Sunday, January 29, 2012

Scrapbook Corner

page plopper: Black Elegance @ dsp
word element: katie pertiet @

I can't help myself from taking portraits of Jacelyn...she is so beautiful and the camera loves her to bits.

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Missed Opportunity

Well even though I missed out on the northern lights on January 24 due to intense cloud coverage, it looks like folks in Sweden had luck. Another gust of solar wind is due to hit earth again on the weekend and I may have luck with that. Tuesday's light show was supposed to be so fantastic that people in the states saw them too, which is rare. Looks like I missed out.
The best pictures are taken in Sweden and Alaska

A lady in Michigan saw the northern lights through cloud coverage January 24.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Attempt to catch the Aurora Borealis

I went out last month, in the freezing cold, tripod in hand, to try to capture the northern lights. No luck at all. Frustrated I returned home and dug out the laptop, determined to learn more about f-stops and shutter speeds and the ISO function of my manual setting. When I start to read up about it my mind goes blank, like it did in high school, and I may as well have been reading Greek...that's about how much sense it made to me. I was disgusted and put away the notion of learning about it on my own. But, I have such a passion to understand it all and have been fiddling around on and off, and I'm told there is a "For Dummies" book about EOS cameras. I just may pick one up.
Since then I've put it on the back burner, content to use the camera in automatic settings. However, the allure of taking scenic photographs, which is what I'm aiming for rather than portraits, is always in the back of my mind.
Sunday night, as we were taking the kids for a nightly toboggan ride, we saw the crisp northern lights flashing away in their bright colors of green, yellow and red. In the country or on the deck at the cabin I'm sure they would have been whispering and crackling...something I've only ever heard once and it was amazing. I was filled with renewed desire to dig out the camera and play around with those Greek settings again.
When I read this morning of the solar storm that is causing airways to delay flights due to the strong magnetic force of the storm, I zipped over to my northern lights website for a review of other night-sky watchers. And I was right: Sunday's beautiful display had been captured by many others, mostly in Sweden, where the magnetic force seems to be the strongest, although it is all connected around the north pole:
As you can see, above Canada can only see the weakest strength of the northern lights. Even so, we can still experience some intense and amazing light shows on the right nights.

Here is a shot from one of my favorite northern lights photographers Bjorn Jorgensen of Arctic, taken on Sunday night:

Beautiful! And we were only seeing the tail end of this gorgeous display!

So, with the solar storm hitting Earth this morning, tonight will be a fantastic opportunity to watch the northern lights at their best. I wrote down the settings my camera should be at according to another amateur photographer, and will head out tonight to give it a try.
Hopefully mother nature will work with me and clear off any cloud cover there may be later on!

Monday, January 23, 2012

A New Reason to Watch "Idol" ?

I have given up on American Idol so many times in the past; some years stating I had had enough of reality TV and that was that, and others convincing myself I was tired of the same old stuff. I hate auditions until they go to Hollywood, where the real talent is finally weeded through, and I hate the William Hungs, the Kelly Picklers (oops I guess she made it into the limelight SOMEHOW anyways, twang and all), and the rest of the folks who are made famous by the ridiculing of others. And after Simon left I didn't want to watch at all, being as he was the only one to give it to them straight. Even with the addition of Jennifer Lopez, who, despite the rumors she is a major diva I still adore...more as an actress than a singer, I didn't watch it much at all. In fact, we didn't even know it was on at all, and stumbled across it flipping through the channels last week.
However, remember my post a while back about Jane Carrey, Jim Carrey's daughter? She auditioned last night, was given a ticket to go through, giving me a new reason to watch the Idol this year. How far will she make it I don't know. But I have a feeling she will not be riding the coat tails of her dad to get as far as she can, which is refreshing. And when she called her dad to give him the news that she made it through, he was so happy for her. His pride in her is evident, as seen on his blog

Now, if only I can make it through Steven Tyler's obnoxious behavior I may just enjoy watching the show.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Post Script

Anybody who watches hockey knows how the game went. Enough said. It wasn't pretty...and I lost heart after the second period. But the 50/50 was 64,000 dollars and so we had to stay for at least that.
The rest of the day on Saturday was great! And I near starved myself during the day so that I could eat what I wanted at Red Lobster without too much guilt. I'm so glad we don't live near one or I'd be tempted to eat their pasta every's that good.
Between the pasta, the buttery shrimp and lobster, the beer and popcorn at the game, and the chocolate covered almonds that Mike just HAD to buy at Costco, I will be living off of salad and fruit all week long. But it was worth it!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

