Friday, June 29, 2012

Movie Night In: Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows

After a long string of disappointing movies Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows finally offers something that the Hubs and I watched from beginning to end without either of us falling asleep.

If I could only tell you one thing about this movie it would be this - it has almost nothing to do with the trailer for it. I saw the same TV spot probably a hundred times and when I was completely surprised by the plot of Sherlock Holmes. The trailer is more like a preview of the first fifteen minutes, okay - maybe a little more, but seriously. Sherlock Holmes is about a lot more and nothing like what you are led to believe from the trailer. Maybe you'll be disappointed by that. I wasn't.

The next thing that you need to know about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is that it is pretty different that the first one. In my opinion that's a good thing. I grew up listening to my dad read the Sherlock Holmes mysteries and I thought that while the first Sherlock Holmes movie was good it was pretty much a complete departure from the books. This sequel is, amazingly enough, much closer to the spirit of the books. This sequel is a little less of an action-flick than it's predecessor and more of a true mystery and I loved that.

That is not to say that the action is in any way more poorly produced that in the previous Sherlock Holmes movie. The last few movies I have reviewed here have had predictable, underwhelming action sequences but Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows surprised and amazed me. There were a lot of clever not to mention spectacularly filmed sequences.

The acting was just what you'd expect from Robert Downey Jr & Jude Law just top-notch, and quite funny. With an unexpected little surprise of Stephen Fry's appearance in the cast, much to our delight The women were also very good, with Rachel McAdams not getting nearly enough screen-time, Kelly Reilly playing Watson's fiancé and Noomi Rapace (pictured above) doing an outstanding job as the gypsy who guides them on their journey to find Holmes' arch-nemisis Professor Moriarty.

The costumes were brilliant, the music was by Hanz Zimmer and the cinematography was by Philippe Rousselot both brilliant artists in their respective crafts.

Me: It wasn't over-the-top amazing but it was really really good.
The hubs: stayed awake for the whole thing.

Disclaimer: all of the product links in this post are amazon affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog!

Shabby Apple Giveaway WINNER

I used true random number generator to pick a winner and the winner is....

she blogs at 

Dresses from Shabby Apple
Didn't win? You can still enjoy FREE shipping when you use the code "Light"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Registration for July session is open!

Last session I covered the basics of photography - light, perspective, crop & focus. This month we'll cover shooting in manual mode so that you can be confident in getting the exposure that you want in any ordinary shooting environment. I've re-worked my process so that the steps are easy to follow and less stressful.

summer mini sessions

If you already know how to shoot in manual mode but would like to take your skills to the next level you can pre-register for my Advanced SLR e-class before the price goes up on August 1st!

What I Wore Wednesday: Flashback

I've been snapping pics of my outfits here and there but it hasn't been anything worth blogging about so I thought I'd do a What I Wore Wednesday Flashback edition... 

Linking up with:

Spring 2002Spring 2003
Me with my first baby Beth
(preggo with Emily in the photo on the right)
this is me at 18 with my husband Daniel and baby Beth at my parent's house
Summer 2003
my family when I was 20
Daniel, Beth, Emily & myself
at my parent's house
(obviously I've never been very good at buying jeans that fit well) 
Here we are in the summer of 2005 with three kids... getting ready to go to church!
DSCF4892Katie-Abigail & Mommy October '05
Left: Beth, Emma & me, Right: Katie-Abigail & me
Katie had fantastic hair as a baby
I love these photos of everyday hanging out with the kiddos! 
The one on the left is from about 2002 left is from about 2003
Faith & Katie-Abigail at the ParkMommy & Mini-Me
Me with Katie-Abigail (on the right I'm preggo with Josiah) 
Faith & Emma - March 2007
Emily & me about 2006
the world through the eyes of Beth
Photo by Beth fall 2007
me & kiddies selfie
Hanging out with the littles
The Raider Family
Christmas with the family 2007
mommy. waiting
Got my nose pierced in 2008!
photo by Emma
Photo by Emily on her birthday
I really like the fashion of that summer: tank tops & skirts all summer long!
bathroom mirror picDSC_1279
2010: I kinda like these outfits, especially the one on the left :)
with me niece - one of my favorite pictures of myselfPhoto Oct 23, 12 48 27 PM
a recent photo of my family and me!

Hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane :)

I have had my ups and downs in the fashion department - you can add to the awesomeness of your wardrobe and enter my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Shabby Apple

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

dark black and whites of my kids

Last night as the sun was setting the kids started up a game of tag with their water guns. They used more imagination than water and I grabbed my camera to try to capture a little bit of the beauty I was enjoying. I underestimated how underexposed these images turned out but really love the dark muted look... 

I'm linking up with:
Touch Up Tuesday's at the Paper Mama
on Paper Heart Camera

after: mostly just aded a gradient map and adjusted the tones of the gradient map.
I was inspired by the photography of this photographer though she is so much better!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Madness

Today was the first day we followed a more structured schedule. Well, more or less. We started half an hour late and I was totally unprepared so we had to swap some stuff round but we spent a lot less time watching TV and fighting and I spent a lot less time disciplining and a lot more time listening to reading and quizzing spelling words. Beth is a spelling wiz and even though I gave her a list one grade above her level she only missed two (and she can read at something like a twelfth grade level but still doesn't qualify for the gifted program? ) .  

