Category Archives: photos

Lows & Highs: The Cold, Hyper Puppy

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

Low: Puppy Phase

It has gotten much colder here this week and Cola detests it. When we try to take her out, she hides in her kennel or by lying very still on the carpet and looking at us at us pleadingly. We tried keeping her inside more, but she needed more activity and invented games for herself like “Eat the Drywall” and “Chew through the Dryer Hose.” Sometimes it feels like she tears the house up faster than we can repair it! I keep telling Brian – and myself – that this is a phase and she will grow out of it. In the meantime, do you have suggestions for how to keep a pup from chewing on everything in sight?

Cold puppy trying to get warm

We have had to compensate with more people-puppy play time and more frequent brisk walks (making Brian say, “I knew I should’ve stretched [before walking with you and Cola]!”). We have also been making her go outside, even when she does not want to, so she can run around.

Walking the dog

High: Craft Day

A couple of friends came over and had a girls’ craft afternoon with me on Saturday, while Brian was out of town. The vague theme of the day was fabric paint and geometric designs. Veronica decorated a backpack and a pair of shoes, Lindsey painted a star on a sweater, and I decorated my new journal. As much as I enjoy and use technology for writing, I still will not let go of having a physical journal and pens for sketchnotes and journaling! Have you decorated anything lately?

In-process photos of our projects

How was your week?

 

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Lows & Highs: Video Game Edition

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

Lows

My low this week was the way my lower back has been cramping and aching from hours of sitting on the floor and cutting tulle as well as bending over various projects to make my costume. (It is getting better now.) A second low was that Brian’s costume, ordered online, arrived and was uncomfortably short. With my rudimentary sewing skills, I was able to alter the costume so he could wear it but that was a whole unplanned costume project to squeeze in before Friday.

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

Highs

Our Halloween evening was fun! We hurried home after work and got dressed because one of us was sure trick-or-treaters would start coming at four-thirty or five. (The waves of costumed kids actually began later.) We tried to make our house look welcoming with the living room curtains open and the porch light on. As families came to the door, we greeted them in our costumes (Luigi and Princess Peach). Sometimes the little girls would shyly tell me they liked my costume when I complimented theirs. The boys were funnier, gaping at Brian and telling him things like, “I like your game, Luigi!” and “Luigi, you’re my favorite.” Occasionally, we heard voices of kids who could see in the window before they reached the door, “Hey, look! Luigi’s in there!” He was extremely popular with the over forty kids who stopped by.

Around 9:30, we left to set up our popcorn table at the college’s dance party and to surprise students with our costumes. My favorite reaction was Lindsey’s. She saw us standing behind the table and said something like, “Oh, wow, you guys! I mean you, oh, and you, and… oh my gosh, you guys are just so adorable!”

How was your week? Did you dress up for Halloween?

Luigi & Princess Peach Couple Costumes |StairStories.com

 

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What I’m Into: October 2014

Techie

I finally got around to setting up custom typing shortcuts on my iPhone. They are marvelous for reducing the amount of typing I have to do!


DesignLoveFest has had some creatively artistic wallpapers lately that I’ve downloaded to use on my phone and computers.


I started a series this month, Abby’s Apps, about my favorite apps as part of 31 Days but did not post every day because things got hectic.
Reviews of iOS Apps | Abby's Apps at StairStories.com #31Days

Clothes

I made a purse! Okay, it is really more like I re-made a purse but I am very happy with the finished result. It originally weighed over two pounds – when it was completely empty! The new purse weighs a bit less than one pound. Now that is a healthy “diet.”

Purse Re-fashion | StairStories.comPurse Re-fashion | StairStories.com Purse Re-fashion | StairStories.com

I also made my costume for Halloween, which did not take any sewing, but involved lots of cutting and painting. We ordered Brian’s online because making it would have been outside the realm of my limited sewing skills. When it arrived, though, the costume fit uncomfortably and I spent an evening altering it anyway. Still, it was much easier than making the whole thing from scratch! If you are curious about our costumes, I will post photos on Twitter and Instagram tonight (Halloween night). We will be handing out popcorn at the college’s costume dance party and have refused to tell our students until then.

Food

We tried a frittata for the first time and it was a delicious way to use up some leftovers. with whole wheat spaghetti, ground turkey, baby ‘bella mushrooms, broccoli, and scallions.


Big batches of cinnamon syrup and gingerbread syrup always make coffee taste like fall to me!


I have been making apple chips for my snacks… and Cola’s. I read that dried apples make nice, healthy dog treats and store-bought treats concern me with what seems like a lack of quality control. Brian refuses to share my apple chip snacks because he thinks it is weird and gross that I make the same exact snack food for myself and our dog. What do you think?


Semi-homemade apple-cinnamon crescent rolls (of my own invented recipe) are a fast fall side dish or dessert.
Apple-Cinnamon Crescent Roll | StairStories.com

Watching

On TV: NCIS: LA has certainly had some fun twists this month! I will not give anything away but have enjoyed seeing more of Nell and Hetty’s character development. I am also enjoying Scorpion, about a team of almost antisocial geniuses who form a tight-knit group and end up working as government problem-solvers.

