December 31st

Monday, December 31st, 2018

Happy New Years Eve!

Paul and I are hosting some friends tonight, and I may have gone a little overboard with desserts.

Pictured are the Tiramisu cupcakes. Let me tell you, while my they may not look perfect, I am SO proud of them. Thanks to my new stand mixer, I made coffee flavored cream cheese whipped cream from scratch today and it was revolutionary. I felt so accomplished.

But better than that was the great company.

Happy New Years, friends! See you for year three of 365 in 2019!

December 28th

Friday, December 28th, 2018

I don’t normally title my images for this project, but today’s image begged for one:

”Life with Cats.”

If you live with indoor cats, you probably either just laughed out loud, or smiled fondly and nodded along. Why you may ask?

Because cats are weird.

That became very very evident to us within 24 hours of our boys coming to live with us. They sleep in weird positions in weird places, one minute they demand for you to pet them and the next it’s offensive that you even looked their direction, their hunting instinct can turn in and off in mere instants (like when they see toes under the covers), they have a very strange obsession with boxes, their idea of deep love is slow blinking at you from across the room, and their habits can be befuddling (like the way Colt gets offended when you shower or go to the bathroom without him).

Unlike most dogs, they’re independent. Which is what I love and appreciate about them. They never fail to make me smile with their goofiness, and they add so much light to our home.

Like this afternoon, when I went to make our bed after washing the sheets. I walked past the door of our master bathroom to Finn conked our on our bath mat. He has never slept there before, and giggled to myself and I shook my head at him because it’s always something.

After thinking about it, I realized that we have an air vent that comes out there, so he was laying on our memory foam mat in front of the warm air. Smarty pants.

I started photographing from the ground, but was unhappy with the results. That’s when I realized that I usually look down at him, so to get an accurate account of what was happening, that’s what I needed to do.

The clean, bright whites contrasting the dark mat and dark spots of Finn’s coat was perfect. Including the mirror in my composition was on purpose; the reflection makes you stop and think about what’s happening. It gives you pause and I liked that. Had I not included it, the image would’ve felt too “easy.”

Do you have cats? Where is their favorite napping spot?

December 27th

Thursday, December 27th, 2018

Well the weather is just being wonky.

Most of Minnesota and the Dakotas are getting hammered with snow. With 12”+ of snow, blizzard conditions are causing many businesses to close early. It works out that most schools are closed this week for Christmas break, otherwise they’d probably be closed as well.

Most of the Twin Cities got mostly rain today, but that’s not the case for us.

We’re on the rain/snow line, so one minute it’s raining, the next it’s snowing…and then back to rain. It has been truly bizarre. The snow I shoveled this morning was the wetest I’ve ever had to move.

As I’m writing this, the rain has transitioned back to snow, and it’s coming down like CRAZY. Huge flakes. HUGE. I just checked back in on my weather app, and while an hour earlier it said only rain through tomorrow, now it’s saying the freeze line has shifted so expect FIVE INCHES of snow before midnight tonight.

This is just weird.

Pretty, but weird.

I came in from collecting eggs this afternoon, and I had a bunch of pretty little snowflakes clinging to my shawl, and naturally I had to photograph them.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings in terms of weather!

December 26th

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

There’s been a large box under the tree with my name on it since before Thanksgiving.

I’ve known what it is, and the suspense has been building (and killing me) for the last month.

In fact, I’ve been holding off on making Christmas Cookies because I knew this wonderful gadget would make it that much more fun. So when I finally opened it yesterday morning, I knew I’d have a special date with it at home today.

It is big, shiny, powerful, and beautiful.

Ladies and gentlemen: A KitchenAid Stand Mixer. After taking a picture of myself in the pretty shiny mixing bowl, I made a small batch of chocolate chip cookies this evening, and they were perfect.

We can also purchase additional attachments like a corer/peeler/slicer, which we may look into because of the amount of apples we froze from our neighbor’s trees this fall.

This pretty thing may have become my new best friend.

December 25th

Tuesday, December 25th, 2018

Merry Christmas, my friends.

