A delicious fall recipe: pumpkin bars

Hello, my friends!

I have a delicious post for you in honor of being yesterday the first day of fall and just ’cause this is one of my favorite treats and I wanted to share it with you–Here’s my favorite recipe for pumpkin bars. These bars are quick and easy to make, plus absolutely yummy.

(And I’m currently munching on one right now while I’m writing this post.)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour 
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup (240ml) vegetable oil*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup (200g) packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup (65g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (30ml) pure maple syrup
  • 1 (15 ounces) can pumpkin puree
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chocolate chips

*I prefer melted butter over oil, but it’s up to you and your preference!

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C) and grease a 10×15 inch baking pan. Or line the pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily lift the bars (as a whole) out.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl. Set aside. Whisk the oil, eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, maple syrup, pumpkin, and vanilla extract together until combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a mixer or whisk until completely combined. The batter will be thick.

Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 28-35 minutes. Baking times vary, so keep an eye on yours. The bars are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the top or edges of the bars browning too quickly, loosely tent with aluminum foil.

Remove the bars from the oven and set the pan on a wire rack. Cool bars completely. (After about 45 minutes of cooling, you can place the bars in the refrigerator to speed things up!)

Enjoy with or without a fork, but definitely grab a napkin!

Cover and store pumpkin bars at room temperature for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

*Credit for this recipe goes to Sally’s Baking Addiction.

I hope you enjoyed this recipe and have a chance to try it out for yourself! (And if you do, do make sure to let me know in the comments.)

What’s your favorite fall recipe? Have you ever tried pumpkin bars? Do you like cinnamon or pumpkin better? Or some other flavor entirely?

Have a wonderful day!

IN WHICH I SHARE MY FAIR ENTRIES {2022}

Hello, my friends!

For as long as I can remember, my family has been entering art projects, baked goods, and for me, photos, in our County Fair! I’m hoping to do a post soon with all the photos from when we actually went to the fair, but today, you’ll have to settle for the photos I entered. 😀 You may have already seen a few of these before on the blog, but a lot of them are new ones, too.

Enjoy!

I love this one of the ice! I took it back in March, right before all the ice melted off the creek. I’m sure it’s quite different than the weather by you unless you live in Antarctica and it’s always winter for you. XD Things are starting to cool down here, though! Hopefully, we’ll be seeing this ice in a few months again. 😂 😉

I absolutely love how sparly the ice is! I think that being able to see the rocks through the ice is quite neat, too. Don’t you think?

This sunset is so pretty. ❤ I love the silhouette of the hills in the back ground, almost like little mountains.

This sunset is actually just from a few weeks ago – It was such a pretty night out that night.

I love this butterfly so much. ❤ When it was printed, alas, I couldn’t get it to crop correctly so the butterfly’s wing ended up being caught up but it turned out all right in the end. 😛 Anyway, that’s the sad saga of the butterfly not cropping. XD

This one is so pretty too! I find these kind of butterflies so neat – They have such interesting patterns; I don’t know what their called, though. 😛

These tomatoes are actually one of my favorite photos, I’ve taken. I love the water drops and how clear and fresh the photo is.

I like this one, as well! Tomatoes with waterdrops (and well, anything with waterdrops, especially vegetables or fruits) are really cool. I feel like it adds a whole new perspective to it.

These flowers were stunning, especially after the rain. ❤ I can’t remember what their called (Anyone know?) but they are so gorgeous and delicate. They remind me of hydrangeas, in a way, but I know they are not that. . . 😀

It gets even prettier up close. ❤️ 😂

I love this lighthouse! It was such a fun trip that brings back so many good memories.

This one too. ❤

This fungi / mushroom is very aesthetic in my opinion. XD I love the gold caramel color, with the log in the background adds a whole other effect to it.

These ones are so crinkly. 😂 These two photos are very fall-ish, in my opinion. What do you think?

The variation of seasons between these photos is quite large. o.O There are some very fall-like ones, wintery ice ones, a few springy, and lots of summery photos, too. 😂 😅 If you look closely at the island, you can see a boat in the corner.

Adding the trees in this photo adds a whole new perspective, compared to the last one. The trees look odly green, but I didn’t edit it at all, so. 😛

And that’s all for today, friends! I hope you enjoy this post and thank you so much for reading!

Before you go. . . I’d love to hear what you thought of this post! Did you have a favorite photo? Have you ever been to a fair?

Have a beautiful day!

{Summer 2022}

Hello, my friends!

I wanted to start out this post with the usual and very-overused “Summer went by so fast” but I restrained myself (Or did I just use it in that sentence. . .hmm. XD) Anyhow, I am having a terrible time believing it’s already September and that we’ll be starting school in 4 days. o.O We already got our house all decorated for fall but it still doesn’t seem like summer should be over yet.

Ahem. What I was trying to say is that this post will be filled with 15 things I did this summer in no particular order. XD

Please enjoy some summery photos, lots of fun, and good memories!

  1. Went on a wonderful trip to Lake Michigan in June

This was way at the beginning of Summer. I had an absolutely fantastic time visiting Lake Michigan with my Aunt and Grandparents. We went on two really neat hikes, visited a lighthouse, spent tons of time on the beach, climbed a tower, and much more.

2. Participated in the Go-Teen-Writers 100-for-100 Challenge

I’m not actually finished with this one since I still have 11 days left, but I’m nearly there! Since June 6th, I’ve written at least 100 words every day on the same project, which feels pretty awesome. It’s definitely helped me work on outlining and plotting the novel I’m working on right now because I’m not a huge fan of either of those stages, though they are hugely needed.

