Mad Lib Illustrations

I had a substitute a week or so ago, and while I was gone I had my students do mad lib illustrations.  I got the idea from Organized Chaos.  So my fifth graders would randomly pull from three different cups–one for subjects, one for actions, and one for places.  Then they would make a sentence out of the 3 words/phrases and illustrate it.  When I got back the following Monday, I laughed out loud at what I had waiting for me.  The kids said they enjoyed it too.  The word cups are now apart of my “free draw” station where kids can go if they finish early. Here are some of my faves.

An octopus baking a cake in the North Pole.

An octopus baking a cake in the North Pole. (This kid is a fantastic artist)

Santa Claus playing checkers in the forest.

Santa Claus playing checkers in the forest.

Penguins sneezing in outer space.

Penguins sneezing in outer space.

A shark eating spaghetti at Six Flags.

A shark eating spaghetti at Six Flags.

Mrs. Maxwell eating at Chili's.

Mrs. Maxwell eating at Chili’s.

I have a nice, artsy dress on, no?


Thanksgiving festivities were fun and full!

Playing games at Ryan's Grandma's

Playing games at Ryan’s Grandma’s

Fajita dinner at my folks'

Fajita dinner at my folks’–with Will & Bailey and their sweet daughter.

Passing around Princess Nell

Passing around Princess Nell

So many wonderful things and people and food. We are so very blessed.

And we are about to head out and get a Christmas tree!


First and Last

I filled up a sketchbook the other day, which is a satisfying thing to do. And I didn’t even realize I was doing it at the time. I bought some colored Micron pens at Michaels and felt like playing around with them while watching TV. The first thing I saw was a Burger King advertisement with ice cream cones, so this happened…
Turns out it was the last page.

A few days later, I opened a new sketchbook. First pages are kind of intimating. I looked up one of my favorite artists, Marc Chagall, and drew a chicken inspired by him.

The Spring (Le Printemps) Marc Chagall (1887-1985/Russian) Oil on Canvas

my chicken

my chicken

Come to find out I didn’t even use the first page. I accidently drew my lady on the third page, so I still have to do something awesome on the first.

I’ve been having fun using Zentangle patterns. If you haven’t heard of it, Zentangle is a thing right now, a phenomenon. Kind of like glorified doodling. Meditative and relaxing. Repeating patterns. They have books and even classes about Zentangle, but I just find things online. Like this that I used in the “grass” of my drawing.

I found this on Pinterest, but it was originally on this blog.

There are a never-ending amount of those Zentangle patterns. They are a great spring board.

And to close, here is a picture of me and some lovely ladies at a recent wedding.

Congrats Claire!

Congrats Claire!

Dallas Adventures

The last couple of days Ryan and I have had some fun adventures down in big D ( we live in little d = Denton).

Yesterday evening, we had a fabulous Valentine’s Day dinner at Bolsa. In the words of Bolsa’s website: “Fresh, local ingredients. A daily changing menu. The best cocktails in the city.”

Word. So good. I’d describe it as laid back fine dining. It’s located in Oak Cliff, near the Bishop Arts District, a very cool and growing part of Dallas.

This morning Ryan and I returned to Dallas for an interview Ryan had at a graduate school. It went really well, by the way. Afterward we returned to the Bishop Arts District to walk around and find lunch. We also found some awesome knit/crochet graffiti. And there is Ryan looking all snazzy and handsome.



They call it yarn bombing. So cool!

If Ryan gets into said graduate school, we plan on moving to big D and hopefully finding a nice place to plant around this particular area. And by plant I mean live and grow.

An Adventure

I have some potentially yummy banana oat bars in the oven right now. I am excited about their potential. The recipe I found on this blog (a fellow Village person) is super-de-duper easy. My plan is — if we like this first batch — to make a whole bunch more to take on our upcoming road trip.

That’s right, we are heading back to New Mexico to go skiing. Our ski trip last year pretty much changed the course of our life. Okay, I am probably exaggerating, but it definitely changed the course of that semester. Ryan broke his leg — into nine pieces. Now he is a bionic man and has some lovely scars. And this week we are going back to conquer the mountain that conquered Ryan last year.

We are really excited actually, and not scared. I mean, what are the chances of something like that happening two years in a row, right? This year will also be different in that we are bringing some family along: Ryan’s brother and sister and our dog Akon. All five of us will pile into our Subaru and embark upon a snowy, fun filled adventure very soon.

So I’m excited about my banana oat bars. Hoorah to easy, homemade, healthy snacking! And to adventures — of the snowy and the baking variety.

A Birthday!

It’s a special lady’s birthday today.

The one on the left; it’s her birthday (the other one is me, silly). Mi madre. She is a special, wonderful lady, and this is a special birthday. I won’t tell you which one it is, because that’s not really my place.

So today we had a very special meal.

So yum and fun and nostalgic.
And speaking of nostalgic, here is the beautiful birthday lady, my Momma, Christmas morning 2002

2002 is as far as the pictures go back on my computer, so that’ll have to do for now. That must have been the Christmas I got my first digital camera. Anywho, she is the best momma a daughter could ask for. I love her.

