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Welcome to 2013!
Jan 5th, 2013 by Jessica

We’re just one week into 2013, and this is already starting out as an exciting year. First of all, we have a blog post!  An actual blog post!  What could be more exciting than that?

Disneyland, December 2012

Disneyland, December 2012

The Spring 2013 semester will see the start of two new classes for me at one of our colleges. I’m taking Windows 7 Administration (I & II) as well as the CompTIA A+ certification course. I always like to brush up on my technical skills now and then.  I’m pretty sure I will learn a tip or two over the semester in these refresher courses.

My sister brought her family out to visit for a week during Winter Break.  We took a cheese and butter class in Scottsdale. Andrew and I decided to try our hand at homemade mozzarella which turned out quite well for our first attempt.  It’s easier than we thought. The instructor taught us a recipe for Lemon Ricotta cookies with fresh ricotta cheese, so that’s next on my list of kitchen creations. Andrew and I use Pinterest to share ideas for baking and dinners. It works really well to post ideas on a shared board for us to browse through.

Noah teaching me Lego building, October 2012

Noah teaching me Lego building, October 2012

During October my little brother Noah came out to visit and taught me how to build and properly play with a Lego kit. He’s so adorable it hurts! Oh my goodness. I miss him so much. At just 9 years old, he is the sweetest most loving little brother in the world. I just love it when he sends me letters and drawings in the mail. It melts my heart. For Christmas this year, Andrew got me my very own Lego kit. It was really neat to put together but I didn’t have a lot of time to spend photographing it before it got packed away in the Christmas decorations. Perhaps next year I’ll be able to take some cool macro photos of the minifigs on set.

   I’m still taking photos whenever I can. Recently it’s been a lot of roses and macro shots. Eventually I’d like to get a nice telephoto lens, but there are several things on my savings wish list that will have to come first. A new computer, a new camera body and a tilt-shift lens are pretty high on that list.

Tumbles, the noisemaker

Tumbles, the noisemaker

Digital scrapbooking is a new hobby of mine. It takes up less physical space than the 23 scrapbooks on top of my desk, but I’ve already accumulated 15 GB of digital files. I’m just starting out and learning how to use templates and make my own. So far it’s been a learning curve even for the decent Photoshop user that I am – perhaps because I’m so used to creating with my hands instead of on the computer. I’ve got a half dozen pages created and am starting to get the hang of it.  Having a constant blank canvas can be taxing because there are so many fun embellishments and papers to play with. I just love it!

Bee, December 2012

Bee, December 2012

This blog continues to be a catalyst for genealogical connections. Many people find my blog while searching for their ancestor or a recent family member and contact me for more information. Most recently I’ve had two separate individuals from the Karpuk line get in touch with me for very different reasons. It’s amazing that all this hard work is finally paying off. I still go through periods when I’m not sure anyone will care about all my research, especially since I have nobody to pass it on to. I just have to keep reminding myself that there are people out there who may not even be born yet in various family lines who will someday be thankful for my work.

The kitties continue to be a big part of our daily routine. Cheetoe has taken to eating his own fur ever since we lost Olly earlier in the year. The vet says he’s stressed out, and his joints are hurting him so he’s become a compulsive groomer. He’s attached to Andrew like velcro and never leaves him alone. Tumbleweed still won’t stop talking. He’s got the craziest personality of all. Meow, meow meow, meow, meow. It’s never-ending. Lucky is still the sweet one. He’s scared of everything and loves to cuddle and get belly rubs. He’s got a high squeaky voice that rarely comes out unless he seriously wants attention.

So that’s about it for now. It’s been a long time since I’ve posted an actual, real-time blog entry. Enjoy, and happy 2013!

 

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Wordless Wednesday – Flowers from Andrew
Sep 19th, 2012 by Jessica

Flowers from Andrew (September 2011)

Flowers from Andrew (September 2011)

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Preparing to say Goodbye
Aug 19th, 2012 by Jessica

I’m sadly preparing to say goodbye to my Baby – my 2004 GMC Envoy SLE.  She’s been with me her entire life. Since July 2004, she has accompanied us safely on journeys all throughout Arizona, California, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and more – 113,519 miles to be exact.  She’s been on the Vegas Strip a few dozen times.  She drove through a Redwood tree in California.  She made it up Snowbowl with her four wheel drive.  She’s got some love dings to prove her adventurous side.

My Baby - 2004 GMC Envoy SLE
My Baby – 2004 GMC Envoy SLE

I’ve been searching for my next car for nearly two years.  I’ve driven more than 50 cars on my quest to find a suitable replacement.  In fact, I was going to replace her in 2011 but I just couldn’t find one that met her high standards for comfort and power.  That meant Andrew was able to replace his car instead, and I kept on happily driving her until now.