3. Read 22 books (+ 3 books of the Bible)

This summer was honestly pretty good for reading! And in August alone, I read 13 books. o.O A friend of mine hosted a super fun summer reading challenge for the month of August, and that definitely spurred me on. I’m hoping that I finally got past the reader’s-block I was facing at the beginning of the summer, but we’ll see.


4. Baked a good amount
I don’t do a ton of baking in general, but when I do do it, I enjoy it, and I made it a priority this summer to bake some. My favorite things I made were Cheesecake, Rice Crispy Dream Bars, and Blueberry Muffins.

5. Met a writing friend

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet one of my writing friends and penpals, Katherine, while we were visiting Lake Michigan! We’d talked a lot through emailing, video calls, and such, and it was so amazing to meet each other in real-life. We had a blast together, and so did our siblings. (I sadly can’t share a specific picture from the visit because of privacy reasons. :P)

6. Had a small garden

We didn’t have a huge garden this year since we were incredibly busy with planting all our trees and went on a trip right at the beginning of June, but the garden we did have grew wonderfully. And now we have lots of watermelons, tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and more ready to harvest.

7. Memorized 10 new Bible verses

For our Church Daycamp Camp this year, we memorized Ephesians 6:10 – 18 (The Armor of God) through music, and now I can sing all 9 of those verses. Plus on my own, I memorized Isaiah 60:1. Besides that though, I spent most of the summer focusing on reviewing the old verses I know, since there is nearly 200 that I have memorized already.

8. Went to a lot of fun youth group activities and day camp!

Going off of the last point, this summer was a super fun one for our church youth group. We went mini-golfing, kayaking, the lake, roller skating, did a selfie scavenger hunt, and more. Plus each year, there’s the church day camp that my mom organizes that I mentioned above. It’s always a blast and this year was no different. And on the last night of camp, we did an egg drop to test our egg’s armor. My egg was one of the few that survived, and it won the award for the largest egg by far. (It was first wrapped in tissue paper and from there, cotton, bubble wrap, a mailing envelope. Balloons were tied around it to cushion the fall, and the whole thing was tossed into a garbage bag. It was quite the armor.)

9. Finished setting up my room

Back in May, we did a whole room switcheroo in our house, and now, the three eldest children have our own rooms. It works so much better than it did before, and Mom and I had a ton of fun decorating and setting up my room to make it wonderful. I’m hoping to do a room tour post soon, so stay tuned!

10. Wrote 14 blog posts

Somehow, even in the craziness of this summer, I stayed consistent with posting a blog post every week! I wrote some of my favorite posts this summer, and I’m so glad I was able to hit my goal of posting every week. I love blogging so much and being able to share my photos, writing, and adventures with you all is so much fun. Thank you so much for reading my posts and always leaving the sweetest comments. You all are amazing! ❤

11. Did lots of swimming

On top of doing swim team every year, my grandma also has a pool that she opens just for us grandchildren to use! It’s so much fun to swim with all of my cousins in the summer, and this year was no different. We also went to the lake twice, which was tons of fun.

12. Went on lots of walks

I love taking walks on our trails, especially in the summer. We also did a lot of rides on our ranger (a UTV type thing.) and four-wheeler, two things that are lots of fun.

13. Did 3 sibling photoshoots

Three times this summer I convinced my siblings to go outside with me and let me take lots of photos with them. Usually, the girls, Jewel and Mercy are happy to do this, but the boys are more reluctant. But we did do it three times and I got a lot of fun photos of them.

14. Hosted five different birthday parties (And attended more)

All of my siblings’ birthdays fall within the course of June – September, and summer is always busy with birthdays and parties. We also hosted a super amazing surprise party for my aunt in July, which was a ton of fun, too, and definitely a highlight of this summer.

15. Celebrated my grandparents’ 50th Anniversary and a family reunion

My grandparents had their 50th anniversary this year, and to celebrate, all of my aunts, uncles, and cousins came to visit and we had a nice three days together before everyone headed back home. It was good to see everyone since it had been three years since we were all together! ❤ (I also don’t have a specific photo to share from this event, but I do have this one that I took while I was on a walk with my cousin!)

16. Became a Community Assistant for The Young Writer’s Workshop

This was a pretty big highlight! In early August, I applied for the position of CA (Community Assistant) for the wonderful writing community I’m in, and I was chosen. So far, I’ve loved being able to serve others in this way. ❤

And there you have it, my friends – an illustrated summary of my summer. I hope you enjoyed the post, and enjoyed your summer too!

What was your favorite picture? What was the best part about your summer? Are you excited for autumn? I know I am! What was one thing you did this summer?

Thanks so much for reading, friends, and have a lovely about-to-be-fall day!

Of planning tips and organization

Hello, my friends!

I have something a bit different than what I usually post–As I’m sure you’ve heard me mention before, I love planning and organization, along with lists, planners, bullet journals, calendars, and literally everything that comes with that. And for today’s post, I thought I’d what I use to plan out my day, and how I stay organized throughout the day, week, and month, and give you all some inspiration for your own planning and organization.

Let’s dive in!

Monthly planning

At the beginning of each month, first, I look at my calendar and see what’s happening that month and how much time I have (e.g. For next month, September, I’ll be starting school which means I’ll have less time to do other things, plus, I have to figure school into my schedule.) From there, I create a goal list of things I’d like to get done that month. (I do this in my bullet journal!) Off of those goals, I write out a to-do list, leaving space for things that I may think of as the month goes on. It’s pretty simple and doesn’t take a long time.

