Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Nine Years of Lovin'

I saw my Love across a crowded room...
and I knew I was going to marry him.

I had a mutual friend of ours
"run" into him and introduce us.

I was just his friend
for a good 
before he caught on that some girl liked him.

And when he finally did
get up the nerve to make a move...
I laughed at him
and changed the subject.

That night we made decisions.
We held hands
(Aaagh! And it was glorious!!).
We were in love.

We took a week 
and didn't talk to each other;
we talked to the Writer of our days,
and sought His wisdom and guidance;
then we saw each other again
and we both knew that our short stories alone
 were meant to conjoin and become
one of the greatest tales of love ever told
(okay, maybe it was just ME thinking this...
I'm a bit of a Romantic.)

And then he told me he loved me.

Five months later,
he asked me to marry him;
and I laughed again,
but I didn't change the subject
and obviously,
I eventually got a "YES" out.

Four months later,
we made a covenant
to love one another.

We've loved each other through lost jobs;
through college;
through more lost jobs;
we've loved each other through lives ending;
we've loved each other through lives beginning.
We've loved each other as though there was no one better on earth;
We've loved each other when we've hated each other.
We've loved each other through both physical and mental pain;
we've loved each other when there
wasn't anything else we could do
except just that.

He is my biggest source of laughter;
he is my best friend.
He makes me better.
And I love him.

"What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined for life-
to strengthen each other in all labor,
to rest on each other in all sorrow,
to minister to each other in all pain,
to be one with each other in silent,
unspeakable memories."
George Eliot

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And we're still going...

First, pardon my design frenzy.
I think I may have a winner with this set-up...
but we'll see.

December has been 
of energy around here.

Before the month even hit,
this little lady arrived:

She's wonderful in every way possible.
And she's getting used to life on the outside.
Her and I have already had some great conversations;
and I can only hope that she continues
to come and talk to Aunt Nicole whenever possible!

And these two got hitched:

So, I now have a new sister out of the deal!
And the day itself was so lovely and perfect.
Of course, I love LOVE and weddings
so spending a day celebrating LOVE through a wedding
is obviously a perfect day for me.

There's also been a birthday;
four Christmas festivities celebrated, one to go;
and a lovey-dovey anniversary is happening this week.

All this, plus getting to see 
out-of-town family and friends
has made this month fly by.
It is truly the most wonderful time
of the year for us.
I love every minute of it.

What are your plans for the New Year??
I'm getting routines and schedules worked out;
menus made;
goals set...
I'm getting there, at least.

Have a beautiful day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Wishing you...

many blessings throughout this hope-filled season
and many more to come in the new year.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joy To The World... indeed!

So, what do you think happens 
when two people
who both like to blog,
who both LOVE diy crafting,
and who both laugh a lot
get together?

Well, quite honestly... 
nothing really THAT productive.
Okay, okay, that's not completely true.
Let me first give some background here:

Over the Summer,
Lori, from head above water, and I
met each other...
in a dark movie theater.
We weren't there to meet each other.
We were there to hang out 
with our mutual friends.
However, as the evening went on,
we found ourselves 
laughing, no,
at all the same parts;
weeping over all the same scenes;
and then afterwards figuring out
that neither one of us are too keen on 
getting/giving physical affection
to anyone and everyone!
As you can read for yourself,
we were meant to be.

Here's the sad part...
we don't live in the same town.
So, we knew going into this that
our meetings would be few and far between.
But, we went for it!

her parents live in my town
so she visits every so often.
At the beginning of December,
we decided to have our first 
craft day.
My husband and her sister both
questioned what exactly was going on.
Please... just don't try to understand.

Lori's mom watched her boys for her;
I put each of my little Loves down for a rest;
and we began!

