Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sneak Peek: Adley 8 months

Adley is one of my Baby's First Year clients.  I have really enjoyed seeing her every few months and spending time with her and her parents.  It doesn't hurt that she is adorable either!  It sure makes my job easier and a lot more fun.

Do you remember her baby pictures?  She was past the "typical" newborn picture phase (usually done in the first 10 days- and she was 7 weeks!) but she was one of the easiest babies I have worked with.

Then for her 4 month session we got one of my favorite pictures of 2013: The tutu and pearls picture.  I was a little worried for her 8 month session.  Would I be able to keep it up?  Can she continue to dazzle me with her sweetness.

YES!  She was, once again, a little doll.  I got so many amazing pictures from this session.  I think part of it is her rockstar mom.  Hollie knows how to dress for pictures.  Perhaps I need her hire her as a stylist!  Don't want to take my word for it?  Just let Adley dazzle you with her cuteness.

Perhaps another Photog in the making?  She LOVED my lens cap!

 Adley, keep it up girl.  I can't wait for our one year old session!  Your mom better start planning now so that we can out-do this one. 

For more pictures, visit my website or my Facebook page.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


So...I am learning to how be a stay at home mom again.  I am having to learn to unchain myself from the computer and actually be productive around the house.  From about August until the end of December I was so busy with my business that I didn't really feel like a stay at home mom.  There were some weeks that I was working 40-50 hours.  My poor husband, children and house suffered.  I felt the constant pressure of trying to do laundry, cleaning, dishes and take care of the hubs and kids.  It was a little overwhelming. 

However, now is a slower time for photography (a blessing and a curse).  I am not going to lie, it has been hard to get back into the role of housewife.  I keep sitting at the computer thinking I need to be working on something.

But this slower pace has forced me to be more domestic.  And I like it!  I have spent more time thinking about and planning for meals.  I have spent more time keeping up with the laundry.  If you are to randomly stop by my house you will find it generally in good shape (NOT the case in the last 4 was embarrassing).  And most importantly, I have spent more time with my kiddos!  That is my favorite.  When Jameson asks me to play a game of Candyland, I don't have to feel guilty about saying yes (because there are a million other things I should be doing), or even worse when I have to say "not right now".  I have been reading more books, playing more games and saying "yes" more often.  It feels good.  I know it is going to be busy again, so I am trying to soak up this time and enjoy it. 

I have also rediscovered my like (not really love, but a strong like) for cooking.  I have always enjoyed baking and cooking thanks to my mom.  She is a wonderful cook and I love to her hear her tell stories of cooking for all of the ranch hands during harvest on their wheat ranch when she was growing up.  She would talk about getting up at 4 in the morning to make biscuits and gravy, bacon, pancakes and sweet rolls for breakfast.  Then they would make a mid day meal to take to the men in the fields.  All afternoon they would make pies and cakes and then start a big dinner for when the hungry men would come in from working.  Then it was time to serve dessert and do all the dishes and get ready for the next day.  Those must have been some seriously LONG and really hot summer days in the kitchen.

My favorite story is when she petitioned my grandpa for more money.  Her older brother made significantly more money working in the fields with all of the men.  My mom went to her dad and explained that she had to be up before everyone, worked all day (15+ hours with virtually no breaks) and then had to do dinner, dessert and dishes after all the men were done working.  He was a loving, wonderful man and came to see her value and work ethic and from then on, she and her sister made more money during harvest season!

So my love for cooking came when my mom made encouraged me to help her in the kitchen.  Thanks mom!  I am pretty sure that is one of the reasons I hooked such a good husband.  Ladies...the way to a man's heart is through his stomach! 

I have been in a rut a little bit in regards to recipes.  We have a lot of allergies and one REALLY picky eater, so sometimes it is tough when it comes to cooking.  I have all of these good recipes that my kids can't or won't eat.  So I did what all modern women do.  I went to Pinterest.  I decided it was time to try out a few new recipes and see how it went.  I have also been trying to be more careful with my waistline and with the budget, so I have been working on doing more meal planning.

