The Magic of Falling Snow

Those who know me, know I am not a fan of winter or snow. I am a flip-flop and Bermuda shorts girl. I love the beach and all things summer. So you can imagine my excitement when I heard there was snow in the forecast for October. Madeleiene was so excited this morning when it started to snow, "Christmas!!" she proclaimed as she looked out our sliding doors. And then it started. The girl who like her mother didn't like being cold started to ask to go outside and build a snowman. Her excitement was so precious and I promised her that after she woke up from her nap we'd go outside. Secretly, I only wanted to go out for a few minutes and attempt to get a Christmas card photo of the girls. 

In the meantime to keep her focused on something other than the pending fun outside I decided to have her help me make pumpkin bread. She was trilled. Madeleine LOVES helping me bake!!

So while Eric laid on the floor (this is typically how he spends at least half his day and the reason he won't let me get HW floors) the girls and I baked bread

Madeleine getting the butter out of the wrapper

Emilia entertained with the empty butter box

 Adding eggs

 The dry ingredients

Emilia after her nap enjoying some pumpkin bread and milk

So after the bread was in the oven the girls took their nap while I edited pictures and got to smell the house filling up with the smell of baking pumpkin bread. Madeleine woke up first and cuddled with me before asking to read her new book from her preschool library. Then Emilia woke up and I gave both girls some pumpkin bread. It didn't take Madeleine long to remember that I promised we'd go outside after nap. So after finishing their snack I bundled the girls up and out we went. Madeleine loved that her boots made footprints in the snow and Emilia was all smiles even after falling in the snow and getting wet several times. Both girls thought it was hilarious when I taught them how to catch snow flakes in their mouths. We stayed out for quite some time just walking up and down the snow covered community path beside our home, making footprints and catching snowflakes. Maybe next time we'll attempt a snowman. There was something magical about being outside with the girls today. I can honestly say I loved watching the snowflakes fall from the sky. 

random scattered thoughts

Sometimes you hear what you know in your heart is true but it still stabs you in the heart like a knife.

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I have been doing a lot of thinking the past few days. Like not just every day thinking but deep thinking. Today I was at an orientation and they showed a video that asked simply, "What are you passionate about?" As I read the question, it was a video you had to read, I felt all the emotions just come to the surface. I knew the answer and it had NOTHING to do with where I was.

On Sunday, I caught the last few minutes for 60 minutes and they were talking about how the i-pad is giving a voice to autistic children/adults who have never been able to communicate before. I watched as the children were able to express themselves and I cried!

I am passionate about those kids! I am passionate about my inner city kids!

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For the past two years I have gone to NYC at Christmas time. Its become my new tradition. I love Christmas and I love NYC so it only makes sense. This year I had decided I wouldn't go but the past few days, after I broke out the Christmas music, I have started to question that decision. I may have to revisit it. 

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Sometimes I wonder how some people in live such a fictional life. Its sad when I know the truth about their life more than them, or at least I think I do. Then truth is spoken into your own life. And its something so real that you recognize it as truth but at the same time its something you've thought and re-thought a million times. 

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I had one of my favorite photo shoots the other week. I can't say it was my favorite because the pictures are so much better than any other I've taken but every picture I have enhanced has made me smile. I shouldn't be surprised that a good person like him ended up with such a great family and well behaved kids. Which then leads me to my next thoughts about where my youth went? Like I feel like a chunk of it is a blur.

Dont Judge Me!

Last week my oldest daughter started preschool. I had debated a long time last spring about where and if I wanted to send Madeleine to preschool in the fall. Ultimately I decided that although Madeleine is a very smart little girl she could really benefit from social time with peers. I also decided to send her to the preschool at our church, despite the 40 minute drive there twice a week, because Madeleine would be familiar with the building and the curriculum was Christ based which I was a HUGE fan of. On Tuesday when I picked her up I was positive I made the right decision for my little girl. Madeleine couldn't stop talking about her picture she had made and the songs she had sung. She talked and sang half of the way home until falling asleep. Oh how I love her!!!

And I almost forgot. Madeleine already knows two bible verses "The Lord God made all Genenis 2:9" and "God made the world and everything in it" (she doesnt know the reference to this one yet but its Acts 17:24)

Name tag I made for her backpack

Madeleiene with her pig in the mud picture

Madeleine going to preschool has also helped me establish a more regular schedule for our family. I have developed a cleaning schedule to go along with my bi-weekly/monthly menus. I am also developing a more regular exercise plan, which is vital since I currently am not training for any races and really lack motivation to run. Today after cleaning the bathrooms I was inspired by another blog to clean my washing machine, oven hood and refrigerator.

Please dont judge when you look at the before pictures of the washer. Seriously it was as nasty as it looks. It hasnt been thoroghly cleaned since we moved in 3 years ago. Fear not though I am aspiring to be a better me.





