family yearbook

It should come as no surprise that I take a lot of photos. (Mainly of Daisy.) I also don’t do anything with these outside of posting them online and then they just languish on my external harddrive. For a long time now, I have wanted to get a bunch printed and throw them in a photo album. I LOVE looking at old photos and figured I needed to get on the ball with creating some sort of physical representation.

And then, a year or so ago on Young House Love, they posted about their “Family Yearbook.” Bingo. Part photo album/part scrapbook/part yearbook, I knew this was the way to go.

I got a bunch of photos printed through Snapfish earlier this year, so decided to go with them for that reason alone. Also, I know they send out a ton of coupons via email so I figured I could snag a good deal.

I won’t lie, compiling 4 years of photos was not exactly fun. I first went through Lightroom and flagged all the photos I wanted to include. I did all sorts of photos, ones of us together, ones of Daisy, ones of places we went. I wanted to try to capture the whole year. After exporting them, I uploaded them to Snapfish by year. And then I just built the books! It’s super easy, just drag and drop. I spent a lot of time configuring page layouts, but the more I did, the faster it went.

I also added labels here and there where things weren’t totally apparent. I could have gotten a lot fancier with this/made it more scrapbooky, but I kind of just wanted to get it done.

I chose the 8×11 books and they start at 29.99, but each set of pages you add after 20 add to the price. I had quite a few pages by the end, but I also had a 50% off coupon, so I figured even if I doubled the price, it wasn’t bad.

I had 3 books in my cart when I got an email for 60% off and I knew it wasn’t going to go any lower, so I hurried up and finished my other 2 books. I wanted a book of engagement photos and I knew that would be the most expensive (I had 100+ photos) so I really wanted to get it in with that deal.

I finished them last Sunday and they were on my porch by Wednesday. I was blown away by how fast. And also blown away by how awesome they are.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 4

I put a picture of Keith and me* on the front, and then Daisy on the back. (Except for 2009 which was before we got her.) I also did a mix of layouts for the pages and kept the photos in chronological order (Snapfish makes this easy), so it had more of a yearbook feel.

I am super happy with how they turn out and feel good that I finally DID something with all my pictures. I am already itching to compile the 2013 book and maybe I’ll start early so it isn’t so daunting.

I would definitely recommend them, but I would also recommend putting the books in your cart and waiting for a 60% off coupon. It was a pretty decent investment to do 5 books at once, but I’m so glad I did. Also if I keep up on it and wait for another 50-60% off coupon, I’d spend probably $30-$40 a year which isn’t bad for a year of memories.

*The only thing I’ll change next time is to not put such a close-cropped photo of our faces on the front. 8″x11″ of my face = pretty much lifesize and a little scary. Maybe I’ll appreciate it when I’m like 83.

mini-minnesota reunion

So two weeks ago, I went to Minnesota for a mini-family reunion, of sorts. My Aunt and Amma (Icelandic grandma) live in Minnesota. My Amma visited a lot when we were little, but I hadn’t seen her in over 20 years. I had never met my Aunt Linda, but thanks to the magic of the internet, we have been in touch for a few years. We all kept saying that we needed to visit and earlier this winter I decided we had talked enough, it was time to plan. I decided my spring break would make a perfect time and asked my siblings if they wanted to join. Both of my sisters were in but my brothers couldn’t, so we started to plan a sister’s weekend. My other aunt, Jamie, decided to fly in from New York making it a for real sisters reunion. We flew in Friday and back out Sunday and it was one of the most wonderful weekends of my life.

air

Once we got lower, I was pretending all the snow was white sand.

viking dr

We stayed on Viking Drive, which was fitting, since we are all part viking. After checking into the hotel, we drove to my Aunt Linda’s. I knew there would be tears since we were both crying the last time we talked on facebook, and there were a few tears shed when we first walked in. Then we walked down the hall to my Amma’s bedroom and as soon as the door opened, I just started sobbing. She looked exactly like I remembered and it simultaneously broke and made my heart swell. Breaking because so much time had passed, so much time missed out on, but swelled because we were here and she was exactly as I remembered.

We took some pictures:

family

Amma in front, then my aunt Jamie, my sister Amanda, me, my aunt Linda, my sister Kirrah.

