Monday, October 2, 2017

Photography: 5 Steps to Pay It Forward with Pictures in Team Sports

During this year's soccer season, I have have been reminded a very beautiful fact:  Pictures make people smile!  For me, it has lifted my spirits and heart to hear the thankful words and reactions from players as they see through my lens and watch themselves in action.  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of student groups and athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.


This is our K's 10th year of soccer.  I have always wanted to capture her in her moment, but my photography skills weren't the best.


During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.


As I started getting a bit better, I began including pictures of her teammates as well, but I never quite figured out how to share them all.  I let myself become bogged down trying to edit all the pics to make them look their best, and most of them are still in a file somewhere with hopes that I will get to them before graduation day!

This year, I have finally discovered a way to share my pictures with the rest of K's teammates.  I started a private Facebook page for the team.  As a freshman mom, I didn't know many of the families on the team, players or parents, but sharing pictures has been a great way to get to know everyone!  It is a private FB page, so I had the team mom and a team captain be administrators of the page with me so we could include those team members and parents who had a Facebook account.

The reactions of the players and families have been wonderful!  No one had ever taken the time to take pictures of the girls. As a sometimes vocal parent, concentrating on the action through a lens stifled all most of my outbursts. On the flip side, sometimes watching the match unfold from a zoom lens makes a momma bear growl a bit too loudly. YIKES!

One late night, I realized that a player was commenting on pictures and liking them as I loaded each batch.  The light bulb went off when I realized she wasn't going to to go bed until the last pic had been loaded.  A few parents confessed to the same behavior.  That added a little bit of pressure to getting home and going through the game's pics, but it was so worth it to read the comments and see the likes on many pictures.

Now, it's time to go through all of these captures for the "Best of the Best" slideshow at the end of the season banquet.  I've even created a couple of files entitled "Tongues" and "Crazy Legs."  There are also a few candids from the sideline.  Here's a sample of my pictures, unedited, from this year.  I'm just sharing those that feature our Miss K, but believe me when I say there are a ton more where these come from!

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

During this year's soccer season, I have discovered a very beautiful secret:  Pictures make people smile!  Are you a good photographer? Would you like to make a difference in the lives of young athletes?  I want to share with you a very simple way to share your gift with these young athletes that will keep on giving long after the last whistle/buzzer/horn sounds.

So, how do you get started with using your gift to pay it forward in pictures?

1.  Get permission from the parents of the sport or group you would like to follow.  Include why you
     want to do this and how the pictures WILL and WILL NOT be shared.

2.  Establish sharing rules.  Pictures should be saved to a PRIVATE Facebook page or other
     PRIVATE online source like Google Docs or DropBox. Players and parents are welcome to use
     their own pics as they see fit.

3,  Do not spend a lot of time editing pictures,   I try to go through and weed out the blurry ones,
     but that is ALL I do to the pictures before uploading them. If you can't stand not editing pictures,
     pick out your favorite ones from each game/match, and let yourself go on just those few.

4.  Create a slideshow from your favorite pictures, and present it to be viewed at the end of the
     season banquet.  A collection of individual player's shots would also be a cool present to give at
     the end of the season or event.  Just save them to a flash drive.

5. Offer to edit and tweak 2-3 pictures per parent/student's request.


5 Steps to Pay It Forward with Pictures


I love projects that are super simple to make and give back to someone else.  By paying it forward with pictures, not only do you have happy kiddos and mommas, you also allow yourself the time and opportunity to perfect your own photography skills.  I can tell you that I see improvement in my skills from just taking pictures this season!  WIN - WIN!!!!!!!!!



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries



After a big holiday celebration, I bet a lot of you are filing away recipes of your favorite foods. Before you put those all away, I have one more to add to your pile.  This Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries is going to be a salad you'll be making several more times this summer and throughout the rest of the year.  It's light, sweet, tangy, and it can stand on its own as a meal if you add some chicken or tuna to this fruity, nutty salad.

 Spinach and Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries

After a big holiday celebration, I bet a lot of you are filing away recipes of your favorite foods. Before you put those all away, I have one more to add to your pile.  This Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries is going to be a salad you'll be making several more times this summer and throughout the rest of the year.  It's light, sweet, tangy, and it can stand on its own as a meal if you add some chicken or tuna to this fruity, nutty salad.

