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wednesday: pic of the week, blissful naivety.

I recently put one of those digital photo frames in my kitchen, in the corner of a countertop by my cookbooks. It made my kitchen feel more homey to me. My hope was that if it felt more homey, i’d want to be in there more…i.e. i’d want to cook more. Honestly so far I think it has worked a little in getting me in there for more than just some pioneer woman cookie baking.

This morning I got up early while everyone else was sleeping. Before I started to get some actual work done, I moseyed on downstairs to make some coffee. My digital photo frame was flipping through images from the last few years..2008, our last blissful year as “just us”, and 2009…the most insane year of our life thus far, so we thought. I saw pictures of Ben sick, 40 pounds lighter with illness, pictures of josiah as a little baby, images of me with huge smiles and and laughs hanging out with friends “pre-kiddo”, funny instances and alone times with just ben and I…

I got a little nostalgic and thought for one second, as ALL parents do at least a few times a week….”omgosh, I was so blissfully unaware of how easy I had it before kids.” You know you think the same thing. Oh what a state of blissful naivety I perpetually lived in, skating through each day with menial responsibilities like a “job” and “keeping house”. I got to be a wife and take care of myself and a husband..which at the time, seemed so huge…now looking back, I think, man I should have been a MASTER, a BLACK BELT if you will in “caring for the hubby” because little did I know how insane it is to care for him AND children. A blessing and an awesome responsibility, and insane. How many times did I completely take for granted the ability to simply jump up and head out to see a movie…or enjoy an impromptu dinner date with my sweetheart…or head out on a spontaneous weekend trip out of town…

Its a toss up, isnt it? a catch 22. because you know what?

how could I trade ANYTHING, for this?

how could I even begin to think about not seeing this sweet face every day?

how could I survive without the bear hugs this little man gives me day in and day out?

how could I bear the thought of not being able to melt every time I see them together?

I couldnt. Thats the honest truth.

Yep, I miss the movies. I certainly miss alone time with the love of my life, Ben. I definitely miss dates and spontaneity.

But I’d miss them way more.

As insane as every day is in my house, as crazy as I feel kiddos make me sometimes, today I know that I am beyond blessed to have them.

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monday: hood life, perspective.

i remember laying underneath the christmas tree as a kid. all the lights off in the living room. the little twinkly christmas lights that mommy strung around the tree perfectly and strategically, all a sparkle and dancing as I lay there underneath..looking up, in complete awe of the gorgeousness and eye-popping view.

sad, but as we get age and become adults, christmas is less and less about us, isnt it?

the reality of this is maddening, is it not? but true none-the-less, and its something i’m learning to embrace. sure, i still look forward to a few surprises underneath the tree every year, but as i’ve become an adult and more recently, a parent, i realize how important it is to instill in my little ones (yes even from this early age!) the importance of realizing the true reason that Christmas is so special. My parents did such a good job helping us kids remember this. Every Christmas morning we read the Christmas story out of the Bible, and pray sweet prayers thanking God for the insane blessings he gives us every day, all year long. Now that I’m a parent too, I want Christmas to mean 3 things: time with Jesus in thanks and fellowship, time with my family, and a plan to help and bless others over the holiday season.

Sure, there will be gifts exchanged..good times had, and lots and lots of good food consumed for sheer tummy pleasure! But I hope as we set traditions and concentrate on truly celebrating Christmas around our house, that our kiddos will see what it means to love God and love people through the whole experience.

Its a crazy week around here….we have a Christmas party this Saturday that I have a ton to do for, another one Monday for my SoFly girls, friends in town this weekend, lots of things to edit and blog and ship out this week, and a insanely cluttered upstairs to clean. Bens still looking for another job, we’re planning out a new website and blog to introduce our new branding in January, and we have MUCHO work to do for that.

I’m trying to catch up with the mom blog this week! double posting today and tomorrow! I am fully aware its not Monday..(its TUESDAY!), but this is Mondays post. I’m trying to keep up with my lovely ladies that read this blog. Love all of you. Tomorrow’s hump-day! REJOICE!

