Scavenger Hunt Sunday

1.  Old and New
Newborn baby Carter; octogenarians Clifford & Joella.

2.  Night Photography
A full moon about a month ago.  I need to figure out how to take a picture of the moon and capture details...this is as good as it gets for me at night right now!

 3.  Music
My niece on the carousel at the zoo...I believe the theme song from iCarly was playing at this moment!

4.  Cheesy
I couldn't pass up on this cheesy photo op!

5.  Sun
I love me some sun flare early in the morning!


Project 64: Blue

I took this picture out at my dear friend Jen's house.  Her place is so serene, and she is just a joy to be around.  For as long as I've known her, these lights have hung spanned high across these trees...just because she's festive like that!  I thought the blue bulb was a pretty close match to my Blue swatch...if you rub the crayon really hard when you color with it.  I really like this photo...especially since I had to climb on top of a rickety kids ladder, placed on the deck, to get it!  One of these days, I may just break my neck to get a shot!

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The things you find when you mow your yard

We mowed our back yard.  Whoop-dee-doo, right?  A long story made short:  we reseeded our back yard with bermuda, and due to the heavy fertilization and consistent watering, the new crop of grass grows to a lush 10 inches tall in less than a week!  Cuh-ray-zee.  When the hubbs was riding the mower around our boat, out hopped three little bunny foo-foos!  One made a run for it out of the gate, but the other two just huddled in the corner, shivering in fear.  I was worried that they'd run under the mower (they probably wouldn't have...animals aren't stupid), so I snatched them up and the boy and I cuddled on them until the blades of death stopped turning.

Disclaimer:  I grew up way out in the country, raised by hillbillies, so this sort of thing ain't my first rodeo.  Do not try this at home.
Baby rabbits = pretty docile, not likely to bite.  
Big rabbits = you're going to be blogging with your toes from now on.

I'm entering this one over at LEM this week...the theme is animals.  Ignore my dirty hands...I had been picking weeds!

I can't even tell you how disappointed the boy was that we eventually let them go.  I had to...his daddy was sure I'd exposed us all to rabies (he's a city boy), and I'm almost positive they are still nursing (no teeth).  Cute though, huh?
And lest you worry that Mama Rabbit won't take her babies back now that they smell like us...that's a total myth.  These little mammals have pretty strong mothering instincts.


LEM Challenge: Bokeh

I'm sort of cheating...this is an archived photo...but I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for days!  I took this early this spring and I cannot get over how much I love this color of pink...and I don't like pink at all!  I would almost consider painting something this color...if not just finding a cute dress, or some shoes, in this shade. 

In any event, it perfectly fits the prompt this week for bokeh.  Bokeh is my very favorite creative element in photography!  


Texture Thursday

Every week, I go over to Audrey Sue's blog and oogle over all of the Texture Thurday entries, but I've never entered my own photo.  I don't know why...I have had plenty of opportunities with many of my photos...hmmm.  Anyhoo, I took this photo the other day at the zoo and my first thought was, "this would be great for Texture Thursday!"  I really haven't touched this photo other than to perform a clean edit by adjusting the levels and contrast.  I really like it!

Blogger is acting up and won't let me edit my html to add the button right now.  Silly blogger.  If you want to hop over to Audrey's page to see the other entries, or enter yourself, click this link:


Happy Thoughts

I've been having fun with Photoshop over the past few days....editing some of those random shots of this and that which have been sitting on my hard-drive for awhile.  I never thought I'd say this, but I love editing!  I guess I just had to get comfortable with the software and gain some confidence.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

I'm going to strive not to over-use this texture...but I LOVE it!  It has that linen-paper feel to it that I love so much!

How anyone can look at anything in nature and not believe in a Creator is so beyond me.
I took this picture this winter right after the record-setting blizzard.  Something really just struck me about these pots just sitting in the snow, waiting until the day that the snow melts so that they may be home to spring's flowers.

Another snow picture:

Another glorious moment God shared with me one early morning on the way into town.

Project 64: Green Yellow

You know, life can be ironic sometimes.  I've been unscheduling the boy and I lately, so you'd think that I'd never lay my camera down, but I haven't taken many pictures in the past couple of weeks...other than the family and kid sessions I've done. 

I went to the zoo with Wyatt and my niece on Friday, and while there I took a handful of really beautiful still-lifes and arty angled shots of the landscaping.  I had my list of photo prompts, including P64, in my pocket, but never referenced it once...now I'm looking at another week of not playing along.  I'm okay with that...maybe next week.

Alas, because I haven't missed a single week in 32 weeks of P64, I'm pulling an archived photo.  You may have seen it before in one of my Scavenger Hunt Sunday posts from a few weeks ago.  I really love my silly bottles!

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This week, the boy and I had the company of my sweet little niece, Lainey.  They're at that magical point at which they have similar interests and thoroughly enjoy each other's company, and they truly love each other.  It was such a pleasure to have her for two days, and I hope the opportunity presents itself again soon!