So how was your Fourth of July?  Ours was a bit fast and furious, but we hade a great time with family and friends.  We first headed up north a bit to Brook, Indiana where I spent many a 4th of July celebrations with my family.  Sadly, I don't know as many people as I used to, but there were still some familiar faces to hug and kiss while we were there.


The big deal at Brook is actually a 2-fer: You watch the Parade, and then you wander down to the old school, now called the Brook Community Center, for their most famous smoked pork chop meals.  Oh my, they did not disappoint.  My whole family was there, and we were able to chat and get the latest and greatest from everyone....well, everyone except Josh.  He is now an Army Major, and it's hard to keep up with where he is from day to day, except when he started tweeting about being stuck on a plane in Philly.  That was kind of fun to read (But probably not quite as fun to write!)

After the fun of family time, we scooted back here to host a small gathering of friends.  This time Steve, aka Tall Guy, was able to join us.  Poor guy, he has been working in between rains, like most farmers have been doing, to get the beans sprayed and, in some places, corn.  He was my head grill master!  Hamburgers, pork burgers, and hot dogs were on the menu along with the usual pitch-in fare, and this salad was my contribution to the fun!

After a big holiday celebration, I bet a lot of you are filing away recipes of your favorite foods. Before you put those all away, I have one more to add to your pile.  This Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries is going to be a salad you'll be making several more times this summer and throughout the rest of the year.  It's light, sweet, tangy, and it can stand on its own as a meal if you add some chicken or tuna to this fruity, nutty salad.

Everyone said it was a keeper!

I love this salad because it's super easy to make, and it really is a healthy side dish to add to a big table at a gathering of family or friends.  If you can boil water, you can make this easy salad that will look like you slaved for hours.

The recipe below has affiliate links in it so you can make this salad like I did.


After a big holiday celebration, I bet a lot of you are filing away recipes of your favorite foods. Before you put those all away, I have one more to add to your pile.  This Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries is going to be a salad you'll be making several more times this summer and throughout the rest of the year.  It's light, sweet, tangy, and it can stand on its own as a meal if you add some chicken or tuna to this fruity, nutty salad.Printable recipe:


Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries

Ingredients
Cooking Directions
  1. Boil water and cook pasta as directed on its box, drain, and cool.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, clean and prepare spinach, drain the oranges, and slice the strawberries. 
  3. Add all these ingredients into a large serving bowl.
  4. Add the 2 packages of cranberries and glazed walnuts
  5. Pour salad dressing over all the ingredients, tossed until all are well mixed together.

After a big holiday celebration, I bet a lot of you are filing away recipes of your favorite foods. Before you put those all away, I have one more to add to your pile.  This Spinach Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries is going to be a salad you'll be making several more times this summer and throughout the rest of the year.  It's light, sweet, tangy, and it can stand on its own as a meal if you add some chicken or tuna to this fruity, nutty salad.

Spinach and Pasta Salad with Mandarin Oranges and Strawberries


The inspiration for this salad came from a Pinterest post I found from Jenn at MotherThyme.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day: A Day to Remember Those Who Served

On Memorial Day, I think about and remember my grandpa, Todd Wikle.  He was a great fisherman, tied his own flies, farmed, was a county health inspector, an excellent woodworker who made the beds we all slept in for many years.  I still have the bed he made for himself and Grandma.  Grandpa Todd was pretty much a Jack of all trades and mastered each one.  He was a quiet man, but he loved us much.  He was also a WWII veteran.  An infantry captain, Grandpa served most of his war time in the Philippines.  During that time, his battalion was lost for weeks in the jungle.  He went in weighing 160 pounds and carrying a sub-machine gun.  He came out weighing only 90 pounds.  His accuracy with his gun earned him a place as a sniper protecting General Douglas MacArthur when he made his famous return.

As like most vets, Grandpa didn't talk much about the war.  We lost him to ALS, a terrible disease that first took away his ability to use his hands, which were his gifts in so many ways.  The day he died, October 6, 1989, he was sitting in his chair watching his beloved Cubs win against the San Fransisco Giants to tie up the NLCS.  Grandma said that right after the Cubs won,  she heard him say, "Those are my boys." Then he passed.  He must have known that would be the only game they would win in that post season attempt to get into the World Series.  We always laugh about that.

