Monday, February 28, 2011

A Goal a Week

Last Weeks Goal
  • Avoid the drive-thru window like the plague.
  • Successful? Amazingly enough, yes! I thought about getting fast food 3 times this week. Once when I got off work late around midnight, once the other day when I had absolutely nothing to do, and once yesterday when we went on an early morning impromptu road trip and I hadn't had breakfast yet. But did I give into the urges? Heck no! So now I'm going to be honest....I'm going to allow myself one fast food indulgence this week... and then keep on avoiding it as much as I can... because I just proved to myself that I can!
This Week's Goal
  • No caffeine!
Why?
  • Its true I am a caffeine fiend. I prefer my caffeine in the form of a Coca-Cola, but really any fizzy soda containing it will work. This one is going to suck for me. Why? Well, I know an extreme headache is almost certain. Also, because work can sometimes be down right exhausting (chasing around a toddler while also watching an infant)- not to mention, I sometimes have 11 hour days! I've attempted this goal before - though I can't say I've ever been tremendously successful. I am going to allow myself soda without caffeine and juice this week, but that might be tackled next week! Caffeine is in other things too... like chocolate. So yeah - no chocolate either! :-(
Comments are close on my weekly goal posts.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow.

I went to sleep last night to the sound of rain and awoke to the beautiful sight of ..... SNOW! It's not something you get to see too often here in the desert. A quick early morning road trip was in order. First we visited Sombrero (Safford) Peak.

Sombrero Peak

This is all the snow I saw when I woke up! This is the first time I've seen this particular mountain with snow on it. The fact that it was close to home made it awesome! I know some of you are knee-deep in snow right now, and this doesn't seem like much... but it is pretty exciting for us here in Tucson. The closest snow we usually get is 9,000 ft up Mt. Lemmon.

Our mini road trip took us (My mom, Dan, and me) past Saguaro National part and through Tucson Mountain park. Being at a slightly higher elevation... we started noticing snow all around!

Snow Covered Desert!

There was even enough for a snowman!

Desert Snowman

I have a billion pictures like the one below. So pretty!

Gates Pass

The snow was melting as we were taking pictures, I'm pretty sure none of it is there now. I'm so glad I got to experience snow this winter. The perfect amount too. Anymore is totally unnecessary ;-)

Prickly Pear with Snow - No Watermark

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Book Review

I knew I had to read this book the moment I saw the trailer for the movie...



And so, I requested it from the library and waited a few weeks for the book to become available. I started reading it the day I got it and had it finished a few days later!

Title: Water for Elephants
Author: Sara Gruen
Pages: 350

Book Description:
An atmospheric, gritty, and compelling novel of star-crossed lovers, set in the circus world circa 1932, by the bestselling author of Riding Lessons.

When Jacob Jankowski, recently orphaned and suddenly adrift, jumps onto a passing train, he enters a world of freaks, drifters, and misfits, a second-rate circus struggling to survive during the Great Depression, making one-night stands in town after endless town. A veterinary student who almost earned his degree, Jacob is put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It is there that he meets Marlena, the beautiful young star of the equestrian act, who is married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. He also meets Rosie, an elephant who seems untrainable until he discovers a way to reach her.

Beautifully written, Water for Elephants is illuminated by a wonderful sense of time and place. It tells a story of a love between two people that overcomes incredible odds in a world in which even love is a luxury that few can afford.

My Thoughts:

What a good story! Worth reading. A pretty quick easy read too. I recommend this one.... Go read it, then you can watch the movie and pick it apart when it comes out in April!

On another note, I'd really love to kick my reviews up a notch... but then I'd have to contend with this problem of giving away too much. So I hope the "yeh or neh" type reviews are ok ;-) Also, for books that I've read and seen the movie for afterward, I usually post a note on that particular book review stating which I liked better, the book or the movie. So come back to this post in a few months if you interested!

*I preferred the book to the movie!!

my read shelf:
Erikajean Jean's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

World's Tiniest Camera

I fell in love with these camera necklaces I found on Etsy a few weeks ago. I was really tempted to buy one, but since I'm on tight budget I decided to see if I could craft one myself instead.

I visited our local bead store and was hoping to find a few camera charms to choose from. They only had one kind - but I was just happy/lucky to have found one at all! I got some chain, some jump rings, a clasp, a rhinestone and the camera charm. In total, I spent $2.91 (plus tax) on this necklace. It took less than 5 minutes to put together too.

IMG_0447
I posted the extra charm and rhinestone so you could see the two separate.

You can find some of the camera necklaces for pretty cheap on Etsy, but don't forget you have to pay the shipping too!

I Made it!

I Made it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review

Title: Prodigal Summer: A Novel
By: Barbara Kingsolver
Pages: 444

Book Description:
Barbara Kingsolver, a writer praised for her "extravagantly gifted narrative voice" (New York Times Book Review), has created with this novel a hymn to wildness that celebrates the prodigal spirit of human nature, and of nature itself.

