Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Top Picks Tuesday // MAY

My TOP PICKS for Tuesday, May 19th


// Cheese Curds from English Farmstead Cheese //
Just trust me, mkay? Never had it? Well bless your heart! Call them. I don't care how much it cost to ship (honestly, I have no clue what they charge for shipping!), just do it quickly and thank me later!


// Chocolate PB2 //
This is something I use almost daily. I add it to my Shakeology drinks. I love peanut butter. This is just a healthier, less fat, option. Pure peanut powder.


// Zoku Popsicle Maker //
According to my friend, Carey Pace, this is the best invention ever. Makes the perfect popsicle. We haven't yet purchased one, but it's on my wish list! Check out Carey's guest blog post for some amazing recipes.
// Wild Mountain Blueberry K Cups //
My most favorite coffee. Add a little honey and that's all you need for a tasty wake-me-up. Nuff said.


// Simply Pink by Pink Sugar Perfume //
I got this as a sample from Ulta on my birthday. Happy Birthday to ME! Smells so...sugary! Simple, fun. I like it!

// Hinterland Trading Vintage Purple Canning Jars //
Perfect for homemade creams. Or you can use them for whatever your little heart desires because they are fancy and cute and would be perfect for anything.

// Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Eraser //
Girl, get it. I actually stumbled upon this in my mom's makeup drawer one day (sorry mom! I'll always be a snooper! ...the drawer was open for what it's worth!). I don't have a lot of makeup knowledge and I'm not loyal to a certain brand. So if you are a makeup snob and don't like the store-brand stuff, well...pooey on you!! ha! But this stuff works and has a nice price for the amount of sleepless nights this can remove from the ol' face!
// Boiron Calendula Cream //
We love this stuff for boo boos, bites and burns.


// Canon 5D MIII DSLR Camera //
I use this camera for all of my professional sessions and I sometimes even use it for my own family!! It has amazing focusing capabilities, the image files are HUGE, the pricepoint is fair for a professional camera. It's all around just a beast. I'm much more in love with this version of the 5D than the MII. And! It uses SD cards! wahooo!
// Black Rapid Strap //
This isn't the exact strap that I have, but either way, it's a perfect camera strap for photo sessions, hiking, etc. It gives you extra piece-of-mind that your camera won't go flying out of your hand with the screw-in fastener to the base of the camera. It's comfy, although maybe not as stylish as some others, but it does the job and blends in with my outfit most of the time since I typically wear black for shooting weddings.

// Canon 50mm 1.2 Lens //
I shoot indoors a lot. The 1.2 focal length often times will save me (along with the high ISO capabilities of the MIII). I love it for portraits, babies, wedding details. I just like this lens. like. a lot.
// Targus USB Card Reader //
Works like a champ. Get's the job done. That's all ya need to know. I use it for CF and SD cards.


// Bible-Hi-Glider ACCU-Gel Highlighters //
So Smooooooth. Perfect for marking your favorite verses and highlighting where you want to come back to at a later time without bleeding onto other pages. And they look purdy! Get add-on for Bible journaling.

// Prima Marketing Chalk Fluid Edger Pad //
These are great little tool for edging your Bible, artwork with some nice color/texture. I also use them for stamps and just dab them onto the stamp face and, voila! The only problem is...I want all the colors!

// Sakura 6-pc Micron Ink Pen Set //
They are a must-have for any doodler, journaler, "arteest". They come in colors as well.
// Melissa & Doug Drawing Pad // 
Kids want to draw too! I love everything M&D. Their products are great and have a great price point. Right now, this drawing pad is $2.99. You can't beat that for a fairly nice quality of paper. They also make a watercolor paper pad that is great too!


// The Wayward Traveler's Guide to Waterfalls and Back Roads (NC) //
We stumbled upon this little gem at a gas station while looking for a few falls on a spontaneous trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains. It led us to "Secret Falls" which really is one of the best-kept secrets of NC! It isn't so "secret" anymore because I've been telling everyone since. If you are traveling NC, you MUST get this guide to find the falls. And don't miss your turn!!

// Go Girl //
Oh, just making sure you are paying attention.
No. I've never used one. I'd just pop-a-squat if need be. But hey, whatever floats your boat! I mean, it allows you to "urinate while standing". Talk about technology advancements!!!
// Melissa & Doug Memory Game //
Great for kids who need some attention-grabbers! It might decrease the "are we there yet" pleas, maybe just a tad! My kids have always enjoyed this set. The little blue blocks lift off with a bungee-style setup, can keep score, and you can change out the theme often enough to keep them interested.

