Saturday, July 25, 2009

Weekend photo shoot.

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking my neighbors family portraits. I've been incredibly nervous for this- they are our great friends and I wanted to give them great photographs. I've also mentioned that I'm very critical of my own creative work, and photography is no exception. In retrospect, I had fun, and it was a great learning experience. And most importantly, they love the photos!
I did have a few obstacles- the daughter has been at camp the past week and was a LOBSTER. Seriously, her face was so red. But enter my good friend Photoshop, and there's nothing we can't handle. She was also wearing a bright white skirt which really threw off my exposure. I think I did pretty well for my first "client" =). Here are a few of my faves:

This is Cameron's best bud, by the way.

What do you think? Hit me with the truth! I can handle it!

Monday, July 20, 2009


In Jon's family, it was tradition for whoever's birthday it was to make a special request for their birthday dinner. Jon always chose fondue. I'd never had fondue until we met, much less heard of it, but I was told (by Jon himself) that it was my responsibility as his wife to carry on the tradition for making him fondue on his birthday every year. =) So far, I've done good!
After searching through many recipes, I found that most of them use oils, which didn't necessarily appeal to me at all. The few times we had been to The Melting Pot, our meat fondue was broth based, which I liked. I finally found a recipe that was made with broth, and it's the most fantastic recipe for meat dipping. Not only is it flavorful, it's really easy too. While the broth is simmering on the stove top, I cut up the meats and veggies. We usually skip the cheese fondue when we're at home, because eating the meat fondue takes 1-2 hours in itself.

The recipe:

2 cans beef broth (I use Campbells)
1/2 bottle of dry white wine, OR 1 cup of water
2 cups of water
2 bay leaves
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 pkg. of dry French Onion soup (dry plain onion soup is fine too)
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp dried parsley flakes

*If you're making it for more than 2-3 people, I'd suggest doubling the recipe. The broth tends to get really thick toward the end, in which case you could add a little more wine or water.

Throw all of it in a pot and let it simmer (on low) on the stove top for about an hour. Your house will smell incredible. If your neighbors are in close proximity like ours are, chances are they'll be able to smell it too and be incredibly jealous.

In the meantime cut your meats and veggies into inch x inch bite sized pieces. After the broth has simmered on the stove, transfer it into your fondue pot. For dippers, we like to cut up a chicken breast, any cut of steak meat, pork loin, raw jumbo shrimp, and red potatoes. For the dipping sauces, we just use whatever we have in the fridge that doesn't have fuzzy green stuff growing on it: BBQ sauce, teriyaki sauce, Ranch dressing, Wasabi sauce, and cocktail sauce.

Yes, it's THAT easy- so go ahead and dust off that fondue pot you got for your wedding and never used. Your fondue pot will thank you.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Jon's 30th Birthday weekend: good food and fireworks.

It's official, Jon is an old man. Even though his birthday isn't until tomorrow, we celebrated by going to Sumo, a hibachi-style Japanese restaurant we've been hearing great things about. The food was excellent and our cook was quite a ham. He insisted I take his picture, even though Jon told him the pictures would be going up on the internet. "Oh, would not be first time!" he replied jokingly. He had a strong accent and was a little hard to understand. He was also surprised when my sister-in-law, who is Korean, asked for the kids chopsticks (the ones with the paper and rubber band). "YOU? You don't know how to use chopstick?" Everyone laughed.

After dinner we came back to the house and had some friends and family over. Everyone was hanging out in the front yard. Around 9:30, my neighbor across the street came running over to our house and said "Leslie! My kitchen is on fire!" I could hear the alarms going off in her house, but didn't see any flames. I screamed at Jon to grab the fire extinguisher and go over and put the fire out. Jon ran over and 2 of his brothers followed. I stood in front of the house with my neighbor watching the boys try and fight this. The second Jon used the extinguisher, I could see the them jumping back from the orange glow in their kitchen as the fire blew up in their faces. To say I panicked was an understatement. I yelled at someone to call 911, but they had the fire put out just as we got emergency dispatch on the line.
By this time, everyone who was in our yard was now in hers watching this all unfold. Jon and his brother had small grease burns on their arms and face, but no one was hurt. The house was filled with black smoke, but once it cleared we were able to help get things cleaned up. I am still amazed that the situation wasn't worse than it was. Had we not had people hanging outside to help, it would have cost them minutes and probably their home. Instead, they lost a microwave, some cabinets, and will have to replace the flooring. That's it. God had a hold of the situation and am so thankful that all that was lost were material things that can easily be replaced!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

School's out for the summa.

