Monday, December 31, 2012

And Then There Was One (366/366)

I did it!  I took a picture and posted it EVERY day of 2012.  I actually took more(way more) than 366 pictures but there were definitely days when it was hard to get one.  I am proud of myself for accomplishing this project and look forward to a new one in 2013.  I have a few things in mind and keep tuned to the blog because the pictures will show up there.

I will also continue with the #FMSPhotoaday Challenge by @FatMumSlim and there is a Treasure Hunt I am involved in on G+ as well.....

A special Thank You to everyone who supported me during the last 366 days and I wish you all a most Happy and Safe New Year!

Let's make 2013 a GREAT one!

Celebrate endings, for the precede new beginnings.
~Jonathan Lockwood Hule

Sunday, December 30, 2012

One Whiff And You're A Goner! (365/366)

A fun day with the kids and it made me smile as we had lunch together, shopped, snacked and I even splurged and got myself a cool Lego set (Sydney Oprah House).  I am so thankful I get these times with my kids and I cherish every one of them, no matter how short or what silly things we might be doing.

One more day to go.......let's make it a GREAT one!!!

Life is like a mirror, we get the best results when we smile at it!
~Author Unknown

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Waves Of Fire (364/366)

A cold winter's night and there is nothing like a fire.  I find a fire both warm and hypnotizing and I love to capture the waves and light as it dances across the bricks.

It's a perfect way to enjoy the evening....

Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by another human being.  Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this light.
~Albert Schweitzer

Friday, December 28, 2012

Wrong Side Of The Tracks (363/366)

Tramping along in the snow today with the camera.  The new snow made for a great backdrop and it's hard to believe that there are 39 building being demolished 100 yards or so from here.  This was another shot taking along Mayview Rd. in South Fayette, PA not far from the site of the Mayview State Hospital.  The Chartiers Creek was right next to the tracks and the snow made them both a lovely sight for the camera!

I think this is another shot that I might need to take seasonally.

One stretch of tracks was so crocked, we met ourselves coming back.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Roadside (362/366)

Sometimes the photo opportunities find you and other times you have to make them.  I wish I had taken my camera with me today but I am pretty pleased with this iPhonetography moment as I was going to pick up Daniel from his Baseball Camp (yes, indoors).

Tomorrow, more snow shots and I think even on the weekend as we are expecting more of the white stuff!

When snow falls, nature listens.
~Antoinette van Kleef

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Guarding The Net (361/366)

Well this is one way to guard the net!  It was Globetrotter night tonight.  One last Christmas present to enjoy while on our holiday break!  It was bitter sweet for me as my Dad used to take us to see them when I was my kid's ages.  They would come to Princeton University's Jadwin Gym and it was always a great time.  My two favorite players were Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal and tonight Curly was in attendance as an assistant coach!

While the names have changed and there is even a female player (TNT), the show is still as great as it ever was and something I was so happy to share with my kids.  I am also pretty happy that I was able to get my old Rebel into the Consol Energy Center because the iPhone was not gonna cut it tonight and the 7D was going to be way too obvious!  Managed to capture a few fun shots!

And guess what?  They won the game!!!!!!!

Sweet Georgia Brown-it's not a Globetrotter game unless you hear it!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas (360/366)

So all the hard work is in the bank and the kids are happy campers!  In the end, that's really all that matters.  Although, I am typing through tears of laughter as the "gift" of the moment is the pooping reindeer.  I feel a video coming on!

One of the most glorious messes in the world, is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day.  Don't clean it up too quickly.
~Andy Rooney

Monday, December 24, 2012

Traditions (359/366)

Growing up we had a lot of traditions.  Decorating the tree on Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass and Santa on the Firetruck on Christmas Eve.  Then as we got older, things changed.  We get married and have kids of our own.  Our big tradition was Christmas Eve at my Dad's.....what a blast those times were.  Then things changed again.  Family moves away.  Family moves back.  You move away.  Family leaves us to have Christmas in Heaven.

With all the changes, we have to start new traditions of our own.  We have two.  One I started when my daughter was born and that was special PJ's to wear on Christmas Eve.  When the kids were small I could get them to match or at least coordinate.  Now I am lucky if I get them in the same color family.  The other tradition is Christmas Eve is Appetizer Night!  We always buy more than we could possibly eat but it makes for nice snacks during Christmas break!

