Sunday, December 29, 2013

Goodbye 2013 Hello 2014

With the new year just days away it is once again time to say goodbye to the old and welcome in the new. One thing I know I will not be saying goodbye to is Unknown Mami's Sunday in my City. If you enjoy traveling or like to meet new people and see new places be sure to click on the button and join in with the virtual travel.

Unknown Mami
Here is a peak at winter in my city.

It's not too bad when I look at the weather for Sioux Falls, South Dakota which is where the rest of my kids live.

photo taken with my new phone... not too bad.
I am happy to say though that I have said goodbye to the old snow we got at the beginning of the month and although I would rather not I will welcome in the new snow we are expecting to bring in the New Year.

Artistix Network's Plans for the new year: We will continue to offer our customers high quality memory photos and photography as well as inspirational and fun graphic design products.
Our artists personal plans:
Val aka Mrs. G plans to brave the cold and isolation of Rapid City, South Dakota until Mr. G is transferred to as she calls it a REAL city! What can I say, she is a big city girl at heart.  

Terrance has big plans for 2014. Not only does he enter Grad school next fall but he is also getting married in the fall.

As for me, well you can read my New Year's Resolution on my new Personal Blog "With All My Sense". Yes, I know I already have three blogs how will I ever keep up with a fourth. With blogging in mind I purchased a new phone that will allow me to post directly from my phone anytime anywhere. This will be a big plus for all my blogs as often I see something I wish to post about and either lose my train of thought before I get back to my computer or don't have my camera with me to capture the shot.  I don't always have my camera but I do always have my phone. Not only that but the new blog is completely different than the rest, so please hop over and check it out. 

And now to wrap up the year I would like to share a bit about our Christmas. We had a very nice Christmas, even though the whole family could not be together.

Mr. & Mrs. G got Sissy her very own digital camera. Needless to say she is very excited to start taking more photos.

Bubba made out like a bandit with a plane that is almost bigger than he is.

The kids gave their parents some rather special gifts they had made just for them.

The Minecraft paper folding sets I got for the kids was a major hit with the kids of course. 

We adults weren't as excited when it took us four hours to help Sissy construct all the pieces. Poor Bubba doesn't have the coordination to create all the wild folds that were necessary, so he watched. This is only a small portion of all the pieces.

I was pleasantly surprised by the gift of a new office chair. I am not sad at all to be able to say goodbye to my old chair.

Wishing all a Very Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

2013 was definitely a fragmented year for me. They say the first holidays preceding the loss of a loved one are the hardest. Well, I guess like in most other things I am the odd ball. Yes, the holiday's during the first year after my husbands death were difficult, but this year they have been even harder for me. Maybe it is because last year I was in Virginia not here in South Dakota where my husband and I lived and raised our family, or maybe, it just took a full year for it to truly sink in that he is gone forever. But whatever the reason the fact remains that this year I have felt more fragmented than in the past. So today I am pulling from my archives a few photos I had hoped to share back when I first took them but some how never managed too. 

This shot shows just one of the many parks here in Rapid City. I haven't been to them all but then that is on my to do list for 2014.
I really do like that we have a large back yard that is perfect for gardening and a bit of camping. Now to just pull myself together and actually start doing things in the back yard.

I really loved the way this shot turned out. It is of a girl dancing with a glow in the dark hula hoop. One of my goals for 2014 is to go to more of the outdoor concerts here in Rapid City.

Here are two of my favorites of the designs Mrs. G did on her nails this last summer. 

These next two were taken during one of our down town photo walks. One of my personal goals for 2014 is to get back to taking photos for the pure fun and enjoyment it creates.

With 2013 in the wind and the New Year just around the corner I decided to create a calendar that would both encourage one to achieve their goals and help them maintain their focus. The calendar consists of thirteen motivational quotes about achievement with a text box on the first page to write ones goal for the year and a text box each month to add the monthly goal. The background photos are ones I took last summer playing with shutter speeds at an outdoor concert.
For those that don't care for the text boxes there is a duplicate calendar without text boxes. These are two pages from the calendars. These are just two of the thirteen pages the rest can be seen by clicking HERE.

In my "share" archive was this motivational photo I created last month. Thus I will leave you with this thought to start the upcoming year.
Click here for prints and products featuring this design.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Holiday Fun

There is no doubt in my mind, KIDS are what make holiday's fun!
Here are a few snapshots of all the fun we have been having with two of my grand children. 

Rewind to Thanksgiving . . .
Although the majority of the meal was prepared by yours truly the rest of the family did help out. We even decided to all work together and help the kids make parfaits. This parfait is by far the kids favorite. All we do is mix up a batch of instant banana pudding and a batch of instant chocolate pudding, layer the puddings in the glass with slices of banana and top with whip cream and a cherry.

