Category Archives: my life

Meatless

I’m back!!! Again! As they say, just do it! So here I am…doing it…trying to share/write again.

So I just had to share about one of the biggest changes I’ve made in a long time.
I haven’t had any meat since the beginning of the year. Crazy to think about but I’ve managed to do it so far.
My husband and I started this meatless, dairy-free journey with just an interest in kick-starting our wanting to getting healthier in 2014. We thought we’d just go ahead and go for it…at least up through mid-February. I’m really loving the results of my changes so far so I’m seriously looking beyond mid-February and thinking I’d like to see if I could eat like this for as long as possible. I guess I’ve just got to take it one day at a time, as i’ve been trying to do, and just see how it goes!

Right now, the blender is one of my best friends. I love smoothies! It’s so easy to make and they can be packed with so much good stuff.
Here’s one of my staple recipes for a yummy smoothie…

1 cup almond milk
1 whole banana (I sometimes use 1/2 a banana when I want to cut the sugar content down a bit)
1 cup frozen strawberries
1 cup frozen blueberries
4 oz of spinach and/or kale
2 tbsp ground flaxseed

Sometimes, I also add 1/2 cup of carrots to this recipe. I told you my smoothies are nutrient-rich! =)
If you want to make it sweeter you can. It’s up to you. For me, as long as the fruits are ripe, it’s usually sweet enough for me.
But in case you need additional sweetness, you can always add chopped dates, honey, raw agave, or maple syrup.

Anyway, this meatless life has not been an easy task. I can’t live on smoothies alone so I’ve also been scouring the internet in search of recipes to help me get creative with my fruits and vegetables. I’m looking for the yummy stuff. So if you’ve got any suggestions, please send it my way!

Well, I’m looking forward to sharing more with you about my life and loves this 2014!

For now, I leave you with this interesting, fun, and smart video that’s been circulating the net. You may have already seen this but I thought I would share here since it somewhat relates (or at least I think it does). Also, since I’m a homeschooler, I love seeing children share what they’ve learned.

Until next time…

Happy New Year!!!

I’m late! I was hoping to wish you a Happy New Year on the 1st but I’m writing this post about half-past midnight. Oh well…holding on to the words “It’s never too late”…

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I hope your first day was an awesome one! I don’t know about you but I don’t feel at all prepared for the new year. These past couple of months have just felt like I’ve been playing catch up. Though I can’t say I’ve been able to think much about New Year’s Resolutions,  I have to say that there has been things occupying my mind these past few weeks and changes I’ve actually been making even before the new year had come around. Here’s what I’ve done so far…

  • I’m studying out worshiping God and so I hope to grow in my worship of HIM this year.
  • I’ve been trying to exercise everyday. So far, I’ve exercised 3 out of the past 5 days. That’s BIG since I haven’t exercised for over a year ( at least).
  • Of course, I’m hoping to get organized at home and with my life in general (as with every past year). So first things first, put up our Christmas decorations and begin to go through each room in the house and purge the things we don’t really need anymore.
  • And finally but not least (and possibly not the last changes/projects to come)…I’m starting a 365 photography project. Basically, just hoping to capture and share at least one photo everyday. By the end of the year, I’ll hopefully have a great  snippet of our life in 2013!

So with that…On the 1st of January, we were out basically all day and I didn’t get a chance to snap a shot until I got home. The only opportunity I had was when the kids were basically going to bed. So here’s a few of my shots from the evening of the 1st…
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And this last shot below was captured by my 6.5 year old buddy. He saw me setting my camera to take pictures with my timer and after a few shots he asked me if he could take a picture for me. I just set the camera settings up for him and told him about where he needed to stand.  It’s not often that I take photos of myself but I’ve been trying to be more conscientious of being in front of my lens instead of always behind it. I’ve been trying to do this for the past couple of years now but I’m still having to work on it.  It’s easy for me to NOT want to take photos for a number of different reasons…including but not limited to the fact that I’m not too happy with how I “look” in them. But I’ve had to get over myself and just remember that my children don’t care that mom thinks she needs to lose a few pounds or she’s not looking her best. If you haven’t had a chance to read a recent post called “The Mom Stays in the Picture” you definitely should! And there’s also a blog post I read years ago from Emily of the Anderson Crew that first inspired me to “Embrace the Camera”.  I truly believe (and yes…maybe it’s  optimistically hoping) that my kids will  cherish being able to see what that moment of “ordinary things/days” looked like. And what used to be”ordinary days” (to me, my kids or us as a family) may be one of those most cherished memories they’ll  have years from now.

