April 30, 2013

Lilac & Flowers

In case you've missed it there is an awesome Photography Challenge going on right now and we're in the fourth week already! It's been fun to see Spring in different parts of the country and world. It seems like in most places Spring has sprung a little later than usual. Some people are just now starting to see the snow melt!

I wasn't able to find any Lilac's around here but I've found plenty of purple hues form a variety of places. Some of the pictures were captured around our property, some on the Appalachian Trail and some during my visit to Longwood Gardens. I hope each image transports you to a happy place. Flowers always make me happy.  

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I'm linking up with:
Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition

April 24, 2013

Green & Nature

I'm hoping to have a small garden this year so I started some seeds. Way too early by the way. I had tons of pictures documenting the growth of my seedlings but all but one seemed to have disappeared.


I held  my breath waiting for them to emerge and now I'm holding my breath hoping they will live until I can get them planted outside.

We have been in awe this Spring watching everything slowly come back to life. It's very exciting because we've never been here before in the Spring so we don't know what to expect. Every little sprout has brought us joy. Along our creek is really starting to flourish. It's where the most green can be found.

There are a variety of water plants popping up all along the edges.

I love seeing the moss come back creeping up between the brick walkway and spotting up rocks.
There are so many different varieties and variations all just as soft and springy.

We have been amazed at how fast one plant in particular has flourished. Although we shouldn't be so surprised.

It's beautiful isn't it? Look closer. Do you see it? Those awful thorns. These thorn bushes came to life over night. And to think we thought we might be able to get rid of some of them. They are all over our property. I suppose it's because it used to be a farm and it helped keep the animals where they were supposed to be. Those bushes are painful and really grab on. They make going on a stroll in the woods challenging.

As I think about this week's theme and all the growth that's taking place I'm reminded of a devotion I read last week in the Daily Bread.

"Over the course of a few short weeks, what appears hopelessly dead comes to life. Bleak woodlands are transformed into colorful landscapes. Trees whose naked arms reached to heaven all winter, as if pleading to be clothed, suddenly are adorned with lacy green gowns. Flowers that faded and fell to the ground in surrender to the cold rise slowly from the earth in defiance of death."

 I'm linking up with:
Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition

April 22, 2013

Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

These cheesecake bars are a crowd pleaser every time and they are super easy to make. I've made them with other combinations of fruit in the past. One of my favorites is blueberry. 
It's made in three simple stages.

The crust is what always gets peoples attention. It's so yummy and chewy. I've not tried other types of cookie mixes but you could get really creative and try other flavor combinations like chocolate chip and raspberry. Let me know if you try a unique combination and how it turns out. 

They might be a little messy to cut into bars but so worth the effort. 
I love "cleaning" off the knife as I cut each row. Oh these are so yummy!

Enjoy the recipe below!

April 17, 2013

Turquoise & Splash

This week is a new photo challenge! I wish I felt like I could keep up a little better. It seems like I've been so busy lately but that I'm not actually getting anything done. I've also been fighting exhaustion, I hope it passes soon and I get some energy back.

If I had to pick a favorite color it would be in the Turquoise family. It's dreamy. I'd been trying to figure out what to capture for this week's challenge and after a day trip last weekend it was very clear. We went to a place I've been wanting to go long before I ever lived in close proximity to it. I used to imagine taking a road trip just to go to this place, unfortunately I didn't think I would ever be able to convince my husband that it was worth it. Now we only live a couple hours away and we finally went for a visit to Terrain. Have you heard of it? It's amazing in every way. I could live there. I'm practically trying to recreate a similar atmosphere it in my own home. 

It was a wonderful day to visit! I enjoyed weaving my way in and out of all the spaces. I love all the old chippy things they use for displaying products.

Of course we had to enjoy lunch while we were there. There menu is based on whatever is in season. We enjoyed lamb burgers with a pepper jam and of course an amazing pot of bread. They bake their break right in a flower pot!

My plan was to spend a good 4 hours at Terrain but we decided that was a little overkill.  So we made arrangements to go to Longwood Gardens afterwards. These gardens were spectacular. Not everything was in bloom yet but there was still much to enjoy. One of the past owners of the estate was a collector of trees. I would absolutely love to be a collector of trees. Can you imagine? He also was fascinated by water. 

There were water features all over the property. Apparently Longwood Gardens puts on quite the fountain show too. I'll have to go back and see it for myself. 

Some of these water features were incredibly ingenious. The one above would shoot up every 30 seconds or so and ring a bell at the top. If you walked through too quickly you would miss it. 

This one was one of my favorites. A whole line of mini fountains shot off in a variety of patterns often resulting in one shooting into another. 

And how could I not adore the animal water features? They were works of art.

I just love places like this. It was huge too so it felt like we didn't even see everything. It's definitely a place we will go back to again and again. 

                                                          I'm linking up to:

April 11, 2013


They're at it again. Rebecca, Alicia & Kristi are hosting another Photography Challenge.  It seems like the Winter one just ended yesterday. Anyone can be apart of the challenge, make sure you click the link above to find out more. It's a great way to be inspired and learn new tips and tricks. Each week is a different theme to capture. This week is Easter/Yellow.
I'm really loving the color yellow these days! I just painted part of my kitchen yellow, we've  got some yellow accents in the master bedroom and I'm working on building some raised garden beds and spray painting them yellow. There's just something about that color...

