Sessions: Bark & Brittle, Part 2

Back in April I was privileged to capture the Bark & Brittle candy line, and taste many of these fantastic treats as well! I had tried some of Lynn's work before ever capturing them, and they are absolutely amazing. I was so thankful for a second round of capturing (and tasting!) these toffees, chocolates, nuts, caramels, and more. She is inventive with her flavors, and they are the exact right blend of sweet, with balanced notes of spice/depth/savory, depending on which one you try!

Do you have a birthday, anniversary, or date-night-in coming up? Email Lynn at to order some delicious, local made candy, and let me know which one you try!




Books about: School!

Little Abear and I stopped by the local library today to pick up what ended up being an arm FULL of books today. A few of those were relating to school, as we just started home school KINDERGARTEN last week!!! We picked up If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff and Illustrated by Felicia Bond; Ready, Set, Kindergarten! by Paula Ayer and Art by Danielle Arbour; and Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate and Illustrated by Ashley Wolff. 
Do you have any illustrated Kindergarten/School book suggestions? I would love to hear them!

Fighting MS

The wife of one of my coworkers is battling MS, and just found out her condition has deteriorated. Please consider helping this young family fight this ugly disease! To donate, please click here

Thank you!

Peppermint Condition

I am happy to introduce one of my longest and dearly loved friends Carley, owner of Peppermint Condition. She is an Independent Distributor of Young Living Essential Oils, and is busy using them on her family, educating others, and creating products that are infused with healthy ingredients and helpful to others.

Carley is a valuable resource, and cares deeply about healthy alternatives! Keep up with her on her website by clicking here, and learn how you can use these oils on your family.

TRP Newsletter!

Would you like to stay updated on the latest offers, as well as photography tips & tricks and other fun things? I'll be sending out a newsletter, and I'd love for you to read it! If you're interested in joining, simply type your email address in the upper right hand side of this page and click subscribe! Thanks so much!

DIY Kids Camera

Remember that Tot Art Summer Photo Project I posted in June? Well, I decided to do an inexpensive children's camera DIY for my little love, using the following materials - grand total costing me less than $11. The stickers I had already picked up for something else at Michael's for about .40, and the disposable camera at WalMart, glue/ribbon/scissors were on hand already. 
Now this mini photographer can work on his project in style!

I started by measuring the ribbon to the length that would fit my little one well. 

Next, we both had fun adding stickers to embellish.

And... voila!

Any new favorite simple DIY's or pins? LMK in the comments! :)

A Slight of Hand

Tonight my boys were playing a game of Monopoly Deal before bed, with Mr. Abear playing pretty competitively. If you haven't played, the first player to get three full sets of properties wins. Little Abear got so riled up close to the end of the game, he ran out of his room yelling it wasn't fair. His daddy coaxed him back and let him know there was always a chance for things to turn around. He collected a handful of cards, and sure enough he held the two cards he needed to win. The lesson his daddy tried to teach him was this: good things may not always happen the way we plan them to, but there's always hope. And sure enough, my little guy won fair and square by just coming back and picking up those cards.

Oh how close I've been to buckling under the weight of it all. Lies coming at me from every side that all is hopeless. But I have a Father who tells me, "Come back, I have a plan". Always a plan for hope, just stop running away. I'm so close to goodness, yet I'm so blind I run away yelling how unfair it all is. If I look at my cards now, the ones I've been dealt, and I think simple mindedly, it is all hopeless. But if I look to the One Who knows the deck - better yet created it, there is more than a chance. What struggle holds you down? Fear? Worry? Anxiety? Anger? Depression? Don't run and don't give up. Life is so unpredictable. I have to remind myself that the most beautiful miracles will happen when they will give God the most glory. It has to be that way, because if it looks too much like chance, we'll allow ourselves to be deceived, if we aren't already. What was the last big miracle in your life? Just barely getting out of a car accident? a broken marriage turned beautiful? an illness healed? Don't fool yourself. You didn't hit the brakes in time because you have great reflexes. You didn't do anything just good enough to get your spouse back. And you certainly didn't eat enough leafy greens to cure yourself of high cholesterol. Sure, it may have all helped, but you really think you have that much control over your own life? If you do, you might as well think you created yourself. 
Absurd, right? 

So what about the flip side... you wrecked your car, your marriage is still failing, and you had a heart attack. Does that make it God's fault? Do my problems make it God's fault, because the only way I'll give Him glory is if everything goes perfectly? If those things will make me run out of the room yelling "life's not fair", then I guess I'm just assuming how the rest of the deck will turn out, aren't I? I can think of plenty of times I was distraught thinking I was in the middle of the worst possible scenario, only to realize years later 'that' scenario was the miracle. It was pushing me out of something ugly into something beautiful, and I didn't even know it. Does that mean you shouldn't mourn your circumstances? Not one bit. Grief is so vital, and yet in this culture, especially this Christian culture, we can feel so worthless in simply allowing ourselves to feel. The only difference is, no matter how we emotionally react we must always remind ourselves feelings do not represent truth. Death/sickness/divorce/andthelike were never supposed to be a part of our world, so we must grieve them as the unnatural tragedies that they are. Although they weren't intended for our world, it does not mean they were outside of His plan. This beautiful plan of redemptive grace, so much lovelier than even the best plan I could've made for myself. 

