Sunday, October 30, 2011

grey skies

    I was almost convinced that California didn't have an Autumn. It was 95 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, the leaves were not turning vivid reds and yellows but just a dull grey-brown.

 Then one day I woke to find the sky a soft, pale grey. It was raining, but not hard. And it was cold. Blanket and hot cocoa kind of cold. Perfect. This is the Autumn I know and love.

  I figured it wouldn't last, so I tried to make the most of it by drinking lots tea, reading a good book, and going outside to do some Autumn-photography with a pumpkin - some of the best things to do during this beloved season.

  It really didn't last - the next day was back to bright blue skies and hot, summer-y weather again. But even still, somehow it officially feels like Autumn now. A different kind of Autumn, certainly, but still an Autumn. Pumpkin patches, Fall parties, colorful scarves, fallen leaves (despite their dullness), reading, more reading, and of course - slightly cooler weather. Just slightly.

 What's your Autumn been like so far?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

far away ago

 Those few days we spent in California last May seem ridiculously long ago. I can only really remember the half of it, and more would have been lost too, if I hadn't tried to capture it.

  That's why I love photography - it's capturing those moments that would have been forgotten and those memories that would have been less vividly remembered. I'm still a complete beginner; rarely to my photos turn out exactly how I wanted them. But this summer I just kept taking and taking more pictures. Consequently, the thousands of photos were rather a pain to sort through. But it was worth it. Because each click of the camera meant more memories captured. And each click of the camera meant another thing to never forget.

There are tons of examples of that throughout the summer-folders on my computer. From that perfect Snapple-drinking day, to the marvelous Iowa sunsets, and that lovely day in Minnesota. And even that time in California at the beginning of it all was filled with happy things. For Instance:

Example #1: My sister's graduation. I might just have had my camera up to my face the whole time.

[nervous/excited/bored graduates]

 Example #2: That place with the cool rocks. I have no idea what that place was called or where it was, but it was extremely cool.

Example #3: All those windmills on the way to Arizona from California. I'm not exaggerating when I say there seriously must have been hundreds of them. It was quite a strange sight and I decided that it was worth mentioning.


 Currently -

Reading: The Sword by Bryan Liftin.
Listening to: Firefly by Jimmy Needham.
Loving: Iced Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Bestest.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

pumpkin cookies.

 Autumn is the season for delicious, cinnamon-y pumpkin treats.

 One of my family's favorite pumpkin treats are 'iced pumpkin cookies'. They are not exactly like cookies at all - they are sort of like muffins in a more cookie-like shape - but that doesn't really matter. What matters is that they are incredible. And have lots of cinnamon in them. And there's icing too. And you need to make them.

  Here's how.

   { recipe below}

I .After turning on your favorite playlist, set the oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.

II. Then stir in the cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice - two of the best-smelling things in the world. Set mixture aside.

 III. In a separate bowl, cream together the sugar and butter.

|pureed pumpkin. not exactly lovely looking stuff. ew!|

VI. Stir in the pumpkin, egg, and vanilla.

V. Gently stir into dry ingredients until combined. Don't over-stir!

VI. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet.

VII. Set a timer for 15 minutes. They'll most likely take a bit longer, but it's a good time to check them. Meanwhile, go sit down with a good book while the maid cleans up the mess you made. Or maybe not.

VIII. By now, the whole house will be smelling like cinnamon, and you may start feeling nostalgic. Or possibly just hungry. Anyway, let them cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack, while you make the icing.

IX. With a fork, carefully drizzle on the icing. Or you could dunk them. It's up to you, really. 

And that's it! Pretty simple recipe - but they are truly the perfect Autumn treat.

Iced Pumpkin Cookies
   (makes about 14 cookies)
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the icing:
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Have a lovely day,

Monday, September 19, 2011

a taste of home

  World Market made my day.

  Now, it must be said, America has some very nice sweets. But sometimes, I miss some of the sweets from back home. Nothing can really beat fruit pastels, buttons, or even chocolate-covered digestive biscuits. Sometimes I can't help but miss seeing all the familiar brands like 'cadburys' and 'the natural confectionery sweet company' (despite the long name).

  And that, my friends, is why World Market made my day. They sell foreign foods. Including some British/Irish sweets. And one day for a treat, we got some.

|oh my goodness.|

|the spellings on the wrapper made me happy. colours = colors, flavours = flavors.|

|kinder is actually german, not irish or british. but you can buy it in ireland, and it's like my favorite chocolate. ever. and haribo is german too, i believe. but still.|

 Those of you who are in Ireland are probably thinking I've gone crazy for posting about ordinary sweets like these. Guys, if you were away from them for four months, you'd understand. :)

  Besides sweets, the week has been filled with school-work, reading, henna, Jane Eyre, 80 degree weather, and lots of other wonderful things. I was really beginning to think California would perpetually be 108 degrees so this is rather great.


