Friday, April 24, 2015

An Alphabetical Photo Contest

As I mentioned Tuesday, Steve's boss was in town last Thursday through Sunday. Andy is from England and this was his first visit to northern California. We wanted to take him to as many sites as possible and show him just how beautiful and diverse the San Francisco Bay Area is. We are blessed to live near so many amazing sites, areas people come to visit from all around the world: San Francisco, Napa Valley, the redwoods, Tahoe... the list goes on and on. Obviously, we couldn't take Andy to see everything in just 4 days, but we did hit quite a few highlights.

We spent all of Sunday in San Francisco. Andy's one request was to ride a cable car, so that's how we started our day. We had to buy tickets and then wait through 5 cable cars before we could get on, so I suggested to Trevor that he and I pass the time by having an alphabetical photography contest. Steve offered to judge and clarified the rules. Trevor and I would each take pictures of anything we saw during our day in San Francisco. Once home, we would select up to 26 photos and caption them with "A is for ____" through "Z is for _______." For each letter of the alphabet, Trevor and I go head to head. Whoever had the better photo for that letter would win a point.

It worked like a charm. Not only was Trevor occupied during long waits, he took a lot of pictures of things in San Francisco he wouldn't ordinarily have necessarily even noticed. By the end of the day, Trevor had taken photos for every letter except Q, X and Z. For some letters, like S (seagull, sea lion, sourdough, etc.), he took dozens of pictures. Here are some of my favorites of Trevor's photos (in chronological order, not ABC order). They're straight out of the camera with no cropping or processing at all. 

C is for Cable Car

Y is for Yachts

B is for Bushman

H is for Hungry

S is for Seagull

D is for Don't Walk

L is for Lighthouse

Here are some of my photos, also in chronological order, and also with no cropping or processing:

R is for Rotate
H is for Hill

A is for Alcatraz

S is for Selfie
C is for Cannon

G is for Golden Gate Bridge
K is for Kid

F is for Ft. Point

E is for Engineers

We had such a fun day! As far as I'm concerned, we all won.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Little Passports 50 States Album - Another Update

Time for another Little Passports update!

Trevor has received the USA Edition of Little Passports for 1.5 years now (thanks, Aunt Teri!) which means that he's learned about 36 of the 50 states so far. We've been working together to make an album with a page for each state that includes the Little Passports postcard, a photo of Trevor's first visit to that state, and a journaling about the visit. You can see the first completed pages (Washington and Hawaii) here and the next set of completed pages (Florida, Massachusetts, New York and New Jersey) here

Trevor recently received the packet that included his home state of California. After some discussion, we agreed that the day he was born was the first time he visited California. So we selected the first-ever photo taken of him. As we agreed, I did the writing, as he was clearly too young to remember being born! Fortunately, I remember it well

Next, the completed page for Alaska. Trevor's first time out of California was on an Alaskan cruise when he was 12.5 months old. We sailed out of San Francisco. Our first port of call was Victoria, B.C., meaning that Trevor visited a foreign country (Canada) before visiting another state for the first time! I imagine that's fairly unusual. He absolutely loved Alaska. Even though he's been back to Alaska and has memories of the more recent trip, I did the journaling in the album with information about his first visit. 

We're anxiously awaiting the Little Passports packets for Maine, Nevada and Oregon. Trevor has already picked out the photos and done the journaling for those pages, so as soon as the postcards arrive, he'll slide those in to complete those pages.

In my previous update, I mentioned that we're planning a summer visit to two new states. We have good friends in northern Colorado, so we'll be visiting them and doing a day trip (and possibly an overnight) to Wyoming. We're all really excited. Just this week, we made plans for a summer road trip to a third new-to-Trevor state, Idaho, where my brother-in-law will soon be working. We're looking forward to that trip too! If all goes as planned, Trevor will have visited 14 states by the end of the summer. So expect another 50 States Album update then!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

43 New-to-Me... #9 Kombucha

Item #9 for 43 New-to-Me (and the second item I tried with my teacher friends) was kombucha. If you are not familiar with kombucha, it is a slightly sweet, fermented, yeasty tea. If you have a hard time wrapping your head around that combination of ingredients, give it a try. It's unusual.

I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it. I gave it a 5. I'd drink it again, but I wouldn't buy it. And next time I had it, I'd probably filter out the floating stuff that was somewhat off-putting.

Have you had kombucha? What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


We've been doing a lot of celebrating in the deRosier house recently!

Steve hit the 2 year mark with his current job! This is huge after all the layoffs he's experienced over the years and the nature of his industry (embedded software engineering). He likes his job and it's going very well. And speaking of Steve's job, we had the pleasure of hosting his boss, Andy (who lives near London), during his first-ever trip to northern California this past week. We had great fun showing Andy around San Francisco, UC Davis (our alma mater and Trevor's future school, if our brainwashing continues to be as successful as it has been so far), and everywhere in between.

Trevor hit the 2 million word mark in Accelerated Reader this week, another cause for celebration. Last year, he reached 2 million words right at the end of the school year. He'd been about 20,000 words short (one decent-sized chapter book) from finishing in time to have his name listed as 2 million on the t-shirt. That was his goal for 3rd grade. He's made the t-shirt list with about 5 weeks to spare, so it'll be fun to see his final word count for the year. I love that he's such an avid reader.

I have my own occasion for celebrating, as my blog just turned four! I've been blogging 5 days a week, 51 weeks a year, for four years... and I still love it as much as ever. I continue to be amazed at the blessings blogging has brought to me. I've met wonderful people and had some amazing opportunities because of this blog.

My blog has grown quite a bit from its humble beginnings in April 2011. My first blog post was titled Craft Withdrawal and fewer than 10 people read it.

My most popular post, The World's Best Classroom Birthday Treat, has around 70,000 pageviews and gets hits every single day.

Other very popular posts include my Giraffe Cake...

My Snowman Gift Tags....

My Bunny Donuts...

and my Name Skeletons.

People ask me all the time about my favorite posts. That's a really tough question and it gets harder al the time as I add more and more posts. But a few do stand out. Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

 To all my readers- thank you. I am so grateful for your support. For the handful of you who have read all 1088 posts, a special thank you!  I'm really excited about what the future holds for me and My Creative Life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

43 New-to-Me... #8 Mamey Sapote

When I started this latest birthday project, I knew that a big part of making it successful would be sharing my experiences with friends and family. So I chose a day when Trevor was at school and Steve was away on a business trip and invited my coworkers from back in my teaching days to join me in trying 7 new-to-me foods. It was the same group of friends (minus two) who joined me to try Miracle Berries as part of my 40th birthday celebration.

The first new-to-me food we tried was mamey sapote. I found it at the same Asian market where I discovered the galangal.

It smelled nice, subtle but fruity, and it was such a pretty shade of peachy orange. The taste was very hard to describe. Mild, vaguely fruity, and a bit squash-like. But the most notable thing about it was the strange mouth feel, which one friend described as 'cottony.' I didn't have as negative a reaction to it as a few of the others did. I gave it a 5. The others graded it 5, 1, 3 and 3.