December’s Snap To It Tip and Assignment from Cinnamon at Eat Pray Tri is all about focus.

I’m loving her photography tips and challenges because it gives me an excuse to get my camera out and practice something I might not have.  I’ve never actually used toggle focus on my camera before.  Normally I would just manually change my focus area with the focus ring.  So I found this interesting.  Please read Cinnamon’s post for more explanation, but I hope my submission will provide an easy visual aid for you as well.

Basically you can set up your DSLR to use your selector buttons to change where the focus is on your shot.

I pulled out the tripod and took three pictures at exactly the same distance, ISO, SS, aperture ect.

The first pic the focus is on the fish on the left.  In the second pic, it’s on the fish in the middle.  In the third pic, focus is on the tail of the wooden garland hanging down.

Snap To It 3 Pics

Hopefully seeing these three pictures together will help you understand a little more about focus and toggle.  The only thing I did differently in each picture was to use my selector dial to move the focus box from one place to the next.

Have a great weekend all!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  Wanna guess how many fish ornaments I have for our Christmas tree?  Maybe that should be the next giveaway.  The closest guess wins a prize or something.

25. December 2013 · Comments Off on High Five for the Holidays · Categories: Holiday, Midwestern Life · Tags: , ,

The best way to ensure a Merry Christmas morning is to get in good with Santa.

Sweetey Petey covered his bases with a high five.

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Or perhaps a low five.

Regardless, him and Santa are TIGHT.

In all seriousness though, please have a wonderful Christmas full of family and friends of all kinds and a thankful heart.  It is the people we have near and dear to us that matter most.

Best holiday wishes,

Joanna

I’m trying my hand at the ever popular blogger gift lists where we tell you the most amazing products to buy and you run out and buy them for your loved ones this holiday season.  Everybody has a (sponsored and unsponsored) gimmick it seems . . . gift lists for foodies, photographers, athletes, moms, dads, toddlers, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish . . .

I’m here to tell you what to buy for the Stay at Home Mom.

I will not be following this post with a gift list for the Working Away from Home Mom because that is a comparison trap I don’t want to fall into.  Our society is jugdey enough without my two cents.

Also I will not be creating a fancy schmancy board with cutesy numbers next to fun pictures for quick reference and pinability.

Pinability.  Ha!

Pinability 2

I’m totally contacting Webster’s dictionary and having that word added.  

Since I know you are all stressed and anxious about those last minute gifts, I’ll just get on with things so you can finish your holiday shopping, mmmmm K?

Dun dun dun . . .

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1. CASH

That’s it.  That’s all that’s on my list for the SAHM.

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All bark and Bite RW

So now that the Christmas season is upon us, every blogger and their mother is making bark.  Most of them are making peppermint bark because peppermint is to Christmas as pumpkin is to Thanksgiving.

Channeling my inner SAT’s there for a minute.  Sorry.  No, I’m not really sorry, but I am sorry for apologizing when I wasn’t really sorry in the first place.

Moving on.

I have no problems with bark.  Unless it’s the dogs’ incessant barking, which I swear they do these days non freaking stop.

Anyway, moving on again.

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I’ve loved every second since we moved to “the country” last year.  Caring for our livestock (What? Chickens are livestock), starting the garden, walking our woods, harvesting apples, mowing with the boy, feeding hand-split wood into our stove on a snowy day… it’s all been grand.

Of course, that’s me talking.  If you ask the Wife, she’d likely point to a few gripes.  Today’s post highlights one of those, just so you don’t think everything is Norman frickin’ Rockwell all the time over here.

Sigh…

Mice.

We’ve had mice.  Not an enormous infestation by any stretch, but in the last year we’ve caught several and have “detected” a couple others that have obviously gone to that great big cheese wheel in the sky.

After asking the neighbors what’s up, they chuckle, shrug, and say it’s part of the life and we better get used to a little scratching in the walls each year when the temperature drops. Of course that doesn’t make Joanna feel any better.

So out of love for my woman, and no desire to co-exist with Minnie long term, I cashed out bookoo bucks for an exterminator service to take a walk around and put us on a pest control program.  I then fixed some small issues like door weather stripping and set out a few commercial traps.  For months we thought our furry little friends had moved on to greener pastures.

Then a few nights ago, we heard it again.

Scratching.

Jo was not pleased.  I was not pleased.

This. Meant. War. 

I decided $#!t needed to get real. Only the heaviest duty, homemade, redneck looking mouse trap would do.  (Yes, I admit it, with darkness falling at 4:30 PM and the ground covered with snow, I’m sometimes looking for projects.)  Take this, Mousey!

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Our primary problem area is an outside water closet that houses the furnace, water softener, hot water heater, etc.  I’m betting it’s too easy for them to come in where the well pipes enter from underground and I’m not sure how to seal it off, so I wanted something that could catch multiple critters at once if needed. The beauty of this setup is it can keep on keeping on without needing to be reset after one little guy loses his battle with Mr. Snappy while his buds scurry away.

