Favorite Photo Friday - "Strawberry Fields Forever"

May 31, 2012

Sarah Walking with the Box of Berries BLOG COLOR MATTE
It was hotter than blazes out there last Saturday, but we did not let that stop us from picking one of most favorite summertime fruits.

3 in a row berry picking BLOG jpg
The girls did a great job searching for ripe berries.

Reagan Looking Off in the distance Sarah holding the berry BLOG COLOR MATTE
It was the first day the fields were open, so a lot of other families had the same idea we did...

2 picking in the field with the basket of berries
and before long, there were people picking all around us.

Berry Farm BLOG
We barely filled one box and the girls were ready to get back into the air conditioned car....and to be honest, I was too.

Sarah and Reags Overlooking the Pond at the Strawberry Field BLOG COLOR MATTE
It was a quick trip and we didn't pick as many berries as I had anticipated, but that's okay. The farm is only a few miles from where we live so we will go back on a day that is a little less humid.

Looks like a cool front has moved in, so we are in for a beautiful weekend.
Hope you enjoy yours!

the long road

Embrace the Haze

May 30, 2012

Nick is halfway through his exams....only two more days to go.
They started last Thursday and the stress is definitely getting to him. I can see it in his demeanor and hear it in his voice. It's so tough.....they know these are their last days, yet they still have to make sure they keep their heads in the game until the bitter end.
We will all be happy when this week is over.

And just as Nick is wrapping up his school year, I am also finishing up my "Push Past Your Comfort Zone", 8 week photography class. Every Sunday, I have been writing the lesson for the coming week and this week's lesson was on Back-lighting, Sun Flares, and Silhouettes. I took Nick in the backyard on Sunday night to do a few quick examples......and ended up really loving these because they are so not my norm.

You can use actions to give your photos sun flare and I DO LOVE using those from time to time, but this class is not about photoshop, it is about achieving things in camera, as I did with these.

I am sort of sad that this 8 week course is coming to an end. I have had such a great time teaching and corresponding each night on facebook with this talented group of ladies. They signed up so I would push them and take their photography skills to the next level......and while doing that, I feel like they also helped to push me as a teacher and a photographer.
Kind of funny how that works:)

The plan was to take a break after this class concluded, but I have decided to run this particular class one more time. Details will be coming soon!

Sunday Snapshot - "Adventures in Grocery Shopping"

May 27, 2012

Kids hanging out of the shopping cart FINAL2 BLOG
After yesterday's trip to the Berry Farm, we had to make a quick stop at the grocery store before heading home. When we got to the front of the store Sarah was disappointed to see that there weren't any "Car Shopping Carts" available. One of the young employees overheard her and he offered to check all the collection areas in the parking lot.
Within minutes, he appeared with a car shopping cart fit for two!

We got the car cart BLOG
He totally made Sarah's day!

Close Up girls in the shopping cart BLOG
In true Reags fashion, she was a little skeptical at first, but as soon as the wheels of that cart were put into motion, the fingers came out of her mouth.....

Reags Silly Face in the Cart BLOG
And that big beautiful smile appeared!!

Shopping cart from behind BLOG
There were lots of giggles coming from the front of the cart and they caused quite a stir as we made our way up and down the aisles.

Usually, I do not take my camera to the grocery store but I happened to have it with me because of our trip to the strawberry farm. When I saw the look on the girls faces in that car, I knew the camera was going to come out of my bag. The very first aisle we hit in the store was completely empty so I acted quickly. That top photo was totally caught in the moment and makes me laugh every time I look at it! I also love how the seat between the two girls almost resembles a heart.

Camera: Canon 5d Markiii
Lens: 85mm f1.4
The settings for the top photo were:
SS 1/160th
ISO 800

All photos in this series were processed with a touch of Florabella's Classic Color and then they were laid out using her new Color Matte and Design Kit.
And just for fun, I applied a radial blur to the top photo to give the illusion of motion.
Kind of looks like the cart is toppling over, doesn't it?

Ni Hao Yall

Make sure you swing by Stef's blog and check out everyone's super Sunday Snapshots.


May 26, 2012

Strawberries at the base of the wine glassCROPPED BLOG
We have been waiting....

Glass in the corner with berries on the board BLOG
and checking in weekly with our local berry farm.

Cut Staweberry Half with the 2 Whole BLOG
Yesterday they updated their website and today is the first day they are open for picking!!!

We have our baskets ready and our favorite strawberry pie recipe on hand.

To the strawberry fields we go!!!

