Friday, November 30, 2007

Another HP giveaway!!!!! A Digital Camera!!!!

Announcing another great gift from HP to give to one of my readers!!!!

An HP Photosmart M547 Digital Camera!!!




It takes 6.2 megapixel photos, has a 3x zoom lens, red eye removal, 2.4 inch display and much more!!!!

It retails for $109.99! All you need to do is leave a comment and a random winner will be announced next Saturday, December 8th 8 pm pst!!! I will notify you by blog, or email. It is not necessary for you to have a blog, though!

I'm so excited to be giving this away, and wish each and every one of you the best of luck!
Happy Holidays to you and your families!

Mandy

Oh by the way, I just found a website called Random.org via Melody's website Slurping Life (she's got some great contests giveaways going on too!) to make it nice a fair and random!!!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Picture This - Cozy


Violet and Domino getting "cozy". For more cozyness, go to Picture This Thursdays.

Winners of the HP books

Thank you for those that entered for the HP photobooks giveaway. Here's the winners:

Kirsten wins the 8 1/2 x 11 book
and Betty, Cynthia, and Dawn each get a 5 x 7 book! Yes, I actually have an extra 5 x 7 so nobody's a loser!!!!

Congratulations to you all! If you don't have my email, and I don't have yours, just shoot me a Flickrmail with your address by going here and I'll get it out to you!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Looking for crabs

Just some Thanksgiving photos.....

We had a fun, quiet time at my mom and dad's for Thanksgiving. Mom made these "Mayflower" ships for the girls out of yams, roasted marshmallows, cranberries, and some sails that she pulled off of the internet. Homeschooling nana they have! Olivia mostly ate the marshmallows of course, but the yams were very yummy as well. It was just my folks, my brother Martin, and us. Martin brought his dog, Lester, who is quiet excitable. He really enjoyed playing with the girls. He was a rescue dog from the Hurricane Katrina floodings. Martin was just supposed to be fostering him, but his home was not found, and Martin enjoyed him so much, that he ended up keeping him.

Bone and Lester
He brought him to our house one day, where he met our golden retriever Bone, and played with him in our back yard.
Lester playing tetherball
He also rather enjoyed playing tetherball. Which yes, he did eventually pop!
My pretty girls
The girls dressed up pretty for Nana's house for Thanksgiving.
Uncle Martin & Olivia
Olivia loved hugging and cuddling up with her Uncle Martin, while he read stories. Even though they don't see him often, they always start up where they left off when they see him. They both really enjoy his company.
Robomomma!
Here's a photo of my roboleg!
Violet took this photo of my robo-leg this morning. I ended up getting about 10 stitches, a metal plate and about 7 screws in my ankle. The pain has finally subsided, but I'm not supposed to put weight on it yet, and have to go back in 4 weeks. This is a removable "boot" that goes over a sock on my leg to protect my ankle. Biggest bummer is not being able to drive. We're getting a little stir crazy here!!!

Friday, November 23, 2007

What was I thinking?

I posted a contest earlier this week to hopefully give away some HP Photobooks. Okay, maybe it was the heavy pain killers I was on, but who has time to look through my archives to look for some answers to some silly questions to win some books? I haven't even had time to look at my blog this week (or the energy). Especially it being Thanksgiving week and y'all probably being extemely busy with getting ready for Turkey Day, and probably some shopping afterwards. I've rethought and I really need to make it easier. I was just trying to have some fun (or what I thought would be fun, big wrong!) LOL


Photographic

Anyway, if you happen upon my blog and would like to win an HP photobook (in prior entry), Please just post a short comment indicating that you've been here and I'll have a random drawing from the names and have 3 winners! Feel welcome to post here on this post or in the prior post and I'll pull a winner next Wednesday! That easy.




Hope your Turkey Day was great! We had a great one at my moms just us and my brother came down from Monterrey. The girls had a lot of fun playing with his dog Lester. Quite a bundle of energy, he is. Post photos soon!

Monday, November 19, 2007

10,000+ Let's celebrate!

***Contest edited***
Please just enter your name in the comments if you'd like to be entered to win an HP Photobook! Winners to be announced next Wednesday!

