Giveaway Winner!

I'm so happy to be able to host a giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 Likes on the Nekaro Facebook page! Again I'd like to say...

The winner is...

Renata Sassi

Congratulations Renata!  Thank you for liking Nekaro!  

Renata will have 24 hours to respond to the notification email.  Thanks to ALL who entered the giveaway and to ALL who have pushed the Nekaro FB page likes to 150!  Y'all are awesome!!!!

The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2013


I was happy to be able to participate in this year's Great Cloth Diaper Change last weekend.  Looking back on last year's change, I can't believe how much my wee little one has grown!

I'm sure potty training is in our near future.  I've ordered some cutesy trainers.  I'm a little sad about this whole process though.  I feel like once she's finally out of diapers, she won't be my baby anymore.  AHHH! I'm not ready to not have a baby.

Nurture Photography - Lilac/Flowers

Our lilac tree/bush has been blooming for a week or so and it smells so lovely.  Many of the blooms have begun to die off so I was glad I was able to capture a few photos before they were gone.


We also have some wisteria growing in our back yard.  It also smells great, but the bees think so too!  I had to be cautious getting so close.


And then we have these cute little miniature daffodil looking flowers.


UPDATE:  On last week's challenge, I had posted a photo of a plant that I thought was a trillium, but I couldn't determine what kind it was.  I recently downloaded a new app on my iPad called Audubon Guides - A Field Guide to Birds, Mammals, Wildflowers, and Trees.  It's on sale for $5 (normally it's $20) until 4/29/13 to celebrate Audubon's birthday.  Through this app I was able to discover that the trillium I photographed is called a Toad Shade (trillium sessile).  I also discovered that it supposedly smells like decaying flesh.  Ick!  I'm glad I didn't get that close.

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You can find out more by visiting the Nurture Photography Facebook page. They are also on Instagram (hashtag #nurturephoto) and there is even a inspirational Pinterest board! Also check out Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, Rebecca of Bumbles & Light, and Alicia of Project Alicia.

Nail Biting and Me

I've been a nail biter for as long as I can remember. I've tried several times to quit. Sometimes it's been mildly successful and sometimes it's just completely failed. Usually I do well until a stressful situation presents itself, then I get nervous and bite them all off. I'd love to go have acrylic nails put on, but I simply can't afford them. Not to mention how bad they are for your natural nails. Someone mentioned to me that I should try shellac. Hmmm... I thought that over too, but again, I can't afford to keep going back to the nail salon every two weeks.

Enter the ever efficient Pinterest.

I stumbled across a pin that suggested you can do your own knock-off shellac for a fraction of the cost of going to the salon over and over.  I find that if I keep my nails painted, I tend to bite them less.  I decided that I would go on a nail biting strike and use this as my starting point.  I already had the Sally Hansen Powerful Acrylic Gel and Essie polish (I LOVE ESSIE!!).  I just needed the Sally Hansen No Chip top coat.

Here are my first use results:


I applied one coat of the gel, two coats of Essie Go Overboard, one coat of no chip top coat. Initial results were amazing! My nails had a high gloss finish and did look very similar to a salon finish.



However, by the end of Day 1, I already had a chipped nail. I chalked this up to the fact that I have nubs for nails. I wasn't able to go completely under the nail with the top coat like it had suggested.



By the end of Day 2 (last night), my right hand had large chips on three fingers and my thumb. My left hand had two small chips on two fingers.

I am unimpressed. Right off the bat, it looked great, but it didn't even last a day. Upon reading the reviews of the No Chip top coat I found that they were all very low. Every review mentioned the same thing that had happened to my nails.

I'm not giving up on my mission though.  I'm just going to move on to a different process.  Hopefully with more success!  Stay tuned!

Throwback Thursday


Le sigh... I wish I was this skinny again!  I think this was taken around 2003.  We were at my grandmother's house in Tennessee.  I have that insanely flowery couch now and the sewing cabinet.  If I had the lamp, it'd be a trifecta.

But forget all that... look at how skinny I was!!  Aaahhhhhhhhh!!!



Romping Around

Monday was actually a good day!  I have to make note because that rarely happens.

Two weeks after being let go from his job of eight years, my husband started a new job yesterday!  He's basically doing the same thing that he was doing at his old job with a little extra opportunities to learn more about his trade.  He's not making quite as much per hour, but this job is closer to the house.  He doesn't have to worry about getting up at 4:30AM so he can get ready and drive 45 miles in one direction.  It's a great opportunity and I'm (we're) grateful for the change.  

I guess that old adage of "everything happens for a reason" is true.  

