Monday, August 31, 2009

Lisa Leonard Jewelry Giveaway @ Simple Mom

I don't wear a lot of jewelry, but I am a sucker for simple, elegant, pieces that I can wear everyday with jeans and a t-shirt as well as on special occasions with a little black dress. I've been drooling over Lisa Leonard's creations for some time now, and Simple Mom is having a giveaway today!

Oooh, I hope she picks me... But then how could I choose?

Have Your Cake...

Citrus Bundt Cake

Heaven forbid, I posted pictures of cakes without recipes!

Citrus Bundt Cake

1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
3 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup milk

1 cup confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons orange juice

In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until fluffy;
beat in the eggs, orange peel and extracts.
Combine flour and baking powder;
add to creamed mixture alternately with milk.

Pour into a greased and floured Bundt pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes.
Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool.
For glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar and juice until smooth.
Spoon over cake.

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake

(from the kitchen of my friend, Colleen.... thanks!!)

2 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup applesauce
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 (15oz) can pumpkin

Brown sugar glaze:

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Preheat oven to 350. Lightly grease a 9 inch Bundt pan.
Mix the flour, cocoa powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and baking soda.
Beat together butter, sugar, applesauce, and eggs.
Mix in 1/2 cup heavy cream and pumpkin.
Stir into the flour mixture just until blended.
Spread evenly in the prepared pan. Bake 40-50 minutes.
Cool & invert.

Place the brown sugar, butter, and cream in a medium saucepan.
Bring to a boil while stirring to blend until smooth.
Cook until sugar is dissolved.
Whisk in the confectioners sugar, and drizzle over the cake immediately.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

As Summer Flies Swiftly By...

(Scroll down for Living. Lovely.)


We are soaking up the last drops of summer.
I'll be back here Thursday for Living. Lovely.
See you then!

(I'm running behind schedule around here, so we'll add our Living. Lovely. to this post for this week.)

Did you MAKE A SPLASH this week?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments or on your blog.
(Be sure to leave a link to your blog address with your comment!)

We did, indeed, make it to the coast on Sunday for a wonderful family day.
I'll be posting a few more pictures when life settles down!

Next week's challenge:


Clothing, dishes, whatever strikes your fancy.
Don't wait for that 'special occasion'
somewhere in the distant future,
celebrate today!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Not Back-toSchool Blog Hop ~ Week 4

It is time for a Day-in-the-Life post over at Life With My 3 Boybarians. If I posted our current 'routine' (I'm using that word very, very loosely), your opinion of me would plummet. So I'm going with the All in a Day post that I wrote back during our spring 'school term.' We won't be starting up our fall routine for another few weeks. Until then, we'll be basking in our 'do whatever' routine....

Friday, August 21, 2009


MM Sneak Peek

I had my first senior photo session this past week. What a blast!
Melissa was game for anything, and wanted artistic and dramatic, so... here you go, girl!
Lots more photos to finish up, but these are some of my favorites.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Living. Lovely. ~ Make Someone's Day

Make Someone's Day

Did anyone join me this week in living lovely?
Our challenge was to
make someone's day.

A neighbor. A stranger. A co-worker. A child. A spouse.
A little thing. A big thing. Or anything in between.

Would you be willing to share in the comments?
If you've blogged about it, please leave a link with your comment!

(If we get a lot of responses, I'll add a Mr. Linky next week.)
(And scroll to the bottom of this post for our next
Living Lovely Challenge!!
Feel free to jump in at any time!)

I donated blood for the first time EVER this week,
which I've been meaning to do for a long time
considering I'm O-.
I really hope that it makes someone's day!

Now that I know what to expect (it was easy,
even if I've felt a little drained the past couple days, grin)
and I'm on the call list,
I'll be donating blood regularly from here on.


This next week's
Living Lovely Challenge:

Make a Splash!

As the temperatures are in the 90s around here,
and our summer is rolling to a close,
I can think of several lovely ways to make a splash!!

Will you join me?
Come back next Thursday to share!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Leif. 3.


Mommy made Chocolate Pumpkin Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze and Blackberry Cobbler
(both with vanilla bean ice cream), which were a hit with the adults.
Daddy made snow cones, which were a hit with the kids.
See? Everyone's happy.

Happy 3rd Birthday, Leif!!

Blue Ice Baby

Monday, August 17, 2009

Another Chapter... the Shakespeare Project.

Two years ago, just as I was beginning my blog journey, we began an ongoing Shakespeare project. Having no Shakespeare experience, we dove in headlong. In the past two and a half years, we've read or listened to many retellings, watched a handful of movies, memorized a monologue or two, and attended 11 live plays! (Six of those plays were thoughtfully abridged and presented as double features.)

This past weekend we attended our 3rd Bard in the Quad, an outdoor performance at Oregon State University. I love the venue and the past plays have been fabulous. I must admit, though, that I was disappointed in Twelfth Night. The interpretation lacked the pizazz of past performances (which included army jeeps, swing dance numbers, and a hilarious 'synchronized swimming' routine) and emphasized the crude humor and innuendos (not really appropriate for family entertainment) more so than the previous two plays. Sigh. All things considered, we had a wonderful evening.

