March 25, 2015

Publish your Own Book

Shesh this took long enough... I got a new laptop the kind with a fancy touch screen and windows 8.1. It's been a challenge to figure out and I'm still learning. It gets confusing to go between touch screen and keyboard but it's fun. Let me know if things are looking funky so I can fix them.

I'm so excited to share with you the book I made for my baby girl. I received it in the mail over a month ago and have been dying to tell you about it. Considering I put it together right after I became a mom for the first time I feel pretty accomplished.

The writing started when I found out I was pregnant. I kept a journal of sorts in letter format to my baby. I always planned to capture photos along the way and combine them with the letters into a book. This is that book.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cQ8EeyROOrF9n8_BeFHEX0qQt782APn2rBKXwiRaoyg/pub
Since the birth of my daughter it's become really important for me not to store all our memories on a hard drive but have them available to enjoy. I've been printing more photos then ever!

I'm really happy with how this book turned out.  I used a company called Blurb to publish my book and also used the software they provide to create it. Have you heard of Blurb before? If not you will be so glad I told you about it!

The possibilities are endless with Blurb and the software they provide makes the process fun and easy. What I like most about the software is that you can really customize your book how you want. It's not the kind of program where you choose a template and plug in your photos and text. You can really customize every single thing. In my book I used some templates and also made my own. 
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cQ8EeyROOrF9n8_BeFHEX0qQt782APn2rBKXwiRaoyg/pub
I wanted to have a variety of options for the pages in my book since some of the letters are much longer than others.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cQ8EeyROOrF9n8_BeFHEX0qQt782APn2rBKXwiRaoyg/pub
The pages can be filled with all text or all pictures, even a little bit of both.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cQ8EeyROOrF9n8_BeFHEX0qQt782APn2rBKXwiRaoyg/pub
When finished with your book you can choose the size of the book, cover style, and the weight/finish of the pages. You also have the option to turn your book into an electronic version or set it up to distribute and sell online. My book is personal so I don't intend to sell it but it looks and feels professional and not like a scrapbook. It's a book my daughter will enjoy for years to come.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cQ8EeyROOrF9n8_BeFHEX0qQt782APn2rBKXwiRaoyg/pub
I plan to order a second copy to store away in her memory box and this copy she can enjoy all she wants. I have lots of ideas for future books too. I need to get started on her 1 year book right away so that I keep track of all the memories we're capturing. If you just have a few minutes every day to work on it you'll have a book before you know it!

Until the 31st of March Blurb is offering a 20% off discount. Use promo code: 2015BLURBMAR

They are also offering 20% cookbooks! Click the banner below for that deal. I love the idea of making a cookbook, how fun! If only I had more time on my hands...

http://www.shareasale.com/u.cfm?d=257064&m=31260&u=851217

Disclaimer: Blurb did send me the copy of my book for free.

March 2, 2015

Our Dog Princeton

Today marks the day that we adopted our dog Princeton!  In April 2013 I wrote a post about him and his name you can read it HERE.  He's no longer the baby of the family and we've since moved back to Colorado. It's amazing to me how much has happened to our family in the 2 years that we've had him. To celebrate we all went on a snowy walk today.
This dog sure has filled our lives with a lot of joy!

February 17, 2015

Why I go Fly Fishing

I've really been missing this space. I've got an endless list of things I would like to share but unfortunately not enough focus to do it. My mind is constantly racing and with a new little girl taking up much of my brain capacity (and the memory on my camera) it's challenging to sit down and blog. This post in particular has been brewing in my mind for well over a year and it's time I share with you why I go fly fishing.
This type of fishing forces me to slow down. It's much different from when I was a kid and we stuck a worm on the hook, plopped our line in the water and waited. Fly fishing is very interactive. From the time we drive up to the water I'm engaged in the process. Slipping into waders, squeezing into wadding boots, setting up the rod all while taking in the environment. Is there a hatch happening (are there bugs flying around in the air)?  What's hiding under the rocks on the shore? Can you hear fish feeding? Do you see any ripples in the water? It's important to collect clues so that you can determine what type of fly to use. A fly is used as a lure which provokes the fish to strike, therefore it's important to choose a fly that resembles what the fish are interested in at the time. Should I choose a fly that will float on top of the water or one that will sink below the surface?

I'm far from an expert on fly fishing its an endless learning process and that's another reason why I enjoy it. You really don't need to know all the fly fishing lingo, names of the flies, specialty knots or all the different ways to cast in order to enjoy fly fishing. You just need the desire to learn, a fly fishing rod and a few flies to start. Oh and maybe a net in case you actually catch a fish. There are so many resources out there if you're interested. You can find information online like the "New to Fly" info the Redington site provides. There are tons of books at the library. You can even find classes and organizations that provide lessons.