WooHoo, I reached 10,000 hits sometime today, so exciting to see. Interesting to see since I get about 5-15 comments on some of my entries, I would love to see who the rest of you are and read your blogs and find out more about you, don't be shy! I also have a very special incentive for you (see below)! Also, I really think that you would enjoy some of the fun challenges, and other fun stuff that goes on such a MamaSaysOm, Wrapped Emotions, PictureThis, Wordless Wednesdays & Flickr. Would especially like to get to know other unschoolers out there. There's some great Unshooling blog rings, check them out on my side link buttons. It is really a great way to make friends out there in the blogging world and you'll never know where it takes you...............(like here, or here, or here!) Also, through blogging, I was asked to participate in the HP Photograhics Memories Interviews with Mom Bloggers. I was interviewed by Susan Getgood at Snapshot Chronicles and received some HP Photobooks to give away!

Photographic



So, in celebration, and to share the blogger love, I have a contest to announce:

Please leave a comment in the comments and I will put everyones names in a hat and pull 3 lucky winners. The 1st winner will recieve a 8.5"x11" book, and (2) 2nd places winners will each receive a 5"x7" book.














More details about the HP books:
Photo Books are a fun, easy way to create a customized, professional quality photo book at home with your inkjet printer. The innovative binding system – think of a big binder clip – lets you replace or rearrange pages and add mementos like ticket stubs or invitations. The included software has a variety of professionally designed layouts, or you can create your own with your favorite graphics package. Two sizes, 5x7 and 8.5x11, multiple colors.
An easy, fun way to create customized, professional quality photo books at home.
Professional looking two-toned linen photo book and software
Innovative binding system lets you replace or rearrange pages, add mementos
Photosmart Essential 2.5 software features a variety of professionally designed layouts
Two sizes. 5x7, $14.99 MSRP and 8.5x11, $24.99 MSRP

Available in the US at the HP Home and Home Office Store, Best Buy, QVC, Amazon.com, Staples, Office Depot and Circuit City (online only).

Through December 31, 2007, HP is offering a 20% discount on the purchase of the HP Photo Books.

If you don't win one here, there are other opportunities to win them, just check on Snapshot Chronicle's sidebar for other contests listed.



I've rethought the contest please feel free to join by just leaving a comment that you've been here and I'll consider you as entered in the contest, and I'll have a random drawing next Wednesday night!

BSM-Mr Krabs

Mr Krabs
I haven't really been able to take any shots this week, other than from where I'm sitting, so I pulled this one from last weekend when we went camping at Silverstrand State Beach.This one is of my friend's cute son closely inspecting a little crab that I found during low tide. I like how you can just see his eye poking in from the corner so I chose it for my BSM. Check out Picture This for more BSMs!

There is some more from our camping weekend in one of my flickr groups here, and a couple of sunset shots on my Mailboxes etc photo blog. Have a great week all!!!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Wrapped Emotions - Today I Love.....

This week's prompt at Wrapped Emotions starts with "What do you love today?"

Wrapped Emotions button



Here are the specifics:


For this week's prompt you will need to set aside a small block of uninterrupted time. *gasp* You can do it. You need to do it. Allow whatever amount of time you think it will take to complete the project. Get any art supplies ready ahead of time. Open your art journal to a clean page, date it and begin listing the things you love today...or whatever day you do the project.No typing on the computer and printing words. It should be done in your handwriting. Make it neat, make it sloppy, make it uniquely yours. Doodle the words, fine line print, bold line print, scribble. Write horizontally, diagonally, backwards, upside down. Give the page some color and pop...paint the page first...collage the page first...color the page with marker. Do not be limited by these suggestions. But WRITE the lists...no typing and printing. What is important is that you know what you love today.One more twist...in a creative way include a wrapper from one of the things you love today (or the day you do this). Remember, if a week's project is not completed on an actual journal page, take the time to lovingly place each one into your art journal.