I was also able to get some sewing done on Monday afternoon.  I got a baby gift done, but I'm not posting any photos because I don't want the mama to see it yet!  

Since it's FINALLY starting to warm up around here and I found THE CUTEST fabric at Hobby Lobby on Saturday, I decided to break out a 5 Berries pattern that I've been sitting on all Winter.   A romper!  


Pay no attention to her awesomely funktastic shiner of a black eye.  She had a run in with a side table in the living room.

I went with the 2T size.  It turned out to be just a smidge too big, but I think the 18-24 months would have been too close to perfect.  She would have outgrown it by next week.  The pattern called for elastic in the legs, but I just wasn't sure if I wanted to add it.  Her chunky thighs tend to eat her shorts when they are too tight on her legs.  I got a second opinion from my husband when he got home and we agreed.  No elastic.


She posed for me for one tiny nanosecond.  Then away she went!  I can't believe how fast she goes on those little legs.  I kept snapping photos anyway.  I'm glad I did because I captured the first photo of her supermodel self....


Who Wants a Giveaway?!

I woke up on Friday morning and discovered that I had surpassed 100 fans on my blog's Facebook page!  It was like Christmas morning!



I decided that I should share my excitement and have a giveaway!  So who wants to win a $25 gift card to Amazon.com?!  It's super easy too!  Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nurture Photography - Green/Nature

Green or nature?  This week I can do!  I love, love, love taking photos of plants and animals.  It's muh favorite.  

Last weekend we kind of pooped out on our hike through the woods.  We vowed on our way back to the car that we would return soon and complete the trek.  And that's just what we intended to do!  Except then we didn't and here we are at Friday again!  Where did this week go?!

So I'm going to cheat a little bit, cheating in my mind at least.  Here are a couple of photos from our trek last week.


This is some variation of Trillium.  I've consulted Dr. Google on this and it matches a couple of different variations.  I like them.  Variegated leaves, little pop of color.  Great Spring harbinger.


Looking up at the trees along the trail.  There were buds of leaves everywhere!  I bet when we return, the will look completely full of bright green leaves!

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You can find out more by visiting the Nurture Photography Facebook page. They are also on Instagram (hashtag #nurturephoto) and there is even a inspirational Pinterest board! Also check out Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, Rebecca of Bumbles & Light, and Alicia of Project Alicia.

Throwback Thursday


It's not a good photo.  It's made even worse by the fact that I was taking a picture of a picture.

I think this was 8th grade.  This was at the DUC (Downing University Center) on the campus of Western Kentucky University.  We were there to participate in a band festival.  I played the clarinet.

Yes I am wearing a hoodie with a flannel shirt over it.  And shorts.  It was the age of grunge.  Don't judge.



I should also mention that I spent a few hours today at the same KMEA Concert Band Festival in the same Van Meter Auditorium watching my older daughter play her flute with her school's 6th grade band. I even ran into my old middle school band director. Oh and they earned a DISTINGUISHED! Woo!

My Dad the Google Star!

Many of you may not know that my father lives with us.  Actually he's been trying his hand at tiny house living by chilling in a travel camper he purchased.  I have to admit that I'm quite a bit jealous of him.  Before he purchased the camper and made the decision to move back to Kentucky, he was living and working with my brother and sister-in-law in Florida.

He came busting up in the house a couple of days ago to tell me that he was now a Google Maps superstar.


He kind of hard to see in this image.  Let me help you with that.


See!?  That's my Dad pushing a garbage can on Google Maps.  Google STAR!

He said he was just goofing around and Google Map'd his old work place.  He said, "Then lo and behold, there I was around back.  Just pushing a trash can with my little cart."

Woo hoo!  My Dad be internet famous!

Big Girls Don't Cry


The weather has finally become more Spring-like.  Last week was more than nice.  It was... B-E-A-U-TIFUL!!  It was pretty windy though.  But I'll take warm, occasional clouds, windy weather over should have left sooner Winter weather.

Already I can tell that my daughters are going to be different.  I practically had to force Kaia to put on the white sandals.  She didn't wear them long.  She'd much rather have on sneakers.  Rowan LOVES shoes.  All shoes.  Sandals, boots, sneakers, slippers.  She does not care.

And pink.  Rowan loves pink.  Kaia never really cared for it.  Now, as an almost 12 year old preteen, she likes black.  Only black.  She has a black Aeropostle zip-up hoodie that she wears EVERY DAY.  Zipped all the way up.  She could probably wear the same shirt every day and no one would notice.

Kaia is also a blue jean lover.  As seen by the ripped holes in the knees of her jeans.  All of her jeans do this.  The pair from this photo are only 3 months old.  I've tried all different brands, but always holey knees.  Even when she was a little girl, her pants did this.  Total tomboy.

