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 Days 12-17

I wasn’t sure if I’d keep up with posting my project photos because I felt obligated to keep up with Daffodils at Home, too. But I’m so into the photography right now, that I’m ready to set the other aside for now. My husband encouraged me to follow my passions, so to speak. Right now, it’s photography. A few months from now, it may be furniture and decor again. I’ll ride the wave while I can. 🙂

I’ll start from Day 12 where I left off and post through Day 26. I’m curious to see where this journey will take me. The last few days I’ve been under the weather and the photos seem to reflect my lack of enthusiasm. Will I last a whole 365 days? I hope so because I can’t wait to see where picking up the camera every day for a year will take me!

Day 12
Jess and Abe

Another fun one from that day that I didn’t post to the project was of John, my panda lover, surrounded by bamboo.

John with bamboo

Day 13

Wesley B&W

I seriously think this may be my favorite photo that I’ve ever taken. 🙂

Day 14

Smiling eyes

Later Kenny suggested I cut this one in black and white. That worked, too!

Smiling eyes black and white

Day 15

Jesse at the beach

I got a sunset picture that day that I love, too.

November sunset 2014

Day 16

Cooking dinner smaller size

Not sure now why I posted that one because I really like this one as well.

Novella b&

Day 17

John at dawn

John and I caught the moon as we were walking to the pond that morning:

Moonlight walk pre-dawn

The computer is giving me error messages now so I’ll catch up on 18 through 26 in a day or two. Remember, if you’d like to start your own project, you can jump in any time at

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: Return to Apple Tree Farm

A couple of weekends ago, the kids and Kenny and I returned to our favorite Apple Orchard for their annual Farm Fest. Of course, I wanted to get the kids’ photo in front of the orchard’s sign like I did the previous two years. And, of course, the sign was not there this year. 🙁 But they had some cool decor on the porch to use as a photo backdrop.

Just for reference, here are the group pics from 2011 and 2012:

Riverview 2011 with wm

Poor Jesse didn’t even make it into this one. I had no idea it would become a tradition! I took this pic at the end so I bet he was asleep in the sling. 🙂 Just so he doesn’t get skipped, here is one of my favorite pics of him from that year:

Jesse eating apple 2011 wm

Riverview 2012

Wow. Just wow. What a difference a year makes in the life of a teenager!! They change as quickly as babies!! Here is the shot from this year:

Riverview Orchard 2013

Some of my favorites: 🙂

Jesse laughing at dad
No idea what was on Jesse’s mind in the hay maze!

John hayride
John Elijah on the hayride.

dadandboys behind the wagon
There was no room on the hayride for Dad and the boys so they walked down to the orchard. You can see them if you look closely.

sophia with apple bag
Sophia wanted to carry the apple bag.

jesse with apple bag
The minute she sat it down, Jesse ran off with it!

abe and kenny apple picking
Abe and Kenny came up with a way to get the high apples!

wes and kenny picking apples
Wesley had to try it, too! Good thing Dad’s been working out!!

jesse picking apple
Just a cute apple picking photo.

mom and kids on hayride
Proof that I was actually there. Thank, Abe. 🙂

big boys at the apple farm
My handsome young men.

I’m so glad we’re still in New York at apple picking time. We were sad when we thought we might have to leave in August and miss it. In fact, I think we may have to walk down to the orchard this weekend and pick a few more!

Field Trip Friday — Clark Museum in Williamstown, Mass.

It’s been a while since I posted a Field Trip Friday post! I had lots more to tell about the Kentucky trip, but the summer got away from me. Most of you know I started a new blog, Daffodils at Home. I’ve been working very hard on making that blog a part time job and it’s left little time for other blogging. I will still be popping in from time to time here, though. My ultimate goal is to have Daffodils at Home as my home/decor blog, Daffodil Days as a personal blog to talk about the goings on in the family (funny stories, kid birthdays, etc.), and a separate blog (can you guess the name?) to cover all things homeschool. I know. It sounds like a lot! But I’ll only be blogging here and at the homeschool blog once or twice a week.

With all that said, I will backtrack and post pictures of the Kentucky trip and the recent kid birthdays over the next few weeks. For today, I want to talk about an absolutely AMAZING museum we found quite by chance in Williamstown, Massachusetts. I saw an article in the Sunday newspaper about three weeks ago telling about an exhibit by Winslow Homer that was soon to close. I had never heard of Winslow Homer but was working hard on the new school schedule at the time and was in the middle of scheduling artists for the year. (We study one artist in depth each term of the school year.) I saw the words “Famous American Artist”, “from Boston”, and “ending soon” and was hooked. We had to go! I looked it up on Google maps and found out it was only 49 miles away.

I quickly fell in love with Winslow Homer. Born in Boston in the late 1800s, he is most well known for his marine paintings. My favorite so far is called Boys in a Pasture. I now have a framed print of it on the wall of our school room:

dining room homer print

We drove about an hour and a half to get to the museum so the first thing we did was have a picnic lunch. I’m glad we grabbed some food before we left home because we seemed to be out in the boonies with an expensive museum lunch as the only alternative. It was a beautiful day for a picnic!

Clark picnic

Clark picnic John

After the picnic, all the kids wanted to see the “brain” on the side of the tree. I’m guessing it’s some kind of protection because a limb was removed?