Yesterday, I took them to the zoo for a special treat.  Lainey turns six in a little over a week, which is astounding to me.  She was, for lack of a better phrase, my practice baby.  She's 18 months older than Wyatt, and I babysat her once a week from three weeks old to about 14 months.  I only stopped because I was a pretty miserable pregnant person, and I was working so much that all I wanted to do on my days off was sleep.  I still envision her as a teeny baby, and I'm always taken aback by how big she's getting...although she is only an inch taller than Wyatt!

Here are some of my favorite moments from our days together.  If you'd like to see the mini-shoot that I did of Lainey for her birthday, hop over to cindykayphotography.blogspot.com.

Pretending to drive the old wagon at the zoo.  I should've told Wyatt that wagons didn't have steering wheels.

 I love how they stuck together like glue all day. 

Being silly goons in the Rainforest Building. 

They're two peas in a pod.

My favorite.

Seriously, I love this kid!

An Adventurous New Pace

From time to time, something comes along in life that completely changes things; gives you a new focus.  As for most people, that something for me is my child.  Since becoming a mother, I've become acutely aware of God's presence in my life.  I've grown a deeper love and appreciation for my husband.  I've learned to cherish the friends I have and the encouragement and support they offer. 

This whole Mommy thing has been a whirlwind for me.  I am the type of person who can't sit still (and I wonder where Wyatt gets that attribute!), so I've crammed activities into every nook and cranny of our schedules from the beginning.  And it's taken a major toll.  I've struggled with depression on and off over the last couple of years, and God has really been carrying me.  This year has been different.  This year, I can breathe; I can relax.  The major difference:  I'm learning to say, "no." 

So, while most people would not consider a blank calendar an adventure, it surely will be for me.  I've stepped back out of many of the things that have filled those squares, and I've made plans to do, well, nothing for about a year.  Wyatt will be in kindergarten next fall, so I'm going to just soak him up this year.  I'm looking forward to it.

Also, I'm diving headfirst into photography.  I know what you're thinking:  "but, Cindy, that's something, and it will take up so much of your time."  But let me reassure you of this:  I have never felt more at peace than when I'm behind that lens.  Hokey as it may sound, I feel like God is letting me see how he sees when I look through the viewfinder and freeze in time the minute details of a child's face, the petals of a flower that will be gone tomorrow, or the unexpected beauty in my everyday surroundings.  Plus, my photography is on my time.  If I have time, I commit to a shoot or take a walk.  If I don't have the time or energy, I can leave the camera on the shelf. 


Lentil Curry: A Family Recipe

Growing up, my family thrived on meals based on meat and potatoes.  Venison and potatoes to be exact.  We didn't have much else, and the major variance between meals was whether we drowned them in butter or ketchup.  And since we only went into town for supper at a restaurant on birthdays, I wasn't exposed to many culinary delights outside of the barbeque arena.

When I met Jason, all of that changed.  We ate out several nights a week.  Even "American" food seemed foreign to me, but I grew to love trying new things.  I still vividly remember the first time I ever tried lentil curry.  We were visiting Jason's grandparents, Mema and Papa, and the strong aroma of the spices completely permeated the entire little house.  When served my plate, I was not entirely impressed by what, in my opinion, appeared to be gruel with a hard-boiled egg on top of it.  Admittedly, after dutily cleaning my plate, I was not sure what I thought because it was so different from anything I'd ever had.

Fast forward twelve or thirteen years, and Mema's lentil curry is one of my all-time favorite dishes.  Primarily because it tastes so stinkin' delicious, but also because I make one batch that lasts three days.  Bonus:  it is incredibly healthy. 

I'm going to share with you my rendition of Mema's curry...I toned down the hot factor a bit so that Wyatt can easily eat it, too.  Also, I use saffron rice instead of Mema's white rice.

2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs
2 chicken buillon cubes
1 onion, diced
1 bell pepper, chopped
2-3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 lb dried lentils, rinsed
1/2-1 tsp ground red pepper (to taste)
1/2-1 tsp crushed red pepper (to taste)
1 tbsp red curry powder (more or less to taste...start small)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 hard-boiled egg per serving
1 cup saffron rice per serving, prepared according to package directions

1.  Fill a large pot with enough water to cover chicken and bring to a boil.  Add buillon cubes.  Boil chicken until cooked through.  Remove chicken, shred or chop into bite-size pieces, then return to water.
2.  Add lentils, bell pepper, onion, and celery.  Water should just cover lentils...add more if needed (or if you're like me, ladle some out!).  Add ground red pepper, crushed red pepper, garlic, and curry powder.
3.  Simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lentils are cooked (they'll still be firm...if you want them softer, add 1/2 tsp salt during step 2).
4.  Serve on top of an equal portion of saffron rice with a hard-boiled egg.  FYI:  You chop up the egg and stir it all together, then eat.


