The Perfect Gift

I have a pregnant friend who is due this month and as a surprise for her, I made a "3-tiered diaper cake." Ever heard of it? Obviously it's the "in" thing right now.

I got this idea from Weng and a couple other blogs. And when I google it, there were several videos to show me how to do it, step by step. This really got me excited, so yesterday morning, I went to shop for stuff. And it took me basically the whole afternoon to do it. But it was fun. It still need some final touches, so I have to do a little more shopping later. And once it's done, I will definitely post some pictures here.

I can't wait for Friday when we give this to her. I hope she will like it as much as I love doing it.

So not worth it!

Remember my photo shoot? Well, it was last Saturday. I only charge them very minimal amount since it's my first time and I'm no pro. They require me to be there at 5:30pm till 10:30pm [5 hours only]. But I stayed till 11:15pm and ended up taking over 600+ pictures.

To do the photo shoot, I had to buy the SB-900 flash which costs me $$$. Well it's an investment so even though it's not fully covered by the fee that they paid me, it was money well spent.

The only problem is my whole right arm got very, very sore!!! My Nikon D90 with the flash can be really heavy if you have to hold on to it for more than 5 hours! So not worth it!

Next time, I should charge more and get me a partner so we can alternate. Or I should stick with our agreement and left at 10:30pm whether we've done the family pictures or not.

Plus I don't like the fact that people complain about "oh, I'm not looking at you"... well, you know I'm your official photographer, so you should have been looking at me instead of looking at the other people's cameras. Right?

Plus I don't like the fact that they want to me take 10 shots for a group of 10. They say that chances are, some people in that group may not be looking at me. I believe that 2 shots per pose is enough! And well, they should know where to look, right?

For the privacy of the people who hired me, I will not be posting any pictures from the party.

Weekend Snapshot: Spray Lake





Spray Lake, Kananaskis, Alberta



City of Canmore


Last Friday, me and my friends went on a road trip while my kids are in school. We left [at 8:30am] as soon as I dropped off the kids. But had to cut our trip short since I have to be back before 4pm to pick up my kids.

And then while waiting for hubby to come home, we spent the time watching "The Proposal." We loved it! It was funny and heart warming.

By 6pm, we left to have dinner to celebrate Joyce's birthday [the girl in blue with long curly hair]. It was a girl's night out.

Our unfinished basement

We have an unfinished basement. And I've been wanting to do some work on it myself with the help of a few friends. I know it's going to be a lot of work, but it's just a waste of space if we just use it as a storage area. And I do feel claustrophobic whenever I'm in the basement.

I've been thinking of something simpler for now. I just want an open layout. Just one big family room with extra closet space. One corner will be for the bathroom [which can be done at a later time], and I just need to put a door for the furnace and laundry. Not really "finished" it but at least make it a livable space. I wanted to put up dry walls and for the flooring, am thinking of vinyl or quarry tiles. I don't like carpet in the basement, and I can't afford hard wood floors. Or maybe I can just leave the floor painted for now.

I can't afford to have the whole basement professional done! But hubby doesn't want me to do it partially too. What to do? Are there any online free software out there that will help me make a blueprint for my basement???

Here I go again...

I'm going on another road trip tomorrow with some friends from work. I just have to make sure that I make it back to pick up my kids from school.

Then on Saturday, I have a photo shoot. I am excited about it and am hoping that this will pave way to my being a "pro at photography".

I am enjoying my photography class... there's just too much information to digest in a short span of time. I just need to practice and practice and practice so that I will not forget what I learn. Here's a photography site that I find very useful -- ~ http://digital-photography-school.com/. You might want to check it out.

Wordless Wednesday: Kids say the darnest thing!



Just wanted to share something that I scrapped years ago... if you've been to my scrapping blog [which I plan to delete soon], then you've seen this picture before.

Patricia at age 6 and Jericho was 5. Ontario, 2006

Check out other Wordless Wednesday entry here

It's not T.G.I.F. but it's G.I.F.T.

I had a wonderful evening last night... just simple dinner at home with some friends.

We had a friend who sort of drifted away from us due to some incident [which I don't want to elaborate]. And though we tried to assure her through phone calls that we never judged her action, she had stayed away from us for 3 months.

Yesterday, we finally convinced her to come for a small get together. There's just 8 of us but we had a blast. We thought that if we started a small group, she will be more comfortable. And it's like nothing had happened. And I hope that she will stay close this time. Work is not the same without her.

Sometimes when we are down, we need to have our friends nearby. We need a shoulder to cry on. We wanted her to know that we will always be her friends, no matter what. I just hope that Friday made her realize that we didn't abandon her.

This picture was taken from my housewarming party last March 2009.

Junnie mentioned in Facebook that it's not T.G.I.F. anymore... but G.I.F.T. [God, its Friday, ThankYou!] --- Thank you for good food and drinks. Thank you for Friday nights. Thank you for second chances. Best of all, thank you for the gift of friendship!

Watery and Wordless Wednesday: Bragg Creek



Somewhere in Bragg Creek, Alberta... on our way to Elbow Falls.

This is my entry for and !!!

Life's like that

It's going to be one busy week for me and the rest of the upcoming months... I decided to take some photography classes and it starts this Wednesday. And I'm also seeing a Chiropractor for my sore back.

After school activities for my kids starts this week too. Tuesday's it's skating time for Patricia. Wednesday is swimming day for Patrick and Thursday is swimming and piano for Patricia. Patrick is trying out for their school's volleyball team, I hope he makes it and I hope it won't be in any conflict with our current activities.