Crafty RDH

Most of my favorite gifts are handmade, the ones looked after lovingly and crafted carefully. 
I have so many creative friends that have richly blessed our little family with handmade treats, I am abundantly grateful. One of these dear ones is my friend Nadia, who has gifted me with a clever froggy lens buddy for my children's portrait sessions, handmade necklace, garland, ornament, blanket for Little Abear, and an idea in progress for Little Miss. She is so versatile and talented! Where does the name "Crafty RDH" come from? Why, Registered Dental Hygienist, of course! ;) A combination of both of her passions. If you would like to learn more about Nadia, head on over to her blog, here. To shop her online store, click here!

Little Abear and his special Miss Nadia blankie :)


The Lord allowed our family a sweet little vacation out to Ramona, CA - which entailed a daily driving to the beach seeing blue glory as far as the eye could behold, building sand castles and enjoying much needed rest.

This Year

26 was a wild ride. Each year holds new mysteries, new adventures, new challenges - hopefully 27 holds me holding my little girl... my little boy meeting this treasure he's been so excited for.

We have been so blessed by amazing people hosting some pretty fabulous fundraisers to bring our baby girl home. If you're interested in joining this life adventure, keep scrolling! ;)

My beautiful friend Nadia over at CraftyRDH is selling our One Less tees & tanks on her shop, to see sizes/prices, click here.

Subsidy Shades, owned and founded by adoptive mom Melissa M. is hosting a June fundraiser for our little family -- a percentage of all undiscounted sales will be donated from the month of June to our adoption. They have some adorable little girl shades I've been lookin at! Click here to see this beautiful shop.

Cold Stone Creamery in Queen Creek, Arizona has a jar set up so any donations will receive a Psalm 27:10 One Less bracelet donated by our beautiful friends, the Perez family 

Not to mention, Lifesong for Orphans is accepting donations on our behalf to be sent directly to our adoption agency! These are tax deductible :-) You can either click the donation button on the upper right hand side of this page, or mail them a check using the instructions located here.



DIY Quesoretta

A few weeks ago I got a little playful in the kitchen, and combined various ingredients which resulted in a surprisingly tasty meal!
So much so, that Mr. Abear called me to specifically tell me to write the recipe down, something a wife loves to hear!

Ingredients for a Thin Version:

Olive Oil
1 Whole Wheat Tortilla
1 Tsp Chevre 
1 Slice of Prosciutto, torn into large pieces
1/4 Cup Mozzarella Cheese
About 1/3 leaf Swiss Chard coarsely chopped
Avocado for garnish

- Optional, a Tsb of fig jam spread on half the tortilla
To Make:

Slowly warm the tortilla over olive oil in the pan on a low - medium heat
Sprinkle all of the mozzarella, followed by the Swiss Chard, Prosciutto, and Chevre.
Fold half the tortilla over, let each side brown while holding the spatula over, and serve. 
If you're adding in the fig jam, spread it on half the tortilla before putting it in the pan. 

Serving Size: One Quesoretta
Calories: about 298 -- possibly a slight overestimation, check your ingredient labels for calorie details


All or Nothing

Tonight Little Abear and I were talking about following The Lord vs. following the Devil... good nighttime conversation, I know ;) Bear loves talking about The Lord, about the Bible, and it is such a joy to watch him grow this way. 
I decided to put it in total kid language... here's the general idea of part of our discussion - 
'If Satan offered you all the toys in the world, but told you not to love Jesus, would that be good?' And he responded that 'we could love Jesus and get all the toys in the world... or love Jesus and have nothing.' Ah, he learns this glorious Nothing is worth all of the somethings a million lifetimes could offer. This Nothing is really the Greatest Something, Someone rather, the treasure in the field worth selling all for (Matthew 13:44).
Our church steadfastly prays for the persecuted church, and I look at my life and see a life plagued by luxury. I can choose to go on vacations, while the far end of the world succumbs to the knowledge that the life they were born into will be the life they die out of. My house could be full, full of all pleasures, but my soul could be parched and lonely. I could have all the praise of the world, be liked on every form of social media, but be devoid of all fulfilling love.

Things are not bad, it's the value we place on them. Being valued itself is not bad, it's the self-worship we place upon ourselves. I think what Bear and I are learning, is that a life sold out to Someone greater than ourselves is a life full. Abundantly full. Why would a parched soul drink from the polluted puddles of the world when there is an ocean full of grace?  Why wouldn't I give of myself whole heartedly, to the world, to Him? I'm learning, oh so slowly, but I am so thankful for grace that is ocean big, though my times of selfishness may be many, the water might be more to cleanse me still.
And back to this small child, teaching me that he is teachable. That I am teachable, and we are learning together. When Mr. Abear's and my soul cups are full they might spill into his little life, 
and simple bedtime conversations may be full of glory in all things.

