This is the point in the year where everyone asks me what I am reading this Summer.

So far here is the short list:



bigThis little gem…

Big Little Lies

By Liane Moriarty
I ended up with it from one of my free book sites I visit or was it on sale?  Doesn’t really matter….the “how”.
But once I started I quickly fell in love and was thankful it ended up on my iPad.
Any mother who has ever sent a child off to Kindergarten can probably relate to this book.  The one thing they never tell you when you give birth to those little cuties is the politics involved in being a mom.
It is no easy job and often you can feel like you are straight back in high school…and that is even in the homeschool mom world too!
The whole “where two or more are gathered together” totally can be said about woman and drama.

Now don’t go thinking I don’t love my mama friends.  When I had my babies I had zero clue the world that having children would open up for me.
The friendships I have made that will last a lifetime.
There is a bond there.
This book had me laughing about it all.
Then there was the domestic abuse side and well….I have lived that from the child’s perspective and the book was pretty much spot on.
This one…well this is the perfect “pool side” book!  I actually picked up The Husband’s Secret today to read at the pool (since we all know I should not be allowed with my iPad beside a pool with a three year old.
He is not to be trusted 😉 )




Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County

By Kristen Green

Check out Kristen’s amazing trailer for this one!


Daryl grew up with Kristen and at the school the book is about.  When I moved to Farmville from Ohio I fell in love with the sleepy, often backwards at times, little town and the people that are in it.
I can’t wait to read up further on the history…cause I am a huge history buff and still love visiting that little town where change is slowwwww and “cruising” on a Friday night was the highlight of our week.  I knew more people from Daryl’s high school than I did from my own.  I grew to not mind the loss of being able to go anywhere without knowing someone.
True small town living was a culture shock all it’s own for 18-19 year old me and I often wondered what this little town’s story was.  I knew it was twisted, complex and somehow the wounds of the past were/are still very much on the surface.
Can’t wait to read about it!
Did I mention I came from a town where the Underground Railroad was our claim to fame?  (and yes I am taking my kids on this tour this Summer when we go home in July)
My friend even had a tunnel in his basement leading to the bus station across the street…boarded up now of course.  The first time I took Daryl back to visit with me he was in shock.
They were having the annual Summer parade and we had Union reinactors NOT Confederate.  Daryl was all “Holy crap!  I am not in the South anymore!”
Farmville was a world away from where I came from.  But it was a wonderful year just the same 🙂




The Dirty Life

By Kristin Kimball


My friend Kati from Nourish Farms handed me this book over the Winter and said “This book…YOU must read this book!”
I am a gal that when my friends hand me a book and say “You must!”  I know that I must!  They know me and my passions.  I have a love of the farm life.
A passion to share with the masses the hard work farmers do everyday to bring images that make farm life come to life for those who have never set foot on one.
These days that is just about everyone.  You would be shocked how little folks know about where their food comes from, let alone the blood, sweat and heart break that goes into farming these days.
Trying hard this season to share images from our local Richmond Farm community and the love and passion they have for their work.  I have been sharing it over on the studio site and should be adding a huge batch of film images in the coming weeks over there 😉

It is hard work folks.
This should be a good one!  Because Kati said so!  She has wonderful taste!



The List

By Siobhan Vivian


Oh yes…because I love reading what my kids are reading as well.
I shall be picking up this one and reading it along with my Haley bug this Summer.
I have “a thing” for young adult books.
They are fun, and normally carefree.
I had to laugh one day when the kids were talking in the car about how all YA books must have the formula that parents are dead, somehow missing or just checked out of parenting.
They had a point…and then I realized “oh wait a minute!” that was basically my late teen years in a nutshell.
I so need to write a book 🙂
One day…one day….it would be quite scandalous for sure.  I should probably stick with cook books or something a bit more PG (but we all know those aren’t half as fun).
Not sure that this book has any of those things but it looked like a fun read just the same.
So read it we shall!






