Lens Flares, masks and color hues?

Today I have ventured into the world of color and flare.  Every time I take a photo, I see what I have in mind, take it, and photograph probably 15-20 more times just at that angle just to make sure I get it right.  It’s no small task afterward sifting through the photos and picking out the best ones.  I think the term is culling?  Strange term, don’t you think?  I prefer sifting through, but I suppose if I want to be a professional photographer one day, I probably should get my terms right.

So lens flare.  I’m sure every one of you have see what that looks like.  Some ethereal glow above the subject’s head or wherever the sun was when the photo was taken.  Sometimes you know it didn’t exist at all if you get good at looking through many photos. I see it on my friends that I follow, and they are quite good at it. Sometimes?  I think, nope, a photo needs to be left alone and carry no lens flare.  But art it art, and I don’t judge on why one is placed when I feel it shouldn’t be.  They had a vision and ran with it, and it works.

I experimented with a simple photo I took a few weeks ago of Hannah.  And today I added flare and adjusted the color, added vignette, etc. (The list goes on.)  See the difference?

Is it perfect? No, I could still go on and doctor up the photo.  And in truth, I still like the original. It’s edgier, and carries more weight, but we’re talking lens flares, so I wanted to show you how I added one on to this photo.

So color hue was a bit more tricky, and took some time to learn.  I don’t have photoshop yet loaded only my REALLY old computer that is barely hanging on; so everything I do edit is done through 3 different programs on my phone.  Really makes for long editing per photo, but so worth it.  When I have the ability to purchase a good computer and get hard drive space, I will dive in!  But for now, these are the things I can work with and it’s good!

Here is a photo I had taken a few days ago, and today I edited the colors.  I still need to work on fine tuning this, but I’m pretty happy with my very first try.  What do you think?

The interesting thing about playing with the hue is you can make an ordinary early fall day look like it is “prime time autumn.”  And our weather here in the south is rather warm, I need to be more creative to make fall look like it’s here.  I still have much to learn, but remember, this is my first time trying it out.


It’s been a long time since I’ve last written. Two years taking care of our daughter from  newborn to the toddler years can go by like a flash, and once they hit those toddler years, things really take off.  I have reflected on all of this by looking through my photos I’ve taken of my kids and seen how much growth and change has taken place.  When I see how I could literally hold my newborn in one arm at that time, to now where I have to wrestle to actually keep her IN my arms, on my!  It’s really quite humorous to watch a toddler develop; little minds racing into the new day with gusto.  While I sit here in my 45 year old body slowly walking into the day, especially if I get only 4 hours of sleep.  And yes, I admitted my age, because I’m not afraid to say it!  Ladies, walk confident in your age. (rant over)

I’m writing in to tell you about a transition I’m taking in my life – and this blog’s life.  No longer will I only write about recipes, those are lovely, and I like to keep them as my big kids really look to them for pancakes and some other staples and treats.  I will be showing our little lives, and a snapshot perhaps of the day, or maybe an event, or something really amazing that happened.  Also, I have been toying with photography and really love the creativity that goes behind the lens.  It’s challenging and some days I could throw in the towel, but if I had, then I wouldn’t have gotten this photo.fullsizeoutput_1c2f

Or this…


Do you know what it took to get her in this dress? She screamed, kicked and cried for her “tea” dress.  It’s her favorite and I was NOT going to put that one on for two reasons. One, it’s spring colors and I needed a photo with fall vibrant yellows to go with the environment.  And two, she is a model for some companies, and well, this dress is for one of them.  Maybe in this blog I’ll add that in, but for now, I keep that to her Instagram page.  Yes, the kid has her own page. HA!

I’m relabeling this blog to be more of a lifestyle/personal title.  Two teens and a toddler.  How many of you out there are in this same journey?  I’m actually relieved to find quite a lot.  Some days I feel like a lone wolf out here – all of my moms friends with teens are venturing out do more adventurous journeys with their kids while I backtrack a bit, and bring my teens along for the ride to see through the eyes of a toddler.  There isn’t one right way I realize, though there are days I envy their ability to do things like go on a difficult hike to a waterfall, while I research like mad to find just one waterfall I can safely take my child to.  And trust me, this road I have found to be difficult!  There are not so many options, at least from what I have seen.  So, welcome to our lives. I hope you enjoy!

