Friday, March 30, 2012

Ben Howard and Friends

Recently, I went to see Ben Howard play/sing/be awesome.  My sister and I traveled there together and met up with some friends to hear one of our favorite artists sing.   It's my favorite concert to date because it was so intimate and the venue was so small.   He is a phenomenal singer and an even better performer.   We talked to him after the concert, thanks to Charlotte's persistence, and he was also very nice.  All around a good performance.

It's just him and two other people who seem to be able to play any instrument they want.  The guy switched between bass and drums, while the girl went between drums, cello, and guitar.  They are all so talented.

This concert also introduced us to some new, up-and-coming artists.  Bear's Den was incredible and so genuine.  It felt like they meant every word they sang and every word had meaning.  They were incredible.  I'm sad to say they do not have an album out yet, but I can guarantee you that I'm buying it as soon as they do.  Search for "Bear's Den, Pompeii" on youtube, you will not regret it.

We also heard The Staves for the first time.  Imagine the Andrew Sisters with an indie twist and even better harmony.  At one point, they ditched all instruments and sang into one mic.  The entire room fell silent when they began to sing.  It was breathtaking; I am not joking when I saw that I held my breath as they sang.  It was heavenly.  They had an EP for sale at the concert, so I snatched that sucker up.  I have to resist the urge to listen to it.  It only has three songs and if I listen to it on repeat (like I desperately want to) I'll ruin it's beauty and get sick of it.  This is one group I never want to get sick of.  

In a word, the night was splendid.  It was so much fun on so many levels.  Ben, feel free to come back to Philly any time.  If you're there, I'm there.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Two-Room Suite

This is room one in my future suite and, to avoid confusion, we'll call this the yellow room (yes, I am very clever).  This is Esther's old/current bedroom.  When Est moved away, she put all of her bedroom stuff in here to store.  I wish we could blame this mess on her, but most of it is my fault.  These are the before pics so I didn't even bother cleaning.  Don't worry, there is a plan for this stuff (to be shared at another time).

This will be my bedroom space.  The only thing that will happen to this room before I move in is painting - my trademark gray will soon fill the walls.  Also, I think I'll work on getting that stain out of the carpet.  I wish I could say it wasn't Charlie, but (even though I didn't see her do it) it looks like her typical pee stain.  Best of all, though this room only has one window, it is very bright.

The Yellow Room
This is not at all to scale, but I did try to get it somewhat correct.  I door on the right is the door to the bedroom.  The door on the opposite wall leads to the closet.  The closet is very big and I'm really looking forward having to such a nice closet.  This is the layout I plan on using when I move in.  The chair from the living room will be put in here so that it doesn't have to go into storage.  Everything else is regular bedroom stuff.

Room two will be referred to as the brown room (you are shocked by how clever I am, I know).  This is my current bedroom.  Even though I moved away, I use this room all the time.  I moved far enough away that I don't drive back and forth in one night, so I always stay here.  My parents have been very generous in letting me keep this room.

On the to-do list: new carpet, new paint.  New carpet was on the to-do list before I knew I would be moving home, but now the process has been moved forward to have it done before I move all my junk in.  I will also be using my gray paint in here, but I want to come up with something fun, as well.  There are so many walls in this room, I'm sure there is something I can do to spruce it up.  Three windows and direct sunlight most of the day can make this room pretty hot, but its going to be perfect for taking photos.

Here's the plan.  This room will be my living room and office.  I'll put my living room couch in here, along with the tv ( but I'll need to find a new stand).  Seriously, how weird is the shape of this room?  So weird.  Luckily, it's very big and will make a nice living room space.  

I'm very lucky to have both of these rooms to do with as I please.  I cannot express enough how grateful I am to my parents for letting me and the dog invade their space.  Its going to be an adjustment for all, but I'm very excited about being able to save a lot of money.  Hopefully, I will be out of their hair and into a home of my own (fingers crossed) within a year.  

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Cam's 2nd Birthday: Top Ten

There's much to tell you about my current move, but first, we must talk about Cammy's big birthday party!  It was hard to narrow it down to ten favorites, but I did it.

Matt got Cam a baseball tee for his birthday.  He took Cam outside and helped him hit the ball.

Cam did pretty well; let's just say he got the ball off the tee by any means possible.  Inexperienced baseball player or hardcore rocker?  Maybe in his little head, that tee is a microphone.

After a wonderful meal, prepared by Char and Frank, it was present time.  Frank's parents and sister got Cam a lawn mower and gardening set.  Along with the mower, it came with a rake, hoe, shovel, and wheelbarrow.  Cam, of course, loved the lawn mower, but I was surprised with his love of the rake.  He just walked around saying "rake. rake. rake." and showing everyone his rake. 