I spent about twenty minutes whipping up this baby real quick using  a table in Word. We check off each thing that we do each day so I can see what is left at a glance. I'll be tweaking it next weekend but overall it's working. The reminders for chores are really helpful to me - "the bigs" (my oldest two) help clean up after breakfast and "the littles" (the next two) help clean up after lunch. I usually don't remember to make it that fair and just get whoever is nearest to help. 

Okay - so here are some websites I bookmarked for my kids to play during their educational computer time.

Fisher Price Online Games - great for the preK crowd. I especially like the Animal ABC game
Lego Online Games - just discovered this! I'm sure all of my kids will be spending time here. a great for the PreK -2nd grade crowd. There are tons of games but the Curious George set of games is our favorites.
Funbrain Playground builds mouse skills for little ones, there are also activities for older kids but my kids usually either get frustrated or bored with them.   
MacGraw-Hill Language Arts Grades K-5
MacGraw Hill Math Grades PreK-6 math activities PreK-8th grade
Spelling Lists 300 word list + 100 word spelling bee lists by grade 
K12 Reading & Spelling List + dolche & frye sight word lists, master spelling lists & dictation sentences, grammar worksheets & reading comprehension print-outs (1st grade - 5th grade)
Grammar Practice Park - online grammar activities from Harcourt publishing
Read Write Think K-12 grade writing ideas & printables 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weekend Wanderings

I've been to the grocery store with all the kids twice this week. I am kinda proud of myself. We went through hell Wal-Mart playing the alphabet game. We all took turns looking for each letter of the alphabet - it worked well until we got to the end of the alphabet... then today we went to Kroger and we got out without catastrophe so we stopped at Wendy's on the way home to pick up kids-size Frostys. Grocery shopping sucks but Frostys make it a little better.

I printed up a schedule for the kids today. It is so tidy & efficient it makes me feel slightly sick. I don't like to have highly scheduled days - but my oldest two do so we're going to try something new. I'll let you know if I survive how it works for us.

The last time I saw my older sister she told me about Kid History on YouTube then today she posted a link to Episode #9  on Facebook and I laughed so hard that I cried. I really liked Episode #6 too. It's the kind of thing you can enjoy with your kids around.

Casey Weigland just re-designed her blog - it is SO cute!! Love the black and white.

Have you entered my giveaway for a $50 gift card to Shabby Apple yet? You really should :)

I added a page of affiliate links and promotions.  I also set up an aStore with links to stuff we like and would rather not live without. I'll be adding a blog button swap with Passionfruit as soon as I can get my buttons sized and loaded and my sidebar re-arranged.

Happy Weekend!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Shabby Apple $50 Gift Card GIVEAWAY

Shabby Apple recently contacted me about hosting a giveaway and I honestly could not be more thrilled that they are offering a $50 Gift Card to one of you lovely readers! I've spent the last couple of days browsing the huge collection of dresses and accessories at Shabby Apple and there is something for just about every style -  from the modern "Block" collection to the Vintage inspired "Twin Palms" collection and everything in between. But the one thing I love best about the Shabby Apple site is that not only can you find something to fit your style, you can find something modest - a virtue not often found in online clothing stores. 

this is one of the wrap dresses
If you have a more classic style you know it's crazy-hard to find a great dress! At Shabby Apple there are many classic, elegant dresses for under a hundred dollars.
this dress is from the "Mad Hatter" collection
If your style is more whimsical there are collections with flair, creativity that are still modest and not outrageously expensive.

Dresses from Shabby Apple
I am so in love with the Twin Palms collection! SO many cute pieces!!

Dresses from Shabby Apple
There are so many awesome modern pieces in The Block collection

Gotta love a great maxi dress! 

Dresses from Shabby Apple

Vintage Inspired Swimwear? Yes please! Here are two of my favorites:

Here are a couple examples from The Lighthouse collection: 

At Shabby Apple there are also a collection of children's dresses

To Enter:

Leave a separate comment for each action you complete:
Mandatory Entry #1: Leave a comment telling me how you follow my blog. Please follow via RSS, email or Bloglovin - I know you're out there! Leave a comment and say hello! 
Mandatory Entry #2: Leave a comment telling me that you "Like" the Shabby Apple Facebook Page
Additional Entry #1: Visit Shabby Apple and leave a comment telling me what you'd use a $50 gift card to buy!
Additional Entry #2: Follow me via Facebook or Twitter  and leave a comment to let me know!
Giveaway ends Friday, June 29
To win the Giveaway you must "like" the Shabby Apple Facebook page and you must have a US shipping address.
All links to in this post are affiliate links. 

Dresses from Shabby Apple
Can't wait? Enjoy FREE shipping when you use the code "Light"

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