Pass-a-Grille Beach Family Photo Shoot

One of the last things I wanted to do before we left Florida was do some family photos on the beach. I wanted to have at least one fun beach session and I just love family pictures. We got a very talented friend of ours to help me out. I love to take pictures but rarely end up in my own. I end up doing alot of tripod set up sessions which has resulted in some really good pictures but is hard to capture cute non-posed pictures.

The sunset cooperated perfectly. (even though we were nervous it was going to keep raining)  It was super hot and we were pretty sweaty out there haha. It ended up more than just perfect, it was just what we all needed to put the busyness of life in perspective. Nature and the outdoors of all types has always been my personal sanctuary. IMG_8688IMG_8691-2IMG_8692-2IMG_8702-2

I can’t decide which of the next two I like better… the washed out one or the silhouette one.IMG_8705-2IMG_8705-3IMG_8711-2Haha 😀IMG_8721-2^The funny one.^

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The sky was just on fire at the end! We could not believe how beautiful it was. Such an awesome amazing sight. I love the picture of our good friends. I can’t decide if I like the silhouette style or the lightened one where I can see their faces better so I posted both of them.

We are busy with home renovations here. I can’t wait to have our floors done. They should be just in time for Thanksgiving which I am hosting. I’ve ordered our turkey and put up decorations but thats about it. I have got to get working on everything else now. Yay for Turkey Day! 🙂 I hope you all are getting into all the Holiday spirit too. Until next week, XOXO.

 

Another Year… Another Birthday

The past couple weeks we have had lots of visitors! It was so much fun having my cousins from Sweden visiting for a few days. Jake just loved playing with the big kids and keeping up with them. And having my mom and dad with us is always nice. They are the best at helping out around the house with things I need to get done. That being said…it has been the opposite of picture perfect down here. Nothing like getting another year older and having a bad week at the same time to make your own birthday forgotten and not special anymore. But when things are stressful and bad I am working on being more positive about life this year. Things might not be exactly how I have pictured them in my mind but I am going to focus on the good.

I am happy to have 2 amazing unique active little boys.

I am happy to have a wonderful family that I love so much.

I am happy to have such great friends chat with about everything from hair styles to baby poop.

Three good things each week with my posts.

Today in particular, I was very happy to watch Jake climb trees in the yard. We ended up doing a mini photo shoot because he was being just so darn cute. I can’t help it.2017-01-24-16-23-442017-01-26-11-06-312017-01-26-11-07-00-22017-01-26-11-07-37-22017-01-26-11-08-082017-01-26-11-08-232017-01-26-11-10-462017-01-26-11-22-302017-01-26-11-23-302017-01-26-17-00-052017-01-26-17-00-152017-01-26-17-00-312017-01-26-17-13-36-22017-01-26-17-14-58

And finally, after hives…passing out at the doctor…sick Jake… broken kitchen sink… super long working hours hubby… failed birthday cake and dinner (that I made for myself. What a major disappointment)…no wine until I finish my prescription… blah blah blah. I am happy to have a mommy that was here to help out for an extra week AND get me a Starbucks gift card for my birthday present. Oh! has it been delicious already!

Until next week…XOXO. Here’s to a more positive 2017.

Silhouette

Happy Friday everyone! To be quite honest, you are lucky I know what day it is. haha. I cannot wait to get little man number 2 sleeping through the night. I am doing really pretty well actually and enjoying my time with my little boys, but some more sleep will be really nice. Thank goodness for a Pumpkin Spice Latte today! YUM! Liam is actually a pretty good baby and very easy going… just with all newborns, it takes time to make it to the sleeping all night mark. With a toddler running around too, I just pray that I can get both to nap at the same time everyday. I ♥ naptime.

As you know, I have been slowly working on editing the newborn pictures that I took a few weeks ago. I am very happy with how they are turning out, so I cannot wait to share them all! I wanted to share the before maternity and after birth silhouette pictures that I took. I really love how they look .

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Just a short post today since bedtime was a bit of a struggle tonight… nothing like throwing a new baby in the mix of life to make a mom second guess everything she thought she was doing right.