My dad made Cam this ramp for his cars.  He was in love the second he saw it.  He got right down to business and started shooting cars down the ramp.  He kept trying to walk/sit/crawl on it.  

After presents it was time for cake.  I normally like to keep all photos looking the same in a post, but b&w did not do this justice.  Char made this cake for Cammy.  Isn't it awesome?!  Char really did a nice job.  Not only did it look good, it was tasty too.

Cam loved it so much he tried to grab it off the plate!  And then he hid behind his cup while we sang "Happy Birthday."  He didn't quite know what to make of that.

Then it was time for some serious playing...

and flirting with the girls next door.  See all the graffiti on the window?  That's what Cam did with a purple crayon.  He had fun coloring the house a few days before the party.  He just wanted every thing to look perfect.

Needless to say, this little guy had a very good second birthday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

I'm turning in my whistle

Three years ago, I got a job teaching Physical Education in an elementary school.  I have loved being a teacher and working with kids, but that time has come to an end.

I just sat and stared at those first two sentences for five minutes.  This is turning out to be a lot harder to write than I thought.  I'm not sure why, though.  Normally I'm much better at writing what I'm thinking, than actually saying it out loud.  Maybe I'm nervous.  Ok, I'll just say what's on my mind and then I'll explain -

I got a new job.  
My last day of teaching will be April 20.
Hello career change.

Phew.  Ok, allow me to explain.

When my new job begins, I will no longer be herding 30 kids around a gym. Instead, I will be taking/editing photos and putting together videos.  I think the easiest way to explain it is this: Photoshop, Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, and Adobe After Effects.  They are the programs I will be working with on a daily basis.

My hobby just became my job.  Crazy, right?  Crazy awesome!

To be honest, I'm sort of freaking out.  I'm excited.  I'm nervous.  I'm excited again.  I'm nervous again.  Is this actually happening?  Holy crap, this is actually happening.  If I didn't have an amazing God, family, and group of friends, I might not survive the excitement and all that needs to be done.  The course of events that led to this new job is mind blowing and just goes to show that God's timing really is perfect.  The last three years have not been easy, but now I can look back and see how He has led me to and prepared me for this moment.  It gives me great confidence that I can do this.

There are very few times in my life when I can honestly say that I know what God wants me to do; this is one of those times.  The incredible story of how I got this job is best told in person, so I'll just tell you this; I have been blessed with an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to get started.

So here's the plan:

When I begin my new job, I'll be living with my parents to save some money.  I'm already in the process of getting my things out of this apartment and to my parents' house.  It's a little chaotic in this place right now, but I guess that's all part of the process.  I get two rooms at my parents - my bedroom and my sister's old room.  Esther's old room will be my bedroom.  My current bedroom will be my new living room and office.  I'll tell you all about that later.

Just a warning - I am going to do my best to keep up with the blog during this transition, but I'm a little busy. If I miss a day or two, at least now you know why.  I have plenty to tell you about, so I'm not wanting for content, just time.

But what a good reason to be busy.

If you were wishing for a DIY topic today instead of this boring-for-you/exiting-for-me stuff - check out how my friend Krit updated her hutch.  It looks awesome.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Silhouette, Takes 2 & 3

After making a silhouette of my favorite nephew for Charlotte, my other sister, Esther, wanted one as well - and so did I.  I set to work last weekend completing them.  It takes a long time to finish each one, so I put my newest mix from Krit on the iPad and downloaded season two of Downton Abbey.   Then the painting commenced...

clean and organized
messy and chaotic

Painting wasn't the only thing I did this weekend, which is part of the reason it took me so long to finish.  But mainly, it just takes a long time - a very long time.  My back was very glad when it was all over and so was my brain.  This pattern is not the easiest thing to follow, but I think I made it through without any mistakes.

The lamp you see on the table was an essential part of this process.  It's a Creative HD lamp from Ottlite.  The box tells me that it's "High Definition Natural Lighting" and I completely agree.  It is wonderful.  I worked on this painting late into the night Friday.  Whenever I would sit up to stretch, I was always surprised to see that it was dark out.  The lighting was so natural that I thought the sun was still shining.  I'm not even exaggerating a little bit - I kept losing track of time!  Thank you Mom for this awesome gift!  It will get a lot of use.

I am very picky when it comes to color selection and I am never happy with the options at AC Moore.  The sample size at Lowes is nice and relatively cheap ($3 each) and the best part is that it allows me to pick my own colors.  I have a lot of paint leftover, but I only buy colors I truly like so they will be used again.  Here are the colors I chose (all my colors are from Olympic):

Orange - Frosty Melon, A23b
Gray - Gray Beard, D31a
Blue - Aqua Chiffon, A58a
Purple - Blackberry Jam, B41b

This one is for Esther.  Her favorite color is orange, so it plays a big part in the design.  I used it in two different sections, with one shade of orange being lighter than the other (I just mixed in some white).  I don't have my Silhouette machine in my apartment at the moment, so I'll add Cam's silhouette later (that will make it a little less dizzying).

