Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Molly's First Christmas

Seeing as how this is Molly's first Christmas, I've gone all out with buying her things, personalizing her stocking, and taking photos of her in Christmas-related situations.  She doesn't always like it.

Case in point:

This is Molly's "Mom are you done taking silly photos of me wrapped in Christmas lights yet?" face.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

(I couldn't choose just one!!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Duck Hunting

We recently took Josh's sister Amy duck hunting for the first time, and it was such a neat experience for us all!  Also in attendance was Jack, Josh's cousin, and Jason, Jack's dad and Josh's uncle.  We were out at the duck blind before sunrise, setting decoys.  Here are Jack, Amy, and Jason sitting in the blind.  Notice Amy all bundled up?

This photo came out very grainy, oddly colored, and out of focus, but oddly, I love it!
Josh was fixing a jerk-line that broke.  This is also when a flock of ducks decide to fly over.
The kids stayed the night with us the previous night, hence the yawns from Jack.

Josh shooting at a mallard drake (which he got!)

Amy and the rest of the party had a great time, and she's already looking forward to coming out again during winter break! When I get time, I have some hilarious video from the hunt as well!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Month Without a Dryer

As most of you know, Josh and I just started out this year living on our own. We both lived with our parents previously, and so this has all been a very next and eye-opening experience.

We each are responsible for certain bills related to the house, and each have our own bills too, such as his Sea-Doo payment and my student loans.  The way it works out, I normally pay the electric bill.  It comes every two other month, and normally hovers around the same amount, varying by $30-$40.

To save on electricity, we are attempting to not use our heat pump at all this winter.  We keep it set to 45 degrees during the warmer months, and have it set to 50 currently (to prevent the house from getting so cold pipes start freezing/breaking).  We have a wood stove, and burn a fire every single day.  We start one after work in the evening, and it goes out during the night.  The days one of us is home, we start one in the morning and keep it going all day.  Its nothing for our house to get over 80 degrees, and its normally comfortable in there.  There are times in the morning when it gets chilly, but I'm used to just throwing a sweatshirt on and moving around or grabbing a blanket.  Josh is almost never cold, so he doesn't mind it.  I'm not sure how much money we are saving by doing this, as we haven't yet had a winter where we did use the heat pump all season.  But, I'm imaging its quite a bit of money!

We both also try to ensure lights are turned off when we're not in the room.  We frequently only use one lamp in the living room in the evening, along with the ceiling fan to circulate the warm air into the rest of the house.  We try to not leave cell phone chargers plugged in, and since Josh spends much of his time outside on his days off (which are opposite of my days off), not much electricity is used when he's home.

To add to the savings, I'm attempting to not use our clothes dryer during the month of December.  I'll still need to use it occasionally, mostly during last-minute situations.  ("Hey babe - my jacket's wet and I'm leaving for duck hunting in half an hour!  Can you dry it?")  But for the most part, I'm simply air-drying everything.  I have one drying rack already, but want to buy one more for when I do large loads or multiple loads in one evening.  Since the living room is the warmest room in the house and our living room is quite large, I'm placing the racks in there (when company is coming over, I'll move the racks to another room).  I did this often during the summer, and loved the savings.

I'll post a comparison in January, when the next electricity bill arrives.  I'm extremely interested to see the difference in kilowatts and cost!  Have you ever tried this?  What were your savings like?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Seasons Greetings!

Seeing as how this is Josh and I's first Christmas living together, and our first Christmas with Molly, I wanted to go all out and do a family Christmas card this year. Josh was less than thrilled.

I planned a date for us to shoot our photos (with me taking them using a tripod and remote), and Josh grudgingly came along.

We came away with three card-quality photos, and I am extremely happy to have photos of us from our first Christmas!

I've had a hard time choosing which card I like best from Shutterfly.  Here are my requirements:
  • Fits a vertical photo
  • Holds only one photo
  • Doesn't have anything blocking the bottom part of the photo, as that's where Molly is in the photo.
As far as style goes, its a tough decision.  Josh likes more traditional styles, while I prefer more modern.  Here are our top four:

I won't say which card we chose, because I want it to be a surprise to our family and friends when it arrives!

All of Shutterfly's Christmas Photo cards can be found here!

In addition to a Christmas card, I also want to create a calendar featuring photos of Josh, Molly, and I throughout the year.  Since January is quickly approaching, I need to get on this!  I have already started designing one, and am just waiting for Christmas to arrive and be over with so I can include photos from our holiday celebrations in the calendar.  What I love most about these calendars is that you can add birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions while you're creating the calendar!  Check out Shutterfly's Photo Calendars here!

I'm full of new traditions this year, and one I definitely want to continue is creating customized birthday cards for family and friends.  With Shutterfly, you can choose a design, add photos, create your own message, and send it of!  What would be neater than receiving a birthday card in the mail, knowing someone put thought, effort, time, and attention into creating a special card just for you?!  I have already started creating some for birthdays (and birth days!) I know are coming up soon, and plan on making many, many more.  Here is the huge selection of birthday cards!

There you have it!  Lots of neat ideas for Christmas cards, photo calendars, and birthday cards.  But that's not all!  Shutterfly has photo books, photo gifts, prints, and lots more available on their website.  Check them out!

Why I Love Winter

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Molly's First Snow

Last week's snowfall was a first for Molly. The first time I let her out into it, she stood on the porch and gaveme this look:
... like, "Mom, what IS this stuff?!  It's cold on my little princess paws!!".

She then ventured out into it some more...
... and decided it wasn't all that horrible.

I then took her over to my parents' house, and she played for three days with Callee and Roxee in it, and is now a HUGE fan of the snow!

And the last photo is of Callee, who for some unknown reason, loves to bury her face in the snow.