Our Very Bubbly Easter

This year we were chosen to host my brother’s family for Easter. Which meant that we were actually going to have some plans for the day. We usually go to church, have hard-boiled eggs and ham, and have an evening bonfire with some friends. But nothing is structured and it usually turns into all of us kind of going our own separate ways until bonfire time.

A few weeks ago, my brother approached me with the idea of making it a “Kids Cook Easter.” My parents were not to prepare any part of the meal. It was all on us. Which, honestly, didn’t seem like too big of a challenge to me. I mean, there’s nothing complicated about ham and scalloped potatoes.

It turned into him making the “dinner” and me making everything else (brunch and dessert). And I must say, I think my contributions outshined his. I made my now-famous caramel rolls for brunch (served with hard-boiled eggs) and this masterpiece. Speckled Malted Coconut Cake. I am seriously proud of this. My mom was really bragging it up!

(One recipe note: the frosting was giving us all sugar rushes–almost one whole bag of powdered sugar is too much.)

Aside from the food, of course, the main focus of the day was Juliana. She got another day with all of her (hopefully!) favorite people and animals, so she was having a ball. Until she ran right through nap time and finally ended up falling asleep almost 10 hours after she had woken up.

But while she was still up and running, she continued to decorate the windows.

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She also got some presents. First came grandma’s.

My mom saw this while she was killing time between meetings a few days ago and couldn’t pass it up. This girl is a foodie, so it was a slam dunk. She hadn’t opened any presents since Christmas, so she needed a little reminding about how to do it. Once she figured out how the velcro worked, she just sat there and put the candle on the cake and then pulled it off about 20 times.

Then her parents pulled out their present for her.

None of us had any idea how much she would love the bubbles. She started out just wanting to catch them.

Then she wanted to blow her own bubbles!

I don’t know, do you think she liked them? You never know how this girl is feeling…

She loved her “bubbas!”

While she slept, my parents decided to light the fire. I volunteered to stay inside and wait for the girl to wake up. So I watched the fire from inside.

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We don’t do small when it comes to bonfires. (We are very responsible about it, though.)

It was cloudy all day and then, miraculously, the sun came out just in time for the sunset. Those are always the best sunsets. (This was after the peak.)

I hope all who celebrated had a happy Easter!

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Bring on the Rain!

In honor of our first “big” thunderstorm last night and of my “last” week of college (graduation is Saturday, but I’m still taking a few summer classes), I’m throwing it back to a piece I wrote for a class last semester. After writing this, I got really excited about starting my blog and was convinced this would be my first post. Unfortunately, I started my blog four months later…so it wasn’t really relevant anymore. But today, it definitely is.


It rained this weekend. In fact, it poured this weekend. The wannabe professional photographer in me was thrilled!

See, the thing about rainstorms just before twilight is that they leave behind the most spectacular sunsets. Those sunsets call to me. I start to get antsy waiting for the rain to let up so I can run outside and take hundreds of pictures.

There are always a few stages I go through during rainstorms:

  1. Oh, look. It’s raining. I know it’s supposed to rain, but it sure doesn’t look like it. Then all of a sudden, it is.
  2. Wow, it’s raining hard. One second it’s raining and the next it’s raining.
  3. Is rain supposed to be horizontal? The telltale sign that this isn’t just a rain shower. This is a rainstorm.
  4. I didn’t think it could rain leaves. When the driveway starts to look more like the jungle floor than a driveway, I know this is a powerful storm.
  5. Is that hail? The deck starts to turn white, but it’s too early for snow, and much louder.
  6. The sky looks brighter over there! Get ready! When the sky starts getting brighter, it’s time to slip on my navy blue rain boots and bright orange raincoat. This is also the time to get the camera out, figure out which lens is appropriate and, of course, make sure the memory card can handle the hundreds of pictures coming its way.
  7. Get set! Standing at the door looking like a freak, with my hand resting on the handle, I’m all ready to go.
  8. Go! The rain has slowed, the road is steaming and the sky is still dark from the rain, but the sun is shining on the tips of the trees, gradually making its way down the trunks.

Then the question is, where to start? There are so many spectacular sights and I know they won’t last long. I make my way around the yard and down the driveway, making sure to snap at least two pictures of every subject, knowing there’s a good chance of some being blurry. I can’t resist taking some puppy pictures while the camera is out.

