Saturday, November 15, 2014

You Tube Tutorials

I am grateful for living in the age of youtube.  I love being able to find a how to on just about anything along with a video.  Need a giant rock hauled out of your yard?  Check youtube.  (BTW, the rock is still there because of cost and water pipe complications.)  Want to know how to thread your sewing machine?  Youtube to the rescue.  There are so many times that I am surprised at how much I can find a helpful video tutorial on.  It seems like nowadays everyone is trying to make money on something free and while I know that people have to make a living, I am grateful that so many people post their free tutorials that teach the same things.

I am also grateful for having three little girls that are wanting to be creative, artistic, and crafty.  I started watching this video the other night and the nerdlet quickly usurped me from my seat so that she could watch it instead.  After attentively watching the whole thing, she told me that I needed to start it over so that I would know if I needed to buy anything the next day while she was at school so she could make them.

Here she is diligently working on it.  She replayed the video while she assembled it.

And her finished product, which is now hanging on the tree.

She picked this green foresty fabric after looking first through pink and blue fabrics.  It really hides in the tree and you probably won't find it if you don't know where it is so I probably should have encouraged her to pick a different fabric, but overall, I think it came out great.

She did lose interest after the first one.  She immediately wanted to make another one, but she didn't want to do all the work.  She started trying to use shortcuts and ended up trying to wrap the egg in the fabric and tie it on with the ribbon.  So I guess no one is getting them as gifts from her like she was thinking before we made one.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The nerdlet's birthday party

I think this is the first year where I could just go on and on about how thankful I am for my FIL.  Besides the photography, he fixed my computer and retrieved most of the pictures from the last two years and managed to salvage the computer in the process.  He also took beautiful pictures of the nerdlet's birthday party this Saturday.  Yesterday, I was diagnosed with strep throat and today was a big running event that the nerdlet and the bear cub were going to run in and he went and took pictures of the girls for us.  I haven't yet seen his pictures, but I know they are going to be amazing.

I am also grateful for my MIL throwing birthday parties for my girls.  Neither Q nor I would throw parties for the girls without her pitching in to do this for them so often.  It is even harder on her because it seems there are some difficult family dynamics that come into play with every gathering.  Here are some of the wonderful pics from the party.

The nerdlet

The bear cub and Darth Monkey

The bear cub

 The nerdlet swinging a balloon in a contraption she made.

 The altered birthday cake.  They made a super boring cake and we had to spice it up.

My oh-so-cute mom and me.

I didn't post pics that included anyone not family because I didn't ask anyone's permission.  It was a great day and there are too many things to be thankful for about it to list.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


I didn't get around to making a grateful post yesterday, so I would just like to say that I am thankful that I am not under any contractual obligation to do this.  I do think it is good for me to do it and I actually would do it all year if it wouldn't grate on people's nerves.

For today, I will express my gratitude for this man.  Of the many reasons I have to be thankful for him is letting me practice taking in the dark shots of him when he would much rather be doing something else.
Q and I have been best friends since 1993 and married since 2006.  Today, I mentioned how perfect he was for me and that it was a shame it took me so long to figure that out.  His response was that it took him that long to get there.  It is true and works both ways for both of us.  I definitely love this man and while we might not be anywhere near right for anyone else, we most assuredly fit each other.

This is from Q's work phone.  I call it "When You Fit Together, You Just Know".

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Today had beautiful clouds.  It was supposed to rain but it only started at my house a short while ago.  I love the rain and am grateful whenever it comes to San Antonio.

I have been taking pictures of clouds for my mom because as an artist she is trying to paint more realistic clouds. Here are some from today.

I have a whole facebook album I am keeping for her.

And for those that would like to see, here is a picture my mom did for my sister, that in my opinion, has fantastic clouds.

Monday, November 3, 2014


This is my 500th post.  So, yeah.

Since I was very little I have had a hard time sleeping.  I woke up multiple times a night and am prone to nightmares and unique and vibrant dreams.  I had a sleep study done in December 2012 and the doctor told me that he would call me if it turned out to be anything and I never heard from him and so assumed I was fine.  It turned out that he passed away shortly after the sleep study and the study was never reviewed.  I found out about this this past spring, and my GP sent me to another sleep doctor.  At the first visit, the new doctor told me that he suspected nothing was physiologically wrong with me and that it was behavioral.  After the second sleep study showed nothing other than extreme insomnia (2-3 hours), he gave me a long list of suggestions to change my sleep behaviors and help me sleep.  I'm going to share these with you.

Do not try to try to modify your sleep patterns if you have a big project or event coming in the next two days.

