Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Robin Hood and Little John, walking through the forest...

i like to think that i'm a creative person
but if there's one thing i'm not terribly creative at, it's parenting
you may be surprised to find out that Daniel is the creative one when it comes to the kids
he's always coming up with crazy games out of the blue, 
fun little impromptu competitions 
and the most interesting ways to teach the girls about the world around them!

but i'm trying to get better at it, 
and every once in a while, i luck out and a brilliant idea strikes
like when i suggested we go find a forest and pretend to be Robin Hood
BAZINGA
our day instantly transformed from whiny, stir crazy and sad
to running through the woods, singing silly songs and giggling along the way

not gonna lie, i was pretty proud of myself

oh, and a couple very important notes:
1) we had to take a picture by the park sign to prove we went to an actual "forest"
2) the ferns were a HUGE hit
3) nobody wanted to play Little John, so we ended up with two Robin Hoods running through the forest
4) our "forest" is just a random narrow strip of trees that apparently qualifies as a park,
but hey, it did the trick!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

pink milk and pigtails

i often feel like i'm up to my neck in "unprocessed" photos
you know, ones that just get offloaded onto a hard drive without even deleting the baddies?
(let alone, picking favorites, any editing that might be involved, etc)
tell me i'm not the only one who does this?  anyone?

ok, maybe it's just me
but the point is, i'm trying to find ways to get better at it
("it" = keeping up with all the digital images i'm drowning in)
so that i can actually enjoy the pictures i take
and maybe, just maybe, even print some

i suppose i could just stop taking pictures altogether
that would definitely lessen the amount of work involved
but that's not going to happen any time soon
(obviously...have you met me?  i still remember the look of shock in my father-in-law's eyes when we travelled overseas together a couple years ago and he heard the speed at which my shutter was going!)

so instead i'm just making an effort to get through my photos, month by month
so that they are a little more manageable (baby steps, am i right?)
and who knows, maybe i'll start posting "a month in photos" for each one
as motivation to get it done

all that being said, it's halfway through february and i'm still working on january
(hah!  typical!)
in my defence, the photography business has kicked up a bit lately, so i've been tied up with that
(hooray!)
plus the girlies were sick for a month straight, basically
which always switches us into more-cuddles-less-stuff-getting-done mode

but, speaking of being sick, here are a few photos from one of our sick mornings at home
complete with "pink milk" 
(aka steamed milk with one pump of raspberry syrup...you're welcome)
no shortage of sass in this house... :)
sisterly conversation (trust be baby girls, cultivate that relationship - it never gets old!) 
k mom, we're over this whole paparazzi thing...! 

hopefully i'll have more to share with you soon!

Monday, January 19, 2015

hello kitty birthday party (for my THREE year old girlies)

my baby girls turned three last week
so we celebrated with family on the actual day
then, once the weekend rolled around, we threw a hello kitty party for them
that was dreamt up, planned out and executed from beginning to end in six days total

yep, you read that right.
i totally dropped the planning ball this year
but our family is awesome and they blessed us with so much help in order to pull it off

some highlights from the party:

- the dark chocolate coconut cake topped with coconut buttercream + shredded coconut
(best cake i've ever made, hands down)
- lemon yogurt cupcakes topped with raspberry buttercream
(a big thank you to my sister-in-law for that flavor combination tip!)
- PINK foods 
(because, when you have three year old girls, a good chunk of your life is dedicated to the color pink)
- a crazy addicting sweet n salty popcorn concoction
- a laughter-filled game of pin the bow on the kitty

aaaaand it wouldn't have been as sweet without all the wonderful people
who gave up their Saturday morning to help us celebrate
so thank you family,
and thank you friends
my girlies are well loved, that's for sure

so, without further ado, some (err--lots of) photos:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

hello, 2015

happy new year, friends!
i cannot believe 2014 has come and gone
by now, i'm sure you've heard about a bajillion other people say the same thing
(it's not just me, right?)
so i'm going to join the chorus
'cause the latter half of 2014 especially has been a complete and total blur:


a search for a new home
then a move
(thank you, Jesus - always providing just the right thing at just the right time!)
***
a frenzy of s-l-o-w unpacking
mingled with a couple visits from family
(my first time ever hosting people in our home!)
***
my first opportunity to second shoot a wedding
(one of these days, i'll pull together and share some favorites of those images)
***
my sister-in-law's wedding
(hooray, we're so happy for them!)
***
travel, travel and more travel
***
six family birthdays
***
a big Christmas trip
***
my photography business picking up
***
preparations for a two special someones turning three this week


