What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Friday, October 30, 2009

Foto Friday: Motion

This past week we had the challenge of finding and capturing MOTION. It was definitely a challenging, um.... challenge, wouldn't ya say?

I had TWO ideas for it. The first~ having Matt spin one of the kids upside down and capturing their faces (in focus) but having their bodies blur. Matt was out of town all week (still isn't home as a matter of fact)-so that didn't happen.

My second idea was one that wouldn't require a slow shutter speed (read: anyone with any CAMERA can do it) and that is-to ride a merry-go-round! If you and your subject are sitting still but the background is spinning, it will show some SERIOUS motion in the background while still allowing your subject to be in focus. But, since I am ankle deep in glitter and pinata paste for tomorrow's big shindig, I was unable to get to a park. :-(

So this was the most frustrating of all challenges for me-because I didn't know WHERE to go with it.

Here are my few desperate attempts:

I remember reading a book on a Mennonite Family LONG time ago (like when I was a girl) that shared a photo of this woman's attempt to capture motion with her camera back when cameras were big 'ole boxes that required your own developing. The photo was of her mother feeding the chickens and the chickens being in a total blur because they flutter in excitement at food. I have always loved that picture. I can see it in my head like it was just yesterday my nose was glued to it. I tried to recreate it. Here is my much-less-intriguing version.

~Raiding the Christmas Lights

~You know a girl is desperate when she lets kiddos jump on the bed. They didn't believe me at first, when I asked them to do it. They hesitantly hopped up and looked at me questioningly again before they actually jumped. It took approximately 2.4 seconds for them to go crazy. This wouldn't be a bad shot except all that I see is a legless Corynn and quite frankly, it freaks me out.

It's been raining all week. Blech.

BUT, this once trickling creek turned into torrents which were PERFECT for experimenting in order to create a flowy water (like a painting). I have wanted to figure out how to do that for the LONGEST time. The shutter speed was set at 8 and I forget what the aperture was. (surry)

This is the first time I have actually succeeded in this and it makes me want to go seek out some serious waterfalls!!!

So that's it. My contribution. Even though I felt desperate and frustrated with my lack of ideas and opportunities, I still managed to get PLENTY to share. I couldn't possibly just post ONE!

Now~let's see YOURS.

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge and post it to your blog (and when you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

Most importantly~challenge yourself, but HAVE FUN doing it.

We are going to take a break from the list again this week, because the opportunities warrant it.

Since this weekend is Halloween~I thought a perfect theme would be........


Now, if you are the sort that doesn't "do" Halloween, don't let that hinder you! You could skip the costume aspects and work the theme into fancy clothes, etc.

Knowing me, I'll probably shoot for BOTH. hehe

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Cider Making

Nothing says Fall like Apples and nothing says Apples like cider.

When I ordered my 6 1/2 bushels of apples I hadn't counted on cider apples (because Matt told me not to-for the record) but it just so happened that there was an extra six bushels unaccounted for, that I could nab very last-minute. 12 bushels of apples sat on my enclosed front porch for a week. But on Saturday, about 7 of those bushels were made into cider. My brother in law came also with another 5-6 bushels and Matt's parents brought apples enough for two gallons of cider.

It was a regular cider-making party!

Matt got an old incomplete fruit press a few years back and made the pieces necessary to get it working. (Oh the cleverness of him!) Unfortunately, we hadn't figured out a way to process the apples (crush them up a bit) BEFORE pressing them so our first attempts didn't work very well.

THIS year, however, a guy from Matt's work had a processor he let us borrow and it worked WONDERFULLY. (I won't hold the fact that it broke Mattie's finger against it.)

Here are few pictures from that day. I am limiting myself to a small few so as not to steal Matt's thunder on HIS blog (even though he only posts on that thing once a millennium).

But FIRST~ I thought it would be interesting to see how much the children learned about cider-making without actually ramming it down their throats. So I tested Corynn-on video. Here she is: explaining how it is done-and no there was no script. I think she did pretty good. Let this video serve as PROOF that as your children are working alongside you--they are learning just as well (if not better) than sitting behind a desk.

Go ahead, Ms. Corynn :

And now in picture form:

This is the "CRUNCHING MACHINE" to which she was referring. It crunches apples AND fingers equally well.

(Don't worry-the finger crunching came during clean-up. No fingers tainted the juice.)