Shakespeare Project

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Cottage Tour

Shan's Cottage

Today, I'd like to take you on a tour of this charming cottage belonging to my sister and her husband. Why? You ask. Let me tell you. It is on the market. Yes, Shannon and Ben are selling their beloved little home. You want it, don't you? (ETA: The house is in Lebanon, Oregon. Click on the link for the real estate listing.) Let's go inside and take a look around...

Living Room



Hall & Bath

Master Bedroom

Guest Room


Picket Fence

Living. Lovely.

Living. Lovely.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true,

whatever is noble, whatever is right,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is admirable

—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—

think about such things.

~Philippians 4:8

Why should we think upon things that are lovely?

Because thinking determines life.

It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment.

Environment modifies life but does not govern life.

The soul is stronger than its surroundings.

~William James


2. delightful for beauty, harmony, or grace
4. eliciting love by moral or ideal worth

It is time to put thoughts into action.
I am completely and utterly impressed upon,
that this is a venture I am to undertake:
encouraging others to live lovely.

Each week, I'll be presenting a 'lovely challenge' (inspired by the 'Make...' list from The Beckoning of Lovely) to be met over the next seven days and shared here at Mt. Hope Chronicles the following Thursday. Anyone and everyone ~ man, woman, parent/no kids, married/unmarried, empty-nester, or young person ~ is welcome to participate in whatever manner they so choose.

If you care to participate at any time, you may blog about the challenge and enter your link here on Thursdays. You may share here in the comments. Or you may follow along on your own schedule without sharing here at all. You may choose to follow the challenge to the letter, or use it as a jumping-off place to create your own lovely. If the challenge doesn't fit into your situation, tweak it or give yourself a new one! This isn't meant to be strict or competitive. Just try to stay in the spirit of things!

There are only a few basic rules:
1. All comments and links must be family-friendly.

2. No whining.

3. No excuses.

Blog posts can include a photo(s), a description of what you did, comments on what the challenge meant to you or other people involved, what you changed to make it meaningful to you, or how it affected your thoughts, actions, or perceptions. Whatever you want to share (big or small... even just an 'I did it!' in the comments) is wonderful!

Speaking of sharing, the more people participating, the more encouraged we'll all be in this endeavor. Feel free to use the above image (or small button on my side bar) on your blog. Invite people to join in. Tell your friends. Share the challenges with co-workers or family members. Small lovely actions add up and encourage us and those around us.

Our Very First Lovely Challenge:

Make Someone's Day

I'm leaving this first challenge completely open. You choose when, where, who, how, and what. Your actions can be small or large. Use your imagination. Will it be someone close to you? A random act of kindness for a stranger? The first move in a troubled relationship?

Come back next Thursday ready to share!!

If you would like to read more about living lovely,
I'm guest posting today at Heart(h) Management.
Stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The B Family

B Family (8)

I had the distinct pleasure of photographing Aimee's family.
We enjoyed an evening at the park together.
I knew I wouldn't be able to wait to edit these photos
and share them here...
See, I told you, Aimee. Grin.
Nothing like instant gratification!

B Family (3)

I also couldn't pick and choose favorites,
so, once again, I'm posting a bunch!!

B Family (6)

You don't blame me, though, do you?
Aren't they gorgeous?!

B Family (7)

B Family (11)

B Family (1)

B Family (10)

B Family (9)

B Family (6)

B Family (4)

B Family (5)

B Family (2)

B Family (12)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

With Friends

Pool Olympics

There is something to be said for remaining on good terms with your previous employers.
Especially when they are as fun as Connie and Bob. And they still invite you to work parties.

We were at Connie and Todd's house for their pool party and BBQ this past weekend.
Todd and Connie know how to host a great party. We almost didn't go home.
Their daughter and cousin took charge of the boys, playing board games,
while the adults had a moment of quiet conversation near the pool as darkness fell.

Todd tried to convince us to stay, telling us what he would make for breakfast,
and that the boys could spend the next day in the pool and on the 4-wheeler,
but in the end we drug our tired bodies on the hour drive home.

Good times.

With Friends

It's All Good

Monday, August 10, 2009

More From Boy Camp 2009

Base Camp

But the place which you have selected for your camp,
though never so rough and grim,
begins at once to have its attractions,
and becomes a very centre of civilization to you:
"Home is home, be it never so homely."

~Henry David Thoreau

Setting the stage....
(Above is the boys' camp site, below are various scenes around the camp grounds.)

My Eden

Levi found himself a magic spot and spent many hours here:

Levi Heaven

I love that my boys have a chance to return year after year to explore the same ground, get to know every rabbit trail and memorize the perfect hand-and-foot-holds on each big climbing rock. In short, to make this magical spot 'theirs' just as it is mine from my childhood.

While some things stay the same from year to year, much also evolves. Large rocks and logs change the landscape (especially at the falls) over the course of each winter. The first time up in the spring or early summer is a time of discovery. What stayed the same? What is new? The creek changes it's meandering path all year long, as the water rises and then lowers.

Sticks and Stones and Waterfall

There are endless places for exploration, discovery, and adventure.

On the Rocks

Leif could not have been more ecstatic
to join his brothers on the last day of camp.
He can't wait to be one of the 'big boys' next year!!

Boy Camp Joy

Camp Activities

Explorer Luke

Luke, in his second year at 'boy camp,' was in seventh heaven.
He was so excited to be trail leader when I came up with Leif.

Explorer Luke (2)