50th Anniversary Celebration {Part 1}

Hello, dears!

This past weekend, Mom’s side of the family came up to our farm to celebrate Grandpa and Grandma’s 50th anniversary! It was AMAAAZING, ahhh! We made so many good memories, had so many fun adventures, and ate so much good food. XD I also took hundreds and hundreds of pictures, obviously. 😀 I got so many pictures that it was hard to pick a small enough amount for this post, but I hope you enjoy this selection of photographs and fun times with family. 🙂 Continue reading

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{Summer 2018}

Hello, dears!

Oh my, it was VERY hard to restrain myself from starting this post with the overused “I can’t believe summer went by so quickly!” (Wait, but what did I just do…? XD) Instead… let me think. Oh! I saw a marquee sign the other day that said “Summer should get a speeding ticket.” Much more original, right? AND TRUE.

ANYWAY. I seriously am having a hard time believing it’s September already, especially since this is the first year after graduating when I don’t have school! :O It feels strange, but it’s exciting. Even though it’s not technically fall yet, it doesn’t quite feel like summer anymore. Maybe it’s… fummer. NOPE, THAT SOUNDS TERRIBLE. Maybe it’s just September. Let’s go with that.

Ahem, what I was TRYING to say was that this post will be about 20+ things I did this summer, in no particular order. Not an exhaustive list, but a good summary. (Or rather, summery. SORRY I COULDN’T RESIST.)

Wow, I really better start using pictures instead of words, now. This is getting out of control. O.o Heh, let’s begin. Continue reading

Christmas 2017 {Gifts + Adventures}

Heyyyy, dears! I hope you guys had a lovely Christmas – I sure did! There was so much fun, family, and food… it was wonderful. 🙂 And of course it was great fun to give and receive presents! One of the best parts about giving presents is seeing the expressions on people’s faces when they open the gift, and there were some pretty great expressions – especially the uncontrollable laughs. XD

I absolutely loved the gifts I received as well! If you gave me a gift or Christmas card… THANK YOU SO MUCH. ♥

Anyway, I decided to do a little Christmas haul post for you guys! And nope, I am by no means trying to brag by posting about my presents, and I don’t think I’ve never read a haul post that was… I just wanted to post this because I love reading Christmas haul posts, (though I despise the term “Christmas haul,” heh heh). What ’bout you?

~ Selected Gifts ~

Just a note: these gifts are in random order, not by how much I like them or anything. Pretty much by how they came up on the computer. XD AHEM. Let’s begin.

#1: Sealing Wax

This stuff is so neat! Basically you light a candle, put a piece of wax in the spoon, and hold the spoon over the flame until the wax melts, after which you pour it onto the area to be sealed. I tried it out and it worked pretty well, although there were a few bubbles and I waited too long to press the design in so it didn’t show up. It also made the spoon really black, but you can just wipe that away with a paper towel. Perhaps my sealing techniques need polishing too. HA.

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#2: Macro Lens Extension Tube Kit

EEK I’m so excited about these! When you attach them to your DSLR lens, they let you take super close up pictures, almost like a mini microscope! The lenses are stackable, meaning you can choose how many layers to attach depending on the zoom you want.

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Why do I love this picture??

Honestly I still haven’t quite got the hang of using them, but I can tell it’s going to be tons of fun once I do. 😉 Here are two test pictures I got so far, and I’m sure there will be lots more in the future! Let me know if you guys want a more in-depth review.

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Behold… my pajama pants.
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There must be some dirt on the lens or something. Tsk tsk.

#3: Stuffed Hedgehog

LOOK IT’S SO ADORABLE AND SQUISHABLE. Sweet Laura sent me this for Christmas and I love it! HOW COULD YOU NOT? ♥ It’s so soft and fuzzy and fun to hold. 🙂

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#4: The Julia Rothman Book Series

I LOVE these books. I discovered them at a friend’s house and so enjoyed the charming illustrations and fun informative writing that I decided to put them on my list! My favorite thing about these books might be how pretty they are. XD The illustrations are beautiful and whimsical, not to mention the books are like mini encyclopedias bursting with entertaining and interesting facts. They’d be great coffee table books.