Each of us had a project.
I had pinned something that I was very eager to do.
However, I REALLY should have done
some prep work.
All I wanted to do was stencil the words,
"Joy to the world"
on a map.
Rather than buying stencils,
I decided to do it myself and make a stencil...
because that's what I do.
Um... in the THREE hours that we spent together,
I managed to get TWO letters cut out.
Of course, there were a lot of factors:
kids getting up;
looking through fonts;
kids getting up;
more fonts;
other kids getting up;
oh yes, and laughing... a lot.
So, two weeks later,
here's what I FINALLY accomplished:

And I love it.

Lori was working on a great project and 
actually accomplished something while 
being in my home.
She had come across some of her grandfather's ties, 
bought some cute buttons,
no-sew glue,
and made bracelets for her and each of her sisters.
Isn't that SUCH a great idea??
I love it.
So, now each of them have a little something
to remind them of their grandpa.

Prepare yourselves.
Who knows what Lori and I will do next?!?!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And I'm back in the fight!

I've been down.
Man! I've been down.

For the last few weeks,
the enemy has been winning...
but no more.

today I started new.
I let the control slip through my fingers
and gave it back to
The One
who fights for me
and with me.

I let go of the need to be right.
I let go of the need to prove wrongs.

I'm back with a zeal 
that begs to be challenged,
so take note all you joy-stealing bandits.
I am coming for you.

You will be overwhelmed with
you will be consumed with
your world is about to be permeated* with

Just thought I'd give you a fair warning.

*Thanks to my high school English teacher who gave me 
"Permeate" as a vocabulary word.  
I have never forgotten it
and strive to use it every opportunity I get.
I realize you may not read this blog,
but I know your daughter does.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Handmade and a Little Bit of Charm.

Man, December 1st first hit and we were off!
Our month has already been so full of wonderfulness,
and it's only the fifth day!

One of the blog's I follow
decided to host a handmade gift swap this year.
I, of course, was in on this pretty much
as soon as I was finished reading the post.
We were sent an email with five others
names and addresses
from around the US
(and actually I think it may have 
been open internationally if you didn't mind
paying the shipping!)
and instructed that it just had to be handmade.
So... here are some of the gifts I made:

And I've already received two gifts so far
that are awesome!
In fact, one of the crafty ladies has an
awesome site that you should check out:
only after you've finished reading what I've written,
of course.

Let's see...
oh, yes, photos.
That last weekend of photo sessions was a
great opportunity for quick thinking and 
using my charm.
Both days were COLD and WINDY.
Great for snuggling up under a cozy blanket
watching movies and drinking hot cocoa...
not ideal for asking people to sit and pose
until I get the best shot.
Thankfully, an eclectic little local shop
and a newly renovated hotel here in town
obliged my requests of them
and allowed us in.

This week brings a birthday for 
my Love, my husband.
Nothing too crazy planned,
just mushy little things letting him know 
how thankful I am
for his life...
which, of course, he'll love.

And next week brings
Oh... I love weddings.

Enjoy these magical days! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

30 degrees and a very cold Kansas wind... WORTH IT!

Absolutely worth it.
Malaysia is a Senior this year 
and braved the very cold Kansas wind,
and did everything I asked of her
(which I'll just throw out there right now...
if I'm doing your pictures,
you need a good stretch routine for before and after!)
and just LOOK at this loveliness!
It was seriously hard to pick favorites 
out of this session because
they all turned out so beautiful.

And this weekend is the last weekend of my 2011 sessions;
three sessions in two days!
December brings birthdays, weddings, Christmas, and an anniversary!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give thanks

Sometimes there are moments
when I forget that this is not my home.
And sometimes I forget that
my Maker 
had even THOSE moments written for me...
with purpose.
So, today,
I'm thankful for hope;
for overwhelming joy;
for opportunities to actively exercise 
for undeserved grace;
for humility...
ah, yes, even humility.

