Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All she wants to do is dance

On what I believe was day six of the cruise last week, they had an evening show in which during all of the breaks or waiting times, they played super-energetic dance music. Namely, "Jock Jams," circa 1995. (My brother had that CD when we were kids. And I don't have to tell you how unbelievably awesome that was).

And what can I say? Gloria Estefan is totally right. The rhythm is gonna get you.

But there we were, trapped in our seats with the rhythm, getting us. So of course we all start sit-dancing while the 75 year olds around us watched motionlessly in what I can only assume to be envy and awe at our crazy dancing skillz, but that just wasn't cutting it. So we decided to go dancing that night. Because seriously, if the cast of Hairspray has taught us anything, it's that you can't stop the beat.

We entered the dance club with a bang. Namely, all of the sudden you saw a big blob of white people (a big white blob, if you will) overtake the dance floor and boogie oogie oogie till they just couldn't boogie no more (I have a million of these, people).

We probably would have looked slightly cooler had there not already been super-amazing latino dancers on the floor, circling around and cheering for a couple who were evidently the offspring of Michael Jackson and Rhianna. But we were a little less "trippin'" and more "trip the light fantastic" kind of people.

But what we lacked in talent, we made up for in shameless confidence. And by "we," I mean Todd and Jenni Hufford. And by "Todd and Jenni," I mean Todd.

As soon as he stepped foot on the floor, his arms and legs became a big blur of motion. The crowd parted as he swept across the entire floor in rhythmic gusto. He pulled no punches (at one point, I think he was literally doing punches in the air). Everyone stopped and watched in awe as he showed off all his moves. The sprinkler. The fisherman. The chicken walk. The lawn mower. And when he started doing jumping jacks right there in the middle of the floor, we all pretty much lost it.

The man is a dancing god.

I felt inadequate. How could I possibly get out there and dance now that he had set the bar so high? How could I ever measure up?

But instead of giving in to the pressure, I decided to heed the words of Lady Gaga and just dance. Da da doo doo. Just dance.

And dance I did. It was freeing. It was unfettered. It was satisfying. And I wasn't even all that bad. I mean, I was no Todd, but really, who can be? I was, indeed, shakin' that thing like you never did see.

And then it attacked me.

As if in slow motion, I backed that thing up (and trust me when I tell you that I was not the girl to whom New Found Glory was referring while doing it, since she looked good and all)... right into the plastic yellow "caution" floor sign had been placed over a hole in the dance floor (no doubt caused by someone with Todd's dancing ardor).

The sign and my body went flying in different directions and I barely caught myself, somehow avoiding what I thought would be an inevitable landing on my face, dress splayed over my head or goodness knows where else. Then, there was a deafening SMACK as the plastic sign hit the floor.

Cue screeching record sound effect.

Everyone on the dance floor turned around and looked at me, with my disheveled hair and wide eyes. And trust me when I tell you that there is no way to make that look like it was on purpose, people.

And because my new friends are exactly the kind of people I love to hang out with, they all laughed at me. And I laughed too. And eventually, everyone else went back to dancing.

But for a while there, I was the center of attention on the dance floor. And although it may not have been for my grace or dexterity, I definitely got noticed.

Then again, so do clowns.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

So I let him.

Jack usually gets home from work at night in a really silly mood. I think most of that is due to the fact that he knows I'm making dinner, and YIPPEE HE GETS TO EAT!! There's also some delirium from all the kids being so crazy all day long, I suppose.

So last night, Jack got home excited about taco night. When he walked into the kitchen, he gave me a BIG hug and then wouldn't let go. In a silly voice, he said "I just want to hoooold you, and hold you and holdyouandholdyouandholdyouandholdyou."


So I let him.

Monday, January 25, 2010

How is it possible...


...that you can go on a trip with people from all over the country and meet a fantastic couple who just happens to live about 10 miles from you?


...that you can snap a picture during the show at just that right time?


...that people can actually read in the car and not throw up?


