Monday, December 14, 2009

Our Biggest Christmas Wishes to You

The kids all told me their BIGGEST CHRISTMAS WISHES.

(tree, ornaments, and lights)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Corel Paint Shop Pro

I had some questions about the photo editing (finally checked on the correct spelling of this word!) software that I use (and LOVE), so I thought I'd post just a bit about it. I am so not qualified to do a real review, so please don't expect much. I actually downloaded it for free a few months ago. I think Corel had just released the new version, Corel Paint Shop Pro XI, so there was a one-day deal to download Corel Paint Shop Pro X for free. I am SOOO glad I did, even though I didn't really know what it was at the time.

I like reading reviews, and if you want some, check here. (Wow, that was cool. I finally figured out how to put a link on a word! I'm getting so much technical experience these days!!) In my opinion, the price for this software is extremely low for something with so much depth.

You can use this software to make very sophisticated edits to pictures using easy correction or editing "wizard" type applications that work for beginners who don't want to invest a lot of time. Or you can delve into the details and edit with layers (so cool!) and advanced effects. I spent an hour the other day watching youtube posts which explain step-by-step how to create some advanced edits. Like pulling a person out of one photo and posting into another. Or some serious make-over action, including adding make-up and fake eyelashes! (Maybe I'll get good enough at that one that I will surpass my abilities to put on real make-up. Shouldn't be too hard considering my lack of skill in that department!) There are many places where you can download free, or costly add-ons which will make specific editing tasks even easier. The sky is the limit with this software. So fun. The only thing that it doesn't do that I wish it did is edit directly from RAW files. This requires significantly more expensive software and isn't in my sights right now. And I think when I get a new camera with RAW capabilities it will come with it's own software for this??

Why did I major in statistics when I could have learned super-duper recording skills or awesome graphic design and photo editing STUFF??! This is something I am deifinitely going to have to spend some time learning.

Here are a few before/after shots with edits mostly fixing lighting and cropping issues.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Photography Class

I finally did it. Took that photography class at the community center that I've been eying for two years. I showed up knowing that I had a LOT to learn. And I did. I learned a lot. =) I left knowing I have a LOT more to learn! But I had some fun! I borrowed my sister's camera for the class (thanks, Andrea) and felt like a big girl with a grown-up camera. Here are some photos that I took for class assignments. I am ready to go out and take more. And I love, love, love photo editting now that I have some direction! I can't wait to work more in Corel Paint Shop!

My cute sil with her boys posed just a short walk from my house on our mountain.

This is at a fruit stand here in Perry. I could only shoot pictures places where I could take all my kids - or leave them in the car while I shot pics next to the car!

I love pumpkin pictures.

Tanner and I took a walk on our mountain with some friends and found an old pear tree. Tanner says the pears are delicious.

Eli only tries the stairs if he thinks he's getting away with something.

Taken from my front porch. The sun is setting on the mountains behind the Great Salt Lake and Willard Bay.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009


Sydney. I just love her.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Summa' Time

Summer, summer, summer. Where have you gone? Almost August already, and my to-do list has many to-do's still left on it! Here are a few of the things we have been working on so far this summer.

June - Tour de Cure
Cannon rode over 60 miles in this bike race. He wishes that his to-do list wasn't quite so long so that he had more time to pursue his biking hobby. Haha. Pursue. BTW, did I even spell that word correctly??

June - Neslen reunion
We had so much fun with Cannon's family at the end of June. We all stayed in a condo in Eden for several days, and had a blast. Here is Eli enjoying a ride on Cannon's back just before we took the gondola at Snow Basin. I SHOULD have taken pictures of the rest of the reunion too, but alas. I was just too tired this year! I'm hoping to mooch some from some of my sisters-in-law. Check out Heidi's blog for a great bunch of pics though.
Cherries - Yum!

Some totally nice (and inspired!) neighbor told us to pick as many cherries as we wanted from their trees, so we did! We ate tons of cherries, then canned the rest! The kids all helped with the canning, and that made it so much fun. I think this is the first time the kids have really been helpful with a canning project, and I am looking forward to the time that our trees and garden produce enough to can all summer! I have enough good helpers to get the job done!

Canada Day

Cannon was happy to see that the twins remembered Canada Day (July 1st) this year. We celebrated with cake. This was my creation of German chocolate cake, with additions (in red) made by Cannon.

