LITTLE HAPPY THINGS NO. 26

Getting back into the swing of things after loads of company, and The Death Plague of 2014 (here’s to no repeats of THAT!) … stay tuned because I have big goals and plans for this space this year! Here are some of my Little Happy Things right now, and I’ll be back later on with a new project I’m starting, inspired by Bleubird and Annapolis & Company, a portrait of each of my children once a week in 2014.

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GUEST POSTING // ON SAYING NO

I’m writing again over at Annapolis & Company today! Here’s an excerpt:

 

You know, I’ve noticed something. I say the word “no” a whole lot too often to my boys.

There are those times when it’s totally warranted, when they’re doing something that could cause them harm. (Like jumping off the back of the couch brandishing “bows and arrows like Hawkeye, mom!”)

There are times when it’s necessary for my sanity. (Like the times when they want to do the messiest thing they can think of right after I mop the floor. Let’s give it 24 hours, okay boys?)…

 

Go read the rest here!

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A reminder for today

A reminder for today and everyday. I’ve been enjoying the devotionals from She Reads Truth lately. You can find them on the YouVersion app, and I love that I can set my phone to help remind me to be in His Word. Right now, the devotionals are about prayer, and it’s incredibly convicting and a reminder to seek God out every day. Praising Him, confessing our sin, thanking Him for His wonders.

Feel free to save this as a desktop background if you’d like a little reminding yourself. :)

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Moments

Lately I’ve tried to make myself take a second, and capture moments. Not just with my camera, but to remember them. And not just to look for them, but to create them. To ignore the messes that might occur (for the time being, anyway) and do something I might not otherwise want to do, because of said messes. To be patient with all the “whys,” because that’s how they learn as much as they can. (Did you know the average 4 year old asks a couple HUNDRED questions a day? I do. Also, double that number because I have two very curious boys.)
Those little things are more important than anything else I could put my hand to. My little boys won’t be little forever. In fact, Jackson declared that he was NOT a little boy the other day. I have to remember these days, because they won’t slow down or just hang around for a while. We make moments while learning how to fold towels (laundry is still a novel thing around here! milking it for all it’s worth!) and while making ice cream. Chores haven’t quite reached the yucky stage yet…sweeping the floor is fun, so we do it together. We dance to favorite songs together and we read Fox in Socks. Derik swears he’s going to marry me when he grows up (I don’t have the heart to let him down just yet). Legos get lost and found (and stepped on, ouch!). Drawings get found all over the place, with stick people and swimming pools scrawled on them and wobbly names written on the back, allbymineself.

These moments are the best. 

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Food, Recently.

I mentioned last time that I finally have a working oven again. That means that in the last couple of weeks I’ve baked and made everything we’ve been missing. The only thing that really bombed was a cheesecake I attempted. I’ve never ruined a whole cheesecake before, but I’ve done it now. Take two next week! :P
Food has always interested me, and lately I’ve enjoyed learning more about it and eating healthier. Most meals I forgo wheat and dairy and a lot more experimenting and trial and error. One of Luke and my dreams is to one day open doughnut food truck. It’ll sell more then that, more baked goods and coffee, of course. So I always test out recipes and tweak and create my own…this week I’m trying to make a scone version of brown sugar cinnamon pop-tarts! 
Here are a few foodie photos I’ve taken recently…the first one is a happy accident…I had a turquoise shirt on that reflected onto a metal bowl and created that weird green effect. But it’s of one of my favorite things, blood oranges! And those biscuits…Bobby Flay, we love you forever! Black pepper biscuits smothered with gravy! 

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Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate

I’m going to be making some changes here on the design and also I’m simplifying things. I’ve said this before, but I have a hard time keeping up with more than one blog, so I’ll be combining my two blogs into one here, and making this more general as well. Not just photography, but the designs I’ve been working on for Hey There Design and personal stuff and of course recipes. And, I want to bring back my old title, Our Blessed Road. There will be links to both Hey There Design and Blessed Road Photography. I hope everyone likes the changes I make, and bear with me as I change things around!