I'm thankful for the new little 
purposed life that made her entrance 
into this incredible world
with a full head of jet black
Betty Boop hair;
for brothers who make me laugh;
for sisters who literally stop what 
they are doing and come rescue me;
for parents who taught me how to 
encourage others
by encouraging me...
for getting the opportunity to 
not only know my grandparents,
but to actually live life with them;
for friends to love and be loved by:
and for big blue eyes
that make me melt.

Give thanks, friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A lovely day...

This was indeed a lovely day! 
The Kansas wind had a very brisk chill in the air,
which provided lots of opportunities to
snuggle and cozy up to one another.
We were also in an area which provided
the little guy A LOT of space to run around in and explore...
which also provided Dad with a great workout for the day.
Two birds with one stone...

I'm looking forward to this next week.
REALLY looking forward to it, actually.

Coming soon... as in TUESDAY!!
My SIXTH niece is making her debut 
(maybe... possibly... before then????).
I cannot wait.

Oh yeah...
and there are some projects brewing around here;
our living area and small hallway WERE painted;
and I DID get that Spangles Pepsi
from one of the most awesome sisters 

Give thanks this week!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loving this...

I have been waiting for the day that I step out my door and gaze upon this.
The jeweled colors of Autumn have arrived here.
And it kind of gives me a little extra skip in my step.

I actually have a lot on my mind right now...
which is NEVER good for me to combine with blogging.
So, I'm keeping this short...
but delicious!

This last weekend provided the opportunity for a great photo session; 
the images are still in editing,
but should be up soon.

I also had the opportunity to throw an 
open house of sorts 
for one of my brother-in-law's and his fiance
who will soon be united in wedded bliss 
forever and ever.
I can't wait.
And it was a great time to see some family friends
who we just don't see as often these days.
So, here's the delicious part of this post:

The recipes for the spread of food were provided 
from none other than,
yep, Pinterest.
(By the way, my Pinterest is whacked right now!
Anyone else experiencing this??
And now of course since I just typed this,
I checked it out and it's working fine.
Ah! Pinterest!!!)

This crumb cake is so good. SO GOOD.
As I was checking this recipe out,
I stumbled upon the Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles.
Needless to say, 
I'm now following a new blog...
because I want to eat everything I saw.
However, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars were...
And so easy to make...
seriously, melt some stuff and set it aside.
All in all our bellies were full of some 
pretty tasty treats.

Also, I just feel like mentioning that
I am SO incredibly grateful for the mate
my little punk bro-in-law has found himself.
All my brothers have provided me with 
incredible sisters...
and I'm not just writing that because 
I know they all read this.
I mean it should definitely earn me some points,
but I DO genuinely mean it when I say
that I have been extremely blessed by each of them.
(In fact, I somehow managed to wrangle one 
of them into helping me 
paint my living room this week!
I've only had the paint since February!!
hehehe AND I might even get a Spangles Pepsi
out of it because she's now hooked as well!
Pictures to come!)
Anyway, to learn more about the newest sis
go look at her blog...
unless you don't like things that are awesome,
because it's basically awesome at it's greatest.

So much for keeping it short!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Carrot and Caramelized Onion Soup

Last week sometime, I had noticed that one of the blog's I follow had a recipe for some kind of carrot soup. 
I never had the chance to actually look at the recipe and didn't really mind that I hadn't... 
until last night when, 
out of the blue, 
I wanted to make carrot soup for dinner.
So, I thought to myself,
"Carrot soup can't be that hard to make,
give it a go, Nicole!"
(and the other voices in my head were chanting,
"Do it, do it, do it!".
Too much info about my psychotic tendencies??)

What I came up with wasn't too bad.
In fact, my taste-tester aka the-one-I-love-most-all,
gave it an "Alright" and a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10.
That's actually MUCH better than what I expected from him.
(When he walked into the kitchen and saw what was being prepared,
he asked what was being made, 
we had some "flirtatious" banter, 
and he then said,
"Oh, that's just not what I would have picked off the menu.")