4th of July - Perry City Fun Run

Cannon led the kids in a good stretch before they all ran in the 1 mile race (Cannon did the 5K). Natalie and her kids came too, and Eli and I were the only ones who didn't run! Well, Tanner and Logan actually rode in the stroller (thanks, Natalie) and everyone else ran. My attempt to get action shots at the finish line were a disaster, so what-you-see-is-what-you-get! Oh - and Sydney got a first place ribbon for her age bracket (9:31 for a mile!) and Cannon got a third place finish. Way to go, guys!!

4th of July fireworks

We went to the Brigham City fireworks accompanied by Brent and Missy, Natalie and Mark, and the kids. It was a great show, but I think I enjoyed the visiting more than anything. =) Eli enjoyed hanging out with the grownups too. Below is a picture of him with my brother, Brent.

Theater camp

Jackson, Jordan, and Sydney went to theater camp this year and loved it. Here is Sydney in the play, Stone Soup.

July - Montana

We took a quick trip to Montana to visit my sister, Jenni, and her family. Brent and Missy went too. Here is Jordan at the lake.
We also went to Lewis and Clark Caverns with Jenni's family. We thought that going underground would be a good way to escape the HEAT! We were right. The hike to and from the caves was rough, but the caves were a cool 50 degrees! Below is a picture of our tour guide telling us about the caves, and Tanner, who felt right at home being in front of the whole group. BTW, if you ever go to Lewis and Clark Caverns, I suggest you take only children competant enough to climb a zillion stairs. While ducking.

24th of July Parade - Bountiful

We had ton of fun in Bountiful this year going to the Pioneer Day parade and fireworks. Well, it was mostly fun. Fighting crowds and taking care of little ones during the heat can be a challenge. Here is Tanner, crying because he lost his blue balloon. Jordan saved the day by offering Tanner his white one. Thanks, Jordan. Of course, Jordan repaid us by needing to take FOUR trips to the port-a-potty during a 1 1/2 hour parade!!

Never ending summer project
So, I finally talked Cannon into buying a big playset for the kids this spring. From Costco (it is so cool! It it possible that I will play on it more than the kids.) The instructions say that it should take 2 adults 13 hours to put it up. I don't think so. It didn't mention all the prep work that had to be done. Like clearing weeds (shoulder high) from the play area. Or moving grass from one spot to another in order to get the play area in the proper dimensions. Or digging and moving boulders in order get a level spot. Or repairing storm drains that magically appear in the precise spot that you are digging. Or buying and moving and cutting railroad ties. Or moving terracing rocks which weigh 40 lbs a piece. Whoa. Here is Cannon after digging out said storm drain in preparation for the repair job. Currently, we are on step 11 of 37 in the ACTUAL set up directions. I'm thinking we'll have a playset before many more Saturdays pass by!

Sydney finally lost a tooth!!

It's been wiggly since May, and Sydney was so disappointed not to have lost her first tooth before the end of first grade. But it happened, finally, in July. In fact, she cleaned her tooth so well that the tooth fairy left her some fairy dust, aka Fun Dip.

Now, if you're still reading, you're awesome! And you are now an expert at the Neslen Family Summa' Time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

I Need Help

Ha ha. Okay, nice title. I ALWAYS need help! But I'm going for something specific here. I am planning the Clark reunion in August, and I need ideas! In my family, there are many, shall we say, smarties? Smart alecks! Ha ha. And they always have good ideas. I'm hoping to avoid being known as the "lame ideas" sibling. What am I saying? I am probably ALREADY known thus, but I going to try to shake this up a bit.

So. I need a theme. My cute sister gave me a great theme: What's the Scoop? Get it? Double meaning, lots of ways to build on this. It's a good theme. Maybe this is the one I'll use. But I gotta shop around a little, and my lame brain (or should I say, mommy brain?!) isn't generating any competition. So help me out. Give me some ideas.

Here are a few details. This is my parents' family. Dad, Nancy, eight siblings, and twenty-something grandkids ranging in age from 11 months to 19 years. Wait. Actually the youngest will be -3 months. Owen Brent will be born sometime in Oct/Nov. Anyway. We're staying in cabins at Carter Creek in the Uintas. We will spend 3 nights there. There are hikes, nature trails, horseshoes, volleyball, a playground, and ATV trails. Sounds fun,eh? So give me a theme. Or a few. And fun things to do, if you have any terrific ideas.

Here is a picture of that cute sister I mentioned. And her handsome husband. Andrea and Matt. And please look at Andrea's blog to see some other inspiring pictures of our family.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pinewood Derby by Jordan

What I am bloging about is the Pinewood Derby.Can't you believe that was my first time in scouts?!?!?! I had rembered where it took place because I was in 2 plays there. I felt SO GOOD to be in scouts. I wanted to be in scouts forever(even though I can't)! It was exciting racing. There were pretty cool shapes. Mine had spikes on the front and a curve in the back. My brother's car had a gut in the middle. I loved it! I won!

