Monday, June 30, 2008

gotta love this guy

If you've never heard of Dave Barnes, you're in for a treat. He's a talented musician with a penchant for silliness. You can sample more of his music by clicking HERE (check the volume if you're at work) and view his recent "Workout Video" below:

Told you he was silly.

post signature

calling all former brides, bridal attendants, and prom dates

Dust off the clothing bags and storage boxes; it's time to break out those long-forgotten (or even newly acquired) formal dresses! I so badly want to do a "Trash the Dress" photo shoot; it's bound to be great fun. I love the look of the formal dress in unexpected settings. What a wonderful way to showcase its beauty (and yours). The photographer who captured this shot is Susan Stripling, be sure to check out her work (she has a fabulous sense of style).

For those of you willing to trash a formal dress in a free photo shoot, please get in touch with me via email at acvega at frontiernet dot net.

post signature

Sunday, June 29, 2008

ode to friendship and salted nut roll fudge

Left but returned,
A friend who brought me salted nut roll fudge,
As thoughtful as can be,
I wish she'd go camping more often!

The best fudge ever; you can purchase it in person at Cabela's (to search for a location near you, click HERE). Thanks Tilly!

post signature

Saturday, June 28, 2008

ever heard of gorilla bread?

It is simply TO-DIE-FOR. A friend served it up this morning and I can't wait to make it myself; here's the mouth-watering Paula Deen recipe:

Gorilla Bread

1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
2 (12-ounce) cans refrigerated biscuits (10 count)
1-1/2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray. Mix the granulated sugar and cinnamon. In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar over low heat, stirring well; set aside. Cut the cream cheese into 20 equal cubes. Press the biscuits out with your fingers and sprinkle each with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon sugar. Place a cube of cream cheese in the center of each biscuit, wrapping and sealing the dough around the cream cheese. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the nuts into the bottom of the bundt pan. Place half of the prepared biscuits in the pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar, pour half of the melted butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle on 1/2 cup of nuts. Layer the remaining biscuits on top, sprinkle with the remaining cinnamon sugar, pour the remaining butter mixture over the biscuits, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Place a plate on top and invert.

After working a CM event this morning and then attending a surprise party across town, I arrived home to find this:

My hubby, working hard to restore a leaky shower. (Um... yeah, we've had some builder issues.) After several years of trouble - at least two of them without the use of our master shower - we're finally seeing the light.

Oh! And I keep forgetting to share this little tidbit of information; a faithbooking friend has two tickets to Beth Moore she'd like to sell because of a recent conflict with the dates. She'll sell them at face value and seating is the same for every ticket (first come, first seated). If you're interested, let me know.

Too, a customer had a question about converting old slides to digital format and I promised to look into things (they don't call me Google Monster for nothing). I thought perhaps there were others in her boat and thought I'd share what I found:
  • First, there is this really cool slide scanning gadget. It sells for about $100 and requires a PC with Windows XP (no Vista). Brookstone has the very same scanner for a little more. It received 4 out of 5 stars with a total of 184 reviews so far. (Click HERE for more information.)
  • Secondly, information regarding a flat-rate slide scanning package through FotoBridge.
If you have any questions that require my Googling expertise, just holler!

post signature

look what i made!

Just playing around with some recent shots; this would be printed up as a 5x7 announcement. Not bad for my first attempt at a digital creation (with a little help from Creative Memories, of course). My hope is to eventually offer a variety of custom announcement options (baby, wedding, graduation, birthday, change-of-address, anniversary, and holiday cards) to my photography clients.

post signature

Friday, June 27, 2008

it's been a while since my last food post

The boys and I took part in a good old-fashioned picnic this week. We were invited by a family we'd come to know through a special album project I took part in last year. (It was wonderful being able to meet some of the very faces I'd spent many so weeks pouring over.) In preparing for our time at the park, I came across several wonderful picnic ideas HERE and HERE. I also found some great Fourth of July picnic ideas HERE.

Then, while making dinner this evening (I should say, "while making a mess, while making dinner this evening"), I was again reminded of the fact that I need an apron. (For real.)

And once you see THESE and THESE, you'll want one too!

post signature

first things first

A group of us have been working through an INCREDIBLE new study called Discerning the Voice of God - How to Recognize When God Speaks by Priscilla Shirer. Each week, I have been blown away by her teaching and each week, I fully intend on sharing bits with you. Obviously, good intention is not good enough because here were are at Week 4 and this is my first mention of it. (Summer does that sort of thing.)

Let me begin by saying, it's INCREDIBLE. As hard as I tried, I couldn't locate a segment of video from the study. I did manage to locate a worthwhile piece on finding balance in motherhood.

