Capturing the Little Things

November 19, 2015 at 1:55 pm (Cooking, Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Sweet little Morris the cat is quickly becoming one of my favorite photography subjects.  She’s just absolutely gorgeous.  Part of me would love to make her an indoor cat just because she’s so friendly and wants constant petting.  She has also become a quick best friend to my daughter, who regularly explores the backyard with Morris at her heels, all the while chatting to Morris as if she were a human and not a cat.  But I’m still not quite ready for another indoor pet.  I’d love to get a barn up and get some chickens and a goat to keep Morris company.  All in good time.  For now, I’m just enjoying taking pictures of the cutie kitty :).

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And it’s been a while since I’ve taken pictures of the neighbor horses.  They put up electric tape to keep the horses in their yard, so it’s harder to get close to them or pet them.  I can’t wait to have a horse of my own, but I’ve been saying that for 30+ years now.  The dream lives on!  Another neighbor a couple houses down from us just got four horses, too.  So at least I can get my horse fix by looking at all the horses on our neighborhood walks!!

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And now my absolute favorite photo subjects!  My sweet daughter and her favorite snowball Pooh Bears…

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Baby days <3

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A little moody boy…

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Such an adventuresome one, this girl.  Always a hole in the knees of her leggings, always a smile on her face, and always a fun hair accessory.  The kid’s got style, no doubt about it!

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These boots will be a fond memory as my baby girl grows…

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Nothing cures a moody boy like the outdoors!

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It’s been so unseasonably warm that my basil and cilantro plants are going another round outside!!!!  Yay for fresh herbs!!

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Hubby spared some of the hardwood flooring for my fun Pinterest project – a hand-painted decoration for above our bed.  I just have to clear-coat and hang it.  One more project accomplished!  And one more step toward making our house the home I envision!

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I focus a lot on getting pictures of the kids because it’s what I want most to capture.  But I read an article about how important it is to document other pieces of their childhood, like their bedrooms and favorite things.  So I’m making a conscious effort to capture those things, too, these days.  This is from my daughter’s room…

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Her pony collection keeping watch over her at night…

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A closet packed with hand-me-downs.  We have been so incredibly blessed by all the girl clothes that have been passed on to us.  We’ve hardly bought any clothes for her and her closet is stuffed to capacity.  So thankful!

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And I’ll close with the most awesome cookie recipe I’ve found in a while.  The recipe I started with is found here.  I didn’t have any vanilla pudding on hand, so I used chocolate and YUMMMM!  These are so delicious…and super easy!  The kids loved them, too, of course.  Definitely a keeper recipe.

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Enjoy, and have a very blessed end of the week!

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November 18, 2015 at 2:28 am (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)

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Life is going by in one big blur these days.  I haven’t been great about taking pictures, and I so desperately want to hold on to the memories of these days.  So yesterday, I took a day off work to really clean the house and to spend some extra time with my kiddos.  Baby K started rolling over both ways.  He’s a little wiggly guy on the go!  But mostly he’s just a social little guy.  He loves playing, smiling, cooing, laughing and just spending time with the family.  We got the big play yard we used for my daughter out to keep him contained when we can’t be right there, and he seems to like that most of the time.  We’ve also been taking full advantage of the nice unseasonably warm weather for neighborhood walks.  Friday will hopefully bring a playdate at the park if the weather stays nice!  Hubby was really touched by all of the events of last weekend and has started taking classes to help him work on his emotional control.  So thankful God has spoken to him that way because he’s been a real joy to be around this week and he’s been working even harder than usual around here.  Other than that, it’s just work, school, homeschool, and kids’ activities.  This coming Saturday is our monthly women’s breakfast, and I can’t wait!  So anyway, here is our life these days in snapshots…

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My little girl is growing up so fast.  Such a beautiful girl with a beautiful spirit.  I love that my kids play church and AWANA when they’re at home and look so forward to every time we get to be around our church family.  I also love their sweet prayers and all their kindness toward others.  They are both very thoughtful children in their own ways.  I pray God will always help them stay faithful and love others the way they do now.

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Baby K is such a character!  I love his expressions!  Cutie cutie cutie pie!!  Even when he’s crying or pulling big sis’ hair!

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And my sweet oldest…

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This boy is one of a kind.  He is so gifted with music, and it makes my mama heart so happy to see him blossoming on the piano.  He’s sensitive and kind hearted, and it really comes through in his music.  Ever since his piano recital, all he’s wanted to do is play piano…  :)

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With his piano teacher…  Excuse the horrible overhead lighting!!

