Birthday Goods {2022}

Hello, my friends!

Today, I’m super excited to FINALLY show you all the wonderful gifts I got for my birthday in July!

Anyhow, first the obligatory disclaimer about how this is the obligatory disclaimer that no, for those of you who have a nagging doubt, I am not trying to brag about my gifts (I never saw any posts like these that were, but alas), I am simply making one of the practically useless but quite entertaining birthday posts that I enjoy reading for some reason. XD So, hopefully you enjoy it too!

Also, these gifts are in no particular order and the background is a black and white checkered table cloth that my mom got off Amazon and tube confetti that I found somewhere which I very quickly regretted using because it literally gets ALL OVER and sticks to everything. πŸ˜›

(Oh yes, one more thing: For some strange reason, the term “haul” bothers me, so I looked up synomns for haul, and “goods” came up, which I like much better.)

All righty, onwards!

I got this lovely devotional from Levi! The devotions are amazing and it’s so pretty on the inside with lots of flowers and pretty designs. I read one every morning during my devotions. πŸ™‚

Meet George, my very fun succulent from my grandparents! (And yes, I name my plants. πŸ˜› :)) His leaves are really soft and I love the pink on the edges of them.

I got this awesome journal from my other grandparents! I’ve been wanting to start an art journal for a while, and now I finally have a journal. The paper is SO thick – I can’t wait to get started with it!

I got this super cute sign from my cousin, Liv, it’s the shelves above my desk and I like it a lot.

Sticky notes!! I love sticky notes and use them all the time. I’m so excited to have all of these to use. πŸ€ͺ

This gorgeous stationary set was a gift from Mercy! All of the stationary is so pretty and I’ve already written lots of letters with it.

I’ve wanted these two books for a while now, and after entering multiple writing book giveaways in hopes of winning them, I finally decided just to add them to my wishlist. They were from Luke, I think. πŸ˜€

I got this beautiful necklace from my dear friend, Chloe! ❀ It has a beautiful charm on the inside, and there’s a bracelet too. Such a thoughtful gift. ❀

I got this notebook from my friend, Katherine–She also decorated most of the pages with lots of pretty washi tape and stickers.

My grandma and grandpa gave me this brown notebook! It’s so much fun to use, especially with my white gel pens.

More organization and planning things! The clipboard opens and has a notebook inside, along with a pocket to store loose papers, too. I use the planner for days when I have a ton to do and the small list in my bullet journal isn’t enough space. Both of them are so helpful! These were from Jewel!

I’ve seen people use wax kits for snail mail a lot and I thought it’d be fun to use it! It is just as awesome as I thought it would be, and the stamp (pictured below) is so pretty! This was also from my grandma and grandpa. (All the colors are a bit jumbled in the picture from when I opened it, but it’s back and each color is in the correct space now.)

And the stamp, along with a tealight candle to melt the wax, and metal spoon to hold the wax.

I got this candle from my aunt. It smells amazing (A coastal wind + lavender) and the wicks are made of wood, which I find neat.

A friend of mine, Kate, made me these positively gorgeous handlettered cards. They’re all so pretty! ❀

I got these handmade keycains from my lovely writing and blogging friend, Vi. They’re all amazing!

All of this washi tape was from Grace. I love it all SO much and it’s so pretty! (I got more (about 40 rolls. o.O) but was only able to squeeze these ones into the picture.)

I got this wonderful mug from my cousin, Liv, too. I don’t drink coffee much, and when I do, it’s usually iced, but I do drink tea A LOT. I can’t wait to try it out!

And lastly, one of my favorite gifts yet, a sunflower plant!! I was so excited to get it. I immideitaly name the her Georgia. πŸ˜‚ 🀣 My grandma knew I wanted some sunflowers, especially after all of the ones I planted either died or didn’t bother to grow (we have no idea why, still) and now I have one! Grandma said she got it from Walmart and had to nurse it back to life, but now it’s alive and there are tons of new blooms on it.

I love it so much! ❀

Welp, that’s it! ❀

So many other people gave me the sweetest cards, envelopes and little birthday packages, but I didn’t have enough space in this already very long post to show everything. If I didn’t show something you gave, please know that I still truly and honestly loved it and you made my day by sending it.  THANK YOU SO MUCH, EVERYONE, for a great birthday! ❀ I felt incredibly loved – my family, and my friends online and offline were so, so sweet!

What is one thing on your birthday list? Did you find anything here to add? What do you think about Georgia, the sunflower? Do you name your plants?

Thank you so much for reading and please have a lovely day, friends!

in bloom {flower photography}

Hello, my friends!

Isn’t it crazy that we’re onto the last month of summer? I’ve enjoyed taking tons of photos of all the gorgeous flowers around our house and in the woods. We’ve planted so many, and all of them are so pretty! And then the wildflowers I’ve found in the woods are quite beautiful too.

Today, I selected a few of my favorites out of the hundreds I’ve taken this summer to show you all. I hope this post adds a bit of sunshine to your day! ❀

Enjoy some gorgeous flowers and some other pretty nature-y things!

These first few pictures are all from our trip to Lake Michigan in June! πŸ™‚ I absolutely adore the lighting on this one, the shadow / darker light adds a whole other aspect to the photo.