Sissy was quick to choose which one she wanted. Their smiles weren't quite so big when they were told they had to wait to eat the yummy treat.

Then of course there are the holiday concerts at the kids' school. Sissy plays the violin and little Bubba sang in the chorus in the morning performance. Unfortunately he then got so nervous that he lost his lunch and was sent home. Thankfully the school did record both performances so we were able to get DVD's of both performances.
The kids wanted to make presents for all their classmates. So Mrs. G found an easy no bake recipe for scented Christmas ornaments and the family once again got to work. Mrs. G helped sissy mix the batter, Mr. G rolled the dough and they both helped the kids stamp the designs into the dough. As you can guess, it quickly turned into Mr. & Mrs. G cutting out most of the ornaments. Sissy wrote each of her classmates initials on her ornaments, while Mr. & Mrs. G put the initials on Bubba's ornaments. Once they were all dry and ready to wrap name tags needed to be filled out and the ornaments wrapped.  This was the first time Mr. & Mrs. G had taken on such a large project and they soon discovered just how much work they would be doing. After an hour of helping the kids sort the ornaments and write name tags it was time for the kids to head to bed while I stepped in to help Mr. & Mrs. G finish. An hour latter we had tagged and wrapped 55 ornaments as well as made a replacement ornament for one that had gotten messed up. All so the children could give their classmates a gift the next morning.
The recipe we followed was for no bake ornaments and called for 1/4 cup cinnamon and 2 tbs of applesauce of course that only made 3 small ornaments so we had to increase the recipe and wound up making three or four batches of dough. I did a bit of looking around and found another recipe that is for 15 ornaments and easy to follow. You can see it HERE. We air dried all but the replacement ornament and it took five days for them to be completely dry. When doing the replacement ornament the night before we decided to make two and bake one and put the other in the dehydrator to see which would turn out better. The air dried ornaments were better than the baked one which darkened during baking and seemed a bit crusty. The dehydrated ornament looked just like those that were air dried, so that is the one we wrapped. Next time I will put them all in the dehydrator, 8 hours in there is better than 5 days on the

Wishing all a very Merry Christmas filled with love, laughter and joyful memories!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Number Five is Alive

And so am I


Well, I think I am. I have been having a bit of writers block, but am determined not to let it go on any longer. So what have I been doing for the last month and a half?

In the last month we have added a number of cool buildings to our family Minecraft world. I built a ski lodge; a train station with two annex's and track to where we intend to build a harbor city; a fancy tree house in the forest; a pirate town in a hidden cove that is now Pirate's Cove; a court house and am now building a bank. Mrs. G  built a hospital and a prison which she put it right in the middle of the tourist area of our little city. Now she has started construction on a lavish Hotel.  Mrs. G has also been helping Mr. G who is working on building a football stadium which is huge and will probably take another month or so before it is complete.

Died my hair . . . Purple????
It was suppose to be black with a hint of purple highlights, but as you can see when the light shines on me my entire head is a rather bright pinkish purple. 

Decided to try and get in the winter spirit by painting my nails.... now if only they weren't so short.


Watching a lot of music shows . . . This is awesome!


Trying to avoid the cold weather. 

Looking for humor where ever I can find it. Wish I had video of this, but the dog danced every time the driver put the brakes on. 

Thank you Mrs. 4444's for hosting Friday Fragments and giving me a great place to try and get back in the swing of blogging.

Half-Past Kissin' Time

Wishing all a safe and happy holiday season!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Writer's Block

For over a month now each time I sit down at this computer to put together a blog post my mind goes  blank. I come up with a topic and type a line or two and then it just stops. Or I think that doesn't sound right as my finger presses hard on the backspace erasing all I have typed. So today the backspace is off limits and what you see is what you get. It may not make much sense and be boring and off but it is something. Over the next week I will be trying to re-invigorate myself by going back to my notes trying to make heads or tails of them.
The post that should have been the easiest instead sent me tumbling into a deep dark hole. It did however inspire a search for an uplifting quote to go with my signature saying 'Hold on to Hope' which I used to create this:

Now for the post;

Title: I am so Blessed

Generally I try and keep my life free of negative thought, however here recently I have been struggling to think positive. It isn't easy, as I am sure you will agree, but it is oh so important to our personal well being. In this crazy mixed up world it is so easy to get caught up in the daily struggles and not recognize our blessings, thus letting negativity consume us.
With that said, today (at the beginning of November) I read a blog that inspired me not only to stop and think about my blessings, but to give voice to those blessings by sharing with others what they are. So here is my list and I hope that it inspires others to dig deep and find their own blessings. ( I do hope though that in doing so others are not thrown into a difficult emotional state.)