...those are just a few highlights since the crazy began in September,
so i shouldn't be surprised that the whole family is now sick
and the tantrums have kinda hit an all time high
(if you are my neighbour and are reading this, please feel bad for and forgive us...!)

yesterday was particularly rough, 
but today is a new day
and i've decided to hang on to the moments in between the not-so-pretty ones
like these, from a rare half hour or so of quietness and cuddles in our house yesterday
also, i saw this quote a while back
(i can't remember where, so if someone knows who i can give credit to, please fill me in!)
and used it to make a desktop background for my laptop
that has been a great source of encouragement
so if you're feeling a bit frazzled today, 
or if, like me, you are in a season that feels so over your head
here are my two cents for you:

1)  sift out and hang on to the good moments
2)  lean in, hang on to and trust Jesus.  
even if you can't seem to find any good moments, 
know that He loves you
He is in control
 and His grace is enough to get you through

cast your cares upon him; He will sustain you and give you rest

Friday, December 5, 2014

friday favorites (advent edition)

believe it or not, 
i had never even heard of advent growing up,
despite celebrating Christmas as far back as i can remember
i blame it on being raised on the other side of the world
that's my go-to scapegoat, by the way

don't know about a specific tradition?
"oh, sorry, i didn't grow up around here"

never had (or even seen) a ham dinner until you turn 18 and start dating your future husband, 
who just happens to be as Southern as they come?
"oh, sorry, i didn't grow up around here"

have a *lightbulb* moment when you watch star wars for the first time at the age of 29? 
(thanks to said husband, who mandated it as a long overdue rite of passage)
and finally understand half of your conversations growing up 
where people kept referencing "the dark side", "storm troopers", "something about Luke's father"
"oh, sorry, i didn't grow up around here"

forgot to pick up groceries for the week?
"err - sorry, i didn't grow up around here?"

you get the picture. 

anyway, back to the point of this blog post:  advent
i did what i could, given our timeline and how little the girls were
and honestly, it was wonderful and i am so glad with how everything turned out

this year i figured they were old enough to do an advent calendar
but, if you know me, you know that one of those chocolate-a-day calendars wasn't gonna cut it
so i spent a chunk of time researching little crafts and activities for each day leading up to Christmas
some fun and cutesy, some reminding us of what we are actually celebrating
then, i dug up this awesome advent garland that my mom in law gave us at our first married Christmas
(at the time, i was still in the dark about advent so i honestly had no idea what to do with it!
also, we've never been fully successful at decorating for christmas, but i believe that first year, we put a red bow on our one houseplant and called it quits...true story!)
now, before you go thinking i'm the mom of the year or anything, 
let's get real
if you really know me, you know i'm a dreamer
i dream up harebrained ideas, like this advent calendar
but the execution isn't always 100%
case in point:  i have yet to write the activities down and put them into the garland
aaaaand, we've sort of jumbled up a few days to suit delayed naps and busy days
(...life with toddlers!  at least they don't seem to mind just having the activity "announced")
but we're getting there
i even got organized enough by the end of this week to snap a few pictures of our advent activities!
if you're stumped on advent ideas for two year olds (or almost three year olds!), 
feel free to borrow some of ours - here's what we've done so far:

Dec 1:  read "The Nativity, from Luke 1-2" in The Jesus Storybook Bible
using characters from our Nativity Play Set to act it out as we went

Dec 2: set up Nativity on the mantle + listen to and sing away in a manger
Dec 3:  make popcorn together (a first for our girlies...and very exciting at that!) + more nativity discussion as we munched on it (they're really into telling the story of baby Jesus) 
Dec 4:  make peppermint almond bark...complete with cheery chocolate mustaches!
(the girlies dubbed it "a birthday treat" for baby Jesus)
Dec 5:  print out matching sheets of nativity characters onto cardstock (tons of options online - google image search it!) and use them to play a memory matching game

oh, and if you were wondering about our peppermint bark, here's the "recipe"...roughly
ingredients:

- approx 1/2 a pound 72% Dark Chocolate
- 1 tsp(ish) pure peppermint & mint extract 
(they came blended together, so it's 1 tsp total, not each)
- about 6 toddler handfuls almonds...err, we're not exactly accurate around here

instructions:

- if your chocolate is in large chunks, get the kids to crush it in a big ziploc bag (we used my water bottle filled up as our tool of choice)

- dump chocolate into a double boiler (or use a metal bowl fitted on top of a pot of boiling water, like we did) and stir till melted through

- add peppermint extract and almonds then stir until well mixed

- pour bark onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and pop into the fridge until it hardens

Enjoy!
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