Friday, December 6, 2013

Raising Up One

I have news for you! You know that project I hinted to you about a couple of months ago?! Well, this is it! 

Let me tell you about it.

First, after we decided that we'd like to adopt #4, my heart has opened up to all the children in need out there. While we're still undecided on the route and have the whole thing on hold, many people are in the thick of adoption fundraising.

I have seen many creative ways of fundraising, but it can be a lot of work and stressful for families who simply have a heart to help a child. And even if fundraising is coming easy, sometimes it's nice for people to know what you're doing and to just pray for you! 

There are already fundraising sites and blogs out there, but they either get lost in the crowd or are work to maintain. That's where Raising Up One comes in! 

For one month we will "raise up" one family and give them a slick post with photos, bio/interview, and a link for direct donations. In addition we'll feature artist who've donated work and auction off their art. It's supposed to be a fun time dedicated to helping these sacrificial people. 

There will be a free art print download with each donation, as an incentive, and other fun things. 

Currently I'm recruiting families to get on my featured list. If you are raising funds for adoption or know of someone who is, please follow this link or email us at! Otherwise,please share!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Trailer Treasure

What I'm about to show you, may be considered, by some, as ridiculous. But it's an outpouring of my creativity and dreams of late. 

I had been spending a lot of time on little crafty projects for other people and realized my children hadn't held a paintbrush in far too long. So I set aside a day to play, because, let's face it, I'm "all or nothing" and if it's not a day, it's not at all. (Fortunately, I'm working on overcoming that problem, but it's a slow process.) 

Initially it was just going to be a cardboard mailbox, then it turned into... a camping trailer. What is wrong with me!? Many wonder.

Once I made the decision to build said trailer it was "game on!" I worked from sun up to sun down, only stopping briefly to feed and clothe children, heaven forbid myself. I let the kids paint and tried not to let my creation become, *my* creation. It was fun and relaxing and inspired by one of my favorite photographer/blogger, Joy Prouty, from Wildflowers Photography

If you don't know the Prouty family, they're pretty neat. Dreamers and doers. They chose to load up their four [young] children and travel the Northwest for about 6 months. She did portrait photography along the way and they lived out of their renovated 1950's Spartanette trailer. Not only did she make it pretty inside, but she had a renowned artist, Katie Daisy, paint the exterior. It's a happy and beautiful. The trailer became an art piece that followed them wherever they went. 

I applaud them for their determination and for trusting God in their journey, which had to have been tough, did I mention they brought their *four* children!? 

Anyway, with plans of our own, 3 week, road trip next Summer and dreams of living in Northwestern country someday, I couldn't help but be creatively inspired. 

I don't expect you to be impressed or think it's anything other than ridiculous. I do, however, expect you to let your *own* creativity have a day once in a while, to be a little crazy, and occasionally turn some trash into treasure.


The kids think the roof is fun to drive cars around on!


Supplies -
1 Box cutter/knife
Spray bottle with water
Paper Tape: Staples, in the packing section. Totally awesome stuff, make sure you have a spray bottle to wet it!
Cardboard: 1 large rectangular (carseat) box, 2 large square boxes, and 1 skinny rectangular box, I had on hand.

Faux Wood Wallpaper: Contact paper from dollar store.
Floral "Wallpaper": Wrapping paper from dollar store and Modge Podge.
Scalloped Wallpaper: Fabric and Modge Podge.
Faux Wood Logs: Rolled cardboard, Paper tape, and Contact paper from dollar store.
Fire: Craft foam sheets glued together and electric "candle" from dollar store.
Carpet: Carpet squares from dollar store.
Hooks: Adhesive hooks from dollar store.

I had a vision in my head, so I just took boxes I had, cut them flat, and started fitting them and taping them as best as I could. The back of the trailer has a compartment for them to hide in or put stuff in. 

I used acrylic paint I had on hand, with the help from the kids, we covered the whole outside. It's a little lot splotchy, but I wasn't going to be perfect about it. 

Once the outside was painted, I Modge Podged and stuck whatever would go onto the walls inside to cover up the ugly and the poor door hanging job. 

I hung a few things up, and cut a hole for a fireplace, which is also my main support box holding up the roof. 

I couldn't really tell you any more about *how* I did this, it was just trial and error really. I hope the kids enjoy playing with it as much I had in making it! I'm making a spot for it in our living room as a semi-permanent feature. In case you don't know, semi-permanent around here means; until the kids destroy it. ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

She's One Wildflower

Our lovely little lady turned one last week! I can hardly believe it, but the bitter comes with sweet as I get to learn more about her each day. She's definitely the love and joy of the family, we all dote upon her, even Mama's Boy. 

In addition to reminiscing about the past year with our little girl I also realized that this year I have officially lost my mind. In years past it was only probable, this year it's definite. I now stand in the grocery store, list in hand, for two hours, trying to figure out if I should buy the bottle of ranch dressing or the snack size cups. Of course cheaper usually wins out, but I still stand there for far too long thinking about it. 

So, what do you do when you've lost your mind?! Plan a party, of course! Heh. 

In the midst of my insane list of "must dos" and "shouldn't, but will anyway", I decided to try to make this birthday party lovely. Because, well, *she* is lovely, and I had realized how truly lame I've been about making the kids parties special. I know, I know, they're toddlers and will never remember, but I will and they'll see the pictured proof.