I filled the washer with 2 cups of white vinegar and water and let sit for an hour.
Than I ran the cycle and added 1 cup of bleach to water and finished the cycle.

nasty inside part that holds fabric softner






And then there is Miss Emilia. I dont want to forget her. She's been soaking up the mommy time shes been getting while her big sister is in school but is always eager to see Madeleine when we pick her up. I love that they are best friends!! Emilia is growing up so quickly. Shes a happy little girl unless shes hungry. She knows several words including Elmo, mama, cup, up, more and cracker. What else does a girl need to know?!?

Emilia this afternoon after her first Oreo


In a previous post I mentioned that I have been busy lately! So I thought I'd update everyone on 3 of the more fun things I have been working on lately.

First I am addicted to pintrest but am determined that not only and I going to fill up my boards but I am going to actually make and create the things I am posting. First on my list was laundry detergent. I was pleasantly surprised with how easy this actually was. They didnt lie when they said I could find all the ingredients in my local grocery store and once home it took less than 5 minutes to make. I was still skeptical about whether or not this homemade, cost-effective detergent would actually work but I am pleased to annouce that it even cleans Eric's work clothes.
These are the 3 ingredient you need to purchase

Then you grate the Fels Naptha bar

Then you place the grated bar into a jar with 1 cup of each of the remaining ingredients.
Its just that easy!!
(sorry I dont know how to flip pictures)

Besides saving $$ I have been earning some $$ doing something I love, taking pictures of new babies! In the month of August and September so far I have had 3 new baby boys to take pictures of. I have one session yet to finish but here are some favorites from the other sessions.

And then my other major project right now has been creating a tent. I originally thought up the grandiose plan to set up a vintage photo session with a tent etc and charge a bit more than my normal rates in an attempt to raise $$ to send myself to Africa. I have since reconsidered the whole thing but still plan on finishing the tent for a prop in other sessions. I am about 3/4 finished and just have to piece together the second side and clean up everything. I still havent decided about putting a back on it because I think i might just like the slight unfinished work. We will see.
Some of the fabric I used for the tent

Well that's what I have been up to. How about you?

Things I think about when making recent decisions...

 In the movie of my life I have people cast into roles
that I don’t think they don’t even realize they’ve been cast in.  
 I have to remind myself that although I may want to have some kind of claim there
 I just don't.

Where your heart is...

Mud Run

Several months ago my sisters convinced me to do a mud run with them! After looking at the website and the obtacles I was so excited and registered. What could be better than running a 10k with obstacles and MUD?!?

Today we ran the beautiful nad EXTREMLY FUN race!! Seriously I'd do this race again in a heart beat!! I came in with a time of 1:07:21 which was 49th in my age division. The top runner in my division had a time of 47:22.

Here are some pictures for our FUN day!!

Erin, Erin, Kelly and I before our 10K

 The start line
5,500 participants!

Starting the Race with a smile!

This was the second to last obstacle

Final mud pit!

Me going through the final mud pit
Finishing the race with a smile
and a large piece of mud in my eye :(

Ashley entering the mud pit

The finish line!!

I've been busy lately! Recently, I have had several inquiries about photo sessions and completed 3 in the past 3 week with another one scheduled for Friday (newborn pics, perhaps my favorite!!) As of now I am booked until mid-September with the exception of new babies that need to be photographed right away!

I have also been busy around the house and with the girls. Last, Thursday my mother-in-law called to say she had green beans from her garden for us and my grandma also had several that we were able to pick. The following day I blanched and froze about 6 cups of beans! Its a small amount but it will make a difference this winter! There are more to come this week :)

Saturday, my sisters, dad, the kiddos and I hit the Conewago Trail in Hershey and ran/ biked 8.25 miles, stopped for icecream at the Jigger Shop and than ran/biked back. I ran 13 miles of the total trip and biked the rest. My the end of the night my body was less than thrilled with me but by the next morning I felt great!!!! So good infact that I bought a bike off craigslist on Sunday and am hoping to go more often with Eric and the girls.

Sunday night we went to Rawlinsville Camp Meeting for the Naval Academy Band. I love being at camp and spending time with wonderful friends!! Its also so much fun to see our children becoming friends!!  At camp Amy hooked me up with some peppers and zucchini from her parents garden (FYI: I dont turn down free food)! So Monday morning I chopped and froze about 4 cups of green peppers and grated and froze 10 cups of zucchini. Madeleine has been asking me at least once a day now since last week for "bread that mommy made" as a snack. Luckily for her Amy loved her mommy and she can have it all winter long :)

Monday afternoon the girls and I went over to my friend Lauren's house to go swimming with her, her son Matthew and friend April and her daughter Adriana. The girls and I had so much fun and the heat and water made for some tired little girls!

I am loving summer and all it has to offer!