I'm becoming addicted to digital scrapbooking

Just wait until I have a good camera! Here is what I did tonight after dinner.


This one is the background on my computer now. I may have gone overboard with the elements on this one, but I found a free package with tons of stuff in it and I just wanted to try them all out.

Sadly it is getting late and I have work tomorrow morning and class in the afternoon/evening...ugh I guess its time to stop for today.

A blog day

I spend a better part of the day playing with a new photo tool that Jon downloaded for me. Its called Gimp and you can find it here, its open source so it is completely free. It is comparable to Photoshop which can be as much as $700 so its a pretty good deal. I read some tutorials on making your own headers and signatures for your blog and I played around a lot.

First I used some blog header templates where all the elements were in place and you just added photos and text. I think this was actually harder than just doing it all yourself. I had a hard time getting my pictures to fit over the gray boxes they provide on the template. So I decided to search for some free digital scrapbooking kits. I found some here. She has lots of options and I was easily able to download a kit. After a cropping and resizing things I came up with my new header. Thanks to my computer savvy husband it is now on my blog. :) I have to say I really like it and I had a lot of fun working on it. I can't wait to get my new camera and start editing pictures on Gimp. Now that I know more about this digital scrapbooking I can foresee this becoming a great hobby!!

Group projects are almost a thing of the past

Today my group meet at my house to work on our group project. This is the one that I have been having problems with...its 60% of our grade and we didn't get to choose the members in our group. Luckily my friend and I got put in the same group, but our third member was not exactly our first pick.

Today we got together at 3 and worked until 7:30 :( After 4.5 hours of work we had completely our 12 page paper + 3 graphs + 2 12 page draft papers + 10 attachments made up of teacher interviews and data collection. We are finally done!! We get to turn in our huge mound of papers on Monday!

Now all I have to do is finish a PowerPoint and handouts for my other group project. I am thinking about doing that tonight since I have already been working all day on school work. I might as well finish all my work and take tomorrow to relax.

Christmas cards have been ordered

Thanks to Shutterfly my Christmas cards have been ordered and should be here at the end of next week or the beginning of the following week. Its going to be close but I am fairly sure I will be able to get them sent out before we leave for our vacation on the 14th.

Here are some of the pictures that Aaron took for us. I think his pictures look great, but I'm not happy with the color of shirt I am wearing or the fact that it was super windy and I had to wear my hair up. Oh well...next year hopefully I will have a new camera and take some good pictures throughout the year to use on our card.












Check out this awesome picture of Hiro jumping in the water after a ball. This is his favorite thing to do. Sometimes he will be playing with other dogs and just run down to the water by himself and jump in then he gets out and goes back up to play some more...too cute!


Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a blessed and happy Thanksgiving today!

Jon and I are heading over our good friend Jason's house this afternoon. He is the one we can thank for introducing us to each other almost 4 years ago. We are looking forward to lots of good food and fun with his family and some more of our friends. This will be the first Thanksgiving we will not be with our extended families. Since I moved to Austin I have not been driving back to Plano for Thanksgiving because the traffic on I35 is horrible. My family typically comes down here a week or so before Christmas so I get to see them then. Jon's family typically comes down here for Thanksgiving and we go to his grandparents' for lunch, but this year they decided to avoid the traffic and stay home as well. Our plan is to go to breakfast with his grandparents tomorrow since we just hung out with my grandparents a few weeks ago. We were just going to spend the day just the two of us, but then Jason invited us over to his place. We are so blessed to have wonderful friends and I am really looking forward to having a great time!

I also can't wait to start decorating for Christmas tomorrow!! I am going to try to convince Jon to get all the stuff out of the attic tonight so I can go through what I have. I am thinking I may head to Hobby Lobby tomorrow and pick up a few new things, but other than that I think I am going to stay in on Black Friday. We went out early last year and got some good deals, but I am more looking forward to just having the day off this year. I will post some pictures tomorrow night after the decorating is complete.

For the Twilight lovers

My sister informed me that Stephenie Meyer (the author of the Twilight series) was in the process of writing a 5th book. It was going to be called Midnight Sun and it was going to be all from Edwards point of view. Someone leaked it early before she was ready to publish it so she decided not to go through with publication. You can read the full store about what happened here. She didn't want fans of the series to miss out on the 5th book so she has made in available to anyone on her website. How cool is that! You can download from the link above. I started reading it last night and I am already hooked. I poured through the 4 books in the original series and I would have loved the opportunity to buy a 5th book, but I am happy that I can at least read it online.

