52 Project, Week 49: My Cup

52 Project, Week 49: My Cup

I have an obsession with adorable cups.  I love drinking tea out of cozy mugs and lemonade out of mason jar glasses.  I drink water from a glass water bottle and kombucha in a little bit of everything.

I’ve worked hard to minimize the items in my kitchen.  I find the more dishes available the bigger the mountain of dirty dishes to wash.  My family would rather get a new dish than put a dirty one in the dishwasher or empty a clean load, or handwash something delicate.  I did most of the work and it was neverending.

So I got rid of the majority of our plates, bowls, cups, and silverware.  I gave everyone one complete set and got rid of the rest.  I even gave them each their own special spot on the shelf in the cupboard.

One thing I didn’t minimize was tools for making food since I do a large amount of cooking and baking from scratch.  The other thing I didn’t minimize was my cups.

I love my cups.  I enjoy drinking from them.  They’re part of my self-care routine because they make me smile.  When I’m anxious, depressed or having a bad day, they help cheer me up and calm me down.

I also enjoy serving company tea or coffee when they come over.  I love to share my cups.  They’re usually a conversation piece and cause my guest to smile.

I heard a story once about broken cups.  All cups have a lifespan.  At some point, that life will end by being broken.  Whether it is by our own hand or that of a guest, that ending is inevitable. If we should have company, and one of our precious cups should break, the natural inclination is to exclaim in horror over the loss.  Doing so, however, might cause discomfort and the deep remorse of our friend.  Out of a desire to be a gracious and hospitable host, we should smile and immediately put their mind at ease by saying something of the like of “Oh, that old thing?  Don’t worry about it.”.  Later, after they leave and we are alone, we can mourn the loss of our cup and maybe shed a tear or two.  Yet knowing the end was inevitable, that all cups have the destiny to be broken, it makes the loss that much easier to bear.  It makes forgiveness easier to give.

So though I love my cups, I don’t save them for a special day or hide them from my company to prevent accidents.  I use them and enjoy them as much as I can.

My cups are a source of more than the ability to hold liquid.  My cups hold personality and character.  For me, they hold memories, joy, and great comfort.

Tell me about your favorite cup!

Check out my video!

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I Photographed the Four Seasons From One Spot

I Photographed the Four Seasons From One Spot

One of the things I love about living in Minnesota is the joy of seeing the seasons change.  Winter, spring, summer and autumn, they each have their own special beauty and wonder.

Watching them change, I’ve always wanted to pick a spot to capture that beauty and show how unique they are.  I’ve found that the same location in a different season can seem like an entirely new world.

Winter is cold, cloudy, quiet, muted, bright, invigorating, calm and peaceful.  Seeing this image makes me think of warm winter boots, being bundled up with a coat, hat, mittens, and scarf.  I can remember the muffled woods and the whisper of snow falling.  I can remember the crunch of snow underfoot and the delighted peals of laughter from my daughter as she bounced around the snow drifts.

Spring is cool, cloudy, anticipatory, damp, soft, new, refreshing and hopeful.  Looking back on this image reminds me of my children, all dressed in their Sunday best, excited to be out and about again on a beautiful spring day.  Although they were mostly hiding in the van for this photo shoot.  It was still cool, but warm enough to go without hats, mittens, and scarves.  The buds on the trees were all starting to swell before they would burst forth tiny new leaves.  The ground was turning from a subtle latte color to a growing green as tender new shoots popped up everywhere.

Summer is hot, bright, sunny, colorful, green, energetic, lively, active and cheerful.  This image reminds me of wearing flip-flops, short skirts, t-shirts, ponytails, and sunglasses.  I can remember my children running around, exploring everything, happy to be outside. 

Autumn is colorful, warm, cool, crisp, exciting, busy, cozy and fun.  Autumn is the time of year for dress boots, cozy sweaters, and cute scarves.  Autumn is a time for bonfires, garden harvesting, food preparation, school planning and winter prep.  It’s the busiest time of the year!  This image reminds me of the kids waiting in the van for me to jump out and get the shot.  We had to hurry because we had so much to do that day!  I love watching the seasons change and enjoying every unique and wonderful thing about them.  I don’t think I’ll tire of the excitement of watching one season shift to the next bringing all of the changes of life that come with it.  Thank you for joining me on my adventures this year!  I look forward to the next!