(BTW~If I can't accomplish what I had in mind originally, I am TOTALLY using this for my MOTION shot.)

The crushed up apples are then put into the press-inside of my lovely bed sheet that is now ruined. :-( Oh well. Guess Mattie can't complain if I get a new set for us! winky wink

See that "barrel" type contraption. Matt built that. And since a girl has got a right to be proud, I might as well tell you...He also fashioned the wooden handle on top, (and not pictured) the holey bottom that allows the juice to escape and the wooden apple-pusher-downer that the big screw forces down. I am just as eloquent as my daughter, I think! :-)

With the twists of the handle, the juice starts a'flowin. Let go, let flow.

It's much more fun as a two person job. Actually, I should clarify. It is much more fun when it is a job two people (other than me) can do. I like being the photographer. It gets me out of all sorts of work.

And lookie here: YUM-O Liquid apples.

Let me tell you this stuff is so stinkin' good.

Of course, fresh cider is the best (in my opinion) but Matt prefers it when it is hard. The object for him, then, is to harden some off. (and by some I mean: most.) So in the carboys it goes.

It's amazing the different shades that were produced from the different varieties of apples. The vibrant red apples on the left produced the furthest carboy-and it looked more like GRAPE juice than apple!

Because I thought He ought to know

Our itty bitty camera with the video feature was finally uploaded to the computer. I found this video of Andrew several months ago but it seems a fitting time to post it. Love you Papa!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Autumn Pleasures: Multitude Monday

I've been making good on my "no buying-only creating festive decorations" commitment. As HARD as it is not to pick up potted mums and slather them around the yard...

It isn't about making my home fit for Better Homes and Gardens or even to keep up the Joneses.

For us, it is about relishing what has always been around us---that we have never noticed.

It's about plucking joy and stringing it in windows

Gathering beauty and plunking it in vases.

Studying art and discovering the great Artist

Beautiful Autumn

212 :: Cattails and roses

213 :: Girl child who sniffs the woodsmoke-filled air and declares "It smells like WINTER!!"

214 :: Singing "DOE A DEER" at the tops of our voices

215 :: sunflower seeds that perfectly fit

216 :: Freshly pressed, homemade cider (more on that tomorrow)

217 :: Oil lamp, waiting for evening choretime

218 :: Sunflower seeds, waiting to be roasted

219 :: trickling creek turned flowing with two days of October rain

220 :: the nightly "Golden hour"

221 :: garlands of red and green in windowpanes

222 :: Pint sized rockers for reading

223 :: an October clothesline. I visit her less frequently but on a good day, our visits are more productive than ever before.

224 :: Goofy baby grins that just MELT you

225 :: Milkweed fairies flying about

226 :: Gnomekins underfoot

227 :: warmth and style, wrapped 'round

228 :: Animal tracking and tiptoeing to get closer views

229 :: an accommodating Heron and several patient deer

230 :: Saturday night dinner, with weekly thanksgiving lists shared

231 :: babykins wearing Mama-mades

232 :: Purple Homespun

233 :: The numbness of a broken finger, replacing pain

234 :: Our silly little home-made, redneck wood trailer

235 :: but it sure works well!

236 :: inspiring books

237 :: Mattie, who will be home soon

Autumn really is cozy, isn't it?!

Gifts numbered 212- 237, relished

Join us?!

holy experience

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Opa, our turn

Last week, thanks to my Mom's 13 passenger van (known as, THE BUS), my sister, Mom and I were able to load up our littles and travel northward for a visit with some extended family: a visiting Uncle from the Netherlands, a very hospitable Aunt and a very dear Opa.

I hate long drives and I hate driving places I don't know very well but both problems are solved when you have good company and are just the passenger.

It was a great time, albeit short. (Although, Aunt Jan was probably glad for us to go with our seven children in tow!)

Opa looks very well and I am always so pleased to see him.

I am coming to terms with the fact that today's Opa is a different man entirely to the grandfather I grew up loving and will be a different man the next time I see him as well.

Alzheimer's steals more than memories. It steals the future too.

I mourn those things that once were, those wonderful things that will never be again. The stories he tells, his history. He no longer remembers his first home or even what he has degrees in. I mourn that the advice-giving days are over at what seems just the moment I began to listen. I mourn that he asks in whispers where his wife is when too long a time has stretched and then must relive her death. "How long since she has died?" he asked and whomever is the newsbearer at the time says "seven months".