If you LIKE carrots, you might enjoy this.
If you have an insane love of root vegetables pureed into soup,
then you're going to love this.

Roasted Carrot and Caramelized Onion Soup

Two Cups of Carrots (I just used a bag of baby carrots)
Half of an Onion
Two Cups of Chicken Stock/Broth
One Tablespoon of Honey
1/2 Teaspoon of Ginger

I first tossed the carrots around with some olive oil, honey, and ginger and roasted them for about an hour at 350 degrees. I also sliced the onion and began caramelizing it in a skillet. Once the carrots were soft, and the onions were beautifully browned, I added them plus the other ingredients to the blender, excluding the stock. I pureed the mixture, adding the stock as needed, until it reached the consistency I preferred (I did end up using the entire two cups and even added a little bit of water as well). I moved the soup to a pot and let it simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes. 

I served this with a little dollop of sour cream and some freshly baked bread drizzled with honey and I actually really liked this soup. 
It may not become a menu staple, 
but it will definitely be "pinned" in my mind 
(oh, yeah, I think in Pinterest terms now). 
I also think some Thyme would be a really good fit somehow 
(because one time, my sweet friend, Sarah, made some Carrots with Thyme for book club and they were so marvelous!). 
So, give it a go sometime and see what you think!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few weeks ago,
the discussion of laundry detergent came up
with the book clubbers
(yes, we DO talk about other things...
hehe actually if you sat in on any of our conversations, 
you'd have no idea we were a book club!).
A few of us began making our own 
and were swapping recipes
(recipes sounds weird, but I don't really know 
what else to call it).
I use a liquid/gel recipe that I 
found on the internet and tweeked to my liking.
I was due to make some soon after that, 
so here you are...

You'll need:
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
1 bar of Fels Naptha
Five Gallon Bucket

Shred the Fels Naptha into a stock pot
with three quarts of water and let simmer until soap is melted.

Add in one cup of Washing Soda and
one cup of Borax and stir until dissolved.

 It should look a little something like this.

Pour two quarts of water into the five gallon bucket
and then add your soap mixture and stir.
Then add two gallons and three quarts of water and
stir very well.

Once mixed very well, 
place the lid on it and 
let it sit for about 24 hours.
It should gel within in this time
and then it's ready to use.

This recipe usually lasts (for us) around six months,
and gets our clothes cleaner and fresher
than any detergent I've ever used before.
And the savings is nice, too:
Fels Naptha $1.12
Washing Soda 55 oz. $2.99/ 8 oz. $.43ish
Borax 76 oz. $3.99/ 8 oz. $.42ish

Less than $2.00,
yep, it's worth the 24-hour gel period for me.

There are lots of recipes out there on the old world wide web,
so check them out and find one that works for you.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Red hair and freckles,
a little boy named Bear,
and a third-born little rascal who steals the show...
yeah... this was kind of a fun session.
Throw in two amazing parents who 
love these little munchkins so wonderfully, 
and a beautiful Kansas evening,
and you may end up with something a little like this:

And this little one...
oh my goodness!
She gets her own "MERCY!!".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whew doggy!

This is Robert and Charlie... 
oh yeah, and their owners.
Robert and Charlie have their own ideas,
and their own way of doing things.
I obliged...
because LOOK at those faces!!
Well, and the fact that Robert is actually the size of a small pony...
I have never had the pleasure 
of photographing dogs before
(except my own The Most Disobedient, Tig),
and Robert and Charlie have set the bar high.
Such great dogs and SO sweet.
My pal, Kristy, actually fosters dogs and Robert
just happened to be one that they ended up keeping.
For more info on fostering, check out the organization,
And if you need something to smile about later on,
just come on back over here
and check out little Charlie
(who preferred to have his backside photographed
more than his front... hey, if you got it, flaunt it.)

Monday, October 31, 2011

So... here's the lowdown.