What a wonderful reason for a celebration we all wait months for. While I know this time of year can be one of conflicting feelings for those missing family, friends, or facing other challenges, I wish you a time of great joy, belonging, and good health as you go about your day.⠀

Today, Paul and I spent all day with family. The morning with my family, the afternoon with Paul’s.

Paul’s family loves games, so we that’s what we did all afternoon. We played two new ones this year (What Do You Meme? and Spotted), while we also played our usual go-to, SPOONS.

SPOONS always gets intense – chairs get knocked over, people end up wrestling for spoons, and this year since we played with plastic spoons, many got broken in the struggle for the win. After I got all of my letters, I grabbed my camera and played with a slow shutter to attempt to show the action on the table.

And then I turned around to see the calm on the other side of the room with those already out of the game.


I think out of everyone, Colt had the best day. So many hands to pet and love him, so many laps to snuggle on and with. He was more than a little sad when everyone went home.


December 24th

Monday, December 24th, 2018

Merry Christmas Eve!

While we won’t be having a white Christmas this year, the big positive about the weather being mild is that all of the ice has melted.

The big thing that stops Paul and I from riding outdoors in the winter is fear of ice; even with a layer of snow on top, you don’t know what’s happening underneath and the idea of our horses slipping and sliding is not an appealing one. Especially since our horses are not in peak shape by any means right now, so pulling a muscle is a real possibility with too much of a slip or slide.

Since the ground is dry because of the weather, over the past couple weeks we’ve been going out on short but wonderful rides down the driveway. The boys basically put their halters on themselves they’re so excited to get out, and it’s a great for everyone to get some fresh air and exercise. It’s great for their mental state, too, as they get to go out and take in new sights that they don’t see in the pasture. Our boys aren’t big fans of riding in the arena, so it’s great bonding for all of us to go out and do a ride everyone wants to do.

In addition to all of that, with a busy day tomorrow it just seemed right to spend Christmas Eve in the barn, the site of Jesus’ birth, with livestock, Jesus’ first witnesses.

What a beautiful place for reflection on the reason for the season. What a privilege.

December 23rd

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

We started going to a new church this spring, Eagle Brook, and have really enjoyed it.

Although the church is large – with seven campuses they could even be called the “mega-church” of the Twin Cities – the way they handle services makes it seem small. It used to really bother me that we were going to a “mega church,” but I’ve realized that there’s a reason they’re so large, and that’s a good thing. Many people just like me and Paul really have connected with how they teach.

Their music is what sold me the first time we went. I love good music, the kind that rocks you. It’s like a concert, and I don’t know how they nail it every single week but they do; it never fails that tears fill my eyes each week.

And the pastors are great, normal people. I don’t know that I’ve ever laughed so much in church before.

Anyway, we attend the Anoka campus, and between yesterday, today, and tomorrow, they’re hosting nine Christmas services. NINE. Pastor Bob said today in his message that throughout all seven campuses, Eagle Brook as a whole is hosting 57 Christmas Services.

Think of all the people connecting with Christ this weekend just at this church. That’s mind blowing.

At the beginning of the service today, they showed a very emotional video of a family and how their Christmas changed from year to year. Deaths, new relationships, resentment, joy.

I was proud of myself for holding it together to be honest.

Then our campus pastor took the stage and welcomed everyone. In an abbreviated nutshell, he said this: Merry Christmas, we’re glad you’re here. We know that Christmas isnt always an easy time of year, and we’re so glad you chose to come and spend your time with us. God sent his son so that we could have eternal life. He moves mountains. And I believe you being here today is not coincidence, that you were brought here today for a purpose.

I had noticed the two women sitting in front of us when we originally took our seats but didn’t think much about them. Looked to be a mom and daughter about my age.

However, at that moment in the service I watched the mom reach out and place her hand on her daughter’s knee. The daughter firmly took her mom’s hand as they exchanged a very emotional look and sat there together.