Birthday wishes

My birthday is coming up...ahh, 25! I have been wanting to get a new camera for awhile now (my current camera had a run in with some sticky punch at a wedding last year and has not been the same since). Jon and I having been looking at cameras every time we go to Costco or Best Buy. At first I just wanted something small and similar to what I have now. But over the past few months I have been thinking more about photography and I really want to get better at taking pictures. I want a camera that will allow me to make adjustments and have more control over the settings than a typical digital camera.

Since this is going to be a big purchase Jon has been letting me know what he is looking at (usually he like to keep me in suspense about my birthday present). Here a a couple of the ones we were looking at today. On the less expensive side there is this Cannon and then on the more expensive side there is this Cannon. This first one is like a cross between a typical point and shot digital camera and a high tech digital camera. It would give me more control and be a good step toward advanced photography. The second choice is more advanced and would give me even more control. It would probably take me longer to figure things out, but in the long run if I do end up loving photography this camera would allow me to purchase upgrades in the future.

Jon has been talking to his friend Aaron (the guy that just took our pictures on Sunday). He is giving some good advice and is willing to share his knowledge once I get the camera.

If anyone has any camera advice I would love to hear it!

I hate group projects

In one of my classes 1/2 our grade depends on a group project. Everyone in the group has a part, but everyone gets the same grade based on the end results. Ugh. Luckily I requested to be in a group with a good friend who I know will do the work...but the third person in our group, well lets just say I'm not a fan. I was in charge of part 1 and my friend is in charge of part 3. Our part 2 sucks! We still don't have all the information we need and the project is due next week. Ugh...I'm so frustrated.

We are all getting together this Saturday (even though we could have been done before Thanksgiving if this member had completed her part on time). I am hoping that this member comes with ALL her information completed. If not I am going to talk with my professor (for the second time) about it. Not that she is much help...her response is well in the real world you don't always get to pick your coworkers and you just have to deal. Its one thing to deal when it is a coworker. Its another when it is a grade...ugh I pay $1000 per class and I can easily make A's. I am going to be so mad if this project is what causes me to make a B.
We just got finished taking family pictures. I can't wait to see them! I know Aaron got some great ones of Hiro jumping in the water...one of those should make it on the front of our Christmas cards.

We are about to go meet Aaron, his wife Stacie, and their sweet baby, Bryson, for dinner at Azul Tequila. Yum, I can't wait to eat some good Mexican!

Finally a lazy Sunday

Last night Jon asked me what we needed to get done today (Sunday). I stopped for a second and thought about it...then I realized we don't really have anything we have to get done today. I have a paper I need to edit, but I don't need to turn that in until Dec 1st. We don't even need to go to the grocery store. Its nice to finally have a day to just be lazy.

Since we don't have anything going on I am getting our good friend Aaron to take some family pictures this afternoon. I need to order our Christmas cards soon! Aaron and his friend are in the process of starting up a photography business and have been asking to take our pictures as practice for awhile. This seemed like the perfect opportunity. I am hoping to get some candid shots with Hiro too. I'll post some as soon as I get them. :)

Jon took me to see Twilight last night...he is such a good husband. I give the movie a C+. There were parts that seemed very cheesy and the effects are very poor. It was more like a made for TV movie in my opinion. Regardless I am glad I saw it and I still love the books (they get an A+).

Ok I am off to make some my great grandmothers French Toast...yum!

Yay for cold weather and boots

Today it was cold all day so I finally got to try out my new target boots (see link in yesterdays post). I got lots of compliments and my feet stayed warm and comfortable all day. They look just like uggs but for a fraction of the price...I love Target!

Say tuned tomorrow for a review of the Twilight movie. :) FYI I already recommend the books, they are a fun read!

Things I am looking forward to...

  1. A cold front just came through so tomorrow I get to wear my new fake ugg boots from Target.
  2. Tomorrow Twilight comes out. I read the series over the summer...basically all 4 books in 2 weeks. I totally fell in love with the books and Edward of course. Jon is taking my to see the movie on Saturday...I can't wait, even though I am sure the books are much better than the movie will be.
  3. Next week I have 2 and 1/2 days off and I am going to start decorating for Christmas! It looks like everyone (both Jon's family and mine) is going to come to our house so I want it to look cute :) I'll post some pictures next weekend after I decorate.
  4. I only have 2 more weeks of school after Thanksgiving and then Jon and I get to head to Tahoe for a week of skiing.

