Years ago when we got married, one thing we decided we would pay a little extra for was our wedding photography. After hearing a lot of stories from people who had negative experiences, we wanted to have a good one. The photographer we chose did take some nice photos, but we didn’t actually get our prints–let alone see very many of the digital ones–for SIX MONTHS. Even years ago that was a bit unheard of. Our photographer also lost the receipt of the package we purchased from her and tried to give us her smallest package (luckily I had kept my copy!), among other things.
Fortunately for us, we also had our good friend Kara Hanes at the wedding, who happened to shoot a few photos of her own. Still today, some of the pictures she took from our wedding are my favorite because she got some really nice candid shots. That’s why I was super excited when we got the chance to have our family pictures taken with her in August, all these years later.
I absolutely love the way the pictures of Lillian turned out, though I’m obviously a little biased on the subject! Here’s the thing though: despite it being a summer day, it was really cold and–especially on the beach–windy! But Kara still managed to get smiles out of Lillian (who was grumpy on top of being cold that day!). Lillian just loves Kara, and it’s easy to see why. Kara not only has confidence and talent, but also a way of making you feel relaxed and at ease. She was playful with Lillian, but made us laugh, too. And she didn’t even blink an eye when we had a crazy wardrobe issue in the woods when Lillian suddenly got hungry (let’s just say any passersby would’ve been met with quite the scene!). Kara can take lovely staged photos, but she also is great at capturing candid moments. The family photos she took for us are treasures to me, and I got to see them not six months later, but within days (some of them that very same night!).
Thank you for letting me show off my family, and for letting me share what a great experience we had (and always have) with Kara. Even if you’re not in need of a photographer at the moment, you should check out more of her work on her website, and also check out her engaging and fun Instagram and blog!
Despite having very little time for art journaling these days, I’ve still been keeping up with a little something for each day–even if my entries aren’t as detailed as the ones in my daily art journal from last year. Sometimes on less eventful days if I don’t have a whole lot to say about my day I will add a list of things I especially like around that time. Below is a list I made about a month ago, and while most of the things I jotted down still continue to bring me a lot of joy, I think I’m ready to make another list with some seasonal things, like drinking hot tea and enjoying the fall colors! What have you been especially liking lately?
It seems like just yesterday I was posting my Summer Bucket List for this year, and yet here we are a little ways into autumn and I’m back with my Fall Bucket List. I have had so many posts in mind for you, but things have been busy–especially with our now 8 month old girl (yeah, what!? where does the time go?)–and I just haven’t gotten to them yet. Hopefully today’s effort is a sign of getting back on track!
I’ve already gotten started on some of the things on this year’s list. If you follow me at all on Instagram, you may have seen that we had an awesome little trip to Traverse City this past weekend, and that we’ve also done some apple picking. I’ve already made my tried and true apple butter as well, but I think I’ll be making another batch soon (I’d like to try and make a new and improved version of this apple butter roll cake, as well as some apple butter cinnamon rolls!). As for other fall treats, I’ve been longing to eat a caramel apple, but in the meantime I’ve had way too many handfuls of candy corn and peanuts!
I’m looking forward to crossing more things of this year’s list, and would love to hear about some of the fun things you’ve got planned! Leave a comment below with some of your top fall to-do’s!
When I told you about the picnic loaf I made, I promised I’d tell you what I did with all the bread I pulled out from the center of the loaf. I know you’ve been waiting (okay, you probably totally forgot I even mentioned it), but this idea will have been worth the wait! At first, I considered making these meatballs, but then came along a chance to make this awesome, easy chickpea dish. This 5-Minute Chickpea Dinner is part of Bon Appetit’s Cooking without Recipes series, and I absolutely love it! I didn’t have peas on hand, so I just used red pepper lightly cooked in the same pan I was toasting my bread in. Sooooo good you guys.
I was super happy to use every part of the bread I made, and–keeping with the spirit of Mottainai Grandma— I proceeded to use each and every part of the watermelon we had on our picnic, too. The white rind was used for Watermelon Rind Pickles, any pink or red shavings were used to make watermelon flavored water, the green rind was put in our compost, and we ate the inside just as it was.
Using up the bread and the watermelon are two good examples of fulfilling number 48 on the 57 Things List: Never throw away edible food (my original post on the 57 Things Series is here!).