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And those few leaves of fall are still hanging on.

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Winter hasn’t taken over just yet.  But I do look forward to winter and the slowing down it naturally brings.  The color will be back again, but I will enjoy the peace of the holiday season!  And some nice hot cups of tea after a long day.  I pray fervently for those hurt by the horrible attacks in Paris.  And I pray for wisdom for our own leaders to not put our people in harm’s way.  Scripture is playing out before our eyes, of that I have no doubt.  Stay safe, and have a very blessed evening!


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The Light of Grace

November 9, 2015 at 1:51 pm (Faith)

Wow!  It is awesome to see God move powerfully!  Amen?  I started out this past week with the attitude that I just needed to endure a full work week and grad school residency.  I just needed to make it to my next telecommuting day when I could sleep in a little and get somewhat caught up on house work and laundry.  But God had much bigger plans.  Do you ever feel like your spiritual growth has stalled?  Like you’re not progressing enough for a while?  I didn’t realize it, but I was stuck in that rut.  I was just maintaining the status quo.  Sure, I would read things that made me really think and I experienced the amazing benefits of fellowship.  But I had no idea the growth God was about to start in my life.  The class I’m taking now is the Psychology of Leadership.  The reading has been extremely eye-opening so far.  Just before the residency days, I started the third book on our reading list, Peter Scazzero’s Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.  Talk about a life-changing work!  And that’s how the residency days started.

Never in my life did I envision the day a graduate class would break into song, but it has happened, my friends.  Each of us had to prepare a presentation on Christian leadership, and the student from Ghana included a piece of worship music in his.  We all knew the song, and gradually the words started flowing from our lips.  By the end, the room had broken into a phenomenal round of worship and praise.  One thing stood out more than anything through the two days: we need to be emotionally healthy to be spiritually healthy.  We cannot love others unless we love ourselves.  Not in a selfish, arrogant way, but because of who we are in Christ.  We stand on Christ alone.  His approval is the only approval we need to seek, and we can only become what He wants us to be if we let go of our bad habits and embrace the beauty for which He created us.  After the readings and the discussions, I fully recognized that we are all emotionally unhealthy.  I have dealt fairly well with the overt brokenness in my life.  I had that moment of release when I fully turned that over to God.  I’ll always feel the impact of my past, but those major defining events are no longer my burden to carry alone.  That weight has lifted.  And I thought I was doing well in the healing process.  What I realized over this weekend is that the visible scars are the easiest ones to deal with, as difficult as they are.  It’s the subtle ones that will take a lifetime to begin overcoming.  It’s the un-Christian attitudes and behaviors that have crept into my life and been ingrained in my very soul over the years that have made the deepest scars.  And God told me loud and clear this weekend it’s time to deal with those.

Our pastor delivered one of his most powerful sermons yesterday, and that’s saying a lot for a man who channels the Holy Spirit with great conviction every time he takes the pulpit.  The sermon centered on one compound word in Titus: self-control.  Yes, all of this ties in with the school experience, so stay with me here!  The hard-hitting point of the sermon was that we are all responsible for our walk with Christ. We are all responsible, and will be held accountable for, the things we say, do, leave unsaid or left undone.  We alone are accountable for our attitudes and actions.  Self-control is not about suppressing or denying our emotions.  God created us in His image, and emotions are an important part of our being.  Self-control is about applying our emotions in a productive manner.  It’s taking every piece of who we are and using it to edify, not tear down, God and His people.  During my class, we took a short personality test.  It’s found at at the RHETI link in the upper left corner.  I highly recommend it.  It’s not just a spiritual gifts survey or anything like that.  It addresses the emotional health of personality types, our strengths and our weaknesses.  I fell under the “peacemaker” type.  The strengths of being a peacemaker essentially are calm, tact, care for others, resistance to conflict, etc.  You get the idea.  I know this about myself.  The eye-opening part was considering the negatives of that personality type.  The major negative in my life is that I avoid conflict at all costs.  I despise it, quite frankly.  And I have a very low tolerance for those who start or engage conflict easily.  This leads to glossing over and whitewashing things that create toxic people and environments.  The truth I found this weekend is that I, like most others, have created a carefully constructed façade of what I think biblical life should look like.  I have chosen the parts of Scripture that resonate with my own personality and worldview.  I ignore the parts where Jesus rebukes and turns the tables.  If things appear peaceful and harmonious, they must be ok, right?  WRONG!  Sometimes explosions and conflict are essential for bringing our darkest traits into the light.