Weekly planning

Using my monthly to-do list, I write out a weekly overview. I have these awesome sticky notes that I got from the Daily Grace Co. that I use each week. I have a list of weekly goals (building smaller ones off of my monthly goals), tasks / things that I want to get done that week, a prayer list, a verse of the week, and a list of events happening that week. Currently, I use a dotted notebook that I got, but I’m hoping to figure out a way to incorporate this into my bullet journal soon, so everything is in one place.

Throughout the week, I’ll open up my weekly planner and check off things that I’ve done, add things that I forgot about before, and such. At the end of the week, I’ll see what I have left, create a new page, and add all of my tasks to it.

I also use something called theme days! Theme days are when you set aside a specific day to focus on one project. Currently, I do all of my blog work (writing posts, editing photos, writing emails, responding to comments, etc) on Tuesdays and Fridays. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, I work on my other writing projects. When I sit down to write on a Tuesday or Friday, I can just pull out my blog-related to-do list and focus on that. I don’t need to feel guilty that I should be writing that short story, because I know that I have time set aside on other days to write on that. It helps me stay focused and get things done, more efficiently than I would otherwise.

Daily Planning

Now, my days are pretty simple. At the end of the day, I use my bullet journal to write a daily overview of what I did that day and what I got done, then I write a small to-do list for the next day. Unless I have a lot going on, this simple to-do list works perfectly. When I do have those chaotic days that my little to-do list isn’t enough, I use this daily planner from The Daily Grace Co.

Lastly, just find what works best for you! It took me a while of experimenting, and honestly, being unproductive and unscheduled to find out how I planned and work best.

And that’s the end of this post! I hope it gave you some ideas on how you can plan out your day and be more productive!

Before you go. . . Are you a planner or do you like doing things on the spur of the moment? Do you like planners or bullet journals? What’s one thing you do to stay organized? How do you plan?

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

8 WAYS TO BLESS YOUr FRIENDS TODAY {a Friendship day collab with anna}

Hello, my friends!

In honor of Friendship Day tomorrow, my dear friend, Anna, asked if I would like to do a collab with her. Anna and I have been friends for almost a year now, and it seemed perfect to do a collab.

You can read Anna’s post here, and for my part of the collab, I’m going to be sharing 8 ways you can bless your friends today. Most of these are small things that won’t take a lot of time but will show your friends that someone does care about them. ❤

Send them a letter

I love receiving snail mail, notes, cards, and anything else in the mail from my friends – It really does brighten my day. Writing a letter doesn’t take long at all, and even short notes can make a person smile.

Check-in with them and see how they’re doing

This is one of the most important things that you can do. ❤ Asking someone ‘How are you?’ and honestly wanting to know can mean a lot to someone, just knowing that someone really does care about how you are doing means so much.

Do something for them

There are tons of ways you can help someone who will bless them — Make sure you ask about something specific that’s going on in their life because they will be more inclined to say yes, and that way you can actually bless them.

Make a treat for them

Making a simple batch of brownies (or cheesecake. ;)) is a lovely way to bless someone else that takes a bit more effort than the other ideas, but it’s still simple and sweet.

Give them flowers

Flowers can really brighten up someone’s day, just by seeing them in the room. Especially if you know that they were given to you by a friend, and that friend truly cares, seeing them out and being so bright and beautiful can be a reminder that they’re not alone and that someone does care.

Just Listen

Listening is one of the best ways to bless your friends, and even to be a friend. It doesn’t need any special supplies, just you being willing to listen and talk to your friends means so much. ❤

Pray for them

This, in my opinion, is the best thing that you ever can do to bless someone else, especially your friends. ❤ Make sure you ask your friends “How can I pray for you?” to see if there is a specific request they would like you to pray for, and check in with them and see how they are doing and how they request that they mentioned is. I have a specific section on my prayer list for my friend’s requests and for them specifically, it helps remind me to pray for them, and check-in.

Before we close, I just want to thank you all for being wonderful friends and people who support me. It means a lot to me that you chose to come read this blog, and for those of you who followed, commented, and liked my posts, that means even more. Thank you. ❤

How do you bless your friends and show them that you care? What is your favorite idea from this post?

Dandelion cROWNS AND pRESSED FLOWERS {bONUS POST}

Hello, friends!

Today, I have the honor to share a lovely bonus post with a snippet of writing written by my wonderful friend, Joanne. It’s a beautiful bit of writing and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Dandelion cROWNS AND pRESSED FLOWERS {bONUS POST}

The sun shone brightly in the sky, blinding Ji-Yu. She took a fan out of her pocket and covered her eyes with it, looking out into the field. 

A small hand tugged at her jacket. “Ji-Yu eonni, can we go and play in the flowers?” 

Ji-Yu looked down at the little girl, Ha-Eun, and smiled. “Does your brother want to go?” 

Ha-Eun opened her mouth to answer, and then closed it again, pouting.“I don’t know.” 

Ji-Yu laughed, then pointed at her brother who was playing football with the other boys. “Go ask them, and if he says yes, then we can go.” 

Ha-Eun brightened, and she ran off to her older brother. Ji-Yun shook her head, smiling to herself as she watched. That little girl was a ball of sunshine, and there was no doubt that her brother would succumb to her request. 

As expected, Ha-Eun came back with a triumphant smile on her face. “He said yes! Can we go now? Please please please?” 

Ji-Yun pretended to think about it. “Well, we do have to go home soon.” 

Ha-Eun deflated, and Ji-Yun ruffled her hair, laughing. “Of course we can go. I was just teasing you. Come on, Ha-Eun! Let’s go.” 