Unfortunately my Baby isn’t going to last much longer.  She’s worked her little engine out for me.  She nearly falls apart going over railroad tracks.  She stalls randomly on freeway exit ramps.  Her lights flicker and strobe when it rains.  Most of her dash and radio lights have burned out. Sadly, it’s time for her to go.

I’m gaining Bluetooth, a back-up camera, a sunroof, programmable heated seats, built-in Navigation and remote start.  I’m letting go of beautiful plush cloth seats, the most incredible turning radius known to man and about 15 cubic feet of cargo space.  There are pros and cons to both.  At least the engines should be comparable, although my Baby is about half the curb weight.  I’ve already purchased cloth seat covers and an ultrasuede steering wheel cover to hide all the nasty black leather in her replacement.

Even though I’ve ordered a brand new car, nothing can replace my Baby.  I’ll miss her dearly. She’s still in the driveway and I already miss her.

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My Current Hobby: Nail Art
Aug 11th, 2012 by Jessica

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Layers

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Layers

Throughout my life I’ve shifted from one hobby to the next, rotating through several common themes.  Typically they center around creativity and/or writing of some kind like scrapbooking, genealogy, poetry and jewelry making.  At the moment, I’m a bit obsessed with Nail Art.  I’m sure it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s suddenly very popular in the United States.

When I enjoy something I tend to invest in it.  I invest a lot of time and a lot of money into the things that I truly enjoy.  It’s where I derive the most relaxation; an escape from day to day stress.

"Ice Cream Sandwich" Manicure
“Ice Cream Sandwich” Manicure

While I’m not very good with manicures and my nails would be considered by most to be pathetic, I enjoy sparkles and flashy colors. The amount of patience I exhibit while layering color after color onto my nails impresses even my own self.  I’m not a patient person; not by any means whatsoever.  I surprise myself at the length of time I will take to make my nails shine.

With the current fads, I can still get away with slathering my nails in pink sparkles and not look entirely like a nutcase out in public.  Crackle polish?  Love it.  Magnetic polish? I have several. Crystals? Thousands and thousands await my creative use.  My favorite polish color?  Blue.  Blue sparkles above all.

My Wall of Nail Products
My Wall of Nail Products

Today I randomly decided to create a multilayer look. I started with an OPI Natural Base Coat.  Then I put on the pink – Wet ‘n Wild Megalast Undercover – which seemed really pretty. It’s the first time I’ve used this particular polish. The brush in it is oversized and it goes on very fast with three swipes.  Given this is a Wet ‘n Wild polish, the brush is a marked improvement over their typical cheap brushes.

Then for whatever reason I decided to throw some gray on top – Wet ‘n Wild Fast Dry Gray’s Anatomy. I didn’t realize how purple it was until I started layering; I thought it was more of a silver. It’s not gray – it’s more like a lavender.

After that, I didn’t like the look I had randomly created so I threw some silver at the end of each nail – Sally Hansen Instra-Dri Presto Pewter – my go-to silver for a great thick shine. The Instra-Dri line is incredible.  I love using it for a one-coat BAM of deep color.

Then I really didn’t like the look, so I decided to slather some pink glitter on top – Revlon Sparkling #261. It’s sister color is Revlon Radiant #441 – my absolute favorite blue sparkle.  That’s just what it needed!

Then I decided to keep on going.  I put on some OPI Top Coat, and placed on three pink crystal flowers on each of my ring fingers.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe because I like sparkly things and once coat of glitter just wasn’t enough.

I call this manicure Ice Cream Sandwich. I have no idea why; it looks more like a fruit flavored Popsicle or perhaps an Easter cake. No matter. They are my nails so I suppose I can call it whatever I want to.

I’ve included a shot of my wall of nail products. I can see there is still some space left on the shelves… I think it’s time to see what else I can find to fill them up!  I recently picked up the China Glaze Magnetix Magnet with three different magnets for variation effects when using the magnetic polishes.  I’m not very happy with its results so far.  Maybe I need some tips on how to use it more effectively.

I hope this fad lasts for a while, because it’s going to take me a long time to combine all these nail colors into a zillion fancy manicures.  I just love ‘em all!

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Wordless Wednesday – Hot Air Balloon Overhead
Jun 20th, 2012 by Jessica

This hot air balloon frequently flies over our home in Gilbert

This hot air balloon frequently flies over our home in Gilbert

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Happy Thanksgrilling!
Nov 24th, 2011 by Jessica

Our Thanksgiving Table (2010)

Our Thanksgiving Table (2010)

I would like to express my gratitude for my wonderful family and friends for their unending love and support.  I’ve had an absolutely wonderful year, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

We celebrate this year with a new tradition.  I’m calling it Thanksgrilling.  That’s right!  No turkeys in the oven.  No yams on the table.  No stuffing to stuff our faces with.

