Saturday, March 5, 2016

Happy Birthday June....{9}

Happy Birthday to our sweet Junie!  Today we celebrate {9}.... We celebrate June, she is amazing in so many ways and we are so excited to get our day started.  We have a day of parties, cupcakes,  cakes, family, and friends  planned.  Let's get this party started!

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Just a few things about our Junie...she is smart, funny, kind, serious, artistic, happy, has a contagious laugh, and the list goes on and on.  However, mostly she is LOVE and has made my life and our whole family better by being a part of it.  Love to you my sweet girl on your 9th Birthday.
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

No. 2C Autographic Kodak Jr.

This is the No. 2C Autographic Kodak Jr.  A lovely gift from Russ's Uncle Ken and family.  The camera belonged to Russ's grandfather and I feel so honored to have it as part of my collection.  A few facts about the No. 2C Autographic Kodak Jr.

-dated 1916-1927
-large format film folding bed camera
-Eastman Kodak Company Rochester, New York
-film roll cartridge, Kodak No. A 130 7x12 cm (2 7/8 x 4 7/8 inch) frames

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I think it is lovely to look and was recently told you can still get film for many of the vintage cameras. I would love to give it a try.  I have a small collection of vintage cameras and can't help but think about the pictures they have taken and if their owners enjoyed them as much as I enjoy my cameras.  For me, photography is a creative release that allows me to create something lasting and meaningful.  It also, brings me great joy to share my passion and pictures with my family.

So, as I said earlier,  this particular camera was Russ's grandfather's. Russ's Uncle also gave me another camera that I will be sharing later. I also have a camera that my mother gave me, it was her father's, my grandfather's.  Both men were contemporaries, enjoyed photography, and shared the same name, Theodore.  My oldest son shares their name and I share their love of photography.  So to me, the gift of these cameras weaves part of our family story in an ever so subtle way and leads me to wonder how it is all connected. 
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Homemade Granola Bars

Sharing one of my favorite snacks...homemade granola bars.  The kids love them, they are very versatile, and best of all quick and easy.

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Ingredients:
2 cups pitted dates (medjool)
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups almonds chopped
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:
-line 9x13 pan with parchment paper, overlapping the sides
-process dates in a food processor until pasty or dough like
-preheat oven to 350 degrees and toast almonds and oats until warm and fragrant, 10-15 minutes
-place oats, almonds, and dates in a bowl mix until combined and crumb like
-warm honey and peanut butter in microwave until melted, mix until uniform
-pour honey mixture into oat mixture and combine
-add chocolate chips, combine
-spoon mixture into prepared pan and press down until firm (I cover with parchment to press)
-cover and refrigerate until firm and cool
-remove from pan and divide
-store in a sealed container in the refrigerator

My kids love these!  The best part is you can add just about anything.  Don't like chocolate chips don't add them.  My oldest son loves cranberries and white chocolate so I have added those ingredients before.  I do suggest on larger ingredients like cranberries and large chocolate chips that you do a quick chop before you add them so the bars don't crumble...

Enjoy!
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adapted from: The Minimalist Baker

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Favorite Banana Chip Muffins

Today I am sharing one of my family's favorite muffin recipes.  They are a breakfast favorite at our house.  I try to freeze them for breakfasts as soon as they are cool otherwise they disappear right before my eyes.

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And if you have visited here before, you know that for me it is more about sharing the pictures than the food, so to get to the recipe you may have to endure a few pictures!

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Okay, you made it to the end and know you get the goods....

Favorite Banana Chip Muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup butter softened
1&1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 tablespoons sour cream
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups mashed banana
1 cup mini chocolate chips plus extra to sprinkle on top of muffins

Directions:
-preheat oven to 350 degrees
-line muffin tins (usually 24-28)
-combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, set aside
-cream butter and sugar until creamy, beat in eggs and vanilla, beat in bananas and sour cream
-add flour in two portions mixing until blended
-stir in chocolate chips
-fill muffin liners about 3/4 full
-sprinkle with chocolate chips
-bake for 18-22 minutes
-cool

This recipe usually makes me 24-28 muffins depending on how I fill them.  They freeze well and I always have a freezer bag of them in the freezer for quick breakfast.  The girls love to have them with a berry banana protein smoothie.  I hope your family loves them as much as mine!  You can print the recipe HERE.

original recipe adapted from: gatherforbread.com
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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Finding joy and vintage ornaments

Well, here we are only 8 days away from Christmas.  The girls are counting down and we are getting ready to celebrate.  In this busy season, I am trying to find a little bit of joy in each day.  It might be daily Mass or just a cup of tea before the the girls get home from school.  Whatever it is I am trying hard to find joy in the ordinary and be grateful for each day. Earlier this week I found "a lot" of joy when I pulled out my vintage ornaments and my bokeh board and spent some time taking  a few shots.  Okay, a lot of shots...

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We are looking forward to TJ coming home this weekend and having a few weeks of down time.  We of course are looking forward to Christmas and New Years, as well as time with family.  Since we are a family of  Hawkeyes, we are also looking forward to the Rose Bowl.  Last time Iowa was in the Rose Bowl I was in college, how time flies.

Wishing all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Sunday, November 22, 2015

Give Thanks....

Gratitude can transform ordinary days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.
William Arthur Ward

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Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more.  It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,  a stranger into a friend.
Melody Beattie

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Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earn, worn, or consumed.  Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.
Denis Waitley

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Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.
Brian Tracy

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As we begin one of my favorite weeks of the year I thought I would share a little bit of something that has been happening in my life. I have been on a journey that past few months, making changes, lots of changes and one of the changes I have been working on is trying to have gratitude for everything....everything!  I am trying  to have gratitude for everything, even the stuff I don't like to do, like laundry, emptying the dish washer (my most unfavorite job), taking out the trash, you get the idea.  Here is what it looks like for me.  I dislike emptying the dish washer, but I am so grateful to have a dish washer...It may seem silly or small, however, the change in my attitude and how I feel and view my life has been amazing. Gratitude is a noun and means the quality of of being grateful or thankful.  Many of you may practice this daily, and I have always felt  grateful in general, however, I have not applied this practice of  feeling grateful to the ins and outs of my daily life and it has been a game changer for me.  I just wish it didn't take me so long to figure out!

So, what does this have to do with the pictures you are asking yourself.?  I host our annual Thanksgiving celebration and am adding a new tradition...The Thankful Tree.  We all get a leaf to write a personal thanksgiving on and we will attach the leaves to the tree.  I know some teenage boys may give me a hard time, but if they want some turkey they will fill out their leaf (just kidding), and if the boys don't want to participate I know two small girls who can't wait to get their hands on those leaves and Sharpies.  Hopefully, this will be just another part of a special week and a reminder of how much we have to be thankful for.

PS: So "grateful"  I grabbed those branches out of the yard before  2 feet of snow covered us yesterday and turned our beautiful Fall into a Winter wonderland!

Have a blessed Thanksgiving!
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