...that He paints this for us every day?


...that you can convince a man like this to wear this?


...that shoes could be this stinkin' cute?


...that someone would be able to actually control this?


...that this many strangers can connect as if they've known each other forever?


...that an "ugly cry"...


...can be coming from someone this beautiful?

--

You can find more cruise pictures here!

And I think to myself...

The internet can be such a wonderful place.

My beautiful friend Sara has a chance to interact with a world, which, 20 years ago, would have left her completely isolated. I can talk face-to-face to my mother-in-law in east Texas or watch my brother's dogs play in Boston because of webcam technology. I met several friends through the blog world to whom I could easily tell some of my deepest secrets. Millions of dollars have been raised for amazing causes using social networking resources. I just spent a week with a bunch of people I had never met and had a blast. And don't even get me started on how much better Google has made my life.

But then there's the other side. The side where breasfeeding mothers call formula-feeding mothers horrible things and vice versa. The side where people say awful things to a mother who just lost her baby in a horrible accident. The side where you do work for people in good faith and they don't bother paying you. The side where and parents judge other parents for the decisions they make as they raise their children. Homeschool vs. Public school. Organic vs. Not. Rolling the toilet paper over, vs. rolling it under. 

The side where people take things out of context and assume things about you from 140 characters of typed words.

Today, I tweeted a joke about my Puerto Rican friend having gone to get me lunch today and bringing it back, so as a result, I felt like I was still on the cruise ship.

If you've ever been on a cruise ship, you know that they are pretty well-known for bringing people of many, many cultures together to work, and so you end up with quite a tapestry of people with whom you can talk and learn from. At dinner, our server's name was Renata, and she was from Romania. We were completely in love with her, especially since she was so kind and gracious to Angela, who has severe food allergies. Renata's fiancee's name was "Can," pronounced, "John," and he was from Turkey. Each server was from a different country, it seemed. (This is where the "Puerto Rico" part of the joke comes in, in case you were wondering.)

Anyway, (two) people were offended by my tweet because they thought I sent my friend to get lunch because he was Puerto Rican. In reality, I sent him to pick up both of our lunches because we have a three-person rule at my company in which we choose not to travel in male-female groups without a third person. That was the entire reason he went to pick our lunches up by himself.

To my knowledge, neither of the offended parties are actually Puerto Rican.

But nobody was concerned with those details, really. They called me a "racist," and said I should be reported to my employer and should be forced to get HIS lunch tomorrow.

My word, I hate drama so much.

My first reaction was to roll my eyes and assume things about them right back. I know (as does anybody who knows me) that I'm not a racist, and the fact that the co-worker/friend I made the joke about thought it was hilarious (actually, he thought the response was even more ridiculous and funny than I did) and not offensive is really all that matters to me. They are taking this way too seriously, in my opinion. So screw 'em, right?

But where does that leave us?

So I apologized for offending them. And that's where it ends for me. We don't have to be friends. We don't even have to like each other. But hopefully we can go back to blissfully ignoring one another, something I'd love to see more of in the blog world (and real world). I'm a huge believer in agreeing to disagree.

Once, my grandmother said she would never want to bring a child in this world with how it is these days. And on days like these, I can see where she's coming from. People are horrible inside. Every single person. That's why we need a Savior. Obviously. We're all sinful, imperfect people, myself included. And who wants to be a part of continuing that trend?

But as long as I do plan on bringing a child into this world at some point, I have to believe there's some hope for it. And if that means being called a name and (trying to) resist the urge to call one right back, that's what I'll do.

And no, I won't be successful at that all the time. I've already failed at that a few times today.

But I will just try to focus on the part where the world can still be a wonderful place.

And for goodness sake, never, ever use the #mckcruise (or #mckanythingelse) hashtag on Twitter again.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Day 5 - Jamaica

Alternately titled: "Here are pictures of things I'm too tired to blog in detail about now."