The petals on this flower remind me of little hearts. I love the bright yellow color of the center, too!

These are similar to the one above, but these flowers had brighter colors. I love how the little white flower snuck its way into the picture. XD

This is one of, if not my favorite flower pictures I’ve ever taken. ❀ These bulbs are absolutely gorgeous; I’m hoping to plant some next spring in our garden.

This flower is so unique. πŸ’›

Now, we’re back to all of the flowers from our garden, woods, and pots at home. I don’t know what these orange flowers are called, but I love the delicacy of the leaves and how they are shaped.

A while ago, I did this random photoshoot I guess you could call it with these little white flowers that my youngest sister brought to me. She kept telling me to put them in random places like on the tree branch and log and take pictures of them. They’re a bit funny, but I like them all, especially the one on top right.

Daises are such lovely flowers. My mom transplanted all of these from the woods, and they have grown quite nicely.

I love the lighting on this one as well ❀ This picture seems to have a quiet and peaceful vibe to it. πŸ˜‚ 😜

Ooh, I like the narrow way this coneflower (and coneflowers in general) looked before it bloomed. Its soon-to-be petals are really pretty with the pale pink and yellow. Once they bloom, it seems like they’re more pink and purple than anything.

I love this one. ❀ The white flowers remind me of lace for some reason, and the water drops add a whole other add effect to it. The colors are also really pretty.

The tree outside the cottage we were staying in reminded me a lot of the cherry blossom tree at home. I like the one in the middle especially because of all the colors, the blue sky, bright green leaves, two random bright red berries, and the actual flowers, of course!

I don’t love this picture, but I do like the water drops on the leaves and the wave petunias. I love all waterdrop photos. πŸ™‚

No caption needed. ❀

For some reason, I like taking pictures of flowers before they bloom, and then after. It’s a neat thing to do. I don’t have the “after” picture yet, but I’m excited to see what it looks like when the flower does bloom. The inside of this flower reminds me of ribbon. πŸ€ͺ

This picture is so sharp and clear with the black background. This is my favorite photo I’ve taken with coneflowers.

These are the same flowers as the ones at the beginning of the post but these were at our house. I like how they have different shades of yellow on the petals.

The stripes on this petunia are really neat! Compared to the other flowers we have all over the place, petunias seem a little boring, but not this one! I like it quite a lot.

This other petunia is another not-so-boring flower! It looks like someone came in with pink paint and splatter-painted the center. Really cool and pretty, in my opinion.

We have so many zinnias! Each flower has a unique color, which makes it fun. I love how every zinnia seems to have little flowers growing inside of the main flower, and how they form a circle. It reminds me of a flower crown. :’D

This one. ❀ I was coming in from a walk when I noticed that there was this butterfly on the flowers in the front garden. It was so amazing to see it.

I love butterflies. ❀

And that’s the end of this very long post. πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for reading and may you have a wonderful day, friends!

What was your favorite photo from this post? Do you like butterflies? Do you have a flower or vegetable garden? What’s your favorite flower?

How to make your own cheesecake

Hello, my friends!

Here’s a fact you probably didn’t know about me. . .cheesecake is my favorite dessert! And it’s one of the few sweets I can eat. It’s perfect for the summer when you want something cool since there are plenty of no-bake cheesecakes out there. But today, I’m sharing one recipe that I love and have used plenty of times!

It’s creamy, easy to make, looks wonderful, and best of all, tastes delicious! Now, after that long introduction, let’s get onto the real post, shall we?

How to Make your own Cheesecake

One of the lovely things about this cheesecake is that it’s very simple and doesn’t require many ingredients. Here’s what you need to make your own delicious cake.

Ingredients

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 and 1/2 cups (150g) graham cracker crumbs (about 10 full sheet graham crackers)
  • 5 Tablespoons (70g) of unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar

Cheesecake

  • four 8-ounce blocks (904g) of full-fat cream cheese, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (240g) full-fat sour cream, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (optional, but recommended)
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • Fun toppings (We use a thick layer of chocolate ganache and chocolate chips sprinkled across it, or drizzle salted caramel sauce over it.

Instructions

Step One

Adjust the oven rack to the lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350Β°F (177Β°C).

Step Two

Make the crust: Using a food processor, pulse the graham crackers into crumbs. Pour into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and melted butter until combined. (You can also pulse it all together in the food processor.) Mixture will be sandy. Press firmly into the bottom and slightly up the sides of a 9-inch or 10-inch springform pan. No need to grease the pan first. I use the bottom of a measuring cup to pack the crust down tightly. Pre-bake for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the hot pan on a large piece of aluminum foil. The foil will wrap around the pan for the water bath in step 4. Allow crust to slightly cool as you prepare the filling.

STEP THREE

Make the filling: Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed in a large bowl until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sour cream, vanilla extract, and lemon juice then beat until fully combined. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until just blended. After the final egg is incorporated into the batter, stop mixing. To help prevent the cheesecake from deflating and cracking as it cools, avoid over-mixing the batter as best you can. You will have close to 6 cups of batter.

