We Have A New Home!

Sponsored Links

Monday, February 17, 2014

How We'll Remember 2013 | Artifact Uprising Photo Books

Matt and I finally got smartphones in 2013. Late to the game, I know.

We started documenting the everyday moments of our lives with our phones, and often using Instagram to share those little moments with the world.

In January, I decided to try something new with all of the photos we collected during 2013. 

I heard of an intriguing company through Instagram called Artifact Uprising. Their motto is: Off Your Device. Into Your Life.

Exactly what I was looking to do with our photos! 

They are a really neat company. They are based in Colorado and use 100% recycled paper for the pages of their books. They are very progressive and eco-friendly, and are helping bring something tangible into a world where everything is digital.

The software to make the book was pretty simple to use. The only trouble I had was when I tried to rearrange the pages of the book into a different order than I had originally created them in. I think AU is working on making that process easier.

This is their Instagram Friendly Photo Book, and is 8.5x8.5 inches in size. The default is 40 pages, but I think I made ours 73 pages.
LKR_6187 LKR_6188
Remember, in the left photo below, when Remy fell asleep hanging over the edge of her favorite pillow? Hilarious!
Look at how TINY she was in the right photo below!!?! Just a teeny baby back then!
LKR_6191 LKR_6192 LKR_6196
I am so happy with our book, and love flipping through it to look back on 2013. 

I plan to make this a new tradition, and make one every year.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day from the Radniecki's!

Matt, Remy and I was to wish all of you a very Happy Valentine's Day today!

May you and the ones you love make some special memories today. 

And let's also remember that this endless chill and sea of white outside won't last forever! Days like this, and the sea of green WILL return!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Christmas Vacation - Radniecki Style! | Tampa, Florida Photography

Before this year, all but two of my Christmases have been spent in Minnesota. 

One year, when I was maybe 10 or 11, my family went to Florida and Disney World for Christmas. 

And in 2006, I spent Christmas in Hawaii with Matt and his family.

The rest of my Christmases have been spent at home.

This year, because Erica and Tony moved to Florida at the end of the summer, we all decided to head south for the holidays to celebrate together.

It couldn't have been better timing as the frigid winter weather descended upon Minnesota with a vengeance. Going from 0 degree weather to 80 degrees in a span of 4 hours is such a weird concept. Air travel blows my mind sometimes.

It was so fun to visit St. Pete's and the areas that Erica and Tony now call home. I have been to Florida dozens of times over the years with all of our spring break trips to visit my grandparents, but I don't know that I'd ever been to the Tampa area before.

We walked and explored the beaches, looking for shells, sand dollars and sharks teeth. We visited the clinic that Erica and Tony will open their chiropractic clinic in, ate out at different restaurants, visited my aunt and uncle in central Florida and went on a fun airboat ride. But mostly, we spent quality time together. 
On one of the beaches, we came across a crab trap that was washed up onto shore. There were two crabs inside, so we freed them.

But not before Matt tested their aggressiveness and made them fight each other.
2LR_4614 2LR_4651 2LR_4659
We went and visited one of Tony and Erica's favorite spots - a neat pier with great shops and restaurants, and amazing dolphin sightings!

It's so crazy to me to think that these are wild dolphins, and that people see them daily in Florida!
The dolphin in the photo below has a split fit. You can see it's different than the rest of them. I am not sure why.
2LR_4667 2LR_4672
We had a delicious Christmas dinner compliments of the chef - Tony! 

We also went to a stunningly beautiful Christmas Eve mass at their church. The singing was so phenomenal, it moved me literally to tears. The perfect worship for Christmas.
On Christmas Day, we explored another beach, looking for sand dollars. Matt decided to swim in the ocean. For 9.3 seconds.
We watched the sun set over the ocean that evening as a family.
2LR_4718 2LR_4726 2LR_4744 2LR_4768
In lieu of buying Christmas gifts for each other this year, we decided to all do something together when we were in Florida instead.

We booked an airboat ride through Alligators Unlimited Airboat Nature Tours in central Florida. 

Mom, Dad and I had been on an airboat once before on our 2011 Florida trip, but the the rest of the group hadn't been on one before.

I LOVE airboat rides!

I'm very used to being in a boat on our Minnesota lakes, but an airboat is so different. It's got a car or other large machine engine blowing a huge fan on the back of the boat, and it can go over water OR land. 

