New field trip posts coming soon!

I’ve missed blogging. Life is so crazy that I’ve resorted to Facebook updates for some time. I’d much rather write as much as I want and put up as many pictures as I want and then link the blog to FB instead. 🙂 I did such a great job documenting our adventures in New York. Why not Florida, too? Today we’re heading to the DeSoto National Memorial plus having baby’s handprint done. Stay tuned for a photo log coming soon!

A few recent favorites

I really feel like it’s all coming together lately. I’ve had trouble wrapping my brain around natural light and how to manipulate it, but I feel like my photography has grown immensely in the past month since I started the lighting class. Sweet little baby was baptized over the weekend. I took the opportunity to practice some poses I’d seen on Pinterest. Here are a few of my favorites:

100515 (2 of 3)

100515 (3 of 3)

feet and cross

And a couple of extras for fun:

blown out but beautiful

elephant hat

I want to talk more about my plans. Photography is becoming more than just a hobby. It’s becoming a passion. 🙂 I’ll share more in a separate post about my specific plans for going forward. Stay tuned!

Things looking a little different around here?

Daffodil Days has officially become my photography blog. I’m thrilled with that choice for two reasons.

1. I’ve been kind of sad that it was just sitting here unused. I also felt a little trapped by the old blog theme because I couldn’t even change the header picture.

2. Daffodil Days was always about documenting my life for family and friends. We live so far away from so many people we care about, and I’m terrible with putting pictures in the mail. What perfect way to keep people up to date that than through pictures?

In the past, I have posted crafts or recipes. If I feel the urge to talk about things domestic, I’ll post over at Daffodils at Home. This little piece of the web will be dedicated to all things photography. It may take me a few weeks to get the side bars everything tweaked to fit the new description, but I’m working on it! Thank you for following along on this new journey with me!

Picture project day 11

I snapped this one in the garden at church today. Some days I think I’m improving and then I have days that I feel like I know nothing. The meter on the camera was no help today. It seemed to be completely off. Oh well. Thank goodness I’m not on anyone’s time table but my own!

In the garden

Day 10’s photo was of Novella in the shade on the side of the house. We put her hair in a bun three days a week for dance. She was too tired to take it down the night before this pic so we got a “messy bun” photo. 🙂

Nov on Nov 1

Day 9 was Halloween. I wasn’t blown away by any of the costume shots. For this project, I guess I’m looking for something “special” each day. It isn’t always a portrait shot.

Jack o lantern photo

Novella got Day 8, too, because she was the only one willing to be my “model”. 🙂 Dad thought this one looked a little too posed. But if I’m practicing portrait photography, I think that’s OK!

Beautiful Bird

I learned some more tonight about getting proper focus. Can’t wait to try it out tomorrow at the beach! Have a great week!

Picture project

Well, I all but abandoned Daffodil Days when I really got rolling with my home decor blog, Daffodils at Home. Daffodil Days is more of a personal blog, and I’m here to resurrect it. I’ve got a new passion and I want to share! I’ve always loved taking pictures. A few months ago I offered to take photos for the church members to create a member directory. I enjoyed it so much and was so happy with the results that it launched me into a full blown obsession with photography. I’ve been reading blogs, library books and watching tutorials on youtube every chance I get! I have already learned so much but it’s mind boggling how much more there is to learn! I found a site where you post a photo a day for a whole year and I decided to join. The site is called 365 Project. I’ve been participating for just under a week. Here are the photos I’ve posted so far:

S playing barbies Working on perspective.

Swinging at sunset Playing with faster shutter speeds to freeze motion.

Front porch for fall Fall front porch I photographed for my decor blog.

B&W flower Figured out the Black and White setting!

black cat Trying to get better focus, but didn’t quite get it.

Acorns Morning trip to the pond. Nailed the focus! Whoo hoo!!

The only photo I’m not sharing is a family portrait session I did on Monday. I’m keeping the final version under wraps until I can send a copy out to Grandma and Grandpa. 😉

Have you ever participated in anything like this? The hardest part is choosing only one photo each day. I was so excited yesterday to figure out a trick called “back button focus”. I got a couple of awesome shots of John down by a pond near our house.

Great smile by the pond

Near the pond

And this one! It isn’t the best of John, but I caught birds in flight in the background!! So excited. 🙂

Birds in flight

I’ll probably jump on here a little more regularly now to share some of my fun photos. I love that 365 Project is forcing the camera into my hands every day! You could try it, too. It isn’t just for DSLR users. You can participate with a point and shoot or even a phone camera. Have fun shooting!

