White Sands

The dunes here are other worldly. In the midst of the high desert lie dunes made of what looks like beach sand. It’s gypsum. And this is the largest gypsum dune field in the world. (Thank you, NPS)

A soaptree yucca survives in the dunes of White Sands National Monument. Not So SAHM

White Sands – ProjectEdit365 – 23 Aug

I like the whiteness of the original photo but I wanted to add some dimension. I ended up adding some warmth as well. The original:


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Santa Fe Church

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi

in black and white

The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe New Mexico Not So SAHM

Santa Fe Church – ProjectEdit365 – 01 Aug

I took this picture fourteen years ago and for some reason composed the picture with half of the towers chopped off. I love it in black and white though. I turned it black and white and increased the contrast, clarity, and exposure to show off the texture of the brick. I lightened the shadows just a little. I decreased the noise (it’s grainy because it’s such a small file), but couldn’t decrease too much or it would look fake. I decreased the highlights so the clouds would show up. Here’s the original:


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Kakawa Chocolate House

Roadschool – East to West: Down day

We are into our third week of the trip!

  • Around 3,800 miles
  • 13 states so far (we will pick up 14-16 tomorrow!)
  • 4 out of 5 biomes covered (aquatic, forest, grassland, and desert. We won’t go through tundra, thankfully)
  • 5 of the 8 North American ecoregions covered (Coastal Plain, Appalachian Mountains, Interior Lowlands, Great Plains, and the Rocky Mountains. We’ll be in the Basin and Range for the next couple of days and will end in the Coastal Range. We won’t go through the Canadian Shield)

We’ve done a lot, seen a lot, eaten a lot, learned a lot, gassed up a lot. What we haven’t done much of is just rest. Today we took a down day to just rest at a hotel.

The definition of rest, for this family, isn’t sleeping in until noon and sitting in front of the tv for the remainder of the day. I don’t know what our problem is. After breakfast we played at the pool for a couple hours. Then we went to a local New Mexican restaurant for some authentic food. YUM.


Kakawa Chocolate House

Kakawa Chocolate House


I love me a local chocolatier. I saw this place listed on UrbanSpoon the other day and have been thinking about it ever since. We got taste tests of many of their different drinking chocolates, some mild, some spicy. We settled on two to share and chose several truffles and cookies. Du even got a chocolate covered red chile. I did not try that.

Drinking chocolate and treats

Drinking chocolate and truffles and cookies, oh my!

Kakawa Chocolate House truffles

All the truffles – and the drinking chocolate in heated carafes on the counter to the left

Needless to say, we all rolled out of there fat and happy. We came back to the hotel where Du and the kids cleaned out the truck. Somehow a tornado ripped through the back seat and all the girls’ items were thrown everywhere. How could that happen. . .

I got to do laundry. Here’s where I could throw in another tip. Bring laundry detergent. I forgot to buy some at WalMart before we got back to the hotel and ended up having to buy some at the front desk. Not cheap. The laundry took so long that the rest of the family got to swim again while I slaved away in the laundry room, on my computer, searching for more hotels/campsites for the rest of our trip.

We did some school review, and I am very pleased with what the girls are picking up and remembering along the way. I knew I had gathered more material than we’d be able to use, and we are definitely skipping some of it, but I’m happy with what they’ve done.

We were too stuffed for dinner, but ate the leftovers from lunch. After that we cleaned the hotel room and shoved everything back into our suitcases.

So, that’s a day of resting for us! I think we all enjoyed not being in the car for a day.

What’s next? Well, the rest of the trip will be uncharted waters for myself. I haven’t been farther west in the Lower 48 than Santa Fe/Albuquerque. SO EXCITED!!! We’ll be camping for the next three days, and I doubt I’ll have great internet access. We plan on doing a rafting trip in Glen Canyon, touring Antelope Canyon, and touring Grand Canyon. SQUEE!!!! I have one or two experiments I hope to do with the girls — erosion, rock identification, flora and fauna of the Grand Canyon area. I hope that we can manage to fit these in.

I’ll update when I can.

   Not So SAHM

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