That was my trigger, and had a hard time keeping it together. I wasn’t the only one though – I watched them wipe tears from their eyes throughout the rest of the service,

What was their story? What brought them here? What words were they there to hear? How was God moving through them?

It was powerful.


December 22nd

Saturday, December 22nd, 2018

Sista sista is home from grad school!

The girls were just about as excited as I am, haha! Emma pulled up, and all of the girls (except Judy, go figure – she’s hanging out in the back on her own) came RUNNING to her. If you’ve been to our house, the girls were all the way over by our flag pole, and booked it around the back of her car to come say hi.

Those little drummies were working.

Emma hadn’t met our chickens yet, so their enthusiasm was unexpected, and in usual Emma fashion, as she slowly backed away from them: “this is how horror movies start!!” I was nearly crying I was laughing so hard!

So, if you come to our house, and the chickens are out, know that they WILL come say hi. I promise it’s out of friendliness, not aggression. Although Penny has no boundaries, and she’ll walk right up to you and outright chest bump your legs if you don’t stop to say hi to her. Our sweet Ruby will coo at you, and our flock boss Carol will squawk to announce your arrival (she’s almost better than a dog in that regard – I always know now when someone pulls up). Carol keeps the UPS guy on his toes, he’s stopped by a lot over the last week and he keeps his distance from her – hahaha.

These chickens really are the best.


December 21st

Friday, December 21st, 2018

Happy Winter Solstice!

AKA – The shortest day of the year. The “things only go up from here” day. The “we’ll finally start seeing more of the sun” day.

It’s also the gateway to Christmas, which has me excited!

But back to the fact that today we only had 8 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. Why is the specifics of this important? Well, because chickens tend to drastically reduce how many eggs they lay as the light dwindles. The statistics say that chickens need about 14-15 hours of daylight for high production. However, at our house our sixth chicken STARTED laying this week. Instead of our production tapering off, it’s increasing.

I am befuddled.

Granted, the weather has been very mild, aiding in the fact that the girls can put energy into egg production instead of using extra energy to keep warm, but light is light.

As we expected their production to dwindle, this has been a very pleasant surprise.

It’s also been fun, as since they’re continuing to lay, we’ve been able to track what eggs are coming from what chickens. Ruby lays pretty light brown eggs with dark speckles, Penny is an early layer – the first to lay each day, she lays our largest eggs always extremely uniform in color (some of our lightest colored eggs), Maria lays smaller, medium brown colored eggs, and the two chickens that still aren’t named because we can’t tell them apart lay similar eggs.

So that just leaves Judy.

If you’ve come over and met our chickens, you know that Judy could qualify as an underdog. Not overly intelligent, she’s much smaller than the rest of the girls, and she (until this week) hadn’t been laying. She just didn’t have much going for her, but we adore her in that role. She holds a special place in our hearts for that.

So the Judy hilarity continued this week when Paul went out to gather eggs, and there was an egg laid in the middle of the floor in the coop. A perfect little nest made right in the middle of everything.

All of the other girls are flawless about laying their eggs in their nesting boxes (their instinct is spot-on – that is the safest place for them to lay their eggs), but not Judy. Judy just lays hers right out in the open.

Facepalm, anyone?

She did that for a couple of days in a row, but then today she finally laid one in the nesting box. That a girl, Judy!

Now, I will say that she has one really great thing going for her – she lays reaaaally pretty eggs. Light brown, with pretty little white speckles all over. So unique, just like her 🙂

December 20th

Thursday, December 20th, 2018

I’ve sat here, staring at the screen for over ten minutes now.

Just reflecting, not really sure what to share.

The latter half of this year was an emotionally charged one for me, and while it helped me grow a lot, confronting those feelings again as we’ll soon be wiping the slate clean with a new year has me in my head a lot. Praying a lot.

Growth with good, good friends, growth in my role as the “big sister,” as a wife, and as a business owner. Some really good, and some really hard and terrifying at times – much more so than in years past.

I’m not sure what God has planned for 2019, but I feel like he’s really been whipping me into shape in real quick order over the past few months.

Anyone else feeling that way heading into the new year?