Being that I'm not very mobile right now, I just decided to write it on some cardstock with some regular markers. I would have loved to paint and embellish and play with it some more, but most of my art supplies are out back in the barn, and I wasn't up to trekking out there on crutches! Anway, it was still fun, and was actually a really good thing that I was able to just sit and really stay in the moment and love and appreciate the things that were right there in front of me. My girls playing nicely together, a nice quiet view through the front window, relaxing in my favorite room of the house with some of my favorite things, with my leg propped up. So here it is. Violet also decided to participate, so I'll link hers here as well as on the Wrapped Emotions page.


***oops, I forgot to add my wrapper. But my favorite wrapper would have to be my Yardley's English Lavendar talc, but since it's on a tin, I couldn't put it on anyway.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Picture This: Giddy

Screaming for Hannah


There was definately much "GIDDY-ness" going on last Thursday night. We were so very, very lucky to be invited to go see the Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus Best of Both Worlds concert in San Diego. This was Violet's first time to a concert and what better concert than this. In addition, the Jonas Bros opened for her! We love to watch Hannah Montana's show on tv as a family, and love her music as well. She is as talented live as she is on the show. An excellent voice, and an excellent stage presence.


Violet & Emily


We were forunate to be guests of Hewlett Packard, who sponsored the concert, and were invited by Tracey Clarke over at Picture This. She was the official photographer for the HP guests and is promoting the My Concert memory books. I am so excited about them and can't wait to see how they turn out.


Hannah Montana


Hannah


Jonas Brothers


Thank you so much Tracey, we had such a truly wonderful time!


For more "giddy" go to Picture This!



I'd love to share some of the HP love, so be on the lookout for an upcoming contest!

BTW, my surgery went well. Just call me the Bionic Woman. I now have metal in my ankle. Since I now have the plate, I was tempted to ask for microdermal studs......LOL just kidding! I have to go back in 14 days for another xray, to see whether I'll need a cast or just a boot. Boot would be better because, then I can take it off to take baths/showers.

Thanks for all the well wishes..........

Monday, November 12, 2007

SNAP!CRACKLE!POP!!!!!

I have so many cool things to blog about and was planning on sitting down and writing it all Sunday evening when we got back from camping, and well...........I just couldn't! Literally. We had a great Thursday evening, and yes, I promised to provide details, and will do so soon. We also had a wonderful weekend, camping at Silver Strand State Beach (also many great photos). Then, Sunday afternoon, shortly after coming home from camping, I was unpacking the trailer and well.....fell! I fell from the trailer steps, heard a loud "CRACK!" , landed on my side, in the field, next to our house! You got it, broke my ankle, and in two places! I've finally felt up to writing about it (after serious pain meds!!!!) Both the tibia and fibula are cracked, down at the ankle. I just have to say, it was the worst pain in my life, I kid you not. Dan was out back with the kids, who were on the trampoline and at the moment it happened were having a little spat, so they didn't hear me screaming out loud right away . I yelled for Dan for a few minutes and he finally heard me and came running. I couldn't move for the pain was so bad I felt like I was going to throw up. Anyway, he packed up me and the kids and I ended up in Urgent care. They took xrays and wrapped it in a splint. I was referred to an orthopedist today, and it turns out I will need surgery. It will require a metal plate inside my right ankle. So, I'll be out of commission for a few weeks. Won't be able to drive myself anywhere. And not supposed to put any pressure at all on it. I'll be getting the surgery on Wednesday, so please send some healing, well wishes my way....thanks :) The stitches should be removed after 12 days, then I'll know whether it will require a "boot" or a caste. UGGGGH!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Picture This - Memories

And the real Hannah Montana is......
Some HUGE memories will be made tonight, thanks to a very special person who I am so very thankful to for making my girl so very happy! Violet says a big "Thank You!" and we'll see you later!

Spidey Montana
Hey! It's Spidey Montana!

AND...............Dannah Montana!!!!

