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First Impressions of My New Small Camera

I broke my good bridge camera. SIGH. Just as I was getting the hang of it and taking an e-mail course trying to learn the DSLR stuff. Telling myself I’d get the full on DSLR camera maybe at Christmas or after finishing the e-mail course.

There’s no coming back from a bent lens on a bridge camera. Especially when the lens must extend for the camera to turn on and the bent lens prevents that tiny detail.  

My husband told me to just go ahead and order the camera I wanted (using “my” work money…it’s all the same though isn’t it?). However, his annoying ways through the years influenced me enough that I did some research first. The one I want goes on sale significantly on Black Friday. Less than 2 months (!!) away. SIGH. Sometimes it’s no fun being a responsible adult.

My phone is outdated and I still like it but not so much the phone camera. I wanted a small camera to get me through the next couple of months. I decided on a Sony W-800 made reasonably priced by a small stash of those $5 Target gift cards I hoarded.  

The small size is nice and it fits in my purse (I already had a camera bag suited to a small camera from my first Nikon Cool Pix camera).  I’m finding macro/close-up photos a bit of a challenge. 

Though the camera did a nice job capturing my live model’s expression. 

I’m still playing with the settings and see lots more photo editing in my future while learning to use this interim camera.

“The best camera is the one you have with you”

Still I’m happy I was able to get any sort of new camera as I was quite lost not being able to grab a camera throughout the week. 

I still need to watch some sort of tutorial, learn more about my new camera but so far I’m happy enough with it. Seems as if it will function as a great backup and portable camera even after I get the “real” camera I’m waiting ever so impatiently to order (thinking birthday/Christmas gift on that one).

How many cameras do you own? And since I’m still researching things just a bit, what brand do you favor? I lean toward Nikon mainly because that’s what I’ve been using while learning.

Happy Homemaker Monday, Happy Autumn!

Super late with this tonight. Unexpectedly worked in the morning after only planning for the afternoon. And forgot about J’s baritone lesson (he was on it with reminding me so he didn’t miss it) which means I’m just now sitting down for my post at almost 9:00 PM.

Lots of odd working hours this week means I need to get this week planned! Joining in with Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom for the fun Monday link up.

The Weather

It rained on and off all weekend. Seems fitting I have a sunset photo from Saturday to share as I’m typing my post up late. 

Today happened to be perfect first day of fall weather. Foggy and chilly to start the day and then, a bit warm in the afternoon.  Highs in the  80’s the next couple days, chance of some rain mid-week. Looks a lot cooler in the evenings though.

On My Reading Pile

I finished I Let You Go by Claire McGowan last week. Turned out to be much better than I expected with lots of twists. Started reading The Two Lila Bennetts by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke during J’s lesson. Thank goodness for that Kindle app on my phone!

On My TV

Happy to have new shows on the TV again. Meanwhile, I watched What We Did on Our Holiday on Amazon. Interesting one, equally funny and sad. And got hooked on Mr. Robot, I’m now on season 2. It’s a very intriguing, strange, cynical look at the world.

On My Menu

I don’t even know. Ha! Still working on cleaning out the freezer/fridge/making use of what’s in the pantry.

MONDAY: (tonight) J and I had chicken noodle soup and baked potatoes, G ate waffles, my husband ate chicken/apple sausage & hash-browns. (I worked 8:30-3:45) (J had a baritone lesson at 6:30)

TUESDAY: Chicken legs (carry over meal from last week)  (J has early morning band)

WEDNESDAY: Spaghetti (I work 7:30-3:45) (J has early morning band)

THURSDAY: Leftovers/OUT (I work 2-6) (J has evening band, G will take him and probably they’ll eat out before hand)

FRIDAY: OUT (probably Subway for J, and at the game for us) (I work 7-3:45) (Football game)

On My To Do List

  1. Finish paying bills
  2. Clean out upstairs freezer & fridge
  3. Go to grocery store
  4. Laundry
  5. Take back library books

Looking Around The House

It’s not terrible but I’d still like to give it a better cleaning and pull out the rest of the fall decorations.

