Photography – Baby Vaylin

I got to play with another newborn the other week. šŸ™‚ This is Vaylin. She is a super cutie, so I had to share a few of her photos.



Homemade Laundry Detergent

Have I mentioned before how I thinkĀ PinterestĀ is super great? Well, I do. At the beginning of the year, I stumbled upon a recipe (??) for laundry soap. About a month ago, I finally made a batch. While grating three bars of Fels-Naptha with a cheese grater was not the most fun I’ve ever had, this may be one of the greatest internet projects I’ve ever made. I started with a full jar, and after a month of laundry (we wash a lot of clothes around here with all the gym clothes, school uniforms, etc.), it’s still 3/4 full. AND I have almost half of a five-gallon bucket left waiting in the garage. In the original recipe post, she says it will last for 9 months. 9 months! And it cost me less than $20 to make. Take that, expensive laundry detergent!

Do you want to give it a try? Click here.

Eat – Red Beans & Rice

In honor of Mardi Gras, I decided to upgrade from my lazy person’s red beans and rice (think Mahatma, Zatarain’s, etc.) to a homemade version. I’ve lived in Louisiana for going on seven years. It’s about time I learn to make them myself, don’t you think?

I found a non-scary slow cooker version to try. It comes fromĀ Southern Living. This recipe makes 3 1/2 quarts, or 14 1-cup servings.


1 pound dried red beans

7 cups water

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

3 celery stalks, chopped

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1/2 pound andouille sausage, sliced

3 tbsp. Cajon seasoning (I use Tony’s)

hot cooked rice

garnish: Ā sliced green onions


To make: Ā Place beans, water, pepper, onion, celery, garlic, sausage, and Cajon seasoning in a 4-quart slow cooker. Cook, covered, on high for 7 hours or until beans are tender. Serve over hot cooked rice. Garnish with green onions, if desired.

Oh, my goodness. It was wonderful. Do you know what’s even better? I tallied it up, and this recipe is low calorie, too. One cup of the red beans/sausage jumble is 216 calories, plus however many calories are in the rice you choose to serve. Not too bad.

Running – Bulldog Bolt/10K

Several days ago, I started stalking the weather reports. Why? Because my first 10K was this morning, and by Wednesday, I was seeing 100 percent chance of rain on the weather. 100 percent! I mean, come on. How can they beĀ that sure? By last night, the chance was 80 percent, but the giant cloud looming on the radar didn’t look too promising.

They were right. When I woke this morning, the back yard resembled a swimming pool, and the sky showed no signs of relenting. I got dressed and headed out to tackle the 10K in some mighty cold rain. And when I say mighty cold, do remember that I am in Louisiana, where 45 degrees is cold this winter, because we haven’t seen it too often. I expect no pity from my northern friends.

Here I am, ready to go…sans shoes. (I pulled the old ones back out. I didn’t really feel up to soaking my shiny new shoes through just yet.)

On a normal day, my husband probably would have brought the kids out to watch, especially since part of the course came through our neighborhood. The weather being what it was, they stayed dry and warm and watched cartoons instead. Baby girl was not happy about this. She pouted and clung to me until her daddy peeled her off me so I could leave. At least she got her own bottle of Gatorade out of the deal.

I will not lie. The race was tough at the beginning. I hadn’t taken gloves, because I knew after a mile or two, I wouldn’t want them. The rain poured, and the wind blew directly at us. I stuck with a friend, which definitely helps the time pass more quickly, and it isn’t bad to have someone to commiserate with. A few miles in, the rain let up a little bit, and we didn’t feel so bad – except for the squish in our shoes.

I finished in 1:03:54. I was the fourth female in my age group for the 10K, which is probably largely due to the fact that the weather kept lots of folks home. I am proud of my effort. I would love to be faster next time, but I feel very good about getting the first 10K under my belt.

I made my husband take post-race pictures at home. Neely was very happy to see me back. We did a happy dance together…or maybe I was dancing and she was looking at me like I’m a crazy person. The second is what you get when you’re used to being behind the camera and someone points one at you for too long. It’s too bad I didn’t get a photo of the gnarly, curly ponytail I had going on in the back thanks to the rain. That took some work to get combed out.

Now? I will do my very best to stay warm and dry for the remainder of the day.





















Photo – Candy Hearts

Most days, I have the sweetest little boy in the world. I glanced at the bowl of Valentine hearts the other day and saw one that said, “My Boy.” I saved it for him and presented it to him after school. A little while later, I noticed him spending some time rifling through the candy bowl – reading the messages. (He is in kindergarten this year and just learning to read.)Ā A little while later, he brought me a heart of my own. Even something as simple as a piece of candy can be good for the soul. It was so precious that he took the time to choose one especially for me, since for him, it required some extra effort.

Project 52 – Emotion

My Project 52 theme for the week was emotion. This is a much more difficult concept to capture in a photo than I originally thought. When emotions are running high around here, the last thing I usually want to do is grab the camera. Instead, I asked Neely to portray a few emotions for me this afternoon. I got mad, happy, and sad. It’s light-hearted. It’s not deep or thought-provoking, but that’s fine by me. It’s fun to see what my little one thinks those emotions look like.