Thursday, December 31, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Thirty - "I'm Thankful"

"I'm Thankful" by Debi

"I'm Thankful" by Shannon

It makes sense that Debi and I would both look up at the sky for today's Thankful theme.

I'm thankful for this tree outside my office window, where I can see birds, and where occasionally a quail will run across my windowsill.

And I'm thankful for doing this little 30-day challenge with Debi from our opposite sides of the country. Maybe we'll have to do a Spring Photo challenge. :-)

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Nine - "Home Cooked"

"Home Cooked" by Shannon
"Home Cooked" by Debi
Boy, I could have taken a hundred photos for this theme. There's just nothing like home cooking, whether you're planning it, making it, or eating it. My photo focuses on the planning...there are so many great recipes here, and so many memories!

Debi shows us her beef brisket, Julia Child-style. Yum!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Six - "Cottage"

"Cottage" by Debi

"Cottage" by Shannon

I love the word cottage. It brings up so many comfy-cozy images. The soft Christmas lighting in Debi's photo is definitely cottage-worthy. Since there are no houses in Vegas that could be called cottages, I opted for a photo of our house...our cottage.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Five - "Frosty"

"Frosty" by Shannon
"Frosty" by Debi

It was hard for either of us to find something frosty today, unless we took a photo of Frosty the Snowman. We both opted not to go that route.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Four - "Pretty Tree"

"Pretty Tree" by Shannon

These pretty trees are Advent Calendars to give as gifts this year. I don't have a pattern for them...I just cut it all out and sew it together and hope it looks okay. My preferred way of making anything. :-)

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Eight - "Memories"

"Memories" by Shannon

"Memories" by Debi

My photo shows one of the photos on my screensaver at work, taken when Dad and Debi visited over Thanksgiving. Debi and I celebrated our putting up of the Christmas tree with an eggnog toast. Fun girl memories!

Yes, the Peanuts bring up memories for me as well. I was always so sad when they were over and we had to wait another whole year to see them again!

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Seven - "The One For Me"

"The One For Me" by Shannon
"The One For Me" by Debi

So many choices for me in my photo this week: sugar cookies, chocolate cherry cookies, peanut brittle, peanut butter balls, and bourbon balls. The One for Me? Peanut Brittle.

The one for Debi was my Dad, in her closeup photo. My only comment is, I didn't realize Dad had such unruly eyebrows. :-)

Monday, December 28, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Three - "Cinnamon"

"Cinnamon" by Shannon
Every year I simmer Christmassy-smelling things on the stove to make the house smell good for the holidays. (And every year I usually forget about it one day and almost burn the pot.) Here are cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and a slice of a small orange. Perfect.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-Two - "Crush On Red"

"Crush On Red" by Debi

"Crush On Red" by Shannon

Red is the color of this holiday, isn't it? And while "red" might be referring to the color of the season, I couldn't help but let it give me a reason to open a bottle.


30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty-One - "Candy Cane"

"Candy Cane" by Shannon

"Candy Cane" by Debi
Is it considered cheating to take one of these challenge photos in a grocery store? I mean, we could take a photo for each day of this challenge very easily in a store.

I say it's fine. I mean, what I am enjoying about this challenge is that it is forcing me to take photos that I wouldn't otherwise think of taking. So who cares where they come from, right?

Mine was taken in the Wal-Mart grocery store when I went there to buy more powdered sugar. I cannot run out of that!

Debi's is also from a store, I believe, but it sure is pretty!

Monday, December 21, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twenty - "Angelic"

"Angelic" by Debi

"Angelic" by Shannon
Today Debi's photo is of her mom and her mom's dog. I bet the dog isn't angelic all the time!

I went abstract today. To me, the color and the shimmer were angelic. Can you guess what it is?