Angela and I (with Colton and Jessica) went on a zip line adventure tour in Jamaica today and it was AH-mazing. We got to do 5 zip lines, and the last one was 1,600 feet long and CRAZY. Yes, I took lots of video, no, I have not edited it together or uploaded it to youtube yet. (See: Alternate Title to this post)


Ridiculous. 1 - Strangest combination of food ever (yes, that is a waffle with strawberries and whipped cream with my hot dog and sandwiches), and 2 - This was supposed to be a "snack" at 3 p.m. A full plate of food is not exactly a snack in my opinion, though it seems that Jack would disagree.


Not much to say here. Just a cool picture. I'm loving my camera and lenses.


This was not the best of the pictures I got of the broadway show tonight, but it made me think of my buddy Jessica immediately BECAUSE SHE'S DOING JAZZ HANDS. Also, she's singing "All That Jazz." Perfection.


"The Quest." Absolutely amazing and there is no chance I can describe this without staying up way too late for this one. So I'll have to save it for another blog post. Though I must say, I am totally in love with [this] Jessica [too] after her performance as team captain.

More to come probably tomorrow about all this. Just too tired tonight.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Cruise - Day 4 - Grand Cayman

Oh my cow, I am sunburned.

I tried not to be sunburned. I wore SPF 15 yesterday and then SPF 30 today (and kept my shorts on so the burned spot on my leg that I acquired in Cozumel would be covered), but still, my face looks slightly lobster-y. Makeup covers that fairly well, though the strap lines on my chest are pretty pronounced.

Today was Grand Cayman. Have you ever seen the water in Cayman? It's ridiculous. I took a point sample of the color in the photo of the water in Photoshop, and it was #3aa9c7. YEAH. I KNOW.

So the plan was to have breakfast, walk off the ship, meet up with the tour we had booked, which would take us to Stingray City and snorkeling along the reef.

That was the plan.

We did have breakfast. Then, we realized that it was impossible to walk off the ship. Because said ship was still in the middle of the ocean.

Evidently, in Cayman, the ships don't dock. They anchor and a smaller (much, much, rockier) boat takes you to shore. That whole process can take anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours.

We had 30 minutes. Which is far less than 3 hours, in case you were wondering.

We went to get our ticket to get off the boat, and got number 13. They had called numbers 1-4 in the last hour. So we did the only thing we knew how to do: we told the cruise people we were dumb. And it worked. They believed us. Because it was true.

So we got onto a boat on time, which was great, though the tiny boat rocks a whole heck of a lot more than the regular-sized boat and YES, Mandy gets seasick. But I held it together long enough to get to shore... and head to the next boat. Fortunately, I had taken some Dramamine this morning so by the time we got to the second one I was feeling more "Wooooo! Let's get this party started!" and less "Uuuuuuuuggghhhhhh. We partied TOO MUCH LAST NIGHT."

The trip we booked was AWESOME. It was a relatively small boat and there were only about 20 of us on it. Perfection.

Our first stop was Stingray City, a sandbar out in the middle of the ocean near Cayman in which tourists go play with puppy-like stingrays. However, these stingrays were far bigger than puppies. They were more like 5-6 feet across. And they were NOT SHY AT ALL.

As soon as I jumped off the boat and found a place to stand among the stingrays, a huge one swam right up behind me, plowed into my legs and burrowed under the sand below me, flipping me right off my feet. That sucker was STRONG.

When I finally got out of the water, I found the squid that everybody seemed to be afraid of and began feeding them. Their mouths are underneath their bodies and when you hold the squid under there they suck it right out of your hand like a vacuum. It was pretty cool. We also did our obligatory "hold this sting ray and pose like you're kissing it for our photographer (read: lady with point-and-shoot-camera and waterproof housing for said camera) and then buy our waaaaay overpriced pictures." We posed. We didn't buy.