//  2016 Rand McNally USA Road Atlas (Large Scale) //
My husband introduced me to the atlas. Fancy thing, it sure it. And sure enough has gotten us out of some sticky situations! We've never been too lost!!


 That's it for today's picks!

Happy Shopping!

Monday, May 18, 2015

At The End Of The Day, Your Feet Should Be Dirty


I'm may be crazy. And I probably have NO idea how much work I'd be creating for myself....in fact, I'm sure I don't....

But one of these days, I will have me a cow, some chickens, a couple goats, maybe a horse and definitely a muddy pig. Oh, and throw some honey bees in there for good measure as well.


I want a farm. a real farm with real farm animals...a sweet, smelly stench in the air...dirty kids! (oh, we already have that part!)

Since moving into the "barnhouse", the kids have repeatedly asked for animals and to have a farm. So the idea has always been there. We've always dreamed of this being our little farm...we have the garden and a dog! ha! But we want a "real farm" as they put it.
This past weekend, we went on a spontaneous trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sometimes I think I was made for that place. I could totally sink my bare feet into the freezing streams and dance through the grassy knolls. I could rock my babies to sleep on a big wide front porch in a rickety old rocker with a quilt over our laps. I could see us growing old there. But the roads are so long! The curves, so curvy!! And I get super motion-sick. So trips are probably the extent of my life in the mountains. But I do love it. It feels like home to me. In fact, a little shop in Blowing Rock was where I first heard Michael Buble over the stereo system and instantly fell in love. "Home" was our song.  It's a barefoot in the rain, arms tight around each other, swaying to the beat kind of song.

But our home is where we are now. And I'm ready for my farm...to grow our peaceful haven by a few chickees and calves!

What really set my heart and mind in motion was after leaving Linville Caverns, we backtracked to a little store we saw alongside the road that was selling cheese. Cheese, as in, the best food on the planet...fresh, homemade, straight from the cow in the pasture, cheese. The Caverns give you a ticket stub, that, if you present to the store clerk at , they'll give you a dollar off your purchase! Bingo! We love a deal!

The rain pouring didn't stop us from having a blast. We ran for the door and as soon as we landed on the porch, Jasper hollered "Momma! It smells so YUCKY!"....I said, "Baby, that's the sweet smell of poopy cows!" we giggled, opened the door and I walked straight into home.

Farmer man was sitting on a cooler spooning his icecream with his leathery-tanned skin and white t-shirt and muddy boots as granny sat on the bench quilting by hand. She marveled at Alanna's teething necklace wondering where those were when her children were little! The cheese samples called our names...

...Key Lime spread with graham crackers (the grown-up's favorite)
......Buttercup cheese with spicy pepperoni (Lukas' favorite, the buttercup, not the pepperoni!)
..........Roasted tomato and basil spread with crispy crackers (who doesn't love a dip?!)

And a cooler wall full of curds, cheese blocks, homemade pickles, farm-fresh eggs. Holy toledo.

It's exactly what I want. (To be a voluptuous farmer's wife, overdosed on cheese, obviously!!!)

I want my tanned, rugged and musky husband sitting by my side enjoying a bowl a handmade icecream or cheese drizzled with honey as the rain beats on the tin roof of my red cabin store.

I want my kids running around in muddy boots and learning the importance of raising animals and providing food for our family. 

I long to use my hands to feed people; cultivate the earth; to prick myself with quilt pins.


I really do want the simple life. I want a farm that keeps us all busy and together.

I don't want much. But it sure will take a lot to make it happen. Our garden is growing, we are on our way to a more self-sustaining life. I don't want to go backward...but forward isn't where I want to be either. There's nothing wrong with the way people use to live before traffic and cellphones and Facebook and RUSH.
I want that.

You may think I'm crazy or don't have it in me....
but it's my dream and a burning desire of my heart.

While I pound away on a computer from 7-5:30 each day, my heart beats for home.
My Pinterest board knows that farm life is on my constantly begging at me.

So if the Good Lord's willing and the creek don't rise, hopefully one day soon, I'll invite you over for some fresh cheese curd, a ripe summer tomato & watermelon salad, maybe some warm bread straight out of the oven slathered with freshly churned butter, and we can chat about the crazy chickens, our dreams, homeschooling and raising children.


Sound like a plan?
Never stop dreaming.
Never think you are too old or too invested in a career.
Never give up hope, and always...

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