What are some of your favorite ways to use every last bit of something edible?
I mentioned I’ve started baking my own bread again, but did I also mention we don’t have central air in our apartment? That means it’s not always the best idea to have the oven going (even though I did make a mighty tasty coffee cake the other day in 90 degree heat!). Still wanting to make my own bread as much as possible, I decided to experiment with a recipe from The New Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day that can be made in the oven OR in the crock pot. That’s right: bread in a crock pot. And here’s the resulting bread, one from the oven, and one from the crock pot. Can you guess which is which? If you guessed that the darker loaf was from the oven, and the lighter one was from the crock pot, you guessed right. I actually put the crock pot one in the oven to get more of a golden crust when it was done baking (the book suggests using the broiler to do so, but I already had the oven on for the other loaf), but it still didn’t get a golden crust as nice as the oven loaf.The bread was made from the same batch of dough, so the taste was the same. As for the texture on the inside, the two loaves seemed quite similar. I cut the loaves differently (the oven-baked loaf was for my go-to breakfast and the crock pot loaf was for a picnic sandwich), but you can still see the similarity in crumb. For the picnic sandwich, I looked at this recipe for guidance but used whatever I already had in the fridge. Here’s how I assembled mine:
1. I Cut off the top of my loaf, pulled out the inside of the bread (I’ll tell you what I used that part of the bread for later!), and brushed olive oil along the inside.
2. Then I placed multiple layers of raw red bell pepper, spinach, mozzarella, basil, salami, ham, and cream cheese inside.
3. Lastly, I put the top of the bread loaf back on, wrapped the whole thing tightly in plastic wrap, and let it sit in the fridge weighed down with a full yogurt container for a few hours.
I sliced the sandwich before we left for our picnic and grabbed some watermelon and pretzels, and then we were off to enjoy our tasty picnic.We had a really relaxing time with a great view. Lillian enjoyed looking at the water and playing with daddy in the shade of a nice big tree, and I tried my best not to eat the entire picnic loaf!
What are your favorite picnic foods? Have you tried any kitchen experiments lately?
P.S. Remember these gorgeous picnics?
Wouldn’t you love this morning view?
Until I had my daughter, I was never a morning person. Absolutely could not get out of bed, and didn’t know how to communicate in a way that didn’t come off as grumpy (whether I was actually in a bad mood or not) for 30 minutes to an hour after I woke up. But just as “me time” has changed, so have my mornings.
I wake up to a smiling baby every morning, waiting to be changed before I feed her in the quiet of the new day. Then we snuggle with dad in bed for a little while before he starts coffee. Chad and I enjoy our first cup while chatting or while I read to Lillian, and often eat peanut butter toast with honey. If it’s not raining we enjoy our second cup of coffee while going for a walk (Lily tends to fall asleep in the stroller). Sometimes we walk along the river, and sometimes we go to Frederik Meijer Gardens.
I absolutely love mornings now–something I never thought I’d say! In a couple weeks I’m going to start working again, and although it’s going to be super part time, I’m sad to be giving up our wonderful morning routine three to four days a week.
What are your mornings like? Do you have a favorite breakfast, or even eat breakfast at all? How about a favorite coffee or tea, or a favorite mug?
Lately I’ve seen a few blogs with lists of things to try to squeeze in before summer is over. I just keep thinking–but friends, we’re only about a month in! And while I am a bit late in posting this year’s Summer Bucket List, I have a great excuse: I moved countries AND I have a baby. Forgive me?🙂I like making seasonal bucket lists because they help me remember the fun things I do over the seasons. They remind me to do more and to try new things, too. This is my 4th Summer Bucket List on the blog, and each time I’ve made one I’ve tried to add some things I know I’ll do with a reminder (though it doesn’t seem like eating s’mores should need a reminder!), as well as some things I hope to try/do. This year’s list has some tried and true things to check off, like making the watermelon rind pickles enjoyed at the Pretentious Tea Party again or going to the beach and grilling. It also has new things, like lots of fun stuff with our Lily (we’ve already finished the summer reading program at our local library!) and attempting to replicate amazing choux cream pastries I had at my favorite bakery in Japan.
Despite posting my list after summer already started, I have started checking things off. I’m looking forward to sharing my summer adventures with you, but in the meantime, what are some fun things you’ve got planned?