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This particular boxed set is excellent, especially since it comes with 10 (I think) framable prints from the books! Here’s a selection of my favorites…

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#5: Micron Pen Set

THESE ARE AMAZING. (I say that about everything, don’t I? XD) But seriously, I am SO happy with these pens so far! They come in a large variety of tip sizes, ranging from 1.0 mm to 0.15 mm, not counting the brush pen which can be different sizes depending on how hard you press. Guys, the smallest pen (a 003) has SUCH a fine tip, it’s barely visible! Okay, maybe not that fine, but you know…

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I made these two ATCs to test out the Microns. I also used watercolors and a brush pen we’ll address shortly…

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Here’s another test page, with lots of different vines in descending order of the Micron pen sizes, and labels for future reference. Look how thin the lines go!

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#6: Black Velvet Brush

I don’t have many good quality brushes, so I was super excited to get this one! The great thing about this paintbrush is that it can hold a fair amount of paint and works for both good-sized areas (like behind the “hello”), and tiny spaces. Usually brushes don’t hold their point very well but this one really does! That’s my favorite part about it – the superfine tip. (As you can tell, I like fine-tip things because I love making and drawing tiny details.) I also used this brush in the watercolor pieces above.

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#7: Black Brush Pen (Sakura)

Brush pens are so much fun, and I use the black one I already had a lot. This one is better quality than the one I have now, plus it comes with a refill! It’s also super fun to use and the ink is very opaque. (I used this for the “hello” word and outlines on the ATC.)

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#8: Travelogue Sketchbook

A new sketchbook, EEP! I’m quite excited about this one as the pages are thicker and better quality than my current sketchbook’s, so it works better for mediums like watercolor. I used this for the vine picture, by the way, and it didn’t buckle that much – woop woop! It’s quite a bit smaller than my current sketchbook, but I like drawing small anyway, so that’s fine. 😉 I cannot wait to fill it with drawings!

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#9: Lined Notebook

This is SO pretty and classy, don’t you agree? Clara sent it to me for Christmas and I love it! Thank you so much, my friend. ♥ The padded cover is light pink with gold accents and bookmark, and the clasp is magnetic. The paper is lined, with a fun border. 🙂

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#10: Micromagnets

And last but not least, we have these super neat micromagnets! They are SO fun and addicting to play with, hee hee! Micromagnets are tiny magnet balls that you can build and mess around with to your heart’s content. 🙂 They’re super strong, but still flexible, almost like magnetic cloth or something. It’s kind of hard to explain what they’re like, but they’re amazingly weird and fun. XD Look up micromagnets and see if you can find a video maybe?

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And that’s the end of the gifts! That wasn’t all of them, but it would be way too long of a post if I included all the delicious candy and snacks and fuzzy socks too. So I’ll spare you the details. XD

~ Select Christmas Adventures ~

  • My brother got a sticky bug toy that climbs down the wall, and he, uh, threw it a little too high and it stuck. XD He got out his new fishing pole and tried to poke it down, and then Grandaddy got his enormously long bamboo pole and after much prodding and laughing, he got it. XD XD

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  • We had some rather interesting food in our several Christmas celebrations so far. For instance…
    • Tripe: pickled cow’s stomach. IT TASTES LIKE RUBBERY VINEGAR BUT WORSE.
    • Divinity: a sweet marshmallowy macaroon type thing. Yum.
    • Scrapple: basically the leftovers from butchering a pig made into a sort of meat pudding and then fried. It’s actually quite good if you don’t think about what it’s made of…
    • Hominy: corn without the hull, so it’s soft and tender. Quite yummy; tastes similar to potatoes.
    • Baklava: a Greek dessert with delicate, super flaky pastry and honey and nuts. DELICIOUS.

Have you had any of those?

