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Monday, April 30, 2012

Super Science Sleepover.

This weekend, our Girl Scout troop went to a sleepover at the Carnegie Science Center. We spent the night camping out among the exhibits and got to experience all the fun stuff the Science Center has to offer.


Our troop was assigned to roboworld, which was by far the coolest spot in the joint. I slept on the floor about six feet to the right of this guy.

roboworld wide angle

Here's a view of the room. See those bright, recessed lights in the ceiling? For the record, they don't turn off at night.

Of course, I had to take some photos of the displays. Roboworld has a rogues gallery of just about every famous robot you could think of.

Metropolis's Maria

Metropolis's Maria.


Gort from The Day the Earth Stood Still.

 Lost in Space.

Robot from Lost in Space.


and C3P0 from, well, do I really even need to say it? R2D2 was there too, but I forgot to get a photo of him.

 Little yellow robot.

They also had an awesome display of vintage tin toy robots, like this cute little yellow guy.

 Robot friends.

And this little gray guy and his tall turquoise friend.

 Mad scientist.

In addition to playing in the exhibits, the girls got to see some neat science demonstrations.

Tesla coil.

The best part was when the Tesla coil was fired.

Super Girl Scouts

Lastly, since the theme was "Super Science" the girls got to make up their own super hero costumes, complete with mask and cape. When it was all said and done, I was really impressed with the experience and thought it was worth losing a night of sleep. Although the Laser Gaga show may have been a little more than I could handle at 8 a.m...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Strawberry Sunday.

Strawberries and cream.

Nothing says spring like strawberries. Except snow. Which we are supposed to have six inches of tomorrow. Ugh.

 Ten little strawberries.

Anyway, Mark was kind of enough to pick up some strawberries at the store for me today so I could use them for a photoshoot. I think I got his money's worth.

 Strawberries awaiting their bath.

Here they are awaiting their bath.

 Bathtime for strawberries.

Bathtime! Mark held the sprayer.

Nice, clean strawberries ready to eat.

Nice and clean and ready to eat.

 Good to the last drop.

And to continue my fixation on taking photos in the sink/bathtub, here's a bonus one of Kitty Coconut doing what she likes best.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tulip Tuesday.

Show off.

As promised, here are some photos of Mark's tulip bed. He planted 300 bulbs, but a little less than a third were lost to hungry deer. You can't really tell though, because the deer spread their grazing out to a few here and a few there.

Bed of tulips in front of our home.

Tulips have been done to death, so it's challenging to make them look interesting and different.

View of the street through the tulips.

Notice that some of these are quite similar.

 Among the tulips.

I'm pretty sure that I added to the deer's tally in order to get this one.

Inpressionistic tulip.

I wanted to do still life shot like I did with the crabapple blossoms, but I didn't have a chance. I forgot that we had soccer practice tonight.

Single red tulip.

Speaking of activities, check out Lauren's crazy schedule during the next two weeks:

Monday - Nothing
Tuesday - Soccer practice
Wednesday - School field trip to see the symphony
Thursday - Girl Scout meeting
Friday - Girl Scout sleep over at the Carnegie Science Center
Saturday - Soccer practice
Sunday - Day of Rest
Monday - First basketball practice
Tuesday - Soccer practice
Wednesday - 7th Birthday
Thursday: Tour Animal Friends with Girl Scouts
Friday: Nothing
Saturday:  Kennywood picnic
Sunday: Birthday party

What a life! I'm getting exhausted just looking at it.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Pink state of mind.

 Pink state of mind.

One of these days, I need to step outside of the boundaries of my property and go take some photos elsewhere. Thankfully, just when I think I've exhausted all the possibilities, I always find something to photograph around here.

You probably wouldn't think of it, but just like playing a sport or an instrument, you have to practice photography. Rather than taking photos, I've been spending much of my free time during the last week playing around with my camera's settings, trying new methods to nail focus and exposure and studying Fibonacci spirals. Trying to up my game, so to speak.

 Pink swirl.

Between camera settings, lenses, composition and lighting, there is an infinite amount of ways to take a photograph. Through the last few years, I've taken several photos of our crabapple tree, but this weekend I tried to use some techniques that I hadn't before. Sure, I wasn't breaking new ground, but it was good practice and fun. I took photos of the blossoms front lit...

Glowing blossoms.

...and back lit.

 Pink blossoms at dusk.

