October 2014

Happy Halloween! (Pumpkin Carving 2014)

As I mentioned in my last post, we hit the Pumpkin Patch for the 2nd time on Monday!
On Tuesday, this happened:

It's so funny/interesting to see the differences in our girls.  Talia loves the moment she gets to reach into that pumpkin for the first time and start pulling out its "guts".  Katrina's first pumpkin-gut-touch is always met with a scrunched up face of disgust ;)  She gets used to it after a bit, but still wants to go and wash her hands as often as possible! :)

Ken is always pretty involved with the pumpkin carving and I'm glad it can be a family event and memory for the girls.  He does the "lid" cutting and helps with hollowing out the pumpkins and then I help with the designing of the faces.  We both help with the cutting part.

This year the girls each drew their faces on and helped with the cutting- man, they are growing up!  Katrina was really focussed and serious about her design- drawing it on and cutting it out.  Talia made her pumpkin some nostrils and eyeballs, then disappeared and came back with chalk to use as "eye shadow" for hers!  Katrina wanted hair on her pumpkin (which we added after these photos were taken).

It was a really fun night! :)  I'm looking forward to trick or treating tonight, but I'm bummed that it's another cold and rainy day for Halloween this year (just like last year).  They're actually predicting snow overnight!  I'm thinking we should move Halloween a little earlier in Canada! ;)

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Annual Pumpkin Patch Trip ( #NikonMOMents Part 3)

Every year, we take the girls to a pumpkin patch. We've been going to the same one for several years and I try to take my camera and get photos each time. I love this because it's a fun way to compare how much they've grown each year! Looking back on the photos is fun (but also a little sad- they grow so fast!) I'm going to share a bunch of photos that I got this year with my Nikon D3300 as well as a few from past years.

This year we decided to go to the pumpkin patch early because they have a bunch of fun things for kids to do and you just can't stay and play for as long when it's cold out!  I'm sooo glad we did!  We went near the end of September and then we went again last night, to get our pumpkins for carving.

Here are some shots from our first trip:

The pictures below are so fun to have!  The one on the left is from 4 years ago and it's crazy to see how the girls have grown in that time when you compare that photo to the one on the right from this year!

I'm kind of in love with this next photo. I love the way the setting sun created a sunburst. I'll share the settings for this one, because I think it's a really fun thing to try to recreate!

Recreate This Effect: I had my ISO up to 800, with an aperture of 3.5 and a shutter speed of 1/1000 sec (with my 35mm lens).  I was also careful to frame the photo so that something was "in the way" of the sun, for it to shine through (trees are great for that!)

Here's another set of photos with past years for comparison:
(Man, I wish I could slow the growing! Before long I'll be looking at the photos from this year and thinking how little they look!)  I am sooo happy to have these moments captured so nicely to look back on!

I've mentioned this in past Nikon posts, but I love that I can easily switch the camera over to an automatic mode and hand it to someone else to grab a photo of our family! I am not in enough photos with my family because I'm usually the one with the camera and when it's a DSLR, it can be tricky for someone who isn't used to a DSLR to know what to do with it! Here's a family shot taken by another parent who was at the pumpkin patch:

I love this photo of Katrina. It's sometimes tricky to get her to look at the camera with a genuine smile, so I treasure the photos I get of her doing it!  This one could be a framer :)

Okay, time for another comparison :)  See what I mean about not looking at the camera? ;)  That being said, you can see in the photo below how that's not necessarily a bad thing!  That is still a really cute photo of her, even though she's not looking into the lens!  (More about my thoughts on not looking at the camera here).

Here's Talia.. oh, she's such a little munchkin in that older photo! I just want to give her a squeeze! :)  (Not that I don't want to give that 8 year old a squeeze too ;)

Here's a fun experimental shot that I got of Katrina, backlit.  I love the way backlit photos create a golden glow around the hair!

Recreate This Effect: For this one, these were my settings: ISO 200, 35mm, f/2.2, 1/4000 sec)

I love a good detail shot, so I couldn't resist grabbing a few close-up shots while I was there ;)  There are a couple more at the top of the post :)

At the end of our first trip to the Pumpkin Patch, the girls each chose a small pumpkin to take home with them.  Katrina was taking that decision pretty seriously ;)

When we returned last night, we were bundled up in winter coats!  Here are the girls and Ken, headed for the pumpkin patch:

Unfortunately, we may have waited a little too long to return because there were a LOT of rotten pumpkins back in the pumpkin patch!  We decided to head to a grocery store to find our carving pumpkins, but before we did that, we needed some more play time! :)

We didn't stay too long because this little munchkin has been sick.  Last week we found out she had Pneumonia!  Today is her first day back to school, but she's still coughing and we didn't want to push it by being outside for too long!

