Today–More Canning

I love that my last post was titled “No, I Didn’t Die.”  And then I disappear. For about three weeks.

So maybe I didn’t die.  But *apparently* I was abducted.

By whom or what I HAVE NO CLUE.

*lol*

So today I canned plum jam, made a crisp, marinated a roast for dinner, made a pumpkin spice latte knock-off, and…

And…

I don’t know. 🙂

Did you know that peeling plums will turn your fingers brown?  At least it turned my fingers brown.

And I spent something like two and a half hours peeling little plums that were being so stubborn.  They didn’t want let go of their skins.  And I blanched the things!

So, here’s where it all starts.

(Listening to a song, and it just mentioned snow.  And it made me get excited.  Can’t wait till it snows!)

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Mashed plums.  That turned brown because I was going slow.  (Welcome to my life.)

So after mashing them and measuring them, I dumped them in a pan and mixed in the calcium water, pectin, and sugar (that’s minus a few steps).

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Next I filled some jars.

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And then canned them.

Hey look!  A pile of pits!

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Then I still had about a cup and a half of plum smash goo.  So I had to do something with it.

So I turned to what is becoming my favorite way to use up miscellaneous fruit: a crisp.

And I threw together a plum apple blueberry crisp.  No one’s had any yet.  So I have no idea how good it is.  Or how good the plum jam is, because no one’s had any, because I canned all of it.  Otherwise it would have been tried.

*Sidetracked!*

Back to the crisp.

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And then I had to clean the kitchen.

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Goodness.

But actually, I started cleaning the kitchen, then started dinner, played piano (not necessarily in that order), and cleaned up more.

But I also interrupted the cleaning to make a pumpkin spice latte.

Boy was it good!

(Note:  I don’t necessarily know this website.  Not vouching for everything on it, and not even everything on this page.  Just love this recipe.)

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It was SO GOOD!

I’m so excited – I’ll hopefully be posting an exciting (for me!) post tomorrow.  So check back tomorrow to see it!  Oh, and you may find a hint in this post!  (And if you already know, don’t give it away!)

A Fun Breakfast and Today’s Walk

I have had a bit of inspiration for a yummy breakfast dish, and on Sunday I finally had all the pieces together, so I made it.  It consisted of a piece of warmed ham, sautéed spinach, and a poached egg, then drizzled drenched with some hollandaise sauce.  It was yummy!  I might have to make one tomorrow for breakfast.  We’ll see how much time I have…

Here is a link to the hollandaise sauce recipe I used.  I think I halved it.  This recipe is great, as it is made in a blender, and is so quick to throw together!  Just what we all need – hollandaise sauce at the touch of a few buttons!

Now for the photos! (Yes, I *actually* remembered to take a picture of my food before I ate it all!  I could have a serious gallery of empty plate photos if I took one each time I didn’t remember to take a picture before my food was gone.)

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LOTS of hollandaise sauce!

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The lovely colors

 

I took some photos on my walks today.  I took my two youngest siblings on a walk first (on this walk I took my camera with my macro lens.)  Then I went up to the pasture-behind-the-pond by myself, bringing normal lens.  I also brought my hymnal and psalter.  Yesterday I discovered that the pasture-behind-the-pond is an ideal spot to sing.  It is so open and peaceful, it is a joy to lift up one’s voice there.  You can hear it echo just a little, and you are secluded enough that you can sing at the top of your lungs and not be worried about anyone being too near.

I am hoping to start taking walks every day.  I will try not to post too many photos of my walks here, but if it snows, you know there will have to be lots of photos!  (I LOVE snow.)

So first, the photos of my walk with Meiling and Noah.

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My favorite trees are the out-of-focus blob in the background 🙂

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Who knew weeds could be so much fun?

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An old grave – I am not sure, as the stone is very worn, but I think it said 1836.

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Now the photos I took on my walk.

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A girl needs her chocolate, right?

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The pasture-behind-the-pond

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My hymnbook

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Heading home

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In my science book I was reading about astronomy, namely, the Milky Way galaxy.  Now every time I read “Milky Way,” you know what I though of?  Milky way candy bars, of course!  (Why do I seem to have this special ability to wrap food into anything?!?)  So, since my success with the Twix bars, I decided it would be fun to try to make Milky Way candy bars!  I am hoping to make them tomorrow.  Be sure to come back tomorrow evening – if I do make them, I will be sure to post pictures!  Oh, and they will be grain-free, made with coconut sugar, and all that good stuff.  🙂  It should be SO FUN!  (I am really excited, if you can’t tell!  :))

Looking forward to some Milky Way bars,

Allison

P.S.  Thank you for reading.  🙂

Thanksgiving

I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!  I certainly did!  We spent the day at our friends’ home, with another family from church and a few other people. 