From The Camera

On My Prayer List

Strangers on the interstate, teachers at work, friends, family

Quote For The Week

autumn quotes


What’s on your agenda for this first week of fall?

Coming Up on the Blog….

Get ready for actual blog posts! Ha! 

I realized it’s been a bit too long since I published anything but the Monday planning posts. So as kids return to their school routines, I’ll be back to writing posts for this space.

Sometimes they might be shorter and sometimes they might be long and rambling (my true nature…). My goal is to have actual posts in this space. I’ll still be doing the Monday planning posts because I enjoy the blog community Sandra over at Diary of a Stay at Home Mom cultivates so much.

What? Do I have a plan for this? Why, yes. Yes, I do.

Sort of.

It starts in September. Things I’ll be sharing in September:

My attempt to go sugar-free for the month.

And inspired a bit by my friend, Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home, my attempts to combine the sugar-free efforts with a low-spend month. Hopefully, my posts won’t be too cranky!

And of course, I’ll sprinkle in a fair amount of randomness along the way.

Moving into October:

I plan to once again participate in the 31 days challenge. And complete it!

My plan is to get back to the roots of this blog. More on that in October.

November and December: 

Most likely the focus will be all things home and holiday.

Believe it or not I had a little inspiration for a holiday craft I may share during one of these months.

And of course, sprinkled through all these posts….a dose of gratitude. It is my word of the year, after all.





Guide To Almost All Things Graduation (For High School Parents)

Now that I’ve survived a high school graduation from the parent side, here’s what I’ve learned. And it was quite the learning, stressful, exciting, and wonderful experience!  

Senior Pictures

Our school took these through the same company that does all yearbook pictures during the summer before my son’s senior year. There was very limited information about it.

We had to pay extra if we wanted cap and gown photos (We opted not to do it).

The pictures did not turn out very well and were quite expensive. I found a wonderful local photographer to do a much better (and less expensive) job later in the school year.

The Graduation Announcements  

Turns out you don’t have to order all those fancy announcements through the school. Many of my been there done that friends, did not. However, I did because I was the excited first time parent. I’ll probably do it again as the excited second time parent but with more knowledge.

What I learned about the experience:

They make you order the stuff early (I can’t remember exactly how early but we had the invitations by the first of April, maybe earlier. So think of a spot to store them.)

It’s a guessing game who to invite. I mostly went by my Christmas card list with a few exceptions. Despite searching many times, I could not find a good “Emily Post” guide about who should/should not get an announcement. Sometimes, I simply reached out to friend/family member and inquired.

All the information about who to invite/preparing the invitations is annoyingly written for the students. Maybe this is because I have boys but more power to you if your students are sending out their own announcements during the end of the school year push with big projects and finals due.

Go through the entire box of graduation announcement materials and examine everything before you begin assembling. This goes along with the advice below but I found an entire box of name cards with the year engraved after I’d sent almost all the announcements out with the plain name cards.

If you order all the fancy bells and whistles with the invitations (tissues, seals, etc), order the same number of everything!  I did not.  Note: Seals aka stickers cost a lot less at Party City.

Finding Information: 

Challenging! Hopefully, your school does a better job than ours with sharing information with both parents and students. Students are busy and sometimes don’t pass that information along in a timely manner.

My lifesaver:

Friends who had been through it before and happily and gracefully answered every annoying question I could summon. And who kindly texted me a copy of the important paper with all the dates.

Reading the weekly announcements from the high school also helped a bit.


This is optional in our school system. And happens in the middle of an extremely busy week. My son did not want to go. I insisted and was so glad I managed to get our family there.

Only the four of us went and I enjoyed having the special time during graduation season with just our immediate family present.

There were fewer people so it was a bit more relaxed and we could easily find our son.

The pictures we took with him and his best friend plus our family pictures are my favorites from all the graduation events.

Graduation Day:


It’s stressful doling out a limited number of tickets to family members.