Rowan may grow into her tomboy self.  I think that Kaia found her's early because she had an older brother only 22 months older than her.  With the age gap between Rowan and her siblings, I think the influence will take a bit longer.

There is one thing I do know.  I love my girls.  I love their uniqueness, their likenesses, their quirkiness.  They are mine all mine.

Peach Tree Blossoms


The peach tree in our yard has sprouted what seems like thousands of blooms this year!  The bees are buzzing!

In years past, we've not had much luck with it.  It always starts out very well, but when the fruits begin to develop they have always ended up having a clear, jelly-like substance ooze from them.  Normally we aren't able to eat any of them.  Last year, we grabbed a very few early and they were edible, but small.

We thought the tree must have been diseased in some way.  We decided to cut off some sections that were obviously dead or half way there already.  It had one main trunk coming from the ground, but about a foot above that it branched out into two separate trunks.  We cut one whole side off and discovered that it was nearly hollow!  As we were leaning over the hole checking it out, a zillion ants came running out!


It's just the beginning of Spring, but already the tree looks healthier this year.  If all of the blossoms are any indication of the amount of peaches then we are going to be overflowing with them!

Nurture Photography - Turquoise/Splash

This week's Nurture Photography prompt is Turquoise/Splash.  Doesn't that sound like an awesome band name?!  Last week I was not only lost on ideas, I was also mere minutes away from missing the time to add my post to the linky list.

We got a bit of Spring rain earlier this week with that massive system that swept across the country.  I'm sure pretty much everyone got some form of precipitation from it.  I feel bad for anyone living West of the Mississippi River because I think they got the worst of it.  Fifty degree temperature drops in 24 hours does not sound fun to me.  We were getting a nice steady rain so I decided to go lay down on my front porch and try my hand at trying to catch a raindrop splash.


I used my 50-200mm lens so I wasn't having to worry about getting The Precious wet.  I'm not as happy as I wanted to be.  I zoomed too much and still have tons of work on learning proper settings.  BUT... I am excited that I actually caught a drop!  I'm looking forward to the next time it rains now.

I wasn't satisfied enough with that one photo and today was beautiful.  We've been spending entirely too much time indoors since the weather became distinctly more Spring-like.  My oldest daughter is gone to the in-laws for the weekend, my youngest daughter went to my mom's house for a little visit so we decided to get out of the house and go for a hike.

Dragging my 67 year old dad to the 2 mile hiking path about 30 miles from our house that has a beautiful waterfall at the end.  Since we've had several inches of rain recently, I thought the water would be flowing down the fall well.  Perfect for a splash photo!

Except we were so out of shape that we didn't make it all the way to the end!!  Definite motivation to get moving more!  Instead I settled for the peaceful splash-less view of the quiet lake.


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You can find out more by visiting the Nurture Photography Facebook page. They are also on Instagram (hashtag #nurturephoto) and there is even a inspirational Pinterest board! Also check out Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, Rebecca of Bumbles & Light, and Alicia of Project Alicia.

Blindsided

I've written this post a few times.  I've deleted it just as many times.  I try not to get too personal in this space, but sometimes life happens.  Sometimes you see it coming, sometimes you don't.

2013 is not looking kindly on our household.  Remember back in March when I had a meltdown about the IRS and our tax refund?  We are still waiting.  It's been 84 days/12 weeks since we filed.  I helped my Dad file his own taxes through TurboTax.  He received his PAPER check (not direct deposit) in the mail 15 days after we filed.  There are no amount of words to explain how frustrating this is.

We were finally in a good place.  We were just waiting on this refund to begin the processing to purchase our first home.  We'd been denied a loan through our local bank, but we'd managed to get offers from several lenders through Lending Tree.  Just waiting on that refund.

Then last Sunday, my husband was running late for work.  Working overtime like he does ALL THE TIME.  At a place he has been working at for EIGHT YEARS.  He made it to work on time, but had forgotten to take his medication for high blood pressure.  That is a whole different post, but suffice to say when I found out how high his blood pressure had become I nearly had a heart attack of my own.  Less than an hour into his shift, he began to feel bad.  He's started to get a headache and sat down (after looking over what he was supposed to look over)and put his head in his hands.  The next thing he knows he's being awakening by one of the supervisors.

He was simply told to go home and call the head of the Human Resources department the next day, Monday.  Not able to explain that something was wrong, that he'd missed his medication that morning.