I’ve been feeling the itch to blog today, but don’t have anything particularly new or exciting to share with you just yet. As in, no new drawing or other cool project. Don’t worry (I know you were), I am working on things, just not anything I’m ready to share yet.


So here is an illustration I like that I came across on Pinterest (of course). It’s by Mike Lowery

Doesn’t that make you smile?

Me too.

🙂 <—- see?

Happy Boxing Day!

Ryan and I are going to celebrate it by going to Ikea to buy a TV stand for our new TV and sound system (thanks Santa!!).

Yesterday was a splendid Christmas. Lots of family, good food, and presents. I even had time to squeeze in my day 3 drawing, which is supposed to be my favorite food. One of my favorites is guacamole, so — equipped with my oil pastels — I drew some avocados.

It was fun blending all the different kinds of greens and browns I have in my set.

Today I am supposed to draw my favorite place. That is a little more involved than an avocado. I’m still trying to decide how I want to interpret that — my favorite vacation spot? my home? my favorite chair? Stay tuned.

I’ll leave you with a couple of snapshots from my wonderful Christmas day.

Bailey and Will

I was Momma's secret Santa

Ryan with his awesome monkey mug from Bailey

Playing with Caroline's new toys. Giant monster Ryan kept trying to destroy them. He's the one taking the picture.

Cutie Anna with her mommy (and blurry Will in the background).

Those are all from Christmas morning at my parents’. There was much fun had in the afternoon as well at Ryan’s aunt and uncle’s house. I took less pictures there though. That’s how I am–I either take a million pictures or none.

Rice and Birds

I have some Mexican Rice cooking for the Maxwell family Christmas Eve dinner. Nineteen people! I hope I make enough rice.

While it cooks, let me share with you day two of my drawing challenge, which is to draw my favorite animal. I had to decide between dogs and birds. Dogs are my favorite animal in that I enjoy spending time with them the most. Birds are my favorite in that I like bird imagery–art featuring birds, dishes featuring birds, paintings of birds, hand towels with birds embroidered on them etc. If there is a bird on it, I like it. I inherited that from my mother. I don’t feel much of a desire to hang out with a bird though.

Since I’ve already attempted to draw Akon a few times, I decided to opt for a bird. And the fact that he is all black makes shading pretty hard.

So here is my day two drawing.

It’s a Scarlet Tanager. I drew it from a picture I found on National Geographic’s website. I used oil pastels, which I’m still pretty new at. It’s hard to draw fine detail with oil pastels, because they are like fat, oily crayons. It’s really fun to layer them though, and blend.

In honor of art featuring birds, here is a page (and a half) by James Audubon. He was a famous painter of birds. More Tanagers! (I had never even heard of Tanagers before this.)

Now to check on my rice.

A Couple of Things

I saw this on Pinterest a while back and it made me feel better about myself.

It’s one of those funny-cause-it’s-true kind of things. Except for me, I’m not a big napper. Really, the “random internet surfing” for me could take up both the napping and binge eating portions. Being apart of Pinterest itself has made that even more true! (If you are not familiar with Pinterest, I wrote a post about it awhile back.) But really, I don’t think that all of my internet surfing and pinteresting is a waste of time. It gave me some blog material today!

And in case you were wondering, my first tofu-cooking experience was a success. Even though I forgot a step (I forgot to simmer the tofu for ten minutes). We still liked it.

Akon was jealous.

And I’ll leave you with just a couple more pictures from our summer at the World Hunger Farm. The first is of our good friend Samson who lives in Ghana and that we still keep in contact with.

He and his wife just had twins!
The second picture is of all the live-in volunteers from that summer (Samson was an intern, and so was there a full year. Live-in volunteers stay for however long they wish–weeks, months, sometimes years.)

Great people. (You can see my awesome tan-lines, which were a great souvenir from the farm)

Veggies and Coffee

Yes, Ryan and I had a fabulous time in Austin. I am at Zera coffee shop on my iPad so I can’t share pictures right now, but you can just check out my facebook for some visuals from our awesome weekend.

Zera is my current favorite Denton coffee shop. I actually usually call it Zera’s, but I think it is really Zera. It has great coffee, a great variety of seating, it’s clean and comfortable, and has great coffee. Grrreat! (felt like I was using that word a lot,so I just went all out.)
Here is an image of the inside of Zera that I pulled from the web. I am actually sitting there right now, but instead of fancy chairs there is a soft couch.


More things Denton: This morning Ryan and I went by the farmers market. It is open every tuesday,thursday, and saturday, but I don’t usually go. It’s just not part of my rhythm. But this morning we went and this is our bounty.

Onions, tomatoes, squash, and potatoes. We already had the nectarines. Yum! I hope that we can get more in the habit of going every time we need fresh veggies.

I will leave you with this from Paul David Tripp’s book A Shelter in the Time of Storm.

Trust in God isn’t a thin hope in some not very sure outcome. Hope in God is rather a present investment in a future guarantee. What God says will be done. what God has promised will come to pass. His word is reliable because in his grace he wants to bless us, and in his power he has the ability to do anything he has promised to do. When you live with his promises in view, you live with confidence, courage, and unshakable hope. p. 97