Dannah Montana

Gosh! I hope he doesn't kill me when he sees this!!!!LOL

Update after tonight, on another post!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wrapped Emotions - Recreate your face



Wrapped Emotions prompt this week was to "recreate your face"

Below are the details:

We are going to get more comfortable with ourselves. We are going to get to know our own face, appreciate it, recognize it and love it. Whoa, get back here! Don't run away from this prompt screaming "Nooooo!!!" I'm in it with you and my face has seen better years.Hold your camera at arm's length and shoot a photo of your face. Oh hush up, yes, get that close. Don't expect it to look good, unless you're twenty years old it will probably look horrible. But we're all here together. Just face it, this is what everyone is looking at so breath deeply and take it.Upload the photo to your computer and with whatever photo editing software you are using de-saturate it, convert it to black and white. Lighten the image if necessary, make sure the image isn't too dark. Print a copy. Oh horrors! I know.Now take your pencil and trace over it...over and over and over. Every feature, every curve and line...trace over it. This is you.After working with your printed image, scan it into your computer and upload it into your Wrapped Emotions' post. Be sure to paste it into you art journal. Talk about the emotions experienced while doing this. Work at accepting and loving your face. Talk about the experience. Above all remember, if you cannot love yourself, how will others love you? How will you love others without self-love?


First of all, I had to take several photos to get one that felt right. Taken from too high up, my forehead looked huge, taken from too low, my chin looked fat. Already, you can see I'm highly critical of myself and not too happy with how I look. When I don't have to look at a picture of myself, I am okay with myself. When I look at a photo of myself, I am critical. Guess that's why you don't see too many self-portraits of me.....


However, looking at this photo of me, in black and white, I feel okay with myself. I think I look my age. When I look past the obvious things that I am critical with myself about (wide forehead, chubby chin, no cheekbones) I see the lines that define who I truly am.


One thing I notice is my smile lines on the side of my mouth, and at the sides of my eyes. People have always said that my girls always smile and always look happy. I see my girls reflections in my smiles. I think that by smiling often at your children, laughing often with them, having a positive disposition with them, showing them, telling them, that they are loved, creates happy, content children. Plus, they just make me smile by looking at them. They are such gifts. Kids need to see happy parents to feel secure and to be happy.


My eyes are happy. they are content with where they are now. They are a reflection of the beauty that I see in my world, through my family, and through nature's gifts. They are not windows to an old soul. They are of a new soul who had to experience and re-experience many things to finally get it right.


The lines created by hard times are seen on my forehead. Fortunately, they are few and small. I was once more serious, very unhappy, and thus frowned a lot. I hit some really hard lows and it took awhile to get through them. Fortunately, it was all pre-marriage, pre-children. I don't think I could have ever gotten to the place I am at, without having gone through it. And, it wasn't just unhappy teen years, it occurred throughout my 20s.


I am not a beautiful lady as lady's are defined in these times, but I believe I am close to being a beautiful person inside. At least, that's what I strive to be. I have my moments of ugly, and try to correct them and make them right. I have moments of hurt, when I allow others to make me feel bad about myself. I have moments of doubt, when I wonder if I'm still on the right path, or whether I have taken a wrong turn and need to go back and straighten it out.


Most importantly, I really need for my girls to see that I am happy with myself and that we are all beautiful people and not to compare ourselves to what others percieved beauty may be.


As far as loving oneself, I don't always love the person that I am, but I can't expect to be perfect, and I have to try to love the imperfect person that I am. It's a work in progress.....and thus the point of participating in Wrapped Emotions.


What do you see?


Wrapped Emotions button

Monday, November 05, 2007

Enjoy your family - WE



(Olivia took this photo of Violet & I)


Wrapped Emotions prompt this last week, was Enjoy your family. Being that we are unschoolers and I am with my girls pretty much all the time, I am very fortunate that I get to enjoy my family quite often! But, even more so when Dan is home too. He started a new job 2 months ago and is working longer hours. It's a real bummer and the kids miss him being at home at 430 in the afternoons. Recently, Olivia wanted to know the days of the week, in order. She'll say some of the days and try to put them in order out loud, so I've been helping her try to memorize them, because that's what she wants (natural learning occurring!). I wasn't sure about her motive for learning it, or whether there even was one, until she asked "what day is daddy home?" Aha, she wants to know so that she can know what days she can expect daddy to be home. Cool. So, with daddy home this weekend, she, they both, got to spend lots of time with both of us and I got to enjoy my family, that much more! We had been spending more time in doors, due to the air quality from the fires, and this weekend it was finally very clear and beautiful outside. So they got to spend some time on the trampoline, riding trikes and bikes, and playing "Tarzan & Jane" (Olivia's favorite pretend game-you guessed it, she's Tarzan, I'm Jane!)