Ha-Eun ran off and Ha-Joon, her brother, looked back, raising his eyebrows. Ji-Yu nodded, and Ha-Joon picked Ha-Eun up, running with her to the flowers. 

Ji-Yu packed everything up and followed them, taking her time. It was her job to look after them, but she trusted Ha-Joon. He didn’t need to have a full-on babysitter, but his parents had insisted. 

And Ji-Yu had selfishly obliged. Two charges meant more money, and Ji-Yu needed money. Her father was in a coma, and her mother was at home, mourning as if he was already dead. 

So Ji-Yu had no other choice but to move to America and start making money herself. She worked in a coffee shop in the mornings and babysat Ha-Eun and Ha-Joon in the afternoon. 

She barely scraped by herself, but because of her parents, she needed more money. So she worked as a dishwasher at night in a bar. 

Ji-Yu arrived at the flowers and saw Ha-Joon helping Ha-Eun make a flower crown. She smiled unconsciously and layed down the picnic mat on the grass. Sitting down, she took out her bookmark, starting where she had left off. 

“Ji-Yu noona? We have a gift for you.” Ha-Joon’s voice said, lifting me out of the world of the book. 

“Hmm?” Ji-Yu said, looking up to Ha-Joon with a flower, and Ha-Eun with a flower crown. She gasped, putting her book down. “Oh, you guys. It’s so pretty.” 

They looked at each other, smiling. Ha-Eun placed the flower crown on my head, and Ha-Joon gave me the flower. 

Ji-Yu hugged them both. “Thank you, no, really. These are so pretty. I will wear the crown the whole day, Ha-Eun, I promise.” Ha-Eun burst into a smile. 

“And Ha-Joon, I’ll press this flower, and then make it into a bookmark. When I’m done, I’ll show you, okay?” He nodded, his eyes twinkling. 

Ji-Yu hugged them again, feeling her eyes tear up a little. “Now go play, alright? Ooh, how about you make Ha-Yoon a flower crown?” 

They both grinned, liking the idea of making their eldest sister a flower crown. Together, they ran off, and Ji-Yu fingered the flower crown in her hair. 

Life was bleak at times and full of struggles. There were so many mountains to climb, too many to count. And yet this was why she kept going. 

Because of little moments like these, where God showed her that He was still with her. Where God showed her that she was still loved.

Wasn’t that wonderful? Thank you all so much for reading and may you have a beautiful day!

ABOUT JOANNE

Joanne Shin is a writer and a daughter of God, living as a missionary in Europe. She loves writing, painting, dancing, laughing, and spending time with her friends and family.

The Rainy Day Writer Blog Tour: Stop #3 {Bonus Post}

Hello, my friends! 

Today, I have the pleasure of bringing you a bonus post (So yes, we’ll still be having our usual post tomorrow!) because of my wonderful writing friend, Agnès. She’s launching her author blog! Exciting, right? And I had the lovely opportunity to interview her, about her life, writing, and new blog.

Hello, Agnès, and welcome! In case my readers haven’t met you yet, would you mind introducing yourself? 

Hi, Pearl (and all of her readers)! My name is Agnès, and I am a writer, a reader, and a born-again daughter of the One True King.

Why do you write? 

Ever since I was little, I’ve had stories and words and characters running around in my head. Both my mother and my grandmother love writing, and so all of us were encouraged to stretch our imaginations and write! However, it wasn’t until I finished The Warden and the Wolf King (book 4 in the Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson) that I realized how touching writing can be, and I wanted to craft something that would be as powerful to some person as The Wingfeather Saga was to me.

What is your current project about? 

My current project is a four-book series called The Saga of the Stars, and it follows the story of a young girl. A small blurb is:

There is an island, far away from here, that sits upon a lonely sea, miles away from the mainland. This island is called Stella, and the Stars, the Kalran, once lived in that place.

But the world is broken now. The Stars have gone out, and the once beautiful island is a place of tragedy.

In the middle of that island, eight of the First-ones, the Álinmikor, are waiting for adventure. But will they be ready when it calls?

How long have you been writing? 

I have always listened to stories but it wasn’t until March 2020—more than two years ago now!—that I started writing seriously.

What are your hobbies, besides writing? 

I love to read, sew and be outside (I live in the beautiful Colorado Rockies), and drawing is a favorite pastime of mine (although I am rather terrible at it).

Where do you get your writing inspiration? 

Everywhere I can, I guess! Whether it’s from games I play with my family, random thoughts I have, or a picture, I try to store it away so I can use it somewhere.

Who is your favorite author? 

I have many authors that I like, but I think my favorite would have to be Andrew Peterson.

What genre do you write? 

I’ve always felt a preference for fantasy, but I do dabble in other genres (dystopian, contemporary, poetry), from time to time.

What do the words, “writer’s block” mean to you? 

Sitting down and the words won’t come. I usually will have the scene in my head, but I can’t think of the words, at all. No words come.

What is one tip you’d offer to a new writer? 

Enjoy it! It’s so easy to get caught up worrying about editing or publishing or platform or a bunch of different things. Keep your love for writing!

What is your blog going to be about? 

I am a child of God: my blog will not shy away from my faith.

I am a writer: my blog will have updates on my writing, snippets from it, and writing tips.

And, I am a reader: my blog will have author interviews, reading tips, and book reviews.