It was a lovely day – nice and warm, so we were able to be outside.  Our friends had set up an obstacle course outside, and we enjoyed running it, seeing who could get the best time.  I ran it with my little friend.  🙂

We had an early dinner, followed with a time of Thanksgiving and singing.  After that we had pie and visited.  The evening was wrapped up with a game of Scattergories (I LOVE that game!).

On a food note, the day before I made a grain-free apple pie for our celebration.  I was worried that it wouldn’t turn out, but I was quite happy with the outcome.  I based it on my regular apple pie and pie crust recipes.

And now, for the photos.  🙂

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The night before – making the grain-free apple pie

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The grain-free apple pie – when I was taking this picture I was thinking, “Let’s hope this works!”

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A little hot cocoa made with coconut milk, served in a pretty cup with a pretty spoon.  Ahhh….

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On Thanksgiving – my photographer friend 🙂

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*Smile*

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Mom running the obstacle course with Meimei

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The LOVELY table – Sarah, you did and AWESOME job!

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View from above

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With the candles lit and the cups filled

Confession:  Usually when I am at some sort of get-together, I take a bunch of photos at the beginning, then don’t take many more after that.  So, at this point in the evening, I put my camera down, and didn’t take any more photos until dessert.

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Pie time!

 

What did you do for Thanksgiving?

Today–11/26/12

I know that I haven’t posted about Thanksgiving yet, but I’m not going to post about that today.  I may or may not post about that in the future – we’ll just see.  I don’t want to make any promises that I won’t end up keeping.  🙂

Today was just a normal day of school, of life.

I made an imitation Chipotle dinner tonight.  I really wasn’t planning on making the whole thing a Chipotle imitation, but it sort of took on a life of its own, and I ended up making rice, beans, and salsa, in addition to the meat.  It turned out wonderfully (if I do say so myself).  Mom ended up running to the store this evening, so she picked up some Monterey Jack cheese.  They use a blend of Jack and White Cheddar at Chipotle.  I am a HUGE fan of their cheese, just to mention one thing.  I have gotten the same thing every time I have gone to Chipotle – a Steak Burrito Bowl with brown rice (now that they offer that, I used to get white), black beans, mild salsa, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese.  I think one time I had an actual burrito.  But I much prefer the burrito bowl.  Let’s just get it out there now – I LOVE CHIPOTLE!

O.K., now that we have that covered, I can tell you what I made for dinner.  I found this recipe for Carnitas* when I was looking for slow-cooker recipes for this month’s meal plan.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  The only change I made was to use significantly less cinnamon, but I will probably up it a little next time.  Although I have only tasted the Carnita meat when my family members have extra, and I am not completely stuffed (I have never ordered it myself, as I have a thing about Chipotle’s steak), I thought it tasted a lot like Chipotle’s, and the beans and rice did, too.  I just looked online for imitation recipes, and found quite a few.  Everyone enjoyed it.  The cheese was well liked by all (see above).

No pictures.  I ate it too fast, before I remembered that I should snap a photo to share.  🙂

 

I have been reading an herb book lately (not that unusual), and in it the author discussed how great a walk is for you during the middle of the day, to take a break from desk work.  I went for a walk today, and it was lovely.  Today was a bit chilly.  It was also gray, but I rather enjoyed both of these things.  I like the cold, gray days.  They always have a certain quiet beauty about them.  I can’t explain it.  There is just a quiet serenity in the days when they are cold and gray.  They are not so shout-out-loud beautiful as the Spring days, with the colorful flowers popping their heads up everywhere.  They are not so gorgeously beautiful as the Summer days, with the intense greens of the grass and trees, and the blues of the sky.  Nor are they so gloriously beautiful as the Autumn days, with the trees dressed in their best outfits for the last party of the season, as it were.  No, the cold, gray, quiet days of early fall and winter have a majestic, serene, quiet, calming, half-gentle, half-harsh beauty about them.  I love gray days.

So I brought my camera on my walk with me.  As I had my macro lens on the camera, and didn’t really feel like changing it, I thought it would be a good exercise to try to focus on little things, and to see how many textures and small things I could catch on my walk, instead of looking for the big things, the big picture.  I wanted to zoom in, as it were, on the little beauties that were hiding on the path, things that would usually get overlooked.