It has reminded me of the importance of His Word, for it is key to knowing God and recognizing His voice in my life. Just as I am able to recognize and distinguish my own mother's voice, Scripture paves the way for that same intimacy with God. Not only does His word give direction, it reveals God's character. Priscilla shared these powerful lyrics in our last session:

In Genesis, He's the breath of life
In Exodus, He is the Passover Lamb
In Leviticus, He's our high priest
In Numbers, the fire by night
Deuteronomy, He's Israel’s Guide
Joshua, He’s salvation's choice
Judges, He’s Israel’s Guard
In Ruth, the kinsmen's redeemer
1st and 2nd Samuel, our trusted prophet
In Kings and Chronicles He is Sovereign
In Ezra, He’s the true and faithful scribe
In Nehemiah, the re-builder of broken walls and lives
In Esther, He’s Mordecai's courage
In Job, the timeless redeemer
In Psalms He is our morning song
In Proverbs, He is our wisdom
Ecclesiastes, He's the time and season
In Song of Solomon, He is the lover's dream
In Isaiah He is Prince of Peace
In Jeremiah, the weeping prophet
Lamentations, the cry for Israel
Ezekiel, the call from sin
Daniel, the stranger in the fire
Hosea, the forever faithful
Joel, the spirit’s power
Amos, the strong-arms that carry
Obadiah, the Lord our Savior
Jonah, the great missionary
Micah, the promise of peace
Nahum, our strength and shield
In Habakkuk and Zephaniah, He's brings revival
In Haggai He restores that which was lost
IN Zachariah, He’s our fountain
And in Malachi, He's the son of righteousness rising with healing in His wings


In Matthew Mark Luke and John, He is God and Messiah
In the spirit filled book of Acts, He is the reigning fire from Heaven
In Romans, He is the grace of God
Corinthians, the power of love
Galatians, freedom from the curse of sin
Ephesians, our glorious treasure
Philippians, the servant's heart
Colossians, He’s God and the trinity Thessalonians, our calling King
In Timothy, Titus and Philemon, He's our mediator and our faithful pastor
In Hebrews, the everlasting courage
In James, the one who heals the sick
In 1st and 2nd Peter, our faithful shepherd
In John and Jude, He's the lover coming for His bride
AND in the Revelation, in the very end, when it’s all over, said and done, when time is NO MORE. He is and will always be the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Prince of Peace, son of Man, Lamb of God, The Great I am, Alpha and Omega, God and Savior
He is Jesus Christ the Lord


It is an INCREDIBLE study. (Or did I mention that already?)

post signature

Thursday, June 26, 2008

just checkin' in

I thought I'd pop in real quick to say hello before heading off to bed. It's been a week filled with the things of summer - library, picnic, pool, tennis, and your standard Webkinz chess tournament (you might remember the quest for world domination back in January). Summer is definitely here and we're enjoying every second of it!

I've also been busy editing photos, planning a baby shower, and taking care of blogiversary business. Multitasking at its not-so-finest. I miss my blogging time and will hopefully have a chance to connect with you tomorrow. (There is much to share!)

Have a great evening, my bloggy friends...

post signature

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

you'd think it was a *real* party

What you see above are postcard bloggy invitations. Along with using them as reminders, I'm inviting some newbies to join us for our week-long prize giveaway which will take place in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS.

If you think these are cool, you should see the prizes.

post signature

Monday, June 23, 2008

she really looks like an angel

The boys are golfing with Grandpa Lito and I've had the entire day to play :-)

Do you remember me asking for faithbooking stories? If you've forgotten, please take this post as a reminder... I'd love to have your stories for a special album project. Sharing what God has been up to in your life brings encouragement to others (including me) and will likely have a profound effect on someone you do not even know.

One such story even made it's way HERE... unbeknownst to the author!

post signature

Sunday, June 22, 2008

don't try this at home

The little guy was pretty shy so I thought it might be fun to play catch and perhaps snap a few shots between tosses. Things were going pretty well until I pegged him squarely on the head!

Yes, I did.

It would have been so much more fun to have a little more shade with the wee ones. I kept them confined to a pretty small area because even at 10:00 am, the sun was producing some harsh shadows.

I have a few more things in mind as far as the kid props go... they would have been PERFECT for this session but I had trouble locating them on such short notice.

Next time...

post signature

you'll see now why i called her adventurous

Let me say, "safety precautions" were taken - everything from Deet spray for ticks to spotters for the street.

One more family left and then I'll be back to my regular posts!

post signature

like mother, like daughter

You might recognize Sharon in the background... this is her beautiful daughter. (Thank you Tilly for the mom-blur idea!)

Working with a teen gave me a chance to play with senior poses as well. Very fun. I learned a lot from our time together and can't wait to do it again SOON!

post signature

Saturday, June 21, 2008

wish i could share them all!

I know that not everyone is a fan of post-processing but I love playing with the colors, crops, and angles. Here are a few more fun shots from the same session I shared with you earlier:

Mom was a great sport about being wrangled into the session!

