The Blogwritings, musings and lighthearted banter



Aya’s Au Naturel Oatmeal


It seems like one of the first picks for a healthy yet satisfying breakfast is oatmeal, especially when you’re trying to get away from processed foods and refined flours and sugars. For the most part I think it’s good to keep grains on the down-low, everything in moderation as they say, and a bowl of oats is a great way to get in your grains without including the nasty ingredients you’ll find in store-bought breads and cereals… and you still get your sweet fix.


{ Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal with raisins }

What I LOVE about oatmeal is its versatility. It can be made with water or any kind of milk, limitless toppings and ingredients, easy and fast to make, cheap, convenient, and D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. What I love about MY oatmeal, is that cooking it with milk instead water, and not adding more moisture at the end, makes it more like a bread or cake (VS that porridge consistency). YUM!!! If you don’t like oatmeal, I urge you to try liking it! Again and again! My kids fight me on oatmeal too, and the best way I’ve found that they’ll eat it is to prepare it in granola form. I’ll save that recipe for another day, but that was an example of how you can get yourself to like it. Try different toppings, using milk to cook it with or experimenting with the oatmeal texture itself.

{ Blue berry oatmeal, Strawberry and walnut oatmeal, banana-nut bread oatmeal }

Bananas, apples, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, granola, muffin crumbs – even carrots (with cinnamon and raisins for a faux carrot cake!) can dress up a boring bowl of oatmeal, throw in some nuts, seeds, dried berries and you get a sensation of flavors that keep oatmeal new and exciting every time…

…My husband and I even developed an embarrassing taste for bacon in our oatmeal. Not mixed really, just sticking up out of the top or on the side. Taking a bite of that salty goodness along with the sweet oatmeal is to die for.

I like to imagine oatmeal as my base, and build it up with fixings to satisfy my cravings for… cinnamon-rolls, apple fritters, carrot cake, pancakes… you know, all those “healthy” breakfasts.



The bestest BEST thing about this recipe is that it’s robust sweetness is pure natural goodness. I like to use 100% real and organic maple syrup and raw honey. Just a little bit goes a long way, and you don’t get the negative side effects of refined sugar.

What you’ll need… (1 serving)

  • 1/2 Old Fashioned Oats (steel cut are great too!)
  • 1 cup whole milk (or what you prefer)
  • 1/2 tbsp real butter (optional)
  • 1/2 tbsp Real Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp Raw Honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp salt (I like pink himalayan)
  • Your fav fixings


  1. Prepare oatmeal as directed with box instructions (Bring milk to a boil, then turn onto medium-low and add oats).
  2. Add in the syrup, honey, cinnamon, vanilla, butter. Allow to simmer until oats are soft but not mushy, and the milk has nearly fully absorbed into the oats.
  3. Give it a taste. Add more sweets if you need it, you bad bad child you!
  4. Put the oatmeal into an appetizing bowl. I know I can’t eat unless my bowl is pretty.
  5. Add your fav fixings! This is the fun part!

This oatmeal costs about 500 calories. I know that seems like a lot, but I try to get in the majority of my calories with my breakfast and never hold back on my fixings. Breakfasts should be the largest meal of the day, with meals getting progressively smaller in the evening. And if you’ve just started cleaning up your diet, you’ll soon learn that unhealthy calories are NOT equal to healthy calories, and you can get away with eating more – NO – you NEED to consume more calories just to maintain weight.





Lavender Blue


{ I’m wearing a vintage 1950s dress from Lantana Vintage // Ayla… her sassy self }

Saturdays are almost always my favorite day of the week! I guess that’s pretty common, but so long as we aren’t photographing a wedding or portrait session, it’s the one day of the week that we are free to do whatever we want as a family. Of course farmers market is one of our absolute favorite things to go and do, even if it’s just to walk around and absorb some vitamin D… lavender_2 lavender_3





Wendy and Taylor


We love our jobs… truly. When a wedding like Wendy and Taylor’s steals our breath away and we bond with the bride and groom in a new-found friendship, we are left with enchanted hearts and fond memories. Capturing the love, the moments, the joy and excitement… it’s just… indescribable. I will definitely be sharing more from this breathtaking session soon, but for now… more editing photos while sitting on the couch with Ayla… watching oh-so-fun episodes of Dora and Curious George ;)

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…Want to inquire about our photography? See our online portfolio here or contact us here!






Life seems to be “dishing” out so many new beginning and ending of phases in what seemed like our very-settled lives together. We’ve simply never encountered so many curve-balls, dealt with such insecurities, or witnessed drastic changes as a family since, probably, the birth of our SON... I guess it was just time for things to change. Time to mature a bit more. Depression has been a struggle, I must admit…

…But.. I know it’s all for the best too, because we’ve also been blessed in ways that reminded us how beautiful life truly is, the potential it has to offer, and gifts of new-found JOY in place of melancholy hearts. Temporal things seem more trivial than they did before, and I feel constantly wooed by my family on a daily basis. These hard times have humbled me, and us, in ways I didn’t know were necessary… but they are. To grow.

After our move, one of the things that has hurt me the most is putting Lucien in public school. It was difficult not to fixate on the negatives… have a bad habit of doing, but I get this feeling there are going to be bountiful blessings in store, and I shouldn’t feel so much woe. So… I can’t wait to sit back and let them unfold.


Psalm 74:21
Do not let the oppressed retreat in
disgrace; may the poor and needy
praise your name.