I can't believe that I went an entire week without blogging...
okay, let me re-word that:
I can't believe I went an entire week without posting...
in my mind, everything is a blog post.

I have so many posts and photos lined up for you guys.
But... remember when I said I was going MAD???
Yep, that's still in full gear. hehehe

And the opportunities to photograph some really great people... and dogs
(they'll be getting their own post sometime this week!), 
just keep coming.
And just a side note... actually you know what?
That's going to get it's own post as well. 
Sorry! You'll just have to stay tuned.

Oh, yeah... and I'm married with three kids.

So, there's a few things going on outside
my little blogosphere...
but I'm hoping to get some things out this week.

I also want to say THANKS to 
Sherry from Sweet and Sassy for the invite to
(And, OH MY GOODNESS, go look at the recipe for Peanut Butter Fudge Krispies that she posted!
Um... delicious and yes, you may send some this way!)
and HELLO and WELCOME to my new followers from there!

And I'll leave you with some lovelies from the Flea Market to gaze upon:

The madness will only continue!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

I do rock.

Instead of sneaking out of my house tonight
and heading to the nearest Outback for some cheese fries,
I went running.

Why, thank you.

Have a beautiful weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I've gone MAD!!!

I imagine that in the next few weeks felt flowers and bows 
will not only be adorning our heads around here,
but everything in sight!
I am addicted.
To say I have an addictive personality is an understatement...
 a HUGE understatement.

Thanks to you that have given me your feedback on this little venture.
I really, really do appreciate it.
I told my husband that I was thinking about selling my little lovelies...
actually, let me just recap the conversation for you:

Me: "I think I might start selling these."
My Love: "How are you?"
Me: "What do you mean?"
My Love: "I mean how are you going to sell them?"
Me: "Well, I could probably just sell them on my own, 
and also there are a few boutiques around here that I think would."
My Love: "Would they actually sell them?"
Me: "Oh, yeah.  There are two that I know for sure would."

He then proceeds to pick up some that are laying out in front of him.
Puts two in a pile off to the side and the other four in a different pile.

My Love: Pointing to the pile of four
"I would buy these."
Me: Pointing to the pile of two
"Okay. Why wouldn't you buy these?"
My Love: "I don't know, I just wouldn't."
Me: "Okay, but WHAT about them makes you not want to buy them?"

I can't remember exactly how the rest of the conversation went,
something about them not looking good 
and one had a string hanging off of it (which I was fixing!),
however he did tell me that he has an eye for this kind of thing.

Me: "You have an EYE for girl's hair accessories?"
My Love: "Yeah, things in general."

So, that's what I'm working with over here.
He actually does have a really great eye for things...
I mean, that's pretty obvious from who he married (it was too easy...).
But really he does,
so it's nice to have his gorgeous blue eyes around here.

Here are a few I recently added to our collection:

That little bow is the perfect accent for little ladies getting into mischief... so sweet.

Also, over the weekend I had a fun session with some superheroes.
My cousin and her family were needing some updated pics, so I came to the rescue.
Her sons are around the same age as my girls,
so I had a good idea of what to look forward to.
Pretty much every shot I took eventually ended up in a superhero stance...
which, of course, made me laugh... every time.
Here are my faves:

And because I couldn't get enough...

Oh mercy, those little faces KILL me!

I'm off to the madness!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October 15th

On September 28, 2006, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution #222 which stated that October 15th will officially be
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. If you have some time, look it over. The emotions by several Representatives were extremely moving.

As someone who has felt the emotional and physical pain from a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage, I urge you to be aware.

Be aware that this happens a lot and people aren't often too quick to speak about it.
Because it's painful to bear your wounded soul to others.
Because some feel very alone and isolated.
Because sometimes there just aren't even words to describe it.

Having had mine several years ago, and the pain and grief are no longer a fresh wound, 
I feel I can now better provide a little insight in this.