Lord John Grey Series

by Diana Gabaldon

johnI am still not sure why I have yet to read this set?
I am a huge Outlander fan and have read the series…at least twice…ok maybe a few of the books three times…maybe.
Why have I yet to read this series?
No real reason.  It is time.
This Summer shall be the Summer I finally read them.
How could you not love John Grey?  Can you imagine being a gay man in 17-anything?  Hello, it’s hard enough in 2015.
Oh yes…did you read the part above where I described myself as a “history buff”?  I love a good historical fiction series.
I shall see if this one fits the bill (I have my doubts that it wouldn’t…I have loved everything she has written to date.)



Well that sums up my Summer.  If I get through more or add some in I shall be sure to add them in.
Happy reading by the pool side folks!  (Oceanside if you are lucky 😉



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I started off the morning thinking I would make us one thing but then Lucas and I ventured out to check on the garden…
Where we ended up with a basket full of Swiss Chard, herbs, beets and one carrot.
The menu changed after that.








Broccoli and Swiss Chard Salad


  • 4 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 4-6 thin cut swiss chard leaves
  • 1 shredded carrot
  • 1 handful of fresh chopped parsley
  • Handful of walnuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds (your choice)
  • Dressing:
  • 1/4 cup Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground mustard seed
  • 2 teaspoons ground Ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Can't get any easier than this...throw the salad fixings in a big old bowl.
  2. Make the dressing in a jar and pour over top.
  3. Enjoy!!
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Garden season!!!!! YES!!!!!!
Ok well you guys know I have been waiting for it…
Most normal moms are probably hanging with their families right now for Mother’s Day.  Me?
Every year the one thing I ask for?  A day off.  Kid free.  All to myself.
Maybe it’s that I am a closet introvert…
Maybe it is that I am just about NEVER alone…
Maybe it is just that getting ANYTHING accomplished with a three year old by your side is impossible.  Or exhausting.  Or just….twice as hard as it should be.
So Yes, being alone for a day is my glorious gift.  Spent in the garden and now editing client images and finally getting somethings finished that are impossible with a crew like mine.
Not complaining…because I love my crazy life….I truly do.  Sometimes a gal just needs a “day off”.
No worries….we will have dinner together and some family time in there.
But for now a glorious, quite day.

I actually have a minute to make a blog post!  Shocker 🙂
Since all the thyroid, food sensitives etc… a salad will ALWAYS be at least one meal of the day.
Jill (my bff) and I have taken to calling them “KK salads”.  Why?  Confession…Jill and I watch the Keeping up with Kardashian’s (insert your loud gasp and “FOR REAL!”)
I admit it…I like watching them.
Holding head in embarrassment and pretend shame.  It’s our dirty little secret (that is no longer secret…Jill may just kill me now 😉 )
Moving on…the Kardashian girls are ALWAYS eating these ginormous (think horse trough size) salads just about every episode.  Trust me, now that you know, all you fellow “secret” watchers will now notice.  You just can’t “un-see” them now.
Since living the KK life now ourselves we have lost a ton of weight so I guess there is something to it.  Jill and I are both down to looking like we did in high school….ok maybe just “close” and a little “older” looking.
This is what you should know about “living off of KK salads”…throw away the idea that salads are to always have tomatoes and store bought salad dressing.  BLUCK!  You will last about 1 week trying that method.
Variety is the spice of life!    Your body and taste buds will thank you!

When we make salads we try to throw in things like:
Micro greens
Any type of lettuce or green you can find….thrown together
Nuts (any)
Seeds (any)
Citrus (oranges in and lemons/limes squeezed on them)
Chives (both flowers and stems)
Herbs (all kinds)
Cooked beets (could do raw but I prefer cooked)
Crumbled cheeses
And anything else you can dream of…and yes I purposely left off tomatoes, carrots and boring old cucumbers (although I still use fermented carrots and regular cucumbers because they are yummy).  
I love them all but I live for adventure and something “other than”.

