Thursday, December 30, 2010

Final Amazing Christmas Give-away!

That's right, the final one. So after this post, I will stop bugging you all with these give-aways! Ha. But this is your last chance to jump in and win one of the amazing prizes offered in the give-away from Soulographer and Work of Heart Photography.

Prizes include:
3 Workshop Workbooks
Personal mentoring session with Skye Hardwick of WoH
Florabella Collection
Kelly Moore Bags
WoH's Posing Guide
Simplicity Designs
Picture Me Props
Easy Accounting Solution
Crave Photography Photoshop Mentoring
Kelly Ridgedell Logo
Darn Fanciful Props
Capture the Hearts Designs

Check it all out at:

Happy winning!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas, the wait is over!

Merry Christmas dear friends and family! 

I cannot believe that this day is already here. 
I had such high aspirations and hopes of what the month of December would be for us as we celebrated the birth of our Savior by creating an atmosphere of awe and amazement and anticipation. 
Instead, I was overwhelmed and stressed with the list of things that needed to be accomplished before this day came and our daily readings often took a back seat to the "to-do" list. 

The wonderful thing is that it only takes a few moments to stir anticipation and excitement into a child. So, I relished those little moments where I could whisper to Emma, "Jesus's birthday is coming!" 

One other continuous challenge, especially now that we have many young children, is reinforcing the belief that this day, this time of year, this blessed moment, is about everything except presents. Presents are the last thing on the list, not the first. 
It is a challenge to remember to pour into our children the truth that we are awaiting Christ, we are anticipating the majesty of His birth, and all that that means for our world and for us, personally. We are not anticipating the next material gift. 
But with children that's a hard goal because almost all they see around them are celebrations of presents, many presents. 

Thankfully, (yes, thankfully!) Mike is without work this Christmas season and our budget is limited so our children will only receive 2 gifts each, instead of the normal 3. And yes, I AM thankful for this. I'm thankful for this because even if children are enraptured by receiving gifts, another wonderful thing about children (especially young children) is that they are fully surprised and joyful with EACH gift they receive, no matter what it is! And this creates the perfect atmosphere to be thankful and joyful for every small thing we receive (for me as well) and to draw us back to the truth that we open these gifts in remembrance of our Christ, our Lord, who gives us the ultimate gift of salvation. 

I set my sights a little high this year but that's ok. Next Christmas we'll try again with our Jesse tree and celebrating Advent and maybe we'll get a little further in that journey. 
But I do so choose to praise God for the little moments He gave us this Christmas. 
One such moment was last night as we read from Luke 2 and I watched and listened to Emma as her eyes widened and she gasped as I read, 

"Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 

       14 “ Glory to God in the highest, 
      And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Beautiful in the eyes of a child. 

Remember that this day is a day where years upon years of waiting and prophecy were fulfilled. The Messiah that so many had been anxiously awaiting was finally here! He had come. He had come in full humility and He was ready to give His life to save ours. 

"We are not simply to believe, but to watch; not simply to love, but to watch; not simply to obey, but to watch; to watch for what?  For the great event, Christ's coming...

With much love, Emma, Diana, Clara, George, Wyatt, and Mike! 

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Amazing Give-away #3!

If you're a photographer you NEED to check this out! Work of Heart Photography and Skye Hardwick are the creators of soulographer and the Workshop Workbook and it's all amazing!

And she's put together a fabulous bunch of vendors that are giving amazing products or service away!
They include:

Angel Baby Treats
Silver Salt Designs
Shaun Paul Productions
Chic Pretties
Tonee Lawerence Photography (actions)
J. Melcena Scarves
The Posing Guide from Work of Heart
Pure Photoshop Actions
The Organic Bloom
Deluxe Modern
The Workshop Workbook

Amazing, amazing, amazing!

Monday, December 06, 2010

Photographer Friends!

Hear ye, hear ye - an amazing giveaway from the wonderful Skye Hardwick of Work of Heart Photography! And many of her friends and vendors!

If you have never heard of her Workshop Workbook, you need to. It's ah-maze-ing. You want it. You need it. Seriously!
If you want to pursue children's portraiture work every - you need it!

Check out her give-away here:

Don't miss your chance!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tuesday Tellings

Personal confessions of a stay-at-home-mother:
- The television was on too much today.
- I fed my children corn dogs for lunch because I didn't know what else to make.
- I am in desperate need of a shower but was too busy picking up, doing dishes, and editing to take one. Thankfully, my husband thinks I'm sexy still. 
- My house is a mess. Yep, a big fat ugly mess. 
- I have fallen into a habit of threatening instead of acting when it comes to discipline and first-time obedience. 
- We surely went through all our character traits today and had a great Bible Time ... not. 
- There's red kool-aid on the bottom of my fridge that I was too frustrated to clean up ... and still haven't. 
- I desperately need motivation to T-Tapp because I actually slept through my children AND my alarm this morning! 

Motherhood surely is NOT pretty. Praise God He walks with me through each day otherwise I'd be more thoroughly stressed than I already am, lol. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

W Family & Belly Sneak Peek!