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Nineteen - "Pine Cones"

"Pine Cones" by Debi

"Pine Cones" by Shannon

Debi chose a snowy pine cone with vibrant red today. I chose my cookies-in-progress. There are pine cones in my photo, I swear.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Eighteen - "Affection"

"Affection" by Shannon

"Affection" by Debi

Mine, an affectionate selfie of Jude and me in the car when I picked him up from daycare.

Debi's, her candid photo of my Dad, or her "Bobert" as she playfully calls him.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Seventeen - "Deer Oh Dear"

"Deer Oh Dear" by Shannon

"Deer Oh Dear" by Debi

This was a tough one, I thought. But in the end, as I stood in Teavanna trying to decide which aromatic tea to purchase, I thought this photo was perfect, because "Oh dear" I wanted to buy them all!

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Sixteen - "Ornament"

"Ornament" by Debi

"Ornament" by Shannon 
Thank you, list-creator, for today's simple theme. Debi chose to photograph a cardinal on her tree, which was very insightful because it is my favorite bird. (They represent my Indiana upbringing, because it's the state bird.)

In my photo, our elf Chippy the Bailey (long story about his name) overlooks our front room and the sometimes mischievous George.

Friday, December 18, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Fifteen - "Gracious"

"Gracious" by Shannon
"Gracious" by Debi
I hadn't planned to take a photo of Jude for this day's prompt. In my mind, "Gracious" had a religious connotation, or on the other hand, it could mean thankful or accommodating. So since I had trouble with the word itself, I turned to the dictionary:

[grey-shuh s]
1. pleasantly kind, benevolent, and courteous.
2. characterized by good taste, comfort, ease, or luxury: gracious suburban living; a gracious home.
3. indulgent or beneficent in a pleasantly condescending way, especially to inferiors.
4. merciful or compassionate: our gracious king.
5. Obsolete. fortunate or happy.
I chose to focus on "kind." So when Jude enthusiastically put his guitar in the donation box at his school that morning, I took a photo to remember his gracious act.
Debi's photo depicts her friend's dog, who is there for her every day during her visit. She said, "This kind, gracious, generous dog gives me loving and soothes my spirit every day..."
I think a lot of animals are gracious, aren't they?

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Fourteen - "Winter Landscape"

"Winter Landscape" by Shannon
"Winter Landscape" by Debi

My stepmom and I are still doing the 30 Day Winter Photo Challenge that I found on, via Pinterest. It's a bit easier for me to complete the challenges because I am at home, but Debi is staying at a friend's house for a few days. I think her depiction of an angel on her friend's tree is nice and wintery. To get my photo, I drove about ten minutes north of our house so I'd get a good view of Mt. Charleston. How I wanted to keep driving all the way to the end of the road for a cup of hot chocolate by the fireplace in the lodge! Oh well, another time.

Monday, December 14, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Thirteen - "Wanderlust"

"Wanderlust" by Shannon

"Wanderlust" by Debi
Just a short drive north of where we live, we can play in the snow and go skiing. I would love to go up there more often just to sit by the fireplace in the lodge and look at the mountains.

Debi is obviously dreaming of visiting Europe again? Let's go!

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Twelve - "Gift-Wrapped"

"Gift-Wrapped" by Shannon

"Gift-Wrapped" by Debi
Jude and my husband wrapped a birthday gift for me and then drew pictures on it the wrapping paper.

I love Debi's colorful photo. And where did she get those cool scissors?

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Eleven - "Decorated"

"Decorated" by Debi

"Decorated" by Shannon
Debi's photo isn't actually from Alabama...she took it of our tree just a few weeks ago on their visit for Thanksgiving. Of course we have a Beatles ornament!

My photo is a view on the drive home from work. Lights on palm trees and an evening sky.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Ten - "Candlelight"

"Candlelight" by Shannon
This photo shows a Christmas decoration that we brought out every year throughout my childhood. The heat from the flames makes the top turn and ring the bells. You're supposed to put tall candles in it but for me, tealights will suffice. Jude has so much trouble resisting the urge to blow them out. 