Our second stop was Cayman's barrier reef, where they let us off to do some snorkeling. The water was nice and clear and the reef was a nice place to snorkel, except that the top of the reef was only about an inch under water, and therefore impossible to snorkel over. At some point I got caught in the reef, tried to swim out, and in doing so, slammed the entire front of of my body into a part of a reef that was sticking up pretty high. Not fun. Reefs feel very much like rocks, though evidently they are living. The boat man told us that the touch of one finger tip will kill a square foot of reef. If that's the case, I definitely killed a lot of it today with the front half of my body. Serves it right for attacking me like that. Take that, barrier reef. You think about that for five years while you rejuvenate again.

The rest of the day was uneventful. The MckCruisers all met back at the ship later for dinner and then a game night, where I learned that Jennifer McKinney is ridiculously competitive and does not take the rules of Catch Phrase or Mad Gab lightly, and that my new friend Jessica needs quite the lesson on anatomy. Exhibit A:

Lori, giving a clue for 'large intestine' during Catch Phrase: "Two words for your colon!"
Jessica: "Butt crack!"

Although to be fair to Jessica, there were quite a few anatomy answers that were more than a little off base. Perhaps more than a few of us need anatomy lessons.

Angela is sleeping now (or pretending to sleep while she is secretly annoyed with the fact that I am still typing in our room), and we have an adventuresome day in Jamaica planned tomorrow, so for now, I will say goodnight.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cruise - Tuesday - Day 3 - Cozumel

Alternately titled: "This series of blog entries' titles really suck."




In case you're wondering, Angela hasn't puked yet. So maybe she's okay!

If you see my husband, tell him I miss him!

Cruise - Day 2 - Monday

I wish I could tell you some exciting story about today, our first, adventuresome, at-sea day, but we didn't do a lot. We all met for lunch at 11 and visited for a while (Jennifer told us the "how I told my husband I'm pregnant this time" story before she blogged it, so ha ha ha ha ha ha I know and you don't), then Angela and I walked around the shopping area for a little while, then spent the rest of the day laying on the deck by the pool. I took a nap in the sun. We read. Angela got into the hot tub for a while. Rough life, yes?

Angela was concerned that there wouldn't be food for her here, since she's allergic to sugar, dairy, and gluten. YES. THOSE ARE IN EVERYTHING. But they have been amazing. Every night after dinner, our server brings Angela the next day's menu so she can pick out what she wants and they prepare it without whatever she's allergic to in it. I'm glad to see her being taken care of.

There was a super-amazing ventriloquist guy performing tonight, and we all went to see him together. He was really good! He could throw his voice like crazy. It was pretty impressive.

Anyway, it's after 1 a.m. and we have a super-early breakfast scheduled when we dock in Cozumel tomorrow. So, goodnight!



PS - Wendi Aarons commented on my blog on Sunday. OMFG. Major totally-platonic-but-still-inappropriately-passionate girl-crush on her and her blog.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cruise - Sunday - Day 1

Went on a cruise this week, with Angela. So far? Awesome.

But.

Oh my gosh. I'm so tired. It's 11:50 and I'm about to die. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?

Mostly, it's that I'm old (when did THAT happen?), and I spent last night staying up entirely too late and today with 4 of my 5 bridesmaids and a few more of my best friends. OMG, utopia.

Also, I met a few of my new blog friends this weekend. Which is awesome (in my world). At dinner, our server asked whether we knew each other before or if we just met, and we were all "uh, uh, uh, uh,... we met on the internet." And then we all felt like giant losers.

So, I'm really tired. This is ridiculous. It's not even midnight. And guess what? I got a french manicure yesterday in College Station, and 4 of my 10 nails have already chipped. NOT GOOD ODDS. Come on, nail people. I expect quality.

"How I Met Your Mother" is on our closed circuit TV, and that makes me really happy. Neil Partrick Harris and I would get along really well. REALLY well.

I was all kinds of nervous to meet the ladies I fell in (platnoic) girl-love with, because I was all "oh, I'm socially awkward, and will it be all weird and strange with them?" and it turns out, no. It was not. It was awesome and I love them all. ALL OF THEM.

