Saturday, January 31, 2009
I'm on a quest to recreate a local restaurant's (Filippi's - for my millions of San Diego readers...) most delicious meatballs. Their meatballs are large, but not dense and heavy, with a bit of an italian spicy kick. I found a meatball recipe in our newspaper and gave it a try for last night's dinner. It was tasty, but it's just not quite spicy enough. Gotta keep trying. If you have a good spicy, italian meatball recipe --please send it over! Buon appetito!
Friday, January 30, 2009
A quick word about fill-flash. Have you ever taken a photo in on a bright day only to find that your main subject was too dark? To fix it, just turn on your flash. The flash will 'FILL IN' that missing light. In the photo below, Lisa was helping me work on an assignment for our Flash Class. The sunny sky is exposed perfectly, but since Lisa is standing in the shade, she's too dark. So before snapping the photo below of Matt in front of the sunset, I turned on my flash and set the exposure based on the brightness of the sky. The flash filled in the scene beautifully. If you have a point and shoot camera, make sure the viewfinder is placed on the most important part of your composition, which in this case was Matt. (If we had instead placed the viewfinder on the sky, the exposure and focus will be geared toward the sky only, the flash would not automatically turn on and we would have ended up with a photo like the first one.) **Did you know that you can put the viewfinder on your main object, push and hold it down halfway then move it to better compose the shot? As long as you keep it pushed half-way down, the camera will retain those settings. If you have a Canon flash unit, set it to ETTL. It will then communicate with the camera, will know that you've dialed in the exposure and will fill in the flash needed to perfectly expose the shot! ...taa daa......it's magic! Moral of the story? Your flash isn't just for nighttime. Happy Flashing......um....well....you know what I mean!
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Even though it was a nippy 40 degrees, the hiking pals still ventured out for a walk and some geocaching. This time our destination was our local Canyon Preserve. We were greeted with a beautiful touch of frost on the plants, trees and fences! As the frost melted it added a wonderful sparkle to everything! Found this little beauty during a search for a geocache...yummy looking, huh? (Note to self, buy mushrooms!) Thankfully someone built a little bridge so we didn't have to swim, wade or hop across the creek. Since it only rains during the winter months in San Diego, we don't often see green grass in our canyons. Doesn't it look so fresh and beautiful? "To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug." Helen Keller
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We woke up to a frosty lawn! Brrrr.......got down to 30 degrees overnight. (I know all you Easterners think that's a heat wave, but it's big news here in San Diego! - only happens 5 or 6 times per winter!) So of course I had to grab the ole macro lens to document it for you. And yes, I laid down on the patio - in my robe and slippers - shivering my... toes... off, trying to quickly find the best angle for a picture since the frost was melting fast! (Do you see how hard I work to keep you informed? Don't worry though, I'm happy to do it! I am here to serve you!) Alright, well, um, don't feel too bad for me since it WILL get to about 70 degrees today..... "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant."- Anne Bradstreet
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve is located within the San Diego city limits and yet is one of the wildest stretches of land on our Southern California coast. Yesterday we did a bit of hiking (and geocaching, of course!) in this beautiful preserve. Since the ole weatherman predicted scattered showers, I only brought my little point n shoot camera (but I think it did a pretty nice job for just a little guy...) We parked down along the highway (I think if you squint your eyes just right you can see Wendy's new car parked down there!) then made our way up the hill and along the winding paths. Some of the unique things about this preserve are the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches, sandy sea cliffs, fossils and a lagoon that is filled with migrating seabirds. This land was set aside in 1888, or it would probably be covered with ugly old multi-million dollar houses right now. (Whew - thanks to the San Diego founding fathers for that one...!) These final shots are of our beautiful, state law protected, Torrey Pines- the rarest pine in North America. The trees along the bluff are twisted and gnarled into spectacular shapes by the omnipresent winds. And let me tell you -- it was WINDY--(If I didn't have a few pounds to lose I might have blown away!) God writes the Gospel not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars. Martin Luther
