Tuesday, January 29, 2008

My first "photo shoot"

With my new camera I thought I would give a little photo shoot a try (Try is definitely the key word). I combed my kids' hair, wiped off milk mustaches and here's what I got. (I've taken a few classes since this day and I can definitely see that I have lots of learning and practicing to do!) I tried out a few classic photography tips. See what you think.
Tip #1: Get closer!!

Tip #2: Use natural sunlight! (Turn off the flash and get near a window or door). I think that these pictures are a little over-exposed however (too much light).

Tips #3- Get out of "Auto" mode and at minimum use program modes (ie landscape, portrait), then move on to adjusting aperture, ISO, shutterspead etc. In this pic I used the portrait mode. See how it blurred out the background (Ashlee).

Tip #4____________. Hmm not sure how to solve this problem yet. Any suggestions?

If any one is interested here is a link to an awesome free online 12 week photography course. The lessons are short and sweet. They are on week 4, but you can go back and download the previous weeks lessons.

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Tribute

"The time has come for us to stand a little taller, to lift our eyes and stretch our minds to a greater comprehension and understanding of the grand millennial mission of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is a time to be strong. It is a time to move forward without hesitation, knowing well the meaning, the breadth and the importance of our mission. It is a time to do what is right regardless of the consequences that might follow. It is a time to be found keeping the commandments. It is a season to reach out with kindness and love to those in distress and to those who are wandering in darkness and pain. It is a time to be considerate and good, decent and courteous toward one another in all our relationships. In other words, to become more Christlike."
- President Hinckley (1910-2008)
Being a Utah resident, ironically I heard the news of the passing of our beloved prophet Gordon B. Hinckley from a brother-in-law in southern Arizona. News spread fast. Even though we have been anticipating his "imminent" death for years, it was still a shock to hear the sad news. My shock then moved to almost happiness as I thought of his dear wife and the joyous reunion they were experiencing right then, but as the night progressed and I watched tributes on TV and read them online, it moved to sadness as I remembered the amazing man that he was and what he accomplished during his 13 years as prophet and 50 yrs + of church service. The quote above by his picture was taken from his first general conference address as prophet and his message never changed throughout his time as prophet. He was always so upbeat and complementary, but encouraging us to "stand a little taller" at the same time. He was a little man in stature, but a giant in the spiritual sense.
I will cherish my memories of the prophet. He was the prophet when my testimony of the church and of latter day prophets really matured. I'll never forget my impressions of the prophet that I had as a 17 year old in the Philippines. Pres. Hinckley came to visit the people of those islands and my family was lucky to attend his address. It was going to be held in a large colosseum. It was not the first choice of venues because the night before a cock fight was going to be held and it would require almost miraculous efforts to have it ready for a prophet to visit, but it was the only place large enough to accommodate the numbers of people they were anticipating. The members worked all night to have it ready and I believe that their efforts paid off. The entire place was filled to capacity and they even had to turn people down for lack of seating. (35,000 seats were filled. It was the largest gathering of church members in church history at that time.) We sat up in nearly the very top rows of the stadium and I thought that I would be barely able to even see him, but to my surprise, when he entered the very large Colosseum, his warm loving spirit filled the entire place. It was then that I knew that he was a prophet of God. When I think what the Savior might be like I think of President Hinckley. He truly exemplified His attributes.
He will be greatly missed and remembered by me.
"God be with you 'til we meet again!"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

For the Record: A Saturday Morning

Here's a glimpse into a Saturday morning around the Hogge home (or a Monday, Thursday or even Friday, just depends on when Justin has the day off and is home.)

7:30-8:00 am-- Kids wake up. Andrew comes into our room to see if Daddy is home. Then he pulls Dad out of bed (who goes quite willingly--thanks babe, you're the best!!) and heads out to the family room with the kids. I'm not sure what happens after that until I roll out of bed around 8:30am. He such a great dad, I'm sure that he's talked Andrew of watching cartoons, probably has read 5-6 books to the kids, cleaned up the previous night's mess and started breakfast. With my new camera, I decided to "capture" a few moments of our ordinary morning. I'm sure one day when the kids are grown up and moved out, I'll long for these days.
Here's Ashlee waiting patiently for some more milk while mom plays with her camera and depth of field.

Andrew hanging out with dad, while dad checks out ksl.com looking for a great deal on a tent trailer! We can't wait for warmer weather to get up to the mountains. I'm sure Andrew's hoping to steal a moment on the computer, to play Dad's flight simulator.
The "Saturday morning" wouldn't be complete without some good ole Hootnany pancakes (puff pancakes). Justin and I have a running contest to see who's hootnany pancakes turn out the "puffiest". I think mine looks pretty good =).
There's nothing unusual about this morning, just time together as we start out I'm sure another great day. I love being a mother and wife, I don't think life could get better than this!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Create your own fortune [cookie]

Around the Hogge home today seems to be the day of looking into the future. We've been revising our life insurrance plan, planning our next business venture, which I'm sure that we're going to make millions doing ;)(you'll have to wait for future posts if this ever materializes) and making fortune cookies! I thought that this was a fun idea, so I'm passing it along. The fortune cookie is for my newest beehive that we'll be wishing a happy birthday to and welcoming to young women's later today.