Also, my dad gave me $20 to bet on the roulette table for Angela, and I did and she won, so now she has $30, which is awesome.

AND. My friend Derek, who I met 9 years ago on another cruise ship and then went to Asia and came back is performing on this boat. That I'm on right now. Awesome. I designed the t-shirt he sells here when I was about 15 years old, and he is greatly in need of a new t-shirt, because seriously. I was 15 and not all that great at design. So I'm glad to have reconnected with him. If only to give the world a better t-shirt.

So, everybody else is still partying on the boat (because IT IS BEFORE MIDNIGHT, people), but I can't handle it because I'm old, so I'm going to bed.

Goodnight. I. Am. Lame.

(Love and miss you, Jack!)

This really says it all

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Penny Experiment - Grocery trip #1

If you don't know what The Penny Experiment is already, you should. I wrote about it before, but tonight was the first chance I got to put together my coupons and a shopping list for a food bank shopping trip. I'm lucky to have such a nice checker at Kroger (it helps that she's a super-nice old friend!) to tolerate my crazy couponing!

Here's how I did:



(1) Grande Tortilla Chips
(2) Sunny D Smoothies
(2) Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate
(1) Quaker Instant Oatmeal
(2) Steamfresh Vegetables
(4) Hunts pasta sauce
(2) Gatorade G2
(2) Pillsbury crescent rolls
(1) Hormel Pepperoni

All in all, I got 17 items, which was $31.42 worth of food for:



I was pretty happy with the result. It was an 81% savings, and I probably could have done better (especially if I had been able to find my darn Rice-a-roni coupons that would have made those free this week), but it's a good start.

Check out what the Penny Experiment is all about here (you don't just have to be a couponer to help!)

In which I am uploading videos instead of packing like I should be

My hard drive crashed. The big one. The one with all my pictures, videos, digital scrapbook pages, and web designs on it. Yeah, that one. Can't. Be. Recovered.

And of course, it had been since August since I had backed it up. Which made me sad, but an earthquake didn't destroy my house, so I don't have much to complain about.

Also, I got some of it back.

Like this:



Which strangely, I kind of forgot about. I mean, obviously I didn't forget that. But jeez, 2007. That was such a long time ago. I was only 20, for crying out loud. (Read: "AND NOW I AM SO OLD AND WISE AT 23!")

That story was my first blog real blog entry here. It's a good story.

I was truly surprised, and not in that "OMG I was so surprised (but really we went shopping for rings and bought it together)" kind of way, not that there's anything wrong with that way. Because if that was the case, I would have dressed differently. Gosh, I wish I had been wearing something else. But what's done is done. And I still don't think I would trade that for the surprise.

Plus, it turned out pretty well for me so far. I think I'm even starting to like having a super-weird last name.

Now that's surprising.


Digital scrapbook kit credit: Sweet Sweet Love by Late Night Scraps

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Things we don't do at work

We are professionals, plain and simple. And there are just some things professionals don't do at work. Things we would never do. Things like:


Put together puzzles


Take silly pictures while walking to Starbucks


Put up weird contraptions using toy weaponry and expensive paintings


Dress up in crazy costumes for a fire drill


Dance (on the dance floor in the middle of our office)




Bring in a griddle to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch


And play catch with a football inside the office

No, not us. We're definitely all about the business around here.

New buttons!

So, I semi-impulsively made new blog buttons. One of the moderators for a digital scrapbooking forum I post layouts to informed me (at 1 a.m.) that mine was too large for their signature guidelines, so I made the smaller one at the bottom, but then I made the bigger one for my blog and I think it's much cooler. (Digital scrapbook kit used is "Hannah" by Creations by Rachael)

I had wanted to make one one that pointed to jackandmandy.com instead of here anyway, though, since that's the landing page for all our blogs and websites, and people are more likely to also find Survival Mode Parent that way. If you'd like, you can update or add the button to your blog with the following code:





...or, if you don't have a lot of space...







