Update Post – Highlights of 2014

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by Jean

Forgive me, friends! It was been six months since my last post. At that time, we had returned from a visit to beautiful Lake Powell. Although I’ve been quiet here, I post regularly to Instagram. Here are some of our 2014 highlights:

New ChicksJuly 26th – We bought new chicks, bringing our total to 22 hens! A couple of roosters made it into the mix (they are the golden chicks pictured), but we removed them once we figured that out. (Roosters have spurs and say, “Cockadoodle doo!”) We are reaping the benefits now with over a dozen fresh eggs per day. When clients and friends visit, they always leave with a carton of eggs.

Knotts Berry FarmJuly 30th – We visited Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. The Pony Express was operating this time, and we were thrilled to ride this unique “stand up & straddle a horse” coaster! I think Natalie caught a bug in her mouth though. Another giraffe followed us home, this one bigger & heavier than the one we bought at the San Diego Wild Animal Park in 2008. I tell ya, Tom LOVES giraffes.

ScoobySeptember 6th – We found a cute dog running ahead of our car in the Target parking lot. The kids said I had to rescue him, and who am I to argue? We posted his mug on facebook, and put up flyers, but he was unclaimed. A visit to the vet confirmed he had no chip, weighed 9 lbs, and hated shots so much he had to be muzzled! We named him Scooby after a contestant’s dog on America’s Got Talent.

Disneyland 2014September 28th – We paid a quick 1-day trip to Disneyland. Firsts this time were riding the Autopia cars, riding the Monorail, visiting Disney after dark,  and getting Natalie to go on the Peter Pan ride. Hoping by next trip, I can convince the girls and Tom to go into the Haunted Mansion! Disneyland was all decorated for Halloween with pumpkins everywhere. We tried to track down the elusive Jack Skellington “Zero Dog House” popcorn bucket to no avail. I did manage to find Tom a treat, Snow White’s poison apple. Bon Appétit!

Halloween 2014Halloween was fun. The girls dressed as a lil’ devil and a chess queen. We visited a private, gated community in our neighboring town as we live in a rural environment outside of city limits. The girls collected lots of treats and had so much fun ringing doorbells and exclaiming, “Trick or Treat!”

DiningOctober 7th – We dined with a client at a restaurant of their choice. The food was good, but our wait for food, even the appetizer, was 75 minutes. I made a point to Yelp! about our experience, mentioning the good and the bad. The restaurant owner’s husband then proceeded to contact me via email (against Yelp rules) leaving me with such an ill feeling. He said I “bashed” their business, and I should have discretely informed his wife of my feelings instead of putting it out there for public consumption. I had to block him since he wouldn’t stop sending me messages.

Shania TwainDecember 11th – Oh my gosh, we saw Shania Twain in Vegas! I’m not a huge fan, but surprisingly knew a lot of her songs. She is tiny and talented! She also walked through the audience taking selfies with people… I don’t even know how she remembered the lyrics while walking, smiling and posing. Her stage was incredible, enormous and vibrant. She entered the stage on a flying motorcycle and wearing a sequined body stocking. She danced and sang, and it was a fun night! Our friend & print-broker brought us. Before the show, we dined at Bobby Flay’s Mesa Grill. Delicious food! I had the salmon, cooked perfectly, and a glass of white wine. No waiting for this decadent meal! We were greeted and served so well, we felt we were a priority. Bobby Flay is free to contact me via email about the review I left his restaurant on Yelp!

Christmas 2014Christmas was wonderful even though Santa’s secret stash was discovered in a closet under our staircase on Christmas Eve. The girls left the presents right where they found them, and Santa distributed them during the night. The gifts this year were heartfelt, toy accessories mainly to go with gaming systems and dolls the girls already own. For the first time, we exchanged gifts as a family. The girls bought me candles and a bathrobe. They bought Tom a giraffe statue and a horse head statue. We bought the girls comforters for their beds. We baked gingerbread cookies, and dined on steak, mashed potatoes and cheesy green beans.

Snow in our townOn New Year’s Eve, it snowed in our town marking the 1st time since 1977. Snow in the desert! Unbelievable. Magical! It wasn’t enough to build a snowman, but it was enough for hours of fun! The girls bundled up and played outside all day. Tom was delivering our magazines in the snow, a first. We all took so many photos, thinking the snow would stop and melt at any time.

Another highlight/lowlight of the year, although there is no photographic evidence, was being summoned to court by my neighbor. You may or may not remember the ongoing battle we’ve had with him. To sum it all up in a nutshell, the judge dismissed our neighbor’s request for a “restraining order” against me if I would agree to drop mine against him. So far, so good ::: knock on wood :::.

I wish you all a very Happy 2015! I hope not to stay away so long this time.

Pixlr | Free Online Photo Editor

Posted on October 16th, 2013 by Jean

This is a fun tutorial to show how to use Pixlr Express, a free online photo editor. It can give your photos a fresh, unique look. I use it to create collages.

Pixlr Collage by Jean photo JeanPixlrcollage_zps2b6efa54.jpg

The steps are easy.

1. Visit Pixlr Express and “click” Collage. Choose Layout, upload your photos and begin editing.

Pixlr Tutorial

2. To apply different effects to each photo, click on the paintbrush at the top of each photo. Apply effects, then save to return to the collage.

Pixlr Tutorial step 2

3. To apply the same effect to all of the photos, choose finished. Then apply effects.

Pixlr Tutorial step 3

Edit options include Adjustment, Effect, Overlay, Border, Sticker, and Text. Select each one to see your choices. With Adjustment, you can rotate, crop, lighten, etc. Effects contain the filters. Overlays are bursts of images.

Pixlr Effects

When finished, save to your computer.

Pixlr Tutorial save

My edits in the top collage were as follows:
Top Left = Jenna Sue Text
Top Right = Hagrid Effect
Bottom Left = Satya, Gram, Helena and Hans Effects
Bottom Right = Tom and Ingrid Effects, bronze and Roger Overlays

PJ ART

Here’s one my daughter made! Now I’m holding a pop-tart while a monkey plays on the lawn. Super sweet!

Pixlr Express is also available to download for FREE to your iPad or iPhone.

Give it a try, and share your results!

Simply Instagram Plugin

Posted on November 7th, 2012 by Jean

I just installed the Simply Instagram Plugin which allows me to include my Instagram feed in my wordpress sidebar. Once installed and the settings updated, you drag the Simply Instagram: Recent Media widget to your sidebar, and customize your title, description, # of photos, etc. The Simply Instagram: Latest Feed actually shows photos of those you follow instead of your own photos.
 
Before installing this particular widget, I installed the Easy Instagram plugin, but not only was it complicated to activate, but it showed my full name under my photos. Editing my Instagram profile did not correct the problem, and neither did deactivating/reactivating the plugin.
 
Have you been bit by the Instagram bug?
 
Follow @shoppingjean


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