That wraps it up! Thank you so much for the interview, Agnès! ❤ 😀 

I hope you all enjoyed it and thank you so much for reading, friends!. Don’t forget to check out the next stop on the tour, which will be posted on Lilianna’s blog, Write Outside the Lines. There, she’ll have a post reviewing the new book, The Star That Always Stays, and an interview with the author, Anna Rose Johnson. Here’s the schedule:

Finally, don’t forget to visit the official, Rainy Day Writer blog. 😀 Have a beautiful day and thank you for reading!

Summer Goals {2022}

Hello, my friends! Happy summer!

I have lots of goals for the summer, and I always love reading goal posts, so I thought I’d do one–I hope you all enjoy it. ❤ =D

Writing GOals

  • Write 100 words every day for 100 days

This summer, I decided to participate in the Go Teen Writers 100 for 100 Challenge where you write 100 words for 100. It’s been a wonderful motivation so far, and lots of my other writing friends are participating, which makes it all the more fun.

  • Brainstorm / outline / plot another novel

I recently finished my last novel and I’m starting to brainstorm a new idea. I’m still figuring everything out with this project but I am quite excited about it. Hopefully, I’ll have this project ready by the end of August so I can start writing in September, but we’ll see.

  • Write two short stories

I am terrible with writing short stories, every time I try to write one, it either turns into flash fiction, because it’s too short or a novella. 😛 I’m going to try to actually write two stories and keep them short. Get three new monthly theme badges.

  • Read 30 books

As you already know from my monthly reviews, I often lag in reading, but I hope this summer will be different! I’ve already 6 so far, plus, some other friends and I are doing a reading challenge, and it’s been a ton of fun so far and a way to boost my motivation.

  • Hit 130 subscribers on my email list

I have 25 more subscribers to go before I hit this goal. 🙂 We’ll see how it goes, but I’m currently brainstorming and thinking up some more fun things to do for my email list, so that should help.

Life Goals

  • Grow in my relationship with Jesus ❤

This is my top goal, hence, the highest on my list 😂 A few smaller goals that go along with this main one are finishing reading the Psalms, memorizing at least 30 verses, and reviewing at least 20 of the verses already have memorized.

  • Start an art journal

I’ve seen plenty of people do these kinds of journals and they look like so much fun. I think it will also be a really fun way to document the happenings in my life and be creative at the same time.

  • Run at least 4 times a week

I’m trying to get back into the habit of running and exercising more. I’ll be doing swim team too, which will definitely help me be more active.

  • Do another sibling’s photoshoot

My siblings and I have had a blast doing photoshoots. They’re a lot of fun if you have younger siblings (or older ones, if they cooperate) to do. There was plenty of laughing and wonderful moments in our last photo shoot, and I’m excited to do more of them.

  • Spend less time on the computer

I’m not the only person who can get caught up on the computer for hours, right? I’ve noticed that I spend too much time on the computer somedays, and I end up abandoning all my in-real-life responsibilities and people. I also want to spend more time with my friends and family, since I can be quite introverted at times and spend my whole day holed up in my room. 😛 So, hopefully, this summer I can improve on that.

What are your goals for the summer? Have you ever done a sibling photoshoot? What are your thoughts on art journals? What’s one thing you’re most excited about for the summer?

Thank you all so much for reading and may you have a lovely day!

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. 😛

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. 😀

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. 😂 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. 🙂

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?

WORDS BLOG TOUR: STOP #7

Hello, my friends! 

I have a super fun post today and one that I really enjoyed putting together! One of my amazing writing friends, Kaley, is doing a blog tour to celebrate the launch of her author blog, Words. The tour has been amazing so far and if you haven’t already, go check out the first post here!

Today, I had the pleasure of doing an interview with Kaley–She has some fantastic answers, and her WIP (work-in-progress) sounds amazing.

Anyway, let’s get started! 

Welcome, Kaley! In case some of my readers haven’t met you, would you mind introducing yourself? 

Thanks for having me, Pearl! I’m a teenage author and musician with a passion for the Lord and helping others through relatable characters that go beyond stereotypes or the norm to be as unique and supportive of those around me as possible. 

What is your writing mission statement? 

My mission is to give everyone a mirror that shows how beautiful they are through powerful words and relatable situations. I love creating characters that are normal, not super pretty girls who happen to be in the dork group and hence they act like fools and the mean girl hates them for no reason. Everyone is deeper than that. I’m trying to write the reality of the soul, not just the stereotypical teen.

What’s your current WIP about? 

I would say my most current WIP is one I’m not ready to explain, but I’ll tell you a little bit about the one I recently finished, What Matters Most. It’s about three teen girls in their first year of high school getting lost in a desire to be worth something and nearly losing the very people who saw it from the beginning. It’s about realizing that your worth doesn’t come from Tricia liking your hair or Lily thinking you’re fat or Mike having a crush on you. It comes from who you were inside, all along, and I believe that true friends are those that see it in you.

I also believe that this worth was predestined by God, long before even the world began. He loves us and so we have worth, not because we’re good or perfect but because He chose us and we are His. I don’t highlight this point as much in the book in order to reach even those who don’t believe in the Lord, but I believe it with all my heart. 

What is one thing you like to do, besides writing? 

I spend most of the time when I’m not writing (or doing school or wasting time, for that matter) on photography and music. Music is like putting on a stethoscope and magnifying the heartbeat of writing and I love it so much. I play guitar and ukulele (and technically piano). Writing songs isn’t counted as writing for me because I rarely get writer’s block or lose motivation. I just feel the flow or I don’t. Photography is seeing the simple, basic things from a whole new angle, appreciating how they are and what they are. Really, all of my hobbies are about changing the light cast on everything and learning to love things that a lot of people don’t care about.

What is the first book that made you cry? 