STEP FOUR

Prepare the simple water bath: Boil a pot of water. You need 1 inch of water in your roasting pan for the water bath, so make sure you boil enough. I use an entire kettle of hot water. As the water is heating up, wrap the aluminum foil around the springform pan. Pour the cheesecake batter on top of the crust. Use a rubber spatula or spoon to smooth it into an even layer. Place the pan inside of a large roasting pan. Carefully pour the hot water inside of the pan and place in the oven. (Or you can place the roasting pan in the oven first, then pour the hot water in. Whichever is easier for you.)

Step FIVE

Bake cheesecake for 55-70 minutes or until the center is almost set. If you notice the cheesecake browning too quickly on top, tent it with aluminum foil halfway through baking. When it’s done, the center of the cheesecake will slightly wobble if you gently shake the pan. Turn the oven off and open the oven door slightly. Let the cheesecake sit in the oven in the water bath as it cools down for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and water bath, then cool cheesecake completely uncovered at room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate the cheesecake for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Use a knife to loosen the chilled cheesecake from the rim of the springform pan, then remove the rim. Using a clean sharp knife, cut into slices for serving. For neat slices, wipe the knife clean and dip into warm water between each slice.

Serve cheesecake with desired toppings. Cover and store leftover cheesecake in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

4 TIps to make your cheesecake amazing

Before you go, I want to share three tips to make sure that your cheesecake turns out well.

  1. Do not over-mix the cheesecake batter
  2. Bake in a water bath
  3. Leave cheesecake in the cooling oven for 1 hour
  4. Cool completely at room temperature
*Credit for this recipe goes to Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Have you ever eaten cheesecake before? Have you ever made it? Which picture looks the most delicious?

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and give cheesecake-making a try! Have a lovely day!

Summer Vacation 2022 {Part Two}

Hello, friends!

I’m back this week with part two of my family’s summer vacation to Lake Michigan last June! If you missed Part One, you can find it here.

Enjoy lots of blue skies and gorgeous landscapes, crazy adventures, and much more!

Day four

Our fourth day of vacation was a bright and sunny Tuesday. We spent the morning on the beach and had a cookout for lunch before we headed off to do other festivities. The water wasn’t very warm, but that didn’t stop us. (My crazy brother, Malachi, swam in it every day except for one, even though the water temperature was only 52 degrees!)

I love how the sun looks on the water! It was so pretty. Looking at these photos makes me want to go back so much, even though I love being home. πŸ˜‚

I don’t know what caused the patterns to look like this on the water, but it’s neat. It was so cool to see how the water changed each day since we had a variety of weather while we were there.

This picture is, ick. πŸ€ͺ Not the actual picture, but what the picture was of. We had a lot of rain from the day before, so a lot of sand, dirt, dead fish and rocks washed up on the beach, and this wave was full of it. Thankfully, there were some clear areas to wade in, that was not filled with gunk.

I wish my shadow could have been clearer, but I like this, even though it’s not great.

After we were finished with lunch, we headed to Wood Orchard! It’s a really neat market with a fun playground outside, and plenty of cool things inside like signs, other decorations, fruit, pies, streusel, fudge, and much more.

Once we finish there, we headed toward a fun state park with this really cool rock formation. It was a fun place to go to, and I got some really neat photos!

Doesn’t this driftwood look like a howling dog?

All of the rock was so neat! The blue water and the green on the rocks look really good together, in my opinion.

After we had watched for a while, we went on a walk through the path. Goodness, there were a lot of roots on the path. o.O Perfect for The Ground is Lava. πŸ˜‰

This doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the photos, but I love it anyway. So pretty!

This one. . .no caption needed. ❀

And then, we headed home! And now. . .family photo time! πŸ₯³ 😜 Well, actually, we ate dinner first, then we headed out onto the beach.

Alas, taking pictures with my family always takes a lot of shuffling, but we managed and got one good one. I love this. ❀

Sadly, I can’t share any of the others for privacy, but they were beautiful, definitely worth all the shuffling (and a bit of squabbling). 😊 πŸ’›

Day Five

We were gone the whole morning, or at least the girls were, my wonderful Aunt Joy took us (Grace, Mercy, and I) out shopping, walking around downtown, stoped, at a very cute coffee shop, and overall have a ton of fun. ❀ (Well, I got a smoothie, to be precise.) We had a blast, but I didn’t bring my camera along, which means no photos. πŸ™ƒ So there aren’t too many photos for this day.

We had a s’more contest that night, and it was lots of fun. Mom ended up winning. πŸ˜€ Alas, the fire was very difficult to cook marshmallows on, but it did work, after more than a few failures.

And behold, the perfect marshmallow.

Day SIx

Despite our sixth day being our last day of vacation, it was my favorite day. We went to some really cool and fun places, plus went to out favorite ice cream shop before we headed home. And it was gorgeous out, with incredible clouds, and a bright blue sky. Let’s get started, shall we?

Before we left the cottage, I headed out to the beach to get some more photos. I love this shot of the trees, and the benches, with the bright water and the white sand.

Just beautiful. ❀

Oooh, I adore the colors of this one. . .the water, with green leaves and white birch tree. So pretty.

All of the sparkles remind me of little diamonds on the water. It was so lovely out that day.

More seagulls! There were so many birds, most of them were pelicans or seagulls.