I've had many loved ones called home to eternity before I was ready to part from them.
We buried my husband's mother and youngest brother when we were only twenty-four.
And that was heart-wrenching.
But we had memories, we still have memories.
We have pictures.
We have things that they touched; things that they wrote.
There are little glimpses of them throughout our home.

When you lose a baby, 
you have none of these things to bring peace to your soul.
You have dreams that will never be.
You have hopes that are no longer.
There is an overwhelming ache throughout your being, 
because a piece of it is missing.

So, on this day I ask that you just be aware.
Be aware that people experience loss in many different ways.
Some want a kind acknowledgement... and some don't.
Some want to talk about it... and others don't.
Just make yourself aware of that person going through it.
And try your best to be available 
to supply whatever their need may be...
whether it be a listening ear, 
a warm embrace,
or a note just letting them know you're thinking of them.

"For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works,
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance,
in your book were written,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them."
Psalm 139:13-16 (emphasis added)

Friday, October 14, 2011

I need your feedback!

So, this week's project has kind of taken off.
I figured out that I REALLY like making hair accessories... a lot.

So much so that I may even... sell them?
What do you think??

Would you spend money on something like this?

And if you would, what would you expect to pay for it?

Here's a little something about me...
I would MUCH rather give things away to people.
I like to do it. It makes me feel good.
And it always comes back to bless me even more than I can imagine.

However, making a few bucks here and there isn't so bad either.
I'm just not that good at figuring out the value in my work 
and then charging that price for it.

So, I need your feedback!
Seriously, give me some honest feedback. I can take it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

And I'm back!

So, remember when I mentioned about the 
Whirlwind of Perfection weekend 
being a bit too much??
Yep, it was.
That, plus having to visit the germ-ridden office of our Family Physician,
not just once, but TWICE in one week...
for the SAME THING
(which wasn't even a sickness!!)...
hit my immunity system like a tornadic terror
(just thought I'd stick with the storm terminology here).

I was so sick.
I mean... SO SICK.
As in, my husband had to stay home two days from
work just so there was a functioning adult
maintaining the chaos that dwells here.
It was a terrible virus...
I'll spare the details.
After a couple days, the medicine finally kicked in enough
to allow me to function, but still feel sick.
So, I had to take things into my own hands.

Say hello to my little friend.
Our blender died a few months back, 
and I wasn't too quick to get a new one... 
until this last weekend when I wanted this.
This little smoothie is PACKED with immunity boosting nutrition.
The little ladies and I drank one almost everyday last winter,
(1) because it's good,
(2) because it is seriously SO GOOD for your immune system.

I pour a little bit of orange juice and milk in my blender;
throw in several handfuls of spinach;
 add a pear;
throw in a few red grapes;
and I blend away.

And here are the benefits:
Not From Concentrate Orange Juice - Vitamin C;
Milk - Calcium and Vitamin D 
(plus I'm not a big milk drinker, so I sneak it in whenever possible);
Spinach - SUPER FOOD!! Spinach has so many health benefits,
however, I use it in this for the iodine, which helps strengthen the immune system;
Pears - another SUPER FOOD! Pears are also so beneficial to your health, 
again though, I use them in this for the immunity booster;
Red Grapes - help fight viruses and some bacteria.

And you can't even taste the spinach.

I've had one two days in a row now and I feel like a new person... 
or at least my old self
(which is why I'm up blogging, instead of nestled in my bed!).

So, back to life.
I finally finished editing last weekend's photo sessions.
Here are some of my faves:

Goodness, that face!

Such a funny family... seriously.
Working with kids always makes me move a little more quickly,
however, sometimes no matter how quickly I move,
they're just not havin' it!
And that lends for great shots like this:

Ha! I love it.

And just for kicks, here's a little peek at this week's project:

A few sweets for my Sweets!
These will soon be adorning the heads of my little munchkin ladies.
They asked for some new headbands and bows...
so I cannot disappoint,
nor can I pass up the opportunity to CREATE!