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  • My brother got a drum for Christmas. -_- *covers ears*  XD He’s actually pretty good at it, it’s just REALLY LOUD. HELP.

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  • Carmen got a beta fish, and she’s still undecided about the name. Which do you think is better, Gilbert or Bobo? (Hint: PLEASE PICK GILBERT. XD)

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  • We always measure the grandchildren at my grandparents’ (on my Dad’s side) Christmas, and this year I was 5′ 10.5.” O.o I think I’m done growing now, heh heh. I hope so, because it’s almost impossible to find clothes that fit as it is. Oh dear… XD

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Annnnd that’s about it! I hope you enjoyed reading this (rather large) post as much as I enjoyed making it! 😀 Thanks once again to everyone who gave me those lovely gifts. 🙂

How was your Christmas? What was your favorite gift?

Thanks for bearing with me through all these Christmas posts, dears. I believe this is the last one, so congratulations on surviving the overload! *applause*

***Allison***

P. S. I doubt anyone will notice, but just in case, I wanted to let you know that I may post a bit irregularly over the next two months, since we’re pretty busy fixing up the new house(s) for when we move. 😉 AHH I’M SO EXCITED.

Bits & Pieces #1

Hello, my dears! Welcome to yet ANOTHER random photography post, where Allison dumps all the miscellaneous orphan photos that she couldn’t fit in any other post. XD I am waaay backed up with extra photos so I hope you’re ready for a lot of photography posts! 😀

Ahem. Let’s begin.

The Eclipse

I still haven’t shown you my pictures from the eclipse? Dear me, I AM behind. XD Anyway, I didn’t get any spectacular pictures, but I did get a few through welding glass to at least document what happened. The welding glass made everything look green, but I managed to edit out most of the color except that one green guy over there. XD As you can see, we weren’t in the path of totality.

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I thought the eclipse looked really neat through clouds!

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And here’s just a bonus picture I took that day. So pretty!

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The Enormous Bonfire

We occasionally burn a heap of brush or extra wood piles and such on our farm, and I got these pictures from one of those times. Dad pushed the pile around with the telehandler which made the bonfire practically explode in a column of glittering orange sparks. It was breathtaking!

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Bonus picture of the cows that watched the bonfire with us. XD There were a bit confused about what was happening, as cows usually seem to be.

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There were actually a few bulls in the pasture, and one started sort of stomping and bellowing. O.o Thankfully nothing bad happened. Isn’t it funny how he has a heart on his forehead? You can’t see it too well in this picture, but he really does!

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Megan’s Birthday Party

We had a lot of fun decorating the front porch and outside table for Megan’s party. Aren’t the colors pretty?

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We used zinnias from our garden for some of the decorations, and I got some lovely pictures of the bouquets. ♥

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Megan wanted to have doughnuts instead of cake, which was quite a good idea in my opinion. 😉 We made the doughnuts the previous day and I also made a little happy birthday banner for the top.

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Yum, fresh lemonade!

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Grandma brought Megan a beautiful rose from her house along with her gift.

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We had a water balloon fight for one of the party games. It was so fun, AND I didn’t get very wet, which was good since it wasn’t that hot. XD

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A bonus picture of the gorgeous spreading maple in our front yard…

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Bonus picture #2 of an adorable fuzzy caterpillar we found before the party.

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Isn’t it cute? 😛

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Moving a Piano + Another Bonfire

One night we went to our grandparents’ house to help move their piano from the basement to their room. 🙂 It was quite hard work… well actually I didn’t do much but stay out of the way and document it for posterity, but it looked like hard work. When they finally brought it to my grandparents’ room, it wouldn’t fit through the door. But then they tried turning it on end and thankfully it just fit. Phew! The poor piano.

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I also got some super neat pictures of the piano without its top on. I love them, especially after they were edited!

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After we got the piano all figured out we had a bonfire and picnic. Fire is so fun to watch, isn’t it?

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I got a really good picture of my grandpa smiling when he didn’t know I was taking a picture. I edited it a good bit, as you can tell, but isn’t it neat?