I met with my photography class for the last time last night. Technically, there's one more class, but it's just a photoshop tutorial, and seeing as how I took this class to break away from photoshop, I opted out. The last class also falls on Jon's 30th birthday, so I told the instructor I wouldn't be there. For class #5, we met outside the classroom at the Keeper of the Plains, a landmark in downtown Wichita. I was hoping for a gorgeous sunset backdrop, but the sky was clear blue. Here are some photos I took of the location:

This one would have been much better if you could read the text, but I thought it was neat to catch the reflection of the suspension bridge behind it.

I definitely learned quite a bit, but the class left me desiring so much more. I've already done a quick search for more classes but didn't find any. I may check again when programs update for fall and winter classes.
In other news, I ordered a new lens! Woohoo! I wish I would have ordered it before class was over, but I'm really excited and it should be here in just a few days. If anyone is looking for a new camera (SLR or P+S), computer, or camcorders, is an excellent place to get them. I ordered my camera and 2 lenses there for MUCH cheaper than big box stores. Their standard shipping is free, there's no tax, and their customer service is wonderful!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

When your kid is no longer interested in his toys...

You gotta be creative.
Shoe boxes become outrigger canoes and spatulas become oars. 
The carpet transforms into the deep blue (shark infested!!) sea.

But the unsinkable begins to sink.

Swim to shore!

Phew! Safe. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Oh, the places we go!

Before Cameron was born, Jon and I traveled quite a bit, most of the time by taking long road trips. I'm one of those peeps who enjoys the journey as much as the destination, and I don't mind a 24-hour car ride, taking in the beautiful scenery across the U.S.
I've always wanted a place where we could document places we've been, and to search for places we still want to go. When I first met Jon, he had a big laminated map hanging (crooked) in his office. It worked for the "bachelor pad-ified" (is that a word?) space he had back then, but a wife entered who likes to make things look pretty. I thought it would be a great idea to put little pins in the cities we've been to, so I went and bought a new (un-laminated) map, and decided to do just that. I also wanted to make it look like wall art (our office is actually a corner in our downstairs living room)- not just a map tacked to the wall, so I set out to find a nice frame to put it in. Turns out, 50 x 32 inch frames don't exist. And the cheapest quote to have one custom made was about $200 dollars. Enter a wife who likes to do things herself, and you have a custom-made framed map (with cork board behind the map!) for just $26. That's right. I spent just $26 on trim, backing, a cork roll, and picture hanging wire.

I won't lie- making a frame that's over 4 feet tall was not exactly easy, and was a little time-consuming. But I am so pleased with the results, and even happier I didn't fork out 200 bones to have someone else do it. The map also serves a functional purpose in Jon's office; when he gets calls from people who want to move out of state, he has a nice, visual reference to estimate mileage and see where he might be going. It's exactly what I was looking for!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Cam's PB Hybrid Chair Slipcover came in! It really is adorable and I can't wait for his birthday to give it to him. I'm so glad I ordered it!

I've got a few projects going on around the house. Here's a peek at one currently working on:

I'm in the process of getting our basement looking really nice (I'm hosting 2 showers this winter!). We finished it about a year ago, got some furniture to make it liveable, but the walls are a blank canvas. I'm trying to create a "faux" mantle from a ledge in our basement, a place where I can display pictures and a few other little objects. I still need to get some prints in 2 of the frames, but here's a sneak peek:
I got Jon the picture frame on the right for Father's Day. He absolutely loved it!
Stay tuned for the map project reveal! =)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Cameron- 7 months.

I love this guy. Though we've had a very stressful few weeks fighting a cold and teething, he is so awesome. Sometimes I stare at him and still can't believe he's mine. 


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