One of my friends from high school posted a scathing comment about Dr. Ben Carson on Facebook.  I never respond to comments that anger or upset me because I don’t want the conflict.  I don’t want to shake a friendship.  But as I sat in class stewing over her arrogance and hubris, I realized that’s one of the things I need to deal with personally.  I needed to respond.  I needed to get past my fear of conflict and voice my opinion.  And I did.  But I approached it from a place of love and tact, and the exchange went very well.  The friendship is in tact and the points were made with civility and genuine care for the other person.  I may never understand what drives her to make personal attacks against a man of relatively strong moral character and a fellow Christian.  I don’t understand because I don’t see people that way.  I have been broken.  I have felt the grace of God, the hope in a hopeless world.  When I look at people, I see brokenness.  I see souls crying out for a Savior.  I see people who are enslaved by their own experiences, attitudes and insecurities.  We never attack from a secure place, only from a place of insecurity.  As Christians, we get our security from Christ alone.  We don’t get it from our accomplishments, our skills, our relationships, our outward appearance, or how others accept us.  We will never be good enough on our own, not one of us.  But we should approach life from the standpoint of personal security in Christ and treat others accordingly.  My friend will answer for her vicious words one day, of that I’m sure.  In fact, as I reflected on this over the weekend, I came to the belief that we will answer for our sins of attitude toward others at least as much as, and quite possibly more, than we will be called to account for our overt sins.  The greatest command in the Bible is to love.  Hate and divisiveness are more toxic to people and society than any murderer or thief ever could be.  Those subtle attitudes consume before we even recognize them and spread like wildfire.  If we are to be spiritually healthy, we have to peel back the layers down to the depth of our being and identify the things that are really keeping us from walking in a healthy way with God and others.

On top of all of this, I had a long conversation with a woman about my age at church.  This is a woman I have quite honestly avoided for the most part over the past year.  She exudes legalism, a critical spirit and conflict.  In my false world where I want everything to be harmonious and singing hymns together, she looked like a threat.  Frankly, she scared me.  She threatened the nice peaceful, uplifting community I envisioned for our women’s ministry.  But there has always been something there.  I knew after speaking with her a few times that while she may be somewhat misguided in her approach, she is not deliberately divisive and toxic.  In our class, the professor broke toxic people into three categories: the wise, the fool, and the bad.  Wise people with toxic attitudes and behaviors see exposure to truth as a learning experience, and opportunity to grow. Fools who are exposed to truth about their toxic behavior get defensive and combative.  But the fools are ultimately redeemable and can be brought back around to seeing truth as a good thing in many circumstances.  The bad are deliberately divisive and will never address their behavior.  I see this woman as still seeking growth and very worth working with.  But her personality scares me.  Yesterday, I realized she is part of the reason God has led me to women’s ministry, as much for what I can do to reveal truth in her life as what she can do to challenge and grow me.  There came a time in my writing career when I moved from immediately getting defensive when edited to embracing the edits that made my work better.  That’s how I see our roles as a Christian community,  We are called to make each other better, to edit each other, but with love and respect and biblical attitudes.  Iron sharpens iron.  God puts challenging people in our lives to grow us – if we let Him.  Conflict can bring about the greatest progress in our spiritual journey – if we don’t run from the deep dark truths about ourselves.  Little did I know that turning over my big, visible sins was just the beginning of a lifelong complex process of dissecting my innermost being and piece by piece removing the toxic parts of who I have become.  When Paul said he died to self daily, I think this is what he was really getting at.  Yes, we have to deny our flesh and worldly temptations every day.  But we also have to dig deeper and find the subtle parts of our personality and worldview that are destroying us and die to those, one by one.  It’s a disservice to ourselves, Christ and others to stay in darkness or to leave our fellow Christians in darkness.  I also came to the realization that dying to self does not mean neglecting ourselves.  We should take care of ourselves, physically, mentally and spiritually.  Running a race is far too difficult if we neglect our own needs.  I’ll close with some lyrics from the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Danny Gokey (and possibly by Philips, Craig, and Dean as well).