On Youtube: Consumer Reports channel, especially their “What to Get… & Forget” series. I also loved this sweet story that happens to be a scotch ad.


Friends

We held our Second Annual Classic Mystery Movie Night at Howe House this month. The Campus Christian Fellowship students come and bring friends for snacks and a movie that was probably made before I was born. The movie selection for the evening is never announced ahead of time because whoever is there at the beginning of the party gets to choose by consensus from the movies we provide. (This gets quite a few of them there “on time!”) This year, the three people who were at the previous Classic Mystery Movie Night wanted to watch Charade again and none of the others had seen it or had objections. Our CMMN may turn into an annual showing of Charade at this rate!
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Two of our college students decided to be baptized this month!
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We had twelve people eating pasta around our table for Sunday lunch last weekend but it was so crazy that I forgot to take a photo.


Around the House

Our adorable and [sometimes annoyingly] energetic pup is five months old now and has developed a bolder demeanor we are trying to train. We encourage chasing squirrels and rabbits out of the yard and discourage eating the tomatoes, tomato vines, and various other “people possessions.” We encourage making new friends and discourage jumping on people or furniture.
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Brian and I replaced the gutters along the front of our house so now there will not be a waterfall directly over the front door every time it rains. I really liked getting to climb up the ladder and use the drill to mount brackets while Brian handed me supplies. Even before our wedding, we agreed that I would get to do most ladder-climbing tasks because I enjoy it and Brian does not.

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What have you been into lately?


I am linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

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InstaFriday: Lots & Lots of Bacon

I haven’t done InstaFriday in quite a while, but wanted to link up this week because Lows & Highs is on a hiatus for right now.
Our pepper mill broke all over Brian’s Saturday morning breakfast. We stared in surprise for a moment and then laughed and took a picture. Fortunately, he was able to brush the peppercorns off and still ate his food. He missed the peppercorn that landed in his juice glass, though!
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We went to a princess-themed birthday party for two young sisters, a five-year-old and a one-year-old. Thanks to Pinterest, I made a travel-sized drawing kit for the older sister. Thanks to Sara & Eli’s recommendation, we gave the younger sister a bubble bucket (not pictured).
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We had a brunch at church and I didn’t know what to take, so I half-jokingly suggested to Brian, “We could just take lots & lots of bacon.” He agreed as gleefully as a kid accepting birthday presents. I also took fruit salad.
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Cola is now four months old and finally old enough to go to the dog park! She often turns to the comfort of her pillow when she gets in trouble or when we are not available to constantly play with her. She has her own hashtag on Twitter and Instagram: #ColaPup.
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life rearranged

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What I’m Into (August 2014)

Friends

College students back on campus & coming to our house for Sunday lunches. We are all getting back into the swing of school and campus ministry.
2014-08 Sunday Lunch

Food

I used to disdain iced coffee unless it was really, really hot. This summer, though, I discovered Pioneer Woman’s cold-brewed concentrate that I mix with almond milk and one of my homemade coffee syrups. It tastes delicious and the college students who come to our house think so, too!

French Toast Roll-Ups with blueberries and cream cheese… Brian and I liked these so much we rated them “let’s have it again every month.”
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My tomato cages toppled from the weight of the vines, but they kept growing. Now I have what I call a “tomato thicket.” Rabbits kept eating the unripe fruit but my puppy decided they’re fun to chase. Now we have tomatoes!
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Watching

On TV: Rizzoli & Isles and Girl Meets World.

On Netflix: Doctor Who season 7. I like Clara, “the impossible girl,” who gets scared and plunges in anyway. “We never just walk away.” In addition, I’m working my way back through Haven (currently on season 2) because I missed having a new season this summer.

Music

Colbie Caillat’s Gypsy Heart Side A, especially “Try.”
The Likes of Us (self-titled album) from Noisetrade has been a fun addition to my jazzy weekend breakfast playlist.

Technology

Since school started this month, I’ve been using Quizlet to make free electronic flashcards for the high school students I work with. As an a added bonus, they can use my flashcards (as well as any they create) online or on their smart phones.

Now that the entire school email system is run through Google, I have been using Google Drive for sharing documents with coworkers (I had never used it for document creation before this month.)

I upgraded to a iPhone 5s and a waterproof, drop-proof Otterbox Preserver case this week and I am enjoying both! FYI: The Preserver cases appear to still be on sale for 50% off on Amazon.

Same-day Instagram prints from Walgreens, especially when I procrastinated making them until the day before I needed them!
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Random Fun

I like the graphic design of the @HomeGoods Stylescope quiz to “find your home design personality“. I’m supposedly “The Traveler” and liked the graphic so much, I made it my iOS wallpaper.


What were you into in August?


Linking up with Leigh Kramer to share what I’ve been into lately.

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Lows & [Lots of] Highs

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

 

 

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One Low
Our sweet, adorable puppy killed a bird and then tried to eat it. Brian noticed and went out to dispose of the dead body, but Cola decided she wanted to chew on it and play “keep away from the human” instead. After a few minutes, I went out to help, which made us two disgusted people and one playful puppy. Eventually, she dropped her prize for a moment and I picked her up. That gave Brian an opening to make the bird disappear. Since then, Brian keeps promising Cola she will never be allowed to lick his face ever again.