Every time…


Hello readers.  I know it’s been quite some time, and I mean quite.  I won’t even look back to see when my last blog post was shared.  It’s embarrassing, but never mind that.  The why?  I could give you laundry list of reasons, but if you are a stay at home parent, laundry is a dirty word.  So I will spare you the details.  But I will say that I had three wonderful full years working at my kids’ school doing many different tasks that challenged me and fulfilled me in ways I didn’t expect.  And then?  I was given a new gift recently; one that consumes my every waking moment.  How can a baby be such a blessing and so exhausting at the same time?  Talk about a confusing set of emotions.  Yay! Ugh! Please stop crying! Aww you are so stinking cute I can’t stand it! Oh so beautiful! Oh boy, what a terrible mess of a diaper, yuck!  Look at her smile!  Aww I can’t stand how cute you are!  Just go to bed!!

Yep.  Baby.  Starting over after 11 years and it’s been so wonderful and tiring and fun and  yea. Enough blabbering.  Point is, I’m typing this message out to let you know how I’m doing.  I’m doing great, and really busy!  And this sandwich?  Well, it represents the hustle I put into my meals lately so I can quickly eat something without a child in my lap.  Which is never.  Hence the headline.  Every time… I want to eat?  She cries for me to pick her up.  And so I shall.

And this sandwich? Well, I just got halfway through eating it and she’s crying, and it’s time for me to rescue her once again.  ❤

Homemade Chocolate Peanut Butter Eggs

I cannot stress enough how amazing these sweet treats are for Easter!!

The Chocolate Bottle

Chocolate Peanut Butter EggsOh MY! These are the bomb!  I don’t mean to be silly with words, but sometimes it can’t be helped.  Truly these little eggs just explode in flavor in your mouth when you take a bite and it will leave you coming back for more.  I’m a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate together, how about you?  Without question, MANY people tell me the same statement… they can’t help themselves with the combination of flavors.  Why is it?

I was afraid to attempt to make these eggs because I wasn’t sure if the chocolate was molded first and then sealed after peanut butter is placed inside – like a peanut butter cup; OR, the peanut butter egg dipped into chocolate.  The latter is the case and THANK GOODNESS, because that part take very little time.  Actually the whole process of creating these eggs really needs to be shared HOW easy…

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Rhubarb Mocha Banana Bread

The Chocolate Bottle

I sat here for a few minutes trying to think of a title for this bread.  I am not satisfied in this name, but as they say today… “I’ve got nothing.”  Or is it “nuttin’?”  Either way, this bread is packed full of ingredients and really wasn’t too difficult to make.  The key ingredients that you will find important are:

  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Mocha Powder (Sweet)
  • Rhubarb
  • Bananas

cuttin rhubarb

Of course there are many other items involved in the bread… 🙂

smashing bananas

Don’t you love the name “rhubarb?”  It has a funny ring to it, lovely in color and has a unique taste.  My husband likes to rename oddly spelled food items.  This is one of them; said “r-hoo-barb.”  Just like herbs.  “H-erbs” with the “h” pronounced.  I hope we’re not the only oddballs out there that do this.  What names do you reprounounce into a crazy fashion?  Forget it with wines, that’s an…

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Valentine’s Day – Why Do We Celebrate?

I know people that do and do not celebrate Valentine’s Day, and to me, it’s a personal preference type of holiday.  I absolutely adore this holiday and our kids do too.  My husband used to disagree and call it a Hallmark holiday, which there is some merit to that statement.  However, I must politely disagree with those that call it this, and here is why.

This holiday is not just hearts, roses, candies and flowers that I throw together just to remind them that I love them.  And it’s also not about this history behind the holiday.  Though, if you have taken the time to read about St. Valentine, well, you are in for a real treat (or two.)  Both of these things are not the reflection of the holiday that I’m talking about.

I use this time to rebalance our relationship within our home.  We have decorations throughout, from January 14th-February 15th, to remind us that the holiday is coming up.  And the last two weeks, for both my husband and I, we have found ourselves buried under a heap of work.  This is a great example of how critical it is for both of us to be reminded of what is important.  Without solid foundation within the home, we cannot give outwardly to others in need of love as well.  Our home is rooted in God, His love.

His love.  That is what Valentine’s Day is about – a reflection of Jesus, and the great sacrifice He has made – His love for us.  Did we not just think about this during Christmas? Absolutely! Do we rejoice during Easter?  Yes!  So, why do we not reflect on His love during Valentine’s Day?  I think this is a perfect time to do so. What better timing than in the middle of a cold season, where we “hunker down” during the cold months, perhaps spending many hours working, sending our kids to activities, and then use too much time by the TV or on our tech devices, during the evenings.  It’s a great break in the cold season to stop – reflect on His love – and give it outwardly to our loved ones and friends, and perhaps beyond to those in need.  His love.