Hunting caffeine until next week, XOXO.

Pumpkin-Swirled Oat Bars

I found this delicious and very rich Paula Dean recipe to satisfy my fall pumpkin cravings. They were nice to keep cold and have a fallish treat without over heating myself down here in Tampa. Yes, I’ll admit that I am one of those pumpkin obsessed, boot wearing (well not so much in the heat), white girls and I am not ashamed.

IMG_6878^Everyone needs a good “helper”.^IMG_6880IMG_6884IMG_6885IMG_6886

Here is the recipe for anyone who would like to try them yourself!

Pumpkin-Swirled Oat Bars

2 Cups plus 1 Tablespoon All Purpose Flour; Divided

2 Cups old-fashioned oats

1 Cup Firmly packed light brown sugar

3/4 Cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 Cup unsalted butter, softened

2 (8-oz) packages cream cheese, softened

2/3 Cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream

2 Large eggs

1 (9-oz) jar pumpkin butter (I just ordered this from amazon)

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with foil; letting excess extend over sides of pan; spray foil with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together 2 Cups flour, oats, brown sugar, pecans, salt, pie spice, and baking soda. Add butter and beat with a mixer at medium-low speed until mixture is crumbly. Reserve 1 1/2 cups oat mixture in a small bowl; press remaining oat mixture into bottom of prepared pan.
  3. Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes
  4. Meanwhile, in same large bowl, beat cream cheese, granulated sugar, cream , and remaining 1 tablespoon flour with a mixer at medium speed until creamy, 2-3 minutes, stopping occasionally to scrape sides of bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Pour mixture onto prepared crust, and spoon pumpkin butter by tablespoons onto cream cheese mixture. Using a knife, swirl mixtures together. Sprinkle reserved oat mixture on top.
  5. Bake until top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Using excess foil as handles, remove from pan before cutting into bars. Cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days.

Makes about 18

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Hope you enjoy it as much as this little man… he is saying YUM!

Until next week, XOXO.

Fourth of July Weekend

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. The only drawback to The Fourth is how scared it makes Emma dog. I cannot wait to celebrate with family and friends this year! We decided to start celebrating early this year with some fun (and easy) red, white and blue snacks by the pool.

I just used blueberries, watermelon, bananas and marshmallows. A healthy and yummy snack for all!

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I am still in love with the pie and Sangria I made last year for us. Maybe I will get a chance to make another pie this year. YUM! Check out a throwback to last year here.

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We had another fun treat to start off the morning…

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Can you tell I am craving sweets this week?? HAHA!

Hope you all have a wonderful Holiday weekend! Stay safe… Until next week, XOXO

A New Year

It has been a little bit since my last post. It has been pretty busy around here with visitors and Holiday activities. I have seemed to have gotten some sort of chemical in my eyes and have been trying to get them healed the past few weeks. They are finally almost better! Jake and I also got a pretty bad cold this past week which has really put a stop to any projects I had been working on. We are finally doing much better today.

I am excited for this next year. I am working on some changes this year for myself. First I am going to make a major effort to be more positive about living in Florida. Positive thoughts make positive attitudes! And second, I am going to make an extra effort to eat healthier and finally lose the last 10 lbs. We shall see how it goes.

Anyway I hope everyone is getting started on the right foot in 2016 and making it the best year yet! Here are some pictures from playing outside today. (Positive thought of Florida; It has been very nice weather for a little boy to play outside this week!)

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Until next week, XOXO.

Lan Su Chinese Garden

While on our epic long vacation up north, the hubby and I went on a mini trip to Oregon. While in Portland for an afternoon/evening we did some exploring. We stumbled upon this cute Chinese garden in the city. It did not look like much on the outside but inside it was well worth the visit. I just loved everything about it. It was a nice little retreat in the middle of the city. Lan Su Garden was perfect for a little afternoon excursion.

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^This was a lovely restaurant with plenty of teas to relax and enjoy the garden with.^

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Lan Su Garden was beyond what we expected. Make sure to check it out if you are in Portland!

Until next week, XOXO.