So, back to the title of this post, I figured out how to make Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate. I absolutely love peanut butter, and also hot chocolate. Why on earth shouldn’t they be put together?!

I make mocha powder (also good basic hot chocolate mix) and always have it on hand. It’s so simple! Mix equal parts cocoa powder and sugar! I love Hershey’s Special Dark cocoa powder…it’s so rich!

Mix two tablespoons of the mocha powder with enough water to make a syrupy consistency in your mug. Add a heaping scoop of peanut butter, and microwave for 20 seconds. Stir until smooth, then add hot milk to your mug! Enjoy!!

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Randomness About Me

So I was nominated by my friend Mary Beth for this fun little quiz…eleven random facts about me, and eleven questions that she asked her nominees. I’m always down for random factoids! 
So…eleven random facts about me:
1/ I am an unabashed chocoholic. I once cried as a little girl because the ice cream was vanilla and not chocolate. Not particularly proud about that moment, but Luke claims vanilla can still make me cry. (He is joking…as long as there is chocolate sauce…)
2/ I hoard art supplies. 

3/ My hair grows faster than I think is awesome. Most people would be thrilled about their hair growing as fast as mine does, but it’s actually fairly annoying! A haircut grows out in around 4 weeks for me! I guess that could be good news if I got a bad haircut, but I have the best hairstylist around! 

4/ I used to wish my eyes had stayed green, the way they were until I was two. But I kind of like my brown eyes now. 

5/ I can never get enough water to drink. I drink around a gallon a day! 

6/ I LOVE crime/murder mystery shows on TV. I attribute this to my Nana, who also loves them. My current favorite is Castle! 

7/ Peach/Coral is my favorite color. 

8/ Pretty much every piece of clothing I own is either black, grey, peach, or turquoise. 

9/ I would love to own a cafe/bookstore one day. 

10/ I love the satisfaction of coming up with a solution to a problem that would have cost a lot to fix any other way. Recent example: found Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint for $6 to redo all the door handles and bathroom light fixtures in our house! 

11/ I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE to do laundry. Crazy, I know, but I do. I am so excited to finally be getting our own washer and dryer this year! 
NOW, for her questions…
1/  If you could live anywhere, where would it be? I love the city…LOVE the city. Luke doesn’t, so I can’t imagine we’d ever live in one, but I would love to live in a city like Denver or Seattle. Other than that, I’d move to Carlsbad today if I could! 
2/  What’s been your most embarrassing moment to date? Ohhhh, boy…I decided to “dress up” when we went to Victoria Gardens recently (a big outdoor mall), and wore my adorable floral wedges. They are actually the most comfortable heels I own, but wedges plus cobblestones equals lots of falling on your face. I fell down around four times before Luke marched me into Payless to buy a pair of flats. 

3/  What is your creative outlet? Drawing, sewing, brainstorming. I love creating! When I need to feel more creative, I put on a favorite movie (usually Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland) and sketch away. 

4/  What did you eat for breakfast this morning? Whole wheat toast with crunchy peanut butter…Luke made it for me while we were double checking our taxes!
5/  What makes a good friend? Someone who will listen to you, and someone who knows what you need before you do. 
6/  What has been the most important day of your life? I’d still say my wedding day, after 6 years. :)

