InHome LIFESTYLE: Baby boy #2

When I entered their home, it felt like I was walking into a sacred place where the walls told stories and where legacies had been born.

They remodeled a 90 year old home...their forever home...a place where their stories add to the history...their lives are woven into the floorboards and ceilings...

if only the walls could talk...

If they could, I imagine, in future years you'd hear them say, 

"I remember the younger little man...when he entered the stage...ohhh, he was precious...
I remember his wide eyes and how his daddy would swaddle him tight..."

"Their oldest gentleman was indeed, a gentleman...
...such a sweet nature, with a smile that made you happy just to be in his presence..."

"I remember the quiet patience of their dear mother...the way she and her husband spoke with authority and yet such respect and kindness to their sons...

...even then, they were building character into their children..."

"I remember most the commitment and love that was evidenced on a daily basis...their steadfastness in a crazy world...what gifts they were to anyone they met"

I often wonder what the walls of my own home would say...watching us live day in and day out...
this sweet family plans for the future...they are purposeful in their parenting, thus creating safe boundaries where their boys learn to become men of integrity...slow to anger, quick to listen...

I was so impressed and felt so welcomed...it is an honor and joy to document this chapter of their story...















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Give a Listen...fun podcasts and audiobooks

My mind is always a flurry of words, ideas, thoughts...it's very difficult to "shut it off"...sleeping doesn't always come peacefully, and neither do quiet moments in any given day...

perhaps it's my influx of energy or my indulgence with caffeine...whatever the cause, I'm always thinking of THINGS...all.the.things....all.the.time...

I've had to learn "tricks", if you will...strategies that help me calm, refocus, reenergize...

My approach to this has always centered around words...words make me "dial in" so much more than even a film or movie on a screen (that's why I always subtitle everything I watch too...crazy I know)

Even though I'm a hands-on/visual learner, I have found that by listening, rather than watching, I am not only able to burn off extra energy by continuing the daily tasks in the midst of it all, but it forces me to concentrate on something other than the thoughts swirling...it readjusts the crazy and either gives me a rest, or helps me categorize.

Perhaps I sound a tad "over the top"...that's okay...I've always considered myself a bit right of center anyway...it's in the growing that we learn...and though sometimes my road that doesn't look as pretty or fine-tuned as others, I'm still blessed to travel it...

If you've followed me for long, you know that I am an avid reader...books are scattered everywhere in my home...I used to be a one-book-at-a-time person...but, becoming a mother sort of kicked that into high gear with the necessity of multi-tasking...therefore, I leave books in places throughout my house, knowing full well, I won't have time to "go looking" for one should a moment present itself for a opportunity to soak in a page or two...

However, with our family's busy season approaching (basically last Spring, Summer and Fall) I know that my actual "read time" will almost slow to a halt...it's in these moments that I'm so thankful for this digital age...the age of audiobooks and podcasts...a way to learn, listen and relax whilst still DOing all the things that require our attention in so many directions.

I'm happy to share just a handful of my favorites...I do not listen to podcast EVERY day, to which some might subscribe, but I do enjoy binge listening during editing sprees or laundry-doing or dish-washing or dog-walking...



I'd LOVE to hear some of your favorites as well! Please comment below with more ideas on both Podcasts or Audiobooks.

For those that aren't familiar with Podcasts, it's somewhat like a radio broadcast, but in short bursts and episodes that you can access at your leisure and convenience. It's an app you can put on your phone OR many have them linked to their blog or websites.

 2 PODCASTS I FIND FUN and LOVELY:

The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey : I read Jamie's book, If You Only Knew, and I immediately felt like we should be real-life friends...turns out, her enneagram and other personality traits are very similar to mine, with enough dash of sass & difference that makes her intriguing.  I love her energy.  My favorite episodes are with Lysa Terkeurst and Emily P. Freeman.

The Next Right Thing: Speaking of Emily P. Freeman...if you haven't read her books such as Grace for the Good Girl and her newest one coming soon, The Next Right Thing, can I just encourage you to do so.  Especially if you are an energy filled person like me that sometimes feels paralyzed by the endless to-do list and fears doing something "wrong"... Her voice is gloriously soothing and her podcasts are literally only 15 minutes long!

Goal Digger: Jenna Kutcher has some really great stuff as it pertains to social media and reaching goals!

IF you get into debating theology stuff too, you might like:
Knowing Faith


PODCASTS or AUDIOBOOKS to have in the background during the "getting ready for school" morning:

Keys for Kids: I grew up with Uncle Charles and other radio broadcasts for kids.  Sometimes it's cheesy, yes...but for families in our areas that are always on the go, I feel like anything is better than nothing...and for younger elementary, what a way to spark some discussion as opposed to a show going in the background.

The Mysterious Benedict Society: this is a fun read for late elementary/early middle schoolers...and I love the narrator of this audiobook. My youngest and I have enjoyed listening to this on our drive to school in the morning...we laugh over characters and the story has conjured up some great talks!

