30 November 2012

How to Avoid Running Out of Picture Space in Blogger

In the last month or so I've had two friends mention that they've reached their allotted space in picture storage on Blogger. Did you even know that was possible? I didn't. If you use Blogger, then your pictures are stored in Picasa web albums. To find out how much storage you are using, you can log in to Picasa and scroll to the bottom, where you'll see some text like this.
I've been writing at this domain for about 5 years, and I've used less than 20% of my storage space. This is, in part, because I do not post a ton of pictures to my blog. The other part is that starting a few years ago I started re-sizing my images before posting them to my blog. I didn't do this because of the space issue; in fact, I didn't even know about the space limit until very recently. I started re-sizing my images because they took so long to load, and for the most part I don't think anybody is clicking on the images to view the giant full size image anyway.

I copy the images I plan to put on my blog into a folder reserved specifically for images for my blog. This allows me to edit the images any way I like without messing up the original. From the "For Blog" folder (yes, that is actually what it is called), I open the image up in Microsoft Office's photo software. It's not the best software, but it does the job. (I also use Picasa for things like adjusting color and fixing red-eye because it works better than Microsoft's software. But when I'm just re-sizing, Microsoft is fast and easy.) Once the picture is opened, select Picture, then Resize. At the top you can see what percentage you are viewing the original image, and at the right you can change it by percentage.

I have also recently started using Picasa to create photo collages since Blogger changed the way you can work with pictures. I re-size the collages too because they also are huge. I learned how to create collages in Picasa with Janssen's brief tutorial.

So there you go. I'd hate for you to have to go to the hassle to create an entirely new blog because you've run out of space in Picasa. You can thank me later. Or now. Either works.

28 November 2012

Toddler Christmas Tree

I got this idea from Pinterest, but I didn't read the instructions. I just saw the picture and decided it was something I wanted to do. Eric didn't think that ticky tack would make the tree stick to the wall. He was wrong. Eric didn't think Ike would like it. He was wrong again. (In Eric's defense, he was a very good sport about helping me put the thing together considering he thought the boy wouldn't even care about it.)

I didn't manage to put on proper clothes or make-up that day. And Ike isn't matching because I let him choose his shirt, and it was time to do laundry. That is just how Mondays go around here.

26 November 2012


This Thanksgiving included:

A much anticipated sibling reunion:

Cousins, cousins, cousins:

 Grandparents and great-grandparents:

 A trip to see the lights at Temple Square:

First smiles from Felix:
Not pictured:
  • My 28th birthday, which was on Wednesday, and which I did not spend in the car!
  • Numerous aunts, uncles and cousins.
  • Two Thanksgiving dinners - one on Thursday, and one on Friday.
  • A successful trip with my teenaged nephews to the Family History Library where we added one generation each to two separate family lines.
  • A new hand-me-down Christmas tree that is two feet taller than the last hand-me-down Christmas tree, and is thus not finished being decorated. Possibly pictures to come in a future post.

23 November 2012

Elf Ear

My baby has an elf ear. Is it not the most adorable abnormality you've ever seen?

Obviously we'll need to dress him up appropriately this Christmas.

19 November 2012

Heigh Ho!

Last week I went back to work with Felix in tow. I was really eager to get back. I am a better mom when I have time away from my toddler. I really like my job, and I genuinely missed my weeks away from the office. That probably seems crazy to some people, but there you have it. As a rule I do better at motivating myself around the house when I have my for-pay job to do. I'm not sure why that is, but it gives me enough stuff on my plate to get me going on the mom and wife stuff that needs to be done.
Felix has done really well in the office. He is as sweet and amiable as Ike was, and I'm insanely grateful I get to take him to work. I love that he and I get to have these few days of just the two of us, just like I had with Ike. It's the closest I'll get to having a first-child experience with my second child, and I get to have it because of my job. Who would have guessed?

08 November 2012

Fraudulent Activity

I have a rewards credit card with Southwest Airlines. A few weeks ago I got a call from the airline asking if I'd purchased tickets for November 5. In fact, I had. But the employee then wanted to verify the names on the tickets, and no, those were not mine and Eric's names at all. He then told me the charges, and no, that was definitely not us. So he canceled the charges.

