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April Wrap Up

April felt like a productive month for us. While the weather wasn’t great during most of the month here in Iowa, it’s starting to come around. Here’s our month in photos, both from the blog and from our family.

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Lots of Monogram decorating projects as I finish up our monogram mantle gallery and a few extras. I hope to be able to finish it up in May and be able to share it with you.

Vintage Inspired Wood Tile Letter

Vintage Wood Tile Letter

Vintage Inspired Wood Tile Letter

Monogram Scrabble Tile

Monogram Scrabble Tile

Monogram Scrabble Tile

Stenciled Garden Rocks – A great Mother’s Day Gift idea!

Stenciled Garden Rocks with Monogram

Stenciled Garden Rocks

I was also working on various gifts and made a few new bracelets. These would also make great Mom’s Day Gifts!

Circle Inspiration Bracelet

Circle Inspiration Bracelet

Circle Inspiration Bracelet

Bead and Knot Cord Bracelet

Bead and Knot Cord Bracelet

Bead and Knot Cord Bracelet

I finally got around to printing off and framing a few of my Instagram photos.

Shadow Box Framed Instagram Photos

Shadow Box Framed Instagram Photos

Shadow Box Framed Instagram Photos

Not too many new recipes this month, but a few.

Mini Baked Spinach Dip Cups

Mini Baked Spinach Dip Cups

Mini Baked Spinach Dip Cups

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Baked Chicken Taquitos

Crunchy Chipotle Chickpeas

Roasted Chipotle Chickpeas

Crunchy Chipotle Chickpeas

We had a busy month with family activities and friends too.

Carter started soccer in early April which started out a bit rocky, but he’s enjoying it more now. Here’s the first week and the third week comparison pictures. As you can see it was still hat weather for both games. His expression in the first picture cracks me up every time I look at it!

Carter Soccer

We had a few nice days where we made trips to the park. Here’s one where we spent an afternoon doing all sorts of boy things – tree climbing, digging in the sand, and climbing UP the slide.

Last week I went to a conference for work in Palm Beach, FL. We stayed at the PGA National resort. While I didn’t golf, I still enjoyed the scenery. I’m happy to be done with work travel for a little while!

We had a wedding this past weekend for some long time friends. Carter looked quite handsome in his little tie and hat. He was a dancing machine at the reception. We had a good time too!


Here’s to a great May!

Organizing and Archiving Digital Photos

I didn’t really make any resolutions this year, but I did have a goal of trying to get my digital photos organized, backed-up, and used! I need to take care of my non-digital photos as well, but it felt easier to tackle the digital ones first.

One of the things I get frustrated about with my digital photos is that there are so many of them and it takes forever to find the one I’m looking for. This is my own fault because I took the easy way out each time I was downloading the photos from my camera and didn’t take the time to edit or rename any of them. I had some of my photos backed up on CD’s or flash drives, but I wanted to also have them on cloud based storage so I have copies that aren’t physically in my house in case of some sort of disaster.

So far I’ve made it through organizing 2010-2012. Here are the steps that are working for me.

1) Delete the duplicates. With digital cameras, we often take multiples in order to get the “perfect” shot. Instead of keeping 10 slightly different copies of the same photo, only keep the 1 or 2 good ones.

2) Decide where/how you’re going to store your photos. I didn’t want to have to keep all of mine on our computer because they take up a lot of space. I’m using flash drives for when I want to access them day-to-day and then I’m also uploading them to the Amazon cloud for longer term storage and safety. I’ll also keep the last 2 years on our home computer and delete them after that point. All the flash drives are stored in a box in our office. I put a label for the year(s) directly on the flash drive so it’s easy to find the right one.

3) Edit photos. This can be done now or later, but I’m trying to start editing and enhancing at the time I download them, so that it’s a time-saver later.

4) Create a folder structure. I created folders in the format YYYY-MM and put all the photos from that month into the correct folder. This seemed more manageable because I could set goals to get a few months done at a time without just staring at thousands of photo files. You may want to do yours by event, but I would strongly suggest starting your folder naming structure with the Year and Month.

digital photo organizing - folders

5) Rename your photos. Use the date the photo was taken, event name, and then sequential numbers. If you put the date first, they will all fall together in chronological order. When you do your sequential numbers at the end make sure you use a format of ##, so if it’s the 1st picture, instead of 1, use 01. You’ll thank me later. Maybe this is obvious to most, but I didn’t do that the first few months and ended up going back and redoing them once I realized without the zero, they wouldn’t be in order once you got into double digits.

digital photo organizing - names

6) Upload to your back up source. If you’re using a cloud based back up, it may not be as easy to rename your photos after they’ve been uploaded, so I suggest you do your renaming and all your editing first. I used the same folder structure on the Amazon cloud as I did on my computer/flash drives.