The other night I made hamburger patties for us and hot dogs for the kids.  I needed something to go with it, so I looked on my Sides, Snacks and Salads board and found this.

So, I thought I would give it a whirl.  It. was. amazing.  I didn't use the butter (so as to stay as healthy as possible).  I peeled one of the potatoes (to tempt the picky one who LOVES french fries but will NOT eat a potato in any other form...especially if there is skin on it).  The peeled one was REALLY good and a little crispier (more potato chip like) than the others.  I can't wait to make them again.  So much easier (and better/crispier) than making your own fries by cutting them up and then cooking them.  I think next time I will cook them at 400 for 40 minutes and then bump the temp to 425 or 450 for an extra 5-10 minutes to crisp them up a bit more. 

The next night, it was a bit chilly here so I decided I wanted something warm and soupy and the only thing I had on hand was bacon.  So, I found this recipe on my Pinterest "Recipes" board.  I altered it a bit as I wanted to make it more healthy and I didn't have all of the ingredients.

You can find the link to this recipe here.  I mostly used this as a base for mine and then I added/subtracted to it.  I liked it, but next time would change a few things, so I am going to put the changes into the recipe so that when I make it again, I know what to do.

1 16 oz. package of bacon
1 small onion (chopped into TINY unrecognizable pieces so as to trick the children into thinking there aren't any onions in it)
2 cups skim milk
3/4 c. flour
1 can mushrooms with juice (I didn't add this to mine because of my 'shroom hating children, but I think they would be a delicious addition).
2 cups rice (I used brown rice but next time I am going to do a mixture of brown and wild rice)
3 cups chicken broth
2-3 cups of water (to make it as thick/runny as you want.  Mine was a bit thick so I think next time I will add more water to make it more soupy than casseroly).
Salt, garlic and pepper to taste (sorry I never measure this stuff.  I just add until I think it tastes good).
Cheese for the top

Cut the bacon into small pieces and then cook it over the stove- set aside for later.  (Save some for the top as garnish if desired).  Cook onions and garlic in bacon drippings.  In a separate pot (while the bacon is cooking) cook rice in the chicken broth (for as long as it takes to cook the rice- depending on what kind of rice you use).  Add the bacon and onions/garlic to the rice.  After removing onions/garlic, use the same pan to make the white sauce.  Add flour, salt and pepper to the pan.  Slowly add the milk until it is thick and yummy.  Add the "sauce" (and mushrooms if desired) to the rice mixture.  Add water until it is the thickness that you desire.  Simmer for a bit to help the flavors blend together. 

Don't you love how specific my directions are?  Sorry, I am kind of a throw stuff in and keep adding until it tastes good.  This was warm and yummy on a cold winter's night.  Sorry I didn't take any pictures of these.

Last night, we had yet another new recipe.  That's right.  Three home-cooked (non-rushed) meals, eaten at the kitchen table together, in a row.  Yeah!

Last night's meal was probably the best.  Why, might you ask?  Because the SUPER picky eater ate it all AND asked for seconds.  It was a holiday miracle!

We had "Cheeseburger Wraps" found here.

This recipe was really easy and SOOOOOOOO good.  I even used whole wheat tortillas and a mixture of ground turkey and ground beef to make them a little healthier.  It only called for 1 lb. of meat, but I used 2 lbs. and we ate it all!  I didn't add lettuce or tomato inside because I was afraid it would get hot and gross.  I did, however, use pickles and avocados inside and it was so good.  I think next time I will use slices of my favorite Tillamook chedder cheese on the inside instead of the shredded cheese that I used.

The best part about this recipe was the genius idea to throw them on the George Forman Grill to firm them up and bind them together.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I will be doing this on all burritos in the future.  It just takes 1-2 minutes on the G.F. Grill and it is worth every second!  It makes them stick together and makes it so all of the deliciousness stays instead and you don't have to contort your mouth/face and/or have half of your wrap fall out onto the plate.

