Sunday, October 19, 2014

Alaina is Three (almost)

My Alaina is turning three on Friday!  Laura had her party early, because the baby is due next Monday, and she wanted to have it done, just in case.
Alaina had so much fun, and we had fun watching her.

There was a polka dot theme.  Laura made the polka dot cake, but she also had cupcakes for those who wanted them.  Everyone left with oreo pops - Oreo's covered in white chocolate and sprinkles on a stick.

Trying on a party hat.

Blowing out the candles

This cake is so good!

Opening presents is so much fun!

Balloons with my cousins is fun too!

After all that playing, she still had energy to do some running with Grandpa before we left.

Alaina Jo - what joy you bring to us!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Autumn Showcase of homes

My friend Anni, over at Hootin' Anni's Chronicles has invited her readers to join her in showing our homes Autumn or Halloween Decorations.

I'm not a real fan of Halloween, and usually just add a little Fall or Thanksgiving look.  I don't do a lot, so I'll just show you what I do, which is mostly pumpkins!

 Starting at the front door, I have this pot of mums.

 I also have a selection of pumpkins and gourds.  I love the ones that are bumpy or odd shaped.

 I have pumpkins scattered around my house too, including these ones on the tv stand.

 My dining room wall gets a little ceramic pumpkin on one of the shelves.

This is on my table much of the year, but I change out the candle and the inside decorations.  Now there are leaves, sunflowers, acorns and a few small feathers.

Last is this little thankful turkey who sits in an old milk can, next to the door from the garage into the house.  
As I said, it's not a lot, but these few decorations do make me smile!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Cooking Thursday

I made such a yummy crockpot meal this week.  I got it ready at night, and it cooked while I was at work.  It's so nice to have supper nearly ready when you get home!  Bob and I both really liked this one.  I plan to add some sliced green pepper to it next time, for a little more color and just because I think it would go well with the rest.
For more recipes, visit Sandra at Diary of a SAHM.

Easy Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken

4 chicken breasts
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
4 1/2 teaspoons water
cooked rice

Place chicken in slow cooker. Mix in a bowl sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic, pepper. Once mixed together well pour over chicken. Cook on medium for 6-7 hours.
Mix cornstarch and water in a small bowl.  Stir into sauce in crockpot and cook for another hour until sauce is thickened.
Put chicken over steamed rice and drizzle sauce over the top.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Monday, October 13, 2014

Engagement pictures

Last week, Heather and Andrew went out with me so I could take some engagement pictures.  I've picked out a few to share with you.


 We had fun doing this, and I think we got some good ones!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Artprize 2014

It's that time again!  Artprize has just finished in Grand Rapids, MI.  It's something that many of us in the area look forward to, but people come from all over the world to compete and attend.
Artprize is an Art competition that started in 2009 and has been growing ever since. Every Fall, 3 square miles of Downtown Grand Rapids is filled with art for 19 days.  The streets are filled with people who come to see the art, and to vote on what they like.  There is also a juried vote, from art professionals.  There are two rounds of voting, the first determines the top 10 in each category; popular vote and juried vote, then 8 days later the winners are announced.
This year there were 1537 art pieces in 174 venues.   The prizes amounted to $560,000.  The 2014 statistics haven't been announced yet, but for an idea of the scope of this, here are some statistics from last year.
Artists came from all 50 states, and 47 other countries.
There were 400,000 visitors, 30,432 were from out of state.
446,832 votes were cast online.
It was featured on CNN, and both Kathy Lee Gifford and Debora Norville visited it.
I've gone every year and always enjoy it.  Here's a few pictures of this years pieces.

 This is one of the top ten popular vote.  It was a selection of amazing wood carvings, all animals that live in or near the ocean.  There was no paint used, only the natural coloring of the wood.

 This was based on the verse "Now is the day of Salvation" 2 Cor 6:2.  As you can see, the letters are covered with clocks of all types.

This was a huge display of photos, following a group from the 101st airborne division as they went into and spent time in Afghanistan.  I found this quite touching and interesting, as my son Andy was also in the 101st and was in Afghanistan.

 Another of the top ten popular vote.  This artist carved and painted fish that were native to the Grand River on rocks.  They are setting on the bank of the Grand River.

 This is an amazing painting in the popular top ten.  The artist is not a professional, she actually was a volunteer who worked with this girl, who was sold into the sex trade at 14 years old.  Thankfully she was rescued, which is when the artist met her.

Another one from the popular top ten.  If you look closely at the eye, you can see a rhinoceros reflected in it.

 This was in the top ten of the jurried vote.  I really think the people have better choices.  This one makes no sense to me.

 These cute guys were drawn by a friends son. He did a "monster" a day.  I think they look like they should be in a Pixar film.

Another amazing painting.

 A living wall...  (also top ten popular)

 This is the other side of the living wall.

This turtle was carved by our UPS man at work!

 Another top ten popular vote.  This is a wooden pond in the rain.  It's 6 feet across.  You can see the little wooden raindrops falling.

 Here you can see a close up of the "pond" with the carved water as the drops hit it.  It was amazing to see in person.

 This is not pretty, but it sure looks real!  It's the foot from a sculpture of a man carrying his Dad.  He talked about the way his Dad cared for him, and now it's his turn to "carry" his Dad.

This is a close up of the big winner this year.  It was the only one that made both the popular and jurried vote, and was actually the winner of both.

It's a laser cut box, which is beautiful just to see, but it hung by itself in a big room with a light in it, casting amazing shadows on the walls, floor and ceiling.

These are just a few of the pieces my friend Becky and I saw as we walked.  We spent about 5 hours walking and could have spent a few more days! 
If you ever get the chance to come and see it yourself, I highly recommend it!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Another room reno

Bob's been working on updating another bedroom.  This used to be Andy's bedroom.  Bob wanted it to be a place where he could work on painting his carvings, plus he wanted a place that he could read or study that was quiet. 
The room didn't need tons of work, but enough to keep him busy for a while.  He painted all the trim which was looking faded and banged up.  He pulled up the carpet and put in a new laminate floor.  He also built a desk to keep all his supplies and work on. I need to get an area rug, and some new things for the walls yet.

Here you can see the new floor...

And the painted trim.

Here's the desk he built.

He built the drawers to meet his needs, with sliding organization trays. 

We thought this would be a good place to display a collection of his carvings, from little to big.  Many of these are from when he first started carving and it's nice to see how far he's progressed.  I know there will be a lot of great carvings coming from this room!