Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Photographer in the Making?

For Mother's Day, hubby took me to the local electronics store and let me pick out a new camera.  I've been wanting one for a while, but finally took the plunge and bought a digital SLR camera.  (I have no idea what that means, so don't ask!)  Now that I have a fancy camera, I figured I better learn how to use it.  So I found a link to Two Peas in a Bucket, which offers a FREE 12 week Photography class online, with reading materials and "homework" each week.  Here is a link to the classes if you are interested.

So far I have learned about aperture and ISO and Shutter Speed. Adjusting the aperture adjusts the amount of the picture that is in focus.My pictures didn't turn out very well because I didn't have good lighting.  But here are the pictures I took for homework: 
Low Aperture = Small area of focus

Large Aperture = Large area of focus

Can you see the difference? The first picture the only thing in focus is little leaves.  The picture on the right has the leaves in focus, as well as the branches all around the leaves.

But the more fun pictures are the ones I took today.  Today the lesson was on shutter speed and ISO.  ISO has to do with lighting...higher ISO for darker areas (think indoors) and lower ISO for brighter areas (sunny day outdoors).  And then there is shutter speed...the higher the number, the faster the shutter closes.  High numbers help freeze and capture action.  So the homework was to take a picture of water from the kitchen sink falling onto something.  Again because of bad lighting, my homework didn't turn out the best, but I ended up with a really cool picture anyway!  I had my ISO set really high since I didn't have any natural light.

Low Shutter Speed

Fast Shutter Speed

I had to do some lightening in Photoshop for the high speed picture, but hopefully you can spot the difference.

 But the true work of art came when I decided to use the flash to try to get more light. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Thoughts on Weight Loss

Lately I have been paying a little more attention to any weight loss products I might hear about or see about on TV.  I've never really been into the weight loss supplements (o.k. I did try Slim Fast before my wedding, but that's the extent of it for me) because I truly believe that it is too good to be true.  There is no magic pill, formula, or anything else that is going to help you to lose weight.  If it were that simple, everyone would be skinny, right? 

So what made me stand up an pay attention? The success of a friend .  She is taking a certain type of supplements and she has lost a good amount of weight and inches...and she looks great!!  So I started looking into what she was taking, but a month supply of some of that stuff was going to cost over $100.  And that made me think can't take this stuff forever....what happens when you stop taking it?  Isn't this why almost all diets fail, no matter what they are? You can't buy the supplements, special food or whatever else you are doing forever.  What then?  Not to mention the possible side effects of this stuff (remember the pill that was killing people??)

So, even though my friend looks awesome, I'm gonna pass and stick with the tried and true method.  Healthy diet and regular exercise.  This is not a diet to me, it is a lifestyle change. I have the exercise down pretty well, so it is now time to concentrate more on the food I am eating.  So far, I have lost about 10 pounds, and even more exciting...I am down two pant sizes!!!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Reusable Bags - Part 2

Not long ago, I  blogged about how people give you all kinds of looks when you use reusable bags at the store. Today, my husband did the shopping and took the hated bags with him. I was actually surprised that he took them, but I was glad he wasn't going to be bringing the plastic bags home with him.  I'm pretty sure he will never no that again. The check out person apparently thought that since he brought his own bags, he should fill them too.  She make him bag his own groceries!!! Can you believe it??

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Woo Hoo! My class is over!

I'm done with school until June and then I get to go to school all throughout the summer.  Aren't you excited for me? To top it off, the topics are so much fun, Micro and Macro economics.  But every class is one step closer to my Bachelor's degree, right?

In the next 3 or 4 weeks before I have to start doing homework again, I'm hoping to get both of my boys' rooms painted and decorated.  Caiden wants a brown and green room.  Bennett is getting a monkey themed room, but I'm not sure what color to paint his room.  But I have lots of cute vinyl wall art from to put on the walls.  