Prodigal Summer weaves together three stories of human love within a larger tapestry of lives inhabiting the forested mountains and struggling small farms of southern Appalachia. At the heart of these intertwined narratives is a den of coyotes that have recently migrated into the region. Deanna Wolfe, a reclusive wildlife biologist, watches the forest from her outpost in an isolated mountain cabin where she is caught off-guard by Eddie Bondo, a young hunter who comes to invade her most private spaces and confound her self-assured, solitary life. On a farm several miles down the mountain, another web of lives unfolds as Lusa Maluf Landowski, a bookish city girl turned farmer's wife, finds herself unexpectedly marooned in a strange place where she must declare or lose her attachment to the land. And a few more miles down the road, a pair of elderly, feuding neighbors tend their respective farms and wrangle about God, pesticides, and the complexities of a world neither of them expected.

Over the course of one humid summer, as the urge to procreate overtakes a green and profligate countryside, these characters find connections to one another and to the flora and fauna with which they necessarily share a place. Their discoveries are embedded inside countless intimate lessons of biology, the realities of small farming, and the final, urgent truth that humans are only one part of life on earth.

My Thoughts:
I will it admit, it wasn't until page 120 something that I started getting interested in this book. But once I did, I wanted to keep reading. As for rating the book, I'd put it somewhere between "It was OK" and "I liked it." It's not a book I'd recommend to everyone, but not a book I'd say to stay away from either. Kingsolver uses far more descriptive writing than I'm used to. I tend to like my stories to get right to the point (though I did like her book The Bean Trees). My only real gripe with this book is that I felt the book ended somewhat unresolved. It expected a little more.... Okay, a lot more.my read shelf:
Erikajean Jean's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Goal a Week

This Weeks Goal
  • Avoid the drive-thru window like the plague
Why?
  • Um, eat on the run anyone? I do, all the freaking time. My excuses usually include (but are not limited to), not having any food in the house, not having time, and I'll just grab it on the way. In all reality, I'm just lazy. Too lazy to go to the grocery store, too lazy to wake up early to make lunch before work. Another big problem is that I craveeee french fries. I absolutely love them. I bet if I didn't eat them all the time I wouldn't miss them! Anyway, today's goal isn't about french fries. If I want french fries I'll have to got to the store, buy them and make them my damn self. This weeks goal is to avoid any building with a drive-thru window! ...And I hate to say, this one is going to be tough for this McD's lovin' gal!
Comments are close on my weekly goal posts.

Introduction -A Goal a Week

Hello! I'd like to introduce you to my new upcoming "regular" Monday posts!

Each Monday I'm going to try to set a new goal for myself for the week. I don't really have any format idea for these posts, so we'll just have to see how it goes! As well as setting a goal each week, I will recap the previous weeks goal.

I can't promise the goals will be anything exciting, profound or life changing for me... or anyone reading for that matter. I just want to use this little space to strive for a better me and get shit accomplished. Some of these goals will be a one time thing, some will continue past a week and I'm sure some may never get off the ground!

And for whatever reason, I've decided not to allow comments on these goal posts. So please don't hate on me ;-) Comments will be open for this introduction post and all other posts on my blog with the exception of my weekly goal posts! Thanks for your understanding, even if you don't understand - 'cause I'm not sure I do either... uh okay, now I'm rambling.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tucson's Famous Bridge

While I was downtown for a geocaching event today I decided to go after a virtual cache I've driven by many times before. With it being Sunday, parking was easy to find - so I made a quick grab and took some pictures.

Tucson's famous bridge, "The Rattlesnake Bridge," is a pedestrian bridge that goes over a main roadway. There weren't many people using the bridge when I was there, so I had some time to walk around and check it out. The virtual cache is near the head of the beast.


Apparently the eyes light up at night!

Snake Bridge


I couldn't really get a good angle on the body, but this gives you an idea.

Snake Bridge


According to roadsideamerica.com, the body is 280ft long.

In the Belly of the Beast


Near the end of the bridge is a motion sensor speaker that puts out a rattle sound. I wasn't expecting that when I crossed over!

Snake Bridge

Do you have any cool bridges in your area?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tekzilla

There is a nice segment about geocaching on Tekzilla. But the most important part is near 15:15. So go check it out!



It's pretty much just a screen shot from Google images, but still kind of cool. I'm a little annoyed that they used my picture without asking, but since it was just a cellphone pic I don't care too much.

The picture is from this post, I hadn't even found 100 yet!

Thanks Tripcyclone for pointing this out to me!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

#500!

I found my 500th cache on Saturday!

500th
(click to view larger)

The cache featured a house with some interesting artwork. The guy who lives here has created a wall of art around his house. It was pretty fascinating!

Another Artist's Yard Another Artist's Yard

As you can see, there was a little bit of everything!

Another Artist's Yard

There seem to be crafty people all over Tucson. Remember this front yard cache?

Another Artist's Yard Another Artist's Yard

The wall below was my favorite!

Another Artist's Yard

Ever run across something like this?

Profile for ErikaJean


Shake It.

I love any "holiday" that gives me an excuse to take a photo and type in colored fonts.

<3

<3

Shake It

Note the new watermark. I'm going to attempt to put it in my photos, but it probably won't happen 'cause I'm so darn lazy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

I'm Famous, In Case You Didn't Know

I am happy to say that I can now officially call myself a "published photographer"!