The fortune inside says, "You'll have many years of fun in young womens".

I got this great idea from a fellow yw leader (I added the chinese take-out box) and had fun attempting to create one. I'll have to admit, it's a little tricky and it even involved finding some tips and tricks online to help me out since my first tries were a disaster! If you attempt, you may want to check this site out for some tips. I'm sure that there are many different ways you could use this idea. So here are some pics and the recipe!

Fortune Cookies:

1/2 c flour

1/2 c sugar

1 tb cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 c oil

2 lg egg whites

1 1/2 tsp water

1/2 tsp almond extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

*Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sift dry ingredients. Add liquids, stir until smooth. Spread out 1/4c mix on parchment paper with the back of a spoon to make an 8'' circle (as thin as you can). Bake 12-14 minutes, until the edges very slightly start to brown. After taken out of oven and let cool for a few seconds. Peel off paper, place fortune paper in middle of circle, fold in half and bring the 2 egdes together to form cookie. Squish egdges together and hold in place for 30 seconds, until the cookie holds its form. Enjoy! (Makes four large fortune cookies!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Merry Christmas to ME!

Well Santa (aka my hubby) was good to me and I'm finally on my way to something I've been dreaming about since I was young.... a nice SLR camera and photography classes to go with it! I got the Nikon D80 and I'm lovin' it. It has some great auto functions, while I'm learning how to do all of this stuff and then you can manually program and adjust as you like. So come spring, if anyone would like some family pics taken (and you don't mind an amateur), give me a call. Speaking of classes, I bought my camera at Inkley's and photography classes are free with purchase (or should I say they are included in the price=)), so I will not be taking the course offered for the community through the district. I know there were some of you out there also interested in the course and I got the schedule in the mail this week, so thought I would pass along the link to the class schedule: adulted.davis.k12.ut.us. Oh and here's my first photography "project". I made it for YW's to introduce our theme. (The idea came from an old Mormonad)We're going to insert each of the girls pictures in the domino box that is left standing and print it on 4x6 photo paper, laminate it and put a magnet on the back.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

A little catching up to follow...

Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New year! Sorry, I'm a little behind and the posts to follow will be an attempt to catch up. (I may even back date them so that I can keep the dates straight when I go to print my blog).

A thought about blogging.... I've been trying to figure out how to blog and not duplicate everything in my digitalscrapbooking (and since I'm obsessed with both and can't give either of them up) this is my solution, if anyone else has had this dilema and is interested, I am going to continue to blog and post about everyday things and holidays, birthdays etc, making sure to journal well and then print them yearly at blurb and then I'm going to digitalscrap "theme books" ie holidays, vacations, school books for the kids etc. I'm hoping that I won't have as much digitalscrapbooking to do (although that still sounds like a lot). This is my current thinking, I would love to hear about how you guys are doing it!!!

Grandparents are great!

We had an amazing Christmas, packed with so much fun, and I think this is thanks mainly to Grandmas who create it seems endless fun and Grandpa's that support them in these wild endeavours! Our Christmas season kicked off with our annual Gingerbread house making at Grandma Todd's. With all of the local cousins there, they went to work. Even Ashlee gave it a try this year and managed to put more candy on her house then in her mouth.

This year we were extremely lucky to have Dad home for Christmas Eve AND Christmas so we headed up to Grandma Hogge's to celebrate the holidays with them. We ate and ate and ate YUMMY food, enjoyed one of the best snow storms in Idaho in the last few years on sleds and snowboards behind their four-wheelers:

and got to open gifts Christmas morning at Grandma and Grandpa's. After probably hours spent sewing and sewing, Grandma Hogge gave each of the grandkids a homemade and will be treasured gift. The girls each got a doll and the boys PJ's, personalized with a picture of themselves on the shirt. Both were a hit with my kids, especially Ashlee as you can see in the picture below.
After returning back to Utah Christmas night, the fun did not stop. My out of state siblings began arriving and my close neighbor friend has it right, when my family is in town, she does not see me. All six of my siblings made it home and we seemed to hang out 24-7-- I loved it! We had our annual adult only dinner one night and then another night we had the family party where we all exchanged gifts and of course had lots of GOOD food (it's a given and a must at a Todd function!) In between all of this partying Grandma put on another party just for the grandkids, the "hot chocolate party". They had lunch and hot chocolate, using Grandma's little tea sets, read winter stories and Grandma always throws in some surprises. Like I said before-- aren't grandparents great!!

Andrew and the cousins enjoying lunch and hot chocolate

The kids with the funny glasses from Grandma before going out to play in the snow.

The reenactment of the Nativity at the family Christmas party. Grandma made all of the costumes!

Thank-you both Grandma's for all you did and always do!! We love you!