A Tale of Two Jerseys

Mike and I are going on a date.
And it's going to last the entire day!
We try to do a few things alone throughout the year, and it's getting easier now as the kids get older.
So, tomorrow we are heading to Edmonton for the Oilers game...who are playing The Flames. I'm very excited about my first 'Battle of Alberta' game. It's even a Hockey Night in Canada game, so maybe you'll see us on TV. My hubby and I agree that the Oilers need to pick it up a notch, and with a lot of key players injured it is anybody's game with Calgary having a good season so far. I'll be on the edge of my seat!
I bought jerseys for Mike and I with my Christmas money, and I was happy to get rid of my ugly old jersey and replace it with the vintage design that Gretzky wore. I really hated the big oil drop that looked like a comet. Blue and orange is so much better. People ask me why I like the Oilers. My answer is:
1. Wayne Gretzky...I just love him...what he stands for, the way he was raised, and what brought to the game of hockey and how he changed it too.
2. Edmonton is so close to home soil, and it's nice to have a team to cheer for at home games.
3. Wayne Gretzky. I'm a loyal fan, and can't help it.
Of course no trip to Edmonton is complete without a stop at...yes...Costco. Not just for groceries this time but I wanted to try out their photo service. So I ordered a huge print of the three kids together to put on the wall behind my couch. It cost all of twenty bucks and it is 24x36. I'm anxious to see how the quality is. If it's not so great I won't feel like I threw away a fortune.
Then we'll toddle over to West Ed mall to walk around, look for some clothes for Charlie, and have supper at Red Lobster. We'd like to get to the game early to ensure parking in our favorite parking lot a half a kilometer away, and have a drink in the pub at Rexall Place.
It will be a great night by ourselves, and we are really looking forward to it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Old Man Winter

Here we are, Wednesday, and the windchill this morning was in fact -53. Now that is cold.
I drove the kids to school and with no buses running was able to park right up at the doors to let them out. As soon as the van door opened they sucked in their breath when the cold air hit their lungs. "Run!" I said, laughing, and away they disappeared into the school. I'm so glad they can still go to school for the day where they can run and play and do activities to keep them busy. If they were home for these last few days they would be going bonkers, and driving me up the wall in the process. I was worried about Mike being home today too, because when he has the day off he annoys me to point of distraction. I love it when he's here but he gets so bored that he is restless, which in turn ends up annoying me. Still, I'd rather have him bugging me here than being on the road working in weather like this.
One thing I absolutely love about winter is how beautiful it looks out my window without me knowing what the temperature is outside. Because, today, it looks amazing out there, and with the white snow reflecting the sunlight it's hard to stay indoors when all I want to do is take Charlie for a toboggan ride.

Yes, you sure can't tell from this picture that it is -43 outside!

As a side note, my husband, who is forever bringing me flowers or such when he comes home, brought me this plant last week. I have no idea what this flowering gem is called but I really do love it. The blooms remind me of orchids. If any of you may have an idea what this plant may be called, leave me a comment!

Monday, January 16, 2012

-39 Holding

Wow, what a reality check for the kids this morning to go from -9 on Friday during their walk home from school, to being -39 this morning with the windchill.
Welcome to Saskatchewan, Canada, where everyone in the Home of the Brave freezes their buns off in January! Hopefully some of those flu bugs out there will die off too.
It looks like the cold will last all week, with Wednesday being the chilliest, with a windchill of -43. The kids are hoping for a no school day that day...we will see! Jacelyn is supposed to be going with her class on a bit of a field trip that day and I'm half hoping if it will be so cold that they will cancel it.

Jacelyn has been into dressing herself, putting on make up, and wanting her hair to be brushed. She's not really a tom boy, but she's never been very girly either. Lately, however, she wants me to help her get made up a bit more than usual: putting her hair in curlers, teaching her how to put on her lipstick, etc. Last night after her shower she wanted her hair curly for school the next day so I rolled it up for her. I forgot to take a picture of her before she went out the door this morning, but she looked cute. I'm sure her toque will take care of that today.