1. I am blessed to have known love and laughter with my late husband, even if he was taken all to soon.

2. I am blessed to have four amazing children and one terrific son-in-law and oh let's not leave out my wonderful grandchildren.... I love them all dearly and wish I could see them all more often.
3. I am blessed to have a comfortable home and plenty of food to eat.
4. I am blessed to a chance to share my creativity with others. 

I am sure I have many more blessing but for now these four are the ones that keep me going. 

Have you ever experienced writer's block? If so how do you pull yourself out?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

California Dreamin

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray.
I've been for a walk on a winter's day..."

This day I decided to literally walk around the block. Our house is just three in from the street that comes into our housing tract. So I headed out to walk the backside of the block first.

These tiny red berries, hidden deep in the brush, jumped right out at me from the field of brown.
Not far off was a few dried seed pods swayed in the rather brisk wind. Now past the church and turn the corner into the commercial district.
The back side of our block is mainly field, the opposite side of the street is home to a number of businesses. Here I couldn't resist the beauty of the sky reflected in the long pane of windows. {Smiles real big} The leaves may all be brown but the sky is not grey!
Oh yes, winter is practically upon us and brown has become a common color, but there is still a bit of green scattered across the landscape. As you can see by this next shot the sky was not grey but absolutely gorgeous!
Here I am standing at the back top corner of our block. Yes those houses mark the top end of our block. Our house sits quite a ways down from this end and is out of the photo. By this point I was both energized and getting a bit short of breath. The wind at the top of the hill here was stronger than when I started out and of course silly me forgot to wear anything to protect my ears. I was happy to turn the corner and take advantage of the houses to block a bit of the wind.
In between the houses I caught a glimpse of red at the back of one of the industrial buildings I had passed earlier. So, of course I zoomed in and captured this sweet little red bug.
There are a number of classic cars in our neighborhood. I have to say some of our neighbors have excellent taste when it comes to vintage cars. I have to admit though I wonder about some of their landscaping and exterior decorating. Not sure if this house was suppose to be mustard yellow {grimaces} but it is much closer to pumpkin orange, and oh boy does it stand out! {wonder what the neighbors on either side and across the street think}. On occassion I have thought it wasn't too bad, then they put that red trailer in the drive way and I gagged! But on a good note, their grass is still sorta green!

"...I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A.;
California dreamin' on such a winter's day."

Rapid City South Dakota is a far cry from where I grew up in California. While I do occasionally long for the mild temperatures, the ocean and the mountains of California, I certainly don't miss the crime and traffic. I use to say I was a country girl, born and raised in the big city. But I wonder maybe I am city girl at heart, for while I love the openness of the country I miss the adventures of the city. How about you, country life or city life, which do you prefer?

Linking up with:

Unknown Mami

Friday, November 8, 2013

FF: Hmmmm....

To start my fragments off I want to share the link to this really awesome photography project I saw earlier this week. Please click the following link and watch the video, it shows how a New York photograph is capturing humanity one moment at a time. This is such an Awesome video and project! It looks like so much fun, I would love to do something like this.

Hit a slight snag earlier this week when I experienced another TIA. At least this one wasn't as bad as the one I had five years ago, but it is not something one should ignore.

Sky Watch Submision

I was rather surprised that they kept me at the hospital overnight. I have had four or five of these and this was the first time I was kept in the hospital overnight. It wasn't the Ritz-Carlton but at least my view wasn't all that bad.  They ran all kinds of tests to make sure the TIA wasn't caused by a larger clot that broke apart. I was sent home with an all clear, and told to just keep taking my medications as directed.

"What was I thinking moment"
I am not sure why, but I signed up for an online dating service. Maybe it was the little vacation I took. Of course it was free to sign up but to actually communicate with anyone there is a service fee. I haven't paid the fee and am thinking I should just delete my profile. Although it is rather tempting, as my profile has a number of messages (ones that of course I can't read without paying).  I am sure I will eventually start meeting people closer to my own age, just have to figure out where they are.

Isn't this little guy cute? I have been wanting to capture a nice shot of a bird for a long time. Thanks to the atrium at the public library I was able to capture this cute little guy.

My Blogs This week:

Revisiting Art Alley

Missed Scavenger Hunt

Thank you for stopping by!
If you find you have bits and pieces to share join us at Mrs. 4444's Friday Fragments.
Half-Past Kissin' Time