I keep saying His love because that what we all need, and that’s all He wants to give.

Me with Flowers
Photo Credit: Joy Fisk

My wreath making season

Just a quick look at what my projects are at home soon!

The Chocolate Bottle

Living wreathsTraditions run strong in our family, and wreath making has never left my side.  I was a little girl when I learned how to make homemade living wreaths.  My Dad taught me, using Hemlock tree material (very forgiving on the hands – just sappy), how to wrap the greens tightly onto the wire frame.  While it’s not difficult to do, it’s painstakingly a long process, per wreath.  I have narrowed it down to about 1 hour per wreath, start to finish, including adding the decorations.  Wrapping the green boughs onto the frame, easy!  Cutting the boughs, on the other hand takes a bit of time and thought.  None of this bothers me while I’m in process of doing the job, just my back complains.  Thankfully this year, I have a chiropractor which has helped alleviate the upper back pain from too much leaning. Yay! (Yes, that was a plug, but I can’t stress…

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Fast of the Slow


This season of Lent, I have been focusing on a couple of personal challenges as I “fast” through the season.  I’m not a crazy food fasting person… I like to actually EAT my food.  Plus, I get really grouchy and mean if I don’t eat.  So, let’s just say, it’s to your benefit rather than mine that I fast on other things than food.

What have I been fasting on at this point? Last week, I had taken away Facebook from myself.  Was it a challenge?  Are you kidding??  That site is crazy addicting.  Everyone’s business is on there!  Kids are being born, questions are being asked of me, work is connected here, happy engagements were happening, sad news was posted on there – and then there is the the infamous dress question.  (Personally?  I saw the dress in white and gold – with the color varying under horrible lighting by the photographer.)  The day of the dress was the day I allowed myself to surf back onto Facebook as the week of fasting for this was over.  Relieved?  Well, sort of.  Except for the dress question – that, I could have done without.  I do like the discipline that came of it. (I only allowed myself to get on for work at the school.)  I do like that I found my creative side again as well as time.  Distractions of what person was doing what for the day was eliminated.  It made me realize my time management was FLAWED.  I have some personal discipline issues that I will clearly be addressing!

What is my fast this week?  I like this one because it is a serious challenge for me.  Not sure how it’s going to go, but I’ll report in next week with the update.  I call it the Fast of the Slow.  What can I do to slow down my fast paced lifestyle?  I’m not talking about driving slower – I tend to follow the rules in that department already.  I’m talking about in my kitchen first and foremost, but also in my home.  Slow.  We move too fast.  We get around doing so much near each other that we forget to take time for each other.  I hustle in the kitchen, getting breakfast out to the kids as fast as possible so that I can, what? Shove my stomach full faster?  Get on the internet and surf again?  Where am I going?  The Facebook fast made me see how much of my time was dedicated to the computer rather than my family, or friends!  So the “slow fast” is going to be a challenge in more ways that I think I’m prepared for.  Like I said, I’m excited about it!

This morning, I pulled out my old coffee maker.  My Keurig is dying anyway, so the timing is perfect.  (Plus I read up on some gross details about how clean it is – or lack thereof.)  I also found my old tea kettle.  The kind you sit on the stove – old school.  It made me smile thinking of my Grandmother and how she would pull out the teapot and it would sing a beautiful tune a few minutes later when the water was ready.  Slow.

To slow down like this will force my family to do the same as they wait patiently for breakfast, or coffee, or tea.  It’s still convenience, but in this day in age of fast, we miss things.  I watched my daughter study the 18 birds outside this morning as they fed, while I waited for a pot of grits to cook s-l-o-w-l-y on the stovetop.  I wouldn’t have noticed the joy on her face if I was busy looking at my computer – because my coffee would have already been brewed in 5 seconds and her grits would have been cooked in the microwave and she would be eating them.

Microwave – the ultimate time saver. This is my biggest challenge.  This is my real “fast” for the week.  I, like many, depend on the use of a microwave.  I’m curious to see how much of a snob I might become going old school and using a cooktop.  My food probably will taste a lot better!  Soup at work?  Guess I’m investing in a Thermos.  That or not eat a hot meal.  Going slow is going to affect every area of my life!  Am I freaked out? No.  I’m ready.  And for the days that I am not ready – there is God. I’m sure I will be asking for patience to build up stronger within from Him. This fast reminds me of God and his grace during this special season.  Seems funny that I need to go slow to gain more time.  Truly, by going so fast, I feel I miss the mark.  Beauty is missed.  God is missed.  Time is actually lost.

This is why I am fasting by going slow.  How are you fasting this season?