Monday, January 31, 2011

Nature Connections: January

Guess what time it is!! It's the last day of the month (can you believe January is over?!). That means it's Nature Connection time! If you want details, click the button to the left to head over to our sponsor, Sherry at Living and Learning. We'd love to have you join us!
You may remember that I am NOT an outdoor girl. I mentioned a little something about that here. But when Sherry presented this challenge (for you it may be a fun blog hop, for me it's a challenge) I thought I'd give it a go. After all, it couldn't be that bad, right?

Our first adventure out in nature was so much fun that we went again a few days later! And if that wasn't enough, Princess wanted to go out and play in our yard two nights in a row! All in all, we had a fun time. Princess has rediscovered her love of the outdoors and yes, I will admit that I had a fun time too. It also gives me the perfect opportunity to work on my photography. I guess the outdoors/nature isn't such a bad thing.

Friday, January 28, 2011


When I was a kid I loved the Sunday comics. When I was forced to go to sleep-away camp from hell, my grandmother mailed me the comics every week. It was a wonderful, albeit brief, escape.

The Lizard King still loves the Sunday comics or funnies as he calls them. 

Princess discovered the Sunday Comics recently, although they didn't hold her attention for very long. She told me she read three stories . . . and that she was done.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Project 2011 - Week 4

It has been quite a week for Project 2011 and I am super excited!! If you'd like to see our Royal Goals, click here. We've also added the goal of spending more time outside in nature, inspired by the other button to the left . . . Nature Connections. If you'd like to join Project 2011, click the link to the left and visit our sponsor Cate at Moments of Whimsey for the details.

We sewed . . . well mostly I sewed, but Princess did complete 2 running stitches. I learned the running stitch, back stitch and overhand stitch.

 I started my first project, a pillow for Princess. Using a large bowl for the shape, I traced around it, then marked dots 3/8 of an inch (about 1 centimeter) outside the circle. I then attached the dots and used that for the cutting line and the inner line for the sewing line.

The pillow should be done by my next Project 2011 update. Then Princess wants a heart shaped pillow. After that, I plan to do a real project . . . a long sleeve nightgown for Princess.

We did our Slow Burn workout. They even have a Kids Slow Burn! Princess and I both did our workouts. It was challenging, but we both enjoyed it. The best part? It's a once a week workout. Just the right frequency for a 7 year old and for my lack of exercise desire. The results people have shared are amazing. I can't wait to see our results!

We spent time outside! It was just a couple evenings after getting home from Village Home, but still . . . we were outside. Our backyard counts as nature, right?

Looking at these photos, I see the delight in Princess' face and how much she loves being outdoors. I also see that she does the only child thing pretty darn well and really is happy.

As far as working on my photography/learning how to use my camera to its fullest. Well, I am taking a lot of pictures. A LOT . . . all the time playing with my camera. I am no longer afraid of adjusting the settings. I was nervous doing the photos in the dark. I played around a little and then did the incredibly brilliant act of turning the dial on top of the camera to the nighttime setting. Brilliant!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


I learned to crochet when I was a kid, but I was never very good at it. A couple years ago, I taught myself to knit. I find knitting much easier. I started with scarves, then moved on to hats. My next project was my biggest challenge . . . socks. I figured I'd better start small and I knitted a sock for Princess, then me. I asked the Lizard King if he wanted a pair for himself. He did and wanted something totally off the wall. He asked and he got. 

As for Princess, she has gotten a lot of socks. The only problem is that she keeps outgrowing them.

Head on over to our WW sponsor, Aliceson at Feet Off the Table, to see what all the cool kids are wearing!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011


You all know we don't "do" math. You have heard me say, math happens, right? Video games are a pretty big part of our lives. I really do see value and learning in everything. Princess showed me her score on an iPhone game the other day . . . and read it to me.


Yup. That was the number.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Elements of Friendship

Have you heard of The Hub? It's a new network for kids and families. Princess has anticipated the start of a particular show, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic. It is a weekly show that started with a two part cliffhanger.

Part 2 finally aired and we have watched it somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,000,000 times. Well . . . not really, probably closer to 12. While some may find this annoying, I'm not one of them. I love when Princess is passionate about something. Her passions, at this point in her life, wax and wane.

The message that Princess got from the show was that the elements of friendship are:


I think this is a pretty powerful and important message . . .  all from a silly TV show.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Project 2011 - Week 3

I didn't accomplish much with my goals this past week. We started back to classes at Village Home, so Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday are super busy. The weekend was rainy and Monday is my day at home to get housework and laundry done. Of course the weather on Monday was incredible . . . high 50s! Sunny! And I was inside all day. Grrr . . .

I have requested a few hand sewing books from the library and they have begun to arrive. Perhaps Princess and I will have time to sit down together and work on a sewing project this weekend.

For my birthday, my best friends gave me a one year membership to! Now I can use all the Premium coolness!! So totally awesome!!! Thanks Freckles and HerbiFaerie!!

Finally, thanks to the birthday present from my parents (an Amazon gift card) I was able to purchase dumbbells and ankle weights for the Slow Burn workout. Princess expressed interest in the workout, too! We have chosen Mondays as our designated workout day. I'm looking forward to it!