"Only seven months? It seems like such a very long time to be without her. The pain is very great and I am just so terribly bad not to remember! I don't remember how she died, or when, or how much she suffered before she died."

Tears choke back and I cannot speak.

Yet with the unfathomable sadness of treasures lost, there come quiet, happy moments to temper the pain. Never have I been so complimented by him than I do now. There was a time when his bluntness was unbearable and could be so unkind. He shows genuine love and interest in babies now whereas he used to be too caught up in conversation to notice them much at all. His jovial spirit seems all the more jovial.

I learned that he is enjoying puzzles these days, and word searches. So I enjoyed making him a few of his own to send with little bits of mail. Word searches with the names of his descendants, of his characteristics, and of familiar things. (You can make your own at this site)

I was also happy to see that he has been enjoying a gift I sent along with my mother the last time she went to visit him.

Seeing the photo there on the coffeetable for him to look at really meant so much. Seeing his hands, holding on to it was like having him hold on to a bit of my heart.

My Mom and her Dad. I wouldn't exist without them. I was born from the love my mother and dad shared and that could only be with the love of Opa toward Oma. And so, in his hands he holds my heritage, my very life.

It was a very nice visit.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Foto Friday: Berries

Foto Friday has come around again~

Last week's theme was BERRIES.

I barely made this challenge and did so only by the skin of my teeth. Literally.

All week I was busy doing this and that until finally last night came and I had no more time left! I got home at dusk last night from a day out and before even unloading the car of it's groceries I ran inside to get all the "picture paraphanalia". The house was already black-couldn't take any indoors without using flash. And you KNOW how much I hate flash.

I stole the last few moments of the ever-dimming light and did the best I could do with those few moments, using the highest possible ISO speed. This morning, when I was reviewing the pictures I noticed that each picture got darker and because of the high ISO, all were more grainy that I had hoped.

So overall, I am disappointed in my results. I was excited, however, to get a chance to try the TIPSY wine glass idea. I think that could be a really great shot, given the proper elements (like: and not shooting in impending darkness). I have been wanting to do that for a while but never had the chance, and really did have to stretch the whole "berry theme" to accomodate it for the challenge....but you forgive me, right?

I like the photo but these berries look too much like winter for my liking. Yikes. NOT ready for snow. The white, though, is actually just a reflection of the sky in a mirror. (You'll see.)

This one is just to be silly. It makes me think the rasberry is checking itself out in the mirror. It is actually two rasberries, one being magnified with a magnifying glass.


The first three photos were taken with this little set up and this cutie assistant. The first was without the white paper (I just used the reflection of the sky.) The second is where Corynn came in, holding the paper for me, for an uncluttered background. The third is just me holding up the magnifying glass between two rasperries, still on the mirror.

This is the setup for the wine glass idea. I used duct tape to secure the glasses on an incline and our dry erase board for the background. I took the shot with my body aligned to the incline so that the glasses would appear as though they were standing straight up. Ingenious, no? I can say that because I didn't think it up. I saw a photo like it one time and tucked it away in my mental storehouse in the "try this someday" file.

There ya have it. My contributions in all their grainy glory!

Can't wait to see YOURS!

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge and post it to your blog (and when you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

Most importantly~challenge yourself, but HAVE FUN doing it.


Next up is.................................


Oooooohhhh..........................that sounds fun with a whole lotta difficult mixed in!!! :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Golden Sun, Sun

Please shine down on me!

This week has been crazy already.

In fact, my life for the next month (TWO months even) looks positively exhausting from a glance at the calendar and a gander at my to-do lists.

Which leaves not very much time to say anything profound here.

But gives me a quick opportunity to share the bits of love Mattie shared with me for no other reason than he wanted to.

And okay.

Truth is, I bribed him.

It was an exchange of goods. A bill of sale. A barter, if you will.

But I got me some fresh flowers for the table just when the frost has killed my precious cutting garden.

I loved how they glowed in the last of the evening light the other day.

They glow in the morning too.

Which helps me to glow...all day long.
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Monday, October 19, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes

I have forgotten many a story I wanted to share, and write down for posterity. But here are a measley few, before I forget.

Some Funnies:

The other day Andrew walked into the bathroom while Matt was doing something and asked what the bottle was on the side of the tub. Matt replied, "It's shampoo."

