Friday, March 27, 2009

Mia Ciccio Picolino

My little Francesco:

I am still in disbelief that he will be three in 4 months, they (an I am not sure who they are) are so right when they say time flies.

Every time I look at him I am reminded of this quote;
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~ elizabeth stone

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Theme Thursday: DIY

About a month ago I attempted to make a cake from scratch for my FIL's Birthday. I wrote down the ingredients and the recipe a went out to gather my supplies. I purchased good vanilla ($10.99 for 4 ozs), cake flour, sweet butter etc.
I was so excited to make this Very Vanilla Cake. If all came out well I was going to use the same recipe for Nicolo's 1st Birthday cake. Well, something went wrong, the cake did not rise one bit. It took forever (1 1/2 hours) to cook and once it cooled it weighed a ton. It was a complete disaster, I was so disappointed. I had to quickly whip up a Betty Crocker cake for the party. That cake came out great and all was not lost.
I still couldn't believe the other cake was so bad. I went back to the recipe I wrote down and compared it to the original I found on line. Low and behold I transcribe incorrectly the amount of baking powder. I wrote 1/2 tsp when it called for 1/2 Tbsp. Yeah, I know, I know.
So since it was a mistake in the ingredients I thought I would try again, I really wanted to prove to myself I can make this cake. I also wanted to try it in the Giant Cupcake Pan. Thank to my friend over at Baked By Beanie who let me borrow the pan, I made another attempt at the cake.

These are the ingredients, see not that crazy. The only thing I did not have here which I will for Nicolo's cake is Vanilla Bean Paste so I added extra vanilla.

This is the lovely batter in the Giant Cupcake Pan.

See it actually rose this time! Yeah!

Isn't it just beautiful?

How cool is that?

It actually tasted great, I bet with the vanilla bean paste it would be even better. When we cut into it it still had a couple of spot that were not done. I think that had to do with me filling the mold so high. Next attempt I am not going to fill the mold so high and I am even contemplating adding a little more baking powder.
I will post a finished version of his cake on his Birthday. I have an idea about the decorating that I think will be great. You'll have to come back to see it.

Head on over to Stacy's for more Theme Thursday's.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Have you every accidentally deleted 282 pictures from you camera? Well I did this morning and I have nothing new to share. They weren't all keepers but there was a few I really liked. So here is another shot from the our weekend morning, he loves to share.

Just in on the fun over at Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My Favorite 3

Who would have thought that meeting a new friend 10 years ago would have lead to this!

I could not leave well enough alone, I had to mess with this photo a bit in Photoshop, I think I am really liking the textured look.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Best Shot Monday: weekend mornings

I still have to get up at the crack of dawn on the weekends, but I am okay with that. Saturday and Sunday mornings are my favorite times with the boys. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, lazily eating breakfast, playing with pots and pans, coloring with markers and sometime baking sweets.

Even though we are up early it is still a very relaxed time, which is in short supply around here right now. I also get amazing sunlight in the kitchen in the morning which of course makes me run for the camera. Because of how my house is situated I really do not need to put up curtains or blinds in the kitchen, so all the natural light just rushes in. Saturday and Sundays are the only time we get to enjoy all that light (the cat on the other hand get to lay in the sunbeam every day).

These are just two of the shots I took on Saturday, I used a Chocolate B&W Action I got from Rita over at CoffeeShop Photography. I love actions, they really cut down on processing time. I love taking pictures more than processing so the less I have to do the better. I am also learning to use Lightroom which has some awesome PreSets that cut down on time.

Francesco in the snack jar.

Nicolo enjoying his English muffin.

Head on over to Tracy's at Mother May I for more Best Shot Mondays.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

That's my boy!

"He's our special one."

That's what I hear a lot from a number of people at the daycare where Francesco goes. What I think they mean is, "he keeps us on our toes."

The nursery teacher has recently worked with the children on taking their shoe, shirt, pants, and jackets on and off. They are helping them work on developmental skills. This is one of the reason I am really happen with the daycare.

Francesco tend to take thing to the extreme, now he's decided that he is going to take his shoes off even when he's not suppose to. In attempts to get him to put them back on he has not gotten snack, not gotten to go outside, and not gotten to do other activities. All of these attempts have usually ended with Francesco winning and the teacher putting the shoes back on.

Today there was another episode of shoe removal with Francesco's refusal to put them back on. This time they decided to send him out of the classroom to the Director Office (my 2 1/2 year old is already getting sent to the office). The teacher thought that if he was away from the class he might decide to put his shoe on so he could return.

While in the office, the Director, told him he was not allowed to play with the magnets on the cabinet he sat next. He then tried to play with some toys in the corner, so she told him to move over and not to play with the toys. He was then sitting next to a stack of paper and the Assistant Director Lunch bag.

As she was talking on the phone she heard a rustling sound behind her. She thought when she turned around she would find him playing with the papers. What she found was, my son went into the Assistant Directors bag, into a box of corn flakes and was shoveling them into his mouth.

She couldn't believe it and said all she could do was laugh.

So as I was walking down the hall to a meeting she flagged me down (the daycare is at my work) to tell me the whole story. I went in to see him and asked him if he took his shoes off again today. He proceeded to tell me that he did and in so many toddler words he told me he ate Miss M's corn flakes. Well at least he admitted it.

Let's just say his teacher tells me there's never a dull day and she always has a story to tell her mom when she get home from work each day. I told her, "I don't know what to do, she's the one who taught him to take the shoes off (LOL)".