(I don't even know where that came from, so this seems like a good time to just stop.)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Whirlwind of Perfection

This last weekend was possibly a little much... 
but I loved every moment of it.

Friday night began this weekend whirlwind with a maternity photo session 
with my youngest brother and my sister-in-law.
Perfection almost doesn't even come close to describing the evening.
We went to a local wildlife preserve right as the sun was setting;
little brother and sis looked like they had walked straight out of a Gap window,
and we had one of Grandma's patchwork quilts...
yeah... I know... perfection.

Every single photo I took that night is a favorite,
but I did manage to choose some that captured the best of the evening.

Went home that evening and got in a little time with the husband,
who had all the kids in bed... asleep.
Oh, yes! Perfection, indeed.

The next morning, I woke up bright and early giddy with anticipation of THE BARN SALE.
As I had mentioned, I did not know what to expect.
When we (a friend of mine and one of the sisters... oh yeah, and my little guy!) finally arrived
(it was about a thirty minute drive...
okay, okay an hour for us because we were talking so much we missed the exit!),
it looked amazing.
The first booth we saw was filled with quilts;
the next was Antique Wonderfulness overload;
jewelry, handmade crafts, soaps, woodwork,
and food baked by the members of the local Mennonite Church...
uh, yeah, you know where I'm going with this...

And the barn... oh, the beautiful old barn!

Here are a few pics of it since a few of you were interested.
Also, they'll be doing this again in the Spring, so if you're local look them up on the ol' FB and 'like' them for updates.

Uh, yeah, and see that awesome cart looking thing that those baskets and lamps are on??
My friend snagged it for the steal of the century.

Afterwards, we headed to another little town for lunch where I had the most amazing
I've ever had in my life!
And once I settled down from that,
we headed to a little Antique shop that blew my mind.
It was filled with so many wonderful treasures I had to stop a few times to catch my breath.

Here are a few of the treasures I ended up with from the day's hunt:

An old vintage suitcase (which was a steal!), an old crate, a cast iron set of utensils, and my friend ended up getting me the "S" (which I loved, but just couldn't make the decision to shell out the $3!).

Came home to my Loves and enjoyed fellowship that evening with our church family...

The next day brought more photo sessions and my faves from those will be making their way here later in the week! Stay tuned.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Busy, busy, and a little love to go with it.

I'm headed to a Barn Sale this weekend.
I don't know exactly what it is, 
but it's in a barn and it's a sale.
Two things that I cannot pass up.

I had a photo session tonight and have two more on Sunday.
Have I ever mentioned how much I 
a good photograph???
After seeing some from tonight I'm super energized for more!!

Also, in order for me to go to a Barn Sale 
and do what I love,
there is an incredible man caring for our 
crazy little munchkin children.
He is awesome.
He is SO awesome.

Have a beautiful weekend and know that:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Preval Sprayer

A few weeks ago, I saw this being advertised on my blog so I checked it out.
After looking through the website, I was really interested in checking this product out.
I contacted Preval and was given the opportunity to try out the Preval Val-Pack, which by the way, is on sale through the end of the year.
I have a lot of different cans of leftover paint from different projects, so I love that I can just pour some in one of the jars, attach a sprayer, and begin painting.  
I used it to prime this table:

It worked well spraying out primer, but for a bigger project like this, I chose to go a different route for the coats of paint. 
Overall, I think this is a great product for my small projects.  Although after looking through these projects, I think I may be trying it out for a few other things!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A lot of this and a lot of that...

Baked... check.

Painted... check.

Ate soup in bread bowls... check.

 Pumpkin Patch... check.

The cool weather made me so giddy this last weekend that I accomplished my entire 
Autumn To-Do List in two days!
Just kidding.
I DID bake and go to the Pumpkin Patch.
The painting and the bread bowl soup were done last week sometime... worth sharing though.