Dog Pile on the trampoline with dad







We even had family time with the cats. We had fun watching them wrestle around!


(Photo courtesy of Olivia)


For more entries, go to Wrapped emotions or go to the link below


Wrapped Emotions button

BSM-Pat a Cake, pat a cake

Patacake
We were sitting on the floor and Olivia said to me "Let's play pat-a-cake", so we played a few rounds, then she let me take here picture while we were playing. I set the camera on one of Violets full drawers of clothes in her dresser and put on the timer.
I love her smile here, she's really enjoying herself!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Camping lists, anime, paper airplanes, just some more typical unschooling days..........

Making a camping list
Dan reminded the girls that we would be going camping next weekend and perhaps we should start preparing and getting ready for our trip, albeit just a weekend trip to the beach. So, the girls decided to make some camping check off lists, as they've seen me do in the past when I start to get ready (or I will most definitely forget something!). So they sat down on the carpet and proceeded to write down what they will need to bring. They listed out the clothes they would need, toys that they wanted to bring, toiletries, etc. Olivia drew pictures on hers, and she wrote "Olivia's List" on the top, with Violet's help. I sat close by and watched and helped with words as requested, but mostly they just did it on their own. Afterwards, Olivia starting cutting it up (she just loves cutting with scissors!). I often find lists that Violet has made around the house. I just ran out to the car for something and found a list that Violet had made when they evacuated. It was a list of things to take with them to Nana's house.

Olivia's been creating a lot of really interesting things lately. She likes using glue to put pieces of paper together, add string and make little baskets. She made some puppets out of foam paper, yarn and Popsicle sticks. She loves putting glue on her fingers, letting it dry then peeling it off (I love doing that too!). It's funny the things we find around the house that she has created or put together. She also likes to arrange things to create symmetrical patterns. This morning Dan was fixing the kitchen sink faucet and left some tools out while he ran out to the hardware store to pick another piece that he needed. Olivia sat and played with the tools while I made breakfast. I made sure there was nothing unsafe for her to play with then proceeded to cook some eggs. When I turned around, she had made this....
As I sit here typing, Olivia is sitting next to me using blue electrical tape, lined paper, scissors, a glue stick, and cutting some bristles off of a baby hair brush! Not sure what she is creating yet, but will be interesting to see what it turns into! She also filled up a little felt heart box with some Reeses chocolate and wrote "Pokemon" on a piece of paper and glued it to the top and said "here mom, these are your favorites". Earlier she made a paper airplane for me. Interesting, I never showed her how to make one, but she made a pretty good one. When we went to the Fall Festival on Halloween, there was a games booth where they had some pre-made paper airplanes and she had to throw them through a hole on a plywood frame to get points. Although, she has seen paper airplanes before, I think perhaps it is still fresh in her mind and she decided to make her own. I told her I have a paper airplane book and asked would she like to see it. She said "no, I already made one". LOL She certainly has her own ideas for everything that she makes, and I would hate to squelch that!

Violet's found this gamer, Marriland, on Youtube and has been watching his videos. He shows his viewers how to capture Pokemon in Diamond and Pearl. She's really learning a lot from him and gets excited when she learns something that helps her catch a Pokemon that she's been trying to get. He's got a great sense of humor and a really pleasant voice, so it's fun to listen and watch. This is one of the many avenues she uses to better her game. I bought her a user strategy guide for Mystery Dungeon which she enjoys using and she loves reading Pokemon story books and watching Pokemon on TV. While watching the videos on Youtube, she often is doing something else, like drawing Anime or Pokemon figures.


This week, we went to an Anime group that meets once a month. They had a cosplay contest, where they dress up as their favorite Anime characters. Violet dressed up as Dawn from Pokemon for Halloween, so she was ready for the contest. While there she met a boy who was dressed as Ash! They really hit it off and had a lot of common interests. He loves Pokemon, nintendo and loves to draw. Also, after talking with his mom for a bit I discovered they were unschoolers! We exchanged numbers and plan to get together soon. His little sister was so cute. She was dressed up as Pikachu.
Dawn
All in all, a pretty back to normal week.