The first time I was ever on one, we were cruising down the river. Then the driver turned toward land and revved the engine. I about had a heart attack as the land quickly approached. But we just went right up and over it, onto the river on the other side! It was wild!

Our tour explored the beginning of the Florida Everglades - sections of river and marsh that can only be accessed by airboat. Untouched wilderness that most tourists don't get to see.
I love cypress trees, and think it's so cool how they can grow up out of the water like they do.

I also have an obsession with spanish moss hanging from the trees. I am sure people who live in the south where this is common don't even notice it. But I can't help it - I don't know why it strikes me as so fascinating, but I just adore it!

We came across a Water Moccasin, one of the most poisonous snakes in Florida. It is one of the only snakes that will aggressively try to attack you if you make it mad. 

Our tour guide poked it with a stick so needless to say, it was a little angry!
There were free range cows all over the shores of where we toured. Apparently these are free range, completely grass fed cows that aren't bothered with, but are instead left to live on their own in these areas. The ranchers come once a year to collect some of them to bring them to harvest, and the rest stay out there to live.

In today's world where grass fed beef is so popular and everyone is trying to get organic everything, this is about as close to totally natural as it could get!

Our guide laughed because we were so excited to see these cows. He said "It's like you've never seen a cow before!" I think it's just that we didn't expect to see dozens of cows on our rural airboat tour. 

The cows seemed a little wary of us.
2LR_4846 2LR_4847
This pink bird is of an extremely rare species. 

The guide said at one point, they escaped from Cypress Gardens, one of the old theme parks/zoos in a nearby city and since then, have been populating in the wild. But there are not many around, and he said it was super awesome that we were able to see not only one [pictured below] but two! The other is off to the right a little, further away.
The airboat stopped and the guide threw some cheesy crackers out to these sandhill cranes and this bird. I think it's maybe a relative of a falcon or something like that. They knew treats were coming - they came racing up to the boat.
The weather wasn't too hot during our tour - maybe upper 60's? The alligators like it hot and so we weren't having much luck seeing many gators. I think we were all thinking maybe we wouldn't see any, which would have been disappointing.

Then, we turned a corner and this was lying on the edge of the river.

The guide said it was 15 feet long. 


We were maybe 7 or 8 feet from it as we quietly floated past. 

Alligators are really fascinating. They truly do look prehistoric, like a dinosaur up close. 

They also are quite terrifying if you ask me.
2LR_4877 2LR_4873
If you find yourself in central Florida, I highly recommend the Alligators Unlimited Airboat Nature Tour company. 

We had so much fun and were amazed at how knowledgeable our guide was. He is a 3rd or 4th generation airboat tour guide, and has lived on the everglades his whole life, so he was the perfect guide.

The next day, we headed south to Sarasota, to see Erica and Tony's clinic space.

We visited Siesta Key on the way - a favorite beach of many in the southwestern parts of Florida.
My dad was excited to try a little fishing on our trip. 

Fishing in Florida is a lot different than the type of fishing we're used to though. You use different bait [mini crabs in this case!] and catch different types of fish.

He did catch a few though, so he was happy!
2LR_5109 2LR_5111 2LR_5124 2LR_5117-2
The trip passed too fast. Soon, it was over and we were headed back to subzero weather. We got into Minnesota in a snowstorm and battled horrid traffic to get home. We've been missing the Florida weather every day since! 

This was the last time we would all be together as the 6 of us, because Tony and Erica will be adding a little addition to their family in May! So, it was a precious time for all of us, right before lots of major changes happen all around.

I am thankful we were able to make this trip happen.

Until next time, Florida! See you soon!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Remy Turns One! | Happy Birthday, Remy!

On January 21st, our little Remy girl turned One Year Old!

Because let's be honest, she is our baby, we decided to commemorate her birthday with not only a joint party with my dad, but some birthday photos!

Doesn't she look thrilled?
LKR_6164 LKR_6171
We love you so much, Remy! It's hard to imagine what life was like before you joined our family. We are so happy you are ours.

Monday, February 10, 2014

What a Year Looks Like | 12 in 12 | A Personal Photography Project

In the beginning of 2013, I embarked on the first personal photography project I have ever worked on.

The idea behind it was that I wanted to photograph the same thing for a year, and see how it changed over the course of that year.

We bought our first house in October of 2012, so I decided to photograph my house, from my mailbox, on the first of every month in 2013 and document how the everything changed.