First...the recipes: 

Sweet Potato-Apple Crisp

2 Large Sweet Potatoes
2 Large Apples
Olive Oil
1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Cloves

1/2 Cup of Flour
1/2 Cup of Oats
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Baking Soda
Candied Walnuts*

Preheat oven to 350.
Slice potatoes and apples into small chunks and place in a roasting pan. Drizzle with olive oil and add cloves and cinnamon; mix together. Roast until potatoes are soft and the sugars in the apples begin to caramelize, about an hour or so. Prepare topping; mix all ingredients except candied walnuts. Once potatoes and apples are nicely roasted, remove from oven and place into a 9x9 (9x13 would probably work just as well). Pour topping over potatoes and apples. Place dish in oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until topping gets crunchy. Remove from oven and sprinkle candied walnuts over entire dish.

*You can make your own candied walnuts by toasting about a cup and a half of walnuts in the oven (350 degrees) on a baking sheet; while these are toasting, pour 1/2 a cup of sugar in a saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar caramelizes and becomes liquid.  Remove toasted walnuts and pour into saucepan; stir to completely coat walnuts. Once coated, place walnuts back on baking sheet to cool. Sprinkle a little coarse salt on them for a nice little surprise when you bite into them.  Or don't.

We ate this as a side dish, but you could eat this as a dessert with a little vanilla ice cream... ooh, yum. Although if you have a sweet tooth, you may want to add a bit more sugar to the recipe as it's not a super sweet dish, as desserts should be.

Loaded Potato Soup

2/3 Cup of Butter
2/3 Cup of Flour
7 Cups of Milk
4 Cups of Potatoes
4 Green Onions
10-12 Strips of Bacon
1 Cup of Sour Cream
Salt and Pepper to taste
Bread Bowls*

Melt butter; stir in flour until smooth.  Gradually stir in milk until it thickened. Add potatoes and green onions. Stir constantly until soup bubbles. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Mix in remaining ingredients and serve in bread bowls.
This recipe will feed 4 to 6 people. Sometimes I half the recipe and sometimes I just freeze the leftovers.

*I used the same dough recipe that I used here but shaped into four large balls instead of rolls. Once baked you just scoop out the middle and pour the soup in.

Second... the painting:
I'm sloooooowly redecorating my room 
(as in I have pieces that I want to put in there all over the floor and dressers, but haven't put them up!)
and wanted a shelf.
So, I made one from some wood 
(from MY stash of wood in the garage, Husband!)
 and some old iron brackets that I've used several different ways throughout the years. 
I am loving that translucent glaze on EVERYTHING, so it received a coat of that, too.
And I love it.

I found that baby cradle at my Dad's house... 
and just took it.
(Other people go to their parent's houses and just take what they want, right? Oh... just us? Hmm...)
It had pink sheep just kind of frolicking around on it... not really my style.
Hey, frolicking sheep are great, if that's your thing... it's just not mine.
So, it received a little TLC, a coat of gray paint, and a little sanding to beat it up a bit because it's going to get beat up anyway... believe me.  
My daughters are kind of baby crazy... they MIGHT get it from me.

We inherited those chairs (plus two more matching ones) from my in-laws when we were first married.  They're stained in a dark wood and, again, just not really my style.
And they needed to match this table:

(more on this to come)

And now they do.

And finally... 
(Yes, this post WILL have to end sometime... just keep telling yourself that!)
The Pumpkin Patch:
Like the Fair, 
I love everything about the Pumpkin Patch.
And we were the very FIRST ones there this year;
which means we did the zip-line first, slid down the slide first, jumped on the bouncing pillow first, ran through the corn maze first, rode the little train first, and had first pick of the crop
(Whoa...please remember I'm a first-born-only-girl-in-my-family brat as you read that last sentence).
It was awesome.
Aaaaaaand... we had lunch at Arby's afterwards 
(that one's for you, Becky!).