Salad dressings.  My dressings almost always have a base that involves a quality Olive Oil and Bragg’s fermented Apple Cider Vinegar.  I try to steer clear of dairy and anything processed.
I need to start sharing them because my friends are getting on me to….because they are YUMMY…and make eating a KK salad every day not so boring and actually something to look forward to.
Share I shall.
First up….Cilantro Lemon Vinaigrette (because Cilantro is in  my garden big time right now)




Salad ingredients:

(for those who are clueless on how to break away from boring American salads…no worries I still love you.)  :

Multi colored lettuce, handful of micro-greens and a handful of Arugula 
Orange slices
Pine Nuts
Chive flowers (plucked apart)
A few pitted black olives
Gorgonzola crumbles
Throw them all in a bowl…add or take away anything you would like


1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup of Apple Cider vinegar
1/2 of a lemon
2 garlic cloves
Handful of fresh Cilantro
2 tablespoons Honey Mustard
1 tablespoon Honey
Salt and pepper

Throw everything into a blender/mixer and blend until smooth.  This one actually comes out a bit creamy.  You can add more or take away less..that is the beauty of dressing.  Don’t feel like you have to “follow measurements” above.  Dressing is all about making it the way YOU like it.
Be brave.
Be a salad adventurer.
Step away from the hot house tomatoes…if they are “in season” then it is “game on!”
You got this!
Oh and I keep this one in the fridge just because of the fresh Cilantro…not sure how long it is “good for” because it will never make it past a few days around here 😉

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In case you are wondering….


This is the part where I would add the little dancing woman emoticon but I am on a computer…and well why are there emoticons on my keypad?
I have been dreaming about my Spring garden…
And finding beauty in my Winter garden…
That’s all a girl can do after all 😉

57 days…long days…but I can do anything for 57 days…right?
Actually there is a bunch of this going on.  Dual purpose.
Warmth and busy hands.
Win. Win.
This blanket is what we called “The Cleveland Afghan” because it was super long and super warm for my sweet, very tall, niece up in Cleveland…stay warm sweet girl! 🙂

000061910001And everyone else…
“Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim.”



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At least that is what I am telling myself 😉
Finally without further ado…before I once again forget to post….

What adorable costume did the little fella wear?
The Astronaut, monster or pumpkin costumes he asked for and insisted he WOULD wear?



This kid!!  The force is strong with this one…
Dancing to the beat of his own drum for sure.
But cute so he got away with it.  He was just hitting up the neighbors that are on our block for the most part and well…it was dark so maybe they didn’t all notice the stubborn toddler dressed as “a fox”.

I can’t get over how small the gang is getting each year…the big kids are dropping off each year but lucky for Lucas we have a few stragglers and a few younger friends that still love to come and hang out with us every Halloween.
It’s a tradition around here!


Haley and Afton went with “forest creatures” theme and they were VERY impressed by my headband making and Daryl’s makeup skills 🙂



DSC_4507webSo serious…ok not really….


And Maddie has now been officially initiated into the family.  She was thrilled!


Now I suppose you are thinking that the next post will be Thanksgiving but since we all came down with the plague this year…aka “Plagues-giving” you really wouldn’t care to see any pics from that family event.  Fortunately I didn’t take any 😉
We are supposed to hit Colonial Williamsburg this week to catch the holiday decorations (our favorite time of the year there!).
Can’t wait!
Kids off for Winter break?  Oh yes!!
Holiday shopping finished?  Yeah not so much……
Our own Holiday card created, printed and sent?  Not thinking this will be happening at this point.   I always have high hopes and it just never pans out.  Perhaps there is still hope…but not placing bets.
Countdown until Aunt Jill leaves for Ohio and Daryl gets off for the holidays?  Just days away!  Sad about Jill going excited about Daryl coming home for a break!
Let the holidays begin 🙂
Hoping you all are way ahead of me in preparing!

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