Let every heartbreak
And every scar
Be a picture that reminds you
Who has carried you this far
‘Cause love sees farther than you ever could
In this moment heaven’s working
Everything for your good

Tell your heart to beat again
Close your eyes and breathe it in
Let the shadows fall away
Step into the light of grace
Yesterday’s a closing door
You don’t live there anymore
Say goodbye to where you’ve been
And tell your heart to beat again
Your heart to beat again
Beat again

People can change.  There is always hope.  We are not defined by this world but by our heavenly Father.  We don’t have to live in darkness any more.  And we don’t have to be scared of light.  The truths that are revealed will make us better, stronger, and more able to carry out God’s command of taking the Gospel into the world.  God bless!

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Halloween 2015

November 5, 2015 at 2:02 pm (Family, Personal, Uncategorized)

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I’m still recovering from Halloween this year.  That might be why I haven’t gotten around to posting the pictures.  I thought having Halloween on a Saturday would be awesome.  And there definitely were some positives, the biggest being that my parents were able to come down and walk the kids around trick-or-treating.  That was a really big treat for my kiddos!  And it was nice not having to rush home from work to get the kids out trick-or-treating – that was a big plus.  The downside to Saturday Halloween is just not getting a break all weekend.  I started Halloween day off cleaning and finishing up the kids’ costumes.  Then we had a birthday party at 12:30 at Chuck E. Cheese, my parents and our friends came over for dinner, we went out trick-or-treating, and then we had a Halloween party at one of hubby’s friend/farrier client’s house.  Then Sunday, I had to be up by 5:30 to make sure I got as all ready and out the door for our earlier Sunday School time.  After church, it was a quick trip home for lunch and some cleaning, then back to church for AWANA.  By the time my 4 a.m. wake-up rolled around on Monday morning, all I wanted to do was curl up in a ball and sob from exhaustion.  Thankfully, baby K slept nearly 10 hours straight Tuesday night.  Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have survived this week.  One of my friends once said she wished she could quit doing the adult thing for a day or two.  I don’t think I’ve ever felt that more than I did this weekend/early week.  Sleep deprivation is a serious thing – the struggle is real, people!  But now that I am somewhat better rested, I’m powering through this week and ready to share some Halloween pics.  First up, the Chuck E. Cheese birthday party for this little cutie…

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It was a costume party, of course, so my kids enjoyed wearing their costumes all day.

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This girly loves her balloons!!

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Pizza, pizza, and more pizza…  Glad we determined my daughter’s dairy “allergy” is actually more of a sensitivity than an allergy.

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The downside of a fixed lens when you have to get a quick shot before Chuck E. bolts to the next birthday kid…couldn’t get back far enough to get them all in.

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High fives!

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Chuck E. and the sweet birthday girl…

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Cake and ice cream time!

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The crazy ticket booth.  It actually works better with Halloween costumes.  I think she got more tickets out of whatever stuck to the tulle on her dress than she did grabbing them :).

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These two…

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They are so cute together.  Birthday girl looks so much like her mama in these pics…fashionable and poised with a little sass…LOL!

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And a couple overly flashed shots from trick-or-treating…


It really was a good time walking around a nice neighborhood. My son was a bit of a moody bear all day though.  He started the day with an attitude when he couldn’t find the original shorts he wanted to wear with his Super Why costume.  By trick-or-treating time, he was in quite a mood.  He wanted to walk around yelling “trick-or-treat, smell my feet.”  When I finally got hubby to tell him to stop, since he wasn’t listening to anyone else, he got all kinds of upset and decided he was done trick-or-treating.  Ahhh, the moods of babes.  You go through all the loving trouble of making them a costume you know they’ll love, and they end up in a funk anyway.  Such are the parenting days, I suppose…


So that was our Halloween.  I think I’ll be catching up on sleep for a while after this weekend.  But it was overall a good time.  Have a blessed end of the week!

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Baby K at 4 Months

November 4, 2015 at 8:55 pm (Family, Personal, Photography)

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Baby K is 4 months old!  I can’t believe it!  And he’s a big bubba.  He now weighs in at 18 lbs. and is 25 1/2″ long.  He had a great doctor’s appointment today.  And bonus, he even slept a full 10 hours last night!  I actually woke up in the middle of the night and had to check on him.  But he was super happy this morning…as was this mama.  I really needed the sleep after going all weekend without any breaks and having to commute Monday and Tuesday.  Today, we had the doctor’s appointment and are catching up on homeschooling and housework.  And I took a little bit of time to get out and take some 4 month pictures.  I wanted to have some fun with a mirror first…

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He wasn’t really sure what to think about it, but it was fun for me.  I love that it captured some of the fall colors with him!