Here are a few of my shots.

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LOVE the moss

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And the grass

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Old barbed wire is so…country…

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…and just plain wonderful!

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Moss on a tree – not sure if I like this shot…

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…or this shot better.  What do you think?  One or two?

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Old rusty farm equipment

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Thank you for reading today’s ramblings!

Love to you,
Allison

 

*Note:  I have not explored this website, so I do not endorse everything on it.  I just like this recipe.  🙂

Thankful

I have so much to be thankful for.

My life is so full.  I sometimes don’t know how to say it, but I am so thankful for so many things.

I think I live the best life, for me.

I am astounded every time I think about all that God has given me, the wretched sinner that I am.  Why do I have all these wonderful things, me who deserves them so little?

I am so thankful that I have been saved from my sins.  I have been forgiven much.  Very much.  I am thankful for God’s hand in my life, guiding me and pointing me in the direction He wants me to go – in the way that most pleases Him.

I am so thankful for my family – 5 such awesome people.  They make me laugh every day.  We have so many great memories together already, and I look forward to many more.

My extended family is wonderful, too.  I’m thankful for them in my life.  Again, there are so many memories and happy times we’ve spent together.  Love you all!

I can’t believe the great friends that God has given to me and my family – you are such a blessing to me!  Sometimes I wonder how I got to have these lovely people as friends, and although I can’t figure it out, I am so thankful for all of you!

I am thankful for each day God gives to me.  Each day is such a blessing, just to wake up and be.  To enjoy so much.  Just to live.

I am thankful for all the interests God has blessed me with.  Cooking.  Cheese making.  Soap making.  Nutrition.  Herbal health care.  Midwifery.  There are so many, and they make me so excited.  🙂 I can’t help being thankful for them.  Basically, I’m thankful that God make me, me.

I am so thankful for all the beautiful things around me.  The trees in the pasture across the road.  Sunrises.  Sunsets.  The rosebush outside my windowThe creekThe woods.  Our lovely property.  I look out of our windows so many times and think, “I live on the most beautiful place on earth.”  Because it is so special to me, and I know the places.

So this is what I have to say:

Thank you, God. 

Thank you for these lovely people.

And thank you for this lovely life.

 

With so much to be grateful for,
Allison

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Some loveliness that I spotted the other morning

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Beading and a Thanksgiving Confession

So I have to tell you.

Don’t take this the wrong way.  I am not complaining.  I love Thanksgiving – the time with friends, family, and the food.

But there’s one thing I should tell you.

Are you ready?

I don’t like turkey.

I know.  You’re shocked.  How can anyone NOT like turkey?

This *actually* shouldn’t be that surprising, if you knew that I am not a big fan of roast chicken.  I like chicken, but not a whole, roasted chicken.  I know – slightly odd.

But I like the stuffing.

Oh, how I like stuffing.

I could stuff myself with stuffing.  And sometimes I do.

But I am hoping that I won’t do that this year.

Anyways.

Oh, random question:  Has anyone heard of a Turducken?  Have you ever tried one?  I’ve heard of them, but never had one.  They sound…interesting.

Well, now that we’ve covered that, it is time to get to the fun part.

Last week I pulled out my beading supplies when a friend was visiting.  I hadn’t taken my beads out since last year, when the same friend was over.

So we did some beading.  She made a bracelet.  And I started an anklet. 

I’ve wanted to make an anklet for awhile.  I can’t wear bracelets, because they aggravate my wrists.  So I thought anklets would be a good alternative.  And I have one anklet that I made when I was maybe 10.  But it no longer fits.

Wow.  That was a bit ramble-y.

So after some brainstorming, and grabbing a handful of jewelry that I had made, I decided to take apart an old necklace and remake it into an anklet.

So this is what I ended up with.

Nothing fancy.  Just a simple everyday anklet.  It is about the color of denim, so I can wear it with most of my skirts.

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These are rather uninteresting pictures

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But I’ll post the more interesting pictures later

Once I had finished this anklet, I saw some other beads that I had, and they inspired me.  So I then made this bracelet for Mom.

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I am really happy with how this turned out

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And now for the fun pictures.  =)

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Love the specular highlights

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The Trees in the Pasture Across the Road

I love the trees in the pasture across the street.  I know I’ve said that before, but they are so beautiful I had to say it again.  And you will probably hear it again at some unknown date.