And one last picture of our beach. ❀

After that, we grabbed our last-minute things, loaded into the car, and headed toward another beach! It was wonderful there too, with huge clouds and lots of amazing photo opportunities. πŸ˜€

This place would have been perfect for a picnic. (Sadly, it was 9 a.m in the morning. Not exactly breakfast time. XD)

It was right near where we went on our fourth day of vacation. 😜 Just around that cliff was where we stopped!

It’s funny how different the water is right here. So green and then so clear all of the sudden.

Lots of sand dunes!

The sand made weird noises when you walked on it–It was kinda funny. πŸ˜‚

There was this huge anchor that the boys were trying to pick up. (They weren’t successful though. . .It was chained to the ground. πŸ˜‰ πŸ€ͺ)

This path through the woods with the water in the background. . .it was lovely there.

Once we left there, we drove toward another state park! This one was for the viewing tower. It was quite cool. πŸ˜€ And a teensy bit terrifying being up there in the sky. 😜 πŸ˜‚

The tower from down below!

Grandma looks so tiny. 🀣

We could walk up the steps, or walk the ramp–But we decided to do the ramp since it was all new and looked cooler.

And the view from the top. Just beautiful. ❀

That wraps up this post. It was a lovely vacation, and I’m so thankful that we were blessed enough to go up here–It was an amazing blessed from the Lord. ❀

Are you going anywhere this summer? Which marshmallow is the best in the contest? How does family photo time go for your family? Any chaotic stories?

Thank you so much for reading! ❀

Summer Vacation 2022 {Part ONe}

Hello, my friends!

I have quite a long post today! Back at the beginning of June (Yes, I’ve been waiting a while to post this. I may have to start posting more than once a week or take fewer photos. πŸ˜‚), my family, along with my grandparents and aunt, went on a trip to Lake Michigan. It was a wonderful time, even though it was a bit chilly and the water was too cold to swim, and I took 654 photos. *shakes head* Which is why we’re going to split this into two parts.

Enjoy!

DAY ONE:

(I’m going to divide this post into days and two parts to keep it decently readable. :))

We started out the trip around Eight in the morning and we arrived around One O’clock so just in time for lunch. Grace and Malachi rode with my aunt (Well, Malachi drove.), which was strange but nice–since we weren’t crowded for once!

The trip was pretty boring. . .I read This Changes Everything by Jaquelle Crowe Ferris on the way there; it’s an amazing book, and if you haven’t read it, I’d totally recommend it. But other than that, not much happened.

I took tons of landscapes and raindrop photos on the way there, but somehow, they all got deleted. πŸ˜… ‘Twas quite sad and I still have no idea how it happened, but thankfully, a few were saved!

We passed by this place that had tons of windmills. There were so many and they were all so huge!

And then, at last, we reached our destination! (Well actually, first we had to stop at Walmart to pick up some things, and then we went to Subway to get sandwiches. But we were there!)

We stayed at the cutest little cottage right on the Lake, which was amazing. All we had to do was cross this small lane and we were at the beach.

Right away we got out of the car (Without bothering to unload all of our things, except the sandwiches) and ran to the beach. Everyone was starving, so after a few of us had run around the beach like crazy, we settled down to eat. And then promptly, we got sand in the sandwiches. (Guys, sand gets everywhere. I mean, I still have sand in my shoes from this trip. *rolls eyes*)

The water was so blue and bright! ❀ It was a really neat color that day. It was funny because each day, the water was a different shade of blue.

I LOVE how the clouds look in this one. They were so wispy and neat.

I always enjoy standing by the edge of the beach and watching the waves come in, and then having to jump away from them too! It even gave me a new story idea. 😁

Later, after the car had been unpacked and we were somewhat settled, Dad, Grandpa, the twins, and I went on a walk on the beach.

It was a bit cloudy, but still so bright and beautiful! At the end of our beach, there was a pier and a little further down from that was a lighthouse. (Keep on reading for more about that later in the post!) We walked to the end of the beach but couldn’t figure out how to get to the lighthouse so we went on a trail in the woods. (Possibly a bad idea. πŸ˜‚)

After nearly 20 minutes of walking, I was starting to think that we were lost. Finally, we decided to turn around. Oh, the adventures we have while looking for things. XD (Remember the search for the lake at Lutsen?) Well, we never found the lighthouse. πŸ˜› But we did have a nice walk!

The clouds and sun on the beach were all gorgeous. ❀

Once we came home from our walk, and I took those photos, everyone was tired so we just spent the rest of the evening hanging out in the house and just chilling.

DAY TWO

The second day of our trip was Sunday, and we usually don’t do a lot on Sundays. For most of the day, we just hung out at the beach, and then we went to Target and TJ Maxx before we got to meet one of my writing friends and a pen pal. (Which was fantastic but sadly, I didn’t get any pictures.) Anyway, I have a lot of beachy photos for this category.

There were so many fish! A lot of them were dead but we caught some live ones too. All you had to do was dunk a bucket underwater and you’d almost always bring up a fish. It was crazy.

It wasn’t very warm out, but all of us kids went into the water anyway and waded. ‘Twas quite chilly, but a lot of fun!

There was this little beach / cove in the water, about 5 feet in. We all had a lot of fun walking on it and jumping back and forth. All of my younger siblings took to calling it an island. I wouldn’t go that far. πŸ˜‚

The water between the “island” was all silvery from the sun. I think this photo is really neat. πŸ™‚

Sitting on the beach is the perfect time to read, eh? I read 5 books on this trip, and most of them were read seating on the beach.