at 5:30 AM
Monday, January 26, 2009
I've been trying to participate in some on-line photography challenges. I figure they are a good way to help me grow, evolve, whatever. This week's photography challenge was the theme "Winter Blues." I was out for a walk when I spotted some beautiful white, fluffy dandelions and decided they could be a winter-ish sort of subject. (YES, of course flowers can be winter-ish! As long as they are white....right? And ESPECIALLY if they are fluffy....right? ) So I carefully cupped my hand around that little blossom and walked it home -- and YES, I did get some weird looks from passersby. This photo was taken outside with the garden as a backdrop. I used my 100-400 zoom lens to achieve that blurry, painted background effect. The camera was set to monotone with a blue filter. This one was taken indoors: May all your weeds be wildflowers. ~Author Unknown
at 6:07 AM
Sunday, January 25, 2009
New recipe alert! "Lemon Drop Cookies" Doesn't just the NAME of these cookies sound delicious? The unique thing about these is that you first prepare 'lemon sugar' to be used IN the recipe and to also coat the outside of each cookie. This special sugar is easy to make though, don't panic! Simply zest 3 lemons and combine it with 3 cups of sugar in the food processor--this produces the most fragrant and fluffy lemon sugar. First a lot of zesting: Then, combine that zest with sugar to produce wonderful lemon sugar (Matt couldn't resist sticking a finger in the empty bowl; he pronounced it as tasty as candy!) Mix in a few other ingredients (including lemon juice, butter and cream cheese... are you with me here? I'm talkin' DELISH!) After forming the dough into 1 inch balls, roll each one in that special lemon sugar and bake. YUMMY!! Each tasty cookie morsel has a bit of tang plus a bit of sweet for a whole lotta YUM! Here's the link to the recipe in case you want to try it yourself: Lemon Drop Cookies
at 6:30 AM
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Ahhh..... an aromatic bouquet..... a bright clarity.....a sweetness...... crisp and full-bodied....a 2009 vintage....... um, well, okay, scratch that.... Matt made strawberry jello! He chose such a wonderful presentation don't ya think? Life doesn't get any better than this! Tonight we dine like kings!
at 6:19 AM
Friday, January 23, 2009
First of all -- READ THIS - before you look at the photos below. I know it looks like a lot of boring words, but it may be interesting and I think you'll learn something..... Trust me on this, you'll be glad you did. Have I mentioned yet that I LOVE hiking? Well, in addition to enjoying the exercise, gorgeous views and time with friends, the other thing I LOVE is that our hikes always involve a search for a geocache or two. What? You haven't heard of geocaching? Well let me fill you in! Geocaching is simply treasure hunting using a GPS and longitude/latitude coordinates (remember longitude and latitude from 5th grade geography?) There's a website (GEOCACHING.COM) where you can enter your zip code and it will give you a list of treasures hidden in your town -- and I can just about GUARANTEE there are some very close to your house! (There are over 700,000 world wide.) So, you simply pick out the treasure, or 'cache' (pronounced 'cash,') that you want to find, enter the coordinates into your GPS and then go find it! The GPS will give you directions with an electronic compass needle and will also count down how many more miles/feet you have until you reach the cache. So as you are hiking down a trail or walking down the sidewalk, you will eventually reach the general area. (The GPS will say to you, "Hey - the cache is 40 feet away in a northerly direction," then a bit farther along it will say, "Hey - now the cache is 6 feet to the NW - go find it") okay...it doesn't really TALK but you know what I mean! (right? you do know what I mean, don't you? Is this too confusing? Stop me now if it is....) The tricky part is that once you reach the general location, you need to then find the "treasure box." This box needs to be a little hard to find (otherwise strangers would stumble upon it and take it home or something, so we need to keep it SECRET... shhhhhh!) The cache boxes themselves are different sized containers (from large buckets down to even smaller than a chapstick.) Some are camouflaged to make it REALLY hard to find and to add to the challenge. (Like maybe it's inside a hollowed out rock or it could be painted to look like a log or a leaf, etc.) When you find the cache, you sign the log book. Some caches also have little trinkets and prizes - you can trade for one if you want. Then you pack it all back inside the container and put it back in the same spot for the next guy to find.
