Thursday, December 25, 2014

New tradition | A Christmas failure

Alex and I started a new tradition yesterday, something we have wanted to do ever since we got married, but haven't been able to until this year.

Christmas chocolate chip scones for breakfast!

I made Alex chocolate chip scones one time before we started dating, and I think that was the day I won over his heart. This is his all time favorite recipe of mine, so I figured I had to make them as a treat for Christmas morning.

This recipe was put together from a mixture of other recipes I had found, plus one 'special' ingredient. Typically they turn out delicious... this year was an exception. I failed to follow my own recipe and used baking soda instead of baking powder, which apparently is a big no-no for flavor! Somehow, Alex claims he can't even tell the difference. Trust me, there is a difference, and it is unmistakeable. Hopefully I never mix those two up again!


3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 tbsp sugar
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
Mini chocolate chips
Half and half or evaporated milk
*You can still use regular butter, I just prefer using a sweet butter. It just adds an extra bit of flavor.

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. The mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut butter into mixture until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in eggs, desired amount of chocolate chips, and a drop of vanilla. Slowly begin adding half and half, about a Tbsp at a time, only add enough to bring the dough off the sides of the bowl. Roll onto a well floured surface and cut into wedges. Brush with beaten egg, and sprinkle with sugar (if desired). Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe yields 10-15 large scones. Dough can be stored in freezer up to 4 months.

I'm not an expert baker, or cook for that matter (obviously) but this is one recipe I am typically proud of. I'll just have to make a new good batch.

Hope everyone had a terrific holiday!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Today marks a mile stone for me. I photographed my first wedding! Throughout the events of the day, running around, sweat, tears, achey feet and unkept itineraries (isn't that always the case?), I couldn't help but wonder if this is the first and last, or first of many weddings I will be photographing. The answer I've come to is, I just don't know.

My respect for true professional, experienced photographers has grown by leaps and bounds. I've always tried to have an appreciation for the art, and certainly for those that are skilled in it. So many people like to call themselves photographers but lack the true talent needed, especially in an event situation. That is why I steer very clear of ever calling myself a photographer. I enjoy taking pictures, and even feel like I take good photos most of the time, but being a photographer is so much more than that. Anyone who has asked me to photograph their wedding (ok, there has been two thus far) has been told very clearly, "I am NOT a professional photographer!" I am willing to take pictures, but it is very important to me to never advertise myself as something more than I am.

I'm just a girl with a decently nice camera who enjoys photography.

I'm very aware, especially after today, of my strengths and weaknesses. I'm so sad to say that I missed some very important moments during this wedding. Due to complications with my camera, equipment, poor judgement of lighting, poor preparation and planning. Which is a very distinct difference between what I do and what a true professional photographer does. They are experienced. They know the moments like the back of their hand. They are poised and ready for those very special key moments that happen during a wedding, that pass by in the blink of an eye, literally! Their skill for capturing the precise moment when the grooms eyes meet the brides for the very first time. Those are things you have to anticipate far in advance.

Paul and Sue. Oh boy, this couple, they are so darling! I was called on Thursday about possibly doing their photos after their photographer had a last minute emergency. I was so nervous to say yes, fearing I wouldn't be the right fit, that I wouldn't get the photos needed or wanted. But this couple was so laid back and happy, they were fine with whatever I could do.

I was thanked numerous times today for stepping in at the last minute. But truly, from the bottom of my heart, I have to say thank you to the Udell and Anderson families! Today has blessed me so much more than you know. It was an honor and a privilege to photograph this wedding. Thank you thank you for your patients and kindness toward me today. It made my first wedding an overwhelmingly joyous experience, and has definitely calmed my nerves about the potential of doing more photography in the future.

Hopefully this post has not made anyone fearful to see the photos I've taken! I'm very happy to report that I got a very good amount of bright, clear beautiful photos! But like I said, some opportunities were missed, which I am so remorseful about.

Over the next few weeks I will be weeding through these 3000 photos (!!!!) and hope to share a handful of my absolute favorites soon. But for now just take in this photo of the beautiful Ceremony.

To Paul and Sue, I wish you all the joy in the world for this journey you have just begun with each other. Your faith in both God and each other was touching and was felt throughout your wedding. From the small amount of time I was able to spend with your family, I have seen that you have an outstanding support system! I'm so excited for you!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A mental pause

For months now I've been telling myself I need to sit down and write. To tell you guys what is going on in my life. To get all of the millions of thoughts out on paper. But I just haven't taken the time to do it.

I remember when I started this new blog I thought, "I'm going to keep this blog focused and simple. I don't want to blog about all those millions of things that I used to blog about." And then after cutting out all of the "me" part of blogging I realized how much I actually just love to write. Mostly just because I get so bogged down with thoughts and emotions that if I don't take a second to write about it it will plague me for weeks.