It's been another great year at the pumpkin patch, and I'm thrilled to have these memories captured so nicely on my Nikon camera!  I'll leave you with one more monkey bar shot of Katrina.  I love this one, too :)  She had recently mastered the monkey bars and was so happy to demonstrate for Ken :)

If you're interested in seeing my past #NikonMOMents posts, they are here, here, and here. :)

Disclosure: I am part of the Mom Central Canada Nikon MOMents team and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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October 2014 Sharing Time & Giveaway- Week 4

Welcome to October's Sharing Time Linky!
I'm excited to see Thanksgiving and Halloween themed posts being shared!

First, our week in review:

This week I shared my experience at the KFC Kitchen and their new flavour, sweet chili crunch!

I also posted a book review of Visions of Hope.

And shared our new Chore/Reward System

I have Three Giveaways at the bottom of this post,
so don't miss them!

Now, on to the link party- I can't wait to see what you share! :)

Please join the Raising Memories Sharing Time & add a link to your latest and greatest blog posts
about activities to do with your children or fun projects that you have done!
If you're participating, please share the button on your blog & "hop over" to at least one other blog post that's been linked up- let's support each other!


Saints & Soldiers: The Void DVD

On a final mission deep in the Harz mountains a U.S. tank crew discovers a platoon of Germans, including three infamous Panzer tanks, preparing to ambush allied supply trucks.
Before the war, Sergeant Jesse Owens, was a product of segregation and racial discrimination. Forced by law to ride in the back of the bus and disenfranchised from the political process. As the Germans bear down on the Americans, Owens fights the Axis powers for a freedom he and his fellow African American soldiers have never felt.With a deadly game of cat and mouse quickly unfolding, Owens and his predominantly white tank crew find themselves out-gunned and out-manned by the German Panzer tanks. Several in Owens’ crew are reluctant to put their faith in a black tank driver despite their dire circumstances. With tension and fear beginning to manifest Owens knows they must put aside their differences to stop the enemy from their deadly plan. Knowing that a victory over the Nazis means a victory for racial justice, Owens and his men find a way to work together to save hundreds of lives in a desperate battle against the greatest odds they have ever faced.

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Where My Heart Belongs DVD by Gladys Knight
The great ones endure, and Gladys Knight has long been one of the greatest. Very few singers over the last fifty years have matched her unassailable artistry. This seven-time Grammy Award-winner has earned number one hits in Pop, R&B, and Adult Contemporary, and has triumphed in film, television, and live performance.

She returns in 2014 with an album that showcases her unmatched vocal ability on an enchanting mix of gospel and inspirational songs that are dear to her heart. She has said that faith in God has been the driving force behind all of her endeavors, guiding her through her many successes. On this gorgeous masterwork, she sings the songs of her heart like no one else can.

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Dining With the Prophets Cookbook

Take your family on a historical journey—by way of their taste buds! In this latest collection of recipes, the chefs at the Lion House step back in time to re-create favorite dishes enjoyed by the Presidents of the Church through the years. From Joseph Smith's Johnny Cakes to Spencer W. Kimball's Raspberry Cheesecake, from Lorenzo Snow's Yorshire Pudding to Thomas S. Monson's Swedish Meatballs, these recipes are a delight to share with family and friends. 
You'll also find a wonderful collection of old pioneer recipes, as well as a number of the Lion House's signature dishes, the same fare (including the legendary Lion House Dinner Rolls) served at receptions and dinners and in the Lion House Pantry for several decades. Portraits of all the Church Presidents, plus photos of many of the period artifacts displayed at the Lion House, make this one-of-a-kind cookbook a fascinating stroll through history that the whole family will enjoy.

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Visions of Hope

I have another book review for you today from Deseret Book. This one is a beautiful book of illustrations with text from the scriptures. The book is illustrated by Annie Henrie and I think her artwork is gorgeous! The book is called Visions of Hope; An Illustrated Portrayal of God's Plan For Us.

In our religion, we often talk about God's plan, calling it The Plan of Happiness or The Plan of Salvation. This plan answers questions about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going.

Henrie has visually interpreted the plan of salvation from pre-earth life to the Creation, the Fall of Adam and Eve, life on earth, the spirit world, the Atonement, the Resurrection, and the kingdoms of glory.

We often use a little sketch to illustrate the stages or order of the plan when discussing it, and the book includes that at the top of each page, with one section highlighted to show which part of the plan we are focusing on for that page.

This might be my favourite painting in the book:

I love the warmth in her paintings.  In that image above, the leaves appear to be golden and I love how happy the mother looks, encircled by her husband and children.  I'm feeling the love ;)

Here's another spread from the book, so you can get an idea of the feeling that continues throughout the book.  It's a 10x10" hardcover book with 48 pages.

This book would be a beautiful tool for teaching what we believe about the plan of salvation to someone who wants to know more about what we believe, or for teaching our children, or just for personal reflection.  The artwork is just gorgeous, with 14 different paintings included.

Disclosure: A copy of the book was provided to me for review purposes. All opinions shared are my own.

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