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Freshly Picked

I took these photos for my sister’s photo contest, BIBPC. I think they turned out rather pretty!

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Also isn’t this tomato HILARIOUS?! It looks like it’s sticking out its tongue at you.

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The Rest of Them

THESE COOKIES ARE DELICIOUS! I took pictures of them because I wanted to submit the recipe to Olivia Bell’s wonderful magazine. Be sure to check it out (and make it) when the next issue comes out here soon! You can subscribe to her magazine through the contact form in this post.

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Random picture of the details on one of my Sunday dresses…

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I edited this one a LOT to get rid of the power lines crisscrossing it, but this is the view from one of our upstairs windows. 🙂

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There we go! That was pretty much a whole bunch of mini posts smushed into one huge one. XD I hope you enjoyed! Which topic was your favorite?

***Allison***

Labor Day Adventures

This Labor Day we did something a different than an ordinary picnic or cook-out. Since Dad and the boys were out harvesting corn, Mom suggested that we girls pack a lunch and just go out and walk around the farm. So we did! It was quite fun.

We packed some sandwiches, mint tea, chips, and a couple other things which I can’t remember (XD), and took along backpacks filled with books and cameras.

This is my cucumber sandwich. Say hello. I didn’t want to waste the bread crusts after I cut out the sandwich, so I flattened them with a rolling pin, spread some cream cheese on, and rolled them up into roses. 😛

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First we headed past a place we call “The Sycamores” because… there are a lot of huge sycamore trees by the creek. DSC_2030 (853x1280)

I found some lovely periwinkle morning glories along the path. Aren’t they charming?

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We finally settled on a pretty, peaceful corner of the pasture filled with smartweed – a dainty little pink flower. We spread out a blanket, hung the hammock, and relaxed.

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This looks kind of weird…

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I love this one. ♥

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I did a really fun, cute photoshoot with my little sister here, but this post would be insanely long if I included all those photos oh wait it already is, so I’ll save it for later. Anyway, this was a great spot for taking pictures of little things. My favorite! 😀

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In interesting twisty stick.

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I love the bokeh in these pictures!
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Have you ever tasted sourgrass, or wood sorrel? That’s what this is. It tastes, well, sour.

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So pretty! ♥

 

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I found a beautifully shiny, polished nut.

 

The scenery was more scrubby here than the rest of our farm, but still pretty.

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Trees are nice.

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After we ate lunch and read for a while, we decided to move to a different spot. We crossed the barbwire fence (no easy feat in this pasture), walked over the field, up the hill, down a lane, and up another hill to a beautiful hidden spot behind a pasture. We’d never been there before, which is something rare since we’ve walked pretty much everywhere on our farm, and it was delightful to explore it.

Unfortunately I didn’t get many pictures with my camera because it ran out of battery, but Megan lent me hers.

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HA HA cows are such funny creatures. XD

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I think this picture is so neat but I don’t know why – it’s rather cluttered.

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I had the idea to play mancala while we were there. (Have you ever played that? It’s really fun!) I dug out some holes in the dirt with a stick and used corn kernels for the marbles. It actually worked!

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It’s really hard to see on camera, but Carmen and I built a great fort around this perfect square of trees. There were huge logs scattered everywhere (one pile was in a huge sinkhole O.o ). They made great walls but were exhausting to carry. We didn’t finish the fort, but we did make a good start.

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Mom and Carmen and I also built this little campfire area in a pretty shaded nook. We stacked stones for a firepit, hauled in some rocks and stumps for chairs, and made benches from logs and rocks. 🙂 It was fun.

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Mom also found this really odd-looking spider. O.o (She’s for you, Clara. 😉 )

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In the evening our whole family came up and had a picnic with us, and a bonfire too.

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So that’s what we did for Labor Day! It was great fun, even though the mosquitoes practically devoured me. I got over 40 mosquito bites (yes, I counted XD). O.o Anyway, the memories will last for much longer than the bites will, so it’s all good.