Don’t assume everyone wants to go the actual ceremony (especially if it starts super early in the morning on a Saturday!). We actually ended up with extra tickets after requesting more due to this. Thankfully, I found someone in need the night before graduation.

The logistics of getting the attendees their tickets: We did not want to deal with trying to meet family on the morning of graduation. We opted to simply put the tickets in labeled envelopes and put them in our mailbox for family members to pick up on the way to the ceremony. That way, we only had to get ourselves into the ceremony. This worked really well especially since we had guests who overslept and did not make it to the ceremony (we had several bad storms go through parts of the city the night before graduation).

The Ceremony:

Ours was short and sweet but you still probably want a tissue in case of a few tears.

The school provided a photographer as each student walked across the stage so I opted to simply enjoy the event without my camera (or phone) in hand.

After The Ceremony:

Have a plan and a place to meet your graduate!  I can’t believe we didn’t think to do this. We missed a lot of photo opportunities with family because we could not find our graduate (and he could not find us either).


Wait! What about a graduation party? We had one but I’ve opted to cover everything related to that in a separate post.

Congratulations to all the graduates!

Nineteen For 2019

Last year I made a list of 18 things I wanted to do, 18 for 2018.  While I didn’t accomplish all 18 things on the list, I did stay more on target than if I’d not made a list. It also served as a great reference point when I felt myself getting a bit stuck during the year.

I think I learned a bit from the list as well. Some of it was quite vague and needed tweaking to be a bit more specific. Some of the vague items worked well though.  Click here to see my 2018 list.

My favorite accomplishments from my 2018 list: 

  1. I read 58 books! A few more than 18 and I read 12 of the ones on my list of 18.
  2. Managed to do a fairly good job guarding my heart. The biggest change from this is I no longer start my day with Facebook. And limit my time as well as apply the “snooze for 30 days” button liberally.
  3. Adding a garden area to the front yard. Started a butterfly garden area at the edge of the driveway! And a wildflower area in the backyard as a bonus!
  4. We took a wonderful, fun summer vacation to Duluth, Minnesota. And I even met Carrie from Northwoods Scrapbook, she’s as kind and gracious in person as on-line.
  5. Joined in the Happy Homemaker Monday each week. Such a wonderful community of blogs that Sandra, the host, brings together each week.

Areas on the list where I fell a little short:

  1. The 18 pounds wasn’t ready to leave and I think invited company over the holidays!
  2. Our house looks like mostly the same mess as last year.
  3. I missed one month on the fresh flowers for the kitchen table. 11 out 12 though.
  4. No walking in a 5K last year and not nearly enough nature walks (though I did go on a big one, traveling down to Prairie State Park where I met Rebecca from Rebecca’s Hearth and Home, also as kind and gracious in person as on-line)
  5. The weekly photograph challenge was too much for me.

I decided to make a new list for 2019. Hopefully, I’ll have more success with my list this year. 

The list of 19 Things I’d like to do in 2019:

  1. Treat myself on the 9th of each month
  2. Prepare for Christmas by buying 2 gifts (one for each kid) each month
  3. Keep a Kindness journal
  4. Make a list of 19 books to read (and of course, read them!)
  5. Take a trip
  6. Eat a salad at least 3 times a week
  7. Join in for each Happy Homemaker Monday
  8. Continue to protect my heart from drama and negativity
  9. Read the bible, maybe just the old or new testament? Suggestions?
  10. Un-subscribe from 3 junk emails a week
  11. Learn to use Photoshop or other photo editing software beyond the stuff on Windows
  12. Have one family outing/activity a month
  13. Go on one date day/night a month with my husband
  14. Send real birthday cards to family and friends each month
  15. Complete at least one minor organizing/clutter clearing project a month
  16. Put some pictures up in the living room
  17. Send a card/call a friend family member once a month (keep in touch OFF-line)
  18. Learn a new craft
  19. Spend time outside every day

Have you thought about what you’d like to spend 2019 doing?


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