It just isn't Christmas unless you push your body to brink of alcoholism and diabetes!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Grandfather Frost (358/366)

After a busy day of baseball, laundry and rum cakes, the kids and I took a trip downtown to PPG Place.  I have lived in Pittsburgh for 6+ years now and have never made it there.  Both kids have gone with either Scouts or School but my camera was screaming for some time out of the house.

We walked around the general area of PPG Place and when we finally needed a place to warm ourselves, we headed into Wintergarden to visit the Santa's of the World and the Gingerbread House Display.

This was my favorite "Santa".  Gratherfather Frost from Russia.  He travels from house to house bringing gifts on the non-religious holiday of New Years.  He is often seen wearing winter furs or bishop robes as he travels through the forests of Russia.

It's always good for us to pause,
and think awhile of Santa Claus
That Jolly symbol that we revere
before we approach the changing year.
Behind his beard, so long and white
in which our children take delight,
there beats a heart from color free
which bids all children, "come to me".
~Marshall M. Morgan

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Abstract (357/366)

The first full day of Christmas vacation and I am doing my best to kick this head cold in the ass, finishing up wrapping presents and decided to enjoy a fire tonight.  A few weeks ago I purchased a basket of pine cones that turn the fire different colors and decided to have some photo fun tonight.

I love photographing a bonfire and such but doing some abstracts tonight was really a lot more interesting and I love this shot.

Angels are spirits,
flames of fire:
they are higher than man,
they have wider connections.
~Matthew Simpson

Friday, December 21, 2012

Tree (356/366)

So what does one do with all the corks from all the wine?  Make a Christmas decoration, of course!
I love this little tree!  I have a new friend on FB and she sent me this cute tree which I will keep at work to add a little cheer to my office during the Holidays each year.

Now I might just have to save the wine corks I accumulate and pay it forward.  Guess I better start drinking some then.....LOL

May your holiday be joyful,
the company lovely & the
wine delectable.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baking (355/366)

So tonight finished up the last of our baking.  Thankfully most of what we bake leaves the house as gifts but we do enjoy it as well.  On tonight's agenda was Butterscotch Haystack cookies, White Chocolate M&M Christmas Crack and Sugar Cookies.  When we were at Piratefest last week we got free Pirate P cookie cutters for donating a gift to a needy child and the kids could not wait to try them out.

Although I do need to find a better sugar cookie recipe.  Each year I do a new one because they never come out quite like I want them too, but they still taste great!

So here's to a great Christmas break and a winning season for our Pirates!!

Let's Go Bucs!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Begins With S (354/366)

This is my Christmas stocking.  My mother made this for me in 1968.  It was my second Christmas.  She made one of these for all three of her kids.  Then we got married.  So she made one for each of our spouses.  Then we had kids.  So each of her grandchildren received one as well.  Then, two of those grandchildren had children, and she made more.  19 in total so far.  Justin, my niece's husband is now currently waiting for his.....that will make 20.

I know that it would not be Christmas for me without this stocking.  I remember as a kid finding all kinds of cool toys in it and as I got older, my parents got smart and stuffed my stocking with shampoo, hairspray, socks, stockings, etc.  The big items fill this up quickly.

I now do the same thing for my kids.  There are always cool gifts inside.  Some big, some small but all fun!  I can't wait to fill them again this year as I got creative and they should be all smiles.  Now I think I need to learn to knit so I can continue this in the years to come.

The #FMSPhotoaday challenge is Begins With S.....

And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
In hopes that St. Nicholas would soon be there.
~Clement C. Moore

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Happy Birthday! (353/366)

So today, Daniel turned 10.  Double Digit Dan as one of my G+ buddies noted!  Daniel did cookies at school with his classmates and then tonight had his Den meeting for Cub Scouts where they all enjoyed cupcakes.  Now over the weekend we bought this cool package of cupcakes fully equipped with candles.  How convenient I thought because I can never find candles.  Dan and his dad stopped to get more cupcakes just in case and these special candle ones ended up coming home.  So after both kids were showered and homework was done we decided to sing and have a cupcake.

Well we lit them all and Dan got them all out and low and behold, they all relit....LOL  Magic candles!  What a hoot.  As he was trying to get them to completely go out, I captured this shot and loved it!

Happy Birthday Daniel, so glad it's been a GREAT day!

Today was Good.  Today was fun.  Tomorrow is another one!
~Dr. Suess

Monday, December 17, 2012

On The Floor (352/366)

It was another unmotivated photo day.  It was gray for the first part and gray and raining for the second part.  I sat there and thought, it's 9:30pm and I have not even thought about a photo.  I want to say Thank You to to @fatmumslim and her photoaday challenge.  No matter how crazy my day is, it forces me to focus on something other than the craziness and take a picture!

