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Sunday, November 30, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 48

Yikes. I just realized tonight that I haven't updated the blog all month. I've back filled all the prior weeks in November, so this brings us up to date and ready for December! On a related note, I'm so happy to report that I just received my camera back from Nikon good as new - yay!

Since this week was Thanksgiving, we are all about the turkeys.

Our friendly neighborhood turkeys.

You weren't expecting the live kind?

Meeting of the minds.

Every morning for the last week or so, a huge flock of over 20 turkeys cuts through our yard.

 Like the chicken, trying to get to other side.

This one was in a panic because unlike the chicken, he couldn't get to the other side.

 King of the hill.

But then he figured it out.

Watching turkeys from the window.

Kitty Coco and Cookie were both interested in the turkeys outside.

Turkey sniffer.

But Marcus only cared about the turkey inside.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 47

 Getting clean.

So after last week's photobomb, it became clear to me that Kitty Coconut wanted a photo shoot of her own.


I guess this means she's now ready for her close-up.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 46

On the landing.

Marcus has this funny habit of sitting on the landing of the stairs with his front feet on the lower step. He'll just sit there and stare at you. Every time he does it, I want to take his picture.

Who's that?

Uh oh - someone must be coming...

Kitty photobomber.

Kitty photobomb!

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 45

 Rainbow bottle brush trees.

 This week, I'm sharing an early Christmas craft. Last year, I dyed a few white bottle brush trees red and pink, but since they turned out so nice, I got really ambitious this year. I bought a couple packages of trees and multiple colors of Rit dye. So Lauren and I spent a Sunday afternoon dying trees and some flocked birds for good measure. I also have larger trees, but since they're going to require a bigger dipping container, I'm planning on doing those at a later time.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 44

Kitty o'lanterns.

I can't believe that Halloween has already come and gone. We were so busy with other stuff this month, that I didn't really have a chance to enjoy it. Now it's on to Thanksgiving and Christmas.


This year, Lauren dressed as a zombie girl. I'd like to say that she was playing the part for these photos, but that's just really her naturally grumpy look.

Dead stare.

We were just leaving to drop her off at her friend's house for trick-or-treating and a sleepover, so I guess it's understandable that she wasn't in the mood for picture taking.

Getting ready to zombie walk.

If George Romero ever decides to film another Dawn of the Dead movie here in Pittsburgh, she'll be a shoe in.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 43

Just sittin' on my pumpkin.

I was planning on doing another 13 Days of Halloween project this year, but something unfortunate happened to my camera this week. It got into an altercation with our concrete patio, and the patio won. The functions controlled by the buttons and dials on the top right are no longer functioning, but otherwise, it appears to be okay. I'm still on the fence about whether or not to have it fixed. Expensive cameras are a lot like cars in that most start losing value as soon as you take them out of the box. My camera is only two years old, but Nikon already released a new version of the model last year. Still, I was hoping to get another two years out of it before upgrading. I have an estimate on the repair and all the paperwork ready, but I'm just not sure it's worth investing more money to get a depreciated camera fixed when I could just put that money towards a new camera. I really need to make a decision soon because the holidays are right around the corner, and a working camera is an absolute necessity.

Thankfully, I have my Fuji x100 to use in the meantime. It's very capable and can probably do about 70% of things that I do with my DSLR, but its auto focus isn't nearly as reliable, I can't use my Nikon flash with it and it doesn't have long telephoto capabilities.

Anyway, these are the two photos that I took for the project before I decided to bag it. Lauren is probably happy that she has been spared from me pestering her to help out with photos, at least until Christmas time.

Trick or treat.

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 42

Hippie cat.

This week, Lauren went to a sleepover at a friend's house. Kitty Coconut still hangs out in Lauren's room when she's gone, but she always looks a little lost without her roommate.

Sleeping under the rainbow.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

52 Weeks of 2014 - Week 41

 The way forward.

Between Lindsey's wedding, our trip to Michigan to visit my cousins and Girl Scout activities, October has been such a busy month that I'm terribly behind in my blogging. Even though I've been behind in documenting everything here, I've still been taking lots of photos, so it's just a matter of getting them uploaded.

My cousin's house.

This week, we took a drive to northern Michigan to visit my cousins Noreen and Nick. We stayed at their house which is located near the city of Charlevoix. As it so happened, the weekend of our visit was Charlevoix's annual Apple Festival.

Charlevoix, MI

Charlevoix is a resort town with lots of quaint shops and restaurants. In the past, Noreen has sent me gifts from American Spoon, so it was really neat to see it in person!

Round Lake.

In the middle of Charlevoix is Round Lake. During the festival, craft and food vendors line the park around the lake.

Autumn entranceway.

This autumn decorated entrance way to one of the shops really caught my eye!

Feeding the goats.

Right across the way from it was a petting zoo filled with these crazy goats. I thought for sure that were going to knock over the fence to get to that boy's ice cream cone!

Red Wings.

A little local flavor. I'll have to look up how to do that. If Mark grows pumpkins next year, maybe we could try out our own designs!

Bushels of apples.

And of course there were plenty of apples to be had.

Apple stand.

We had dutch apple pie, apple fritters, apple donuts, and Mark bought some specialty variety apples because he is an apple connoisseur.

Boston terriers on parade.

These two cutey Boston Terriers are locals.

Wise words.

I loved the quotes on the windows of this bar, especially the one by WC Fields:  "I don't drink water. It rusts pipes and fish make love in it." That certainly puts it in perspective...eww.


After tasting their awesome free samples of pumpkin pie and caramel corn flavored taffy, we stopped into this old fashioned candy store. I was only planning on buying a half pound, but since Lauren kept putting more and more into my basket, we ended up with a pound and a half! It's a good thing that I love taffy.

Into the woods.

During our down time, we enjoyed relaxing around the house and taking walks throughout their property. With the exception of some morning drizzle, we had absolutely gorgeous weather during our stay. It really made these photos!

Playing catch.

Mark and Lauren brought their mitts and played catch.


I wonder if Nick knows how many pine trees that they own? I will have to ask him. I now understand why he cuts his own Christmas tree every year!

To the top.

We took a walk up to the top part of their street so that we could see...

At the top.

...Lake Michigan in the distance.

On the way down.

At this point I will note that the foliage that I saw during that trip was probably the most breathtaking that I'd seen in my life. I wish that I had taken more photos of the leaves, but majority of the time I was leaf peeping from the inside of a speeding car - lol.

 600 ft.

One the second day we took a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which was voted the  Most Beautiful Place in America by Good Morning America in 2012. And once you see it, you'll agree.

Enjoy the view.

The sign speaks for itself. The park rangers have had to rescue folks who made the trip down the dunes, but couldn't make it back up.


The water was so clear and blue - it was like the Caribbean!

Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Contemplating the hike 

Here's Mark and Lauren contemplating the walk down.

Over there.

That's about as far as they got.

Us three.

Of course, we had to take some family photos!

 My cousin and me.

 My family.

Nick and Noreen were such fabulous hosts. Everything that we did was wonderful and right up our alley. We can't wait to go back and explore more of Michigan!