 

 

friday: a matter of importance.

ladies. its 245am. on friday.

i’m awake. editing, posting, blogging, getting stuff together for clients…because we leave town tomorrow for a work weekend in tallahassee full of sessions and planned outings…

and i tried all day…ALL DAY…to get my real simple recap for the month of november up.

so all of you who are looking now and expecting that recap, would not be disappointed…

 

but the fact of the matter is, its 245 in the morning. my husband hates that im up this late working, because hes up with me. darby needs me to put her to bed and go to bed myself. i need to present and alert in the car today on our long drive.

i am irritated for two reasons. 1) that i cant fulfill the expectations i put on myself and my time, and get this yummy amazing real simple recap post up today. and 2) because im this upset that i cant get this yummy real simple recap post up today.

dont hate me. i’m hoping to get it up by saturday..maybe even sunday. but not today.

hope you understand ladies…and forgive me! but id be up till 5am if i were to finish this recap.

TGIF….and stay tuned. i promise, its coming. 🙂

thursday: llps, charity gems!

It makes me so happy when I find an old friend whom I’ve lost touch with, who has fallen into the art world like myself. This is the story of Sarah Gittens and I. We were in the same homeschool group (yep, homeschool. group. homeschool group. you heard it first, you heard it right…here. i was homeschooled. all jokes aside, and all bitterness aside…its fun to talk about it NOW when im an adult. moving on.) We also played basketball together for the Good News Academy Lions for many many years. Millions of roadtrips to games and state competitions, hundreds of 20 ounce mountain dews, and a few hideous koolat pants later….here we are. I’m a photographer and Sarah Gittens find and sells vintage gifts.

Charity Gems was started by this sweet girl and I love her website.

Charity Gems is an online boutique which began with a simple idea to sell good quality items with a portion of each sale given to benefit others. Charity Gems began with a desire to make a difference combined with an interest in fashion.  Throughout this website you will find jewelry and accessories that we hope will serve to enhance your personal style or make a wonderful gift for someone special.  Motivated by a desire to have a positive impact on the world around us, a portion of every sale will be donated to a charity.  Happy online shopping.”

Fantastic, right? Great idea, even better intentions, all combined for the love of helping others and looking fabulous.

Here are a few of my fave pieces and gifts from the site. Seriously, this year why not fore-go the annual mall trip and snag a few meaningful gifts from a local girl trying to do some good? Trust me, there are some beautiful things to be found. Check these out! (all items under $20! seriously!)

vintage jewelry travel case, around $10

vintage blue earrings, around $3

vintage flower pendant necklace, around $8

vintage white leather clutch, around $15

Shop some Charity Gems this christmas..feeling good and looking good never felt soooo good.Tell Sarah I sent you!

 

all images courtesy of charitygems.us

 

 

wednesday: pic of the week, get your cheesecake on.

so its no secret i love sugar.

i could have cinnamon toast crunch for breakfast, a fruit salad for lunch, and cake for dinner. literally, this is my world and im a prisoner in it. i love me some sweets!

cakes, pies, brownies, cookies, doughnuts, candy, fruits, sugar of all kinds….

over thanksgiving we always head up to tennessee to spend the holiday with bens family. the women cook for hours and hours day of, but we have to split our time between two sides of the family and eat two thanksgiving dinners, so its hard for me to contribute to the cooking sometimes. this year, i was determined to make a contribution. something in me is screaming to be cooking and cleaning and home all the time…what the deuce…

am i becoming suzie homeaker? did i just make my husband leave for 4 hours and deep clean my house like i was gonna host the president for dinner tonight? YES. do i sometimes cook dinner for my family “just because”, and secretly desire to roll around on the floor all day with my kiddos? (that nice vacuumed, swept and mopped floor?) YES.