Published!



I didn't get paid for it or anything, but the fact that one of my photos is in print is rewarding enough!

Now I must admit, it isn't one of my best photos... but it is well composed and more importantly, on topic. The photo accompanies and article in the 2010 Winter Edition of Airstream Life. It talks about geocaching and travel bugs in relation to Airstreams! Check it out if you can get your hands on it! Airstream Life did another geocaching article in 2008, you can read the full article online here.

The photo itself was a Travel Bug I had found while out caching. The author of the article contacted me and asked if they could use it.

Zee

Just wanted to share another little creature I made! This one is Zee, he's the buddy of the Moose A. Moose guy that I did earlier this week. I think my skills are slowly improving!

Zee

Zee

You can find the No-Sew Template here. It's what I used for the general shape... and then I added a few buttons in place of a few felt circles. ;-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Signal the Frog

Last week I made a little stuffed toy for the girl I babysit. For anyone that watches kid shows, it's Nick Jr.'s Moose A. Moose. I was going to make Zee too, but I just didn't like the way this one turned out... (I ended up making a Zee)

Moose

It's not horrible, but I just couldn't master the blanket stitch. The template (found here) is actually a n0-sew craft for kids... ;-) I was going to include it in her birthday present, but since it wasn't up to par, I just gave it to her. She loved it. Good thing toddlers don't know anything about sewing!

Anyway, last night I decided to give this little craft another try with a geocaching twist! I decided to go with Signal the Frog, Groundspeak's mascot.
Signal


I'm really pleased with how this little guy turned out! I did the whole thing with back stitching. I have no idea what I'm going to DO with it... maybe it'd make a good FTF prize or something.

So if you want to make one yourself you will need a few things:
Signal
*And some stuffing material!

And this template that I made, with a LOT of help from my mom, might be worth using.

I didn't really take enough photos to do a full blown tutorial (crappy room lighting) But I'll tell you a little bit!

  • Cut out all your pieces first.
  • Start your sewing with the eyes, use 3 strands of matching thread.
  • Sew the little white dots onto the blue pieces.
  • Signal
  • Sew the blue pieces on to the big white eye pieces.
  • Partially Sew completed eyes onto one side of the green face.
  • Stuff eyes. You don't have to do this step, but I think it really adds to it, and was glad I did!
  • Signal
  • Complete sewing eyes on- do some sneaky sewing and go only through the white, not the blue!
  • Sew a smile with dark green thread. I used 4 strands for that part.
  • Cut 4 blue triangles and sew 2 on each side of the face. These triangles are not included in the template. Just wing it!
  • Set face aside.
  • Sew together the two yellow signal parts leaving the bottom open.
  • Stuff the signal.
  • Sandwich the the signal between the two green face parts and pin.
  • Start sewing around the face. Don't forget to leave it open near the end so you can stuff it before you close it up!
And there you go! Signal!

Signal

Signal

Monday, February 7, 2011

Photo of a Photo

Photo of a Photo

I don't know why it has taken me so long to get a print of and hang one of my OWN photos. Unfortunately the 8x10 did some cropping it's own, but I still love it! Yey. For cheap prints at Walgreen's, It's all I can afford at the moment!

Smile
I love that stinkin' fly!

Friday, February 4, 2011

When Life Gives you Lemons...

...Make Lemon Meringue Pie! ...or try to at least.

Right before all the cold came we picked all the lemons off the tree. There weren't enough lemons for more than a couple sips of lemonade, so pie it was! (thanks for the suggestion Annie).

I've never made Lemon Meringue Pie before, but I enjoy trying new things (remember my pumpkin pie?)! I used the first recipe I came to, by Alton Brown. You can find the recipe here or watch the video here, but I suggest you read this whole post first.

The pie didn't take me forever to make, but it took a while to get all the ingredients together. I had to do a little lemon zesting and juicing!

Lemons

I also had to do some egg separating, which was a pain in the ass because I got two sets of twins.

Twins!

I just didn't used the two eggs with two yolks each. I wasn't sure if they'd have enough of the white part for the meringue.

The pie looked AHmmmaaazing.

IMG_0111

However I noticed it was a little jiggly. I was worried it was going to be too runny, but I let it cool off and chill in the fridge. After it was nice and cold I tried a slice.

Soup

Uhhh.

Let me just trade in this fork for a spoon...

Soup

Well, my suspicions were right. It was more of a soup than a pie. The flavor was delicious, but way too runny. I'm pleased with how the meringue part turned out though, since it was the first time I've done that too.

IMG_0083

I am pretty sure I know where I went wrong. At the bottom of the online recipe there are a bunch of comments saying that there must have been a typo and to cook one portion longer than what the directions said. Being a stickler for following the rules... I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I went and searched out the video to see if it was indeed a typo - but Mr. Brown said the exact same thing as in the directions. When I cooked it all up it seemed thick enough - so I just stuck to the directions..... and I failed. Though not completely in my opinion. I learned for next time! I'll be using a different recipe...

Oh well!