I went ahead and called the credit card company to ask if I should get a new card or what the next step would be. The employee told me that I was absolutely welcome to have new cards issued. However, it was possible that whoever purchased those tickets maybe just miskeyed their own credit card number and we wouldn't have any more repeats of incorrect charges. She said that if it were her, she'd have the cards replaced, but ultimately it was my decision.

I didn't want to memorize a new card number, and I keep up with the charges on our card very regularly, so I figured I'd wait it out to see if there were anymore fraudulent charges.

Sadly, there were some more erroneous charges today, for a different airline, charging about $1400. I've ordered new cards.

Now I have to memorize a new credit card number. Everything about getting the charges removed has been so simple, and I have no complaints there. But memorizing a 16-digit number and 3-digit security code and new expiration date? Such a pain. Darn criminals.

06 November 2012

Felix: One Month

I'm sure you'll all be devastated if we take a break from the never ending election discussion to instead discuss that my baby is one month old today.

I never thought it would be possible to have a baby easier than Ike, but apparently it is. Felix is just super easy. Once we got past the first week or so of life, he became a much better eater. He is a great sleeper. Most nights he sleeps in four hour blocks. It's glorious and totally manageable.

While we visited my family this weekend there were many comments about how serious Felix is. He usually has a very serious expression, which I think is caused primarily by his frequently furrowed brow. It's adorable and adds to the old-man look that most babies have anyway.

He is a really cuddly baby and loves to sleep on my chest - something that Ike never did. I love to hold him, and he loves to be held. (And yet he's usually okay if I put him down, so that's nice too.)

Felix is really strong. He can often hold his head up for a moment or two at a time. It's wobbly, but he can do it off and on for several minutes. I think part of the reason he is strong is that he is tiny and doesn't have a lot of head to hold up. Even at one month old his 0-3 month clothes are still huge on him, and he wears pretty much exclusively newborn clothes still. I'm perfectly happy to get as much wear from those clothes as possible.

I am very much looking forward to seeing how this mellow little baby's personality develops and seeing what role he plays in our family. Adjusting to having another person in our family has been as seamless as you can imagine, and I'm really grateful for that.

02 November 2012

Freezer Meals

I wasn't smart enough to make food in advance of Ike's birth. I gained some IQ points in between his and Felix's births, though. This time I did a bit of food prep, and it made my post-baby life much easier.

For the most part, I didn't cook many meals that went straight into the freezer for later use. Instead, I froze leftovers. This did mean that in the few weeks leading up to Felix's birth I was more likely to have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch instead of leftovers, but it was well worth it when all I had to do was thaw and warm up food for dinner while holding a newborn in my arms and trying to negotiate with a hungry and cranky toddler. (Why is dinner time so difficult?)

Here are a few meals that I made and froze the leftovers:
  • Ultimate Beef Stroganoff from Mel's Kitchen Cafe - This is a hit every time we have it, and having the leftovers frozen and warmed up didn't change things for us.
  • Crockpot Sweet Potato and Blackbean Soup from Everyday Reading - We didn't lovelovelove this when we had it the first time, but we did like it. I liked the leftovers a little better, and I do think this soup will be added to my list of go-to crockpot meals. It's really nutritious and cheap.
  • Roasted Sweet Corn and Tomato Soup from Our Best Bites - Good golly I loved this so much both times. I really need to take better care of my cherry tomatoes next summer so I can make a bunch of this and freeze it.
  • Vietnamese Pork Meatballs  from Girl Cooks World - We didn't really care for these the first time, and we weren't crazy about the leftovers either. I made them because I was looking for a way to use some ground pork I had, and I love Vietnamese meatballs. They weren't bad, but they also didn't make the make-again cut.
  • Tortilla soup from Zupas - Okay, I didn't make this. Eric brought home a fairly large container from a work meeting, and it went straight into the freezer. We had this the other night, and I added a little bit to it from things I already had at home. Honestly, we both prefer my tortilla soup, but this was free and easy.
And here were the few that I made for the purpose of going into the freezer. (All of these came from Mel's Kitchen Cafe because she has a link with a whole bunch of her make-ahead meals. I'd made a few of her things before, so I felt like I could trust these recipes. Most of them are not strictly make-and-freeze meals, so I had to make a few adjustments here and there.)
Plus, we had meals brought in from neighbors, Eric's mom and Eric's grandma. We haven't starved, and it's been lovely.