~Happy Memorial Day Weekend~

Just Around the Corner

May 25, 2012

Nick Matte Color The Yellow Line BLOG2
The other day I had mentioned that Nick has been busy with lots of end of the school year activities and last week was one that he was really looking forward to. The 8th Grade dinner dance.....which required them to get dressed up in their finest. He looked so handsome and grown up.

Things are changing so very quickly for him. I can hardly believe that high school is just around the corner and in about a year and a half he will be behind the wheel of the car.

About two months ago when we registered Nick at the high school, we had to go through and select all of his classes for his Freshman year. GOSH, things sure have changed since I went to high school. The choices these kids have are endless. I could not believe the selection of electives available to our children. We are fortunate to live a a great school district where the high school is new. It is so big it looks more like a college campus than a high school.

The catholic school that he goes to now only has about 65-75 kids to a class so it is very small and he knows everyone.... and the local high school probably has about 700 students per grade. I personally thought Nick would be somewhat nervous about this kind of change but he is really very excited and cannot wait to attend the new school.

We met with the guidance counselor to give him Nick's class selections and he spent a good deal of time telling us all the things that would be available to him. Nick was very excited to hear about all the extra curricular activities and clubs they had in place. I anticipate that he will be very busy come Fall.

For now, I think he is looking forward to a summer of fun with his friends.

Instagram photos of Nick BLOG
On Saturday he met up with a group of "friends" to play some mini-golf and when I pulled into the parking lot, he jumped out of the car faster than the speed of light. Thanks to the camera on my Iphone, I was able to capture the two photos above. Check out the one on the right. Notice two of his "fiends" approaching at 11 o'clock? Yes, we are ALL ABOUT THE G!RLS right now. The little boy who never cared what he wore or looked like, is all about his appearance and how he smells. I open his bedroom door holding my breath most of the time so I don't inhale half a bottle of cologne. He has also started working out daily thanks to Mimi and Coachie who set him up with his own gym equipment in our basement. He goes down there and lifts weights, uses the punching bag, and occasionally runs on the treadmill.

Whether I am ready for it or not, there is no denying it, my baby boy is growing up.

the long road

Summer Days Are Almost Here

May 23, 2012

Cape Cod Sunflare and Silhouette BLOG
This week is flying right by and as you could imagine, life is quite busy as the school year is quickly coming to a close. This month has been packed with all kinds of events and activities for Nick who is about to graduate from the 8th grade. Add to that, keeping up with the rest of the family, my job, photography, and the new boutique......and it leaves little time for anything else. Including sleep.

I have been daydreaming about our summer trip to the beach and I can't wait for things to slow down so we can think about heading North and putting our feet in the sand. The kids are ready too. Sarah has started a "Cape Cod" bag in her room and she is already packing all the things she wants to bring along. Bless her little heart. I didn't dare tell her we still have another month or two to go.

I am sure I am not alone when I say that May is one of my least favorite months. Next to December, it is probably the most stressful due to all of the activities and exams.

We are officially counting down the last days of school and highly anticipating our summer break. I will still have to work, but it will surely be nice not to have to worry about the hectic daily schedules and getting everyone up and out each day.

Hope everyone is having a great week. I am happy it will be a short one with the holiday weekend upon us. Nothing like a 4 day weekend:)

Sunday Snapshot - "Morning Light"

May 20, 2012

Purple WildFlowers Morning Light BLOG
We had company again this weekend and they headed out bright and early this morning. As we walked them to the car to say goodbye, I noticed how GORGEOUS the early morning light was reflecting on everything around me. Their car was no sooner out of our driveway and I was already in the closet grabbing my camera bag.

I thought I would share some of the beauty that surrounds us.

Tall WheatGrass BLOG
This field is up the street from our house and the sea of wheat grass(I think that is what it is) looked so pretty blowing in the wind.

Wheat Grass Morning Light BLOG
This little patch on the side of the road caught my attention because of the beautiful backlighting!

Vines in the Vineyard Spring 2012 BLOG
Around the corner the grapes are beginning to grow. Eventually they will be turned into wine:)

Old Shed and Trees with Truck BLOG
We live in an area that is surrounded by farms and lots of cornfields.

Swirly Rows of Corn BLOG
Right now the corn is sprouting up everywhere....

Rows of Corn in the field2 BLOG
Including the farm that is just behind our house.
Actually, this is the first photo I took this morning right in our own backyard.
With all the rain we have had, it is growing rather quickly this season!

Close Up Corn Stalk with lots of bokeh BLOG
Once I got close enough, I realized that there were actually little water droplets on all the stalks that made for a few more interesting shots.