This family was a joy to photograph! They have two adorable, sweet, calm (at least for the shoot) little girls and are expecting their third - a boy. Mama had an amazingly beautiful belly, and you know me, I love those baby bellies!

Thank you again for letting me come into your lives and create memories with you! I had a blast!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Natalie is One! | Peek

I recently got the privilege to take pictures of miss Natalie - a spunky, adorable, fun 1 year old! I got to see her as a wee babe and it's amazing how much changed in 1 year - talking, walking, facial expression, personality! So much fun. And she has wonderful, gentle, calm parents. Thank you guys, for letting me enter your home and life. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Baby Callen | 3 Months

This is Callen. He's 3 months old and adorable! He's so easy going and laid back and it was so much fun to be able to get out and practice with some new props and new ideas! Kassi, his mom, is amazing and I am forever thankful that I've been able to meet and know her. 
Callen is their second child and second boy and I'm so thrilled beyond belief that he's actually going to be a big brother, already! :) 

My Favorite Family | G Family

My favorite family, after my own that is! This 3/4ths of the G family. I have known them since I was 14 and Jana was my small group leader in youth group. Talk about history and knowing my skeletons! She's one of the few people who has seen my highs and lows, failures and victories, flaws and growth. She could ruin me in one second. Haha. 
This woman is one of the most beautiful women I know - inside and out and she radiates joy, laughter, and fun. When I'm having a crappy day she is who I know to call! 
And her boys - handsome as ever and such a hoot! Her Bazz is my Emma's future man, seriously. 



Isn't she gorgeous?

Henry snuggles miss Clara:

Thank you guys for letting me have fun capturing these pictures! I love you! 

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Come and Get It: Granola!

I heart granola. Almost passionately. I really hope there's granola in heaven. We had a bake-athon a couple weeks ago and made granola and this is what we do! 

Master Granola Recipe:
2 Cups Old Fashioned Oats (or steel cut)
1/2 Cup Wheat Germ

2 Tb Dark Brown Sugar
¼ tsp Salt
1 Cup Extra Ingredients
¼ Cup Maple Syrup
3 Tb Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 Tb Water
Flavoring: ½ tsp cinnamon, ¼ tsp almond extract, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Extra Ingredients: Chopped nuts, sunflower nuts, flake coconut, sesame seeds, mini chocolate chips, dried fruit.

 My modified recipe:
4 Cups Old Fashioned Oats
1 Cup Wheat Germ
Flaxseed (I dump a bunch in)
4 Tb Sucanat
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
2 Cups Extra Ingredients: sunflower seeds this time - but I usually also add almonds
1 Cup liquid: I mix molasses, honey (I do raw), & syrup (pure is best!) 
3 Tb Canola/Olive Oil: I keep it 3 because I haven't found it necessary to have 6Tb even though I double everything else
3 Tb Water: I do add a Tb here.
Flavoring: I just add in a bunch of cinnamon, some vanilla, and some almond - I don't measure. :) 

Mix dry ingredients in large bowl.

Place wet ingredients, including flavoring, and heat on low heat until combined.

 Add heated wet ingredients to dry ingredients ...

... and stir until all combined. Let cool slightly. (10 mins)

Add the best part: mini chocolate chips! Yum. Totally optional but really, why would you ever want to omit them? I just throw in what looks good.Mix well.

Place on greased pan. 
Bake at 275* for 30 minutes. Add dried fruit, if applicable, and then bake additional 15 minutes. Check after 45 minutes and if not crisp/lightly browned then continue to bake until browned.
It says to make clusters but I usually don't! I just dump it on the greased pan and bake. 
 Make sure you bake at that low temp. 
Wait to add the dried fruit.
Choose the right oats - old fashioned or steel cut taste better.
Create clusters - a smidge of water helps.
Use dry (brown sugar) and wet sweetners (molasses, syrup, honey, etc). 

And finally ....
Eaaaaaaaaaaaaat! Yum.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keeper of the Home Giveaway - $125 worth!

I have been shamelessly promoting giveaways lately but you know what? I don't care! Because these are AWESOME giveaways and I figure someday, somehow, I'll be lucky enough to actually win something, lol.

This is an awesome giveaway from Keeper of the Home. 
If you've never visited Keeper of the Home and you are interested in eating naturally, organically and on a budget - I HIGHLY recommend it!
She also has two fabulous books that I plan to purchase in the very near future called Real Food on a Real Budget and Healthy Homemaking: One Step at a Time. Great resource! And she makes it all encouraging so that you don't get overwhelmed - which I did when I first started reading the blog and started thinking about changing our food.

So, the giveaway I'm promoting is: 5 Homestead Blessings videos and a $25 gift certificate for FBS books - all of which are great if you homeschool and if you have a desire to prepare your daughters with practical skills as homemakers! Fab.u.lous!

Check it out more HERE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

What Do YOU Do? - Groceries & Meal Planning

This is the continuation of a series that my friend N is doing on her BLOG called What do YOU do? I think I've participated in one or two so far and saw this one just the other day and thought I'd jump into the fun of sharing again! Please feel free to continue the sharing on your own blog or if you don't blog share here on my blog in the comments section about how YOU shop for groceries and do your meal planning.