No photo from Debi today. She headed out to Alabama earlier than planned. We'll see if she can send us some photos from there in the next few days.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Nine - "Naked Twig"

"Naked Twig" by Debi

"Naked Twig" by Shannon
Debi's photo today was sent to me with only the explanation of "This is the only naked twig I could find." I have yet to ask her what it is exactly. Hmmm.

Mine features a naked branch on an Australian Bottle Tree in our backyard, with one of the birdseed ornaments Jude and I made. The birds ate them all up in just one day.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Goodbye, Violin and Flute

In another burst of gotta-get-rid-of-stuff energy, recently I gave away my violin and flute. So to honor their departure, I must tell their stories.
I was working in Branson, MO, in Mel Tillis’ show years ago when I bought the violin. I had always wanted to learn, and there I found myself surrounded by top musicians, including a whole fiddle section. One of the guys agreed to teach me, so I was all set.

But I never took one lesson. I know I even bought the beginner lesson book he suggested, but we never got started. Now, twenty years later, I have no idea why. I guess I’m just the type of person who has great ambition but doesn’t always follow through? Hmmm.

My flute is much dearer to my heart. When I was in fifth grade, mom let me choose whatever instrument I wanted so I could be in the fifth grade band. I couldn’t decide between the French horn (?!) and flute. Finally, I choose the flute because it was easy to carry, and because it would fit in nicely if I played with my family which was filled with guitarists and pianists.
There are sooooo many stories I could tell about my flute and the opportunities and experiences it gave me. But overall, it was something that I practiced and accomplished…a lesson in perseverance. And I think every person should be able to experience the comradery of playing in a band or orchestra. There is magic in keeping your eyes on the conductor and at the downbeat, hearing your instrument join in with all the others.

My instruments were given to Music for Hope, which will give them to a local school. I am so glad they will be played and loved. Much better than sitting on a shelf in my living room.

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Eight - "Foggy"

"Foggy" by Debi

"Foggy" by Shannon
The person who came up with today's prompt obviously doesn't live in the desert like me. Nothing is foggy in Las Vegas. There is no moisture, so there is no actual condensation on a glass or windshield, no steam on the mirror during a shower. My photo of my Starbucks drink (Iced Venti Sweetened Green Tea, thank you) wasn't actually foggy, but I pretended for a moment that I was in a climate with condensation.

Debi had no trouble finding fog on her bathroom mirror. North Carolina has plenty of humidity!

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Seven - "Hazy Gold"

"Hazy Gold" by Shannon
"Hazy Gold" by Debi
Of course for days after this prompt I found tons of Hazy Gold things I could have captured, but on day seven my only source of gold was again in the sky. Las Vegas skies, when they have clouds, can be fantastic.

Debi didn't give me any info on her photo from where she is in North Carolina. Any guesses on her subject?

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Six - "Moody"

"Moody" by Shannon
I tried to get a photo of my four-year-old this morning by asking him to show me an angry face. Instead, he gave me some great smiley photos, which I didn't mind having. So for this prompt, I turned to the sky. Luckily it was cloudy, and as I drove home I saw the sun trying to peek out from a hole in the clouds, but the moody sky prevented it.

Debi told me that her best chance to get a "Moody" photo this morning was by taking a photo of her own face, since today's prompt reflected her mood. I liked that idea, but she didn't feel like posting a moody face photo for the world to see. Maybe next time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Five - "Cozy Moments"

"Cozy Moments" by Debi

"Cozy Moments" by Shannon
Of course we both chose our dogs the subject of this prompt. What else knows the epitome of comfort better than a dog?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

30 Day Winter Photo Challenge Day Four - "Fireside"

"Fireside" by Shannon
Debi opted out of today's prompt, unable to find anything "Fireside"-related. While I could not find an actual fire (this fireplace is gas and not real wood), I figured this crazy mess by our fireplace would suffice.