Our puppy has a weight problem

Earlier this week Jon took Hiro to play at a Auditorium Shores. He loves to play in the water with the other dogs. We try to take him out there a couple of times a week. We have started to notice that he is a little chubby compared to the other laps out there...in fact we started calling him our chunky monkey...sad I know.

Anyway Jon was picking up after Hiro earlier this week and noticed a worm (gross I know). Actually he has had this before...he loves to drink the water at Auditorium Shores and his best buddy Woodrow had worms a few weeks ago so we were kind of expecting it to happen. Anyway its not a huge deal, he just has to go to the vet and get a single dose of medicine. Jon was able to take him to the vet that afternoon. While there he asked the vet if she thought Hiro was a little chubby for 1 and 1/2. Her reply "He's only 1 and 1/2?!?!". I guess we have our answer. :( Hiro is now on a reduced diet. Every time I feed him he looks at his bowl and sighs...so sad. We are going to start taking Hiro on longer walks and some runs, hopefully we can get this chunky monkey in shape soon. :)

Procrastinating

Based on the amount of times I have posted this week clearly things are slowing down for me. Yay!

I have 3 papers and 1 project due tomorrow. I have pretty much finished all of them...thank goodness! I turned in my project early for my teacher to look over. She forgot to give it back to me on Monday so now I have until next week to turn that in. All I need to do tonight is proof read my 3 papers 1 last time...clearly I am procrastinating on that! My plan is to finish watching CSI from last week, make some brownies (for Jon) and then proof read my papers.

The reason for the brownies...Jon has been such a great husband over the last few weeks (he is always great, but he has been extra great lately). I have been so busy and stressed with work and school. Jon has taken care of everything...taking Hiro to the vet, on walks, and to play, going to the grocery store, cooking dinner, and cleaning up around the house. All this in addition to working. I'm not sure what I would do without him. Thus in a few minutes when Jon leaves for his soccer game I am going to clean the kitchen and then make some brownies for when he gets home. :)

Good news

One of my best friends and his wife just had their first baby...I can't wait to meet Jackson in a few weeks when they move back from Japan!! Congrats Steven and Ally! :)

My semester is finally coming to an end. I finish up 1 class the week of the 1st and the other 2 the week of the 8th. I have some big projects due in all 3 classes, but luckily I have made some good progress throughout the semester and over Thanksgiving break I plan on finishing them up. Once this semester is over I will have a break until January 20th! I am so looking forward to having that time off...I will still be working, but only about 20 hours a week and only in the morning. I think Jon and I may tackle painting our kitchen cabinets...we'll see how that goes. :)

By the way...I absolutely love my new blog background! I thought my other one was cute, but this one tops them all. :)

We have a plan

Well I think we have a plan to kill the weeds that plague our front yard and finally begin to see some grass grow. For those of you who have seen our front yard it is pretty bad...maybe I will post a picture to make more of a point.

Anyway Jon and I went looking for wood floors (more on that later) and while at Home Depot we found a weed killer/grass feeder made specifically for this time of year. It also has a plan on the back of the bag...supposedly if we sprinkle this stuff on once a month (there is a different type for every season) we can have a nice yard by next summer/spring. We came straight home and followed the directions...we are hoping for the best.

Back to the wood floors. We have wanted to put wood floors in ever since we moved in. Now that we have Hiro (and may be getting a second dog in January..more on that later) we are so ready to get rid of the carpet. I vacuum and there is always hair left behind. With floors I will be able to sweep and mop and get rid of all the hair. We shopped around at Lumbar Liquidators, Floor and Decor and Home Depot. Lumbar Liquidators had the best prices hands down. We found a bamboo that we loved but it is a softer wood and probably won't hold up to Hiro's paws. We both love real wood, but ultimately we think a laminate is going to serve our needs better...price wise and scratch resistant wise. We found one that has the look of hand scraped wood and I love it. We were going to wait until Jon gets his bonus in March but I am thinking we may move on this in January. Yay!

What a week

I can't believe it's already Saturday night...

On Tuesday after work I headed down to Houston with the consultant I work with. We went to a 3 day conference over the VB-MAPP. It's a new assessment that can be used on children with autism. The cool thing about it that it has been normed on typical children. The research that was done to make this assessment stresses that it is so important not to introduce and try to teach skills out of sequence with kids. We tend to work with kids who are 4-7 years old but may have language and social skills at 1-2 year old levels. It is so important that we teach them at that level so they have a solid foundation before you start teaching new skills. Anyway it was great. I learned so much. I feel like I go to school and they teach about things I already know about, it gets really boring...this conference was so great because I actually learned something new.