Project 64: Cadet Blue

I almost had to skip this week for P64, but I ended up getting my color at the last minute!  I was scouting for new photo shoot locations, and while on a friend's farm, I spotted these two tanks.  I'm not entirely sure what they're for, but the one on the right is a perfect match to my cadet blue swatch that I've carried around in my pocket all week!  Yay!  Was this a tough color for anyone else?  It's like purply-gray-blue.  Not much is made in that color, so it seems. 

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LEM: Aqua

This week has been busy!  I started officially doing portrait photography as of last week, so much of my computer time has been spent creating a blog page and editing photo shoots!  I did take a ton of photos, but I didn't have time to search out any of the prompts for my favorite challenges.  While antique-shop-hopping for props, I spotted this mailbox...thought it would at least count for the aqua prompt this week over at LEM!  I'm having so much fun...who knew that I could make money doing something I'm so passionate about?

Wanna see what I've been up to?  Check out my photography at cindykayphotography.blogspot.com.  I'd love your constructive feedback!  After all, my biggest teachers have been all of you through your comments on my photos on this blog!


I'm really doing this!

I am ecstatic to announce that I've decided to take the plunge into portrait photography!  Not even a year ago when I bought my Rebel, I had no intentions of doing so...I just wanted to be able to capture Wyatt and our everyday lives really beautifully.  So many of my friends have been extremely supportive and encouraging, asking me to photograph their children and families.  I nervously agreed.  After only a couple of shoots, I realized how passionate I am about photography.  Especially children's portrait photography.  So, here I go!

I am really doing this. 

This blog, WyTography, is my personal blog with which I participate in photo blog contests and share my random thoughts.  I've created a new blog page, Cindy Kay Photography, to display my portfolio and share sessions with my clients.  I would love it if you'd follow me on this journey!  You can also find and like Cindy Kay Photography on facebook, as well as WyTography and my handmade jewelry site, WyBeadery.  


Scavenger Hunt Sunday

Every single day this week has been wonderful.  Busy, but super fun!  I got to really know a couple of girls from my MOPS group this week that I can already tell are going to be great friends!  Bonus:  Wyatt and their children adore each other!

I also made a decision this week that I'm equally excited and nervous about:  I'm going to really do this photography thing.  I've been doing small shoots for friends for the last several months...either as a gift, or because they asked.  My confidence has really grown, but I still have so much to learn!  I am developing my own style, in both the composition and editing worlds, and I have never had so much fun.  I guess it was just meant to be! 

Here's my week...I used an archived pic, but really, we're all friends here, right?  It happens.

1.  Seeing Double/Two
Oh, if only.  Do you realize how much I could accomplish if there were two of me? 
P.S. please ignore the grass...this is my baby bermuda (go ahead, sing that to the tune of Baby Beluga...I do).  I've been watering it every day for two months and it is not established enough to mow...soon, though.

2.  Whatever
Faces like this are exactly why I prefer candid photography of Wyatt.  Ask him to smile, and this is what you get!  Whatever...he's still cute.

3.  Sweet

Due to the boys insistence that we buy a "pine cone," we ended up with one of the sweetest, juiciest pineapples I've ever had.  SO good!

4.  Space

Here's the archived picture from our vacation of a few weeks ago.  I don't know why, but this is so Twilight Zone-looking to me.  I watch too much tv, apparently.

5.  Bright

For our final hoorah before school starts and all of the pools close, we headed to the Frontier Pool in Bartlesville, OK.  This is their city pool, people.  It is perfectly designed for small children, and super cheap to get into.  So sad we didn't go more than twice all summer! 


Project 64: Forest Green

I let the kid con me into buying a pineapple this week, even though my super mommy-sense knew that he would not eat it.  Sometimes it doesn't hurt to oblige his whims.  Turned out to be extremely sweet and delicious.   Plus, because I was right, there's plenty for Jason and I to share! 

For a glimpse at my ecstatic Pooky Bear posing with his "pine cone," click on this link.

Among the many other complex colors in this fruit, it was covered in Forest Green.

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Paper Mama: Whatever

While grocery shopping this week, the boy spotted the prickly pineapples in the produce section, and as always, he begged hysterically for me to buy a "pine cone" to eat.  I happen to know that Wyatt doesn't particularly like pineapples, as I've tried to feed him the canned variety multiple times since his infanthood, yet he remains unconvinced because none of those cans ever looked so fabulous as a fresh pineapple.  Since the psychology of it all intrigued me, I caved and bought the smallest one I could find, knowing that it would be up to my husband and I to eat this thing. 

Before I could chop into this beauty, Wyatt had to man-handle it for awhile.  I'm always game for a fun photo op.

FYI:  He excitedly gobbled up two bites, recognized the flavor, then was mysteriously "full."

The Paper Mama