And I took some pictures of aunt Linda’s cats. (I may have missed Daisy a little..)

kitties

bam

sikki

Both of the cats loved my coat, but Sikki especially. He spent both days camped out on it.

My Aunt Linda is an incredibe artists and after a few hours of chatting, she put on an art show for us. More of her work can be seen on her blog.

art

aunt linda's art

art
She gave us each a piece of art to take home, mine is the red/blue one on the couch.

art show

I also really loved the tree on the left. And my sister is trapped under piles of art.

On Sunday, she brought out the photos and we spent a few hours looking at those. I brought a bunch home to scan and make copies of, that might have been my favorite part of the weekend. There were many laughs and a few tears as well. And it was really awesome to see pictures of all sorts of identical blonde babies and not even be able to tell them apart.

photos

Speaking of…at one point, my cousin Kris walked in and having never met him before, as soon as I saw him, I gasped: “That’s Ross!”

the icelandic genes are strong
Behold, my cousin Kris and my brother Ross. They even had similar voices and dispositions. The Icelandic genes are strong.

dad's urn

And this big, beautiful box on the table is my dad’s urn that my aunt decorated. The photos do not even remotely do it justice, it is breathtaking. Unfortunately, it was really heavy so we were unable to bring it back with us, but dad can hang out there for a while longer before he comes home to his kids.

This weekend was so needed. I think we all needed it more than we even knew. I got to spend time and bond with my sisters, I got to meet two amazing aunts (seriously, they are amazing), and got to reunite with my amma after entirely too long. I think there will always be a hole in my heart from losing my dad so young, but this weekend went a long way towards patching it.

I can not wait until the next time we can get together and I really hope my brothers and maybe even some of my cousins can join. I wish I had taken more photos, but I was really just trying to soak up as much love as I could.

grandaughters

me, kirrah, amma, amanda

goodbye, summer.

So we didn’t go camping this weekend, since the forecast called for rain all three days. And of course, I haven’t seen one single drop of rain. On Friday, we set up the tent just to make sure we could. So this was as much camping as we did.

tent dog

If you can’t tell from Daisy’s face, it was a little hot in there. On Saturday, we took Daisy for her yearly shots and she was super pumped to hear she lost 5lbs! She has been a little plump since we got her and I am pretty terrible with giving her table scraps, but lately Keith has been stopping me. We’ve also been taking a lot of family walks and it seems like the combination has paid off. Go Daisy!

After the vet, we went to Qdoba for lunch and Daisy played guard dog, jumping up any time anyone went in/out. She’s so cute.

guard dog

Saturday was also my little cousin Adam’s 4th birthday party. Since I jump on any excuse to bake, I went all out.  I got a mini donut pan for Christmas and finally busted it out. I was really unimpressed with the recipe I used though, so next time I will hunt for a better one but I made these little monstrosities.

donut cupcakes!

They were so tall they just barely fit into my carrier. I need to stop making such elaborate cupcakes when I need to transport them places. I think I would definitely make them again with a different donut recipe and only when they are staying home. They were so messy and the heat did not help at all. But they are just too cute!

It was great to spend time with my family although I wish my mom had been at the party (she had to work). I did get lots of time with my adorable nephew Bradley. He is one of the very few babies that I can take him from someone when he is crying and he stops. He must know how much I need him to love me, hahaha.

ross and brad

Though he did lose his little mind when I changed his diaper. You would think he would appreciate having a nice dry diaper, but noooo.

Keith and I went bowling on Sunday and I present this picture without comment:

bowling

Okay, I have one comment: Yikes.

Which brings us to today. Last week I started Couch to 5k again. I say again, but the furthest I’ve ever gotten was day 3. Last week I woke up at 6am on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and did the runs. It was not easy, but I felt so freaking wonderful afterwards. And doing it in the morning was extra great because I got to feel good about myself all day long. Today was Week 2, Day 1. I was not about to wake up at 6am on a non-work day to do the run, so I did it around 10am and oh was it horrible. It was so humid and disgusting I almost died. I finished, but barely. The 6am runs were wonderful because not a single soul is outside then. Today everyone and their dog was out. I had a chorus of about 6 dogs barking at me on every loop. Eventually, I started to pretend they were cheering for me, but that didn’t even help.