I have a friend whose niece is celebrating her 18th birthday this month. They were looking for a photographer and I volunteered. They were here last night to see samples of my pictures. I'm not a pro, they know that. But in order to save, they may have to settle for an amateur like me. I know that my pictures still needs improvements, that's why I'm taking classes, but I'm quite happy with them. And I know that a few of my friends are happy too when I made them a photo book of our summer activities. I've done 5 photo books already [2 birthdays and 3 outings], all for friends. And I've been picking pictures of my kids so that I can make one for them.

Bad news -- Julian died. He just stopped swimming one day. He has been with us for 255 days only. My daughter wanted me to take him to the pet store to be looked at or the vet. She's really sad when she had to flush him down the toilet. Anyway, I ask her if she wanted another fish, but she said no, she wanted a cat or a dog this time. I don't think so!

I also decided to go back to volunteering at my kids' school. If you haven't read it, here's my first experience as a volunteer.

It may seem that I have tons of time on my hand since I only work part-time, but I honestly don't know where time goes.

"Life is short, break the rules, forgive sooner,
love with true love, laugh without control and always keep smiling.
Maybe life is not the party that we were expecting,
but in the mean time, we're here and we can still dance....."

On Gift Cards

I have gift cards from 2 years ago that I still haven't used. It's a card from Esprt and there's only 2 stores of Esprt here, one in downtown and the other on the other side of the city. I don't want to go to downtown since parking is really hard and expensive. So I just held on to it until it was forgotten.

Last week, I decided to do some shopping spree with all the gift cards that was given to me.

~ Esprt - Total $52.59 GC $60 Paid $0
~ Home sense - Total $71.38 GC $50 Paid $21.38
~ Reflections - Total $57.73 GC $60 Paid $0
~ Lunch for 2 days - $25.00

For a total purchase of $181, I only spent $41... not bad eh? But then, it got me thinking that if I don't have those GCs, then I would not have spent $41, right? Oh well, at least I was able to buy a queen size sheet set for only $10 [Price is $60 but I used my $50 GC].

I still have a GC from Future Shop that I forgot to use when we bought a mini netbook for the kids. Oh well, maybe I'll use it when I buy my next lens or flash.

So do you like receiving gift cards as gifts? Or do you prefer actual gifts that may or may not be to your liking? I guess GC is the most practical thing to give these days and less hassle.

To all my friends who chip in to those gift cards, THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Never Again!

When my son started schooling here in Canada, I volunteered a lot at his school. I always have my daughter with me since she's only a toddler then but she never gave me trouble.

When it was her turn to start grade 1, I decided to work full time, hence, I was not able to volunteer for her class anymore. She would always ask me to volunteer on field trips but I just can't with my schedule. And I can see that she's disappointed.

Now that I am a full time "family driver" for my kids and only works part-time, I told my daughter that I can volunteer. Today, was her first field trip and we went to a Conservation area to learn about Ecological Footprint. We went on a 3 kms hiking for over 3.5 hours! There's break in between but the hike was killing me.

I am really out of shape! I can almost feel myself getting dizzy. It's a good thing we reached the top already and I was able to sit down and rest while the kids did some activity. Or else, I honestly don't know what could have happen to me. From then on, its all downhill, so it was easier. It's a good thing it wasn't so hot today and there's breeze.

Next time I volunteer, I'm going to make sure it doesn't involve hiking! Never again! I mean, I can walk all day long, that's not the problem but going uphill is just not my cup of tea.

Here's some pictures of the Conservation area... and a view of downtown Calgary...



Here's the map, we started at the house on the top right corner of the map, walk all the way down to the red dot and then climb up the Rancher's trail all the way to the Mountain View Lookout. From there, it was all downhill till we reached the house again.



This is where we started the hike...



View of downtown Calgary from the Mountain View Lookout and still a good long walk to the house and our bus service.

Weekend Snapshot: A Wedding



Last Saturday, I attended my third wedding here in Canada. Our first one was a Filipino wedding. A friend from college. Very simple and small and intimate. My daughter was one of the flower girl, her first.

The second wedding that we attended was the wedding of my husband's former boss, and it was awesome! Our first Canadian wedding.


This 3rd one is also something different. The guy is from Guatemela, a soldier. And the girl, a co-worker of mine, is a native-Indian. Her father is actually the Chief of their tribe. The whole entourage was in the long limo with the bride. They exchange vows in a Lutheran church @ 3pm. No mass was included, just the exchange of the vows. They don't have principal sponsors like Filipino weddings.

Dinner and dance followed at Radisson Hotel. We had cocktail @ 6PM, then dinner @ 7pm followed by speeches and first dance of the newly weds, the bride and her father, and the groom with his mother. I left at around 10:45pm and they still haven't done the cutting of the cake, the bouquet or the garter throwing. Only a few guests remains then. She mentioned that they have a cake but it wasn't visible in the reception area.





The bride and her father, walking down the aisle.



The bride made her own and the entourage's bouquet... and all the center pieces at the reception.

Photo Hunt: Orange


My son just loves the orange floater. He can stay there for hours.
Picture taken @ Sylvan Lake, Alberta

Check out other Photo Hunters


Happy weekend everyone! It's a long weekend here and I'm very excited to attend a wedding tomorrow! Hope I get some pretty good head shots of the newly weds.

Wordless Wednesday and Sky Watch: What's in the clouds?


FOR



and



Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park


Do you see Tweety talking to another little birdie???