Did I mention that Mr. Picky Pants ate all of it (with no weeping and gnashing of teeth as per our usual dinner ritual) and asked for seconds?  Six Sisters, I am deeply grateful to you for this recipe. 

All of these recipes will be making a repeat appearance at the Lord household.

Have you tried any new Pinterest recipes lately?  You can check out the other recipes that I have tried on Pinterest at the following links below.

Lemon Quinoa Cilantro Chickpea Salad and Chile Colorado Burritos
Avocado Eggs and Healthy Vegan Pancakes

Let's hear it for delicious leftovers tonight!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Here's Your Sign

Remember that comedy bit from Jeff Foxworthy?  Love that!

I have had this idea to make handmade signs for people for a long time.  Finally, this year (thanks to Pinterest and a limited Christmas budget) I decided to tackle the project and make it happen!

I used this tutorial from Pinterest (find it HERE) and then had to tweak it from there.  Here are 25 easy steps you should take:

Step One:  Have an awesome Dad with a heated 2 car garage workshop and every tool/scrap wood/stain ever imagined.

Step Two: Send said Dad an email telling him what you want to accomplish and include the link to the tutorial.

Step Three:  Show up at said Dad's house with 5 year old in tow.  Bring 5 year old inside the house to be entertained spoiled by Nana.

Step Four:  Go into heated workshop to find that Dad has already purchased all the materials needed, has cleaned the workshop and has an amazing mix of Christmas music going (from his ginormous mp3 player from 2001- "It still works, doesn't it?").

Step Five:  Enjoy every minute hanging out with Dad and having him share his passion with you.

Step Six: Cut masonite (which dad had laying around from another project) into various sizes (for the front of the sign.  I used 12x12, 12x18 and some other sizes) using a table saw.

Step Seven: Cut 2x2's in half with table saw (or in my case, have Dad do it).

Step Eight: Cut 4- 2x2's (which are now actually 1x2's) to fit on the back of the sign.

Step Nine:  Attach the 2x2's to the back side of the sign with a nail gun (or in my case, have your Dad do it while you hold everything in place).

Now they look like this!
Step Ten: Go inside and have a BLT sandwich and check in on the 5 year old (and the Nana).

Step Eleven:  Bring the cute 5 year old outside and have him help you paint the signs (I got the paint for $10 per gallon at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore).  

He did a great job and no need to worry if he drips!
Step Twelve: Call it a day and go home to pick up the other kids from school.

Step Thirteen:  Come over two days later to find that Awesome Dad has done a second coat and some sanding on the project.  He has also bagged them all in black garbage bags so as to make transport easier. Also steal borrow a ginormous basket of small acrylic paints from Mom.

Step Fourteen:  Let them sit in the garage for a week until you have time to get to them again.

Step Fifteen:  Spend 12 hours (not joking) trying to figure out how to get the words on the sign.  This was tricky.  I was going to blow it up using a projector, but that did NOT work.  Finally, I used a program called Picmonkey (very similar to the old piknic) which allows you to put all sorts of words and fonts onto a picture.  

Here is what it looked like from Picmonkey. 

After I saved the picture, I brought it into Photoshop.  Then I found a tutorial (on youtube, but can't remember what it was called.  If you really want to know, comment below and I will find it for you- I think I have it written down somewhere) on how to print tiles and printed it into 8x8 inch squares which I taped together.  Then I used (graphite) tracing paper (found in a big roll at Hobby Lobby) to trace the words directly onto the sign.

Step Sixteen:  Spend hours (complete with hand cramps) tracing the letters onto the signs.  Then spend hours (and more hand cramps) hand painting the letters with the acrylic paints from mom and teeny tiny paint brushes stolen borrowed from my husband's art supply stash.

Step Seventeen: Go back to Dad's warm, Christmasy workshop with hand painted signs in tow.  

