Saturday, April 21, 2012

Photographing Everything

Tomorrow I start taking my first photography course in over a decade. It's called a SnapShop: fully online and being given by (who else?) the magnificent Ashley Ann Campbell. I'll have a set on my flickr to document my progress, but I'm not going to share anything aside from what I'm bringing to it...which may not be a lot since the last time I studied this we said "film speed" instead of "iso."

Here's hoping I go from loving 10% of my images to 90% of them...

...and that I use my "good" camera as much as I use instagram. (so used because...have you SEEN the light situation on an iphone?)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Love Without Boundaries

Ashley Anne Campbell, known around our house as "Firecracker's mom" is one of my favorite bloggers. I don't remember the first post that drew me there, although I assume it was following something photography-related that I googled. Her daughter, Firecracker, is months older than Baz. Firecracker is the second youngest of 5 children: 4 boys, Firecracker, and a daughter named Song who (for now) lives in an orphanage in China.

She is the kind of mother I hope that I can be - it is reflected in the graciousness of her sons - spend a few hours reading her archives and you'll be convinced.

So when she decided to do something to help the children living with her youngest daughter in China, she  opened the doors for the rest of us to help. Her original goal was to raise $1400 for an incubator...within 24 hours she had raised over $8,000 and more is still being donated. With the extra funds, they are sponsoring children with special needs - specifically cleft palates who need very specialized care before and after their surgeries. So far, 9 children have been sponsored.

If you donate  by tomorrow, she'll send you a pdf of an 8x10 print for you to hang on your wall as a reminder of the life you helped save. (There's a $20 minimum for the prints, to help save her sanity.)

Click HERE to read about the Incubator Project (and more recent posts feature the children who are being sponsored.)

Click HERE to read their adoption story. 

Even if you don't donate now, keep this organization (or similar) in mind for the times when you can donate - just as wise men plant trees under whose shade they'll never sit, so do those who help a child who they'll never meet.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Tip: cleaning crayon off of wooden toys

Baz - months ago - discovered that crayons will mark on *anything.* He demonstrated as much by coloring some of his wooden diggers. This morning, I got sick of looking at them all marked up and did some googling. The suggestions ranged from "tough luck" to "scrub them with baking soda" and a lot of references to a magic eraser (which I don't have.) But I do have regular erasers, and those work like a charm. Check it out:


Yes, even Baz helped out. It's never to early to learn how to clean up your own messes.


The toys are these, and as you can see, the paint cleaned up much easier than the plain wood. But that's ok. It's leagues better than it was before. When we discovered that the toys had been colored on, we explained to Baz that they were now out of the toy rotation so that I could clean them. They lived on my desk while I tried the damp cloth trick (fail) and then after about a week I decided having a clean desk trumped clean toys and they went back on the shelf - I said nothing to Baz about returning them, but he noticed their presence and happily played with them. He has not colored on a single toy since, though, so the message must have gotten through. He was very excited to have them clean today. And I'm very excited that I found a *super* easy cleaning method!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

2 raves

1st: Taproot.

We all know how much I love Amanda Blake Soule, so when I heard she was working on a magazine, I signed right up. It came in the mail about a week ago and I enjoyed every single word. It's filled with inspiring stories of people getting in touch with the soil (as the issue title suggests) and now I am inspired to dig in and make our back garden something enjoyable. Next step...find the energy... ;-)  Needless to say, I am very much looking forward to issue 2. (and sad that there are only 4/yr)

Did you even know this existed? Neither did I! Do you see how simple that is?  I ordered the Teach Me Time clock so we could give Baz a visual cue for when it's ok to leave his room (and get in my bed with his cold, cold feet) and when I saw that option I *had* to click it. I am not sorry I did. No scissors beyond the initial box-opening. No flesh-slicing plastic to wrestle with. Not even those stupid wire loops that require bolt cutters to get through. 

The jury is still out on the awesomeness of the clock. Baz loves that when he pushes that button, it tells him the time. We're going through trial and error to get the green light to come on at the right time. As Brennan said on Bones Monday night: "my IQ could be down a whole 8 or 9 points at this stage in my pregnancy." That's right people: Brennan said it, so it's real. Pregnancy brain exists! ;-)

So there you go. Two things I love enough to recommend to you without any kind of remuneration from the companies. 

(I feel like I have to say that for legal reasons. Also, it's true.)
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