1. Get up at the same time every day - weekdays, weekends, holidays.
2. If you take a nap, it cannot be within four hours of getting up and must end four hours before you go to bed.
3. Go to bed at the same time every day - weekdays, weekends, holidays.
4. Do not use the bed for any non-sleep activities, specifically reading, watching tv, checking cell phone, etc.
5. Cover or hide all night time lights in sleeping room, especially blue and green lights.  
6. Use a comfortable sleep mask.
7. Stop all backlit activities 1 hour before bed - tv, tablets, computers, cell phone.
8. Get a sleep friendly bulb and use that for light at least one hour before bed. (like
9. Get up to see the sun rise.
10. Nice early to mid morning exercise at the same time each day.
11.  Hot shower, bath, or hot tub every night right before bed.
12. Socks if tolerated, if not at least use a blanket.
13. Write a list of things you need to do next day or think about the next day before you start your bed time routine.  Leave it outside the bedroom.
14. If you wake up and must do something do not turn on any lights that are not sleep friendly.  Do any activities outside of the bed and preferably completely out of the bedroom.
15. Do not eat closer than 2 hours before sleep.
16. Try to eat breakfast close to the same time every day.  
17. When losing weight do it slowly, but do lose weight.
18. 5 mg melatonin daily one hour before bed.
19. Daily multivitamin.
20. Take allergy medicine every day when you get up and consistently every day (because I usually just take it when I'm having issues).
21.  Sleep on your side.
22. No caffeine after noon.
23.  Do not sleep with someone that snores or makes other noises in their sleep.

Other non-doctor suggestions, I have gotten from friends:
1. Add magnesium to your daily list.
2. Warm drink before bed.

I have been following these as closely as I can and they have been immensely helpful.  I still usually get up once per night, but I am able to fall asleep fairly quickly (within 30 minutes) and so overall I am getting a lot more sleep and the sleep I am getting is much better.  I am also not having anywhere near as many nightmares.

So today I would like to express my gratitude for sleep doctors and friends with good sleep suggestions and for better sleep.

An added thing I would like to say is that if you are cold all the time, check out the symptoms for magnesium deficiency.  I had no idea that so many of my issues could be fixed with a little magnesium.

And because it is sort of sleep related, I will share the picture across from my bed that the nerdlet made at the end of Kindergarten.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Kindle and Library

Today, I would like to share my gratitude for electronic books and e-readers.  I'm especially grateful for my Kindle and the fact that I can check out library books for it.

This is a carefully chosen picture of a corner of our master bedroom, which is covered in wall-to-wall books.  My 12-year-old niece, Little Miss, actually gasped upon walking into our bedroom and seeing all the books.
A number of years ago, after Q and I combined households I tried to catalog our books so as to prevent our buying extra copies of books that the other one had purchased and I stopped when the count hit 5000.  We have gotten to the point where we have no more shelves for books and while we can replace the shelves we have with taller shelves (and I do plan to), I am glad to be able to conserve space by purchasing the books in Kindle format and still mostly get the book reading experience.  Q and I both still read and buy books in the traditional format, but this is definitely curbing the growth rate of the physical library in our house.

I also really appreciate not having to pack and unpack  my three girls four times for extra library trips (going there, arrival, leaving, getting home) when I'm waiting on a book that is in high demand or when I have finished it.  I put myself on the waiting list and it is delivered to my Kindle when it becomes available and it is deleted when I finish it.

If you haven't heard of Wowbrary, I can't recommend it enough. You sign up and it sends you emails weekly that tell you which books (physical and electronic), movies, and music are coming to your library.  You can then put yourself on the list to receive them or pick them up at the library when they become available.  It will let you browse all the way back for the past year and if you have saved the email from them that is longer than a year, it will at the very least the top 20 predicted choices for that week.  You can't get easier than this to feed your reading addiction for free.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


It's November and my normal Thankful month.  It's been a long time since I've written here and while I have been very busy I have missed this and I have a backlog of pictures I took for tutorials and showing off but I did not get around to posting on.  I may or may not catch up, but at the very least I plan to start posting again.

Today, I am feeling particularly grateful for having a father-in-law that is a master of photography and has shared so much of that with me.  I know a lot of people that take good pictures, but when it comes to the ins and outs of equipment, setting, and other technical knowledge, he is there to help me and answer my questions.  Because of him I can take beautiful pictures completely using manual settings, all the way down to manual focus, that come out wonderfully.  I'm loving this new hobby of mine at which I am slowly, but diligently, increasing my skill.

Here is an example of a picture I took this past week that I love of the nerdlet, the bear cub, and Darth Monkey.
It's not perfect, but what is nice is that I know what I needed to do to make it even better (decrease the aperture opening).  Besides being there to answer my questions and offering me suggestions, he has also provided me with back issues of photography magazines to peruse.  I'm hoping that there will be a noticeable improvement in the pictures that I take here and elsewhere, but even if there isn't, I sure am enjoying the learning of a new skill.