Photographic diary

Life through my lens…

Yesterday saw me out and about with Paul running errands, the best thing about the day was I got to get outside Sparta and the surrounding areas.  I took my camera with me in hope of getting some great shots of New York from Jersey City, but unfortunately it was so cold we stayed inside the mall that is there, but I did manage a few shots of the Freedom Tower in the sunshine…

We started our day in Franklin and we grabbed a much needed Starbucks…


We then drove to Jersey City, for those of you who have never been to Jersey City, it is across the water from NEW York and on a good day the views are fantastic, but first stop was Newport Mall for lunch in the food court at pota-topia!





My plan for an uneventful weekend hasn’t started too well, late last night Dom fell on some black ice, his ankle is painful and swollen, but after a trip to the ER this morning it’s just sprained…



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Photographic diary

Life through my lens…

I originally started this blog as a diary for myself, I have a terrible memory, and for friends and family who live far away, so going back to my blogging roots I thought I’d take you on a photographic journey of where I live, the things we do and the places we visit in a series I’m going to title ‘Life through my Lens’. I hope you will enjoy it!

Of course the day I decide to start this photographic journey we are at home all day, so today is possibly not the best day to start, but this day in my life type story is meant to be everything, warts and all, so let’s start with the first job of my day… Laundry, it’s a huge job with so many people living in our house, so this is first pile of clean washing to sort, due to a busy schedule recently I’m a little behind!

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Of course this is another big part of my day… Getting Tate to nap for more than 10 minutes… So here I am just chilling with this beautiful boy napping next to me, I’m planning making my soup for lunch in my head, green beans and Brie cheese, will that work? I’m so hungry and it’s 12.20pm…

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Today has made me think of people back home today, so I have crocheted my first ever heart… Sending hugs to people I love!

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Dollar store…

Can someone please tell me how the dollar store sells everything for a dollar… It’s crazy but if you need something cheap go in there! I’m trying to organize the toys, so the perfect place is the Dollar Tree, spring organizing has just arrived, baskets, boxes all in fresh spring colors and the best thing, only one dollar a piece… What could be better for organizing a closet!

The dollar store is great for all sorts of projects, they have a good selection of Easter things on their shelves, so putting together an Easter basket for Florrie is made a little bit easier, I purchased a great basket on 90% off clearance in Target last year, along with several other extremely cheap Easter themed items, always thinking ahead. I plan to bulk buy my chocolate in Costco this year, the Lindt chocolate carrots look so cute and the Belgian chocolate bunnies are a must, but the dollar store is my go to place for carrot shaped blowing bubbles, carrot shaped eggs for the egg hunt and a cute Easter sign, can you tell I’m loving the carrot and bunny theme this year… Hopefully she will love my budget basket!

School projects can end up costly, but again the dollar store is a great place to start… Mabel is once again doing the Trep$ Market place this week, it’s an entrepreneur program to teach children about setting up their own business’ … The market place is held tomorrow night, her booth idea was her Dad’s bright idea of using Jordan’s Polaroid camera for a selfie booth… I love the idea but of course in reality the organizing has led back to me… Pinterest has been great for ideas and inspiration, we have made a photographic backdrop stand , mine cost less than $20 to make including sprung loaded clasps to pull the fabric taught. The dollar store has been great for props… Funky sunglasses, aloha necklaces and bunny ears are among a few of the ideas we bought there, we’ve also used free online printout ideas to mount on sticks for hand held fun… This idea would be great to use for parties and just fun photographic ideas… It’s easy to do and fun to organize… I’m just hoping she makes lots of money tomorrow night!

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Tate's milestones

11 months and counting…

Oh my… One more month today and my little Tate will be a whole year old, I’m telling you it’s been the quickest year EVER!

Tate is a little bundle of energy, always on the move, he likes to touch anything and everything in his path, but most of all he loves music, he will stop in his tracks and just bop up and down to the beat! His favorite toys are his Dad’s work laptop and guitar, he always makes a beeline straight to them if he sees them!

On the subject of walking, it’s not happened yet, which makes Dom still the reigning champion walker of my children, 10 months old and walking, crazy really! Believe me I’m in no rush for Tate to walk, but he is standing much more and I noticed yesterday just how much he is walking around the sofa, so I think walking unaided won’t be long… Slow down little boy!

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Tate is a creature of habit, every night he wakes about 1.30 to 2am, then again at 4am, the earlier wake up period leads to being nursed in bed and then I fall asleep and wake up with a very content baby boy on my pillow next to me… Oh well at least I have a gorgeous face sharing my pillow, it’s not all bad!

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Tate loves to play with Florrie, they are fast becoming the terrible twosome, I have been lucky really as Florence is a great big sister, although from time to time I see a little jealousy, but is think that is only natural, and I always try to make sure I cuddle my very tactile cuddly Florrie!

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Tate is finally showing some interest in eating food, it is only tiny amounts and usually from my plate, but it’s a start, he always shows interest when I’m eating so I totally always offer him food from my plate… Last night he ate two pieces of avocado, he pulled a yucky face, but he did eat them, he also ate some black olives from my lunch, again his face was a picture but he ate them! I am still breastfeeding him when ever he wants to and will continue until he tells me he wants to stop, I believe in self weaning, so this is the way I’ve always been with nursing my children!

At his last checkup, only last week, Tate weighed 20lbs 4ozs, his weight has slowed down, he had his HIB vaccine, I believe in one vaccine at a time, I do not like to overload their system, so now I am faced with the MMR dilemma again, with measles on the rise again, I am not sure how to deal with this… In the US you can no longer get single vaccines for these three diseases… I am maddened by the governments decision on this, although I believe in vaccinating your children, I like to have the choice of one vaccine at a time and on my schedule… So what shall I do? that is the big question at the moment!

