Andrea's blog


The Alphabet from "A" to Zoo

I finally finished the cover of Ayla's zoo book tonight.  Well, let me restate that...I re-finished the cover of Ayla's zoo book.  My original attempt was an awful mess of mod podge and vellum.  I like this version much better.  It also is coated in mod podge (as are the inside pages) so that little hands can touch and turn the pages as much as they want!
Ayla absolutely loves this book (and shows it off when we have company) and now is able to recognize almost all of the animals and say their names without me saying the names first. 
and Ayla's favorite animal...the hippo (aka..huppo): 
Thank you to you ladies who have provided elusive animal letters for this book!  If anyone else has a photograph for animals starting with any of the following letters that they'd like to "donate" to the cause, let me know!  We're still looking for:  J, N, Q, U, V, and X

Alterered ABE

For Mother's Day a few weeks ago, I made my mom a set of altered wooden letters.  We picked them up at a Goodwill store in Destin on our Spring Break trip, so I figured it was time I made them and sent them to her!  I ran across the picture I took of them and thought I'd share...
  • Basic Grey Patterned  Paper
  • assorted buttons
  • Mod Podge
  • red cardstock
  • ribbon by Chatterbox
  • sandpaper 
6 Modelsearch: What do YOU think?

So, I'm reading my Parents magazine today and on the cover, they mention their cover-model search. When I get to the page with the rules, I see that all it takes to enter is a digital photograph of your gorgeous kid that you can upload to their web site. Well I have lots of those...and I do get stopped everywhere I go with people saying how adorable Ayla is.
But, I don't enter...not yet anyway. Mostly because Ben would kill me if he found out I did something like that without talking to him. But, he's a good check-point for me to really think about my reasons for wanting to do this.
They make it so easy...just upload a photo and forget about it. If you make it to the finals, they'll let you know. In the unlikely case that she is chosen, we get to go to New York and have a photo shoot and she has 15 mintues of fame. So why not, right?
There are two ways to look at it (okay, probably a lot more, but whatever):
First, the downside: My fear is that uploading a photograph of my daughter to the contest, I've taken the first tangible step towards exploiting my child by using her image and likeness to win something (that she likely wouldn't even remember...) Isn't that wrong? A matter of principle? I'm not sure....
Then the upside: Typing that out, I think it sounds ridiculous...after all it's just one photo, and if I'm not all about getting her into modeling or start some kid-career then it's really not that big of a deal and in the end would amount to nothing, right? Maybe it's just for fun, send in the photo and see what happens. If by chance she won, we'd get to go to New York and we'd all have a fun memory from her childhood. If she didn't even make it to the finals, then what harm was done, right?
So...anyhow, I'm torn...and curious.
What do you think about cute-kid contests like this?
(please note this is not the same question as "should we enter?")

Remarkable Differences

My new lens is here! My new lens is here!
And what do you get when it arrives during naptime and I'm the only one home? Self portraits, of course! :)
Here's a comparison of the same pose, camera held at arm's length, no editing, no flash, no tweaking, different lenses:
Me likey! :)  Let the photo-taking commence....

Treat Your Mother Right

The teens at church reenacted this Mr. T video this morning for "children's time". I thought it would be an appropriate video to share today!



A Bazillion Blogs: My BlogRoll (abbreviated)

I confess. I read a bazillion blogs. Maybe not quite that many...but I'm not divulging the actual number of blogs in my feed-reader of choice (which happens to be NewsFox by Mozilla). But I will share links to a few of my favorites in no particular order of preference:
Local (Birmingham):
Scrapbook Industry/Photography
Just for Fun
  • What I Wore Today - so much style, I only wish I could look so fun myself. I guess I'd need to go shopping more.
  • Photo Battle Blog - I'm not sure if there's a point to this site or if anyone "wins", but it's hard not to vote!
But, my very favorite blogs are by people I know; local friends, friends from Minnesota, or even people I've just met once or twice in person, but have known online for years. I love them because they keep me connected and up-to-date with the lives of real people -- not that these other people aren't real, but you get what I mean. It's sort of like having coffee with each person every morning, which in fact is a treasured part of my morning and blogs.
Thanks for all the great reading Alison, Betsy, Tiffany, Virginia, Molly, Monique, Elizabeth, Jessica, Kristy, Nancy, etc. etc. etc. (remember, I'm not divulging the actual number of blogs I read....)
I'd love to see what some of your favorites are! Post links in the comments!

Another Photo Genious Speaks to Me

Tonight I was reading an interview with Tara Whitney (an excellent family photographer), and one of her answers struck a happy chord in me. Although I'm not a pro photographer (nor do I want to be), I think she sums up my love for photographing my friends and family perfectly:

For me, my number one favorite thing about being a photographer is being able to share it with my friends and family. I LOVE taking photos of all of the people in my life. I LOVE being able to give them something they wouldn't normally get. Especially all of my mommy friends, the ones wielding their own cameras and not IN any pictures. And I hope that the people I love know that for me, turning the camera on them IS love. Especially with my own children-the act of photographing them is one way I show my love for them.




Photos + Words = Ali Edwards' Advice

I loved Ali Edwards' post today about her approach to taking photographs. If I don't always match her photography practices, I want to. She has a very realistic and natural approach and style. And she makes it sound so easy to just take pictures--not "be" a photograper. I especially like this advice:
I am ruthless when it comes to deleting my photos. As I mentioned above, I don't need more than five (and probably less than three) from a similar series of shots. I simply delete, delete, delete. It makes for a cleaner folder of photos, less to choose from when I create a page (which can be a good thing), and I think I learn a bit about my self as a photo-taker in the process. Obviously this whole process of deleting depends upon the event and the story you plan to tell.

NSD - National Scrapbook Day

Believe it or not, scrapbooking has its very own day of the year -- National Scrapbook Day, and it was this past Saturday, May 3rd.  In honor of this sort of ridiculous holiday (if you can call it that) I decided to take a trip over to our local store, Scrap Etc. and support the industry by spending a little money on scrapbook supplies that I'm sure I don't need.  While I was there, I stuck around for a class taught by the talented Katie Burnett and created this version of her "Play Banner": 

Mine is a two-sided "Ayla Banner" that I think I'll use to hang in the front doorway when we celebrate her birthday this year...and maybe every year as a reminder of her baby-years as she grows up.  
Thanks for the kick-start Katie! I think maybe through this project I've overcome my distaste for butterflies...they are kind of fun to use. 


Ben makes world-famous fresh salsa.'s so good, and now all of you know about it and this is the world-wide-web.   There you have it.  World Famous.

Pico De Gallo Salsa:  

Mango-Cucumber Salsa: 


Ooh...better go get a glass of water, my mouth is burning from the hotness already!  Can't you just taste it?  

Sorry, I cannot divulge recipe secrets....we might need to start a salsa business one day and if we gave you our recipe, no one would need to buy it from us (sorry, from Ben, not me...I'm just the taste tester and food photographer)!

Have a great day!   

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