I had a good system worked out before Clara was born! I planned my meals per pay period (every 2 weeks roughly) and shopped at SuperTarget or Super Wal-mart for ALL my groceries. After Clara was born we received numerous meals (thank you all and praise the Lord) so I didn't need to meal-plan and ever since then I haven't quite gotten back into meal planning. The main reason is because I don't want to expel the energy it takes to bring 4 children that are 4, 3, 2, and 3 months to the grocery store. It becomes an excursion that takes alllll morning long and can often times (though not always) end with children falling apart and a mama who's at her whit's end. Plus, I have since learned that the grocery stores up here (including Target and Wal-mart) either don't have the giant carts at all or they have them but you can't seat a child in the regular cart seat because they close the legs holes.
That poses a problem when you have numerous children who are all still small. I can remedy it by having Emma walk and wearing Clara - but it still frustrates me! Why is our culture only accommodating up to 2 children?! (Sorry, getting off soapbox now!)

Alright, on to what I do actually do!
We get paid twice a month (on the 1st & 15th) so the easiest way to stretch our money, stretch our food, and keep things fresh is to shop each pay period - so twice a month.
I organize my meal planning in Microsoft Excel where I have a main list of all my entrees and then another page where I break up the pay period into weeks and days and input each meal for each day along with sides and activities that we have going on those days that may affect what we have or my prep. On that same spread sheet I make my grocery list based off those meals that I've planned.
Week 1                       Main                  Side
17-May Monday      Spaghetti                 Garlic bread, salad
18-May Tuesday      Tacos                      Rice, chips, guacamole
19-May Wednes      Chick Pasta Salad    Potato salad, green beans
20-May Thursday     Brats                       Grilled veggies, fruit, chips
21-May Friday         Pasta Bake              Rolls, corn, salad
22-May Saturday     T's Party
23-May Sunday        Leftovers

So that's where I start. I do utilize my crockpot a lot! We are currently changing some of the ways we eat and therefore are changing the way and where we shop.
Right now I am shopping at Aldi's, Trader Joe's, Sam's Club, and Wal-mart/Target. I also have certain products I order online because it's cheaper than purchasing them in the store!

I get a majority of our dairy products - whole milk, sour cream, cottage cheese, butter, creamer, eggs, cheese. Their milk & cheese carriers are not organic but they are hormone free. 
Certain baking goods - baking soda, vanilla, baking powder, sea salt.
Produce - VERY reasonably priced, though not organic.
Bread - they have whole grain, no HFCS bread for less than $2.
Pasta - have whole wheat Fit & Active pasta
Chicken - 3lbs chicken breasts for $5.50
Corn chips - blue corn and regular both organic and cheap.
Lunch meat
Hot dogs

Trader Joe's:
Select dairy - Greek yogurt, milk - occasionally
Select lunch meat
Unfiltered 100% apple juice
Organic produce
Whole grain crackers
Whole grain tortillas - that actually taste good

Sam's Club:
Ground meat
Produce - occasionally 
White popcorn
Formula - occasionally

Diapers - Target brand are the best for disposable!
Garbage bags - Target
Olive Oil
Toilet Paper
Paper Towels

Natural sweetners
Raw honey

I'm sure I'm forgetting a few things, but that's the jist of it! I don't use coupons but I'm very careful about our spending. Aldi's has HUGELY helped our budget and allowed for the Trader Joe's and online ordering that we've added into our shopping! I know it can be socially unacceptable to talk about numbers but I wanted to put our budget on here because that gives a realistic idea of how we shop and how we spend/save. We try to stay at or under $150 per pay period so, $300 per month. We have a family of 6.  

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Raising Homemakers: Give-Away!

I just found this Facebook page and blog but I'm already excited to read more! Raising homemakers is all about teaching and preparing daughters in the art of homemaking for the glory of God. How awesome, right?!

Well, they are also having a give-away on their BLOG for an awesome 10 DVD set called "Homestead Blessings". I don't know about you but I'm thoroughly excited! You can see a preview there or find out more HERE!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Amazing Give Away

Sassy Designs is celebrating 8 years of business this month!

So, in honor of Sassy Designs, Ltd.’s 8th birthday she has decided to GIVE AWAY HER ENTIRE STORE to ONE LUCKY WINNER!!!!!

She has amazing designs for photographers. Digital paper, card templates, flat cards, folded cards, storyboards, etc, etc, etc! 
And even better - today everything is on MAJOR sale for only $0.99! Amazing! Check her store out!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Bellies | Birthdays | Fun! | B Family Sneak Peek

Thank you Sandra and Isabella for letting me into your world for a couple hours! Isabella just recently turned 1 and I had the privelege of capturing just a little bit of her personality and let me tell you, she's fantastic! Energetic, sweet, curious, and adorable. I also got to take a few of Miss Sandra's beautiful belly! Thank you for sharing your day with me!

I was also blessed to meet Sandra's mother, who is beautiful and full of life! And how special to capture a 3-generation shot!