So really, I didn't actually DO anything with my goals this week, but I took lots of steps to help accomplish them! I call that progress.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lucky Shirt

The Steelers are in the playoffs. The game last Sunday was a nail biter. The first half didn't go well for the Steelers . . . that is, until Princess put on her new (to her) Steelers shirt. Thanks to D from Village Home who handed down this shirt. 

Princess put the shirt on just before the second half and the Steelers came back to win! Next week they host the Jets. Winning that game takes them to the Superbowl!!! Again!

Now head on over to our host, Aliceson, at Feet Off the Table to see what all the cool kids are wearing.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bathroom Supplies

Check out my new bathroom tool...
no, it's not gross.

Eye liner is kind of a challenge to get off the mirror and we all know that math happens everywhere...even in the bathroom. Princess has found uses other than math for this new tool.

It's a little blurry, but says "I LOVE YOU (followed by a bunch of hearts)" and "LOVE METER". She thought of this, and spelled it, all on her own.

Monday, January 17, 2011


For my birthday dinner we went to Pastini, a restaurant that serves gluten free pasta and gluten free TIRAMISU!! Princess loved the spaghetti. I thought the pasta was good, but the Tiramisu was amazing. And the one drink I had . . . whoa. It only took one.

Friday, January 14, 2011


Yesterday was my birthday. I turned forty-six. 46! I have reached the point in my life that I look in the mirror and see a different woman. An older woman. Last month I posted photos from our family photo shoot by Sarah Gunn Photography. I mentioned that I would be doing a boudoir shoot, but not sharing any photos with you. I take that back...mostly.

I've changed my mind about posting some of the photos. I've changed my mind because this is one of the most empowering things I have ever done. At a time in my life when I look in the mirror and question what I see, doing a boudoir shoot was the best thing I could have done. While I was nervous at first, the actual experience was incredible.

Sarah sends a sampling of photos a couple days after each shoot.

I was stunned.

Sarah included a note asking how much editing I wanted. Looking at the photos, I was surprised when I realized that I like my lines. I've earned them. They're mine. (In a few of the sneak peeks, I looked a little too Botox-ed for my taste. ;p And I asked her, in the final edit, to not Botox me. You'll see what I mean below.)

Every woman should do this.

This is what I received.

(Some have been edited at the Lizard King's request.)

Sarah is offering a special to my local blog readers:

If they look at my website, they'll see my prices are $125 for family/couple shoots, and $150 for boudoir shoots. But I'm doing a word-of-mouth special for $99 for each shoot. And, of course, am offering the multiple booking discount of $20 off the second shoot if booked within 60 days of the first. Just have your readers mention the code "Shady Lady" if they contact me, and they will be sure to get the $99 deal!

Do it ladies!!! It is so worth it!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Project 2011 - Week 2

Curious about Project 2011? Click the badge to the left. It's just below the Nature Connections badge.

This week I'm adding a goal to our repertoire! Is that even allowed? I'm certain our sponsor, Cate over at Moments of Whimsy, won't mind. Inspired by Nature Connections, Princess and I have set a goal of spending more time outside. Truthfully, it's a pretty easy goal, seeing as we spent very little time outside last year. Still, I think it's a good goal and we're off to a fabulous start!

We went to the Wildlife Refuge last Thursday and again Saturday. Sunday we went bowling with the Lizard King. I used the cool Hipstamatic app on my iPhone again and then edited with Picnik. Have I mentioned how much I love Picnik?!

When we got home, Princess and I took the royal dog for a walk...outside! Gasp! I know!!!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Goodbye Kitty, Hello Keens

I've mentioned our outdoor experience, haven't I? It was awesome, but the thing is, by the end of the first day I was in pain. It seems my Hello Kitty rain boots don't offer a whole lot of support. Fortunately, I have this nifty little unit. I attached it to my low back and lived with it through the night. By the next day I was better, but realized that if we're going to continue this crazy outdoor nature thing adventure, I need better shoes.

I turned to my Facebook friends for suggestions and ended up at REI. That place ROCKS! If you haven't been, you must go check it out. The sales clerk helped me find the perfect shoes for me, my first pair of Keens! Oh. My. Gosh. They are so comfortable. Our trek with the Lizard King to the Wildlife Refuge was pain free! Yippee!!

Now head on over to our Wardrobe Wednesday sponsor, Aliceson at Feet Off the Table, to see what all the cool kids are wearing.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Outdoors again?!

Princess loved the Wildlife Refuge so much, she begged to go back again. Not that begging was necessary, but there were lots of "please, please, please". The funny thing is, when Princess was really little she loved the outdoors and cried when we came inside. It seems we may have reignited this passion.

Her favorite parts of this awesome place are the naturally occurring fairy houses...
fairy castles...
and best of all, the pink water...
that is really just this plant life floating on the surface.
Princess loved those parts, but really, she wanted to go back because last time she wore these boots and couldn't go into puddles without getting her feet soaked.
The Lizard King joined us!

Princess had the best time in her Barbie rain boots, tromping through the puddles.

I got to play with my camera a little bit too, trying this effect.

It was rainy and cold, so we only lasted a little over an hour...but it was a fun day together for the royal family.