7/  Do you prefer to love or prefer to be loved? A hard question, and not to sound selfish, but I love when Luke does little things that show me how much he loves me. :) I love doing those things for him too, though, so is it a cop out if I say both?
8/ Fear aside, what is the one thing you wish you were brave enough to do? I wish I was brave enough to say “Let’s go on a cruise” ….Luke would love to go on one, but I’m terrified I would be sea sick the entire time. 
9/ Who inspires you? I draw inspiration a lot from movies. Ever since Sleeping Beauty when I was young, the special edition that had the Disney artists drawing the beautiful scenery at the end of the VHS tape. I’d watch it over and over again. 
10/ Do you feel most invigorated when you spend time with other people or being by yourself? It depends. I’m somewhere in between a homebody and a social butterfly. Some days I just want to curl up on my couch, other days I want to just be around people! 
11/ Please finish this sentence…I wish I had known… how hard being an adult was. Bills and taxes aren’t exactly the most fun! But I think I’d just tell my younger self not to be so eager to grow up, not to always stay a kid. There’s so much I’d never want to miss! Except the bills and taxes. 
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A Week Away

We’re a week away from Christmas, can you believe it? We got our tree at the end of last week, and the boys were so excited to decorate it! We did it up in blue lights and all the ornaments we own. Usually I pick and choose which ornaments to use each year, but this year they got so excited about decorating it, and insisted that I use them all. So we have a very eclectic, but homey tree. :) 
And Luke, this picture doesn’t count, because we can’t see your face, so I’m not deleting it. ;)
Derik wanted to see every single ornament before they got put on. (Jack didn’t want me to take pictures of him, and the ones I do have are blurry, from him jumping up and down. He doesn’t quite get that you have to hold at least somewhat still.) ;)

Decorating a tree is hard work! 
Our shopping is almost done, stockings are hung on our mantle, glitter is finding its way all around our house, and the boys are counting down the days. We’ve started the baking and candy making. Luke had a brilliant idea for dark chocolate bark with roasted pistachios and I topped it with sea salt. Out of this world I tell you! I have a list of things to make almost a mile long (and I’m going to have to start doing extra exercises) but I’m excited to make the things I only make once a year, like my Mom Mom’s fudge. I need to wrap all the presents and the boys are slyly offering to help, because they know their presents are in my art room, tucked away where they can’t reach them. It’s amazing how fast they pick up on how to be sneaky. ;) 
I’m as much a kid at Christmas time as the boys. I love waiting for Christmas morning for presents, which drives Luke crazy because he has a hard time keeping presents a secret. The trays of Christmas goodies are really tempting and it’s the one time of year it feels okay to sneak a few extra cookies. (Again, guess I better start putting in a bit more exercise time!). I love the anticipation and this is going to be the longest week ever! 
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Bits & Pieces

Thanksgiving Edition! Jackson wanted to borrow my camera, and he took photos while I made pie. Derik was taking photos with my iPhone, though most of his are blurry and pink…fingers in the way! He surprised me, he held the camera very carefully and listened closely when I explained how to focus and shoot the picture. When I finally got my camera back, I had about a hundred pictures of not only pie making, but also the TV, his water cup, looking outside the front windows, and his lunch. I loved seeing everything through his eyes.

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Bits & Pieces

We can’t get “real” internet (i.e., unlimited, fast, wonderful, etc etc) here, just the hotspot from my phone. So sorry for the lack of posting, but last month we ran short on internet and I couldn’t get on as much as I would have liked. Someone (coughmecough) went a little crazy on Pinterest too early in the month.

So here are some bits and pieces from the last few weeks…

This one is from a while ago, but it’s one of my favorite shots ever. And I love clams.

I may not love the desert, but I do love the desert skies.

I love coffee. And I’ve been trying my hand at latte art. 

Derik and Jackson love taking silly pictures on my phone.

I found this gorgeous dresser/credenza for free on the side of the road. How could I not bring it home?! Needs some work but I have grand plans for it. 

Coffee shop treats. I didn’t get any, but they were too pretty not to take pictures.

This is from a while ago, but I found it when I was cleaning out my phone. Sometimes you just need a nap. And sometimes the best thing to do is lay down right where you are.

Someone turned FOUR! And his Uncle David turned 9! This is the first year that Jackson understood they are the same age for a month, and he was slightly disconcerted that Derik is HIS age. I reassured him it’s not permanent and he’s asked me every day when his birthday is.