This one is for me.  I didn't want a lot of contrast in mine, so I kept the colors lighter and pretty similar.  I can't wait to get Cam's silhouette in there.  I'm glad they are done; I was getting sick of staring at diamonds and painting straight lines (it's harder than it looks).

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Dear Cameron,

Two years ago, you waltzed into our lives and we haven't been the same since.  So much has happened in the past two years.

These past two years have perfected your beautiful, beefy hands.

In the past two years, you've gotten a mouth full of teeth...

revealed your big personality...

and learned how to do the piggy nose, stick out your tongue, and pop my cheeks.  These last two years have been so wonderful, I cannot wait to see what year three will hold!  

Happy 2nd Birthday Cammy!  
Aunt Ginner

The Past: Sandbox Edition

One of the reasons that "play in the sandbox (add water)" is on my summer to-do list with Cam is because I had so much fun in the sandbox when I was little.  It was one of my favorite places to be.

I remember spending hours at a time in that little box.  It's a good thing we were little, because as you can see, we really packed 'em in.  The boy in the red hat is my brother, Zack, and the girl all the way to the right is my little sister, Charlotte.  The other kids are our old neighbors.

This is me (far left), Esther, and Zack adding water to the fun.  We used to go back and forth between the sandbox and the spicket with buckets full of water.  It was so much more fun to add water.

It was very rare to be in the sandbox alone.  Zack, the little engineer, always made the most of his solo time.

You can never have too many people in the sandbox.  That was one of the reasons I wanted Dad to make our new sandbox so big.  There's always room for one more.

You just have to know your rank.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Day 15 - Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs

My first time making homemade chicken teriyaki meatballs and I didn't even wear gloves!  Be impressed, people.  Be impressed.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  I'm starting to notice that the more I cook, the more ingredients I have on hand, the less I have to buy.  This week only required shopping for two items - snow peas and chicken ground.  The recipe called for two scallions and, well, you can't just buy two scallions.  I had no idea what I would have done with leftovers so I 86'd the scallions.

Side note - while looking up how to correctly write out "86'd" I found this small tidbit of information: 
To get rid of, originally for killing someone. The phrase "80 miles out and 6 feet under" was reserved for someone who had to dig their own grave 80 miles from civilization and then get shot execution-style. All terms for 86'd originated from this, be it alcohol or eliminating. 
Weird.  Anyway...

While shopping for the 1/2 lb of snow peas that I needed, I came thisclose to doing an iPhone search.  The last time I bought snow peas, I remembered it coming in 1 lb packages.  When I turned the package over to see 8 oz, I did a double take.  I almost pulled up Google to search conversion tables - and then I thought to myself don't be an idiot, you know this.  No iPhone searches and no calls home.  Go me!

The recipe said that this meal would take 40 minutes total.  Yeah, maybe if your awesome.  Start to finish was at least an hour and a half.  Honestly, it felt like it took me 40 minutes just to shell the edemame.

Making the meatballs was the worst part.  I do not like to touch raw meat.  I just don't.  Mixing the ginger into the chicken ground made me want to gag, but having such a nice end result made it all worth it (I guess).  The recipe said that 1 1/4 lb of chicken ground would yield 16 meatballs.  I only had one pound and ended up with 24 meatballs.  I guess they should have been a lot bigger, but I like those little guys.

Holy hot mess Batman.  Do you see all that oil/grease outside of the pan?  Yeah, that was everywhere.  I guess I could have turned down the heat, but I cannot deviate from the recipe (not even a little bit).  There was/is oil everywhere.  It was all over the stove, the iPad, the phone, the plates, my clothes.  I changed my shirt and washed my face before eating because I could feel the oil everywhere.  I'm being a little over dramatic, yes.  But it was actually on everything within a 5 foot radius of the pan.  Once again, the end result was worth the hassle.  Plus, I've got to learn sometime, might as well make a big mess when it won't bother anyone but me.

Finally, it was time to eat.  I took a nap after work, so it was 7:30 by the time I was ready to eat.  I was starving!

It's very good with one slight problem - it is uber salty.  The recipe called for low-sodium soy sauce, but I just used what I had one hand.  Boy was that a mistake.  Other than the saltiness, it's very good.  I'm definitely going to try making this again sometime; I'm sure it will be better the second time around.

1 shopping trip
0 phone calls
0 iPhone searches
1 dinner
4 lunches