so anyways, my suzie homeaker desires kicked in and made me a bit sad i wasnt having a thanksgiving at my own house and being dubbed “hostess with the mostess”…so i thought, meh, why not make a baller cheesecake to throw in the thanksgiving food mix…its not really thanksgiving food, but hey maybe somebody will eat it and i wont be too embarrassed now that i have something to bring to the table.

enter real simple magazine, november. (the recap going up THIS FRIDAY ladies so stay tuned for full details…). gingersnap cherry cheesecake recipe? yes please. minus the cherries plus some strawberries. yes please.

check out the recipe here ladies, and ive copied and pasted it below. for the crust half and halfed gingersnap cookies with gingerbread graham crackers (makes a nicer consistency in the crust). and i also bought fresh strawberries, chopped them up and added a bit of sugar to them before i let them chill in the fridge for a while.

the result? i happened to find the last piece buried in the fridge the day after thanksgiving. it was devoured people, literally devoured. certain family members had multiple pieces. said it was the best cheesecake theyd ever had. better than their mommas…and their mommas mommas…

make it. eat it. love it. its a great holiday staple peeps! bens family has already made me promise to make it and bring it every year now!

p.s. i felt very good about this cheesecake because it was the first one that id ever made, and it didnt split down the middle or break or cook funny…it was delicious and beautiful, so ben made sure to take a pic of me with the very first yummy piece. enjoy!

Serves 12| Hands-On Time: 20m | Total Time: 5hr 00m

Ingredients

  • 3 cups ground gingersnap cookies
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 8-ounce bars cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup cherry preserves

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350° F. In a medium bowl, combine the ground gingersnaps and butter. Using a straight-sided dry measuring cup, press the mixture into the bottom and 2 inches up the side of a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and 1 cup of the sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Beat in ½ cup of the sour cream and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla.
  3. Pour the mixture into the crust and bake until just set, 40 to 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine the remaining 1 ½ cups of sour cream, ¼ cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Spread over the hot cheesecake and bake until set, 3 to 5 minutes more. Let cool in the pan, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Run a knife around the edge of the cheesecake before unmolding.
  5. Spread the preserves over the cheesecake before serving.

tuesday: design, colored glass jars

I’m finally taking steps to get that black bookcase into tip-top organized and decorated shape. My recent fascination is colored glass. I love yellow, blue, green, teal, and purples. The only ones ive been able to find thus far are green in color. I picked these up today from goodwill for under $5! I’m also going to add in some white to this shelf, because it is black and needs a bit of brightening up. I found a cute book-end today that I need to paint, so you’ll see that one later.

(p.s. i love bookends! please, if anyone finds a good cheap and cute bookend or knows a good resource to find them, let me know or snag it for me! I seriously have such a hard time finding them..)

I did a bit of browsing and here are some images of some colored glass that im diggin’:

And I stumbled across this article on how to make your OWN aqua blue glass jars with glass paint! who even knew glass paint existed, i didnt. I’m so stoked to try this! You can get a can of this paint from cheap joes art stuff for under $5. Omgoodness this is going to change my life! Stay tuned.

photo credit to indiebride, hoosier jar, apartment therapy, lushlee, tina crespo

 

monday: hood life, welcome back.

i hear that mase song, welcome back, playing in my head today.

welcome back to what?

home. o joyous home life. the familiar aroma of your own house. time to decorate for christmas and get our family ready for this holiday season. welcome back to familiarity and the daily grind.

home. an incredibly dirty house that needs a days worth of cleaning. a work to do list that is 10 miles long. 2 parties to plan. 2 weddings to plan for. a trip to tallahassee to plan for this weekend. budgeting to do. bills to pay. and christmas shopping to do.

to say i came home incredibly stressed out is an understatement. today, im clinging to this verse for DEAR STINKING LIFE.

Matthew 6:30
“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.  – THE MESSAGE

Life is much simpler in Tennessee, that is for sure. Mostly because my work isnt there. Regardless, this picture ben took yesterday before we left the volunteer state is one i’m using to keep me focused today on what is REALLY important.

 

 

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