Bedtime for JellyBean (day 1/365)

So that’s day 1.  I’ll be sharing more photos with you soon!

If you’d like to join me in a photography 365 project…Check out this Flickr group…

Project 2013: Peas & Carrots friends by Let’s Lasso the Moon & Peas & Carrots Studio

and leave me a comment!

Wishing you life & love this 2013!

Until next time…

Trip to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens

It’s Friday! I haven’t had the time to post anything on the blog this week so I wanted to post at least one.

So here goes…these are photos are from earlier this month during our visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.

My brother & his girlfriend were visiting from Seattle. I just have to say that I feel so grateful that my brother takes time off from work to visit me and my family!

It means the world to me that he wants to spend time with us and I love that my kids just adore their uncle and think the world of him!

Whenever he comes to visit, I often have a long list of places to eat! I’m such a foodie! I love exploring and finding all of the different kinds of foods around Atlanta.  I’ll have to share with you some of my favorite places around Atlanta next time (another post).

Anyway, did you know that the Atlanta Botanical Gardens is considered to be one of the top 13 gardens in the world? Actually, Atlanta is home to the largest collection of species orchids under glass in the United States.

If you live in the area and haven’t already visited or plan on making  a future visit to Atlanta, I highly recommend the gardens .

And I had to share a picture of my kiddos with their awesome Uncle!

Well, have a great weekend and until next time…

To thine own self be true! {Authentic Life & Love}

I’m not sure if this whole post makes sense but here goes! This is what’s been on my mind lately.

Though I love learning and being inspired…I’ve been recently thinking a lot about authenticity. You’re probably familiar with the words of Shakespeare, “To thine own self be true…”( in Hamlet).

If you’re like me, you love looking for inspiration in everything around you. One of the ways I love getting inspired…besides the beauty of my natural surroundings and the everyday life I experience…is by surfing the internet.

With today’s popularity of such sites as Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and the like…we are constantly bombarded by visual stimuli of what others are doing. For me, I’ve slowly discovered that as I look to be creative and inspired…I can also kill my soul’s own creativity, ingenuity and imagination!

Of course, not everyone is like me! And I’m not saying that I’m not or haven’t been trying to be true to myself but I do find that if I’m not careful, I can get tangled up in trying to look and be like everyone and/or everything I see rather than simply using it as a tool to dream. And rather than allowing what I see to inspire me to dream…it becomes the dream (without me even realizing it).  At least this is what I’ve sometimes found to be true for me. How about you? Do you find it easy to be authentic in who you are and what you do? If you wouldn’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear the ways you try to be a creative and authentic!

Anyway, I basically share all this to say that I’m on a journey of discovering the authentic me!

I want to be inspired to dream! To find what encourages and challenges me to be better than today..to discover what can help me to be creative and true!

So with that thought I’ve decided to begin a series of post called…”Authentic Life & Love”.

This  is where I’ll be sharing either photos, videos, or whatever it may be that helps me to be real and true to who I am. Sometimes my post may be specific to photography, being a wife and/or mom (because that’s part of who I am) but other times, it may just be something general in life and/or love!
My hope is that some of what I find through my journey will also be helpful to someone else. And I just want to say that this is NOT inspiration for the sake of inspiration or being different or even the most “liked” or popular…but it IS, I think, a discovery for the passion that exist for life and love in everyone!

So to get things started, here’s what I thought would be a great start to this series…
A video of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford University Commencement Address titled “How to live before you die.”

Until next time…

Stepping Out in the Rain

Last week, we headed outside. We headed outside just as the rain was beginning to pour! Usually, I’m not a big fan of rain! Rainy days make we want to stay in, curl up on the couch and just “veg”! Did I just use the word “veg”! Anyway, that’s what I would have wanted to do but some days you’ve just got to step out of the usual and do what you typically wouldn’t do.

So I’m not sure why my husband and I felt like it…but we did…we decided to go out and just enjoy the rain!

The kids geared up with their rain gear and mom & dad with their umbrellas.  There was stomping and splashing! It was so much fun!

I was laughing inside as I smiled and waived as neighbors pulled out of their driveways!

We must have been a hilarious sight as we were all marching along the side of the road…in the rain! Fortunately our street dead ends so we don’t have a lot of cars driving through our immediate neighborhood.

I don’t know why we don’t do this more often! It was such a blast! And we had a great time together as a family…even if for just a little while.

It made me think…I’ve got to find more times of letting go of my usual schedule (or should I say agenda) and just enjoy the life that’s happening around me…even if it’s raining!