This has been a crazy 11 months for us, Tate is definitely a gorgeous little brother for each of his siblings, like Florrie everyone absolutely adores him in every way… Each one of them are secretly hoping he will say their name first… Me, well I just want time to slow down just a little bit, keep my babies, babies for just a little bit longer, all of my other children all grew up way too fast, in my opinion, including Blu and Mabel, who all of a sudden look so grown up to me, it’s crazy!

Happy 11 months little boy!

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Planning a Valentines…

Some people think Valentines day is pointless… Me I’ve always loved an excuse for an extra celebration! I think this year we will be staying in yet again, but I really don’t mind, as I’ve said before I’m a bit of a hermit in all this cold weather, so a quiet night in is perfect for me!

The question is, how shall we spend our date night… I love planning a meal, and as it turns out so does Mabel, she loves Pinterest and has so many great ideas, so together on an ultra quick shopping trip last night we came up with a plan… Oh Homegoods I love you!

First, oh did I mention I love this idea… Mabel came up with the idea of framing a wedding photo for Paul’s new room we are decorating… Yes, the perfect Valentines gift… We found the perfect rustic frame, I found the perfect wedding photo and edited it, printed it, then of course framed it! I then found the perfect rustic basket, this basket will be the perfect addition for Paul’s Birthday present too… But shhhhh, that ones a surprise! I added in a giant rustic X, that makes a giant kiss for the room and then played around with additions for food… A slate cheese board, fancy cheese knives, new wine glasses… Then I added some food and drink, bread dipping oil and wine, I was going to add more food but I ran out of space!

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I kept dinner simple, cheese, meats, good bread… And for desert, chocolate fondue with marshmallows, tiny cookies and plump strawberries to dip… Now my perfect dinner for two turned into a chaotic dinner for five… I guess that’s the thing of a large family, as each person came home they joined us, and of course Mabel loves cheese and chocolate so it was a given that she would join us!

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On a final note of a day for lovers… Why is it an excuse to sell things for ridiculous prices… Godiva were selling their chocolate strawberries for $9 a strawberry, yes that’s $9 for one strawberry, granted I have no idea how much they normally sell for, but $9 for 1 strawberry seems excessive… Anyway I told Farrel who was thinking of buying his girlfriend some, he could make 6 for less than one strawberry using Godiva chocolate… Well part of that was true… Because his Mom can definitely make them for less, of course you knew it would be me making them… And they were delicious, as I made a few more for us too…

Her is my simple recipe for copy cat Godiva chocolate strawberries…

6 good sized strawberries
2 bars of your choice of Godiva chocolate (I used milk chocolate)
1 teaspoon of coconut oil for chocolate shine
Optional extra, 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips to melt for decorative stripes) or just like Godiva you could stripe the chocolates with the same melted milk chocolate)

Take a saucepan and place approximately an inch of water in the bottom, place a glass bowl over the water in the pan so that the bowl is not touching the water and sits nicely in the pan, add the chocolate and coconut oil in the bowl and then slowly bring the water to a low boil, this will slowly melt the chocolate, once it is thoroughly melted, take the bowl off the heat and dip each strawberries so that they are 3/4 coved in chocolate, place on a tray lined with parchment paper to allow to set! If you are using white chocolate to decorate, then melt the white chocolate in the same way as I have described for the milk chocolate, spoon into a plastic sandwich bag, snip the corner of the bag, be careful to only snip a tiny corner, then pipe over the set chocolate strawberries… Now try to wait until the chocolate sets… Then enjoy!

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Well last Saturday was a snowy day,the roads were dangerously covered in snow, but the food the wine, and our family… Well it was a weird combination, but it all made for a very different Valentines Day than I had planned, but I wouldn't change a thing… Well maybe Valentines Day in Spring would be perfect!

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For the love of crochet…

If I say I’ve been off my game recently, it would be an understatement… Cooking has become a chore and not the enjoyable pleasure it once was, my kitchen is falling apart, we have had problems with mice, which I absolutely hate, and don’t cope well with, and Tate just needs his Mom, so it’s hard to get things done. I’ve struggled with crafting too, well that was until I started my crochet along blanket new inspiration and pleasure flooded through me… I enjoyed my first few rows so much I’ve started a second granny stripe blanket too!

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I am not an expert at crochet, but it is one of the things in life I am glad I have taken time to learn, it’s addictive and I love it! To start my crochet along (CAL) blanket, I have had to learn a new technique, which I have to say had me slightly complexed for a while, and then when I did get the foundation row going, I was not happy with my tension, but it is true what they say, practice makes perfect, and the more I’ve hooked the foundation row the better it’s got… Thankfully!

The whole idea behind the CAL blanket is to incorporate different stitches into the rows, learn new things and I think just have fun, so being an avid crafter I am so excited for this challenge, I’m also a terrible hermit in the winter months, so any excuse to snuggle on the sofa and crochet is good for me!

I look out my window as I type this, to a white world of snow covered grass, we have had a lot of snow since February started, we began today with a light covering of snow and this Sunday/Monday is set to see us with another snow storm, So as I crochet my spring colored blanket, I am dreaming of longer spring days, picnic baskets and my newly crocheted blanket, chillier spring soccer games wrapped in my blanket and hot drinks cuddled in our hands!

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The sun is shining today, but it’s cold and windy, I’m snuggled with my two babies on the sofa, I’m about to pick up my hook and crochet another stripe… Whatever you are doing today… Stay safe and warm!

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Color inspiration for my two blankets … I just love this!