***we also love the audiobooks for Princess Academy, The Penderwicks and Harry Potter.  We've listened to them all at least 10 times each...but it never gets old...and with such good literature/word-weaving/imagination...it's wonderful!

AUDIOBOOKS for adults:

If I'm honest, I really would rather read than listen...but that isn't always a possibility for me...these have been great additions to my book-loving heart:

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate: it is available on overdrive for audiobook listening.  It will get you fired up and then cheering the next moment!

The Good House by Ann Leary : This veers from my usual reads...different genre/topic/etc...but, it was interesting and the narration was wonderfully executed!

Anything Susanna Kearsley is lovely as well.  Most of you know I love historical fiction and the whole fiction idea of time travel or memory-passing-down... Her book The Winter Sea is probably my absolute favorite to read and to listen to... (I'm probably also fascinated by all things British or Scottish accent...so there's that too!)

LET ME KNOW SOME OF YOUR FAVORITES TOO!!! If you haven't checked recently, I keep adding to my BOOK NOOK highlights on Instagram if you ever need a book recommendation in a fix...



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CTPhotoMemories New Family Recipes

I tend to get in a rut when it comes to cooking. 

My husband is a fabulous cook. He isn't afraid to try new recipes and honestly, my secret dream in future retirement is to take cooking classes with him and visit different places so we can try unique foods...

I tend to like baking more so than cooking...but, knowing that my husband's love language is "acts of service" I also know that finding new meals to try around the dinner table means more to him than any card I could write...

However, I do run into a handful of roadblocks along the way...

Let's just put it out there, off the bat, that I struggle with confidence when it comes to cooking anyway, so I'm always at battle with my mind to veer from the comfortable, safe and known...that aside, there is also the "picky eater" syndrome that my youngest seems to have inherited...and the fact that we really do attempt to eat healthy at our house...we're not "crunchy" or all organic by any means, but if I can slip in random vegetables without too many cries of distress, I count that a victory...

And so...

in my state of "rut" this winter, I put on my big girl pants and made myself search and try a few new recipes...and low and behold a handful of them were big winners at my house! 

As we are heading into Spring and the thought of being outdoors and family time at soccer games and making memories flood my mind, I want to continue to cherish the times we get around the dinner table...my "business" in photography is much more than just pictures...it's based in storytelling and memories...and that requires a focus on not just photography equipment, but on the HEART of matters...

-books to read and/or discuss together
-shows to watch as a family
-outings and adventures to take
-and for today's blog post, meals to eat around the dinner table

***First on the list is One Pot Parmesan chicken, spinach and Orzo.  You can find the entire blog post and recipe at THIS site. My girls gobble this up and the leftovers are fantastic for a thermos lunch at school too!  We sometimes exchange the Orzo pasta for Cavatappi pasta instead...it tends to look a little like a goolash, but with chicken and spinach. We serve it with salad and toasted baguettes.

Recipe Runner has quite a few really interesting recipes...I'm looking forward to exploring more of her site and trying more meals very soon!

***Next up is Slow Cooker Glazed Ribs I'll be honest that I was hesitant to try this one. It's not because I don't adore Pioneer Woman recipes...far from it...she's marvelous...(and if you haven't tried her Peach Whiskey Chicken, put that on your list too!) But, pork ribs make me nervous...Pork in general is nerve racking for me...I don't want it to be too dry and my youngest is REALLY particular about "sauces"...so when I read plum preserves, ketchup and BBQ sauce, I was a little leery...

I should not have been though...the meat was glorious and the finishing sauce was heavenly...even my littlest liked it (and she hates ketchup!!!) The other plus point is that it is cooked in the crock pot all day long...the only last minute steps took me about 20 minutes...and that was making baked potatoes and green beans to go with the main dish!


***Last for today, is another pasta dish called Sensational Chicken Carbonara  Being married to an Italian, I get anxious when I dive into the realms of "pasta" as well...and I know a good many Nonnas out there that probably have magnificent Italian dishes that put me to shame...(but this is one of those moments that I have to just tie my apron a little tighter, put my chin up and do the best I can) So, no I don't handmake my own noodles and I'm sure there are a great many more spices & herbs that could add to this dish...but seeing as our daughters tend to have a bit more of a subtle palette, this recipe was divine! ((I will caution, be slight on your addition of peas...I may have overdone it the first time around which caused some belly aching from the girls..."EAT YOUR PEAS"!!!))

However, the addition of bacon gives it that little kick!  Also, it's easy to shift the carbonara sauce into more of an alfredo by adding in cream cheese and extra butter, IF you want a thicker more savory sauce...either way, it's a winner!


((images used from linked sites))

I'd love to hear if you've found any fun recipes for your family as well...feel free to leave a comment...and if you missed our favorite weekend (and snow day) treat, Soft Pretzels, be sure to check out that link HERE




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The best way to contact me is either through Facebook Messaging or emailing me at ctphotomemories@gmail.com

I can't wait to hear from you!
"Teach us to number our days, (savor the moments) so that we may gain a heart of wisdom" ~Psalm 90:12

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