I these two from got from Smileywalls

and this one I got from Is Handmade Creations

I can't wait to get their rooms done!!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

L'Oreal Paris One Sweep Eye Shadow and Double Extend Eye Illuminator Mascara

Anyone that knows me, knows that I am running down to the last second getting me and my two boys up and running in the morning. I tend to go in streaks on taking the time to put makeup on in the morning. So the time saving is what peaked my interest for the L'Oreal One Sweep Eye Shadow. I love how it puts three colors on your eyes in one sweep. There is a specially designed applicator that is shaped to fit the shape of your eye so it really is really as simple as one sweep!! No matter what color your eyes are, there is a One Sweep Eye Shadow meant just to enhance your eye color. I didn't really see much difference in Double Extend Eye Illuminator Mascara if I used the little sparkles or not, but otherwise the mascara did its job also! I'm no makeup expert, but I am going to recommend the One Sweep Eye Shadow to all of my friends!

*Please note, I am a BzzAgent and received these products for free in order to provide my feedback.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do you use re-usable shopping bags?

I have recently started using re-usable shopping bags when I do my grocery shopping.  I don't use them because I'm a 'green' person, or to help the environment, but because I'm tired of all of the plastic bags around the house.  I try not to throw them away, but recycle them when I go to Wal-Mart, so they would just sit around my house and pile up until hubby or I actually remembered to take them with us when we went shopping.

Even though I may not be doing it for the "right" reason, I should be proud for doing my part to keep these plastic bags out of the landfills.  So why do I feel like cashiers and people behind me in line are both rolling their eyes at me for being one of those people?  It may take a little extra time for the cashier to put the little bag in the bag holders, but so what?

But one negative thing I have discovered with using these re-usable bags?  For some reason these cashiers think that the re-usable bags are unbreakable and can hold anything and everything until it is filled to the matter what the weight!  The bag only costs a buck, how sturdy can they possibly be?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Busy is an Understatement

Calling my life busy right now just doesn't cover it....

Started my next class last week.  The homework due on Wednesday is INSANE! Plus we have a group project due on the 30th and we haven't even started and can't find a time where the whole group can meet.  I'm just a little stressed.  But the teacher promised us that she loads us up in the beginning so we aren't so busy in the end (it's only 5 weeks long...can't we just spread it out evenly?).

I'm also a new member of a women's sorority, and we had a meeting on Thursday night, so I wasn't home two nights in a row. 

I couldn't tell you what I did yesterday, but it wasn't homework! I did get the living room cleaned and most of the laundry washed.  Now I just have to fold it and put it away.

Today my sorority had a family outing at the local bowling alley.  It was a great time, first time Caiden has even been bowling in a REAL bowling alley.  Before that, he had only been Wii bowling!  Bennett was a little tired and ended up going home early with Daddy for a nap while Caiden and I finished our games.  Caiden didn't do too bad either (of course he had the help of the gutter bumpers).  Wished I would have brought my camera so I could have recorded him throwing the ball. He sure has a style all his own!

And speaking of the camera,  I need to get it out and get a video of Bennett walking.  He's going to be a pro at it before I get his learning steps on camera. I think he is starting to figure out that walking is the way to go!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

First Birthday

My baby Bennett turned one year old last week! Apparently someone sent him a message on all things about turning one because within the last two weeks, he has gotten his first four teeth, ditched the bottle and started to stand and walk a few steps.  I can't believe how fast this last year has gone!

We had a great birthday party for him last Sunday with lots of family, food and fun, although Bennett was a little shy around so many people for a while.

Our theme for the party was monkeys. I'm decorating his room in a monkey theme, so we carried that theme over to the invites and the cake.  I decided to be a little different and have cupcakes for everyone instead of just regular cake.  A bonus to this decision that I didn't think about....don't have to worry about who is going to cut the cake!  

I've had Cakes by Lori make my boys' birthday cakes since Caiden's first birthday, but I have to say, she really out did herself this year.  She made little monkey faces and bananas out of fondant for each cupcake. She also make a big cupcake cake and a little 1st birthday cake all for Bennett so he could dig in!  If you live in the Cedar Rapids area and would like to check her out, you can go here...although the site is still a work in progress.