Anyways.

The in the past week, when I have gone out to get the mail, I stop and look at them.  Sometimes I run out with my camera when the light is really great.  Here are some of the shots from the last few days.

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I know that these are basically all pictures of the same thing

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But bear with me

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‘Cause I love them all

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And I’ll try not to be to repetitious

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And annoying

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But I really like these trees

 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope you have a lovely day, like the one I am looking forward.  A day full of friends, family, and food.  And thankfulness.

So, what are your plans?

Love,
Allison

Sunset, Blue Sky, Bare Trees, Beautiful

I know that I just posted a few hours ago, but I can’t help it.  I need to post again.

About an hour ago I looked out the window, and noticed that the sky looked lovely – deep blue with the white clouds streaked against it.  So I decided to go sit out on the deck and take a few photos.

I went and sat there and started snapping away.

Then I saw a part of the sky that I really wanted to take a picture of.  But I needed to get up to take it.  Once I was off the deck, I went for a walk.

And I was richly rewarded.

The wind was (and is) quite busy.  It was mostly warm, but suddenly I would feel a bit of cold in it, making me thankful that I had worn a jacket.

And it reminded me that, although it was 80 degrees out today, winter is still coming.  It is not far off.

I watched the sky slowly change from bright to dark, and the clouds drifting across it.

The sunset wasn’t a beautiful, colorful, amazing sunset.  It was just a quiet going-away of the sun.  The sky stayed mostly blue, with some yellows and golds near the sun, and just the faintest tinges of pink here and there.

I decided that I needed to visit one of my favorite places – the clearing (if that’s what you would call it) behind the pond.  It is so open and beautiful.  The thick grass is framed on all sides by the trees.  This time of year you can see through them all the way past the pond to the road, but in the spring and summer it is more difficult.

It feels very secluded back there, even though it isn’t.

I took Meiling and Noah with me to the clearing-behind-the-pond.  Meiling told us a bit of a story on the way.  It went something like this.

“Once there was a man named Mr. Mashmallow.  He liked dogs.  So he bought a dog.  It was a hound dog.”

(I immediately started singing “Hound Dog.” Once I finished, she continued.)

“They also had a green buffalo in their yard.”

“A green buffalo?” I asked, “In their yard?”

“Yes,” she responded.

I think that is far as she got.

On the way back home, while we were passing two conifer trees growing closely together, she said, “I am going to check if there is a bear.”  She used her flashlight to check if there was.

She then calmly informed me, “You have a baboon in your jacket.”

At this time my jacket was tied around my waist.  Not sure exactly what was meant by this.  I don’t think she was referring to me.  No, she doesn’t do that yet.

She then informed me that she was trying to “freak me out.”

She makes me laugh.

And not long after that, we were home.

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On the deck – the sky through the tree

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Relaxin’

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This caption goes for the next few pictures: I LOVE the bare tree limbs against the lovely sky!

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LOVE the clouds

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An airplane flew by 🙂

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I LOVE THE CLOUDS!!!!

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Leaving the deck

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Somebody’s excited about her bone!

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These trees are my favorite.  They look so beautiful all the time – in spring, summer, winter, and fall, in fresh green, bright sun, soft rain, and snow

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The sky in front of our home was particularly striking

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SO beautiful

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So BEAUTIFUL

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Lines

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My feet, or lack thereof

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Were does it lead?

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A lovely wooded walk (I went this way, in case you were wondering)

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Walkin’

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This make me smile

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On the way to the clearing-behind-the-pond with Meiling and Noah

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Following the path

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Meiling thought she saw a bunny, so she went to look

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It turned out to be only waving grass

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Heading back home

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The warm home-light beckons

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Reformation Day Faire 2012

Last weekend was the Reformation Day Faire in Peoria, IL.  This was our second year, and it was very nice.  I especially enjoyed the dance that was on Saturday evening.

This year we rented a motor home, and stayed in that.  It was quite interesting.  Definitely very squishy.  It made for more comfortable traveling, I would have to say.  We also brought Lucy with.  Apparently she got out once while we were at the conference and ran around the church were it was held.  Mom had to chase her around and catch her.  I missed all this, and appeared right after she was caught.  Lucy really liked the motor home.  She was looking for it after we got home.

To give a brief synopsis:

Thursday Dad picked up the motor home and we packed it (this is also the day that I did these self portraits).