Those aren’t clouds. There’s a huge fire raging in the Angeles National Forest and the first day of the fire the smoke cloud filled the entire sky. (Don’t worry mom, it’s nowhere near us.)
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Things, Old and New

So new things first:

I’ve started a new venture that promises to be very exciting! I’ve loved graphic design since I was a girl (just ask my mom, I started a new “magazine” probably every week.) and am constantly doodling typography quotes. So I’ve combined it into a graphic design business and Etsy store to sell my quotes, and support my Etsy-buying habit. So visit my website and Etsy shop! And please bear with me as I get both going, because with limited Internet access it takes a while to upload everything. I’m working on it a bit each day!

This belongs in the category of old and new. It’s new to me, but old. Our realtor’s father-in-law recently moved to a smaller retirement home and had some furniture to get rid of. Since she helped us find our house, she knew we had a house that was almost completely empty! It’s amazing how what felt so tight in a 950 sq. ft. apartment looks bare in a 1900 sq. ft. house! So she offered me this gorgeous hutch that needs a little TLC and I jumped at the chance! It’s going to look amazing in my inspiration room, filled with wonderful art supplies! For now I’m going to stain the outside darker to match the cute little chair I picked up, but I may end up painting it white or gray. But the inside is where I’m going to have fun…I’m going to paint it pink!

The color is “Amber Rose” by Valspar, and these are the cutest little jars ever. They had a wall of beautiful colors in tiny clear jars at Lowes, and I wanted to buy them all.

Finally, in the realm of old news, we are still working on our library, but I’m so tired of waiting for it to be finished that I decided to show you guys some progress photos! I am loving the way it’s turning out, and cannot wait to fill those endless bookshelves with a sea of books! Although as many boxes as we have, I still think we will have some empty shelves! All the more reason to go buy more books, right?

We filled all the flat walls with bookshelves!!!

To give you an idea of just how tall these are, I can only see into the fourth shelf from the bottom (I’m 5’3″)! I’m going to need one of those amazing library ladders! (Cue the girly squealing.)
P.S. The couch is the Karlstad from IKEA, and yes, I know, “But you have children!!!” It has a removable slipcover that you can throw right in the washer. Also, NO FOOD IN THE LIBRARY!!! ;)

We picked a hand-blown pendant for the center of the room, complete with an Edison bulb! I will take another picture so you can actually see what it looks like, but for now, here’s the artsy shot. ;)
Apart from all this, we’ve just been trying to stay cool (so far, not working. It’s going to be 105 today. I take an average of 3 cold showers a day.), finding new recipes to grill outside (I’ll share soon!) and enjoying the few days off that Luke had over the 4th. What is new or old with you guys? 
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My Finished Art Room!

That’s what we always called our spare room and since I can’t come up with anything else, that’s what my room is getting called. It’s for sure better than “The Red Room.” Maybe we’ll go with “The Room Formerly Known as the Red Room.” In any case, the room is no longer red and, if I may say so, looking fabulous!
This is how red the room was. Horrible! 
Getting ready to paint. I chose to paint one wall with chalkboard paint, and the rest of the room in Valspar Ultra White. Since it’s going to double as a photo studio for me, I wanted to have a black and a white wall to photograph against. 
I love having an inspiration wall again! I always hang a combination of artwork I’ve done and kinda love, and pretty things I find in magazines or photographs I love. In our apartment I used pins to hang it up, but I couldn’t bear to put holes in my newly painted walls just yet. So I used washi tape, which is pretty much my favorite thing ever anyway. 

The curtains are from IKEA, and I LOOOOOVE them. And the chair isn’t a forever chair, but it will be a while before I can get the one I’d like. 

I put my jar of pens and pencils and my washi tape up on the windowsill. 

Jackson, exploring my “new” room. 

I love the way it turned out and can’t wait to add more to it, and finish more rooms!
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