Water Droplet on Cornstalk BLOG
It's rare that I have my camera in hand so early in the morning, but after today, I am thinking I might have to do it more often.

Happy Sunday Everyone!
Feel free to ask any questions if you have them. I am always happy to answer.

Shot with a Canon 5d Markiii
The close up shots of the cornstalks were taken with 100mm Macro and everything else was taken with a 70-200mm. Settings varied from shot to shot. The only thing constant was my ISO that remained at 100.

Ni Hao Yall

Make sure you stop by to say hello to my friend Stef and check out more fantastic Sunday Snapshots.

Scenes From a Small Town Carnival

May 18, 2012

up up and away ash aidan sarah and reagan BLOG2
Last Friday my parents took all of the kids to a carnival that is run
by their local fire company each year.

Macungie Carnival Collage BLOG
Sarah, Aidan, and Ashton have all experienced the joys of this carnival in the years past so they knew what to expect, but this was Reagan's first time!

Helpin her sister off the ride Collage BLOG
She was a little overwhelmed and hesitant at first, but she absolutely LOVED the rides!
I think we have another thrill-seeker on our hands:)

Car Ride at the Carnival BLOG
The cars were a huge hit with all 4 of the kids and we had visions of them at "16" swirling in our heads as we watched them go round and round!

Macungie Carnival Collage 2 BLOG
There were a few rides that Reags was still not tall enough to go on by herself and she had a mini meltdown as she watched her sister and cousins making the long climb up the stairs of the big yellow Super Slide while she was left standing at the gate with us. Pat came to the rescue and told her he would go with her..... The tears disappeared and that frown was instantly turned upside-down as she came zipping down the slide safely in the arms of her Daddy!!

Me and My Daddy Walking In the Park FINAL BLOG
After many trips to the ticket booth, we told the kids it was time to head back to Mimi and Coachie's house. Reags got "one last ride"..... and I'm thinking it was the best "ride" of the night! I love the beautiful sunlight coming through the trees and how she is holding onto the side of her Daddy's head. A very sweet Daddy/Daughter moment!

the long road

The Cleanest Car in Town

May 14, 2012

Reagan Washing The Cars Collage BLOG
The weather was absolutely beautiful this weekend and the girls spent most of it playing outdoors. On Mother's Day Pat decided to wash his car and someone decided they wanted to wash mine too....even though I had taken it through the carwash the day prior:)

Reagan Reflection Car Blog
My girl worked that big sponge like no other.

Reagan Washing The Cars Collage 2 BLOG
And she would not stop until she had touched every inch of the car...well, at least the areas that were within her reach!

Reagan Ruffle Butt and Boots BLOG
She was so stinkin' cute in her ruffled bathing suit and her rain boots, not to mention she was having a lot of fun playing in that big bucket of bubbly water!

The girls washing my car BLOG
Sarah had been playing with her friend next door and said she did not want to help wash the car, but once she saw Reags up to her elbows in suds, she decided to join in the fun!

FIngers in mouth walking across the driveway in her ruffles and boots BLOG
You know I couldn't help myself and had to throw at least one finger sucking photo in the mix. They were extra clean yesterday:)

Sarah Squeezing the Sponge BLOG2
The bucket and sponges kept them busy for a long time, but then the hose made it's appearance......and that is when I decided it was probably best for me to put the camera away and stay out of the line of fire.

Thanks to my two ruffle bottomed cuties, I think it is pretty safe to say that I am now driving the cleanest car in town.

I had a wonderful Mother's Day relaxing with my family... I hope your day was special too!

These photos were taken in the direct sunlight which I usually don't do, but I could not resist capturing the cuteness, so pardon all the harsh shadows. Secondly, I need to give a shout out to Kimberley, the owner of Sophia Jane Boutique. If you are looking to adorn your little in one of these adorable ruffled bikinis, stop by her boutique by clicking HERE! She's got all sorts of beautiful things that any little girl would love!


May 11, 2012

Gypsy Rose Collage 1
Sarah came home from school yesterday with a special surprise that she could not wait to pull out of her backpack and hand to me.

"My dirty little fingerprints I've left on every wall
And on the drawers and tabletops, I have really marked them all.
But here are some that won't rub off, I'm giving them to you
Because I am thankful to have a Mom that's just like you!"

Hand On Hip Gypsy Rose BLOG
Sarah's piece of art totally made my day and when I clean my house, I don't think I will ever look at fingerprints quite the same way.

Hope you all have a Happy Mother's Day!

PS. If you are trying to figure out what she wrote on the project it was to say "2012"
I think we need to have her practice her 2s :)

the long road