Sunday, September 30, 2012

Evie's First "Real" Puzzle

Today was fun. It was a quiet, stay at home, kind of day. Relaxing, enjoyable and so reminiscent of those days when there weren't quite so many outside distractions. Days like this are something we all need once in a while.

I had begun the day with a bit of football fun watching the Seahawks vs. Rams, when Evie came up to me and asked if I would help her with her Nighting McQueen puzzle. We had bought it for our Disneyland trip, but she didn't end up needing it to entertain herself, so in it's little tin it sat.

We cracked open the case and popped open the top. We dumped the 24 piece out on the tray and flipped them all over. She then started to make the picture she saw on the front of the tin.

It took about 15 minutes, but she finally got the last piece in place with almost no help from me, but it sure was fun to "help" with this one. Maybe next time I'll have her do all the work and see if she can do it start to finish.

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Product Photos From My Phone?

Time limitations sometime make us try crazy things to save a few minutes. This week, my crazy thought was to take photos with my Titan and Lumia 900 for use with out next product flyer at shur-loc. I tried this first rather than set up lighting, tripods and selecting the right lenses for my DSLR.

I positioned the frame on a black table, in the sunlight, and snapped off one quick shot. The image was pretty close to what I was looking for, so a few minor tweaks to the settings and I was in business. I wasn't thrilled with the Lumia's images so I grabbed the Titan from my bag and shot a few with it.

Within 8 shots, I had both of the images I needed and popped them into Photoshop on my PC, cut the backgrounds, saved them as a higher quality TIFF image and placed them in the In-Design flyer page.

If I get a chance, I'll post the actual PDF file on here soon, but until then, there is a JPG photo of a hard copy of the flyer at the top of the page.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Evie's Halloween Costume

Once again, Ara has amazed me with an incredibly simple project that turned into a beautifully fun costume for Evie. For Halloween, Evie wanted to be a superhero. After searching through the typical Spiderman, Batman and Iron Man options, none of us were happy.

Ara bolted off to Pinterest once again and found a template for a mask and started her work. A short time later, Super Evie appeared in thr hallway. The best part of this, besides being homemade? Total cost was under a Jackson! So, if you want to know where to find the patterns, leave a comment below and I'll have her post the links!

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Just A Roof And A Door

We are so close to finishing the chicken coop and I'm still not even sure I'm spelling it right. Is it supposed to be coop or coup? Seriously, I don't care, but I do dislike misspellings something fierce. But, back to the more important things...

A week ago, we were wrapping up our Disneyland trip and getting ready to come home. Since then, life has been all about settling back in. The weather has been wonderful and I actually made it to the gym twice last week. Not great, but not as bad as some of the past 6 weeks have been.

I'm shooting for a 6 day week this week. I think I need the decompression time with the craziness of work, the thoughts of other career moves and the overall strain of life at the moment. I find myself reaching out to a few old friends in hopes that we can schedule a boys night for beers and darts or something.

Anyways, back to the coop... We finished the three sides today, both the top and bottom mesh. Now we only have to frame in the entry door and get the roof mesh in place and we will be in business. I'm not sure how quickly that will happen but I'm hoping to be done in the next two weeks, or before the weather starts getting nasty.

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Disneyland Trip: Day 4

Today we decided to commit suicide, seriously. We decided to head to the park today and NOT take our afternoon break. The morning started off with a nice stroll through the Main Street stores looking for those last day souvenirs and fun things to take home with us. We didn't find much, but we did find a few fun things for Evie. 

The day started out in Pixie Hollow and a meeting with Tinkerbell. Evie had been looking forward to this for months, so we were happy to have such an perfectly timed visit with her. She was great, but the whole thing had a bit of a commercial feel to it, unlike the Snow White experience the day before. Still Evie loved meeting Tink, but was bummed that Terrance wasn't there with her.

We took the Disneyland Railroad from New Orleans Square to Toon Town, where the crazy doorbells and shocking doors were quite entertaining. The jail cell with the rubber bars at the Dog Pound made for good times too. Evie had a great time on the Roger Rabbit ride, even though she had no idea who the characters were. She also got to meet Mickey and Minnie in Toon Town.

After wrapping up things in Toon Town, we ventured to Village Haus for a good lunch and a black forest cupcake. Then it was off to The Golden Horseshoe to catch a fun Frontierland show. The little 15 minute comedy was cute, but not nearly as much fun as the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies Show we saw a few years back.

New Orleans Square was the next stop with Evie getting to experience Pirates of the Caribbean for the first time. She definitely had fun, but not enough to do the loop and ride again. We then took a bit of time and rode the Mark Twain Riverboat.

After we finished that up, we pushed through and headed over to California Adventure again. We had dinner reservations for 6:30 at the Wine Country Trattoria and the Color of Wonder Show. Of course, we tried to catch the trolley there, but it was overfilled again, so no dice.