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Cutie pie…

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Baby K: “Cool leaf!”

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“Looks yummy!”

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Fun with big sis!

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And a few shots of big sis by herself…

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She was having fun with the mirror, too!

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So, anyone who knows me knows I’m not really a cat person.  But this little kitty has pretty much adopted our family.  He (or she – we’re not really sure yet) started hanging around our house a while back.  Finally, my hubby decided to feed him.  So he’s ours now apparently.  He snuggles up on our porch, our deck, and even on our car.  He’s gotten very friendly with us, and the kids have named him Morris.  Though I have a sneaking suspicion this one might be a girl.  Well, at least we have a barn cat when we finally get the barn up!

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Baby girl playing with Morris the Cat…

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The trees are starting to really get bare these days, sadly.  But there are still some giving us great colors.  And some beauties on our driveway

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The roses, on the other hand, are still going strong!  I can’t believe how long these babies are blooming!  Though it is in the 70s today, so maybe it’s just the unseasonably warm weather.  Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it!

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I still haven’t gotten around to posting pics from Halloween, but I’ll get there.  It’s another insanely busy week between work, appointments, homeschool, kids’ activities, and my 9-hour school residency days Friday and Saturday.  Only by the grace and strength of God am I surviving.  Have a very blessed end of the week!

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Halloween Ready

November 1, 2015 at 7:30 pm (Family, Personal, Photography, Uncategorized)


The last couple of days have been a marathon Halloween prep.  We did a last minute stop at our favorite Amish pumpkin farm Friday.  Baby K’s first pumpkin pickin’…

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The kids picked out their big pumpkins and a few small ones.

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Cute display at the farm…

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A little bit of the pickings…

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Little girl enjoyed pulling the cart.

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I also worked into the night after carving pumpkins on the kids’ costumes.  My oldest son’s Super Why costume…

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We bought the green long johns as pajamas and I sewed the cape by cutting out two rectangles of fabric, sewing them together and turning them seam-side-in.  Then I stitched on some ribbon for the tie.  The mask is made out of felt, thanks to my friend for the great idea!  My daughter’s Rainbow Brite costume was a little more involved.  It’s what I call down and dirty sewing because I made it without a pattern and you can really tell in the back…extremely uneven and slightly lopsided :).  But it made her happy and that’s what counts!  It was so fun hearing all the women about my age commenting on her being Rainbow Brite while we trick-or-treated.  Throw back to the old days when I had a Rainbow Brite bed set!!

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And baby K’s “snuggle monkey” costume…

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I just crocheted the hat (sans the tassels on the ear flaps because baby K likes to grab and pull things) and got him a brown sleeper (I’m really into making costumes that can be repurposed after Halloween).  All said and done, the fabric for the dress and cape cost about $3, the yarn for the monkey hat about $2.50, the rainbow leg warmers about $4, and the little rainbow iron-on patch about $5.  Everything else we either had on hand or will use for pajamas.  Not too shabby for Halloween savings!

It’s been long nights, and I’m totally exhausted, but it was so worth it!

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And here are pics from pumpkin carving this year…

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Baby K’s monkey pumpkin….

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I just scraped his in the interest of time :).  My oldest son’s Super Why…

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And Rainbow Brite’s Starlite…

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Hubby made a fun big pumpkin eating a little pumpkin.  Here it is all lit up with my daughter’s…


So that was Halloween prep.  I’ll post our Halloween pictures when I get around to downloading them…next nursing break maybe.  But for now, some baby K love.

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His 4-month appointment is Wednesday.  It’s going by so fast!  Have a very blessed week!

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Making Me Smile

October 29, 2015 at 5:36 pm (Family, Personal)

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Hubby sent me a picture of my baby K today while I’m at work.  Missing my little snuggle monkey :(.  But I’m trying to stay positive and think about all of the awesome blessings.  I’ve been working really hard lately to focus on the good things in life more and more.  My work situation has drastically improved with our new boss, and I am so very thankful for the telecommuting days, the nursing mothers room, and having hubby home with the kids rather than having to get them to day care each morning.  Can’t wait to get home to baby snuggles, though!