Here’s hoping Wednesday/Friday are better! Oddly enough, while writing this, my friend Sarah texted me to tell me she just finished the program so I asked if she’d be interested in signing up for a 5k with me when I’m done and she said yes! I was afraid I was going to have to do one by myself, since I do know a few people who run but they are all wayyyy ahead of me.

I also got a little crafty today. I made my flag wreath for the front door around Memorial Day and decided it could stay up until Labor Day. Well, earlier this week, I realized I had no replacement wreath. So I got to work and made super simple wreath.

pitt wreath!

A pool noodle taped end to end + yarn + glitter letters = a Pitt wreath! I wasn’t sure about it before I added the letters, but I think it’s pretty cute! It took all of 45 minutes too. (Wrapping the yarn was sort of a pain.) Also, yikes, my door needs re-stained. I wonder if Keith will let me paint it. (And I still hate that stained glass fish.)

Hope your weekends were as fun-filled as mine!

familia

Just a handful of my favorite pictures from the fourth of July. Don’t worry, no fireworks. I actually haven’t seen fireworks for years.

 put 'em up put 'em, up
My two year old cousin, Giana, after her mom told her to make her excited face. It looks like she wants to fight me!

family photo
My brother Ross (who knows what he is smiling at), his girlfriend Amanda and my 4 month old nephew, Bradley.

bradley and grandma
My mom holding Bradley who is enthralled by my pap’s finger.

feeding bradley
Me feeding Bradley.

this is my 'please dont scream!' face
Apparently when babies start to cry, I make that face.

jeni and brad
My future-mother-in-law holding Bradley who says “How you doin’?”

giana and the cupcake cone
Giana who is going to become my personal baked good model.

hahaha sam's face
My littlest (biggest) brother Sam, caught mid-hilarious face which pleased Brad.

me and keith
Keith and I. The fourth was the one-year anniversary of our engagement!

double fistin'
My attractive fiance. (One of those was mine.)

ross and kirk
My brother Ross and my cousin Kirk (who is wearing my Johnny Cupcakes apron).

Love my family! Wish I didn’t live an hour away.

fourth of july treats!

So Tuesday after work Keith was headed to a baseball game and I headed home to get my bake on. I was making cupcakes and two kinds of rice crispy treats because I kept coming across recipes that I just haaaaaaaaaad to make.

First up: cupcakes in cones.

Wayyy back in 2008, my friend Lauren had a graduation party and asked Elyse and I to bring cupcakes. She and her sister-in-law were also baking so it was going to be a cupcake fest. Elyse and I decided to make one kind of cupcakes for looks and one kind for taste. The tasty ones were banana boston cream pie cupcakes (soooo goood) and the adorable ones were the cupcakes in cones.

When it came time to transport the cupcake cones, though, we had a little problem. I was carrying them in a mini muffin tin, which was all fine and well until we got in the car. The cupcakes, once iced, became top heavy and were flying all over the place. And then we get into Lauren’s neighborhood and it is all cobblestone streets. Needless to say, all the icing was smeared everywhere and the cupcakes were way less adorable. It was so frustratingly hilarious though and the kids still loved them, but I knew I needed a plan for this year. Enter: disposable aluminum baking sheets. 

 ice cream cupcakes

Flipped upside-down with holes cut in them, they were the perfect little platform for the cupcakes.

ice cream cupcake

I used funfetti which I dyed blue and used this method to stripe the icing. (Use two “plugs” one with each color.)

daisy loves cupcakes

Even Daisy was impressed!

I’ve been wanting to make these cake batter rice krispie treats, so I figured what better time than our nation’s birthday?!

 bday cake treats

The consensus was that they didn’t taste a thing like cake (I used a heaping 1/3 cup of cake mix), but at least they were really cute?

I couldn’t make regular-ish rice krispie treats without making red, white and blue ones. So I did.

red white and blue treats

I took a standard recipe (6cups cereal, 3T butter, 1 bag mini marshmallows) and split it in three.

I did the red layer first and it went this far.

a little short

That was not going to cut it. So I did another half of that – so each color was 3 cups cereal, 1.5T of butter and 150g of marshmallows (I love you, kitchen scale).

process
Much better. Also, let me say, gel food coloring does not mess around. I’m a little embarrassed it took me so long to buy some, but I am so glad I did. Look at that red!

 
still life: baking
 And, as you can see the treats were a hit!

adam loves treats!

 giana and the cupcake cone

Like father, like daughter.