I’m fully aware of how silly I must look while I’m shooting pictures. I’m a big fan of squatting and getting all kinds of weird angles just to see what I can come up with. Sometimes it feels more like I’m playing a game of Twister than taking pictures. Isn’t that how the pros do it?

Thirty minutes later, I’m back inside going through nearly 300 pictures on my computer. I’m disappointed to see that about 40 percent have to be deleted, but a few of the remaining pictures make me question why I’m not pursuing photography instead.

If you’ve never taken a walk after a rainstorm so close to dusk, I highly recommend it. It’s magical. If you’re up for it, grab the camera and pretend you’re a pro.

Bring on the rain!


Here are some of my favorite pictures I took that night.

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It’s Official!

I think it’s safe to say that Spring is finally here to stay!

We had a few hours where it was starting to look like winter again…

...But thankfully it was all gone by morning!

…But, thankfully, it was gone by morning.

Then, this morning the photography bug bit me. It was sunny, warm, and GREEN!

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All of the trees and bushes are budding and everything is waking up again!

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I love these! I don’t know what they are but we have a few of these bushes/trees scattered around and I can’t get enough photos of the flowers!

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The llamas like having something other than hay to eat. They’ve been outside almost all day, every day for the past week or so!

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Cokie and I even spotted some turkeys on our walk around the property!

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They’re way out there!

Speaking of Cokie, he really hates Spring.

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He’s an all-season dog! He loves the snow in the winter, but he really loves chasing the golf cart and swimming in the summer!

There were so many pinecones scattered around and the lighting was so perfect–I couldn’t resist!

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Again, I don’t know what kind of tree this is (I’m so bad!), but I LOVE these little pom-pom-like things (so technical!)!

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They're everywhere! They're everywhere!
They’re everywhere! They’re everywhere!

But my favorite sign of Spring is seeing the Magnolia Tree (I know that one!) start to bloom!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’ll be sure to post a picture of the tree in full bloom when the time comes!

Winters are hard. Ironically, this one wasn’t. But, usually winters are hard. Which makes all of these signs of Spring all the more sweet.

Happy Spring!

Spring?

So nature isn’t exactly stunning at this time of the year. But this morning, my dad and I took a walk around our property and I saw beauty in everything I saw. Well, except in this. This isn’t pretty. (Why did I take a picture of deer poop?!)

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The weather here in Minnesoooooota has been so crazy warm lately that it’s feeling more like May than March. And that is okay by me!

Here are some pictures that for some reason or another, I really like.

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I’ve always loved the look of our wood piles, don’t know why. Just have.
MILLIE! The sweetest llama you'll ever meet. Literally.
MILLIE! The sweetest llama you’ll ever meet. Literally.
I can never remember what kind of tree this is. My parents tell me all the time, but it never sticks. But it looks cool all year.
I can never remember what kind of tree this is. My parents tell me all the time, but it never sticks. But it looks cool all year.
Some much needed color in the vast expanse of brown.
Some much needed color in the vast expanse of brown.
I love the drama in this photo--stunning!
I love the drama in this photo–stunning!
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I love these boys so damn much.
Yum. That's all I can say.
Colors. Lines. Lighting. LOVE.
This tree has no branches going to the right!
This tree has no branches going to the right!
I love Mr. Tree!
I love Mr. Tree!
I see you, ladies! Finishing up the Christmas trees?
I see you, ladies! Finishing up the Christmas trees?
Fenwood, you're not usually the piggy!
Fenwood, you’re not usually the piggy!
Num num.
Num num!
Mmmm! That there hay sure is gooood!
Mmmm! That there hay sure is gooood!
Why are you still pointing that thing at me?
Why are you still pointing that thing at me?
Sugar has always been the most arrogant of the bunch. "None of these are to my liking."
Sugar has always been the most arrogant of the bunch. “None of these are to my liking.”
But she also gives me the most headshots.
Don’t you sass me, girl.
And this boy still licks up his diminishing snow piles.
And this boy still licks up his diminishing snow piles.

I think it’s finally Spring! But this is Minnesoooota, so you never know. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!