Friday we drove up to the Faire.  On the way, Dad surprised us with a copy of “The Avengers.”  I was so excited I started screaming.  😀  We watched that on the way up.  We made it there on Friday in time to hear one speaker.  The concert by the Wintons was that evening.

Saturday there were some talks in the morning, followed by the town square.  The boffer war was at 4:30, and dinner was at 5:30.  The dance was started at 7:30.

We stayed for church on Sunday morning, and left shortly after the fellowship meal.

And that’s that.

Here are some of the photos I took.  I didn’t take all that many during the conference, but I did take a bunch on the way home.  Why shooting through a dirty windshield while flying down a highway at 60 mph is fun I’m not quite sure, but it is.  🙂

Oh, and we also got to see the Wintons perform again!  I have the photos to prove it.  😛 I think this makes a total of 4 concerts in 8 days – 1 two Fridays ago, another the following Saturday, and then one this past Friday, and another this past Saturday.  I think we can definitely be called groupies.  🙂

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Getting packed on Thursday evening – Meiling being funny

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Friday – Lucy being her normal absolutely adorable self!

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My silly brother.  Just got to love him.

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Content passengers

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Relaxin’, and my view, in a way

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I worked on this post on the way up

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Lovely view

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[Does this need a caption?]

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Meiling playing and looking out the window

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*Smile*

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Hey, look!  It’s the Wintons!

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Meiling enjoying the concert

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Saturday – walking to the park

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An impromptu portrait session with two friends, Lily (pictured) and Josh (a fellow photographer) – see my Josh’s much better photographs here (and check out some of his other photos – he has some absolutely amazing ones of the Faire!).

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My friend Bethany  😀

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Sunday – on the way home, taking only too many pictures.  🙂

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Lu, sitting on my lap

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Self-portrait – these were so fun!

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Now doesn’t this look like I was standing all calm and serene on the edge of this pasture, instead of flying down the highway?

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“So away we go, down that forever road.”

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The cards I was using to play Solitaire before I hopped up front with Dad

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“Life is a highway…

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…I want to drive it all night long.”

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Bridges

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Crossing the river

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“…makes me want to take a back road.”

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Hi again!

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Lucy’s here!

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I love roads.  Oh, you could tell?  I wonder how you figured that out!

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I love the greens in this one

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This little blue car was so cute!

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I couldn’t believe it, but at the gas station we stopped at, they actually had A DARK CHOCOLATE MOCHA!!!!  I haven’t seen one of these since we went to Branson, and I have looked at several gas stations.  I am so glad I finally found one.  😛

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Meiling using her drink for a microphone

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Bein’ silly

Autumn Self-Portraits

Thursday was a beautiful day – in the morning the sun was out, but in the afternoon the clouds rolled in.  There was a brisk breeze and it was just a bit nippy.  The weather plainly said “Autumn.”

It was the perfect day for some self-portraits.  I headed out with my camera and got a few shots.  I only spent about 45 minutes out there, which, although it sounds like a lot, isn’t that long.  My first self-portrait shoot took about, oh, an hour, maybe a bit less.  My second self-portrait shoot took probably 2+ hours.  Which was very, very fun.

Anyways, there are not all that many different shots, so this post won’t be too terribly long (although I don’t need to tell you that, since you will find that out in a few seconds).

So, without further ado, here they are.

(Breaking news alert:  I just went and selected all my photos, and there will be more than I originally thought.  Many more.  Just thought you would like a heads up.)

 

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This spot is right in the front yard, and I could see it from the window.  It called my name all day, “Come.  You need to take some self-portraits right here.”  So I listened.

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Throwing leaves.  Yay!

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1…2…3…

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…Throw!

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I love this fence!  You may remember it from this picture.  This lovely tree has a few branches that bend over the fence.  This was another spot that was calling my name.

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Bare feet!

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At the edge of our property, standing on the road, looking up – the lovely orange and red of the maple and oak trees, respectively.

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See the leaves flying?  The wind was blowing quite briskly.

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I really like how these turned out.  I underexposed them some by accident, but I am quite happy with the resulting effect.

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I found this tree out in the woods behind our property.  Just a perfect place!

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I thought that it would be fun to jump.  I ended up only proving to myself that I can’t jump gracefully.  This is the only one that turned out.  All the others look extremely ridiculous.

_MG_4526

Just to prove the last point, here is an example of how the rest of my jumping shots turned out.  *Sigh*  Rather pathetic, and ridiculous.  But they made me giggle.  🙂