Fly fishing is incredibly therapeutic. Being outdoors surrounded by the sound of water always refreshes my soul. Often when we go fly fishing we are out at a time we wouldn't be otherwise which means we get to experience things we wouldn't typically experience. I can remember waking up before dawn many times in PA and enjoying the sun and the fog rising above the fields and the water. The light is magical and the sounds of nature coming alive are extraordinary this time of day.
In Colorado we've gone fishing in the evening more and we've seen many beautiful sunsets. Being in the middle of the water also gives you a unique perspective. Fly fishing is a gentle, quiet sport which not only allows you to get closer to the fish but other animals too. We've seen all sorts of wildlife when fishing. I can clearly remember one evening as the sun was setting looking up at the bank and seeing the most striking silhouette of a buck.
If this sport wasn't therapeutic then there wouldn't be groups out there dedicated to giving people a fly fishing experience. One of my favorite organizations is Casting for Recovery. They provide free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer. I love seeing the pictures of these women and the smiles on their face when they catch a fish. I've also heard of amazing groups for veterans.

I find so much beauty and creativity in this sport. I never really thought much about insects before learning to fly fish and quiet honestly I didn't like them at all. Now I find them absolutely fascinating to watch, except for the pesky mosquitoes. It's amazing how flies are made so intricately and creatively to mimic specific insects. I've not learned to tie my own flies yet but I really want to use my husky dogs hair when I do.
Even the equipment is beautiful to me. My reel and rod are nothing fancy but I still love the way they look. I especially love seeing handmade rods; it's unbelievable the work that people put into making their own. My husband has his Grandfather's bamboo rod hanging in our guest room. It doesn't function well any more but it's beautiful to look at.
Of course one of the most exciting parts of fly fishing is actually catching a fish. I can remember my husband telling a story of catching a fish and describing what it was like to pull it out of the water, he said, "its like pulling jewelry out of the water." I didn't know what he meant until I pulled my first fish out of the water and observed it's shimmering scales up close. Each fish you catch is different and incredibly beautiful.
My husband is the one who taught me how to fly fish. He's also probably the main reason why I do it. It started out as a way to spend time together but it quickly became something I really love to do. We both learned when we were living in PA. We had a creek behind our house that was constantly inviting us to enjoy it's bubbling presence. Oh how I miss hearing that sound regularly. It wasn't long before any moving body of water was calling our name and we discovered great fishing very near to our house.
We've since moved back to Colorado where there is incredible fly fishing sometimes it just takes a little more work to get to.
We're still perfecting the art of fly fishing and every time we go out we learn something new. I didn't let pregnancy stop me from fly fishing and I'm happy to say that now that our little girl is here we still go. She's almost three months old and we just took her for the first time. I can tell she loves to be outside! Now is probably the easiest time to take her since I can just carry her and she sleeps through most of it. I'm so looking forward to teaching her one day!
You may be thinking how random of a blogger I am and it's true that I blog about a wide range of topics. I've come to understand that fly fishing is an art form and a type of creativity that engages and slows me down all at the same time. I share my experience with you as I do all my experiences to encourage and inspire. Maybe it's time you try fly fishing if you haven't before. Of course if you have please do tell I'd love to hear your stories.

For me there are so many reasons to fly fish other than having trout for dinner or having the biggest fish tale to tell. I do it because it feeds my soul and it's way for me to spend time enjoying something together with my family.

January 6, 2015

Granola

I've been making my own granola for a couple years now. I go through phases where I make it every week or I go months without it. I'm always happy though when I have a batch made up and I always say to myself it wasn't that hard and it's so worth it.
The best part about making your own granola is you control the ingredients. That means you can make it as healthy as you like or as inexpensive as you like. For me granola is always a better option over a bowl of regular cereal in the morning. It's always more satisfying. I often eat mine with almond milk poured over top but it's really yummy with yogurt too.

I feel like I finally perfected my recipe. The ingredients are usually dictated by what's on sale in the bulk section at the time. Once I found dried orange cranberries on sale and ever since I've added them to my granola, I love the flavor that they contribute. Another thing I've discovered about making granola is not to mess with it, just let it bake. Don't stir it at all. The only thing you need to do is turn it halfway through the baking time.
Granola also makes a great gift especially if you put it in a pretty jar. Here's the recipe that I use which has evolved over the years and will probably continue to. Just remember you can always change things up. Add honey instead of syrup. Use different kinds of nuts and dried fruit, maybe add some coconut. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!