Do you make efforts to step out of your usual? How do you make sure you’re enjoying life as it’s happening around you?

Well, I hope we make more time to step out & enjoy the life that happens all around us! And when you can, remember to capture some of those moments of life and love!

Until next time…

M.I.A.

I’ve been MIA…missing in action! Seriously folks…I’ve been in constant movement for months now and I can’t seem to find the time to get writing and sharing on this blog! Life was and still IS quite busy! Fortunately…my two older ones started summer break! Woohoo! Kind of nice to have a breather with schoolwork…and I’m looking forward to some slower days with summer!

So here I am…finally taking some time to getting back on track with this blog!

For starters, I thought I’d just share a few photos that just make me smile!

Here’s my daughter’s expression as she was listening to friends and family sing her “Happy Birthday” for the first time on her 1st birthday!

She literally devoured her cupcake in seconds!

I think she wasn’t quite sure what happened to all that delicious, fluffy sweet stuff!

Hmmm…where did it go?

The same month my JellyBean turned one…my little buddy also turned 6!

Here’s me and my little buddy who’s growing up so fast! I had him take a picture with me the day after his birthday! I’m trying to be better at being in the photos with my kids.

Love you Buddy!

And thanks to my littler helper, M&M, who is behind the camera taking our picture!

Both my older kids love getting a chance to hold the camera and become the photographer for a change.

How about you? Life been busy? I hope the summer is the beginning of slower days so you can enjoy the life and love that everyday brings!

Until next time…

ONE and a prayer…

Yes…my youngest ( JellyBean) turned ONE recently!

With her birthday came a flood of emotions as I remembered the day she was born! My husband and I rushed to the hospital! Our family had been waiting for her to finally arrive!

It was an amazing time. It was beautiful! Being there for when she was born was a gift from God and a kindness given to our family by my daughter’s mom (birthmom).

My husband sat in the waiting room. I brought my camera along knowing I wanted to take pictures. Of course, if her mom allowed it.

I’m so grateful I was able to capture this time in our lives for my daughter, her mom, and our family.

My hope is that she will treasure these photos and be able to see how much she was loved from the very beginning.

Dear JellyBean,

I can’t believe you’re ONE! You are so much my heart!

Daddy loves you! Your big sister and brother love you! And I…we… can’t imagine life…our family…without you!

My hope is that you will see, learn, and know what an extraordinary blessing you are in life!

That you were perfectly and wonderfully made!

And that from the very beginning…you were loved!

I wanted to share this song “A Mother’s Prayer” with you.  I truly believe that this song encompasses what you’re mother’s hope and prayer was and will always be for you!

I love you SO much my little princess!

~your mommy

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“A Mother’s Prayer”

I pray you’ll be my eyes
And watch her where she goes
And help her to be wise
Help me to let go

Every mother’s prayer
Every child knows
Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she’ll be safe

I pray she finds your light
And holds it in her heart
As darkness falls each night
Remind her where you are

Every mother’s prayer
Every child knows
Need to find a place
Guide her to a place
Give her faith so she’ll be safe

Lead her to a place
Guide her with your grace
To a place where she’ll be safe

Homemade photoletters: The Weekly Kids Co-op

To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart. 

~Phyllis Theroux

 

How about creating something that will make not only your kiddos happy but someone else get a big great smile too!

I thought I’d share with you a photoletter that I came up with as I was preparing for a long road trip ( needing to find things for my kids to do while in the car) and it was my mom’s birthday.

It’s really a simple activity to do but I love that this activity is meant to be passed along and will hopefully bring joy to someone else.

And of course with me being a photographer, my activity includes photos.  I love how photos personalize things and make things that much more special.

So here’s what i did…

Needed supplies:

Some of your favorite pictures printed on regular 8 1/2x 11 paper using your colored printer.

One sheet of construction paper

glue stick

pen/marker or crayon (for a message)

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I basically picked some of my favorite pictures with the kids and their mama (that’s what my kids call my mom) and made wallet size prints using my colored printer and the 8 1/2 x 11 printer paper.

I like using Picasa because it makes printing really easy. I simply select/pin/hold the photos I want to print and then click on the printer icon on the bottom of the page and you come to the page where you’re given the options to make wallets, 4×6, 5x7s, 8x10s and full page prints.  So I click on the wallets layout and you’ll see something like this…

…6 photos (wallet size) on one page.