I hope you enjoyed this loooong post, my dears! Which was your favorite picture? Which was your least favorite? What did you do for Labor Day?

***Allison***

Gone Camping

Last weekend we went on a camping trip with my Dad’s side of the family, and it was so much fun! My camera still isn’t working the best, but I did manage to get a few decent pictures.

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We got to the campground in the evening so we didn’t do much after that besides set up. Megan and I shared a really nice tent with our two cousins. Although we did play the most confusing game of Uno ever. XD We played the “interrupting” version where you can lay down a card that’s exactly the same (same number and color) as the one someone else just laid down even if it’s not your turn. Anyway, when we laid down several skips or draw-twos or reverses in a row it got quite complicated, XD Have you ever played Interrupting Uno?

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Unfortunately the ground under our tent was quite bumpy and rocky and sloping, and my sleeping bag didn’t provide much protection… so I didn’t sleep that well the first night. XD But oh well.

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The next morning we had a delicious breakfast of pancake and sausages and bacon cooked over a combination of a camp cookstove and a bonfire. YUM.

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The next day started out extremely hot until a huge rainstorm came in the afternoon. The kids rushed to a pavilion nearby and had fun playing games until it stopped raining. My little sister Carmen got scared of all the thunder though, poor girl. :/

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In the afternoon we went down to the pool which was huge and the perfect temperature, if a bit dirty. All of us except my uncle played a couple of exhilarating games of water polo. It was SO much fun and we all laughed so hard. XD (And my team won both times, heh heh.)

Unfortunately, the floor of the pool was rough concrete and almost all of us skinned our toes and feet up pretty badly what with pushing off hard and running through the water. We had to break out the Band-Aids and gauze when we got back to the campsite and even then we were limping around. XD It would have been pretty hilarious if it wasn’t so painful… well actually, it was still pretty hilarious. 😛 Kind of a strange way to injure yourself, huh?

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In the evening we had a bonfire and hot dog roast – and s’mores, of course. My uncle also popped some popcorn over the fire and it was AMAZING! It was some of the best popcorn I have ever tasted! His recipe was 1/3 cup of popcorn to 1/4 cup of oil, I think, with a pinch of salt.

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The cicadas and/or tree frogs were really loud, but in a peaceful kind of way. It was so nice just to be sitting around the fire with family and talking and eating popcorn. 🙂

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We bought air mattresses for the second night which felt luxurious compared to sleeping bags. XD I know, I need to toughen up – but I have like NO extra padding on my body which doesn’t help anything. XD

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We had scrambled eggs and chocolate muffins and bacon for the last breakfast. YUM AGAIN. (Hmm, this post seems to feature a lot of food, doesn’t it? XD )

We then went down and played around at the Gaga pit and swings and rock climbing wall and stuff, but it was so hot we didn’t do it for long.

Before we left we went to the pool one last time and tried not to scrape open our blisters. Eheh heh… dear me.

And then we left! All in all it was a pretty fun time. 😀

Have you gone camping this summer? What is some of your favorite campfire food? What do you like to do best while camping?

***Allison***

How to Make an Orange Octopus

I was playing with my food the other day (heh heh), and ended up with a cute little octopus that doubled as an orange sunflower on the other side. 🙂 I decided to post a simple tutorial so you can enjoy them both too! 😀

You Will Need…

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  • an orange or clementine
  • a sharp knife (I used a serrated one)
  • a black Sharpie

Step One:

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 Starting at the top, divide the orange peel into eight sections running halfway down the side. (If you’re not too sure of your cutting skills, you may want to draw guidlines with a Sharpie. 😉 )

Step Two:

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When you start cutting, try not to cut much past the peel into the orange or everything will get juicy. After the tentacles/petals are cut, peel them carefully away from the orange. Looking good!

Step Three:

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Finally, draw suitably adorable eyes and a tiny smile, and display your octopus or sunny bloom with pride…. Or you could always eat it. XD

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What do you think? Aren’t they cute? Which is your favorite?

Thanks for reading, my lovely friends!

***Allison***