This one ended up being my favorite, however I don't have a finished pic of it.  I will have to snap one next time we are up at the cabin as it is already hanging up there!
Be sure to bring along Santa's helper.

Step Eighteen:  Sanding.  Sand down the signs.  Use precise movements.

Or, in my case,  let an eight year old do it.

Step Nineteen: Using a dark stain (see step one), carefully put stain on the sign. 

Oh, who are we kidding....just let the eight year old do it!

Step Twenty: Let it sit for a minute and then wipe it off.

Step Twenty-One: Take 8 year old inside (see step 3- Nana was quite perturbed when Santa's Helper beat her handily at every game they played).

Step Twenty-Two: With a table saw, cut down the rest of the 2x2's so that they will fit the thickness of the sign (you will use these for the frame of the picture).  Be sure to measure and make sure it works on a scrap piece before cutting all of them.  And be sure your tongue is out.  It helps.

Step Twenty-Three: Stain the frame pieces (again, see step one).  I used Jacobean, which is a really dark stain, but I liked the way it turned out.

Step Twenty-Four: After debating, decide that Dad is right and even though straight corners would be easier, mitered corners will look better.  Plus, Dad likes to use his fancy tools.

Not gonna lie.  I liked using them too!

Step Twenty-Five:  Measure, cut, nail.  Repeat a million times.

For Julie

For Uncle Ron

For Paul's Downstairs Bar 

Step Twenty-Six:  Relish in a job well done and some good quality time spent with good ole' Dad (with a lot of Mom backup support- as usual).

Easy-Peasy....right?  I have a few blank ones left if anyone would like to make a request and buy them.  I can personalize them with whatever you want!  I am going to make myself one and will have three other leftover signs that just need steps 16-25.  Any takers?

If you are going to take on this project....make sure you follow steps 1-5 VERY carefully!  Thanks Dad (and mom).  

Stay tuned for more projects like these.  My sister and I are contemplating starting a company that makes your pins (from Pinterest) come to life.  For those of you who don't have time (or perhaps the know-how) to DIY.  We are going to call it....."My sister made it".   Anyone have a pin that they have pinned that they can't or don't know how to make.  We will do it for you!  What do you think?

New Year Schmoo Year

I hate ringing in the New Year.  There, I said it.  It is my least favorite holiday.  Probably because tv, movies and everyone makes it seem like it is going to be this amazing event and everyone is in love and having a wonderful time.  It is always so built up and it always disappoints!  I spent 3 New Years eve newly pregnant (read: nausious and not allowed to imbibe in New Year toasts).  Then I spent 3 New Years Eves nursing (read: exhausted and not allowed to imbibe in New Year toasts).  I have also rung in the New Year MANY times....alone.  My husband is an early bird (which usually saves our marriage as he gets up in the morning with the kids so that I can sleep in).  However, that means that by 10:00 the early bird is DONE.  Blood shot eyes are glazed over and by 11:00 he is down for the count.

Last year, we were in San Diego and spent New Year's Eve Day at Legoland.  It was about half way through our road trip to California and everyone was exhausted.  We were also in outdoor hallway hotel rooms that didn't conjoin and therefore, each of the three rooms had children that were desperate to sleep (read: their parent's were desperate for them to sleep).  By 9:45, I was the only one awake.  In a dark hotel room...trying to stay up to ring in the new year.  LAME!  I finally turned on the TV (muted of course) and watched some fireworks recorded earlier in London or something.

So this year, I was determined to not care and treat it like any other day.

And we made a genius plan.  We decided to go up to our family cabin in Fairplay.  Further awesomeness occurred when our good friends and my sister and her kids decided to join us.  What could be better than hanging out in the Rocky Mountains with good friends?

We also planned a few activities for the kids so as to make the night go quickly and so we didn't have to answer "Is it time for New Year's yet?" 150 times.

We headed up to the cabin mid-day and got everything set up.  We had fondue for dinner (another genius plan as everyone has to cook their own food, there are very few dishes to clean and it takes a LONG time-which is awesome if you have no where to be).