He's my special one too!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Best Shot Monday: any day now.

Any day now this one is going to take off and walk. In less than a month he is going to be a year old. Where did the time go?

I couldn't pick just one for my Best Shot so you get them all. Head on over to Tracy's at Mother May I for more Best Shot Monday captures.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ciccio Picolino~ that basically means Little Frankie in Italian.

At first I was going to write a post about all the crazy illnesses, the sleepless night or even the house problems, but I change my mind. If I don't want to hear about why would you? Instead I thought that I would give you a few random Francesco-isms. He cracks me up on a daily basis now and if I don't write them down I will forget.

He got out a toy that originally had 4 balls to it, now it has 3, and asked me where the 4th one was. I told him I didn't know and could not find it. He proceeds to call out, "Ball, where are you?"
This is were it all starts, he will be another one of those husbands that can't find anything if it not right under his nose ( and then that still debatable).

Now that he speaks, he never stops calling my name. I use to just say "yes" when he called me but he would continue to say "Mommy?", "Mommy?", "MOMMY?!". So I read an article that said they need you to let them know you are listening and that you are there for them. So I start answering, "Yes, Francesco?" or "I am here, what do you need Francesco?".
One day I sat next to him at breakfast and he started the Mommy, Mommy, MOMMY chant. In my morning fog all I said was "Yes?" He turns to me and say, "No, its...Yes Francesco". Here I thought he never listen to me.

He loves to do puzzles and when he gets a hard piece in place we say "Good job Francesco." The other day he was doing a puzzle with Michael when Michael put a piece in it's place, Francesco proceeds to say to him, "Good job Daddy!" We cracked up.
Just the other morning we were doing puzzles and when we would finish one he would turn to me and say, "Give me a go five", then he would High Five me. Seriously you would have to be there, it was so stinking cute.

He is a big Noggin fan and one of his current favorites is Ni Hao Ki-Lan. In the show they are always thinking about what happened any how they can fix a problem that has occurred. Now, when he accomplishes a task he belts out a resounding, "I did it, I did it, I knew just what to do!" The first time he did it I almost died, the words just came out so clear and he looked so proud of himself.

We try all the time to teach good manners. When some one says "Hi" to him in the hall on the way to daycare I remind him to say "Good Morning", if another family holds the door for us we say "Thank You", if you burp you say "Excuse Me", etc. I am never sure if he really listens and learns or is he just a little parrot repeating the words. Just this morning as Michael and I were getting ready for work we brought him in our room to watch Noggin. Michael was in front of the TV and Francesco proceed to say (totally unprovoked) "Excuuussse meeee!" with just a bit of attitude. I almost fell over.

It's amazing to think that at one point I thought he was delayed in his speech and that he may never talk. Boy was I wrong (lol)!

Theme Thursday: Restful

I really did not think that I would be able to get a shot for this Thursday's Theme, restful is not a common occurrences around these parts lately. Let's just say, when my boys are teenagers and want to sleep all the time I will be reminding them often of the amount of sleep they have deprived me of (I am not kidding!) We go from one not sleeping through the night, to both not sleeping through the night.

So last night I was fortunate that they both were asleep at the same time for a few hours, I did mange to click off a few pictures. This is the best one, lets just say it was dark, I did not use the flash and the ISO was so high the noise was loud. I processed it quite a bit and this was my best rendition.

Shutter 1/4 sec.
F-Stop f/1.8
ISO 1600
Focal Length 50 mm
Flash - None

Just looking at this picture make me tired. Head on over to The Land of K. A. for more Theme Thursday: Restful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Just in on the fun over at Wordless Wednesday and 5 Minutes For Mom.

We call this Freggie Soup. Its a lovely mixture of wooden fruits and vegetables.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Best Shot Monday: First Shoes

My baby got his first pair of walking shoes on Saturday. We took him to a place called Lou's Bootery, its a small family owned shoe store. It's a tradition in our family for Mom-mom to get the kid's first pair of shoes and to always go to the bootery. I think we had just as much fun as the gentlemen that worked there.

For more Best Shot Monday photos head on over to Tracy's at Mother May I.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Theme Thursday: Laughter

While stuck in the house during the snow storm we tried to keep two small energetic kids occupied. We moved from trains, to coloring, to cars, to puzzles, etc.
One activity that they both loved was setting up and knocking down the dominoes. Francesco was really good at getting them set up and Nicolo was amazing at knocking them down (LOL). They both cracked up every time the dominoes fell, so we did it over and over and over again.

Isn't it amazing how the little things in life can bring out the laughter. Head on over to The Land of K. A. for more Theme Thursday: Laughter.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A little bit of process.

I really love taking pictures and learning new ways to process them. I am partial to black and white photos but at times it feels so flat. I have played around with "Color Variation" but I never seem to get the feel I am looking for. So when I saw Stacy's Photos of the kids in the snow I asked what she did. I love learning something new. It was really simple (which tend to be the best tips) and I got the look I was going for.

Here is the photo in color:

Here it is in plain B&W:

Here is my favorite: this is with an adjustment layer of a B&W gradient map and then and adjustment layer of Hue/Saturation, like I said simple but effective.

Thanks for the tip Stacy!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Best Shot Monday: unexpected

This is one of those shots that SOOC was really off but with a little playing around in Camera Raw and a little antiquing turn out to be one of my favorite from the bunch. I always love the unexpected Best Shot.