 I tried different lenses.

Blossoms in the corner.

 Then I tried a completely different approach and brought some blossoms inside.

 Pitcher full of spring.

 I even put them in the bathtub.

Tomorrow Lauren and I have a Girl Scout event, so on Tuesday, we'll see what we can do with Mark's tulips. That is, if the deer don't eat them by then.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Easter highlights.

 Lauren G. making a run for it.

I've been in a bit of a creative funk these last couple of days. It usually happens after a holiday or another major event that takes a lot of brain power and energy. Nonetheless, I pushed through and edited the photos from last Saturday's Easter celebration so I could finally blog about them.

 Easter table setting.

First, some details. Cousin Noreen sent this awesome cookie jar filled with goodies. He presided over the festivities, so it was almost like having her and Nick here with us. :)

Colorful flower and bunny candy.

I got this colorful candy from the dollar store. It's made by Ferrara Pan, the company that brought us Lemonheads, Red Hots and Boston Baked Beans. Lauren and I quite like it, but Mark thinks they taste like rubber.

Colorful Easter egg wreath.

I picked up this colorful Easter egg wreath last year at Target. I didn't put it over the mantel because, as with Christmas, I didn't want to move the hydrangea wreath. No matter - I like it better hanging like this.

Mark and Mr. Scott holding the eggs.

On to the festivities. First, we held our annual backyard egg hunt. Here's Mr. Scott and Mark getting ready to hide the eggs. Hmm...this photo needs a little...something...

Mr. Scott, Mel C and Mark.

That's better.

Lauren and Lauren before the hunt.

Somehow, we convinced Lauren and Lauren to stop running for the eggs and pose together for a pre-hunt photo.

Lauren G. snags an egg.

Lauren G. snags an egg from high above the play set. 

Sunshine girls.

Sunshine girls happy after the hunt.

The booty.

No wonder - here's just a sample of the booty that they collected.

Next, it was time to dye eggs.

 Egg dying ladies.

Thankfully, I had Aunt Phyllis, Mel C and Miss Beth prepare the dye. If I did it, I'd end up pouring vinegar on the pink tablet and the wax crayon would surely get broken.

Grandma showing how it's done.

Need I remind everyone (as I do every year) that my family comes from a long line of egg dying experts. Here's Grandma Bruno showing the girls how it's done.

The final product.

And here's the finished product. I wonder who made the egg on the left?

Friday, April 6, 2012

The golden child.

 Golden child.

I think I've gone and turned Easter into Christmas, between all the baking and shopping I've been doing. Nonetheless, I still squeezed in some time to finish editing the rest of the photos from yesterday. This one is quite a bit different from the others in color and tone.


This was one of the last ones that I took. You can tell that she's had enough - lol.

New adventures ahead.

And...she's off!

Other than Christmas, I haven't been great about taking photos at our family gatherings, but I'm determined to do so tomorrow! So hopefully there'll be some pics to follow on Sunday.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

All dressed up.

 All dressed up.

Today, we went to see Beauty and the Beast at Heinz Hall. I had coordinated this outing for our Girl Scout troop months ago, so I felt like I'd been waiting forever for this day to come. Since Lauren gets her fashion sense from me and doesn't own a dress, we went shopping earlier this week to buy something suitable to wear for the occasion. When she picked out this dress, I was mightily impressed by her good taste. Did I mention that she gets her fashion sense from me?

 Almost 7.

In spite of the fact that it was a work day and the Pirate home opener, we managed to find a parking space with relative ease and got in and out of town relatively quickly. At the theater, Lauren sat with her friends quite a few seats away from me, but I could still see her reactions. While some of the kids around us were fidgeting, Lauren sat at the edge of her seat with focused attention. When I asked her what her favorite part was, she said "All of it!"  I think we're going to get our money's worth from that dress because I see more theater trips in our future...

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Stuffed Peeps.

Family portrait of five floppy earred felt friends.

Our stuffed Peeps are finally finished! Lauren and I have been working on them all week. She's taken really well to sewing, even though her mom isn't the greatest at stitching. My intent was for these to decorate our dining room mantel, but to Lauren, they're just stuffed toys. In fact, she's even slept with them at bedtime!

Many thanks to the split stitch for creating such a great pattern. Lauren is now ready to tackle other animals. Hmm...I do have a felt hamster pattern that I've been itching to try...