Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Happy Birthday Baby "M"

*All photos belong to Rey of Light Photography
Please do not copy*

*click on photos to enlarge*

I had the pleasure of photographing this gorgeous little one in celebration of her first Birthday.

She was one of the happiest babies I've ever met. Thanks to her momma for asking me to do these, they were so much fun to do!

These are just a few of my favorites from the day.

Monday, June 27, 2011


If anything, this is a good place to test out some stuff!
Thanks guys, for putting up with me!

Is the new name silly? I need opinions!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Story Board & Website Suggestions

I was just playing around with some story boards.
I've been website shopping for something to display my photos better than here. There is nothing more frustrating than seeing a crisp, clear image while in Photoshop, only to upload it here and have it lose it's appeal. I am open to suggestions if anyone has one...please...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Summer Garden

After three years of gardening, and through MANY trials and errors, I think we've finally gotten this gardening thing down a bit.
Now don't let me fool you, it's nothing that impressive. Just some shabby homemade boxes and lots of pots and buckets with thriving plants in them. But we've managed to not only keep things alive, but actually harvest some pretty good stuff!
I do say "we", because although this was "another one of moms projects" the kids and hubby have been instrumental in the success of this years garden. If I ever forget to water or don't have time to harvest or weed, they're on it before I even have to ask!
It's been a great family project. And everyone gets so excited when we get to eat something we are responsible for producing ourselves!

Here's what we've got going on now.

Crook neck squash. I kill squash, and melons. Or practically anything on any sort of a vine. So we are super excited that we've managed to get a handful of these little guys this year!
And they are soooo delish!

Onions. Three varieties actually. We've had yellow, white & purple. These, aside from the tomatoes, have been our most successful crop this year. I actually gave a couple bagfuls away to some family because we harvested that much in a week!

We had more success with these year before last. I skipped growing these last year, and this year it seems my plants are far bigger than the broccoli heads themselves. But what little bit we've gotten has tasted just fine.

Bell peppers. We have a couple bell pepper plants that are doing well. We've only gotten a few peppers so far, and only two have been edible because I let them go too long and the withered up under the hot sun. We also have several jalapeno and serrano plants. They took over an entire garden bed last year and I still have peppers in my freezer that the hubby roasted for future use. But they don't seem to be doing very well this year. I chalk it up to putting them in a more shallow bed this time. I don't think they've been given enough space for their massive roots. Like I said "trail & error", I've made a note in my garden journal to change it up next year.

Here we have what were supposed to be Romas. Every year when I buy my tomatoes from the local hardware store I carefully select my varieties but I never end up with what I thought I was getting! The plants are always hearty and do extremely well, but they are always marked wrong!
In this case, these Romas ended up being grape tomatoes. Either that, or I have dwarf Romas!

There was one "early girl" plant in the carton of "Romas". So at least we got one full size tomato variety!

Like I said, they are great starters. Quite hearty and they produce really well. I was just looking forward to canning some tomatoes!

Potatoes. I have both a regular potato plant and a sweet potato plant that resurfaced this year. We tried growing them last year but ended up pulling them out when they didn't produce. We apparently missed a couple of roots, because up popped these plants out of nowhere!

Our herb garden has been great this year too! I've had plenty of fresh herbs to use in our dinners and I've even dried out some for next winter.
We've had sage, thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, parsley, lavender, dill, chives, and mint! (Sorry, I've got no photos right now, and I'm too lazy to go take some at this moment...)

Now for the most exciting part- drum roll please......

We finally grew a watermelon! This little guy is our first harvest! They are a smaller variety and we waited just a bit too long to pick him hoping he would get bigger, so he wasn't quite as sweet as he should have been. But the kids devoured it just the same!

Isn't it so pretty!

And there you have it. Our summer garden!

Tell me, what are you growing this season? What are your most successful crops? Or if you don't have a garden, what fruit or veggie to you most look forward to in the summer?

Thanks for stopping by!

Mmmm Food

One of the best things about summer is the fact that my hubby is home! He is a school teacher, so he gets to spend the summers at home, being the best house husband ever!
He is really good about doing the prep work for the recipes I want to try, so when I walk in the door from work, I can throw on the apron and still have time afterwards to relax and enjoy my evening.
He's also getting pretty darn good with the barbecue!