To be honest I've actually written quite a bit lately. I just haven't felt the need to share those things. Like when we lost our kitty back in November. That was a painful time. I had about 18 million emotions and guilts and yadda yadda that I had to get out. Once it was out of me I felt so much freedom and healing from that. So I decided to start sharing some parts of me that I've kept out of this blog recently. Mostly because that is just what my life is right now. I'm not full of DIY projects or fashion posts. I'm mostly just living my life and going through all of the emotions that come with it.

If you get to know me you'll find out that I'm a pretty emotional person. I cry all the time. For a long time I tried to hide that fact about myself. It made me feel so out of control and weak. Recently I sort of came to terms with that part of myself and I'm trying not to hold that back from everyone in my life.

I remember I saw a counselor back in college (well, my first time in college) for a phase of depression I was going through. They prescribed me some anti-depressants and were asking me about some of the symptoms that I experience that we could monitor to ensure they were working properly. "Is this crying a normal thing?" Looking back I think I just took that question and began to use it to analyze my emotional health on my own. "Crap, I'm crying again, I must be depressed." But in reality I think I just needed to learn to understand where those emotions were coming from and how to let them out in a healthy way. Instead of simply medicating them.

Anyways, this post was really just to say that I hope to begin to share a little more with you guys as I find time to sit down and write. It may not be glamorous or maybe even all that interesting, but I feel the need to share a few things.

(( Oh and for those of you (ahem*Kayla) who wanted to know more about the Influence conference, I do plan to share. I even have photos that are still sitting on my memory card. There was so much I had to process through after the event that for awhile I couldn't figure out how to put it into words. But I suppose it is time I sit down and do that. ))

Monday, January 6, 2014

Some News

Hello Everyone! Well I have some unfortunate news to share today. If you've been following me on instagram or read my last blog post you know that I had been planning to do an instagram flash sale to help support Natalie and Dan's adoption. However some personal things have come up for my family which has left me with no time to make and organize my products. Due to this I'm unfortunately going to have to cancel the sale indefinitely.

I'm so sad that I am not able to help this couple out, but I know this adoption is so much bigger than me. I knew from the beginning that my little shop could not fund this entire adoption. So I'm still going to share with you guys about this amazing couple. And if you feel a desire to help here are some ways you can support them:

1. Pray for them! This is an anxious time for them as they await news about their boys!
2. Donate funds! Check out this page to find all the ways you can donate.
3. If you have a handmade business or shop, consider donating a portion of your funds and sponsoring this couple! Visit her blog or twitter to get in contact with Natalie.

I don't know Natalie or Dan. I've never met them. I got connected with Natalie via the Influence Network because I was looking for an adopting family to help support. Through Natalie's blog and instagram I have fallen in love with this little family. I can't wait to see the day when they get to bring their little boys home! Sometimes we just cannot explain how or why God brings certain people into our lives, and that is how I feel about Natalie!

I've got her here today to share a little bit about herself and some information about her adoption.

Hi, I'm Natalie. I'm married to Dan. Things you should know about us:

+ We got married 11 months after our first date. Dan was in his last year of med school, and I was in my last year of social work grad school.

+ Currently, Dan is in his first year of residency. He works in the ER departments of several hospitals in our city. I write home studies for foster and adoptive parents (and read a lot of blogs).

+ We really like exploring our city, playing Mario Kart, walking our crazy dog, and watching Parks & Recreation. (Have you seen it? So good.)

+ Our plan has always been to adopt as the main method of adding little ones (and not-so-little ones?) to our family. We planned to wait three years to do this. Because we're poor and busy, I guess.

+ God threw the best kind of wrench into our plans, and we began praying about the possibility of adopting two months into our marriage.

+ After much prayer and consideration, we were overjoyed to begin the adoption process in May 2012 at the ages of 24 and 25 with a low income and a lot of student debt. It is doable!

+ We requested one child, a boy or girl between birth and six months. Again, God had other plans. We are adopting twin 1.5-year-old boys from Central Africa!

+ These boys are the cutest. Theo is taller and heavier. He's always smiling or giving mischievous glances at the camera. Elliot seems to be shy, and he likes to suck on his index and middle fingers. He looks so apprehensive in pictures by himself, but when they push Theo beside him, he smiles.

+ Unfortunately, we've hit a lot of delays recently as their birth country's adoption process has grown and changed. We are far past the date we thought we'd have them in our arms. We tried to not hope and plan for a certain date, but we did.

+ We've had their referral for over a year now. They live in a foster home, and we are so grateful for how clearly loved and happy they are. We are gladly paying a monthly foster care fee which includes wages for the foster parents, diapers, and food. Because they've been in foster care longer than we expected, these expenses are adding up.

+ Additionally, we have one big agency payment and travel expenses. We have never let the money scare us. We trust God will provide this, as He has everything else.

+ We ache to meet these boys. But we have fought against making adoption an ultimate in our lives. It's cliché but so true: Our identity is in Christ. Not in being waiting adoptive parents. And not in being the young couple that pursued adoption quickly.

Tanya has been so generous toward us, and we're so grateful! If you'd like to get to know us more, you can do so here!

I hope everyone has an enjoyable week! Thanks for your support!