My car is yellow. Jackson's is green with gold stickers.

Me, my brother, and my dad.

Nate won that round.

Me and my brother.

Me, my grandpa, my sister, my brother, my mom, and my baby brother.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Star Wars Episode 8 by Jackson

I`m going to write about my eighth birthday.It was fun. Here is everyone barely here.
And here is us playing The Cup Game.
And here is us using The Force.
In this picture me and Jordan are playing Mind Game. (editor's note: guessing what the gifts are)
I`ll tell you what I got:Legos, a dinosaur book, a key chain, lots of Droid Factory, a guy, a puzzle,and The Dangerous Game for Boys. Here is a picture of the light saber cake.
So now it is time to go. So soon?!?! Don 't worry I'll have more birthdays.Do you have any comments?

Surprisingly Wise Words … From First Graders

Another good one from

A teacher of first-graders gave her students the first half of a well-known proverb, then asked them to compete the saying. What they came up with will make you smile, laugh and likely wonder at the wisdom that comes from the mouths of babes.

Don't change horses … until they stop running

Strike while the … bug is close.

It’s always darkest before … Daylight Savings Time.

Never underestimate the power of … termites.

You can lead a horse to water but … How?

Don’t bite the hand that … looks dirty.

No news is … impossible.

A miss is as good as a … Mr.

You can’t teach an old dog new … Math.

If you lie down with dogs, you’ll … stink in the morning.

Love all, trust … Me.

The pen is mightier than the … pigs.

And idle mind is … the best way to relax.

Where there’s smoke there’s … pollution.

Happy the bride who … gets all the presents.

A penny saved is … not much.

Two’s company, three’s … the Musketeers.

Don’t put off until tomorrow what … you put on to go to bed.

Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and … you have to blow your nose.

There are none so blind as … Stevie Wonder.

Children should be seen and not … spanked or grounded.

If at first you don’t succeed … get new batteries.

You get out of something only what you … See in the picture on the box.

When the blind lead the blind … get out of the way.

A bird in the hand … is going to poop on you.

Better late than … Pregnant.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Beauty and the Beast

What a blast. This production of Beauty and the Beast was SO fun for our family, and it was a big hit on the stage. It ran for, what? four weeks? and could have sold out for at least twice that.

Jackson and Jordan took turns playing Chip. On the night they didn't play Chip, they played a spice -- they were either Cumin or Chives, depending entirely on their mood that evening. Cannon was a villager/croney and had plenty of singing and dancing to do (quote from Cannon's dad: "Cannon, I've never really seen you. . . uh . . . DO anything like this before!")

Rehearsals were rough for the family for the couple of weeks before the show opened, with rehearsals most nights 7-9 pm. Especially when you consider that the twins' bedtime is 7:00! Cannon had to really cram in time to study and get anything else done around the house. Once the show opened, the time committment actually seemed more do-able. Shows were Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays, with some matinees on Saturday.

These pictures are from the preview night, and Jordan happened to be Chip that night. Here is Maurice being surprised to find his tea cup talking.

Mrs. Potts was very helpful in getting Jackson and Jordan where they needed to be. As you can see, Chip doesn't actually have feet! This cart was on wheels, so Mrs. Potts and other characters just pushed Chip where he needed to be.

Cannon mostly kept track of the boys back stage. Well, this theater was too small for much of a backstage. There was what the twins called, "a secret passage way" backstage, which consisited of steps leading downstairs where they lounged as they listened for their cues. In fact, I hear Jackson took many a nap down there on the days he was a spice.

Below is a picture of Cannon (in the green hat) delivering his one line: "Crazy ol' Maurice!" He says he learned much better how to act drunk during his one line as the play went on. True acting for Cannon!

Above on the left you can see Cannon in his other role as a spoon for the song Be Our Guest.

Sometimes it was hard for J & J to see what was going on up on stage because they just had that small opening to stick their faces in. They couldn't move themselves to follow the action. So it was nice when the action was right in front of them. Although Jordan vehemenently denies it, there are rumors from cast members that he actually fell asleep on stage on Saturday nights. Who can blame him after a late Friday night, early soccer on Saturday, a Saturday matinee, then another late show??Above, Chip is finally human again!BRAVO! My boys all did a superb job in this play! I think we have two budding actors here, and we may have awoken a hidden talent in Cannon! I hope we can find more productions that we can be involved in. It was wonderful getting to know so many extremely talented members of our community.