I’ll be honest here: I’ve never actually cried over a book or movie except my own. And I only cried over my own once, when reading a sad part out loud. But I came very close to crying over Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt… it is the saddest book I’ve ever read, starting from chapter one, but he inspired me to really think about people in a new light. His books make me write how I do.

Who is your favorite author? 

Gary D. Schmidt gets first place, but Kara Swanson is a very close second with Jonathan Auxier as a third. They all take things from the perspective people think of first and swap things around. They play with the rules and make classic things their own. I love it.

What is your favorite character that you created? 

A month ago my answer would have been different, but I’ve become really appreciative of my character Amelia. She’s a lost teen in her first year of high school, unsure of why she really wants what she wants but knows she wants it. I thought her character was weak at first and then I realized that no teen girl one hundred percent knows who they are, especially not when they have nobody to look up to that isn’t on a screen. So I’m letting her remain just a little lost, just a little unsure. She has interests and desires but she is growing and that’s what matters to me. 

What genre do you write?

 

I write realistic fiction most but I write in whatever genre best fits my latest idea. I have a plot for a thriller floating around, a new realistic fiction in the works as well as the sequel to What Matters Most, a sci-fi/fantasy on the back burner, and one without any specific genre at all at the worldbuilding stage. 

What do the words “writer’s block” mean to you?

Writer’s block is really a mental block where your brain says “I can’t write right now because I don’t know the perfect words for this part.” I’ve learned to not let it win when I write and it rarely gets in my way now, although I still deal with it sometimes.

When did you start writing? 

I’ve been telling stories for as long as I can remember. Forever. The moment I could form letters on a page and spell enough words is probably when I officially wrote my first story. I’ve lived in many worlds, and this earth is just one. 

What is your blog going to be about? 

My blog is about my passion for words and for others. I’m a little bit of a Christian Abbie Emmons blogger for teens who’s determined to remind you how much WORDS MATTER. Because they do. They’re so important. So you’ll find anything and everything words on my blog. I try to keep it simple, keep it free, keep it fun, and keep it positive. That’s my goal.

And that’s it!! Thank you so much for reading friends, and have a lovely day! Thank you Kaley for the wonderful interview. ❤ 

Click here to check out the next stop on the tour which will go live tomorrow. Here’s the schedule for the rest of the tour. 😀

And then click here to check out Kaley’s blog!

About Kaley

Kaley Kriesel is a 15-year-old Christian author from Oklahoma, USA, where she pursues Jesus and studies from her home. She has been writing for as long as she can remember, and when she isn’t writing, learning, or socializing, you can most often find her playing ukulele or reading a book. She has two blogs, Words and Sketch Scribble Scribe. This tour is for Words.

Monthly Review: March 2022

Hello, friends!

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

Happy April! Today, I bring you my Monthly Review for March. I hope you enjoy reading!

Writing

As writing goes, my friend Anna and I finished the project we’ve been working on for months now called Love Times Two – It’s a little over 10K, which was about the word count we were aiming for. As of right now, we’re working on editing. We may indie-publish it later down the road, but we’ll see. This project has been so much fun to write, and I am blessed to have such an amazing co-author. ❤

I’ve finally made some progress in my main work in progress (WIP), The Bensons – I’ve been trying to get the motivation to just sit down and write on this project, and I finally did that. I wrote almost 5K on it the past two weeks. (Which is a low word count for me, but I’m getting somewhere I think!)

I finished my article for The Young Writer Blog and submitted it! Right now, I’m just waiting for it to be published, I’m hoping it will be sometime this month, but we’ll see. That’s been a lot of fun and hard work to write, but I’ve really enjoyed the process.

That wraps up writing for this month!

Reading

I’ve done a lot of reading this month again; I just got some books from the Library too when my younger siblings went to get their library cards. A few of my favorite books from this month:

The Line Tender by Kate Allen

This book was amazing! A friend recommended it to me a few months ago, and I finally got around to reading it.

The wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

I had to read this for school; I was kind of dreading reading it because I haven’t enjoyed a lot of the books I’ve had to read this year, but wow. I was wrong! This book might be one of my new favorites, at least one of my favorite middle-grade mysteries. If you’re looking for another historical fiction, middle-grade mystery, this book is for you. I also really enjoyed the audiobook version of it too.

the teacher’s funeral by Richard Peck

This book was really hilarious in a lot of different ways, but with a good plot too. Like The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, I was not expecting to enjoy this, but once again, I surprised myself and I did! Apparently, I need to slow down in my judging books by their covers, yes?

Annie’s war by Jacqueline Levering Sullivan

I’m not yet finished with this one but I’ve really enjoyed it so far. It has a really interesting plot, and it carries an intriguing message. I’m really excited to finish it and see how it ends.

Doing

Goodness, a lot happened in March! A few highlights:

Our trip to Lutsen! This was a super fun trip, and it was such a blessing to be able to go and ski there again. You can check out my blog post on it if you want to hear about it more.

We also had our last ski trip of the season too! We snuck in one more trip the week after we went to Lutsen, it was so slushy; there were puddles at the end of a lot of the runs, but I guess that’s what it’s like when you ski in the Midwest in March. :p By the end of the day, we were skiing with no gloves – And Malachi and Tyler, our cousin, skied in short-sleeved shirts the whole day. It was so warm!

We made pretzels one afternoon which was quite fun! I’d been wanting to bake them again for a while, and I finally got my chance.

All the younger kids enjoyed helping roll them out and getting them into pretzel shapes.

Ahh, they turned out amazing! Some of them lost shape in the baking soda bath, but other than that, they were great. We used this recipe in case anyone is looking for a good pretzel recipe.

