Thursday, October 31, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I mentioned in my weekend recap from LAST WEEK that Tristan and I recently had our pictures taken.  I am super grateful to our friend Veronica for doing this for us.  A few weeks ago I shared the maternity photos that I took for her and her boyfriend, so this was a little trade (she does photography as well).  Before I share some of my favorites from our shoot, here is a little throwback to years past.

6 Years Ago

5 Years Ago

4 Years Ago

3 Years Ago

2 Years Ago

1 Year Ago

And now - here are our most recent photos, courtesy of Raw Beauty Images:

Love you, Honey!!!

Oh, and Happy Halloween!

Next Thursday, I will be starting a new mini-series for the month of November, so check back for that!

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Fall Baking = Love Handles

Oh wait....I already have those, so does that mean I can eat as many of these bars of deliciousness as I'd like?!? Probably not the best idea . . . but I could have easily eaten the whole pan!

Pumpkin Bars
(source: Taste of Home)

4 Eggs
1 2/3 Cup sugar
1 Cup vegetable oil (or applesauce! I wish I had thought to substitute BEFORE I put these in the oven!)
15 Oz. can of pumpkin
2 Cups flour
2 Teaspoons cinnamon
2 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon baking soda
1 Teaspoon salt

*The original recipe also had instructions to make an icing - but I cheated and used Betty Crocker cream cheese frosting, from a tub :)*

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat eggs, oil, pumpkin and sugar in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Gradually add this mixture to large bowl and mix until combined.

4. Pour into 15x10x1 inch baking pan (the original recipe says ungreased, but I always find that things stick, even when they say that - so I always spray my dishes with cooking spray)

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes (or until set - it shouldn't "jiggle")

6. Cool completely before frosting.

I actually frosted mine when they were still just a little warm, but my frosting was really soft so it didn't stick too bad.  Plus, I had to taste one {or two} while they were still warm!  They should be stored in the fridge, though, and are actually really good cold, as well!

What is your favorite thing to bake this time of year??

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

"Watch the sunrise at least once a year, put a lot of marshmallows in your hot chocolate, lie on your back and look at the stars, never buy a coffee table you can't put your feet on, never pass up a chance to jump on a trampoline, don't overlook life's small joys while searching for the big ones."
-H. Jackson Brown Jr.

H. Jackson Brown Jr. is an inspirational author from Tennessee.  He is most well known for his book "Life's Little Instruction Book."  A couple weeks ago Kenzie from Chasing Happy posted the above quote on her blog's Facebook page and I instantly fell in love with it.  *If you haven't visited Chasing Happy, you need to.  Kenzie's positive attitude is infectious.  She also has a great project for blogging in November that I am definitely going to try to take part in.*

Since I do not have anyone lined up for Guest Post Tuesday (again...), {if you are interested in guest posting at My Mind's Lens, click HERE, or if missed some of the guest posts, click HERE to get caught up!}, I asked my sponsors for some of the best, and worse, advice that they have ever received. I got this idea from another blog - but I should have written it down because sadly, I can't remember where it was, now.  Sorry!!

Kelly @ Today Was a Fairytale:
Best Advice: I remember once when I was in high school my mom told me that saying something mean to or about someone is like hammering a nail into a piece of wood. We can apologize and try to make it up to them, but like when you take the nail out of the wood.. there will still be a hole there. In other words, you can't un-say something so think before you speak. Take the time to cool off before you start saying things you don't mean out of anger and be kind to each other.

Worst Advice: "Never go to bed angry" I don't know who first told me this, but I'm sure that we've all heard it before. Where is the problem with this {at least for me}, I need time to cool down. Sometimes going to bed and have some time between whatever set us off and when we actually talk about it is a really good thing. Then we don't say things we don't mean or might regret later. However, I am a firm believer that you should never withhold affection from people because you're angry. Always kiss each other good-night and good-bye and always say "I love you". You never know when that person might not be around for you to kiss and tell you love them. So it doesn't matter how mad you are at each other. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS tell the important people in your life that you love them.