On Monday morning, before having the opportunity to even speak with anyone from supervisors to the HR dept., he was told that "they" had decided to "terminate his employment".  Eight years of employment.  Only the second infraction in EIGHT YEARS and....

WHAM!  Sucker punch.  It was devastating.

Obviously, we are actively fighting this.  I've never seen my husband spend more time on a phone.  He hates talking on the phone.  All of his efforts have definitely shown this company that he values his job and the company.  They have paid off just a bit because he's been able to get a meeting (finally) with the general manager of the entire plant today.  I don't know what to expect, but I'm trying to be positive.  The outlook is bleak though, but that's not stopping him from trying.  And I'm proud of him for not giving up on something he believes in.

It's definitely a trying time right now, but I'm thankful for so many things.  Those are the things I'm trying to put my focus on.  Staying strong for my family and making it work.

UPDATE:  The meeting went as we feared it would go.  The general manager used the good old excuse of "we are cracking down" on employees for even minor infractions "because an example has to be set".  He wouldn't even consider anything my husband had to say.  It's going to be hard.  So hard.

*sigh*

Nurture Photography - Yellow/Easter

I had big intentions.  I always do!  We didn't do a big Easter this year.  The older kids are, well... older and the youngest is still young enough that I don't have to go all out crazy cakes for holidays.  So not a big picture taking opportunity.

Yellow.   ...   ...   ...  Hmmmm...

I know the calendar says it's Spring, but up until just this week, it was still steadfastedly (wait... is that even a word?!) Winter in Kentucky.  I've done a couple of yellow photo challenges before.  One in Summer, and one in Autumn.  They were definitely a challenge for me then and that was no different this time around.  Even if it is a different season!

I realized I had to get creative.  Look at it differently.


I'll admit that I probably should have looked harder.  There were some daffodils blooming across the street, but I felt like if I used them I was copping out.  I've really neglected my camera and photography for a while.  I'm hoping by pushing myself to accomplish even a mediocre photo will help me to become more motivated in the future.


You can find out more by visiting any of the above blogs or by visiting the Nurture Photography Facebook page. They are also on Instagram (hashtag #nurturephoto) and there is even a inspirational Pinterest board! Also check out Kristi of Live and Love Out Loud, Rebecca of Bumbles & Light, and Alicia of Project Alicia

Enter to Win a Kindle Fire HD!!


There is no doubt that Isabelle Thornton of Le Chateau des Fleurs is talented.  This French-girl-gone-Utah has a wildly popular blog full of interesting DIY posts, photography, giveaways, and great reviews.  Aside from being an awesome blogger, she also creates fun apps for phones.  Previously her "Make Me Skinny" or Bon Bon app has kept many entertained as they edited and adjusted photos on their iPhones, and now I'm excited to announce she's released an entirely new app!  This one is different, and for Android!


Let's face it, sometimes you spend more time with your smart phone than you do with your spouse, friends, coworkers, and family... You sleep with it, eat with it, and admit it-you take it to the bathroom with you!  With Smartphone DNA you are creating a new kind of experience with your Smartphone.

What is Smartphone DNA?  
Smartphone DNA is an app dedicated to Twitter users, and it allows you to collect your Twitter DNA via your Android phone, and then compare it against other twitter users to see how much you match!  This is a great way to locate new Twitter friends that have things in common with you! 

How it works:
  1. Smartphone DNA shows you a list of apps you currently have installed.
  2. You select the apps you want to share as part of your DNA
  3. Smartphone DNA shows you how closely you match the DNA of other users.


Smartphone DNA is 100% secure and controlled by you.

Win a Kindle Fire HD
To celebrate the release of Smartphone DNA, Isabelle is offering one lucky newsletter subscriber  a brand new Kindle Fire HD!  Can you say wow?  This is the reader of all readers-with a 7" full color HD display, exclusive Dolby audio, and ultra-fast WiFi it's top of the line.  Don't miss out on this opportunity to have one for yourself!  Follow the break to enter the giveaway:







Kindle Fire HD Giveaway Rules

Mandatory and Winning Entry will both be checked upon drawing the winner.

Open Worldwide to residents 18 and older. Void where prohibited by law.

Giveaway starts at 12AM on 4/10/13 and ends at 12AM on 4/30/13.

Winner will be chosen at random and will have 48 hours to reply or a new winner will be chosen.

Please read official Terms and Conditions in the Rafflecopter widget for full regulations.





a Rafflecopter giveaway




*Kindle provided by Isabelle of Le Chateau des Fleurs*

Spring Breakin'

I've been a bit absent lately because my children are on Spring break this week.  I'll be back next week!  Probably a little stir crazy and wishing for a vacation!

Peace out y'all!