Instead, we walked down the main drag to the Hyperion Theater to catch the 3:20 showing of Aladdin, only to find it was cancelled. Since we were already there, we drifted over to A Bug's Life and Flick's Fliers once again. This time Evie didn't want to ride with me, so Ara was subjected to another round of the crazy ride.

From there we found the Splash Pond, and Evie's hour of running and playing. She had a fantastic time in the water. She even made a few more Disneyland friends playing in the water. We spent the next 40 minutes trying to find flip flops and something to do until dinner. It was quite fun just wandering the park without any schedule or any place we had to be.

From there, we rode Ariel's Undersea Adventure a few more times during the crazy parade because there was no line. It was starting to get close to dinner time so we headed off to the restaurant.

The dinner was fantastic, and the service was good. Fortunately, the gift card we had covered dinner completely and still left enough to take a bite out of the sweatshirt we got Evie for the chilly night at Color of Wonder. We quickly killed the 30 minutes between the end of dinner and the opening of the reserved seating for the show.

We found a great place to sit right on the stairs with a great view of the show, or so we thought. About 5 minutes before the show started they asked us all to stand to make room for the other people. Funny part was, everyone stood and nobody else came at all. I guess reserved seating isn't seating after all?

Oh well, the Color of Wonder show was amazing. It was fun, colorful and Evie had an amazing time. After all, that was what this trip was all about, and I'm pretty sure it was a smashing success. I do have the bad feeling that Ara is right and it will be impossible to top this one next year, but Daddy has a few ideas already...

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Disneyland Trip: Day 3 - The Evening

The evening of day three got a bit later start as Ara and Evie had a great nap in the afternoon. It was really a nice break though and made the decision to just order room service much easier. We ordered a pizza and an appetizer plate... Too much food! The appetizer plate alone would have been plenty.

After an almost over filling dinner, we headed back down and caught the shuttle back to, wait for it, Disneyland, instead of heading back to California Adventure. We decided that there was still so much of Disneyland that Evie hadn't seen and used more time there.

We started out in Tomorrowland with Buzz Lightyear's Astro Blasters. Evie had a great time and was actually becoming a pretty decent shot by thr 3rd time on it. We also hit the Finding Nemo Undersea Adventure, you know, the yellow submarine ride. That about took care of Tomorrowland for what Evie could ride there.

We headed back to Fantasyland and checked out a few favorites before calling it a night again. There was finally a short enough line to get on to the Peter Pan ride. Evie enjoyed driving the Pirate Ship quite a bit on that one. After "Pee'd Her Pants" was over (that was Evie's name for Peter Pan) we made a quick trip over to Snow White' Scary Adventure and one more trip on It's A Small World.

It was time to head back after that and we caught the shuttle back to the hotel. Evie had done a great job for the long day that she had put up with, but she had a Tinkerbell to meet in the morning.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Disneyland Trip: Day 3 - The Morning

Today started off again with a great breakfast at the hotel before hitting California Adventure to check out Cars Land and Bug's Life. We made it in with no problem, but were surprised how many of the attractions weren't ready for opening.

When we finally made it to the Bug's Life section, there were no lines to be seen as everyone was hanging in Cars Land. We made it on Flick's Fliers with no wait, then Hinrich's ride. We also hit Tuck and Roll's bumper cars and Francis' Lady Bug spinner as well. We finished off the area and moved on to Cars Land.

Cars Land was pretty cool with our first ride being Mater's Tractors... Fun but not really sure it was totally worth the 30 minute wait. The biggest bust of the trip so far was Fillmore's. Instead of being a great place to have lunch, it was just another snack stand. Flo's, however, was an awesome place to have lunch and we did. We had a great view of the Radiator Springs Racers, which only made us wish that Evie was a bit bigger, so she could ride on it.

We also swung into what became Evie's favorite California Adventure ride, Ariel's Underwater Adventure. She rode it 4 times in a row and loved every minute of it.

After that, it was back to the hotel to regroup and nap for the evening adventures.

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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Disneyland Trip: Day 2 - The Evening

The evening was even more magical for Evie than the daytime was. She was still recovering fro her Princess fun and her first Disney rides, and after a nice nap, she was recovered enough to head back to the park for more rides and excitement. It started off with a trip through a lit up Main Street USA. For someone that loves Christmas Lights like Evie does, it was spectacular.

After cruising through Main Street, we ventured to New Orleans Square for dinner, only to find the few restaurants that were open to be completely packed and the majority were reservations only. We finally found a dinner home at the River Belle Terrace where we had a decent dinner before catching the Fantasmic show.

Fantasmic was simply amazing. The visual effects that Disney put together for this thing was more than any one show should feature. It left Evie in a trance, and in a good way. She kept talking about how Mickey beat the dragon!