(Credits to Mercy for the last photo!)

DAY THREE

Our third day on vacation was also Ezekiel’s birthday!

For the morning, we hung out at the beach since it was supposed to rain, but it didn’t.

Then for lunch, everyone got into the car (cars, I should say–There were 13 of us! πŸ˜…) and we drove to a restaurant to celebrate Ezekiel’s birthday! It’s one of our favorite restaurants to go to up there, it serves some of the best ice cream and huge shakes//malts. It’s super cool inside too, all these old signs and things. Sadly, I didn’t bring my camera inside. πŸ˜›

It rained on the drive there, and I got some more rain drop photos! Not my best ones, but I think this one of the windshield is neat. 😊

After we had eaten, we went shopping in some little stores downtown–This ice cream shop reminded me of something you’d see in a movie or book. 😁

There was this huge bear outside one of the stores! Buddy, my grandparents dog, kept barking at it. πŸ˜‚

Along with plenty of pretty flowers. I don’t know what kind of flowers these are, but I love them and now I want to plant some. *grins* I love this photo so much. ❀

There were all of these fun animals around the town. Apparently, his name is Cusco! It’s from a picture book but I don’t remember the name–Anyone remember it? 😜

Hello, Mr. Pig! πŸ˜‚ This pig wasn’t named though, unlike Cusco.

After shopping, we got back in the car and drove home. Now, onto the lighthouse adventure, I mentioned earlier in the post! Everyone wanted to figure out how to get to the lighthouse and go see it, so after looking it up and finding directions, we headed toward the lighthouse.

On the way there, we had to walk on a street // road that had an area for the public to walk, and a spot for the private. The younger ones of us kept putting toes over the line and being crazy about it. πŸ˜‚

We walked out on this concrete pier, and it was a bit nerve-wracking but still very safe. πŸ˜…

I love the B&W version of this photo. I had to edit it a bit strangely to try to get Mercy out since she was photobombing, but I still love it.

All of the rocks along it were so pretty, and neat. It was so loud there, with all the waves crashing against them.

Guys. . .it was so neat there and the weather and fog just added to the effect.

I kind of want to write a short story of flash fiction off of these photos. What do you think?

Across from us, there was another pier where plenty of seagulls, pelicans, and other birds were all over it. It was really cool to watch the birds.

Ahh. . .this is probably my favorite photo from the whole trip. I love it SO so much. This was one of, if not my favorite, places to go when we went up there.

Anyway, that brings us to the end of this incredibly long post. 😜 I hope you enjoyed it and keep an eye out for part two next week!

What was your favorite photo from this post? What are your plans for the summer, have you taken any summer trips yet? Do you like the beach or mountains more?

Have a beautiful week and thank you for reading!

A Glorious Sunday morning walk

Hello, my friends!

A few weeks ago, my family and I were home sick or recovering from being sick on a Sunday, sadly, we couldn’t go to church, but we did go for a wonderful walk since it was beautiful out. I took tons of photos, but here is a selection of my favorites. πŸ˜€

The sky was so bright and blue. ❀

I love how everything is green again, even if it’s a bit of a nuisance for my dad because he has to start mowing again, plus all of the weeds are beginning to grow up on our trails. BUT it makes everything so bright and fun to photograph.

Oooh, look at the rainbow flare! I laid down under our biggest maple tree to get this picture and ended up getting slightly muddy. πŸ˜›

Oh goodness, I found a puffball. I stepped on it and ended up standing there for about 5 minutes trying to get a good picture of it puffing out. At last, I did.

The sun shining through all of the trees with their new green leaves was beyond gorgeous. I love this picture so much.

Hehe, this is a funny story and shows how crazy and random I can be at times. . .So there was this stack of logs that Dad had cut down to make room to plant trees, and for some odd reason, I really wanted to climb up there and sit on it. I made it to the top log when things got rocky. The top long, which was the biggest, began to shake, and then roll. Thankfully, I jumped down and made it out unscathed. But I learned my lesson and hopefully, you can too–Don’t climb piles of logs. πŸ˜‚

Ahh, this path was so gorgeous! I went for a slight detour while Mom and Dad discussed where to plant more trees, and Malachi took everyone else for a ride in the Ranger. Chewy and Macey came with me. They both, Macey especially, nearly got lost in the tall grass. T’was quite hilarious.

This is the second area we planted trees in. Three hundred will go down by the road, and the others will go up here! It used to have one path to the other trails with trees that were old and dying and bushes // weeds along with it. Now it’s nearly cleared out.

These ferns were so pretty! They were randomly just growing in the middle of the trail. πŸ˜›

Ack, this is slightly blurry but I finally got a picture of a bumblebee on a flower.

The little wildflowers all along the path were so gorgeous!

I love this dandelion, even though they are a nuisance, they can be so pretty, especially when they are all dried out like this.

This was like a tree trunk with three trees growing out of it. . .isn’t that strange?

I love this picture so much. (And basically all of the others in the post, haha.) The simplicity of the bright blue sky and the leaves are what I love, I think.)

Another stump, but I thought the wood violets growing all over it was so pretty. Kinda reminded me of a fairy forest or something like that.