I spent Friday printing off the rest of my scrapbook layouts for 2011...there were 22 in all! I couldn't believe it. Oh but it was a big relief to get them done and put away in the album. Now I can start all over again for the new year.
paper: Karen Funk "For the Boys" Design House Digitals,
alpha: Desert Camo
elements: DSP, 2 Peas in a Bucket "Your Day to Shine"

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fondue Like You've Never Fondued Before

The kids have never fondued and so we decided to get them around the fondue pot tonight to try it out...and to see how well they could practice their patience while they waited.
Besides oil-frying, we introduced them to a gourmet cheese fondue as well as a chocolate fountain for dessert.
They loved it! I knew they would, and while they had a bit of a struggle with the waiting for the meat to cook, and trying to keep their eyes off of the chocolate pouring out of the fountain until dessert time, they did pretty well all in all. Jacelyn was the most difficult through the whole thing, asking over and over again if she could dip her fingers into the chocolate. In hindsight I just should have let her, and then maybe she would have dropped it. Instead I said no, and she continued to ask on and off for 15 minutes. When will I learn to pick my battles??
Brandon liked it the most, with Charlie pulling up the rear, and I expected this as she's only 2 1/2 years old. Of course the chocolate fountain went over the best, with the three of them gathered around it like pigs around the trough. So cute.

The night before we imbibed in our Friday Pizza Night, and I had made up the pizza crusts in advance so that all they had to do was make up their own pizza when the time came. They always like that, and we get to spend some time in the kitchen together as well. Charlie's was the most interesting, with everything on it from black olives to pineapple to onions. She likes it loaded!! Now, if the kids would only help me clean up after all these fun family nights I'd be tempted to have more of them...what a mess!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Scrapbook Corner

papers and elements all from 2 ps in a bucket and the Shabby Princess.

I've been scrapping away, trying to finish off 2011 and get the layouts printed off before we get too busy finishing up little jobs in the house, like putting in 750 feet of baseboards and trim, paint touch ups, and new interior doors. We will have enough to do to keep us busy until the summer, which is okay with us. After all of that we'll hopefully be busy packing and house hunting. Here's hoping!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Lazy Saturday's Fun

My kids are usually at each other's throats (and on my last nerve) by early afternoon on Saturdays, and so to counteract the inevitable shouting match I told them to pick out their favorite kind of cupcakes and we'd make them. So they did, choosing Chocolate Fudge and Angel Food. We set to work mixing them up, making mini cupcakes as well as a few big ones too. Afterwards they began to disappear quite fast as they cooled, and I didn't have the heart to get mad as it's a long wait for cupcake-hungry tummies to wait for the finished product.
I scrapped some while Mike showed houses, and then visited with mom while the boys were at a hockey game. We finished the night playing cards (and drinking too many drinks) into the wee hours of Sunday morning, then mom and I went grocery shopping most of Sunday afternoon. Add to all that a few loads of laundry and I've got myself a super-exciting action packed weekend!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

School's In!

I love back to school days.
Not when I was a kid, but I really love them now.
I have to say, though, that the kids were great over the Christmas holiday. They were busy, productive, and I didn't hear from them very much at all. I think the reason was not just the new things to play with and look at, but that Brandon got an iPod touch. We never heard from the boy at all, unless he was coming to me to use my password that I had put on it so that I could keep tabs on what he was downloading from the app store.
I didn't really want to get him an iPod this year, as he got a 3DS for his birthday and in my mind that's too do I top that next year? But this is what happened this year:
Brandon originally asked Santa for an iPod. That's all he wanted...nothing else. He didn't want anything in his stocking, no other toys or gadgets. Just an iPod. Well, Santa brought him a go-cart. Which he loved and didn't show any disappointment in receiving.
When Brandon and Mike put it together, however, we knew it would not work at all. It said on the box good for up to 13 years old, and 110 pounds. Brandon is half that in weight and just turned 10. Good to go, we thought. After it was put together, it was apparent that it would fit Jacelyn, who is 6, or a five year old at best. We all were disappointed, and Brandon, while saying nothing, was heartbroken that his Santa gift was useless to him.
So Mike and I went to the city and he got his iPod. And we haven't seen him much since.

Now that school is back in things feel more normal, despite the absence of the usual blustery January weather. The Christmas stuff all got boxed away on New Year's afternoon, and the yard is as bare as the inside of the house. It's funny that as much as I love putting it all out I can't wait for it to all get put away. I suppose that's what makes the holidays special.

The kids and I spent some time outside in the gorgeous weather last week, after the inch and a half of snow that fell one night, which is half gone now. Between doing that, going for a skate, catching up on laundry, and a trip to Edmonton to...yep...Costco, the week was uneventful and, well, normal. Which is more than alright with me.