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Autumn Evenings

October 26, 2015 at 10:21 pm (Cooking, Family, Personal, Photography)

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Yesterday – another perfect evening to go for a fall walk with the kids, work clothes and all…LOL!  I can’t get enough of the vibrant colors and cool weather.  It’s gorgeous!  Hubby had gotten the chili in the crockpot a little late, so as soon as I got home from work, I mixed up some cornbread and popped it in the oven, gathered the kids and headed out to explore.

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My son kept running ahead pushing the toy stroller…he’s that tiny spot down the road :).

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Life’s in the details.  My daughter’s hand on the stroller next to mine…

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And her sweet smile…

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Costume jewelry from her friend’s birthday party Saturday…

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One of her friends from gymnastics had a party, and my little social butterfly was so excited.  I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to the party at all since I barely know the mom.  But it ended up being a great time.  The kids just played out back on the swing sets and trampoline, and then they did a little nature scavenger hunt and took swings at piñatas.  Everyone there was really nice and laid back.  So it was a good thing my sweet daughter got me out of my comfort zone of just going to parties where I already know the parents.  Good times.

Collecting more pine cones…

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I have big plans for making a pine cone and burlap wreath with all the kids’ fall finds!

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Another favorite activity for the kids, checking the mail!

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And right on top, a new Bon Appetit magazine – score!!

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Baby K along for the ride…

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He is such a laid back baby.  I guess none of my kids have been super crazy as babies, but baby K just seems so calm and collected, taking everything in…unless of course he’s ready to eat!  That boy certainly doesn’t miss a meal!

And the stunning trees in our yard…

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Somehow, the colors seem even more vibrant this year.  I think I said that last year, too, LOL.  So maybe I just forget how stunning autumn is until it returns each year.  I love the rural area we live in now.  It just feels so calm and peaceful as our area is settling in for the winter chill.

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But there are still some flowers hanging around…

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These little dandelions are still popping up in the yard, but the ones that amaze me the most are the rose bushes by our front walk.  Those things have been continually blooming since early spring and are still going strong!

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In addition to the birthday party, this past weekend also brought my turn for church fellowship snacks.  So Saturday before the party, the kids and I went on a baking frenzy!  I love that the kids want to help.  I know it may not always be that way as they get older, but it is so fun to have them there learning how to measure and trying their best to get those eggs mixed in.  Awesome memories!  So, my recommendations for baking enough snacks for 400+ people in a matter of about 5 hours: plan, plan, plan.  We seriously pushed the limit, and planning was the only thing that got all of these snacks done in time to head out for the party.  I started by mixing up all of the cookie dough.  I worked from the shortbread, to the chocolate chip, and then the snicker doodle so that I wouldn’t have to clean the bowl in between.  Then I put the cookie dough in the fridge to chill, washed the mixing bowl and attachments, and starting in on the coffee cake and cupcakes. Once those were baked, I baked the cookies.  And the other thing I’ve learned over the years is clean as you go!! It’s important with cooking because, really, who wants to spend all night cleaning up after dinner.  But during a baking marathon, it’s even more crucial.  All the flour, sugar, spices, baking powder, oil, butter, etc. will overrun the counters if it doesn’t get put away as it’s used.  I’m still teaching hubby and the kids the art of cleaning as you go, but it worked out this weekend :).

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I baked yellow cupcakes and mini cupcakes with chocolate buttercream and pumpkin cupcakes and mini cupcakes with cream cheese icing.  For the cookies, I did chocolate chip, snicker doodles, and yummy Twix thumbprints (recipe here).

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I also made my favorite sour cream coffee cake (similar to this recipe), except I had to use plain yogurt since I forgot to pick up more sour cream.  It still turned out moist and yummy.

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Other than that, I just brought bagels with cream cheese and some fruits and berries.  I really enjoyed having a baking day though.  I don’t get to do that as often as I would like any more, but it’s something I really love doing, especially with the kids.

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Sunday brought Sunday School, a wonderful church service (complete with an a cappella quartet version of “Down By the River” and another amazing sermon), and AWANA for the kids while I did school work and home school planning.  And that was our weekend, a beautiful autumn weekend.  Now if I can just make it to Halloween with three kids costumes!  I have baby K’s monkey hat half crocheted and I have all the material for my son’s Super Why cape and daughter’s Rainbow Brite dress.  I just have to finish crocheting the hat, and cut and sew the cape and dress.  Ok, starting to feel stressed.  Back to thinking about sweet autumn days and beautiful fall colors.