I started on January 1st, 2013, but unfortunately, I accidentally deleted those photos before I could back them up. Whoops! I blame it on winter brain.

So, my 12 in 12 is actually 11 in 11, because there is no photo from January 2013. However, the landscape didn't change at all from 1/2013 to 2/2013 so I don't feel too bad.

Every month on the 1st, I headed out to the mailbox and took two photos - one horizontal and one vertical. The results are below.
The hard part about this project was that the major seasonal changes, like the leaves budding out in the spring and the leaves turning colors and falling off in the fall happen in a matter of weeks. 

The way it turned out was that in May, there were no leaves on the trees yet. One month later in June, the trees were completely green. There weren't any photos of the intermediate times, because it all happened in the span of that month.

The same happened with the leaves in the fall. At the start of October, the leaves were really just beginning to change. There is a hint of color starting in the photos. And by November 1st, the leaves were way past peak, and most of them had fallen already.

If I were to do this again, I would be tempted to photograph every 2 weeks to capture more of the transitions. But for half of the year during winter, everything looks the same, so that would result in a lot of photos of white, bleak landscapes.

Regardless, it was fun to photograph this project through to completion and to see the way the seasons change the landscape of my home.

I also think this would be fun to have in a flip book so you could see the seasons changing rapidly in front of you.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Life in Instagrams - January 2014

January rolled in right after we spent a week in Florida over Christmas.

We had warm Florida weather and then in came January, with it's bitterly cold temperatures and it drove us indoors for days and days at a time.

School was cancelled in Brainerd FOUR TIMES in January because it was too cold. That almost never happens. If school is cancelled, it's because it's too snowy. My mom said it's been decades since school has been cancelled for it being too cold. And to have it cancelled FOUR TIMES in one month?! Unheard of!

This month's highlights:

-Being reunited with our Remy girl after her spending the week at the boarders while we were in FL.
-Simplifying our house, and getting rid of a lot of things.
-Matt continuing to grow his hair out until he couldn't take it any longer. Then he cut it all off.
-A Remy-Dad birthday celebration with great food.
-Reading great books.
-Staying warm, thanks to the heat dish.
-Putting together our 2013 photo book. [Another blog post to come about this.]

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Read 40 Books in 2014 - January Recap

Once again, I set a reading goal for myself this year, 2014.

My goal is to read 40 books for fun, and 8 business books. A goal in the middle of my 50-book goal of 2012 and my 35-book goal of 2013.

In January, I read 4 books.

I read:

Manhunting by Jennifer Cruise:

We did a book exchange for Christmas in my book club and this was my prize. It was the perfect book for me! The only thing that could have made it better was if I was reading it on the beach in the summer, instead of on my couch, under a blanket in the winter.

It was funny, lighthearted, and full of a good love story.

If I Kiss You, Will I Get Diabetes? by Quinn Nystrom:

This book holds a very special place in my heart! It is the first book from my dear friend Quinn Nystrom, who's mission in life is to advocate for a cure for diabetes. Even though I don't have diabetes, this book moved me in ways I didn't expect. It is relevant for everyone, whether you have diabetics in your life, or people with other chronic illnesses. Or, even if you don't, there are still lessons to be learned through Quinn's memoir.

Plus, an added bonus for me was that I photographed Quinn's author head shots. It's fun to see my name on the back of the book. :)

Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovich:

I got my Lula and Stephanie fix! Before I read this book, I heard from several sources that they were disappointed by this one. It wasn't my favorite from this series, but I did enjoy it.

The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks:

This book...

I simply adore Nicholas Sparks, even though his books sometimes don't suit the 'happily ever after' preference I have for the books I read.

This book literally made me put the book down and sob my eyes out multiple times. In happy and sad ways. I think it touched me extra deeply because of the love story Ira was telling - it reminded me of my grandma and grandpa, and my grandpa passed away last July.

This book had a great ending, and I was left with swollen eyes and a happy heart. I loved it.
P.S. Do any of you ever look at book reviews online? I was grabbing the links for this post and clicked on the amazon reviews for The Longest Ride. I read through some reviews of people who talked about how 'boring and horrible' the book was. WHAT?!?!?!?! I honestly have NO idea how anyone could even criticize this book... Maybe I'm just not very discerning and love most books, but truly... I had to shut the window down because it was making me angry. To each their own, I guess!!

Did you read any favorites last month?