Saturday, September 10, 2011


   I do believe that I will forever remember the summer of 2011 as being absolutely crazy. My family and I went to so many places, saw so many people, and did more stuff than I ever thought could possibly be squished into one season. But, it was lovely.

 There's some things about this summer that really stand out. First there's those small, simple things that make a day sweeter - and then there's those big, never-to-be-forgotten things that for months afterwords you're still super excited about. This is a list of both of those kinds. The highlights of the summer.

six flags


swimming pools


new books






the owl city concert



the biggest aquarium in the world







air conditioning (what would we do without it?)

  After three months of traveling all over this enormous nation, we are now living in our house-for-the-year in California. Things are not so hectic, I'm exceedingly glad that I no longer have to live out of a suitcase. Furloughs are fun, but they don't exactly make for a 'peaceful and relaxing' summer!

 And now? Summer is over, Autumn's arrived. School began Tuesday, and so far I'm enjoying it. At the same time as mourning over the fact that summer is behind us, I'm starting to get excited for autumn-ish things - pumpkin pies, cooler weather, and all the autumn colors :)

  What were some of the highlights of your summer?

Friday, August 26, 2011

creative accessories {a guest post by Inna}

Hey everyone, it's Inna from Paper Raindrops! I love making things, so I thought I'd show you some DIY accessories. :)

Acorn Necklace

This is super easy to make. Just take a piece of hemp, string, ribbon or whatever. Find an acorn cap that has a little stem on it. Tie the acorn into the center of your string, and tie necklace clasps onto the ends! (You can buy clasps for really cheap at most craft stores)
Ta-da! :)

Button Bracelet

This is another super easy project. Cut a piece of stretchy beading string about 12" long. String the end through a button, and tie a knot. Then string on your buttons, just like beads! If you slide them nice and tight, the buttons will make two back-to-back rows. It's kinda hard to see in the picture, but underneath the yellow buttons is a row of green ones, which would be the second row. That way your bracelet is reversible!
Keep beading until it's long enough to fit around your wrist. Tie it, and cut of the extra string!

Bottle Cap Charm

Get a small nail and a hammer, along with a cute bottle cap. Use the hammer and nail to pound a small hole on the top of the cap. Then put a split ring (sold at craft stores) into the hole. Then you can slide the new charm onto whatever you want! You can put it on a chain or a ribbon for a necklace. Or you can put it on a key chain ring, or use it as a charm on a bracelet!

Have fun!

 Thank you, Inna! Make sure you check out Inna's lovely blog, Paper Raindrops, to read lots of other fun posts.

Friday, July 29, 2011

far away in the sunshine.


(Uh, yeah. Turned out we're a lot busier this month than I thought we'd be! All the pictures in this post are from our week in California. Also, wacky spacing. Ugh.)

   A Bucket List: A list of things one hopes to do before one dies. A list of goals, dreams, and silly little wishes. A list filled with the impossible. A list for people who believe that the unbelievable might just happen.

 This is my bucket list. Not the finished product, by all means, because it will most certainly keep growing and changing til the day I die (You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream - C.S.Lewis.). This is just the beginnings. The rather silly beginnings, I must add. But still a beginning.

  To explore Europe. There are so many places I've only heard about that I'm longing to see. London, Paris, Italy, Geneva, St.Petersburg...and more. But that's another long list. I'd love to see them all someday. I'm sure they're even more heartbreakingly beautiful than they are in the pictures.

 To see an Owl City Concert. This dream just might come true. Tomorrow. Oh my. I feel like screaming in excitement every time I think about it!

 To plant my own garden.

 To have a room in my house just for keeping and reading books.

 To memorize the whole New Testament.

 To do a 365 days project. (A project in which you take at least one photo every single day for a whole year, to improve in photography and capture memories.)

 To visit the Ghibli Museum in Japan with my brothers. 

 To go to New Zealand with my fellow Lord of the Rings-loving siblings.

 To speak fluently in another language.

 To read The Chronicles of Narnia once a year for the rest of my life.

 To bake the perfect batch of oatmeal raisin cookies. 

 To watch 'The Hobbit' the day it comes out to cinema.

 And 'Brave', too. 

 |california sky|

 To never think I'm too "grown-up" to climb trees.

 To adopt a baby.

 To buy two pet fish and name them "Pippin" and "Eustace".

 To explore all the islands on my lake. 

 To go to Prince Edward Island and pretend I'm Anne.

 To win a Newberry. 
 To see a broadway play.

 To go on a real, dangerous, big, beautiful adventure.

  To live by the sea.