Wild Thing


{ Click to learn more about Strawberry Koi Photography }

There are times I want SO badly want to share with all of you the true, natural, and genuine SPUNK this little wild thing has. Because it’s unreal, seriously. But.. honestly, she moves so much that it’s simply too difficult to capture. With that said, we had to try after she was quiet for too long and we found her like THIS. As much as I was a bit horrified, I was also pretty impressed…

…I knew it the day I found out I was pregnant with Ayla, that she was a girl.. That she was a girl, and that she’d be extra feminine (it’s all about her nails, dresses and hair… and guys, up until I was 22 I NEVER wore dresses or makeup!). I knew she’d also have extra spunk, extra ornery-ness, and extra rottenness. My son has always been pretty reserved and laid-back, so their differences can be a little surprising at times. But I’m telling you… she can kick and punch, debate, and roll her eyes like nobody’s business. This girl… is truly a wild thing (OH, but ask HER, and she’ll politely command that you call her “Princess Ayla”!)

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Sweet Sundays // Waffle French Toast

wafflefrenchtoast_1 Ok, it’s a little early for a Sweet Sundays, but everyday should be a sweet day, I say. And lets face it, I’m a rule-breaker. This is probably my new favorite thing to make… maybe because it’s just SO easy, or because it’s a blast to make. But mostly because it’s absolutely, amazingly, and utterly DELICIOUS. Seriously… try it. It will blow yoh mind.

\\ What you’ll need //

  • About 6 oz of your favorite milk.
    (I use whole or heavy whipping cream, or a combo of the two. It makes the batter sweeter and creamier)
  • 3-4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup of brown sugar
  • A splash of vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 6-8 slices of your fav bread (I like to use whole grain/whole wheat)

* Makes about 7 pieces

{ Photos by me, iphone and VSCOcam }

Yes, these are “eyeball-it” ingredients. Adjust accordingly to your needs. Just aim to make the batter creamy, but still runny. All the other things are to your taste! It doesn’t need to be perfect though, so don’t sweat the consistency too much because you can always add more of ingredients as you go.  Have left-over batter? Have no fear, simply fry it up at the end and serve the best scrambled eggs of your life as a breakfast side!

  1. Preheat your oven at the lowest temp. Use the oven to keep your finished pieces of toast warm while you prepare the rest of the batch.
  2. Preheat your waffle iron as well. (If you haven’t a waffle iron, prepare like traditional French Toast. Use a skillet over medium heat on the stove-top, useing unsalted butter to grease the skillet as you go. Flip the toast over after a minute or two)
  3. Mix the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon in a small baking dish or pan. Whisk together.
  4. Lay one-two pieces of bread in the baking dish for a few seconds to absorb the batter, turn it over and match the other side.
  5. Place the bread into the waffle iron (multiple slices is OK if you have a very large iron)
  6. Lower the top and allow the iron to do its thang!

When the waffle iron’s finished cooking, that’s it! Top with powered sugar, fruit, honey, maple syrup or even eat as a sandwich with those delectable left-over batter scrambled eggs in between.




Be Mine


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! We had a pretty low key one here… which was actually very lovely and caused me to forget updating the blog when I meant to. Sigh. I don’t know if I remember celebrating this day with just staying home before… we usually go out or have the kids babysat. But we stayed home, made fajitas for dinner, and watched TV. The kids and I made Valentine’s cards for daddy, and he brought home balloons and flowers for us. It was utterly romantic, and reminded me that we are so blessed to enjoy each other’s company so much…




Turkish Delight


We haven’t been eating out too much lately, it’s just something we’ve been doing less of to conserve and to monitor our diets… But it’s just such a lovely treat to go out and enjoy a nice dinner out together. We love the restaurants on 4th street, a long row of colorful and multi-ethnic options along both sides of the street as far as you can see. One of our favorites is a Turkish restaurant called Anatolia, such a delight! A Turkish Delight!











Princess Bride


There are some things that get me really riled-up to photograph (nothing too naughty mind you, well, not most of the time anyway..). As soon as I came across this dress, I knew I had to have it for the shop. Just to make everything that much more stunning. So here she is, in her full glory and ready to be passed on to the next Princess Bride (I’m not referencing the move ‘The Princess Bride’ though. Ok, so I am. Love that movie!).

Oh, and it fits me to boot! I’ll have take photos modeling it, if I can find the time. Hm.. Hey, honey… divorce me, so we can get married all over again? Wearing this dress, pretty please??






DAILY GRIND // Espresso Eggnog

egg_1 egg_2

Would you guys have it any other way, than for me to be behind schedule and post everything a day late and a dollar short? I thought not. Ok, so.. Thomas originally came across this delightful recipe, and whipped me up a batch of the best eggnog I’ve ever had! We did a few minor adjustments though, which I just had to share…

BTW, this recipe definitely calls for espresso, but if you have no way of obtaining such, just brew some strong coffee. I highly recommend the Aeropress as a great way to make espresso-like coffee perfect for recipes like this – but waaaay cheaper than buying an espresso machine!


  • 2 large eggs
  • 3oz sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1oz brandy
  • 1oz spiced rum
  • 8oz whole milk
  • 2oz of heavy whipping cream
  • 2oz of espresso (or strong coffee)
  • Cinnamon sticks (optional)
  • Whipped cream (also optional)
  • A bit of ice (even more optional)


  1. Add the eggs into your blender, blend for two full minutes to really aerate and emulsify the eggs.
  2. After about two minutes, add the sugar and continue blending for a minute longer. During this time, pull your shots of espresso to have ready. (or brew your coffee)
  3. In a separate container from the blender, add the cream and milk, then the espresso, and the nugmeg last – which will help reduce “shock” to the espresso.  Stir well.
  4. Next, pour the mixture into the blender. Also add the spiced rum and brandy, and blend well for about 2 minutes.
  5. For best results, allow the eggnog to set in the fridge for about 3 hours… otherwise, place over ice if you’re in a hurry!
  6. Top it off with a bit of whipped cream, nutmeg and a cinnamon stick!