What do you love about each season?

52 Project, Week 9: Ice/Snow/Frost

52 Project, Week 9: Ice/Snow/Frost

One of my favorite things about living in Minnesota is the winter season.  I prefer the cold air over hot any day of the week.  I love wearing boots, instead of flip-flops, I prefer sweaters over camisoles, I love cuddling under warm blankets with those I love.  In winter, you won’t find insects, although there might be a ladybug hiding in a warm corner.  The best thing about winter though is the beauty that transforms the landscape.

Ice, snow, and frost are so different from one another.  They all share the fact that they are created from frozen water, but visually, they are unique.  Unlike many of these photography challenges, ice, snow, and frost are limited to a single season and the mercy of the weather.  Unfortunately, we had a very late start to the winter season, unusually warm temperatures all season long and an early spring.  Trying to capture the images for this challenge were hit or miss.


Frost is a fascinating creation to behold.  It dances and skates across the surface of anything it touches as though fairies were playing in the night.  It decorates grass, branches, windows, and anything left outside with a sparkly white layer of crystallized glitter.  Seeing a frost covered world, lit by the morning sun is a rare treat, better than a frosted cookie or cake.  It is a breathtaking sight to behold.  Frost is short lived and hard to capture, but I have great fun trying.


I love snow.  I love how it falls, soft as feathers, beautiful and white, dancing through the air.  I love its fluffy blankets spread across the ground and piled upon every surface.  I love how it glitters in the sunlight as though diamonds were crushed and sprinkled upon the surface.  It brightens the night with a soft, ethereal glow.  Snow transforms the entire world into a new place, almost unimaginable from its warm state.


My children’s favorite activity this winter was ice skating   The weather was so warm that we had a very short ice skating season, but we still managed to get out a couple of times.  Although I wasn’t photographing them specifically for this photography challenge, I thought it would be fun to share a video of them learning to ice skate.

What is your favorite thing about ice, snow or frost?  Do you love getting out there and enjoying winter activities with your family?

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52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

It was snowing heavily as I dropped Mr. Awesome off at school.  Princess and I went to one of our favorite parks and were excited to see thick, fluffy flakes covering everything in sight.  It was the perfect conditions to capture some winter trees.  It was snowing so heavily, I was worried we wouldn’t be able to get a clear enough shot of the trees for the project!  Maybe that’s what being a winter tree is all about though.

After playing for a little while and enjoying the wonder that is a thick snowfall, it started to lessen and I got some clearer shots of Princess and the trees.  Thankfully, my little snow princess loves to play outside any time of year so she was still in a great mood so I could get a cute portrait of her.  I’m hoping to get the same spot for spring, summer, and fall.  Maybe I’ll even take a different child for every season.

I love these trees because of the tangle of branches that seem to bend and twist in weird angles as though they are dancing.  In winter, when their leaves are gone and you can see the branches, trees remind me of the human body.  Some trees look like lungs, with the trachea as the trunk and the bronchi and bronchioles as the branches.  Others remind me of neurons.  Nature repeats itself in beautiful and fascinating ways.  We can’t see the artistry that is inside of the human body without special equipment.  It’s far too small for the naked eye.  Seeing it with technology is just as incredible though!  It’s amazing to think of all of these wonders, this art from our great creator, are hiding inside of us.  Looking at the same patterns in trees makes me feel in awe of God and all that he has done for us.

I hope you enjoyed our winter trees!  Do you have a favorite grove of trees?  Share them with us!


Cupcake’s 52 Project, Week 8: Winter Trees

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52 Project, Week 7: Blankets

52 Project, Week 7: Blankets

I was really looking forward to photographing blankets.  I love blankets.  I have a large variety of colors, textures, and sizes.  I knew exactly which colors I wanted and how I was going to photograph them.  I wanted a simple pile of blankets in one color.