Alright, now I'm going to give you a test. Don't be scared, it won't be on your report card, and you won't have to tell anyone if you don't pass. This simple little test will see if you might make a good geocacher: (Don't look ahead - bear with me here-) Yesterday when we were hiking at Old Town San Diego for Wendy's birthday, I took 4 pictures of the same hidden geocache. See if you can spot it in the first photo (it was hidden at the oldest cemetary in San Diego.) Do you see it? If you didn't see it in that one, then scroll down to look at the second photo which is a bit closer to the cache. Can you see it now? If not, look at the 3rd photo. If you want, you can leave a comment telling me in which photo you spotted it.
at 6:04 AM
Thursday, January 22, 2009
For all my non-Spanish speaking readers, "Happy Birthday, Wendy!" As you read on you'll understand why we are being bilingual today..... My friend, hiking pal, and the sweetest, kindest, most wonderful-est lady in the world just had a birthday. So we celebrated with a fun hike followed by breakfast at Cafe Coyote in San Diego's Old Town. We dined outside on their lovely patio surrounded by beautiful flowers, a gurgling fountain, music - and um let's not forget the food! We ordered the "Coyote Breakfast Quesadilla" and let me tell you it was YUM-O! So good in fact, that we all decided we would make it at home for our own family. Hope you already ate breakfast, because this is going to make you hungry: Two flour tortillas grilled with melted cheeses, then stuffed with scrambled eggs, mushrooms and green onions. Topped with mango fruit salsa. First, the mango salsa (so good you want to eat it on top of EVERYTHING for every meal for the rest of your life!) Can you smell that glorious cilantro??? Now the whole presentation: I apologize for those food photos -- I was so busy snarfing down that tasty breakfast, I forgot to take pictures of the food to share with you (these photos were taken from the internet.) HEY - bear with me, I'm just getting used to this blogging stuff! I'll do better next time, I promise! But the bottom line is: Happy Birthday Wendy! (Tune in tomorrow to hear about what KIND of hiking we enjoy most!) (Wendy is on the left, Esther in the middle and me on the right)Bon Appétit! (Hey look at us - now we are being TRI-LINGUAL!)
at 5:41 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
.....................one giant leap for for Mom-kind Okay, I know, a pathetic substitution and Neil Armstrong would probably be offended, but we had a big event at our house yesterday! Matt got his driver's permit! Of course I'm very excited and am very proud of him... ...but.... ...um.... ...well..... ...I have to ask myself, Where have the years gone? How do we keep him safe now? How long do we have till he flies away? Yikes! What's a mom to do? So Blessed, Pam
"Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body." ~Elizabeth Stone
at 6:27 AM
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Since today is Inauguration Day, I thought we should recognize a couple of people. The PRESIDENTS of my "Savoring the Sweet Life" fan club!~ While many people have given support and kind comments, these two have gone above and beyond in campaigning and recruiting new members -- they deserve recognition! The East Coast PRESIDENT is Aunt Kit! (Hurray!) And the West Coast PRESIDENT is Pop-Pop! (Hurray!) This blog owes a lot to these two for faithful campaigning and support! (Next time you see them, give em a round of applause, won't you?) And now, would the Presidents please place their right hand on their computer mouse and repeat their oath of office:
I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President
of the 'Savoring the Sweet Life Blog'
and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend it.