Now, this is Dan curled up watching his favorite TV show, Top Gear!  It was his first day back to school after being sick all of last week so I think he will sleep good.  He will need it because tomorrow my lil man turns 10.  I can't even fathom that he is a decade old.  He has everything he needs.  Perry The Platypus, his Perry Hat, Pirates blanket and comfy pjs...what more could a boy want?

We must teach our children to dream with their eyes open
~Harry Edwards

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Something(s) I Made (351/366)

Thanks to a case of bronchitis, we did not have baseball today and I was able to put a huge dent in my holiday baking!  30 dozen cookies and 2 batches of Christmas Crack.  All we have left is another interesting version of crack, sugar cookies and haystacks.  I can get the sugar and haystacks done tomorrow and I think we can do the M&M crack on Tuesday.

I have to tell you, I don't want to see a cookie for a few days and thankfully, a good portion of this goes out as gifts to teachers, bus drivers, girl scout leaders, cub scout leaders, etc.....  I find baking very therapeutic.  I allows me to concentrate on something other than work or the news.

I am now very tired and looking forward to a restful sleep.

Happiness is a Christmas Cookie in both hands!   

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Empty & Desolate (350/366)

This picture is how I feel today.  I tried to watch the news last night about the tragedy in Newtown, CT and about 10 mins in, I was crying so hard I had to turn it off.  As I finished my grocery errands today, I saw this field and the cold, gray Pittsburgh sky and it looked like I feel.  Empty, desolate, cold and looking like rain (tears).

I am baking now, trying to keep my mind off it all, but it keeps creeping back in.  Prayers going out to all those families as their angels look down on them.

Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

Friday, December 14, 2012

City of Bridges (349/366)

While we were waiting to get in and attend Piratefest, the late afternoon sun made for a beautiful shot from the Convention Center of the Ft. Wayne RR Bridge.  The upper deck has two tracks used by Amtrak and Norfolk Southern and the lower deck remains unused now for many, many years.

In this city of 446 bridges, I find it interesting to learn the history behind them.  This bridge, also knows as Bridge No. 1 and is over 100 years old.  Built between 1901 and 1904 by the American Bridge Company.  It replaced the 1868 Bridge and is the 5th bridge in this general area.

While we had a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh, my heart goes out to all the families affected by the tragedy in Newtown, CT.  May you find comfort in this most terrible time.  Our prayers are with you.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.  Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Lights! (348/366)

Today's challenge word on my #FMSPhotoaday is Lights.  A few days ago, a fellow blogger, Pittsburgher and G+er did a cool shot with the lights on this tree.  I just loved it so I decided to do my own experiment tonight.

It's definitely an affect I will play more with but I am pleased with the results! I can almost hear Captain Jean-Luc Picard saying:


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Master At Work (347/366)

Despite fighting a flu, the Lego Master takes a few moments to survey the work on the Death Star.  He notices an error and corrects it, has a small slice of Grandmom's Pound Cake and heads off to bed.  That's how I know he is sick.  If he wasn't he would still be debating with me about staying up for just 10 more minutes.

You may dispense with the pleasantries Commander, I am hear to put you back on schedule.
~Darth Vader

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sweets From The Sweet (346/366)

#FMSPhotoaday challenge today was the word "Sweet".  Now this time of year, I am trying to avoid most sweets and keep on my weight loss plan but I got a surprise today. My "sweet" friend Gina Dedig baked us some of the BEST biscotti I have ever had.  Chocolate Chip and it is to die for.  As I am writing this, I am enjoy my first piece and my taste buds are doing jumps of joy!

Thank you Gina and I will be returning the "sweet" treats next week!

I am pretty sure the secret to word peace is hidden somewhere in the smell of coffee and baked sweets.
~Author Unknown (but extremely wise!)

Monday, December 10, 2012

#SecretSanta (345/366)

So today a surprise arrived.  This is the second year I participated in the G+ #Secret Santa and unless someone else is surprising me, it's a gift from my Secret Santa!  I am a natural giver (to a fault, my mother says) but getting is fun too.  I love surprises but it's been ages since I have been truly surprised.  I think the last time was the birth of my daughter.  We had no clue!

But the giving part is truly my favorite and give I did.  I searched and scoured the G+ Secret Santa list till I found someone who spoke me and then I had some fun.  It was all for her kids and I have been in her position.  So many other things that NEED to be done and take precedence over gifts.  But kids deserve to have a great Christmas so I wanted to help make their holiday that much better.  Some years ago a friend helped me out so that my kids had a good Christmas so this is just my way of paying it forward.