Field Trip Friday — 4th of July!

The 4th of July technically fell on a Thursday, but whatever. We were too tired after staying up for fireworks to do anything else on Friday anyway.

We had a lazy, relaxed morning and then made a hamburger lunch with baked beans, chips and deviled eggs (deviled egg recipe to follow in day or two!)
burger pic wm

We all tried to dress somewhat patriotically. The girls won that contest!

girl flag wm

It took a while to get that good shot. There were lots like this…

silly sophie wm

Then a couple of little boys came out to join the fun…
4 kids 4th wm

They were so cute I had to take individual shots. 😉
john wm
jesse wm

Now I couldn’t very well leave the big boys out, could I?
all the kids 4th wm

They, of course, had their silly moments, too…
a and w funny shot wm

Mom and Dad even dressed up…
mom and dad 4th wm

I wish I had pictures of the fireworks, but I didn’t realize until the next day looking at Facebook that I could take fireworks pictures! Oh well. Next year. 🙂

Hope you all had a great 4th!

Field Trip Friday: I forgot one!

In my excitement last week two weeks ago about Little Troy Park, I forgot that I had been blogging Field Trip Fridays a week behind to give myself time to get the post up in a timely manner. The field trip we took on the last day of school got completely skipped. It was a fun day and a fun celebration of a tough school year so I thought I’d go ahead and post it for this week.

Kenny has lovely memories of going with one of his best friends to an ice cream parlor on the last day of school. His friend’s mom treated them both to banana splits, and they were able to relax, hang out, and enjoy the beginning of summer.

There are very few things we’re sorry our kids are missing out on by being homeschooled, but one thing they have rarely experienced is a definite break in the school year. That “ahhhh” feeling of being done. Since homeschool laws are rather relaxed in Alabama, we often just kept right on going until I felt like we were done. That meant that while we might finish a math book or a spelling curriculum, if we weren’t finished with history we’d keep having history lessons. Now we were certainly more relaxed in the summer, and we didn’t have history lessons or math lessons every day or at the same time of the day, but we never just called a break in lessons for the summer.

This year annual assessments had to be turned in by the end of June so there was a definite end to things. We decided to finish by noon on Friday the 22nd, go to Saratoga Springs to have lunch in the park, and then ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s!

I LOVE these picnic blankets. I picked up two of them on clearance for $5 each at Publix in Montgomery years ago. We use them all the time. We even spread one out in the back of the church room on Sundays for Jesse and Sophia to play on during the service.

It was quite a warm day but we found a nice shady spot.

We grabbed most of the lunch fare at the grocery store in Saratoga Springs. The food was simple but yummy.

You see that mark on the side of Kenny’s mouth? That’s actually a cherry pit in mid-air. He spit a cherry pit at me for trying to take his picture again!!

We were a little worried when one 3 year old announced her need to use the facilities. Luckily, the guys at the carousel pointed us in the right direction.


Did I mention the carousel? Can’t skip riding the carousel! It was a much gentler ride than the one at the state museum.

This one wasn’t free but it was only $1 per kid. Parents ride free. 😉

I think Novella enjoyed it the most.

John Elijah was a little nervous. This was his first time up on one of the horses all by himself.

I rode in a box again with Jesse. Happily, this carousel box didn’t twirl!

This is the only shot of Sophia at the carousel. There are no decent pictures of Abe and Wesley. They went all independent on us and rode on horses on the opposite of the carousel from Mom and Dad. Go figure!

We tried to walk around the beautiful park for a few minutes. It really was lovely.


We might have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been so hot. The heat kept reminding us that ice cream was the next stop.

The kids nearly killed us when we saw a natural spring and decided to stop and take pictures. Happy-Grin We chose NOT to sample the water this time.

Finally, the point of the trip:


Look, it’s Ben and Jerry!


No, wait. There they are:


It was hard to decide what to order! I got a little stressed worrying about everyone ordering something crazy. At first I said no waffle cones but then I changed my mind. It was the last day of school after all!




Some people (the girls!) really enjoyed their ice cream.


What a relief to have a break from school. And what fun memories of the last day! I hope we can make it a tradition!