I’ve also helped a lot with tapping trees for making syrup! I’ve already done two posts on this, so I’m not going to go into detail. You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. (Keep an eye out for the third and final post coming up along with signs ups for the syrup give-away.)

It’s been awfully cold the past few days, we’ve gotten a lot of rain, snow, and hail, with few sunny days. One time we had all four of them together! The weather here can be so weird at times. But the cold weather hasn’t discouraged my younger siblings from getting out their bikes. I even have had to face the cold because I was so tired of being in the house all the time. So Mercy and I have taken a lot of walks, and there has been multiple soccer games and capture the flag too.

I wrote a lot of letters this month too, around 10 I think. I also got a second penpal too which is super fun.

I got a new set of watercolors too which have been a lot of fun to try out too. :’D

That’s about it! I ended up having a very busy March, hopefully, April will be slower, but I doubt that with Track starting up for my older siblings. 😜

How did your March go? Have you ever baked soft pretzels? What’s the weather like where you are, do you have Spring or are you still waiting?

Thanks so much for reading, friends! ❤

Photography Challenge: collab with Alicia

Hello, my friends!

For today’s post, I have a collab I am super excited about! A few weeks ago, I asked Alicia @ Alicia Marentette if she wanted to do a collab, and she agreed – We decided on doing a photography challenge where come up with a list of things to photograph, and share the photos! So that’s what I will be sharing today.

To get started, here’s a list of all the things we took photos of.

Time for the real photos now.

1. Spring

To be honest, I had a really hard time finding a photo in this category. Spring is not here yet; it’s been in the 30s all week, and it was hard finding something springy. But then, one of my younger siblings found this little bird’s nest on the ground. I definitely think of seeing birds building their nests as part of spring.

2. fLOWERs

Ooh, I love these flowers! It’s actually an old photo because as I mentioned above, we do not have any flowers blooming yet. It’s so pretty though!


3. Sunset

Mmm, this sunset is gorgeous. Sunsets are some of my favorite things as you have probably already figured out by now – I love the clouds in this one.

4. morning SKY

This is honestly one of my absolute favorite photos ever. ❤ It was such a beautiful (And early) morning to be out on the beach to see the sunrise. And the trees too.

5. Animal

This is from one of trips to Lutsen a few years ago. It was really neat being able to go that close to this seagull so we could get a picture. He was just sitting there on the railing while we were up looking at the view, and I just snapped a photo.

6. Colorful

I wasn’t sure what to use for this one; then my Mom had the idea to take the kids out to our monkey line that we all got our birthdays last summer and get a picture there. I love how it turned out, and it is definitely very colorful.

7. Clouds

I always love looking at clouds – One of my favorite things to do is just to lay down in the grass and stare up at the clouds. (When the grass is dry, and there are no siblings with soccer balls nearby that is.)

8. Books

I just got some new books from the library, and they were perfect to grab a picture of! Have you read any of these books?

9. RAIN

I’m not sure if this one counts. . .I realized too late that I didn’t have any photos of rain, so this was the closest I could come. It’s a mud puddle from when all of the snow melted and it rained, so I think it counts?

10. Roads

Ahh, I love this one! These two roads are glorious in the morning when the sun’s shining, and that morning was no different. I love the shadows especially.

12. Peaceful

Kook at water droplets coming off the wave. And even though I’ve said this multiple times about the photos in this post, I love this – Especially the icy/crystal look to the wave.

13. Artsy

I had a really hard time deciding what to use for this – Finally, after coming up with a bunch of ideas, but none of them seeming like they would fit, I decided to look up some inspiration. I found this photo of the ice on our creek melting, and it seemed to the fit the “artsy” look. What do you think? Is it artsy?

14. Water

I have so many favorite pictures of water that it took me a while to decide. But I picked this one because I love the lighthouse and the bridge.

15. Indoor

I LOVE the shadows and the light here.. One afternoon I noticed the hydrangeas shadows from the outside shining through the window, it was so pretty! This is probably my favorite indoor photo I’ve taken.

And that’s it for the day! Did you enjoy seeing all of these different photos? Which one was your favorite?

Before you go, make sure to check out Alicia’s post here.

Have a beautiful day, friends!

Monthly Review: February 2022

**Note: My newsletter once again decided to send while I was still working on sending it and I didn’t want the email to be sending you all to a broken link which is why this is out so early. I’ll get back to my normal schedule next week. Thanks for putting up with me and my tech problems. =D**

Hello, friends!

Happy March! I thought it might be fun if I did a post to recap February so that’s what we will be doing today. 😀

Writing

We are going to start with a update on my writing and how it’s going this year.

Well, I am almost finished with my outline for one of my projects The Bensons (Title subject to change) and I am super excited to start writing that.

I’ve also been working on a project I am co-authoring with my friend, Anna, which we are almost done with which is super exciting! It’s a novelette that we’ve been working on for a few months now, and we’re both really excited to be finished it. It’s one of my favorites out of all the stories I’ve written.

I’ve also been working on writing an article for The Young Writer Blog which has been fun, and a lot of work too. But I’m excited to get published on there.

That’s about it for what I’ve been writing. =D

READING

I’ve read a lot this month! More than I thought I would. Overall this year, I’ve read 18 books which makes me happy. I’ve enjoyed having more time to read and reading more.

A few of my favorites from this month. . .

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

I’ve actually read this one twice this year, once right at the beginning, and then I read it again a few days ago. Don’t ask me why I like rereading things so much, but I do. 😆

The Giver by Lois Lowry


I finished this one in a day. 😅 I really enjoyed the story, which suprised me because I don’t usually like books that are dystopian or sci-fi. The ideas it suggested were definitely uncomftarble, but overall, I loved it.