What do you think about climbing piles of logs or triple tree stumps? Do you think the stump is pretty or annoying?

I hope you enjoyed this post and seeing a bit of spring. (; ❀ Have a wonderful day, wonderful friends!

Monthly Review: May 2022

Hello, friends!

Today, I bring you my May 2022 Review! Once again, we’ll be going over the three categories, Life, Writing, and Reading! I hope you enjoy. =D

**Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy something off of my link, I will get a small commission for advertising, with no extra cost to you and you get to support this blog for free!**

Writing

May was a HUGE month for me writing-wise. I finished my first full-length novel at around 52 thousand words which is beyond exciting! I wrote it in less than thirty-one days which was a fun challenge. I know I still have a long way to go but this is a big accomplishment for me.

All other writing except blog posts basically got pushed aside since I was writing nearly 2-thousand-words every day, but I have another exciting update too which most of you already know. At the beginning of May, my email list hit 100 subscribers! (Well 107 now.)

I already sent a big thank you email out, but I’m going to say it again. Thank you all so much for reading my writing and supporting me! I appreciate you so much. ❀

I’m planning to do something to celebrate still–I’m not totally sure yet, but it will be exclusive to my email list, so if you’re not signed up yet, I’d love to have you! ❀

rEADiNG

I *kind of* failed in reading this month. I spent so much time writing that I hardly had any free time to do much reading, plus, I can’t seem to find any good books to read that I’ll enjoy and that is clean. But I did read some, a grand total of three books. πŸ˜›

I read Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner which was a very sweet story, and I enjoyed it.

Then I reread the sixth and seventh books of the Main Street Series by Ann M. Martin, along with listening to the ones before in the series on audio. (I love audiobooks if you haven’t noticed. :D)

And the reading stopped there. I’m hoping to read more this summer and I definitely will since some of my writing friends and I are doing a reading challenge. I’m hoping for thirty books. We’ll see if I end up finding enough to read. That could be a problem.

LIFE

Life-wise, May was rough but there were some good things too. (And the hard things weren’t necessarily bad. . . they were just hard.)

I was sick twice, and currently have allergies. *shakes head* I hope the rest of you didn’t spend most of your month sick.

BUT despite being sick a lot, May was a gorgeous month, seeing all of the flowers bloom and the woods turn green was definitely amazing. I love spring, don’t you? I especially loved this beautiful dogwood tree, looking out my window and seeing it all bright and full of blooms made me so happy. But after about a week, all of the blooms died. Oh well, I’ll have to wait until next spring. But I got tons of pictures of it so it won’t be forgotten. πŸ˜€

We planted 500 trees (and some bushes.)! That was a lot of work but fun too. Click here to see the post I made with more photos.

I did a lot of art during May, being sick gives you plenty of time to do art and write. πŸ˜‚ Most of it was in my bullet journal since I ran out of room in my last bujo. I got this one off of Amazon and I love it! It’s a lot nicer than my last bujo so I’m happy to have it. πŸ™‚

My younger siblings and I did a super fun photoshoot (Well two of them actually! One with just the girls and then one with everyone) and that was a blast.

All in all, May was a hard month, but I learned a lot and had some fun.

Anyhow, that wraps it up!

How did your May go? What was one high and one low from your month?

Planting 500 trees {Lots of photos}

Hello hello, my wonderful friends!

A few weeks ago, in May, my family and I planted 500 trees in one of the areas of our property. Some friends from our church also came out and gave us a hand — It was super fun but also very tiring. And in a few years, we’ll have plenty of pine trees. We also planted so River Birch and Oak trees too, but it may be 40 years before those actually look like something. πŸ˜‚

Enjoy some fun tree planting adventures!

**Note: Some of the photos might be cropped // edited weirdly due to avoid posting people’s faces. Thanks for putting up with that!**

Before we planted, the area had to be cleared from other trees, most of them were either dead or dying. There were also boxelder trees which my parents are not necessarily fans of because they are kind of ugly. Thankfully, the skid-steer makes it go a lot faster. (But my dad and brothers did most of the work by hand because the skid-steer belongs to David, a friend of my parents and he brought it out to help towards the end of the project)

The pine tree seedlings don’t actually look much like trees. More like twigs with little leaves on them. :’D

This picture is a bit over-edited, but I really like it.

After a while, the kids, mainly the boys, started to get impatient and began having running races. They stuck these flags, which are used to show where the trees are, all over the place. I wouldn’t be surprised to find another one around somewhere random. πŸ˜‚ This one was on the driveway.

Ah, I love this picture of everyone working! It was a fun day, and we are super thankful for our friends who helped us! ❀

All of the trees were being stored in the root cellar until we could plant them so they wouldn’t dry out or get too warm. They need to be kept cool until they are planted. We don’t really use the cellar for anything. . .though we probably should since it’s really nice. When we first bought the house, Mercy, a friend of mine, and I all cleaned it out. So it’s just an empty dark place now. It has a very long story that I made up about it, and it’s also kind of creepy. (Comment if you wanna know the story — Please note that my 9 year-old-self made it up so it’s very wild and crazy. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‚)

We used a dibble bar to dig the holes so they wouldn’t be as wide as a hole as a normal spade would make. There was a great difference in the dibble bars we had. They were loaned to us by the DNR. Some of them were very pointed and worked great. However, some of them were flat and my mom started calling them a pointless shovel. The flat ones did not work nearly as well as the pointed ones and we did really wonder whose idea flat dibble bars were. We also used whatever other digging objects we had because there were a lot of people, a lot of holes to dig, and a lot of trees that need to be planted.