There were two other sessions - one with an adventurous teenager and the other with two little ones. I haven't even had a chance to play with those photos yet but when I do, I'll be sure to post a few here as well.

Enjoy the beautiful day!

post signature

just sharing the summer bou goodness

Here's a free drink coupon for you to print up and use today! Just click HERE.

post signature

Friday, June 20, 2008

a few shots from the last session

Look familiar? That's because it's my FAVORITE wall.

There's another cool shot HERE, but I couldn't for the life of me get it to post properly on the blog! There are many more shots to go through - three different families in all. It will likely take several days for the editing process but I'll share nuggets here and there as I have them.

Thank you, thank you, thank you volunteers!!

post signature

Thursday, June 19, 2008

a list maker after my own heart

Auntie Stacey was feeling adventurous on Sunday and invited our boys and their cousins over for a sleepover... together. All four of them. She's one brave lady. My niece "M&M" quickly began organizing the event by planning meals and activities. She even crafted a detailed packing list!

I am proud to be her auntie.

She's also extremely artistic and quite the entrepreneur, selling handmade creations to the grandmas and aunties (as far as I know, her potholder business is not yet open to the public). I waited several months for my precious gem below (there were many orders ahead of mine).

Total sweetness.

Now for those of you with a heart for lists, I have a very special journal to share. You'll find it HERE.

post signature

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

i think they're on to us

Ren approached me yesterday with tears in his eyes, "You went to Dairy Queen?"

"What makes you think that?" I asked evasively.

"I found this receipt on the counter." (Oops.)

Then Meeley confronted me today with, "Have you and Pa been making secret trips to Dairy Queen?" (Um... yeah.)

"Why do you ask?" I innocently replied.

"Because I've found Dairy Queen stuff in the garbage a couple of times now." (We never thought to bury the evidence.)

I explained to the boys that there are "special things" husbands and wives do together, late at night after the children go to bed. (Ice cream, ladies, I'm talking ice cream - Peanut Butter Cup and Butterfinger Blizzards to be exact.)

Journaling Ideas: What kinds of "special things" do you do with your husband? If you're not married, how do you treat yourself once in a while? What makes it feel like such an indulgence? Does your late-night ice cream run (for example) have any connection to childhood promises to DQ that were never kept? I tease because one of my childhood friends would bribe us to play with promises of banana splits and rides in her dad's convertible... many of my childhood DQ moments are tied to Tanya. Do you have any childhood memories or moments tied to your grown-up indulgences (shopping, perfume, bubble baths, etc.)? If so, what is the connection?

post signature

Monday, June 16, 2008

models needed for photo shoot

I know this is short notice but I thought I'd put it out there for those who are available and interested. I am looking for models (children of all ages) to participate in a free photo shoot on Friday. That is this Friday, four days from now. I'm working on some new ideas and would like to experiment with props in an outdoor setting. Each model will receive a free 5x7 and all photos will be available for purchase through a password-protected gallery on my website. If you are interested, just shoot me an email and we can discuss the details.

post signature

June Faithbooking Lesson

Our sense of smell can evoke strong emotions and memories. The scent of freshly cut grass can return us to carefree summers of youth while a whiff of men's cologne could stir up painful memories of an abusive relationship that ended long ago. Smells stick.

With that in mind, what is the "fragrance" of your home and its impact on your family? Is it chaotic, tense, and angry or warm, stable, and fun? Although most of us would prefer the latter, we rarely take the steps necessary to sweeten this lasting legacy. By taking a closer look at the legacy we've been given, we can determine exactly what we want to pass on - breaking cycles of hurt to create a new legacy.

For this lesson, you could create a lighthearted page with the focus being your literal sense of smell. I created a page entitled, "Five Favorite Fragrances" and included photos of my smelly faves; the journaling focused on the feelings those scents evoked.

To go even deeper, you could use the journaling prompts on the handout to explore your own childhood legacy. Using a photo from your family of origin and another of your family today, you could create a page that talks about your ideal "family fragrance" and the steps you are taking to make the most of your legacy.

If you'd like to explore this topic further, check out THIS BOOK. You will also find a free Study Guide for it HERE.

post signature

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pa, Dad, Father, Daddy, Da Da, Pop

Whatever you call him, today is HIS special day. Though I wasn't on top of my Father's Day gift ideas, I do have a couple of neat ones to share. Perhaps you can save them for his birthday...

First, there are some creative framing ideas HERE and some custom-painted BBQ tools HERE (both for the crafty).

Brookstone is always a great place to find unique, dad-friendly gadgets. Click HERE to find a store near you.

HERE are some special recipes. Desserts are HERE.

And, for dad's who swim, an underwater pogo stick. Seriously.

And for the hardworking dad, this slice of heaven.

post signature