From there it was off to Adventureland and the Jungle Cruise. Evie had a blast in the jungle and can't wait to go back, but the lines were a bit long for a back to back ride on that one. We then decided to make the walk back to Fantasyland for a few more rides while the fireworks went off, hoping for shorter lines.

We got back to find almost all the rides shutdown except for the Teacups... So, Ara took Evie on the teacups over and over and over... Until we decided that it was time to call it a night and prep for California Adventure in the morning.

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Disneyland Trip: Day 2 - The Morning

Day two of our Disneyland vacation went just as well as the first. It started with a beautiful breakfast at the Embassy Suites. The buffet included customized omelets, eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon and a ton of fresh and ceral options as well. It wad a great start.

After filling up, we hopped our shuttle bus to the park. This is probably the only "negative" of the trip so far. Our shuttle drops us at the very front of the park, or about 1/4 mile from the actual entrance. This was a far cry from the ART service that we had our first trip together dropped us a few hundred feet instead of the trek we had from PCA.

Our trip though the park started on Main Street and continued through Fantasyland. We rode Mr. Toad's Wild Ride first thing, followed by King Arthur's Carousel. We then hit Dumbo and the Tea Cups before heading around to find the Princess Parade. Evie met Snow White, Jasmine and Aurora (Sleeping Beauty) at the Princess Walk. We also caught a glimpse of Belle, Tiana and Cinderella after we finished. Then it was off to lunch.

For lunch we settled on the Frontierland BBQ. It was an amazing BBQ fest of Chicken, Ribs, beans, bread and coleslaw. It was worth the price and was all you could eat! After a quick visit there, we racked up about 24 of thr 52 pennies that were on our agenda. We are trying to collect all the flattened pennies from Disneyland.

When we were done roaming around, we decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel for a rest. Next up, the second day, evening report!

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disneyland Trip: Day 1

Today we left Seattle for our Disneyland vacation. We were plenty early for our flight due to the amazing JetBlue staff at SeaTac. The wonderful service continued at the gate and on to the plane. After boarding, we were met with spacious seats, and amazing attendants. The first one brought Evie a pair of JetBlue wings and Animal Crackers before takeoff. What a great experience. Right now we are somewhere over the southern Portland area... More coming soon...

We have now crossed into California according to the super cool Google Maps feature on the airplane's DirecTV setup. Cruising at 550MPH and 37,500 feet has never been this much fun. Evie has been a champ thus far and is happily playing on her iPod since Sponge Bob didn't hold her interest like Dora did. I think I'll log off again until we land and get our baggage.

The day continued to get even better as our shuttle van was still waiting as we were a few minutes late getting our luggage. We were whisked away to our hotel quickly and arrived about a half hour before check-in. I read online about some people's experiences checking in early and how it wasn't allowed, but another surprise for us!

As soon as I walked in, the agent at the desk not only checked us in early, but upgraded us to an amazing fireworks view room. We ordered a bit of lunch and began to settle in for our stay before taking a quick walk over to grab a coffee and a milk for Evie.

We came back to the hotel for a quick swim, then headed to dinner at Buca di Beppo's. After dinner, and it was a bit of a late dinner, we stayed in and enjoyed a bit of snuggle time before Evie crashed out for the night.

Overall, we couldn't have asked for a better travel day and we can't wait to start out Disneyland fun tomorrow!

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Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Coop Takes Form

Today we managed to get over half the walls for the chicken coop up and ready to wire. It went rather smoothly overall and except for the incredibly rocky soil, the work wasn't terrible.

We made a base area of 15' x 8' with a height of 6'. There are 4x4 posts anchoring the structure and 1x6's making up the 'framing' for the wire. We ran short of the 1x6 boards, so a hardware store trip is in the works for the ride out tomorrow.

After we pick up the final pieces of lumber tomorrow, we should be able to finish this up quickly and get the chickens into their new home. Hopefully, it will happen before we leave for Disneyland this week.

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Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Day At The Beach

Friday was my first day with the Nokia Lumia 900 in my pocket for a day away from the office. After a 15 hour day at the shop on Thursday, I was looking forward to a bit of fun. We picked up Bree and Mick and headed to the Jetty for some beach fun, even though the weather was overcast.

Fortunately, the weather broke about an hour after we arrived and the sun peeked out from behind the clouds. The water was beautiful and the sandcastles were in good form. Evie had a great time with the twins and her friends that tagged along.

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Playing With The Lumia 900

So, here I am with yet another new device sent to me by the amazing folks at Nokia USA. I have the pleasure of using the Nokia Lumia 900 this weekend as we capture our trip to the Jetty in Everett, our mall run tonight and the rest of our chicken coup adventures this weekend. We will see if the battery holds well enough and the camera is as good as the amazing HTC Titan's was.

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