Bennett also got his first haircut last Sunday.  He was in dire need, but we were holding out so his Aunt Jenn could do it because, she did Caiden's first haircut too.  It was a little bit of a challenge because Bennett likes to watch everything and study it, so he was always moving his head to watch.  But she did a great job, and now he doesn't have hair tickling his eyes!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Easily Clean your Microwave

Maybe I'm the last one on earth to figure this out, but did you know there is a natural, non-chemical way to clean your microwave, and you don't even have to scrub it?  Not one little bit!! I was home today doing a major cleaning job for my baby's first birthday party on Sunday, and the microwave was in dire need of a cleaning.  I thought I had read about a natural way to clean your microwave, so I checked google (where else would check?).

This is what you do:  Put 1 cup of water and 1/4 cup lemon juice into a glass microwavable measuring cup.  Put it in the microwave and cook it on high for 7 minutes.  When it is done, let it set without opening the door for another 5 minutes.  Then grab your pot holder and remove the measuring cup. Next get a cloth and wipe our your microwave.

It's as simple as that!!  I wonder if it would work on my oven.....

Monday, February 28, 2011

Such a great weekend!

I did something over the weekend I don't get to do much...I went out!!  You might think that isn't a big deal, but in my world, it's a HUGE deal!! A friend and I went to the local comedy club called Penguins to see Heywood Banks perform.  If you have never heard of him and love silly humor...look him up if you like he's great!!  The comedy club shares a space with a place called the piano lounge.  A nice little surprise for us, we found out our ticket purchase for Mr. Banks meant we could stay for the Dueling Pianos of Andy Anderson and Mike Leeds.  So my friend and I figured, why not, we'll stick around for a little while and see what it's all about.

Well, we stayed a little bit longer than we planned (erm...*cough* closed down the bar *cough*).  With the help of a little 'liquid courage' we even got up and sang a little Grease for the crowd!  In the end it was an intimate crowd and my friend and I made our presence known.  We were even asked to come back the next night!!

We couldn't go back on Saturday...but I just saw they are going to be back in April.  My calendar is marked!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Product Reviews

Hey everyone! I'm hoping to revive my product reviews soon.  Just looking for the perfect products to share with everyone.  One of the themes I want to stick with is things made in Iowa.  So, if you are a person in Iowa that would like to grow you business and get the word out, leave me a comment or send me an email

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Um, Hi...I'm the owner of this blog....

And no, I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Life is way more busy with 2 kids in the house, than one....especially when one of those kids is a baby who's current favorite activity is to get into absolutely everything!  Not sure how often I'll post on here, I just don't feel like I have much interesting to say these days.  I blame Facebook for some of this!

So, update on my life....

Bennett is now 11 months old. In a few short weeks, he will be 1.  He's not walking on his own yet, but loves to walk with you holding his hands.  He doesn't have any teeth yet, but neither did his big brother at this age.  They are ready to pop any day...I can see both of his top front teeth just under the gums.

Caiden is half way through Kindergarten and is doing pretty well with the exception of last week.  He got into a bit of trouble, one day not sitting still and the next day for bopping is friend in the eye over a Lego.  I was very surprised when the teacher called to tell me what happened.  I didn't know what to say.  Hopefully it was a one time thing.

I have decided it is time to go back to school.  I have one class under my belt, with a B+.  I've decided to take it slow so I don't burn myself out, so my next class doesn't start until March 16th.  As much work as it is, I'm glad I'm doing it.  One day I might even graduate!

I'm better at keeping my other blog, A Road to Hot Mommy up to date right now because I'm training to run my first 5k.  I'm also determined to lose all of this extra weight hanging around.  I'm tired of being so overweight.  I'm searching for some strength training programs to do in my off running days too.  Supposed to help with the fat burn.

Oooooo, and I was one of 4 winners of a $2500 prize for donating to a local charity during one of their donation drives.  So now I have the awful task of picking out $2500 worth of home entertainment equipment to be sent to me...for FREE!!!!  Yes, so far 2011 has been a pretty good year :)