The dirt, in some places, was really dry and hard to dig into. Twice, we had to move to different spots for our holes because we hit rock!

Dad had started planting before we got down there. He was already very busy! (Note: he has a dibble bar.)

Once you put the tree into the ground, you had to form a sort of rim around it to keep the water in the hole so the trees would get the maximum amount of water to the roots. Many hands make light work!

It was SUCH a gorgeous day out! Later, it got cloudy and less nice, but in the morning, the sun was so bright and the sky was incredibly blue.

We were marking the spots where the trees were supposed to go with spray paint, and a random wood pole to get them measured right. The trees needed to be 5-7 feet apart.

Umm, yes, that is a shoe on the stump. I don’t know how it got there or why it was there, but it was apparently.

Dad borrowed a tank from my grandparents to water the trees. We had to drive the ranger up to the house and fill it with a hose. The younger kids thoroughly enjoyed moving the water from the tank, to a five gallon bucket that we used for tapping trees and then watering the trees.

Luke accidentally spray-painted his hand while marking the spots for the trees. Thankfully, it all came off after he rubbed it in the grass and then rinsed it with water.

This tree ended up getting a bit overwatered. Hopefully, it will grow fine. Otherwise, I may have killed it. πŸ˜› πŸ˜‚

We shall end with a picture of the yard (while yard might be a stretch on the word. . .I don’t know what to call it. :P) with plenty of flags in the ground with little twigs in the ground next to them. Okay, okay, fine, seedlings. Plenty of seedlings in the ground. πŸ˜‚

Have you ever planted a tree? What was your favorite photo from this post? Do you have a root cellar?

Thank you for reading!

Spring Photography

Hello, my friends!

I have lots of springy photos for today’s post! Spring has taken its time arriving here, we got some snow in April, and then it’s been cold and rainy most days. But it’s finally starting to warm up and starting to feel actually like spring.

Anyway, enough of an intro. πŸ˜€ Enjoy a bit of spring!!

Aww, I love the little water droplets on these little green plant. They look almost like little crystals. πŸ™‚

Hehe, I was asking Mom about ideas to describe this plant and she put it as “A budding weed”. . . Anyhow, for some odd reason, its shape vaguely reminds me of a rose. πŸ˜…

Chewy, one of our dogs, came with me while I took a lot of these pictures. She did not agree with pausing for me to take a picture of her, she just kept running in circles. Finally, Mercy came to the rescue and got her to sit still. These all make me laugh, especially the third picture. :’D

The trees are always beautiful to watch bloom; especially this cherry blossom tree! πŸ’› 😊

A friend of my Mom gave her all of these solar light bulbs, and for some reason, I love taking pictures of them. They are just so clear and still which is one reason I love them and then add in the tree with all of its tiny green buds. It’s perfect in my opinion. 😁

My mom’s friend also gave her these lovely lanterns; I love the woods and trees behind them. 😊

I love the lighting in this picture!! Along with the moss on the rock next to it. The actual plant isn’t very pretty but I love the rest of the picture.

This is more of the moss I showed above. For some reason, this reminds me of some sort of fairy village or something like that. :’D

The leaves on this plant are really neat in my opinion.

This is just another really pretty leaf picture that I too! I love all of the little “designs” on this leaf. It’s so interesting to see how different yet how similar all of the leaves are.

Because of our very slow start to spring, most of the flowers haven’t bloomed yet. But, we have plenty of these daffodils! I already shared pictures of them in my last post–And I may have almost reached the point where I’ve taken too many pictures of them. . .

A few days ago, we got a lot of rain and thunderstorms. After it rained, we went out to the creek and played since it was running really fast and hard. That was a lot of fun! I love all of these rocks making little waterfalls in the water.

I took this picture a few days later when it was bright and sunny! Look at how much clearer it is. It’s fun to see how the water changes during the different seasons and weather.

Ahh, some little waterfalls. This is part of the creek dam that my younger siblings built a while ago.

The bridge with all the green and the creek reminds me of something from a movie–Last time I walked across this bridge I almost fell off but thankfully, Mercy rescued me. (Apparently, Mercy is very heroic in this post :D)

Oooh, I love all the green and the rocks in this picture, and the creek of course. It’s so peaceful and quiet over there. (Except for yesterday, when there were all of these birds down there picking worms from under the leaves. That was really fun to watch but I didn’t have my camera so no pictures. 😦 )

Mmm, this mushroom is actually pretty in my opinion! I never really thought that fungi could be pretty but I love the gold mushroom against the rustic-looking wood. ❀

My younger siblings found a caterpillar a few days ago when we were walking. It’s so tiny and fluffy.

What was your favorite picture from this post? What’s your favorite thing about spring? What do you think about the description of “A budding weed”?

Thank you so much for reading and have a lovely day, friends!!

9 tips to be more productive

Hello, friends! 

I have a different post today than my usual posts β€” It’s a bit more practical. Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite tips for being productive. Along with some pretty flower photos because why not?

