Thursday, October 24, 2013

North Carolina's Homecoming: NC State Fair 2013

We took MC to the NC State Fair earlier this week, and we all had a great time! The weather was perfect - around 65 and sunny - which meant everyone thought it was a great fair day; it was very crowded for a weekday afternoon! On the evening news we heard that almost 70k people attended the fair that day, and it definitely felt like that many people to us!

MC and I rode the carousel again this year. Last year we sat on one of the bench seats since she was so young, but this year she was old enough for a horse! I sat with her once the ride started moving (and yes, I was the only grownup actually riding instead of standing!). She wasn't quite sure what to think but seemed to have fun riding and looking around at everything.

We were also planning to take her on the super slide but even the kiddie one seemed pretty big and fast, so we decided to hold off on that idea until next year.

I was a little disappointed in the food this year. A lot of people talk about all the food at the fair, and I think I build it up in my mind like it's going to be this delicious culinary experience...but in the end, it's just a bunch of weird fried food and smoked meat, LOL! The main food section was so insanely crowded while we were there, that I skipped my traditional fried candy bar. I opted instead for some fresh chocolate chip cookies in the Village of Yesteryear.

MC loved looking at all the animals in the Ag section, but her favorite part was the flower and garden show. It was much less crowded and plenty of room to safely roam, so we let her out of the stroller to explore.

It was good practice for me with the camera. As she moved around, I had to quickly adjust the manual settings on my camera to accommodate for the changing light conditions. I definitely got some under and over-exposed shots but overall I am getting faster at determining the right settings for each situation.

We're calling this the start of a tradition since now we've taken her both years to the fair. Here is the 2012 fair post for comparison.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cloudy Days...Make Good Photo Days!

We have had a long string of cloudy, rainy days over the last two weeks. We are very ready to see some sun but in the meantime we're taking advantage of the good light for photos.

We have some potted mums on our front steps that made pretty good photo props. Look closely in the pointing picture and you can see the mouthful of teeth she has now (4 on top, 3 on bottom, and all of the one year molars coming in)!

The mums lost a few flowers to toddler grabby hands exploration during the process.

Our model trying out her "contemplative" look.

Next up, a "serious" look.

And now some Photoshop fun with this's the original:

First a vintage look (or "old and spooky" as BD described it)...

And then the 70s called and said they were missing a photo from one of those old albums with the clear vinyl pockets, so I made this one.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Fall Fun

Between MC being sick for a few days last week and the rain, rain, and more rain that we've been having for days on end, we were really needing to get out of the house by the weekend.

Luckily for us, a local garden center was having a fall festival - complete with pumpkin patch, hayride, and farm animals!

Even better, the rain mostly subsided for a couple of hours so we had decent weather while we were there. 

I have been working hard to learn more about my camera so that I can capture better pictures. I took these with a Canon Rebel T4i in manual mode - meaning I set the aperture, ISO, shutter speed, and white balance. I still have a lot to learn, obviously, but I thought a few of the images turned out pretty well! These images are SOOC (Straight Out Of the Camera) so no editing. I have an old version of Photoshop that I haven't used since grad school that I'm relearning so I can touch-up photos and make them even better.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Here are some recent pictures of our girl; these are from mid-September 2013. MC is 15 months old in these pics.

Playing on the mats at her first day of gymnastics class.

Enjoying her first peanut butter sandwich. Although I just realized I didn't actually capture the sandwich in the picture, LOL! You can see the peanut butter residue on her hands, face, and hair. She loved it!

Exploring at a local park.

A very rare car seat nap.

Enjoying her first "french fries" - diced potatoes, oven roasted in olive oil and S&P...dipped in ketchup of course!

Funny story about the ketchup: I was planning to make some homemade ketchup instead of feeding her the bottled stuff...until I looked up ketchup recipes. First of all, the recipes had approximately one thousand ingredients, most of which was stuff I don't keep on hand at the house. And secondly, most of the reviews were along the lines of "this tastes nothing like Name Brand ketchup". (That being a positive attribute to the reviewer...but not was I was going for.) So we splurged on the organic bottled least it doesn't have any hfcs!

Practicing with her earphones, getting ready for basketball games at the very loud Dean Dome. Last year she was too young to pull them off, but this year she can definitely remove them herself, so we're trying to get her used to them. BD was vacuuming, so we had some loud noise to muffle for her. Love the matching expressions on their faces!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MC's Eats {Munchkin Meals}

Today I'm linking up with Brittany over at A Healthy Slice of Life for her Munchkin Meals series. I always like to see what other mamas are feeding their babies, so I thought I'd join in the fun!

(This is about to become glaringly obvious, but I will go ahead and warn you that I am not a food photographer. So rest assured that most of this tastes better than it looks in these pictures!!)

'Everything in moderation' is my own personal food motto, and we are pretty much following that for MC's food as well. I try to be mindful of the fact that our current choices for her are setting habits and attitudes about food that she will carry with her for many years, so overall we are pretty careful about what she eats. By that I mean, I make most of her food from scratch and we try to avoid processed foods as much as reasonably possible without going overboard. I also read a book that I've mentioned here previously that has really helped us set the tone for mealtimes at our house.

At 15.5 months, MC nurses twice a day - first thing in the morning and last thing before bed at night. She usually eats a really good breakfast and supper but during the middle of the day she's more of a grazer; she'll eat a few bites of this or that but not too much of any one thing.

To save time, I make almost everything in batches ahead of time and freeze individual servings for later. I spend a couple of days every few weeks (or months, depending on the food) cooking and freezing muffins, marinara sauce, waffles, etc. and then I can just pull them out of the freezer and pop in the microwave or toaster.

Over the last week or so I took pictures of a few of her meals to share here. This is a pretty good representation of how much and what she eats on a regular basis.


Oatmeal cooked in whole (cow's) milk, with ground flax seed, butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and diced apples.

Have you tasted this stuff?? It's gooood!

Another breakfast option: scrambled eggs, grits with cheese, toast with butter, and orange slices.


Hard-boiled egg, cottage cheese, sweet grape tomatoes, and orange slices. (This is the grazing I mentioned earlier.)

A whole-wheat waffle and pureed strawberries for dipping.


Chicken/apple/cheese muffin, lima beans roasted in olive oil and S&P, and blueberries.

This is supposed to be spaghetti, but we were out of noodles, so this is actually brown rice, marinara sauce, and lean ground beef with a side of peas and carrots.


Banana slices with peanut butter.

Homemade graham crackers with peach yogurt (we like the Stonyfield organic YoBaby line).

What has your kiddo been eating lately? Head on over to A Healthy Slice of Life to share!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Visiting Tar Heel Town

We took MC to Tar Heel Town last weekend before the Carolina vs ECU football game.

We got there in time to hear the band warming up and see the team walk in. She had a great time walking around and watching all the people!

Just like last year, we took a family selfie in front of the Bell Tower.

September 28,2013