Also, if it's too wide for your blog's sidebar, I've written instructions here for how to modify it. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Cool people do not figure things like this out

Alternately titled: Read this series of tweets from bottom to top.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Annoying or Harmful?

Awana will be starting up again tomorrow night, and even though I'm happy about that, it was kind of nice to have a break. I mean, I love Awana, I really do. Just ask these guys. They think I'm way better than I am. Trust me.

Because if I was really as good as they portrayed me in that article, I wouldn't have to spend so much mental energy each Awana night trying to decide which of the battles I should pick when reprimanding the kids.

I try not to spend the whole night telling the kids to STOP IT! STOP IT RIGHT NOW! We want Awana to be fun for them, after all.

So when they're doing something I don't like, I ask myself one question:

Is it harmful, or just annoying?

Because let's face it, 9-year-olds do some annoying things. Some really annoying things. So I end up asking that question to myself a lot during the evening.

One of them is hanging off my arm when I'm trying to listen to somebody else's verses.

Annoying, not harmful. I grit my teeth and let it go.

Another is standing on the color line and trying to trip the kids running around the circle.

Harmful. Probably should prevent that from happening.

Playing a "can you slap my hands before I move them" game while waiting for council time to start?

Annoying.

Playing a "can you slap my face before I move it" game while waiting for council time to start?

Harmful.

Bouncing a ball over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over (and over and over) while they wait for their parents?

Annoying.

Throwing said ball as high as they can against the sanctuary wall?

Harmful. To the church, at least.

Having a kid beg, plead, implore, and beseech me (over and over and over!) to pu-lease give her the balloon that's in my hands?

Annoying.

Tackling another 9-year-old to gain possession of said balloon?

Harmful.

You get the idea.

So far, the girls seem relatively happy, I'm not yelling at them all the time, and at least for now, they're all still alive.

So I guess that means it's a pretty solid system.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Some days, we're really productive


But other days...


...we don't even get out of our PJs...


...and we spend hours laying around and watching TV...


...and those days...


...are pretty great too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

BB&A

That stands for "bathroom before and after." Just in case using abbreviations make me cooler. I can use all the help I can get. As you can see here:





No, I don't know why the audio is off from the video in the "after" section. Yes, it is annoying. But I don't feel like fixing it right now. Because that's what I do all day at work, and I don't want to also do it at home. Why bother with quality if you don't have to? Mediocrity! That's the American way!

If you want to see the bathroom before we tore it up, which may be a better "before," you can also watch this video of the Fall tour. If you just can't get enough of me.

Here's the link to the mirror framing tutorial I referenced in the video. I'm excited to try it. Got it from Tip Junkie.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

You made this? Like, really?

Jack has been so ridiculously excited about my meal plan. I made it to make my life easier (and it has!! I feel so much more relaxed when I know what's for dinner!), but as soon as Jack saw it he went nuts. "It's all my favorite things!" he said. "Oh look! Sloppy joes! Ooooo! Cajun chicken! Wow!"

Every day, he looks at the meal plan and tells his friends what he's getting for dinner that night. Tonight, I made Italian stew (which I loved but he thought was just okay) and fresh-baked bread (yes, it was a frozen dough loaf, okay?). He took the bread with wide eyes and reverence.



"You made this bread?" he asked, skeptically.

"Yes," I answered. I did take it out of the freezer, let it rise, and put it in the oven, after all.

"Wait, like, made-made it?" he asked, still stunned.

"Why does it matter?" I asked.

"I just... didn't know that you knew how to make bread!" he explained carefully. "And if you did make bread, well, I'm going to need to tell my friends at work about this. And, well, if you didn't actually make the bread, I mean... I just have to get my facts right, okay?"

Um. Okay, honey.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Maturity

Jack: "Why are you putting lettuce on your tacos?"

Me: "Because I like lettuce on my tacos."

Jack: "That's gross."

Me: "You're gross."