  So, those are a few of my many many miscellaneous dreams in my castle in the air :)

  Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead. - Louisa May Alcott


Monday, July 4, 2011


We've been to so many different places since May 9th I can hardly believe it. A week in California, a week in Arizona, a month in Iowa - and now (as of friday) we are in Illinois to stay for a month.

|via weheartit. (I do not endorse everything on their site).|

  I have so many things to write about, so many photos to share, so many lovely books to recommend, and so many thoughts I want to get out before my head bursts. But I've either had no wi-fi or no time to do that yet.

  But now I have internet access galore and hopefully more time then I've had in the last few weeks.

 |totally loving these small-toy-car-on-map things. Also via weheartit.|

 What I'm truly trying to get at is that I'm about to do a bit of catching up. This is a warning to all that there will be quite a lot of posts about our many journeys coming up. And I also wanted to tell you some things.

  1. I hope you all are having a lovely summer so far.

  2. Owatonna is one of the nicest little towns in the world.

  3. Homesickness is not very fun.

 I sincerely hope you enjoy your day. And to those of you in the States, have a good 4th of July tomorrow! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

bright and beautiful. a music review

Owl City

All Things Bright and Beautiful.

 Owl City has been my favorite music ever since I first heard Of June way back in 2007.

 I was extremely excited about this new album. I knew it would be amazing.

 And, well, it's more amazingly amazing then I ever imagined it would be.

   While still keeping with the Owl City sound that I love, all the songs are new and unique. And filled with as many "da da da da"s, silly puns, and breathtaking lyrics that I could ever ask for. It still amazes me that one guy could make it seem like a whole orchestra is playing. This album is fun. And happy. And wonderful. And....Owl City-ish.

"Reality is a lovely place,
But I wouldn't wanna live there."

 This song is lovely - it has such a pretty tune, the lyrics are awesome, and the music is perfect. I love it more every time I listen to it.

 |This is Adam Young.|

"Met a girl in the parking lot,
And all I did was say hello.
Her pepper spray made it rather hard,
for me to walk her home.
But I guess that's the way it goes."

 This is the kind of song that you just have to sing along to. It's cute, it's fun, and the lyrics make me laugh.

"I've been sleeping with the nightlight unplugged,
With a note on the rocking chair,
That says 'I'm dreaming of the life I once loved,
So wake me if you're out there'."

  I consider all of the songs as "one of my favorites". But I think this one really is my favorite. It's epic. :)

"Cuz I couldn't live without,
The sunsets that dazzle in the dusk,
So I'll drag the anchor up,
And rest assured, cuz dreams don't turn to dust."

 The kind of song that's nonsense and yet makes absolute sense. Brilliantness.

"If the green left the grass on the other side,
I would make like a tree and leave.
But if I reached for your hand, would your eyes get wide?
Who knew the other side could be so green."

 Try not to smile while listening to this song. I've tried, it's impossible. This song is just SO cute! Also, it's a duet, so the wonderful Breanne Düren is singing in it, too.

|The previously mentioned wonderful person.|

"Maybe I'll ride,
To save my life.
Maybe I'll fly,
The Eagle Eye."

 This song is weird. But in a wonderfully good way. Could this song be any cooler?

"Dear God, I was terribly lost,
When the galaxies crossed,
And the sun went dark.
Dear God, you're my only North Star,
I would follow this far."

 This is a great song. I've never heard a song quite like it.

"A high-speed collision gave a new sense of sight to me,
And now my vision can render the scene.
A blurry image of wreckage and road-side debris,
Happiness returned to me, through a grave emergency."

  Oh my goodness, I love this song. It's sort of a sad song, but it's happy at the same time. Another favorite.

"Where was I when the rockets came to life,
And carried you away into the alligator sky?"

 There are two versions of this song - a regular version, and another version featuring Shawn Chrystopher. And he raps. At first, I didn't know what to think of the rap version. Rapping? In Owl City!? But it grew on me, and now I love it. It makes the song unique and it really works.

"...Cuz she would rather fall in chocolate,
Than fall in love, especially with me."

 This song is awesome. The lyrics are so funny, and the tune makes me happy. :)

"I'd rather waltz then just walk through the forest,
The trees keep the tempo, and they sway in time,
A quartet of crickets join in for the chorus,
If I were to strum on your heartstrings would you strum on mine?"

 This whole song is splendid, but my absolute favorite part of this song is the chorus (the lyrics above). It has such a sweet, happy tune. 
12. How I Became the Sea

"When the sky fell in,
When the hurricanes came for me,
I could finally crash again,
And that's how I became the sea."

 This has more of a Port Blue* sound. Beautiful, wonderful, awesomeness.

"Light up the sky, shy violet angel eyes."

 Beautiful. This isn't one of my favorites, but I still really like it.

*       *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *         *

 It might sound like I'm a little obsessed with Owl City. That's because I am. :)

 What do you think of Owl City and this new album?

  Hope you have a lovely day!

*port blue is another music project by Adam Young. "It is the soundtrack to my dreams." - Adam.