In my attempts to make things simple, I made them rather complex and ended up putting half my guests to work chopping veggies and frosting cupcakes. Thankfully, most were family and understand my poor state of mind and party throwing execution.

Despite my lack of picture preparation, I managed to get a few decent shots of the whole birthday event. The sun was setting faster than I could grab my tripod or my flash, so I made do with my 50 mm 1.4 and missed out on some perfectly crisp shots. *sigh* But this is what this blog is about, challenging myself to think before I shoot, even when I can barely think at all. 

Luckily, on her actual birthday we made it out for a relaxed photoshoot, where I was much more in control of myself and my camera. 

All in all, it was a special day for a special little wildflower.

The finger food spread.

Favors were little packets of wildflower seeds.

Mommy's girl.

This girl was lovin' the cake!

Getting some help and joyfully sharing with her favorite boys.

Thus begins the photoshoot from her *actual* birthday...

Happy Birthday Mylie!

Dress: Made by my friend Kelsey. Felt Flowers: Handmade Colectibles. Chalkboard Art: My talented, *almost* brother-in-law, Stephen. Pretty Paper Straws (aka, by my 3-year-old, "different kind of straws"): Target. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Love Shows

Since we decided to adopt #4, I've been praying and wondering how God will work it all out. We haven't even pursued any options yet, because we're not sure where we'll be living in the next few years. However, I have already been feeling excited and at peace about it all. 

Gradually my heart and eyes for adoption, foster care, and the unborn has been opened. 

(Taken by our friend Matthew Priestley several years ago, before he blossomed into an incredible fashion photographer for the likes of Vogue.)

I'm no stranger to adoption, my sister was adopted and many families I know have adopted. I've always wanted to adopt, but wasn't sure that we'd be "cut out for it". I'm learning that there's no such thing as that, if we have love to give we should share it. 

My love language is giving and right now giving myself towards adoption for us and others, is where I'm at. That's why I'm working on a little project to help adoptive parents and maybe even birth moms. I'm in the early stages of figuring it all out, but I want to do more than just watch the brave souls, who are out showing their love to others, I want to be a part of it.

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Yesterday's Instagram challenge was Show Me The Love. I believe that love is a choice and not just a feeling. However, lovely feelings are nice too... 

(iPhone 5)

He is proof of our love, as is this symbol, a trinity love knot, on my back that matches one on my husbands shoulder. Love Shows.

If you want to follow my Instagram challenge you can follow the directives below and hashtag #picturemarriage under your photo.

Day 4 (Today): Laughs
Day 5 (Friday): Flashback


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Food Matters

Oh people! I have way too many ideas, dreams, goals, and plans, but sometimes all those things have to be put on hold for something bigger. Right now that thing is food. 

My youngest son has struggled more with his health than his siblings, he has eczema and up until recently has had high mystery fevers or illness at least once a month. Doctors have said it's "normal" and don't give us much else, unless there's a bacterial infection. I feel that there is something deeper there that we're not seeing. 

Currently the poor kid is getting over a cold, has oral thrush, and has a mild ear infection. No wonder his already sensitive spirit has been hyper sensitive these last few weeks!

We took him off of gluten over the Summer, but put him back on to get a gluten test, which came back negative. I was happy to put him back on a "normal" diet, because feeding everyone different things was tiresome and expensive. However, after the thrush popped up I started thinking about trying the diet again, not just because gluten isn't good for yeast overgrowth, but because gluten is associated with a lot of things that just aren't good for you. 

My husband and I talked about it and decided to have our whole family try a low carb, low sugar, low/no gluten diet for at least 3-6 months. We need more time for his body to detox off the sugars and gluten we've been devouring to know for certain if it's the cause of his problems. I'm praying we'll find that his immune system is better, that he's happier and more able to control his emotions, and that his eczema clears up.

If you think of it, pray that we would have wisdom, that I'd have the willpower to feed my family well, and that I would be able to get my kids to stop craving so much sugar!! 

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Today's Instagram challenge was it Starts in the Kitchen. We know that saying, "Romance begins in the kitchen", and it's a great reminder that romancing your husband starts before the bedroom. I know, for myself, that watching my husband care for our kids, working hard, or supporting me in my endeavors gives me the most desire for him. It's true for him too. When I've cared for and thought about him, despite the overwhelming needs of the house and children, he appreciates me, loves me, and desires me all the more.

There are so many things I could do to romance my husband outside of the bedroom, but if we're talking food, we're talking bacon and peanut butter. 

(Almond Meal, Peanut Butter, Maple Syrup)

Since I try not to buy too much bacon, it's fatty and way too salty (not good for my kidneys), I decided to try out a paleo peanut butter cookie recipe today

The recipe rocks, in my opinion, 3 ingredients later and you have a gluten free, sugar free, cookie that actually tastes like a cookie, oh yes! 

Here's the deal though, my dear husband is not a lover of substitutions, so he was not this cookie's biggest fan. I hope he was happy I tried, because I love him and would really like to win his peanut butter cookie award someday! In the end, *I* got to eat some humble... cookie, and be thankful that I'm not valued based on my peanut butter cookie baking skills. ;)

If you want to join my Instagram challenge just follow the directives below and hashtag #picturemarriage with your photos.

Day 2 (Today): Starts in the Kitchen
Day 3 (Wednesday): Show Me the Love