Blog design tip of the day: Helping your pages load faster by using smaller background images

There are a few things you can do to help your blog load faster. One of the main things you can do is to use background images that have been reduced in size or sliced.

Here is the full-sized background I'm currently using for my blog design (plus a watermark). It's from Jacabean Designs' Gift Wrapped scrapbook kit.



If you click on it, you can see just how big this image is. It should be taking a little longer to load than the other images on this page, since it's about 5 MB. It's so big because it was created 12" x 12" in 300 pixels per inch (PPI), which is an ideal resolution for digital scrapbooking.

Using it for web design, however, is a different story. Here are a few things you can do to decrease your image load time.

1. Reduce the image size

The first thing you can do to make this image load faster is change its size. I always start with PPI. In Photoshop Elements, go to Image > Resize > Image Size, and you'll see this screen. Change the PPI and the width and height will change as well. Screens are anywhere from 640x480 for 14 inch monitors to 1152x864 or 1280x1024 pixels for 19 inch monitors, so if I'm going for one background image with no repeat, I make it at least 1280 pixels wide.



2. Decrease image quality

When you save the resized image as a JPG, you'll get this screen. Change the quality of the image and you'll notice that the file size will decrease even more (in this example, it's the 60.1 K under the word "Preview" on the right). I usually make my background images medium quality. If you go too low on this, your image will be pixilated.



3. Use a smaller, repeated image as a background image

Instead of using the entire image, I have gotten to where I cut out a small piece of the image that will repeat well and use that instead. In this image, I can cut out a specific pattern where the dots will line up just like they do in the original image above when it repeats.



The smaller the piece you cut out, the faster it will load.

Then, I tell my HTML to repeat the image instead of just using it once, like this:

background:#ffffff;background-image:url(http://i392.photobucket.com/albums/pp5/mandyhornbuckle/Other%20people%20stuff/GiftWrappedBackground.jpg);background-position: center; background-repeat:repeat; background-attachment: fixed;

The red part of the code above is what tells the image to repeat. If you've sliced your image correctly, it should be pretty seamless. If you look closely, you can probably tell where my image starts to repeat on my background, but most people won't notice that.

Hope that helps! As always, feel free to ask specific blog design questions in the comments of this post.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

He bangs

Every time we watch "The Big Bang Theory" (and we have been watching both seasons one and two on DVD this weekend, and I'm a little ashamed to say that we've made quite a dent in them... as in... already halfway through season two in two days), I sing the theme song. Because I know all the words.

So I sing all the words. And then at the end, Jack sing/yells the "bang" part. As in:

Mandy: ...it all started with a big bang. 
Jack: BANG!

A little bit ago, I was singing the song on my own as I put the new DVD in, and at the end, Jack did the "bang."

"I was hoping you would 'bang!'" I said.

He looked at me very seriously.

"I bang," he replied, matter-of-factly.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Find a penny, pick it up...

My new year's resolution? Was to be less busy. Volunteer for less things. Say "no." Take less blog orders to focus on Survival Mode Parent. Be less freaking crazy.

But then this came along. And there is no way I wasn't going to sign up for this. Totally worth blowing the new year's resolution on day 2.

Here's a quick recap of what's happening here: Super-cool dude name Jeffery Strain found a penny on the ground and decided he would turn that penny into $1 million worth of food for food banks. He sold that penny for $10, then had artists turn 100 of those 1,000 pennies into art, which he is selling. He is giving the money the art makes to couponers to use coupons to shop for food to maximize that money. That's where I come in. And hopefully, you too.

If you're not a couponer, there are other things you can do to help the project. Go check him out!

So, I guess I need to organize my coupons again! I'll let you know how I do!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Hornbuckle date night







(And in case you need a little explanation for this last one, I drew our house (pictured left), then remembered to draw the trees in the front yard, so I drew the trees, but I didn't want them to cover the house so I went for an "aerial" kind of view. Jack said it looked like the house had arms and was making the gesture he was making in the picture on the right. I am so good at drawing.)