 

Three Highs
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1. Brian and I put up new gutters on the back of our house.

 

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2. I made French Toast Roll-ups with blueberries and cream cheese. They were delicious and we want to have them again.

 

 

3. A barista was astonished to overhear me talking with a friend about making my own coffee syrups and asked for details, so I gave her my blog address. I have never directed a total stranger to this site before, but it was the easiest way to give her the information!


How has your week been?

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Techie Tip of the Week

How to get same day Instagram prints | StairStories.com
 
 

 

Temporary Photo Wall Project
Our student ministry welcomed students back to campus last weekend. We had a table in the official check-in line and wanted to make our area look inviting. I printed photos from the past year and then Veronica and Lindsey arranged them on our photo wall. They were impressed when I told them Walgreens now lets customers upload and print photos from Instagram (with same day service). I ordered a number of photos from my Instagram feed and both I and the girls were impressed with the convenience and quality. One of them said, “Man, that is amazing! I’m going to print some tomorrow!”
 

 

 
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What I Did
From the Walgreens photo page, I logged into my Instagram account, selected the photos to print, and chose the sizes. I used 4×4 inch squares, but they also offer 8×8 inch ones too. Most Walgreens stores will offer same-day service for a little extra fee.
 
 

 

Discount
Walgreens often puts discount codes in banners at the top of the page. In addition, you can use RetailMeNot or its smart phone app to look up discount codes. I found a code for 50% off any photo order, but they change often.
 
 

 

Side Note
You can also upload photos from your computer or from your Facebook account. I have tried the former, but not the latter.
 
 

 

Disclaimer
Walgreens did not ask or pay me to recommend their photo service. I am simply sharing my experience with a business.

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Lows & Highs: A Case of the Mondays

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

Low: Monday morning was rough at Howe House. I went to take Cola out at six a.m. and let her walk out the door on her own sleepy legs instead of carrying her. I usually walk around the yard with her, so I reached back in to close the door behind us when I heard a yelp. Cola had darted back into the warm laundry room and the closing door bonked her on the side! Startled, but not hurt, she ran to one of the rugs and started to pee on it. I scooped her up and ran to the grass, where she finished her “business.”

Later that morning, Cola was outside while Brian did yard work. She was still running in the middle of the yard when he headed inside. I heard the door open and then yelping – lots of yelping – and Brian saying, “Oh no, oh no, OH NO!”

“What is it?” I called on my way from the living room.

“I think I broke her paw!”

Cola had apparently sprinted across the yard, hurdled onto the deck, and gotten caught in the door as he closed it. When I got to the deck, Brian stood aghast by the door and Cola hobbled on three legs in the grass beside the deck.

I tried to comfort Brian saying, “If her paw is really broken, it’ll be okay. It’s Monday.” (I meant that the veterinarian clinic would be open. He thought I meant that bad things happen on Mondays.)

I picked Cola up gently and took her inside, where she started walking on all four paws before curling up on my lap. I looked at my very concerned husband, “I think she’s fine. It probably scared her and hurt a lot at first, but I don’t think she’s broken.”

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A couple days later, Cola still runs and jumps but is a little more cautious of closing doors.

High: On Friday, we had a game night with college students and played games like 5 Second Rule, Wits & Wagers, and Golf-the-card-game!

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What are your lows and highs this week?

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Lows & Highs: Road Trip

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

Low: About thirty minutes into our four-hour road trip, I broke the bow clean off my sunglasses and had to make do as best I could, alternating between squinting and holding up the broken shades for the rest of the drive.

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High #1: Brian and I took Cola on her first long road trip and she did wonderfully! We timed the road trip to start after an energetic play session with lots of running, and during her normal two-hour afternoon nap. Cola obligingly laid in her kennel and slept most of the way except when we stopped for walking breaks. By the time we arrived at my parents’ house, she was ecstatic to get out and meet her new friends, Shadow and Cobra!

High #2: We have had a terrific visit with my parents helping around the house, playing with Cola, playing games, and telling stories. Brian’s parents were also able to come and join us for dinner one night, so that made the visit even more special!

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What are your lows and highs this week?

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Lows & Highs: Cola Edition

Welcome to Lows & Highs, a Stories from the Stairs weekly-ish feature! Feel free to join in by posting your lows and highs from the week in the comments or by posting a link to your own lows and highs blog post.

Low: From midnight to around 5:30 Sunday morning, Brian and I were frequently woken up by a yipping puppy who does not like being alone in a dark kennel. It did not make a very restful night!

High #1: I enjoyed hearing Brian preach at CrossPoint Great Bend on Sunday. Here are my sketchnotes from his sermon.

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High #2: We adopted a puppy from our local animal shelter!  She is a terrier mix that we named Cola because she is kind of cola-colored and has a sweet personality. So far the funniest thing she has done is being scared to step from one texture of floor to another. The fear had her trapped on our area rug, surrounded by a moat of wood-laminate flooring, for almost an hour. We were on the rug with her but she really wanted to explore the rest of the room.

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