7) Create yearly photo books. I saw this idea on Pinterest from Eighteen25 on creating family yearbooks, and it really pushed me to try to get a photo book done for every year. I had a voucher I had purchased from Living Social over the holidays, so I used that to create my photo book of 2012. I’m trying to work on one book a month for the next year (we’ve been married for 12 years). I know the earlier years will be harder to get done as I need to get our non-digital photos scanned. I’ll be looking for deals on scanning services. 🙂

Here are some snapshots of my 2012 book. I had the year printed on the back cover.




8) Keep up with it! Last but not least, I’m trying to get the photos downloaded from my camera and my phone regularly rather than letting several months go by and then having a few hundred to go through. I take photos on my iPhone more often than I do my camera these days, so I have been using the iCloud feature to automatically save the pictures on my computer. Then I organize my phone pictures in the same way I described above along with the photos from my camera. I don’t differentiate between the two in my organizing process.

I have my 2011 photos organized, but I haven’t finished my book yet. I still have a few days left in the month to meet my one-a-month goal – I can do it!!

Linked Up At: Design, Dining & Diapers

40th Birthday Party – Concert Theme {40 Rocks!}

Well, I think we’ve finally recovered enough from my husband’s 40th birthday party last Saturday night to do a recap of the festivities. You know you’re getting old when it takes you more than just the day after to recover from a fun night!

The whole party was a concert theme “40 Rocks”! My husband is a big music fan and loves to see live concerts. We set the stage (yes, pun intended) initially with concert ticket invitations. The picture is from our college years and was a Harley Davidson themed costume party. Much to my husband’s dismay, there’s no way he could grow that kind of facial hair!

Concert Ticket Invitation

Concert Ticket Invitation (contact info blocked out)

The Place: We hosted the party at Jasper Winery, a local winery in Des Moines. They were really great to work with and it was a perfect space for our 50 or so guests. We served 4 of their wines – 2 whites and 2 reds. I drank their “Behind the Shed Red” most of the night. They are affiliated with Madhouse brewery, also local to central Iowa so we had their Honey Pilsner on tap.

Tasting Room (Source: Jasper Winery)Jasper Winery Banquet Room

The Food: We got the food from Woody’s Smoke Shack, an award winning championship BBQ joint. SO GOOD!

The weeks prior to the party I sorted through all of Todd’s childhood photos, our college photos and those from life since in order to make a giant 4-0 collage out of photos. Below you can see the framed concert and fraternity t-shirts sitting on a mantle in the party room. That was one project my husband hadn’t seen and he really liked them.

40 Rocks CollageFramed T-ShirtsPhoto Booth Pictures

On the tables we had the “40 Rocks” DIY Rock Photo Holders I made and posted about a few weeks ago. I also made up a  trivia game of 20 questions from various aspects of Todd’s life. Everyone seemed to know a few answers themselves and were surprised to learn a few new things – even his parents. We had a photographer that took photo booth style pictures at the party, so we left the answer key with her so people had to get their pictures taken in order to find out the answers.


The cake was a giant Doc Marten boot. Todd has owned a pair of Doc Marten boots since college and still wears them to concerts. I was so happy with how the cake turned out thanks to Cache Bake Shoppe in Clive.


Friends and family ate, drank, and visited at the winery from about 6-10 p.m. Then with the help of several people, we quickly cleaned up and Todd and I headed out with several of our friends to some downtown Des Moines establishments. We had such a great time celebrating with everyone and appreciated everyone who made it.

While it was a great party, we’re both glad to be done with the planning. When my turn rolls around I think I’d rather go on a trip than have a big party. Todd keeps asking me where I want to go, but I keep telling him to just start saving the money – I’m not ready to talk about it yet since I have a few years to go still! I’m in denial and that’s where I’d like to stay a little while longer!

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