"OOOOOHHHHhhhhhh. I know! Wike what Pandas eat!"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Today Andrew was complaining about his leg hurting and I said, "Well. How come?"

"I dink cuz dere's too much food in my beyey."

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Corynn has been begging to get her bangs cut, who knows why. I secretly didn't want to so I tried to dissuade her, but she wouldn't budge. I couldn't see why she would want bangs! She said her hair was always in her face. "But" said I, "if I cut your bangs hair will ALWAYS be on your forehead."
To this she got this strange look on her face and said "HUH?"
She meant for me to cut them all the way off!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Corynn was reading a book in the backseat and was struggling with this one word.

Mama: "How do you spell it?"

Corynn: "A-N-I-M-A-L-S"

Mama: "Sound it out....A.n.i.m.a.l.s. ANIMALS"

Corynn: "Ugh! Mama! They spelled it wrong in here! You PRONOUNCE it aMInals!"

(This, my friends, is a case of not correcting your daughters ONE babytalk word because it is so cute that she actually uses it and she is, after all, already growing up too fast.)

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Some Sweets:

Yesterday, for the first time since having children I think (even after giving birth!), I stayed home from church because I was not feeling well.

When everyone got home, one of the first things that Corynn said was, "Mama-are you feeling better?"

I said, "Yes, I am. I am feeling much better."

Then she got this huge smile on her face and with beaming eyes said:

"Well! That is because of ME because when we were at church I asked to pray that you would feel better! And we did! And now you do! So that means that God answered my prayers!"


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Friday, October 16, 2009

Foto Friday: Self Portrait Edition

Welcome to this week's Foto Friday: Self Portrait Edition~!

Before we begin, I have a message to all of you people who think I am loony (and tell me so) for taking 500 pictures of water last week. Indeed, 500 was a lot but IN MY DEFENSE: 400 of them were trying to capture a SINGLE drop of water midair. I mean, you just can't do that in one try! So there. I said it.

Don't think I am a weirdo because of THAT. I AM a weirdo, but that isn't the pudding where the proof resides. For the proof in the pudding, just take a gander at my self-portraits this week.

I had FUN this week. I figured everyone has already seen what *I* look like so I didn't have the burden of formally introducing my photographic self, so I could just have fun with it and be silly. And be silly I did. I took pictures with my toes. I stood on my head. I used mirrors, lots of mirrors. I was invited to a butterfly ball. I made good use of an eyeliner purchase gone bad. I tried all sorts of things.

When Corynn came up behind me while I was viewing the photos on the computer she literally bust a gut with laughter. Could. Not. Stop. Then she called Andrew over. Me having writing on my face and having butterflies land on my mouth and forehead were just too much for them. That is when I knew I had succeeded in a fun and quirky self-portraiture. Because hey-that's me. Quirky.

Read it for yourself!

Can I just tell you....I didn't realize how difficult it is to write each letter and the whole word backwards until I had to do it. Man, that was a pain. I am really surprised the words are even legible.

All week it has rained thus creating TERRIBLE indoor light. In order to get the proper lighting I had to stand in the front doorway. With my FACE all written all over! I draped a black blanket over the door for the backdrop. Let me tell you, I was petrified someone would come by just at that moment. That is how things work with me.

I also utilized the window every chance I could.

These butterflies are for a school project but I had to hijack them first. Don't worry, you'll see!

My ISO had to be really high which is why I am a bit grainy in them. Oh well.

And ok. Here is a non-silly one thrown in for good measure. (Again, another window shot.)

Here's an interesting tidbit: in the process of these window shots, I pushed my glass coin vase over and shattering it into a million shards of green glass. I guess I need to pay more attention to what is NOT within the frame's view.

Now it's YOUR turn!!!

In order to participate in these Foto Friday challenges, you must take a photo (or several) pertaining to the challenge and post it to your blog (and when you do, please link back to this blog {you may use the button if you like} so that perhaps we can get lots of participants! Because, you know, the more the merrier!) Then simply link to your Foto Friday post with Mr. McLinky here so that we all can visit you and compare notes...

Most importantly~challenge yourself, but HAVE FUN doing it.

Are you ready for this week's challenge?! It is: Berries.

The original suggestion was for berries in the fall and if you are able, by all means, do so! There is a chance though, that not every one shares our seasons and so I am opening it up to ANY berries in order to accomodate everyone. Yes, even grocery store grapes. SO. No excuses! ;-)