I'm originally from Arkansas (born, raised, went to college, all that good stuff, actually lived in the same house until I was 21 and graduated from college), moved to Nashville with my older sis in 1999, and met and married an incredible Army officer (from California) in 2001.  After 2 deployments in 2 years, we decided the military life wasn't for us and he got out.  We moved to Virginia for a job and lived there for almost 9 years.  We just moved to Arkansas in November 2012 to be near my family.

We have five children, Corban (12), Marissa (10), Annika (8) and Ellia (6), and Miranda (4).  We also have a lab/boxer mix, Monty, a unknown mix mutt Ranger, and 5 hens.
We are home-educators and love it.  I wouldn't trade my time with my kids for anything in the world.  Not to say that we don't have our difficult days....but it's still worth it.

We are actively involved in our church and the kids are often participating in some sort of sport, like basketball for Corban, ballet for the girls, and swimming for all of them.

Photo from November, 2014

At the Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO - Oct 2015

The Blog:

I started this blog mainly as a way to keep in touch with family and friends who live far away, to write down funny things the kids say and do so we won't forget as time passes us by, and as a place to document recipes that we really like.  
My enjoyment of adding recipes and improving my food photography has increased more than I anticipated and this has turned more into a food blog than anything else, but you'll still find family stories thrown in there. I have to keep the grandparents happy! 
I cook and bake many things from scratch and really want to provide the best possible future for my kids (and their parents!) through a healthy and well-balanced diet.  My main food philosophy boils down to a couple of things:

1.If my grandparents couldn't have eaten it when they were kids (1920's), we don't need to eat it either (ie, boxed, packaged mixes, high fructose corn syrup, aspertame and other artificial sweeteners, msg, partially hydrogenated oils, etc)
2. If the ingredient list includes items my third-grader can't read or pronounce, we don't need to be eating it.

That being said, I'm a fledgling self-taught cake decorator and absolutely love making their birthday cakes each year, complete with shortening in the homemade buttercream frosting and even food coloring.

And, there are so many foods that I enjoy that do not follow the above guidelines and I haven't successfully eliminated all of them from our diet as of yet.

There are always exceptions and I am not a vigilante about it, but we do try our best.

I love trying new recipes, I love hearing from readers, and I'll do my best to respond to everyone!

I am constantly trying to improve my photography, especially of food and my kids.  You'll notice if you peruse my recipes that some of the photos are downright terrible, and while others are significantly better.  I've learned a lot in the past few years....but still have a long way to go.  Many of the photos on this blog came from a point and shoot Panasonic Lumix.  Great little camera, for what it is.

Our Christmas present to ourselves in 2010 was a Nikon D7000, which came with a 18-105mm kit lens, and we purchased a 35mm 1:1.8G additional lens.  I can't even tell you how much I love this camera and the lenses....incredible.  Now if only I could learn how to use the manual settings......
I edit photos in Picnik - no photoshop here yet.  Maybe someday.  

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