Do a brain dump

This is something that really helps me if I have a lot to do but can’t focus. β€” Writing down a tumble of things I need to do helps me remember exactly what I need to do and how much I have that needs done.

Make a list 

I usually do this once I do my brain dump β€” It helps me get a more organized plan of what I need to do and start doing it. One of my favorite ways to organize lists is by these three categories β€œWant to do”, β€œShould do”, and β€œMust do” It makes me get my priorities straight and get done what I need to do.Β 

Tidy up your space 

Cleaning up your space and organizing is always helpful to get you going and be productive. You won’t have to stop to look for things if your space is clean and you can see where everything is. 

Go for a walk

Getting fresh air, even when it’s cold out, is so important and it will help you be a lot more productive if you get some fresh air, it will definitely give you a nice break. Stretching your legs is always helpful. Plus, if you’re working on a computer, it’s good to get a quick break from that screen. There are a ton of benefits from going outside and moving.Β 

Open a window 

As long as it’s warm enough, opening a window is always a great choice β€” especially if you’re on crunch time and don’t have time to go take a break for a walk. You can still get some fresh air right from your workspace. 

Drink Water 

I’m sure you knew this oneΒ  β€” But staying hydrated will boost your productivity and get you moving. :’DΒ 

Listen to music (Or an audiobook) 

Listening to music can be really helpful to get you going and get moving! Listening to audiobooks are also fun too. My personal favorite is audiobook because I love reading and you can do it at the same time, but music can definitely help boost your motivation more. 

Give yourself a goal

If you have something to work towards, it will make you want to work and get you to be more productive. This is also helpful if you make a list, give yourself the goal of finishing your list. For extra points, give yourself a reward once you finish it. Maybe it’s chocolate or something else completely. But give yourself something to work towards!  

Just do itΒ 

Honestly, this is the best tip I have. Just jumping in and getting started is the best thing you can do. Just using one or two of these ideas 

I hope all of these tips can be helpful to you, friends! ❀ 

What are some of your favorite productivity tips? How do you get stuff done? Let’s talk in the comments! 

Have a wonderful day and thank you so much for reading!Β 

How to make a spring wreath {+ Giveaway winners}

Hello, my friends!

I am super excited for today’s post (How unusual!), my mom and I had a lot of fun making a spring wreath for our house, and I thought it would be fun to teach you guys how to too.

I spent some time on Pinterest looking for inspiration. I was amazed at how expensive wreaths can be to buy premade! Wreaths are really simple, and not very expensive, plus they are just so pretty and fun to look at. But before we get onto that, I want to announce my giveaway’s winner. . .

rose q addams

Congratulations, Rose!! I’ll email you as soon as possible. πŸ˜€

Thank you all so much for entering! I really enjoyed hosting this giveaway and hopefully, I’ll do another one again sometime soon.

How to make your own SPRING

For those who didn’t win, hopefully seeing a beautiful spring wreath and even making one of your own will cheer you up. ❀ =D

**Please note that this post contains affiliate links. If you buy something off of my link, the price won’t change for you but I get a small commission for advertising and you get to support this blog for free.**

tHE SUPPLIES

Here’s what you need to make a wreath of your own:

Peonies

We bought these exact flowers off of Amazon and we were able to use just the leaves that were already on the flowers instead of buying new greenery. They are really pretty too!

(I forgot to get a picture before we pulled the leaves off — That’s why there aren’t any leaves on them)
An 18-inch grape-vine wreath

I linked one from Amazon, but I’d recommend buying from some place like Hobby Lobby or Joanne’s or any other craft store because they will be much cheaper – We bought one from Joanne’s on sale for about 4 dollars per wreath, so you can definitely find one cheaper.

A GLUE GUN + Glue Sticks

Just any simple glue gun will do for gluing the leaves onto the wreath.

wIRE Cutter

You’ll probably need this for cutting down the stems on the flowers because as I’ve found, scissors do not usually work.

That’s it for supplies! See what I meant about it being simple?

HOW TO MAKE the wreath

Step 1: Gather all your materials together and lay them out

This will make it easier when you are making the wreath so you don’t have to go and grab things as you work.

I once again didn’t get a picture of this step. I need to get more pictures apparently. :’D

Step two: Remove the leaves // greenery off the peonies & Cut the flower stems down

I removed the leaves by sliding them off the stems. I left about 4 inches of stem on each flower to allow enough room for tucking into the wreath.

Step three: Start gluing the leaves to the wreath.

I glued the leaves down. I mostly glued them to the outside. I just put a dot of hot glue right on the back of each individual leaf and stuck it down the way I wanted it. There are some little leafy sprigs that I put glue on the bottom of the stem and then I tucked into the wreath.

sTEP Four: Tuck in the Flowers

Once you have finished gluing all of the leaves around the wreath, go on and start sticking the flowers in.

Step six: find a place to hang up your wreath

You can basically hang your wreath wherever you want it — The most common place is a door of course, but we already have wreaths on our doors, so I hung it up in my room. You can also put it on a mirror or over a mantel. Just put it somewhere where you will enjoy seeing it!

Have you ever made your own wreath? Does it feel like spring where you’re at? What is your favorite spring flower?

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial and have a chance to make your own wreath! Thanks so much for reading, friends, and have a wonderful day!