Needle and Thread by Ann M. Martin (Book #2 in the Main Street series)

Ahh, I love this series and book so much. The characters and everything about it. . .it’s such a sweet story, yet it’s so sad.

The Holly’s Heart Collection by Beverly Lewis

This is one of my favorite series of all time. I’ve read it at least 5 times. Anyway, I loved reading it again this month.

That wraps up what I’ve been reading this month.

Doing

And I have done a lot this month, some of which I posted about it, and some of it I haven’t. A few random photos from this month, and what I have done. . .

We went skiing six times in February which was super fun. Once we were able to go night skiing and that was awesome.

We’ve had so many gorgeous sunsets this month. :’D I love watching the sun set. ❤

My brother got a drone for Christmas! He enjoyed flying it around (and trying to fly it at us. 😂).

My younger brothers, Luke, and Levi, had the brilliant idea to go play in the mud behind our house. And they convinced me to come along. . .Let me just say my boots were nearly spotless before we started. But that was definitely a highlight from this month.

While we were playing in the mud, they also decided that it would be a good idea to try to go sledding in it. And they picked me as the first contestant. Lucky me. :’D

Ooh, there’s a rainbow in this puddle! Getting all muddy was definitely worth all the fun we had that afternoon.

There’s been a lot of different weather this month, from the weather in the 50s to below zero some days. We got two snowstorms and have had a lot of sunshine. I’ve enjoyed having the nicer weather after so much winter.

This is my science. =D

I’ve done so much school the past few weeks. I know I am going to appreciate getting done early but it seems like a lot right now.

We decorated cupcakes twice this month. Once for a family celebration, and then again for an activity at Church.

I’ve also been working on my bullet journal, and I finished my 2022 spreads (I’m hoping to do a post sharing them soon!) and my March spreads. I’ve really enjoyed bullet journaling so far.

I put together an art binder (I need to come up with a better name) for all my art supplies. (I’m also planning a post about that soon but here’s a sneak peek.)

How did your February go? Did you do anything special?

Beauty from the Ashes: A Guest Post by Rebekah

Hello, my friends!

Today, one of my dear friends and fellow writers, Rebekah, is guest posting. I am thrilled to have her posting today, and I am sure you all will enjoy her post too. ❤

We know that all things work together for the good of those who love God: those who are called according to His purpose. 

Romans 8:28

       Do you know how diamonds are formed? Deep in the earth, diamonds are created under conditions of extreme heat and pressure. How about gold? Gold is refined and purified by fire. In both cases, diamonds and gold have to endure difficult processes before their true beauty is revealed. In life, we all go through these same painful processes.

      We’ve all gone through hard times. We’ve all felt pain. We’ve all had experiences we wish we could forget or wish had never happened in the first place. 

      And we often wonder, why did we have to experience all of that pain? We can’t see why those things happened to us; why we lost our loved one, or why our dreams never really worked out the way we wanted them to. But there is a purpose for your pain. God has a purpose for your pain. 

      Yes, I already know what some of you might argue. God doesn’t care; if He did, He wouldn’t have let me go through this. If God was really good, He wouldn’t allow suffering. How can this be a part of God’s plan for me? How can any good come from this?

      I know exactly how you feel. But God does have a plan. There is a purpose for your pain. Goodwill comes from what you’ve experienced. 

      You know how I know? God promises in His Word that He’ll work all things out for the good of His children. And our Heavenly Father never breaks His promises to us. When He says something, we know for sure that it’s true. So when He tells you He has a plan for your life and He’s going to bring beauty from the pain, listen because what He says is always true.

      In Jeremiah 29:11, God says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to give you hope and a future.” God can see the whole picture. He knows your past and He knows your future. He knows what’s best for you in the long run. And because your Heavenly Father loves you with an unimaginable, unconditional love, He will always do what’s best for you, even though, to you, it might not seem like it at the time. 

      Like a good father, God will stop you before you unknowingly do something that may bring harm to yourself or others. To you, this might feel unfair, seem unpleasant, or even painful when God does what’s best for you. But God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what is best for His children and will always do what’s best for you, because He loves you.

     It will be difficult, even painful at times. But you can trust your Heavenly Father because He always has your best interests in mind. Whatever you’re going through right now, God is with you (Joshua 1:9). He’s standing next to you, ready to take your hand, or even pick you up and carry you. He’s right by your side, helping you every step of the way. 

     God also allows us to experience trials to grow us into who we’re meant to be so that we can better glorify Him. Our purpose in life is to bring honor and glory to our Heavenly Father. The hardships we go through help us become more like Jesus and allow us to be able to bring glory to God through our stories. 

     God uses hard times to shape us into who we are meant to be (James 1:2-4). So when it feels like the flames are too hot and you’ll never be able to escape, remember that these hard times are refining you into who God has called you to be. And when the pressure seems to be more than you can bear, remember that this isn’t the end; you’ll endure these trials and you’ll come out on the other side, strong and beautiful. 

     God will bring good from the trials, gold from the fire, diamonds from the pressure, and beauty from the ashes.

I hope you all enjoyed this week’s post! Thank you so much for reading!

       

About the Author

Rebekah has always enjoyed reading and, now, she has a passion for writing. When she isn’t writing, she can be found reading, spending time with her family, and playing music. As a writer, she spends hours exploring her own fantasy worlds, befriending her characters, and most importantly, aims to glorify God and encourage others with her work.