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Have a blessed week!

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Fall Homeschool Crafting

October 22, 2015 at 10:58 pm (Crafts, Family, Personal, Photography)

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Fall is everywhere, and I love it!  I may be indulging in a few too many pumpkin spice lattes, but they only come around this time of year.  The fall-ness (I’m coining the term) made for an awesome week of home schooling, too.  We went on nature walks around our property and made some fun crafts.  The colors of fall…

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Our leaf finds…

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And some cute little tiny acorns…

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We had to stop and play in the leaves, too!

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And then the crafts.  The first was a cute leaf fox…

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When my daughter saw my son’s, she decided hers wasn’t colorful enough and went back for a yellow leaf.  I think that one turned out the cutest!

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Then we made salt dough leaf prints.

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Just mix equal parts salt and flour (I used 1/2 cup each to get these) and add just enough water to make it soft but not sticky.  Flatten the dough and press the leaf into it until you get a good imprint (you may want to dust some flour on the leaf so it pulls away cleanly.  Bake at 200 degrees for 3-4 hours.  Let it cool and have the kids color it with crayons.

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They turned out really cute and the kids loved them.  I’ve been wanting to get pictures of some of the freezer meals cooked, but they’ve been gobbled up before I get a chance.  I also wanted to capture a memory yesterday that disappeared before I could.  It was pumpkin pancakes, a staple breakfast item in this house any time of year.  But yesterday there was one totally misshapen pancake I wanted to capture because it the truth of my reality right now.  It’s a reminder of these crazy days holding a large baby while I cook.  It’s the laughter that fills the kitchen as I try to flip a pancake and cook sausage while standing a full arm’s length from the stove with baby K sleeping in my arms.  I love those memories and want to catch more in photos.  But my daughter ate 4 pancakes before I could even think about getting the camera.  Ah, another growth spurt :).  So the typed memories will have to do.  And now time for evening stories and a little “Croakey Pokey”!  Have a very blessed Friday!.

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Fun on the Farm

October 19, 2015 at 6:38 pm (Family, Personal, Photography)

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Yesterday was another insanely busy Sunday!  Our new church building finally passed all the inspections, and we had our first Sunday in the new classrooms and sanctuary.  Change is stressful.  Even when it’s not necessarily bad change, it still physically drains you.  We went from three services down to two, so my Sunday School class starts an hour earlier.  Which really just means less much-needed sleep for me on the weekends.  But I’ll adjust.  Overall, things went well, but a morning full of figuring out the new process exhausted me.  Then we rushed home after church to eat lunch, clean a little, and head back out the door for an AWANA trip to a local corn maze.  Hubby joined us this time, and it really was a nice family day of fall fun.  We added this sweet little girl, one of my daughter’s closest friends, to our group and embarked on our great corn adventure!

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But not before taking pictures of our kids as farmer corn people…

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And we spent a good half hour or so looking at this…

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It was my first time in a really complex corn maze, and it was totally awesome for the first 10-15 minutes.  We let the kids choose the way, and they were having a blast.  Then we got to the “it’s seriously time to exit this crazy cornstalk mess” point and hubby took over leading the way.  He broke the rules and walked through the corn itself to ask some guides on a bridge for advice.  And eventually, we made it to the exit – yay!


At least the kiddos were still having fun at the end.

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More pictures with the wooden face things…

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And off to the barrel car ride…

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Then my daughter caught up with one of her other good friends and the kids played in a huge sandbox filled with corn kernels.

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Corn angels!!!

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Dump truck corn hauls…

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Swimming in the corn!

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And of course, who wouldn’t feel tempted to fill their boots with corn kernels?

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Awesome AWANA leaders!

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And one last ride in the barrel cars as the sun began to set and the farm readied for closing time.

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It was a great time…and a nice family break from the craziness that is our lives right now.  We stopped at SweetFrog afterward with some friends for pumpkin fro-yo.  Maybe I’ve just been anticipating the return of the pumpkin flavor too much, but it tasted even better this year than last.  It seems like they upped the spices a little bit…yummy!!  So yes, it was a wonderful Sunday, but a very full one, too.  So I am totally beat today.  But I thank God for awesome family memories!

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