Plus it was free since we had all the materials needed, thanks in part to a perma-stocked mini fridge. Want a Midwestern Mouse Terminator of your own?  Read on.

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I’m rethinking this “random food picture of the day” thing.  First off, it really needs to be more than food.  So “random picture of the day” it now is!  Also I was putting numbers in the post title which means:

1)  I have to remember the last number I used.  Fat chance.

2)  I can’t schedule them in advance.  With a new baby coming in March I kinda need to do that so you all won’t be bored until I get back to blogging.  I will NOT be one of those bloggers updating from the hospital.  

So here’s today’s random picture of the day because the last week has been too busy to allow for much else.

Be Golly By Jolly RW

Be Jolly.  By GOLLY!

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  How are you?  I mean really?  Are you jolly this holiday season or stressed?

I started this post way before it was due so let’s just begin by giving me a virtual high five okay?

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See see?  A five.  And it’s high.  Way high.  Okay not that high, but it’s still pretty funny amiright?

Now that I’m done patting myself on the back I’ll just get right into the good stuff.  If you recall (of course you all recall, you’re all loyal die hard readers after all) Thrift Gift Facelift is a fun little exchange Supermom and I started to get our creative juices flowing, dust off our DIY skills and maybe even make some useful things for around the ol’ homestead.  We gift each other a thrifted, found or even no longer wanted item and then we remake it into something fabulous.  So far I think we’ve both done pretty well.  Pretty darn well.  Actually we both really rock at this.

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There I go tooting my own horn again.

This month Supermom gifted me a pile of old silverware she was planning on donating to Goodwill.  There were a few other pieces in the mix, mostly knives, but I only photographed the ones I had plans for.

Silverware RW

Three forks and two spoons.

I knew what I wanted to do with them right away.  I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish my plan exactly, but I could see the finished product in my head clear as day.

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Ann of Cooking Dangerously fame and also one of the winners of our first chicken naming contest mailed me some sweet chicken gloves the other day!  She even included some Canada gloves for Sweetey Petey and Baby Number Two.

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Ann’s from Canada in case you missed that somehow.

Thanks to me Ann is now totally chicken obsessed.  This has clearly paid off since I now own my very own pair of chicken gloves.  And not just any chicken gloves, but the fingerless removable mitten kind!!  How did she know I’ve been wanting a pair for when I photograph outside in the winter??

I don’t know, but she did.

Thanks Ann!

Have a great day all.  See ya tomorrow for Thrift Gift Facelift.

– Joanna

P.S.  So I typed “chicken gloves” as my focus keyword down in my Search Engine Optimization section and ya know what WordPress also suggested?  “Chicken skin gloves.”  Creepy.   Ann, don’t send me any of those, please and thank you.

Question of the Day: Quick, what color are your gloves???? 

We’ve been doing a little DIY around the old homestead lately.

And by “we” I mean The Husband.  But although he’s been doing the actual “work” part, I have been an integral cog in the process.  The shopping process.

That’s right, I can shop for a ceiling fan with the best of them.

It all started a few months back when my niece and nephew were visiting for the weekend and my niece tugged on the ceiling fan pull in the guest room and out it came.

Old Fan Up RW

See see, only one pull cord.

There is no switch for the ceiling fan on the wall.  You turn the lights and fan on and off solely with the pulls.  So while the fan still worked, the light was stuck in an off position.  This resulted in two months of garage task lighting clipped to the headboard to provide some much needed light.  Despite the fact we don’t have overnight guests all that often, the guest room doubles as my art and sewing studio so it actually gets a bit of use.

The husband also spent a week sleeping in the guest room after The Destroyer ate an entire loaf of artisan bread and licked clean a package of raw chicken and threw up 40 times in the span of four days.  Being pregnant and pretty dang tired I made them both sleep in there so I could get some sleep.  On the off chance this lovely story scares you away from ever staying with us, I promise we covered the wood floors with an old tarp so believe it or not the room stayed pretty clean that week.  I’ve shared too much now haven’t I?    

But I’ve segued.

We checked at Lowes and found we could replace a part and potentially fix the ceiling fan, but I put a bug in The Husband’s ear about just replacing the whole thing.  He’d have to take it apart to fix it anyway, it might be a good time to spruce.  No, an excellent time to spruce!  In my opinion replacing light fixtures is one of the best ways to update a house.  And let’s face it, our house needs some updating.

After months of wearing him down with talk of how the ceiling fan was the very last update that needed done in the guest room before declaring it officially done, The Husband agreed to replace it for me.  WOOOOO HOOOOO!

Now I just had to find the right one at the right price.

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Doughnuts I made from Edible Ash’s new doughnut cookbook.

Doughnuts

T.A.S.T.Y.

– Joanna

Question of the Day:  What’s your favorite kind of doughnut?  I’m a fan of chocolate glazed boston cream filled.