I've have been overjoyed by all the Daffodils that have popped up around our house!

Did I mentioned that I've cried multiple times thinking that we wouldn't have one flower come up. I've never lived this far north before and been here in the Spring. I thought for sure that since we didn't do anything in the Fall we would see nothing this Spring. Oh I'm so glad I was wrong.
These amazing yellow Daffodils have been emerging in the most unexpected places. We have a hill behind our house and there's an entire line of the them. It was amazing to watch them grow.
As they open it's like Spring is waving "hello."

I had to bring some inside to enjoy! I want to expereince them as fully and as long as possible.

I'm so glad it rained recently.  Because we all know with April showers we get more flowers!!!!

Praise be to God for His amazing creativity and beauty.

Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition

April 8, 2013

Special Announcement

In my last post I shared evidence that Spring went missing. Well last weekend I found it. It was just a little further south from where we live. Actually I believe once we passed over the Mason-Dixon Line we saw Spring. We traveled to South Carolina for a very special birthday and to celebrate Easter. It was a great time although it went really fast. 

I'm still in recovery mode after that long trip. Unfortunately I've been suffering from back pain, probably as a result of the most recent surgery I had. I can't believe that just a few short months ago I wondered if I could have cancer, I wondered what my life would look like after surgery. I felt so blessed to be able to travel and we even enjoyed a little time at the beach.

After my surgery I had a follow up appointment with my doctor, strangely enough he pretty much ordered me to have children right away as my prescription for better health. He said that it's amazing what children can do for you and that they distract you from your own worries. I'm considering his recommendation but of course there's a lot of fear inside me as to whether I can even have children. As I'm working hard to be the healthiest I can be we did decided to add to our family.

We adopted a dog!  Hey they really are a lot like children and besides our Blanca girl needed a friend. When I'm not feeling well or am too exhausted to play with Blanca I feel terrible so I thought a friend could give her someone to play and interact with.

You might remember reading Blanca's story. If not you can find it HERE. Well of course our new baby has a story too. His name is Princeton. He's named after a mountain just like Blanca. These mountains are 14ers in Colorado. Pinceton is part of the Collegiate Peaks. When we lived in Colorado we soon discovered that climbing 14ers is a popular sport there. And it's not an easy one. Blanca is named after Blanca peak because we liked the name and she's got some white in her coat. We decided that we would name all future dogs after 14ers too.

Unfortunately we never got the opportunity to climb Blanca peak but we did climb Mt. Princeton. 
It's a day I will never forget.

 The drive up would have been interesting enough. The road up to the trail head was so bad we and our 3 other friends had to pile into the front and back of our truck and leave the other vehicle behind. That truck swayed and rocked back and forth climbing higher and higher; with each gain I wondered if it would soon give out or tip over the edge.

Once we finally started out on the hike it was magnificent.

It was like we were walking in the clouds the entire time.

If you know anything about climbing a 14er you would know that one of the goals is to summit and start heading back down by noon at the latest. The afternoon brings storms and storms above the tree line are not a good thing. Above the tree line there are NO trees. There's a lot of this...

These scree fields are hard to climb. And with no trees there's really nothing for lighting to strike. Unfortunately there are often reminders by way of a memorial plaque remembering those who have passed away as a result of being struck by lighting.

 Our hike was going great and it was such a beautiful day. I can remember it getting harder and harder as we got closer to the top. I always feel slower than everyone else. It's probably a combination of things but I was always so proud that I was doing it.

The clouds really started rolling in as we got to the summit and they were getting darker and darker. After taking a quick break we decided to start descending and head toward the trees as fast as we could. Apparently it wasn't fast enough. I remember so clearly the awe and fear of seeing lighting strike a rock right in front of us which promptly started smoking.

The rain kept pouring harder and harder to the point that it was challenging to see. The rocks kept getting slicker and slicker. I was so fearful of falling and getting injured. It was important for us to keep a good distance between ourselves because if lighting strikes someone you don't want it to travel to the next person. I threw my hiking poles on the ground multiple times because I could feel the electricity building in them to the point where they were arcing.  I've never been so happy to see trees in all my life. I knew I was much safer when I was in the trees. It truly was nothing short of a miracle that all of us made it down safe that day. I think everyone was a little shook up after that hike.

When we met our new boy Princeton it was love at first site. He's so sweet and desires nothing more than love. They were going to kill him. He came from a kill shelter in Kentucky. Apparently after 3 weeks if no one adopts the dogs they will kill them. Sometimes they make a call to a variety of adoption agencies and see if they can take any more dogs before they go through with the process. Thankfully Princeton was saved just like we were on the mountain that day.  We found him at an adoption day here in PA and it was a smooth transition.

He's a perfect fit for our family. He keeps miss Blanca on her toes.

They love to play together!

They are getting to be the best of friends!

I'm so thankful for this new distraction and doggy to love. I can't imagine that anyone could
 harm him or any other innocent creature.

If you're ever in the market for getting a dog please seek out adopting first. It's such a gift. I heard that adopted dogs are some of the best dogs you'll ever have because they really know what they've got.

Do you have any pets? I would love to hear their story!