After dinner the kids played with kool-aid play-dough that I had made earlier that afternoon (you can find it here on my Pinterest board).  It was easy, quick, didn't take a ton of ingredients and smelled delicious.  For the record, don't use lemonade kool-aid.  It doesn't really look yellow.  It is amazing that even the 12 and 10 year olds LOVED playing with the play-dough.

After that, we did bag skits.  You know, where you split into teams and you have to make up a brief skit.  Each team gets a paper bag filled with random objects (usually one prop per person).  You then have to make up a skit using the items from the bag as your props.  The only rule is that, the item cannot be used as its original purpose.  For example, we had a pair of scissors, a bottle of water, a rubber band and a bread-cutter thing that you use to make cute shapes for sandwiches for lunch boxes.  Our skit was about New Year Resolutions.  Julie was the narrator and used the scissors as glasses.  I was trying to lose weight and used my rubber band as excersise equipment.  Tanner was trying to get off the couch and learn a new skill (which was learning how to fence-lightsaber with the water bottle as his "sword/light saber".  Makai was trying to have good behavior and get out of jail and used the bread cutter as hand cuffs.  It was pretty entertaining.

After that, we took the kids outside (in the freezing wind) and we shot off some light up umbrella things that my dad got us for Christmas.  They got them when they were in Europe and they are awesome!

You use the rubber band thing to shoot them up into the air and then the twirl around and come down!  It is really fun.  Maybe a little more fun when it isn't freezing cold and windy!  I can see us using these often in the summer time.

By then, it was time to ring in the New Year (Eastern Time Zone)!  It was REALLY noisy with 7 kids blowing noise makers and screaming.  However, that didn't bother Jameson, who was really tuckered out and fell asleep a few hours before.  He slept through the whole thing (like father like son).

After the kids fell asleep the adults played a new game.  It is called Cards Against Humanity.  It is basically Apples to Apples but an adult version.  WARNING: there are some REALLY offensive cards in the deck......but we had some good laughs ("stray pub" was the best card in the deck-funny every time).  It kept us laughing until it was time for the Mountain Time Zone countdown.  Even Chris made it this year!

For lunch on New Year's Day, we did our candy bar switch up.  You can read about it in my previous blogpost HERE.

After a fun-filled lunch, we packed up the kids and headed to the beach.  Fairplay beach that is.  Yes, Fairplay has a beach.  Someone had already formed some tracks and some sweet jumps.  We were the only ones there and the kids had a BLAST. 

Can I tell you how much I love taking sledding pictures?  There is something about catching the kids mid-air that gives me a thrill.  Partner that with me having sciatic problems so I couldn't go down the hill myself.  I had to live vicariously through the pictures.  I took a million pictures, but these are my favorites!

Maddy always caught some serious air!

Ellie did not like getting snow in her face so Adah so nicely covered it for her.  

The 'Stache in all its glory

This one is blurry, but I love the look on her face!

Learning how to snow board on the sledding hill.

Mom of the Year award....forgot the ski coats so the kids just doubled up on hoodies.

Love Tanner's mid-air shot

Love this girl!

Kristin is learning the lesson of "NEVER START A SNOWBALL FIGHT WITH CHRIS LORD".

Snow Stache

Noah is so good with his younger cousins!

Adah showing off her flying skills (notice the sign in the background).


Tanner's frog jump

Might be time for a hair cut

JJ's audtion for the Chorus Line

This is love.  Pushing your cousin up the hill.
A good time was had by all.  It was relaxing and fun. We played a lot of games and barely watched any TV or movies.  The kids were barely even on their i-devices.  They played and played and played.  It was awesome.  Perhaps this year I will be willing to admit that I actually enjoyed the "New Year" holidays and it was all that I hoped it could be!

I hope that you were all able to ring in the New Year in style.  And if not....there is always next year.  We will take bids for who gets to come with us to the cabin!