I had Grandpa Todd, along with my Uncle Floyd, in my heart as we visited Pearl Harbor a few years ago.  What a huge piece of history rests in that harbor.  Let me show you.



Pearl Harbor is the area that looks like a triangle in the upper third of this picture.




It was eerie to hear planes flying overhead while at Pearl.  It was even eerie flying into Honolulu.  While we didn't take the route of the Japanese, I still had thoughts, "This is what they saw that horrible day."


As we walked around the area taking in all the historical memorabilia and listening to excerpts from veterans of that day, my eyes were always drawn to the Arizona Memorial.




The white bar shape shows you where the memorial is as it hovers over the Arizona.  The other two markers are where other battleships rest after being destroyed.


They say that the Arizona still sends out oil, and there is that sheen to the water.









Included in our tour of Pearl Harbor was a visit to the USS Missouri, or Mighty Mo, as she is also known.  This ship has been refurbished and used throughout our country's many battles up through Desert Storm.  After 50 years at sea, she was officially retired.  These guns have seen much action, but maybe the most recently memorable moment was when Cher stood in front of them singing, "If I Could Turn Back Time."






The famous spot where WW II ended with Japan's signing of the surrender agreement.


If you look closely, you can see that the officer representing Canada signed on the wrong spot.  The story goes they could not get the highest ranking Canadian officer, so this man filled in, and he was so nervous that he signed on the wrong line.




Our last stop was a place called The Punch Bowl.


This is the National Cemetery for many of those lost at Pearl and a few other famous soldiers.  They are replacing the grass in this section.




Here rests our very own Hoosier hero, Ernie Pyle.



These huge sprawling trees were so captivating.

Thanks to Grandpa and all those who served that day and in the wars before during and after to protect our freedoms.  Pearl Harbor is a place everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime.

On this Memorial Day, please take the time to remember those who served so we can freely live today.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!  This post is from a couple years ago, and I wish I could say we are at the same place this year, but......   This month we have had 9-10 inches of rain, and not one bean seed is in the ground.  There isn't much we can do about it; we were 50 acres shy of finishing corn before we started this rain cycle, and now we are thinking that we may have to replant the spots that we already replanted once.   For now, we will just have to be patient and pray this next week is a dry one.

I have to admit, I felt just a tinge of that green devil as I saw all the fun camping and race pictures feeding through Facebook yesterday.   Here's what our very own Pit Crew looked like after helping Dad and Gpa fill the bean planter.......


....but we started the weekend off clean.

We rarely get to relax like that this time of year, at least not as a family.  The girls and I did scoot off for a bit of fun Saturday in West Lafayette,  We discovered these newest street art projects on the West Side.  I believe the theme is "Lions and Tigers and Bears~!"  The one Lion and one Tiger, though, I believe reside across the river.




All Fired Up fun......


Lupper (Lunch/Supper) at Scotty's and then we saw Pitch Perfect 2, but yesterday was more work focused.

This is the sunrise that travelers saw as they made their way to Indianapolis for the Indy 500.  It's also the same sunrise campers woke up to, and farmers judged the sky and weather by.


After church and a parts run, the girls and I headed out to pick some more asparagus, but we had to have our own little version of a Pit Stop to help Tall Guy and Grandpa load up the bean planter.





Guess which one was on graphite duty on this first pit stop?


After wading through some very tall grass, finding a good bag full of our favorite veggie, and saying, "Hello!" to Mr. Crane,


we had a call to come back and help with the planter again.





Tink's turn with the Graphite bottle.....Gpa is trying to giver her a few, uhm, pointers????




Did I mention that it was EXTREMELY windy out on the Ridge and Prairie?  Sheesh!


We might not have clocked a pit stop in and out in under 10 seconds, it was more like 10 minutes, but working with the good ol' "Many hands make for light work,"  we helped the planter get back in the field in pretty good time.  As I type, we have one more bean field to plant of ours, one possible replant on 80 acres of corn, and about 100 acres of beans in the next county south to get in for a friend.  Hope you all are having a wonderful weekend with family and friends.  Say a thankful prayer for those who are serving our country and those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy these moments.