And may God Bless America!
at 6:20 AM
Monday, January 19, 2009
Had a wonderful lesson this past week on how to use all the features of my flash. We learned about fill flash, retaining ambient lighting, bouncing the light and the importance of off-camera flash. For no extra charge, I will fill you in as well (whether you want to hear it or not.... since you are trapped here.....muhuhahaha....) Today's lesson will be on off-camera flash. First, you need a portable flash unit and a way for it to communicate with your camera. (I use an infared wireless transmitter.) Here's my rig: Now then, let's see what we can do with it! Here's a photo of my sweet camera-lovin' pal Lisa taken with the flash that came attached/inside the camera (also called the ON camera flash.) Now here's a picture of Lisa taken with OFF-camera flash! WOW, huh? Big difference! Don't you think off-camera flash makes objects look more dimensional, more interesting as well more flattering to the model......? I just LOVE learning new things, don't you?
at 6:56 AM
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I just couldn't resist sharing 2 more photos of this beautiful amaryllis: If you can still find an amaryllis bulb at your local store, buy it and get one started for yourself! If the bulbs aren't available (they are considered a Christmas flower, but I don't know why....) then run, don't walk, to your calendar with a pen and mark on December 1st: "GO BUY AN AMARYLLIS BULB." That way next winter you will have one for YOUR kitchen counter and you can send ME pictures of it! These little beauties are a blast of spring in the middle of a cold, oh so frosty, winter!
at 5:33 AM
Saturday, January 17, 2009
As you can see, our amaryllis has moved from 'Code Red' to 'Red Alert!' Such a beautiful bloom! This plant is just the thing to take away the chill of winter, don't ya know.... This photo seems to have been taken from a similar angle as the photo I took on January 9th, so I've added it below for comparison.
at 6:28 AM
Friday, January 16, 2009
First, a quick shot of my mom enjoying the 87 degree sunshine! (This really warm weather is unusual even for San Diego! January is supposed to be our coldest month of the year with an average high of 63 degrees !) But don't worry, I'm definitely not complaining!
The laptop brings up an interesting topic:
Have you noticed the advertisements that appear in the column to the right of my photos? (Take a second to glance over.......I'll wait for you .... okay are you back now?)
Since this blog doesn't cost me anything, I think it's fine for Google to get a little something by issuing advertisements.
But the funny thing about this advertising is that they are watching what I write and then designing the ads to fit what we are talking about! (Can you say "George Orwell's 1984" or what?) In the past two weeks, I've seen ads selling Christmas trees in San Diego, Neil Diamond concert tickets (that one made me laugh out loud!) church youth camps, tangerines, rose bushes, and yesterday it was snowglobes! So now, I just HAVE TO look over there/click to see what we're selling.... Happy Shopping, Pam
at 6:42 AM
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Think back to the last time you walked out of your hair salon with a fancy new haircut.....didn't you just have a spring in your step?
And did you feel 10 years younger?
Come on admit it, you did.... Here's my beautiful mom fresh from the hair salon -- she says she feels MORE THAN 10 years younger! Ooooh la la!
Of course we have to include the steps to beauty: a wash, a cut, a blow dry, a curl...... (No hairs were harmed in the making of this style...okay just kidding....maybe a few were harmed....)
(A word of warning to future house guests.....be prepared to have your picture taken! Muhuhahahah.....)
at 6:18 AM
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
"Without music, life is a journey through a desert."- LOVE that quote -- so true isn't it? My son, Matt, is the musician of our family (my hubby and I just play the radio...ha ha ha, oh I just crack myself up.....) Matt plays the trumpet at school and the drums in the band at church. Last night we attended his high school band's Winter Concert - what a magnificent evening of music! (For all you parents of 5th graders just starting to play instruments, THIS is why you put up with all those ear screeching noises, fights over practice time and billions of $$$ spent on lessons and new instruments!) Here are a few photos from the concert. Matt is on the far end of the AWESOME trumpet section: Grammy and Pop-pop came in from Palm Springs for the big event!
at 7:06 AM
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
We hiked up the hill behind our house the other night to take pictures of the beautiful full moon. We had planned our trek with the idea that the moon would rise at 5:00 like it had the night before, but the moon tricked us and slept in until 6:00 --- so Mike and I stood on the mountain top for over an hour waiting (thank you honey for being so patient...) It was a beautiful night, a fun adventure and I'm please with the photos - what do you think, can you see a man on the moon? Moon rise: I changed the camera's exposure for the rest of the photos (Amazing how bright the moon is!) This next photo was taken right after the above photo with just the camera exposure changed.
at 6:01 AM