Here are some summer recipes we have enjoyed so far.

Jerk Shrimp
Super spicy but everyone loved it! Just make sure you have a salad to go along with it to help cool it off!

Grilled Corn on the Cobb
The kids love corn on the cobb, and we've always wanted to try grilling it. Grilling really does give it a nice flavor.

Perfect Pot Roast
The temperature finally hit 100 degrees here this week. With that being said, I will be making this recipe via crock pot, even though I love making it in my dutch oven.

My man's favorite salad.
I got the onion strings recipe here. This is a salad my husband will actually eat. It may be due to the fact that it has fried onions, avocado, bacon, grilled chicken and homemade ranch dressing. Ya know, all the things that make a salad not healthy anymore! But it is so very yummy!

Marlboro Man Sandwich
Wow! Super yummy! But so very filling! A half was too much! My Mr. quite enjoyed this hearty sandwich!

Breakfast! (homemade hash browns, homegrown sausage & bacon, fresh eggs and whole grain toast)

One of the cool things about summer- no rules! Well, at least when it comes to whats for dinner. Which means we can enjoy breakfast for dinner and feel just fine about it!

Cream cheese sopapilla & homemade vanilla bean ice cream
This thing is sinful. Seriously, if you care at all about your waistline or your cholesterol, don't make this. I found this sopapilla recipe over a year ago, but I've only made it a few times. Its extremely rich. The ice cream is just as rich too, but they somehow were made for each other. I actually do care about the health of my family, at least enough to know I shouldn't make this too often!

Don't worry, we've also been enjoying lots of fresh fruits and veggies from our garden. It is hopefully balancing out all the naughty things we've been eating!
I will share a garden post soon!

What are your favorite summer treats or recipes? Is there something new you've tried and really enjoyed? Is there an old favorite that you just have to have every summer?Or are you, unlike us, being extra good so you rock that bathing suit?

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Asian Birthday Party

*Remember to click on the photo to enlarge if you need to*

My middle child is into all things Asian. From sushi and chopsticks, to kimonos and anime, she adores it all.
So naturally, the idea for an Asian themed Birthday party was perfect for her.

We started out by looking the part. This is something my kids really enjoy, dressing up to go along with the theme of their party. It makes them feel extra special on their special day. A good friend was kind enough to lend us this costume kimono when I failed to finish the homemade one I was working on. But all was good and she was very happy with the borrowed one!

We rearranged some furniture and did a little decorating. I found these really cute Kawaii style printables from this Etsy store. It was a lot of cutting out, but the kids were great helpers!

All the tags, banners, flags, napkin rings and almost anything paper came from the Etsy package.

We used some of the printables to decorate the little take out boxes the guests brought their treats home in.

And to make napkin rings for holding these pretty chopsticks we found online here.
And Birthday hats-

And cupcake wrappers-

Cute little fans-

Fun little soda straw flags that say "Happy Birthday" in Japanese-

Once all the guests arrived, we started the party off with a little art project. I love to give the kids something creative to do at each party. Gets their little brains going and keeps them nice and busy!

Then while the art was drying, we played a nice game of "pin the blossom on the branch".

When that was all done, we sat down for a light lunch of mock sushi ham & cheese sandwiches with carrot & pickle.

Or PB&J for those who preferred it.

We also had fresh fruit, chips, dip, sesame crackers, of coarse these fried wontons.

Oh, and these lovely little mochi balls.

They all had a blast eating the food with their new chopsticks!

When lunch was finished we blew out candles and had our cupcakes and ice cream.

Then opened up some super cool presents like this ninja rubber ducky that was a part of a big rubber ducky collection!

Before the guests left we had them fill up a take out box with delicious treats like strawberry pocky-

And some more mock sushi rolls made from rice krispy treats, gummy worms, Swedish fish and fruit roll ups.

Regular and chocolate dipped fortune cookies with sprinkles.

Each box already contained some chocolate filled Japanese panda cookies we picked up from the World Market.
They each also got to take home a box containing a coloring page from the kit we got from Etsy, some color crayons, Hello Kitty bubbles, a paper fan, some balloons and their chopsticks and bamboo mat they ate with.

Overall I think it was a very nice age appropriate party for our newly nine year old. She had a great turn out and I was so happy she could share it with her friends!
Thanks for stopping by to check it out! Domo Arigato!