QUICK NOTE: I am actually over at Today Was a Fairytale today, sharing some of my favorite things about Fall. So when you are done reading all this great advice, head over there and take a look!

Chelsey @ Patti Cake:

Best Advice: Take all advice into consideration, until you find out what really works for you!

Amberly @ Life With Amberly & Joe:

Best Advice: "Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you." {Dr. Seuss} We could try to conform to who we think people want us to be, but the truth is, we will be loved, respected and accepted the most if we stay true to who we really are as a unique individual!

Rychelle @ Foltz Family Life:
Best Advice: Life is a journey not a destination. Don't be so focused on getting to the end that you don't experience all the fun. Enjoy the ride!

Worst Advice: Forget about being a worship leader, pick another career because you couldn't handle or live up to being a worship leader.
*Note from K: This isn't just bad advice - it is cruel!  What is wrong with people?!*

What is the best and worst advice that you have received?  Who gave it to you?

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Monday, October 28, 2013

Cars, Pumpkins. and Toes

What do cars, pumpkins and toes all have in common?  They all had a part in my weekend.

Friday I had a day off from work.  The afternoon was supposed to be spent doing engagement and family photos for a local family - which I was really looking forward to - but one of their kids got sent home from morning kindergarten so we had to reschedule.  My afternoon turned into making pumpkin bars, cleaning the house, and doing laundry.

*More of these yummy treats, later in the week!*

I also met a friend Friday night for a girls night - meaning pedicures and a trip to the craft store!

Saturday we had plans to go to the pumpkin patch, and go look at a car that we were thinking about getting.  We ended up making a quick trip to the pumpkin patch and just picked a few pumpkins from their pre-picked lot.  I usually enjoy going on the hay ride out to the field, but Tristan thought we looked "weird . . . two grown adults going to the pumpkin patch without any kids" - which is fine, I don't really care if people thought it was weird.  But I had already gone out to the field for the family pictures I took a few weeks ago, so I was fine with this option - I still got a few pictures :)

Before meeting the guy to check out the car, we grabbed a yummy lunch at The "Cow" Deli {it's real name is the Country Folks Deli . . . but everyone I know refers to it as the Cow Deli}

We also ended up driving home with a new car!  Well, new to us.  We bought a 1992 Isuzu Rodeo as our weekend warrior.  Tristan will be taking it out to go "crawling" with his RC buddies, while I will take my turn as well to go to photo shoots.  It's an older car, but I have wanted one since before I had a drivers license and even though it's a rougher ride than my car, it's pretty fun to drive.

*I have a feeling we might be flipping a coin to see who gets to drive "Rosie" some weekends*

Tristan got this eye-roll via txt at some point Saturday . . . I can't remember why, though :)

And I finished off the day with a version of hard cider, some football, getting several blog posts ready to go for this week, and changing out some of my 8x10 photos on my gallery walls with newly-printed ones!

 I want to give a quick thank you to Jenn from Party of One for this one - she was my inspiration and I am so glad that I saw her post last week!!

Sunday was spent behind my lens, again!  Unfortunately my first family had to reschedule because the weather was really scetchy through the morning.  But I was able to meet with one of my friends, her husband and his son.  They were so much fun!

I also met some volunteers for a special project that I'm working . . . but I'm not ready to disclose the details yet :)

Besides all this, I got a bunch of blogging done!  I already have posts scheduled through Friday - which is a major feat for me!!

How was your weekend spent? There's lots of great weekend-related link-ups out there, so check the bottom of my page for some ideas!
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Blogging With a Purpose: A Letter to the Newlyweds

To all you newlyweds out there (and I read about many weddings in the last six months, so I know you are out there), I want to take a few minutes to talk specifically to you.

To be honest, I almost consider myself a newlywed still.  My husband and I have been married almost 2 1/2 years, but I plan to be married to him for another good 50 or 60 years if I'm lucky - so in the grand scheme of things, we really are still newlyweds.  But for today I am talking to those of you who have been married for a year or less, and even those who are currently in the midst of planning a wedding.