Crafty RDH Guest Post

This last weekend I guest posted for my beautiful friend and craft blogger, Nadia.
God has been leading us on a journey of a lifetime to our second little Abear, nothing short of miracles. If you would like to learn more about our journey, and this Awesome God we serve, check out the post by clicking here.

Wee Maggies

I am so excited to tell you about my uber talented friend and owner of Wee Maggies, Amanda. Not only does she craft uniquely handmade and gorgeous children's clothes & accessories, but she is a wife and an amazing mom to five precious little ones. Aside from the fact that I love all time around this family, I love looking at her products and seeing her lovely work.
She shines on the inside & the outside, and I feel like this God-given talent comes through in her creations. 

If you are looking for one-of-a-kind, quality, artistically crafted clothing for a child in your life - check out her shop by clicking here. Additionally, some of her head scarves are available in adult sizes, I have been thrilled to wear mine.
Wee Maggies is a favorite local small business for sure, and I am so looking forward to  purchasing some items for Little Miss!

DIY Four Ingredient Trail Mix

Awhile back my mom took her bff, Little Abear and I on a road trip, and before we left the house I decided to throw some snacks in a bag for a last minute trail mix. And so was born one of the most amazing trail mixes of all time. I've slightly tweaked it, but the star of the show has been and still definitely is the sunflower seeds. Check out the ingredient list and you'll see why!


Maple Toffee, Rosemary & Thyme Sunflower Seeds from Trader Joe's
Unsweetened chocolate chunks
Raw Almond Slices

*I bought all of my ingredients from T.J.'s for this little mix, but if you have favorites of the other ingredients, I'm sure they'll do! :)

How to:

If you want to be precise, go ahead and measure out each ingredient per serving amount, which will also give an exact calorie count per trail mix created. Otherwise, just eyeball it! I wouldn't put in quite as many chocolate chunks though, it's surprising how a little goes a long way with these, and I'm even a chocolate lover! The seasonings from the sunflower seeds are delightfully out of the ordinary, so if you haven't tried these I would encourage you to head to Trader Joe's asap and pick up a bag! 
I never know how long they'll keep something in stock, if only their stores were just a little bit bigger ;)

Do you have a favorite travel snack? Leave a comment, I would love to know!


Yesterday we signed the first of many papers to let the orphanage, government officials, and powers that be know that Little Miss is ours. This daughter that we have prayed for, longed for, searched for, has a family that is simply beside themselves to be called hers, and no one may have even told her yet. How joyous are the heavenly beings when our names are written in that Holy Book of Life? Every part of the process of bringing both of our children into our family has taught me so much about God and His mighty love for us. What a blessing to be adopted into His family, and that on top of it all He would allow us to grow our little family here.

One Less Tees + Tanks

Our One Less Fundraising Tees + Tanks are now available for purchase!

We have Tri-Blend Charcoal T-Shirts, sizes S, M, L & XL available for $25

We also have Ladies Bella Flowy Tank Tops in Tri-Blend Black and Teal in sizes S, M, L & XL available for $27

Children's shirts in light blue are available for $22 upon request for size orders 

Please let us know which option and size by emailing, 
we accept PayPal, cash/check.
Orders ship nationally for $3.99. Local orders can be dropped off/picked up.

Any questions about sizes not listed? Please feel free to email! 

Searching for Grace

One Thousand Gifts lay on the counter, full of God truths and available for time in the quiet and the waiting. I was packing a quick bag for the hospital after a health scare with Mr. Abear. Praying for the best and knowing all would be well, just not knowing how long until results would be known and news would be told.
I didn't really want to bring this precious tool, book bound into bacteria ridden hospital. Stain something so valuable with filth. But I was compelled, how else would I spend time? I opened the book and read aloud, about a mom struggling to find grace in all moments, the ugly ones when her own face turned impatient and could hold it in no longer. I saw my reflection in the words. 
How to see God as good in all things, in beautiful ugly, in stain and sadness and hospital beds, in grief and loss and failure. How do I speak thankful in the moments that sour the soul? I'm learning to look at all things, hopefully. I'm learning to look at a God Who is in control, and give up the charade of thinking I can hold onto anything at all. There is hope in all that has been ordained, there is hope in letting go and holding on as Jacob did. 
Praise God for books that help me no longer feel alone, for people who are willing to write them, and for hospital rooms that give me more time and less excuses to get close to the One Who waits patiently. 

Summer Photo Project!

At the end of this past semester I gave my art class kids a summer challenge:
a list of photos to take with a disposable camera,
and to bring back to the first day of class their photos + the original negatives. I think we have a lot of possibilities for future learning with this, plus this is a fun way to stay artistically active throughout these summer months!
Anyone is welcome to join us, and if your kids get creative with photography this summer please email photos to and I will choose one to be featured on the blog!

The Newest Little Abear is...

A GIRL!!!!!

There are a million emotions running through our home since last Friday, all anticipating the arrival of our sweet little one. The next step is for CARA to specifically approve our match with her... 
we are anxiously waiting!