I chose my cream blankets because cream is soothing and comforting.  It reminds me of vanilla, my favorite scent.  Cream goes well with every color.  I love the color combination of cream, brown and a bright color.  In my house, you’ll find many shades of each.

Since it gets pretty cold in our house, we have blankets in almost every room.  They’re great to snuggle under for a little extra warmth.  The kids love to make tents out of them.  I can remember making blanket forts as a child and listening to thunderstorms.  I always felt safe and happy in my little hideaway.

Both Nate and I still have our baby blankets.  They’re very worn.   I have a feeling they’ll be frayed and falling to pieces before long.  Every once and awhile we’ll find one of the children curled up in them.  It makes me happy knowing they’ve served their purpose, and wrapped our children in a bit of our love and our parent’s love.

Do you love blankets?  Share with us your favorite blanket!

52 Project, Week 7: Blankets
52 Project, Week 7: Blankets

52 Project, Week 7: Blankets

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52 Project, Week 3: Silence

52 Project, Week 3: Silence

When I think of silence, I think of the woods in winter.  The woods are so quiet when it snows.  I learned recently that falling snow actually blocks sound.  The science behind it is kind of cool.

There’s something wonderful about being in the hushed woods while it’s snowing.  It feels like I’m in a glowing snow globe.  The air is crisp, cold and clean.  Every tree is highlighted with white, glittering crystals.  The very ground itself is smooth, sparkling and soft looking as if it’s a blanket I could pick up and wrap myself in.  It feels safe and comforting.

The only sound in the woods is only audible if you listen closely.  If the snow is falling, you can hear it, softer than raindrops, louder than falling feathers.  It’s like music that is so hushed, only the completely still can hear.  Once you move, the low crunch of your footsteps is satisfying and muffled enough that it doesn’t disturb this cherished place.

What comes to mind when you think of silence?  Do you like walking in the woods when it’s snowing?

52 Project, Week 3: Silence

Cat’s 52 Project, Week 3: Silence

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52 Project, Week 2: Cold

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

52 Project, Week 2: Cold

I love winter.  I even love the cold.  I would happily take a cold winter day over a humid hot summer day.  Once it started snowing, I knew I had to run out with my little Princess for this week’s photography project.

Princess is my little shadow.  She loves doing everything with me, sleeping, cuddling, cooking, cleaning, playing.  No matter what it is, she’s content to be right by me.  Honestly, I could say this about any of my kids.  They love to pile around me like little puppies.

I bet you’re wondering WHY I love the cold.  Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in Minnesota my whole life.  I can’t tolerate heat very well.  My ideal, happy temp range is 15 degrees Fahrenheit to 60 degrees Fahrenheit.  I can be comfortable in the 70’s, but the 80’s are uncomfortable.  The 90’s are intolerable.  You might find me hiding in my igloo, er, house with the air conditioning on full blast.

Did you know that Minnesota is one of the coldest states in America?  On average, year-round, Alaska beats us for the coldest temperature.  We beat Alaska for the coldest winter season though!  Last week Thrillist put out an article where we won the number one most miserable winter.  Yet, even if it’s -35, kids still go to school and life functions like normal.

For us, if the weather rises above zero, that’s reason enough to take off a layer or two or leave your jacket open.  Once it reaches the 20’s we don’t see the need to wear a warm jacket, a good sweater or a light spring jacket will do.  In the 30’s, you’ll find people walking around in shorts and t-shirts.  I’m not exaggerating.  Although I do make my children bundle up, even though they fight me to strip down like everyone else.  We are polar bears and arctic foxes.  Our blood is thick and the cold is where we feel happiest.

Not everyone feels this way.  You’ll still find a couple of people who would rather be in a warmer state.  For me though, Minnesota is my home and I couldn’t be happier anywhere else.

Project 52, Week 2, Cold

For Cat’s cold challenge, we headed down to the river, looking for inspiration.  We found a beautiful field that looked perfect.  Cat and I had a lot of fun amongst the soft grasses.  I snapped a couple of cute images of her while she was capturing her shots.

How do you feel about the cold?  Are you a fan of snow or do you prefer the heat?

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