We got back late last night and I had to be up at 5:45 this morning in order to pick up donuts and be up at the Dell Diamond for the Greater Autism Autism Walk. We had a booth set up and it was so fun to see all the kids as well as the other booths. I got home around 1, took Hiro to Auditorium Shores so he would sleep the rest of the day. This afternoon I ran some errands which included going to Barnes and Noble to pick up Twilight. I read all 4 books in the series over the summer (more like in 2 weeks). I absolutely love all 4 books, and the movie is coming out next weekend. My plan is to read the book this week and then go see the movie next Saturday!

So as I was writing this Jon came home (he wasn't supposed to fly in until tomorrow morning so it was a nice surprise). We just made a trip to our favorite store Target and picked up some miscellaneous things. We are home now and about to watch a movie...I love cold weather nights at home.

A day to mark in the calendar

I, yes me, cooked dinner tonight. For many of you this may not seem like a big deal at all, but my this house it is a rare thing. Jon does 99% of the cooking here...something that my great aunt Tia finds hilarious. Every time I talk to her she say "Lauren, tell me again who cooks dinner at your house", and I reply "sigh, you know that Jon cooks dinner almost every night", then she laughs. I'm not totally worthless in the kitchen, I make great chocolate chips cookies (from scratch of course), zucchini bread muffins, french toast, and chicken salad, all of which I get lots of complements on. However when it comes to dinner I tend to stick with easy things like spaghetti, Tyson chicken strips, baked potato...any thing else that basically requires no skills to make.

But tonight I made dinner. Jon has been out of town all week and was driving in from Houston this evening. I decided that last thing he would want was more restaurant food, or to have to come home and have to decide what to make for dinner. I came across a recipe for black bean soup with corn bread. Jon loves black beans and a cold front came through tonight so I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to try it. Wow, it was so delicious and so easy. I figured I would pass the recipe on:

Ingredients
2 cans of black beans; drained and rinsed
2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of mild hot sauce
1 tablespoon of cumin

Directions
In a blender mix 1 can of the beans, chicken broth, hot sauce, and cumin until well blended. Add the remaining can of beans and heat through. Serve hot with a tablespoon of sour cream (I also added some grated cheese).

I made this with a box of Jiffy corn bread and it was perfect. This is one that I will make again for sure. Enjoy!

the promised longer post

I can't believe it is already November! This semester has flown by. I have about a month left of school and then I get a break from December 8th to January 20th! Before that happens I have 3 huge projects to finish up before that. One project is a group project (yuck). I was in charge of part 1 which is done, but the girl that has been in charge of part 2 has really been slacking. She has had about 3 weeks to get her stuff done and she has put it off until the last minute. Now we have a meeting with our professor on Monday and she doesn't have all the information we need...ugh. I have made pretty good progress on my 2 other projects so I am trying not to stress out about them.

Jon had to go to New Mexico last night, but he is on his way back right now, yay! Too bad he has to leave for Houston on Monday (he will be gone all week). He has a job next weekend in Dallas so I am going to go with him and hang out with my sister and parents! Hopefully I will have a chance to get some shopping in...the shopping in Dallas is SO much better than Austin.

I am going to an assessment conference in Houston in 2 weeks...I think it's going to be really interesting. As soon as I get back from that I am going to be helping out at the Autism Walk Now. It should be interesting, the consultant/mentor I work with will have a booth up and I know the company I used to work for will have a booth up as well. You would think that it wouldn't be such a big deal, but this company makes the employees feel like they can't

I am getting excited to be done with school...forever...well unless I feel the need to get a PhD (not likely). Once this semester is over I will only have 4 classes left! I am going to take 2 next semester and then in the Fall I will take the last 2...graduation data: December 2009! Once I get my BCBA I will be ready to take on some cases on my own. I am so thankful that I am in a position where I have a mentor who is great and is totally on board for me to start working with her once I graduate! I really could see myself doing this long term...I am going to be able to control how many hours I work, which will be nice once Jon and I start a family.

In the middle of writing this Jon came home and we went to dinner at our favorite Mexican place, Curras. I am now totally stuffed and we are about to watch a movie...which I will no doubt fall asleep during (its my favorite thing to do and it drives Jon crazy). :)