Clark brain on the tree

When we got into the museum, they told us the Homer exhibit was upstairs and part of their permanent collection was downstairs. I thought it would be a good idea to glance at the permanent collection first because we would be tired and want to go home after seeing all of the Homer stuff. The first room we walked into was full of paintings by John Singer Sargent such as this one titled Mademoiselle Jourdain:

Clark Sargent 2

The next room had a Paul Gauguin (!) called Young Christian Girl:

Clark Gaugain 2

There was also a Renior in this room called Bather Arranging Her Hair. I won’t post the picture as the bather is nude. You can look it up if you’re interested. Abe didn’t want to go into this room at all because of it, but I dragged him in (letting him turn his head away from the Renoir to make him feel better) because, people, THERE WAS A MONET IN THIS ROOM!!!!

Rouen Cathedral: The Facade in Sunlight
Monet Rouen Cathedral

I nearly cried. Monet is my favorite. 🙂 I wish you could see it in real life. I wish I could go back and stare at it longer!! There was so much more. We saw several more by Renoir, Manet, Louis-David, Fragonard, Corot, Rousseau, Toulouse-Lautrec, Millet, Delacroix, Turner. I’m sure there were others equally famous. Those were just a few that the children and I have studied over the years.

There was a statue called Little Dancer Aged Fourteen by Edgar Degas:

degas little dancer

It was stunning. I had completely forgotten that Degas also did sculptures. The one that had me nearly in tears, though, was this one:

Virgin and Child with Saint John the Baptist by Sandro Botticelli

I’m so glad they allowed photography. (with no flash, of course) I’m nearly in tears all over again looking through all the photos. I made all the kids stand and drink in that Botticelli as long as was decent.

Needless to say, we didn’t get a huge amount of time on the Homer exhibit. By the time we got to it, the littles had nearly had it. (Some of the bigs were getting a little museum weary, too.) Here are a couple that I particularly liked:

Homer summer squall
Summer Squall

Homer shepherdess of houghton farm
Shepherdess of Houghton Farm

Homer the eagle's nest
The Eagle’s Nest

I had to stop a guard on the way out and tell her how moved I was by the museum’s exhibits. She told me to plan to come back next year because half the museum was closed for renovations. You better believe that trip is on my to do list for 2014! Really, I’d make the trip again just for the Monet and the Botticelli.

Field Trip Friday — Niagara Falls!

Last week when we set out on our week long adventure to a retreat in Kentucky (and yes, this trip will provide fodder for Field Trip Friday posts for several weeks!), we had no intention of stopping at Niagara Falls. It wasn’t even on our scope. But as we were driving down the road, Kenny mentions that we’ll pass right by it. What?! Really!? Can we stop?!!! Wonderful man that he is, he says yes — even though it cost us about 2 hours of driving time.

Since we didn’t plan to stop at Niagara, we didn’t really know what we were doing. We had rented a Chevy Tahoe for the trip which had built in GPS so we just plugged Niagara Falls into the system and clicked on the first thing that came up. It did get us to Niagara Falls, New York.

wecome to nf sign

In my mind, I think Niagara Falls, New York, was just a big giant waterfall with maybe a post office next to it. And maybe a hotel.

It’s actually a bustling city and the falls are not that easily accessible. I’d say we wasted at least another half an hour trying to locate them. We finally found them in a state park. We paid $10 for parking and had to walk a little ways to get to the actual falls.

walking to the falls

Oh. my. goodness. It was SO worth it. Breathtaking.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

Falls 1

Falls 3Falls 4Falls 2Falls 5

We saw some Canadians…


When we looked out at the coast of Canada through the mist we saw them again. I think they got wet!

Falls at Canada

Of course, we had to ask someone to take a picture of the whole family at the Falls!

Falls whole fam

And Abe kindly (although with a bit of grumbling over the kissing!) took romantic pics of mom and dad at Niagara Falls.

Falls mom and dad

Falls kissin

I also got a couple of great kid shots. 🙂

Falls Nov

Falls Dad and Jesse

If you’re ever in the vicinity, you must stop! We can’t wait to go back with passports and look from the Canadian side, too!

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!

Menu Plan Monday


I haven’t posted Menu Plan Monday in a long time. Lately, though, I’m making more of an effort to streamline the “must dos” in order to squeeze in more “wanna dos”! Having a set menu plan helps so much! It’s crazy how much time I waste on dinner when I have no plan!

Without further ado, here’s the plan for this week:

Monday — Oatmeal
Tuesday — Cold cereal
Wednesday — Muffins and smoothies
Thursday — Eggs and toast
Friday — Hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat or grits); if there is cold cereal left from earlier in the week, it can be eaten instead
Saturday — Pancakes or waffles
Sunday — Bagels and cream cheese; bananas

To be honest, I don’t plan lunches any more. I always have things available to make sandwiches, roll ups or do a “snackie” lunch. There is also always fruit available. People just make their own and someone helps the littlest two.

Monday — Spaghetti; salad; bread made in the bread maker
Tuesday — Stir fry over spaghetti squash or rice
Wednesday — Baked potatoes; salad
Thursday — HAPPY 4TH OF JULY! Hamburgers, hotdogs; baked beans; deviled eggs; watermelon; coconut cream pie
Friday — Taco salad
Saturday — Homemade pizza

We don’t always stick to the plan I make. This morning we had pancakes instead of oatmeal because I didn’t have time to make pancakes over the weekend. Do you plan your menus? Do you have special plans for the 4th?

To see other menu plans for the week, visit I’m An Organizing Junkie!

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