Getting married is one of the most exciting days in a person's life.  I don't have any children yet, but I am sure the day your child is born is a strong rival.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the festivities and planning and gifts and possibly decorating a home together for the first time.  All of that is important and you should relish those moments.  But at the same time, it is important to be realistic.  At some point, the wedding is going to be over, the family is going to go home, you are going to come home from your honeymoon and it is just going to be the two of you.  So now what?

What happens when life goes back to normal, only now it's not just you?  Now, you are sharing the bathroom in the morning, stepping on someone's toes besides your dog's when cooking dinner at night.  You no longer are king/queen of the remote during prime time television.  I am not naive - many people have already experienced all of this long before they got married.  But for many living together doesn't come until after the wedding - and it can be a huge adjustment period.  Patience.  Understanding.  Compromise.  These are the words you need to live by during those first few years months.  Really, those are always words to live by.  But they are especially important for newlyweds.

"The first year is the hardest."  Did anyone else hear this from friends and relatives prior to getting married?  I sure did . . . and like a lot of people I'm sure, my response was "whatever . . . it won't be that bad."  And at first it wasn't.  But after about 6 or 8 months my husband and I really struggled.  There were some deep-seeded issues that I refused to deal with - both personal ones and relationship issues - and the ignorance only made matters worse.  Communication is so important.  And until I learned to communicate, those problems remained. 

I'm not an expert, but based on my experience there are four things that I would recommend you keep in mind as a newlywed in order to help safeguard your relationship.

1. Communicate! 
This doesn't have to be verbal, but it does have to be there.  Any healthy relationship requires communication.  Be honest with yourself, and honest with your spouse . . . about everything, not just about what you consider to be important (they may have a different idea about what is a "big issue" than you do).  Share your feelings and opinions.  Ideally, relationships are in a constant growth pattern.  There are always new things to learn about each other, plus you can grow together as a couple.  So, like when you first met and started dating, continue to ask questions of each other and learn more about the person you are sharing your life with.

2. Continue to date {each other!}. 
It is so easy to get into a day-to-day routine.  Over time that can get so boring, though.  Take time for just the two of you - go out for dinner, or to a concert.  Leave each other notes around the house or in each others' car.  Flirt and give each other complements.  Just have fun with each other.  Marriage is supposed to be fun!

3.  Do not be selfish. 
There will be days where you will come home and all you want to do is go to bed.  But maybe your spouse had an even worse day than you did and needs to talk through it.  Along with this (and I don't normally talk about anything too intimate here . . . but this is important), do not deny your spouse physical attention when they need it.  Everybody has their moments when they need to be loved and it is not fair for you to tell them no just because you aren't "in the mood".  This is a lesson I had to learn.

You have so many wonderful memories to make ahead of you.  Cherish those memories - and if you do have dark days, fall back on those good times to carry you through.  Trust each other, love each other, cling to one another.  You are a family now, so remember that.

Meet Amberly! 

 Hi! I'm Amberly and I blog over at Life with Amberly and Joe . It's my place to share the story of our marriage, the adventures we have, our love for each other, moments of laughter and our crazy busy life! We are happily married and forever young at heart!

Follow Life with Amberly and Joe via

Amberly is one of my new sponsors and you will see more from her in the coming weeks.

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Friday, October 25, 2013


Typically, I'm not a big Gavin DeGraw fan. He's not bad, I just don't normally like the sound of his music. But when I heard this song on The Voice on Monday, I instantly fell in love! And Juhi killed it . . . I can't get over her unique sound.  As soon as I heard it - I knew I would be sharing it for #backthatazzup Friday!

Best I Ever Had by Gavin DeGraw on Grooveshark

Today I am feeling pretty proud of myself - I actually realized that this week was the last Friday all on my own.  Granted, it was only two days ago that I figured this out.  But, the point is I didn't need a reminder from Julie!  Anyways - long story short - I'm over at A Beautiful Day today, sharing for In Focus Friday.


Don't forget to go enter the giveaway at Simple Moments Stick - there are only 2 days left!  Here are some of the things that I am looking forward to:

*Not having to work
*Photographing some engagement pictures
*Going to the pumpkin patch
*Checking out the SUV we are hopefully getting in the next week
*Taking some family pictures for a friend


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