I can’t remember any frustrating outtakes from this trip except for a little miscommunication between Kenny and me in Ben and Jerry’s. I started worrying about how much all this ice cream was going to cost and suggested we should all get regular cones and skip the waffle cones. Kenny is the one that thought we could splurge since it was the last day of school. I must have looked pained. He was the first one to order and skipped the cone all together and got his in a cup! Then all the kids started begging for waffle cones and I caved. I didn’t find out until we were outside eating our ice cream that he got his in a cup because he thought he wasn’t allowed to get a cone! I felt terrible. I definitely owe him a waffle cone from Ben and Jerry’s. Hmmm…. Grandma’s coming in a couple of weeks. I wonder if she will be up for a little babysitting? Wink

Kitchen disasters or, when things don’t go according to plan

I was patting myself on the back when we left for our field trip on Friday. For as old as I am, you would think I would know enough to at least be cautious when I pat myself on the back. 😉

You see this crock pot full of yummy stew? It’s filled with chunks of tender beef and loaded with yummy vegetables like potatoes, carrots, mushrooms, and tomatoes.


I put this meal together before we left because I knew I’d be too tired to cook even a simple meal after a whole day out. I actually thought about the stew several times throughout the day and was almost anxious to get the field trip over with to get home to what is one of my favorite meals. I didn’t smell it cooking when we all trooped exhausted through the door around 4:30 Friday afternoon. Somewhere in my mind I thought that was a bit odd but I didn’t go upstairs right away.

Kenny went up. He’d been thinking about that stew, too, and he wanted a bite. 🙂

He got a spoon, opened it up and dug in. And, it was cold.

You’re thinking I didn’t plug it in, right? Nope. I plugged it in. Maybe the crock pot died? It is ancient and I’ve been meaning to replace it. But that’s not it, either.

Safety plugs killed my stew.


The little red button wasn’t pushed in.

I think I’m growing as a person, though. There was a time that this situation would have really upset me. Don’t get me wrong. I was very frustrated. But in years past I may have even cried over the lost time, the lost food, the lost money. The lost money would have upset me the most because in years past things have been very tight. While we’re not where we want to be financially by any means we are definitely doing better. I owe a lot of it to good old Dave Ramsey. Thanks to his way of thinking we had money set aside to cover dinner.

We all hopped back in the van and headed to Wendy’s. Not the healthiest option but sometimes it’s OK. The picky kids who were not salivating all day thinking about the stew were thrilled. And for us old folks and the one kid who loves to eat, I made stew again the next day. I was going to share my recipe but even after all the whoopla the stew only received respectable marks. In the words of young, unmarried and completely honest Wesley, “It wasn’t the best stew I’ve ever had but it was all right.”

So I should probably end this post with some very sage advice about what to do when things don’t go according to plan. Honestly, I’m not yet qualified. I’m very much a type A personality and even a bit controlling. God is still working on me. The key, I think, is to let Him. I really did tell myself that it was OK that dinner didn’t turn out. We had a great day and I didn’t want to let such a little thing ruin it. I also had to tell myself that it was OK to spend the money going out to dinner even though we have financial goals we’re trying to meet. Sometimes it’s worth the sanity. 🙂

What I did on spring break

I really should have titled this post what “we” did on spring break because I could not have accomplished what I did without the help of my strapping 13 year old son! 😉 But more on that in a minute…

Mostly, I was lazy and it was grand. I let the kids be lazy, too. We slept later, we breakfasted in our pjs, they played games on the computer. I had no “to do” list. We’ve worked so hard this school year that we really needed a mental and physical break.

Until Friday. Friday I got the bug. I needed to get something done. I took a look in Jesse and Sophia’s room: (please note that it was not normally as clean as it is in the pictures; we cleaned a lot before I remembered to take pics!)

This was the view as soon as you opened the door — a glider rocker and Sophia’s toddler bed.

Jesse’s area plus a dresser the two kids shared.

This “toy” cabinet was to the right as you go in the door. As you can see it wasn’t being used to its full potential at all.

The top of the closet was stuffed with extra blankets.

As for the rest of the closet, let’s just say it’s a good thing we forgot to take a “before” picture. 😉

My mind had been ruminating for a long while about the problem with the teeny tiny boys room upstairs. It started out with 3 boys in twin beds. That was crazy. We bought a set of bunk beds as quickly as we could from Craigslist and it helped a little.


But they struggled mightily to keep such a crowded tight space clean. We toyed with all kinds of ideas from moving Novella downstairs and the three boys into her room to moving ALL the kids downstairs and eliminating Dad’s office (that was popular — NOT!!).

Finally I hit upon an idea I liked. While Novella LOVED having her own room, I had never been happy about splitting up the two girls. Sophia needed to be close to Mom and Dad when we first moved here but I thought maybe she might be ready to go back upstairs to the girl room. And John. Sweet John is such a different personality than the rest of the gang. He needs his personal space. Plus he really needed a buddy! So the obvious choice was to put him in the downstairs bedroom with Jesse and move Sophia up.

