee, you only brew the cup(s) you want - no waste!

8.) Quick, easy clean up.

9.)  Looks sharp on my counter top.

I give the Breville Single Cup Coffee Maker 2 big thumbs up!

After owning this unit for some time now I'm changing my review.  While the brewer is great in the beginning, I've had to replace the unit at home (only worked for 1 year) and my unit at work just stopped working too.  I love being able to brew one cup at a time as it keeps me from drinking as much coffee but the Breville didn't last any longer than the Keurig brand brewers and costs twice as much. 

I'd had my old pot style brewer for over 10 years when I decided to switch to the single-cup brewers and never had any trouble with it working.  I don't understand why the single-cup brewers only seem to work for a limited amount of time and then stop brewing proper size cups of coffee (it's like they wake up one day and forget what 12 oz is).  I'll probably end up going back to an 'old fashioned', plain ole coffee pot if the current one messes up.  The machine itself costs way too much to keep replacing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Book Review: The Hunger Games Series

I just finished reading the 3-book series of the Hunger Games. Knowing the book series is geared toward teens, I originally only purchased the first book for my Nook not knowing if I'd like it.

I finished the first book in two nights and quickly purchased the other two and had all three read in less than a week.

I enjoyed the series and it was a quick read that kept you interested, I'm a little surprised that the books are geared toward teens though. Some of the content if you really sit and think about it is a little disturbing. I think the ending in book 3 was a tad bit rushed but all-in-all a good purchase and I recommend reading them!

Looking forward to the first movie, coming out on March 23rd! I assume there will be 3 movies to mimic the book series.

On to other news, I'm going to make an honest attempt to start blogging at least one a week. Progress on the house has been slow, but I'm meeting with a contractor this week to talk about the remodel! Super excited for that and once it gets going I think it'll kick me in high gear about getting a few more things accomplished. The living room as been on total hold waiting for the remodel which is driving me nuts. I did purchase some furniture and a wall hanging for in there.

The master & guest bathrooms are the almost complete. Still need to get the crown molding hung, the hardwood floors sanded and re-stained, floor molding installed and get pictures/wall decorations purchased and hung. As for the rest of the house, well..... In my own defense, I haven't been twiddling my thumbs since my last post (when ever that was). My photography business has picked up, YAY!! This is both good news and bad - I still work my full-time job so my spare time/house time has been drastically cut or you could say non-existent which is also what I'm going to blame my lack of blog posts on too :)

I've pretty much stopped decorating weddings - takes up too much time. I have 3 scheduled for this year which are pretty much just for family. I'll photograph weddings but don't think I'll be decorating any more if I can avoid it.

This past weekend I did a fund raiser for our local Relay for Life. I shoot 20 minute mini photo sessions with the proceeds of the session cost going to the American Cancer Society. The Relay for Life team set up all the appointments. We had 50 sessions! I was pooped Sunday night when we finally finished. I'm not use to standing on concrete for 10 hours a day. I enjoyed the weekend and look forward to getting the edits done.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Basketball overview (2010-2011 Junior High Season)

I'm really late with this post - I thought I'd done it already actually. These are from Johnathon's 8th grade year (last year - oops, he's a Freshman now with only a few weeks of school left - hey, I said it was really late!). At the end of the season, I did storyboards for all the 8th grade boys and an album for the coach.  Above is Johnathon's storyboard - it was printed on as a 16x16.  The storyboards were given to the boys at their last home game (8th grade night) by their parents.  The parents selected the pictures and size of the storyboards, they all did the standout mounting so they could hang them as is on the wall without needing frames.

Now for the album for the coach, the opening page:

I did a 2-page spread for each of the 8th graders (8 of them).  Below are a few examples of the pages.

After the individual players pages, I did a 2-page spreads of all the kids on the Varsity team - just a mixture of the boys as the season went on.

There were 18 2-page spreads in total along with the cover & back page.  I had a signature page in the middle of the book for all of them to write a special message to the coach.  I took the book to the game before their last and let the boys and all the parents look at the book.  I wasn't sure I was going to get it back - the boys looked at it at least 20 times each that night.  Then they presented it to the coach at the the banquet after their last home game.  It was funny watching them watch him look at the book, they each had to show him and explain the pictures on their page.

They were a great 8th grade team, they won regionals at Pinckneyville and got a chance to play in State.  Unfortunately their first game at State didn't go as we'd hoped but we were all very proud of them.  It was a great season with a great group of boys!

Looking back at these pictures I can't believe how young they look and how much they've changed in just one year.  Looking forward to watching them over the next few years. 

Hoping we have a repeat to State before they graduate!