Oh, and by the way, one of the creations Olivia was just making, turned out to be a little sword, handle and all! Another gift to treasure!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Princess & Spidey

Trick or treat
We went trick or treating with some friends at the downtown shops. Merchants were handing out candy from 3-6 pm. It was great to see so many people out and about after the fires. Afterwards, we went to a local church fall festival that a friend had invited us to. There were games and prizes and a cake walk. It was pretty fun. Then.......the girls wanted to experience "real" trick or treating in the evening in a neighborhood close by, that we heard was handing out treats. We ran by our house to pick up Dan, and there was one group of trick or treaters (the only that came that night) in a golf cart trick or treating at our house. The houses are all so spread out that it's really not worth it for trick or treaters to come to our neighborhood. But, we were decorated, so they knew we had candy! We went to the block that we heard about with many houses decorated and lots of kids out trick or treating. One man that was handing out candy said it was so nice to see people out and about after being holed up for 5 days. Many people stayed during the evacuation stayed in their homes, with the windows closed up because of the smoke, to protect their homes. The kids had soooo much candy by the end of the night. I hope they get tired of it soon, because I still need to recover from all the good food in Cabo! I won't say how much I gained, but let's just say, I realllly need to get back to the gym soon!

For more Halloween pictures go to my Flickr group. There's a photo of Violet and Olivia in their costumes, but it's marked for friends and family only, because there's some other kids in it (I'm not sure okay to post on my blog-will have to check with them) but if you know me and would like to see them, just ask. Violet was Dawn from Pokemon and Olivia was Spiderman.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Unschooling Voices #10 is up!

Unschooling Voices #10 is up! If you're interested and want to find out more about what unschooling "looks" like, check it out!

Thank you mama!


My mom hates to drive at night. So much so, that she will be sure to leave somewhere before nightfall, or spend the night, which she has done so on numerous times while visiting us. I love having her here. The girls love having her here. So, when Dan wanted to take just us to Cabo San Lucas for a week for our 10 year anniversary, I knew that they would be in very good hands. The extent of that I did not know until last week. She came down to stay with the girls at our house because we both knew they would probably be more comfortable here with all their stuff, their toys, books, friends. They had planned on going to our usual gatherings. There was a science group meeting in town, an American girl club meeting, and a neighborhood friend of mine was even going to go walking with her while the kids played at her house. I had every faith in knowing that our girls would be in very good hands.

We flew down Saturday morning at arrived around 4 in the afternoon. Our first evening was very enjoyable, as was our next day. My husband had switched over his cell phone to receive calls in Mexico, but we inadvertently didn't switch mine. I called the girls Saturday and everything was just fine.

Sunday, mom called to say there was a fire but it didn't sound like anything major or anything close.

Sunday evening, our town was evacuated. My mom, who hates to drive at night, drove out of town at 9 pm. What should have taken an hour took 4 hours to get to her house. She packed some clothes for the girls, took our dog, and our cat in a carrier. She packed a few valuable things. Violet brought a picture of Dan & I (our engagement photo) and a box of Sassy's ashes (because she knew that was important to me), she brought my laptop and my jewelry case.

We did not find out that they were evacuated until Monday. She had attempted to call us on my cell phone, but unknowingly the messages were not coming through. Finally, Dan's brother reached us and we learned of the severity of the situation.

I just wanted to post and say how very proud and thankful I am to my mom for being here, and for handling the whole situation so calmly. Even in her voicemails, that I later retrieved, she sounded so calm and didn't want us to be alarmed or worried. The girls have had no after effects of fear or anxiety. She kept them calm and actually, they still had a very good time with their Nana while at her home! Thank you so much mom! I love you!


As of today the Witch Fire is 100% contained. More than 400 structures in Ramona were destroyed. It burned 197,990 acres and the cost to gith the blaze is $13 million so far.38 firefighters have been injured and two civilians have died. This is just in the Witch Fire alone. My home and neighborhood are fine, but there are many in Ramona that are not.

If you would like to help out directly, there is a Witch Fire victims needs list blog and of course, the San Diego Red Cross.
Posted for my momma and shared with my friends at Picture This