May the spirit of giving,
go on through the year.
Bringing love, laughter, hope
and good cheer.
Gifts wrapped with charity,
joy, peace and grace.
Ribboned with happiness,
a tender embrace.
~Norma Woodbridge

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merry Christmas From Heaven (344/366)

This was a lovely gift from my friend Mindy last year after my father passed away.  As I hung it on the tree this year it made me realize how much I miss our big Family Christmas Eve celebration. It's not just my dad, but my sister Nanci and her husband Jack.  The fun we used to have.  Those are the times memories are made of......

Miss & love you all!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Someones I Love (343/366)

Today's #FMSPhotoaday Challenge was Someone I Love.  Today was also our big family get together for all our December Birthdays/Christmas celebration.  I made EVERYONE get in the photo and as you can see, no easy task to get them all the smile and look at the camera at the same time.  Especially with a tired 3 year old.

But a fun day was had by all and I drank almost an entire bottle of Reindeer Ranch red wine...I will sleep like a baby.

Others may change us, but we all start and end with the family.
~Anthony Brandt

Friday, December 7, 2012

Baby I'm A Star! (342/366)

One of my older ornaments made by Avon.  It's a set of three and this is one is my favorite.  It's also fit for the #FMSPhotoaday Challenge, which was STAR.

I am enjoying shooting the fun and interesting ornaments on our family tree.

Baby, but I are, I'm a star!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

From Where I Live (341/366)

It's the crazy day before the relatives come into town for our Birthday/Christmas celebrations!  I took a half day to clean, organize and prep for the pending arrivals.  I am very excited for them to see all the changes to our home.  In fact, I hope by the time they come back again in June, it will look totally different!

So after all this cleaning and a Cookie Webinar that was about 90 mins too long, I realized I needed a shot for the day (and a shower curtain's all part of the plan).  I knew the borough building would be perfect for the shot and I was not disappointed.

So welcome to our home town of Green Tree, PA.  It's a quaint small town just outside of Pittsburgh and I am so glad this was where we landed and when moved here.

There's no place like home......

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Before and After-Part 2 (340/366)

Today the stone came and our fireplace is finally finished.  I am still in awe of the transformation this has made in our living room.  Now I cannot wait to paint, rip up the nasty carpet and lay hardwood floors and finally get a ceiling fan with a light so I can rid my home of that God awful "Holiday Inn" hanging lamp.

The best part really is how much the kids love it.  Dan just likes to stare at it and tonight he said "Mom, it's just too good".

There is no place more delightful than one's own fireplace.
~Marcus Tullius Cicero

This is the BEFORE (in case you forgot from last week)

And this is the AFTER!  All dressed for Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Experimenting (339/366)

The FMSPhotoaday challenge word for today was Black & White.  Another busy day and photo ops were limited.  Daniel however, is always available and doesn't mind having his picture taken.

One of the areas I know I am weak in is lighting.  I decided to have a little fun with this one and I am pleased with the results.  It's different, which is what I was looking for.

One photo out of focus is a mistake, ten our of focus are experimentation, one hundred out of focus is a style.
~Author Unknown

Monday, December 3, 2012

Old School (338/366)

These may be new ornaments but they so remind me of the good times when I was a kid.  Fisher Price toys were the BEST!  You could do anything with them. They made you use your imagination, something kids don't get a lot of these days!

I have one more to add to this tree which is the TV and apparently I came into this set late so, I need to see what's out there that I can get my hands on to complete the set!

Those were the good old days!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our Tree (337/366)

We finally had some free time today to clean up (dust from fireplace stoning is EVERYWHERE) and we managed to get the tree up and decorated.  We went artificial this year and despite the screw up and Michael's selling my tree, this one is good.  It's got LED lights that you can move from colored to white.  It was thee most incredibly easy tree to put up (3 pieces and a stand) and it took longer to get it out of the box than up and lit!

The kids are pleased and Shannon is in love with the purple lights.  Just weird to have the windows and sliding glass door open while decorating...LOL

Gotta love global warming!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Stark & White (336/366)

We had a Cub Scout event that took us North to the Kiski Railroad.  As we took our Christmas train ride with the Scout, I found these trees all along the river.  It was a challenge to frame it right since the train was moving but I was very please after just a few shots!

Love is a naked shadow on a gnarled and naked tree.
~Langston Hughes