Depending on what your kids are able or not able to do, you can either pre-cut your photos or have your kids do it themselves. Since we were going on a roadtrip and I didn’t want to have lots of little pieces of scrap paper all about the car, I went ahead and pre-cut the photos and placed them inside an envelope with a sheet of construction paper, glue stick and pen/marker or crayon (optional).

The kids were basically instructed to glue as many of the photos they wanted onto the construction paper to make a card for their mama’s birthday.

Of course, some kids may end up gluing only one photo on the entire page or every single photo you give them; no matter what they do, I think it turns out awesome just because it’s made by their little hands and with love!

For the younger kids who have difficulty writing or don’t write at all, you can write a message either before or after they glue the pictures on.

So these photos are taken during our road trip when the kids opened their enveloped and started on their activity…

These next photos are from after our road trip just to show you how they turned out and what they’ll be doing with them.

This is my daughter’s photoletter…

My son’s…

I loved this part of my son’s letter where he drew a picture of himself having a conversation with someone…maybe his mama…not sure but anyway… I laughed out loud!

So with these photoletters you can fold them into 3rds, insert into an envelope…

stamp it and then put in your mailbox or drop off at your local post office (an additional extension to your activity)! =)

I know it’s seems rather simple but my kids loved looking at the pictures I printed for them and I loved that at the end of this activity, they had something to give as a gift of encouragement.

Hope you enjoyed our little activity!

For more wonderful activities to do with your kids or if you’d like to link up with a wonderful group of bloggers sharing their ideas, check out the Kids Co-op by clicking below (yes…the blue froggy)…

Until next time…

A Dreamer of the Day…

All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible. – T.E. Lawrence

My little buddy doesn’t always take a nap unless he’s really, really tired. This particular day he asked to go upstairs and said he needed a nap. After a little while I head upstairs to check on him.

I found him asleep and wearing his train engineering cap (he definitely wasn’t wearing it earlier).

I think he wanted to dream about trains! =)

Family Time: The Weekly Kid’s Co-op

I’ve joined a group of awesome bloggers who are coming together online to share their love for family! This group will be sharing their favorite family friendly, unique, fun and/or educational activities with you all in one spot called The Weekly Kids Co-op!  So basically, each week we’ll be getting together to share our favorite family friendly activity and we’ll also be asking YOU to share your favorites as well.  

If you’re like me, I’m always looking for great ideas, tips, tricks to help me in this crazy thing called “Life with Kids!”

So here’s my Weekly Kid’s Co-op activity for the week…

Family Time!

I know this isn’t a new concept or activity but we all need little reminders in life don’t we?

Well, this past week, my husband and I finally decided we needed to just spend some quality family time together.

My husband works all week and I am home with the kids all day…yes! ALL 3 kids! Well, except for two days per week where my daughter M&M goes to school and my little buddy goes 1 day per week; otherwise, I’m home with the kids.

Now you’d figure that being home with the kids most days would allow for me to have that quality time…well…not exactly.

Homeschooling requires time just as much as other things in my life and so honestly, it becomes one of the many things to do in my days… at least right now with a 10 month old crawling around at my feet! =)

So having quality time can easily be missed.  Especially what our kids consider quality time.

In my opinion, quality time is undivided attention. It’s time I can spend not being distracted by something else and just enjoying the moment for what it is!

We did that this past weekend with my kids.

My kids love bowling! I’m not sure why they love it so much when they’ve done it only a handful of times but they totally do. Funny what are kids LOVE right?

Anyway, we had such a great time!

We only bowled for 2 games (maybe an hour and a half total…2 at the most) and all of us had a blast!

Here are a few photos from our time together…

Quality time is hard to make happen! Believe me… I know! We get pushed and pulled in so many different directions but spending time where we aren’t distracted and can focus on our family is so important!

Do you make family time  a priority in your family? What do you like to do when you do spend that quality family time together?

Please do share, I would love to get more ideas of fun things to do together.

And one last thing…don’t forget to have your camera with you! As a photographer, I truly believe that every part of our life is beautiful and is camera worthy! I hope you take the time to express your life and love through your family this week and capture some of those to times to remember forever! =)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my post for this week’s  Weekly Kid’s Co-op .

Remember, this is The Kid’s Weekly Co-op so we’ll be back every week with great activities and ideas to share.  And if you have some to share as well, please join us!

Check out the other blogs participating int his week’s Kid’s Co-op below…

Until next time…

Let’s Lasso the Moon
Imprints from Tricia
Peanut Blossom
Nurture Store
All Things Ardithian!
Kid’s Cog Works
My Creative Family
Awesomely Awake
Carrots are Orange
Life & Love Expressed
My Adornables
Sky View
Small Types