Have I mentioned that my loving husband is not the “move your furniture around and switch everyone’s bedrooms every few months” kind of guy? 😉 He’s never excited when I get one of these wild hairs (which, by the way, runs in my family. I totally get this honestly. My brother’s house is different every time I visit.) SO happily for me (and for Kenny), Abraham is big enough and STRONG enough to help. That boy is STRONG! 9 years of Tae Kwon Do and 100 push ups a day has bulked that boy UP. (Don’t worry about the preposition at the end of the sentence, honey. It will be OK.)

Anyway, Abe was more than happy to help me pull off my scheme. With his help, we transformed the downstairs bedroom into an all boy room.

Now the glider rocker is in the corner and you can see John Elijah’s bed on the opposite corner. The white chest stayed and is on the wall by the rocker.

Jesse’s crib is right bedside his brother’s bed. John Elijah is SO sweet to him and sings and rubs his head when he’s upset. Little sis would just yell “shut up and go to sleep!”

We moved the old toy cabinet to the washroom and put the changing table in its place.

We’ve got a lot of really cool ideas about how to decorate this space. We’re hoping to get really creative and do a DIY bamboo headboard when the bamboo growing rapidly in our yard gets a little taller. John Elijah is a super panda lover so in addition we’re going to go with a black and white theme color and use a cool green as an accent color. That should work well as the walls are already painted a light cool green.

The only real problem with the whole room switch? Remember I told you we started this on a Friday? It was a Friday before the 3rd Sunday when we have a prayer meeting in our home. No biggie, right? Well…

We did THIS to the great room when we started. YIKES!!

But it was a good thing. Normally this may have taken us weeks to clean up. But we had to get it picture perfect by Sunday. Sneaky, huh? EVERYONE had to help. 🙂

Whew! That feels better!

Steve Jobs and the Flylady

I have loosely followed the Flylady for close to 12 years. I’ll freely admit that I have allowed myself to be “flywashed” by her theories on keeping the house clean. And I am not about to bad mouth her ways or say they don’t work. They work. They work well. If you’re having trouble keeping your home clean, Marla Cilly can really help!
But there is one thing she teaches that I have recently called into question. She tells us that those of us who are not “born organized” are letting our tendency towards perfectionism paralyze us into non action. If we don’t have time to do a job right or perfectly, we do nothing and our home becomes chaos. Again, none of this is false. But somewhere along the way I’ve gotten the impression that my God given human tendency to strive for perfection is a bad thing. And I’ve slipped into complacency. I’ve joined the throngs of people in our current culture who preach that mediocre is good enough.
Is it? Is it wrong to try to be perfect?
My sister forwarded an article to me yesterday about Steve Jobs. I have admired Steve Jobs for most of my adult life. Yes, I know he considered himself more a Buddhist than a Christian. And yes, he certainly had plenty of character traits that were not admirable. A lot of people have criticized him since his death because he was famous for his perfectionism. But the article I read challenges that perfectionism is actually a Godly character trait. Following is a quote from the article by author Gerald Flurry:

The determination to reach perfection is a remarkable quality.
In a very real sense, it points us to God! In Matthew 5:48, ]esus
Christ commands His followers, “Be [or become] ye therefore
PERFECT, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” This
is a profound scripture. It really encapsulates the gospel of God!
It is all about human beings actually becoming like God Himself!
God is a perfectionist!

It’s OK to try to be perfect. The author goes on to describe how Jobs focused in on a few key areas to be perfect in and that’s why achieved such a measure of worldly success. He challenges us to do the same but, unlike Jobs, to focus on perfecting those areas of our lives that will aid us in our eternal success.

How does that translate to my every day? I have to decide what is most important and strive for perfection in those areas. I can’t be a perfect Christian, wife, mother, homeschool teacher and homemaker if I’m also trying to be a perfect writer, photographer, sign language interpreter wanna be, bird watcher and furniture refinisher! I have to zone in on what I really want — or what God really wants for me. That’s my struggle right now. But I’m so inspired and rejuvinated to know that it’s OK to work at being more.

I know I’ll ponder these thoughts more as I go along. If you’re interested in reading the full article visit The Philadelphia Trumpet and sign up for their free newsletter. You will gain access to their archived articles and can search for Steve Jobs and His Burning Passion to be Perfect by Gerald Flurry from January 2012.