Our family chose to make a simple yet delicious meal of hamburgers, hot dogs and a steak (for me, thanks hun!).  Throw some rolls in the oven and some veggies in the microwave and let’s eat!

We’re celebrating being together as a family without all the fuss.  We’ll have more time for fun and games and enjoying each others’ company this way.

Happy Thanksgrilling, everyone!

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Water Marbling Nail Technique
Nov 19th, 2011 by Jessica

I went to a group meetup today where I learned some new nail techniques called Water Marbling, Konad Stamping and Newspaper Transfer.

I instantly fell in love with the water marbling technique and used it to “paint” my nails black and red.  In summary, you drop nail polish in a dixie cup filled with water.  Then you swirl it around with a stick (think: cappuccino art) and place your nail through the design.  Clean off the excess and BAM!  AWESOME NAILS!

Water Marbling Nail Art

Water Marbling Nail Art

Add a rhinestone or two and you too can quickly reach your minimum 37 pieces of flare…

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It must be Caturday
Oct 1st, 2011 by Jessica

I was snapping photos by the window today, but Olly had other plans.  Like petting.  As in, me petting him.  Right now.  Apparently, he really wanted to be in the photos!  I don’t mind at all.

He sure is a sweet kitty when he wants to be.  Talk about a loyal companion – that’s Olly for you.

Oh, and that weird look on my face?  That’s me blowing him kisses.  He loves it when I whisper to him.  He bonks his forehead into mine and purrs like crazy.

Olly and Me

Olly and Me

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A Decade of Homeownership
Sep 29th, 2011 by Jessica

Jessica and Andrew during construction

Jessica and Andrew during construction

Ten years ago today, Andrew and I signed our life away and got the keys to our very first home.

We built the house to our specifications and picked out everything in it from the floor plan to the vault orientation, the number of bedrooms, colors, carpeting, cabinets, counters, appliances, fixtures and even the location of every outlet and cable throughout the home.  I don’t think I could ever move to a used home having been so spoiled with the ability to make such personal and specific choices!

We visited the home site during construction every day and took pictures of the entire process.  Those pictures, over the years, have been absolutely priceless.  We have used them to map out cables and piping, locate gas lines, change out air conditioners, fix electrical problems, and much more.  I think Andrew’s family secretly wondered about my sanity because I took more than 2,500 pictures during the process with my brand new 1.2 megapixel digital camera.

Check out a time lapse view of our Home Progression (MPEG video).

Our home construction in progress

Our home construction in progress

Here are a few fun facts about our first house:

  • The final purchase price was $168,400 after we added on about $40k in upgrades to the Richmond American Kirkland model.
  • Andrew didn’t have a job when we purchased this house.  We had moved back from Boston about a month prior to buying it.  He didn’t get a job until a week or so after we signed the papers to build it.
  • We bought this house on April 29, 2001 which was just over 9 months before we got married.
  • The house took exactly 5 months to build from the time we put our deposit down until the time we got the keys from the lender.
  • Since purchasing the home, we have invested approximately $20,000 for front and back yard landscaping, $8,000 to upgrade the bathrooms and $10,000 in new and upgraded appliances.

The article below was in the East Valley Tribune, July 7, 2001 on page B1-B2. It talks about our experience in buying our first home in Gilbert, Arizona.

One of the things I love about genealogy is the ability to find information about our family members published in historical newspapers. I thought it would be useful for future generations of our family if I noted one local newspaper article that featured Andrew and me.

East Valley Tribune, July 7, 2001. Page B1

East Valley Tribune, July 7, 2001. Page B1

East Valley Tribune, July 7, 2001. Page B2.

East Valley Tribune, July 7, 2001. Page B2.

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Ty Beanie Baby Collection
Feb 18th, 2011 by Jessica

Ty Bonnet the Bear, my favorite newest addition

Ty Bonnet the Bear, my favorite newest addition

My Ty Beanie Baby collection is still growing.  You can find images of all 461 unique Ty Beanies in my Flickr pool.

More than 95% of my collection consists solely of “New Face” teddy bears.  There are still over 170 bears on my wish list that might be attainable.  My wish list does not include the impossibly expensive ones that I will likely never get, like the autographed Billionaire bears.

Of course, if Beanies aren’t really your thing, you can always browse Andrew’s collection of Transformers images on his Flickr pool.

Use caution however; his robots are sometimes in disguise.  Don’t let them fool you!  They take up at least five times more space in the attic than my Beanie collection does.

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© 2013 Jessica M. Green