April 12, 2017

hey guys i'm 20 now

- pomegranate tea in my new Priscilla teacup - 
- a photographer husband who makes me look good - 
- typewritten love notes - 
- Star of Bethlehem flowers sprinkled along the driveway - \
- pressing wildflowers - 
- preparing for Easter festivities this weekend - 
- flat Illinois landscapes - 
- driving the buggy around the field station with my love -
- Dairy Queen sundaes -  
- hand picked bouquets from Charlie - 
- an incessant flow of loving messages from my friends - 
- smelling freshly cut grass - 
- open windows on a spring evening -
-falling into bed and hugging my pillow tight - 

yes. that was one heck of a birthday. a good year is ahead.

February 28, 2017

- 12 blogs i follow -

     I spend a lot of time reading blogs. On a lazy Sunday afternoon I'll steep some loose leaf tea, prop my feet up and flip open the laptop screen. Before long I get lost in the different worlds of photography, crafting, traveling, living outdoors and so many other lifestyles I love. Because blogging and reading blogs is such a huge part of my life, I'd thought I'd share some of my favorites so you can enjoy them too! It was terribly difficult keeping the list down to 15, but if you're ravenous for more lemme know and I'll send you a looong list!

Maggie, (from Maggie's Farm in central New York), keeps detailed accounts of her lovely animals. Her writing captures the joy - as well as the hard work - of shepherding and running her own fiber craft business. Just from reading Maggie's delightful posts, I learned a lot about sheep and Swedish farming. (Notice that our blog names are pretty darn similar?)

Life at Cobble Hill Farm
Whaddya know -- another farm in New York! (Maybe I need to move there.) Staci and her family live on a micro farm and practice a simple, natural lifestyle. They make their own skincare products, raise chickens and bees, and blog about it! Look at her site to see some beautiful photos, get recipe ideas and live vicariously through their stories.

The Vine and Fig Tree
I may be a little biased, but this is my favorite farming/family blog out there. My sister Elissa blogs about their horses, raised garden beds, homemade living and her 6 ADORABLE kids. (I'm a proud auntie :)) You'll love seeing pictures of their cozy Missouri homestead and hearing about the latest equine adventure. You'll become introduced to Peshiwa and Samson and drool over pictures of home-grown food. It will make you want to move onto the +D Ranch.

Fire and Joy
"I was a writer first. Creating new worlds after bedtime, my handwritten words lit by torchlight beneath the sheets. Pouring my heart into my diary on the long bus ride to school. Writing was my outlet for my endless creative energy and an escape from all the emotions I felt. When I was writing everything in the world felt right. Like I was born to tell stories. Then I picked up a camera."
That's how Nirrimi Firebrace introduces herself. She combines her photos with raw, transparent writing - making you laugh and cry right alongside her. Nirrimi lives in Australia with her daughter Alba and travels frequently across the globe.

Rachel Barkman 
Rachel is a photographer based in Canada and her photos are always BREATHTAKING. Whether they are wedding photos, or landscape photos of the Territories, Barkman's artistic work is something to admire. And she owns a Samoyed - which is reason enough to follow her.

Andrew Kearns
Andrew Kearns does photography as his full time job. And he's darn good at it. I usually follow his PNW adventures through YouTube and Instagram, but his blog is also chock full of photo-stories. Most of my photography inspiration is drawn from his work!

My bro-in-law Ben is currently working as a life-coach in Trujillo, Peru - (check out the program SKIP which stands for Supporting Kids In Peru). Ben's blog is an inspiring account of his personal testimonies, world travels and experiences with sports and kids. He address his readers directly - calling them to be "Trekkernauts" - asking us to take a stance and make "sustainable, positive" changes in the world around us. I encourage you to follow his adventures! (Because how awesome is it to live in Peru and make a difference!?)

A Dusty Olive Green
I found this blog by accident when Dad and I spent 10 days in Florence, Italy. The title is almost enough to make me want to move there! Brigitte is Danish but she has lived in Italy for the past 15 years as a blogger and lifestyle photographer. Her photos are lovely, her writing is clear and informative and she artfully captures the romance of Firenze. Jealous. Absolutely jealous.

State of Mind Studio
Cody and Lexi met each other through photography and now they are traveling throughout the country in their van. Their witty posts illustrate the less romantic facets of van life from washing laundry to getting stuck in the snow.


Miranda Leconte 
Miranda Leconte is a young woman working as a U.S. Forest Service Ranger. In a short 3 years she's accomplished several research projects, various wilderness certifications and gained a social media following of 19 thousand people. Miranda uses her knowledge and platform to fight for land conservation; her writing is witty and educational at the same time! Check out her blog and her Insta account too - there are some awesome landscape shots to look at :)

Dirtbag Darling
This outdoor journal for women is comprised of freelance articles and photography. It covers just about everything: rock climbing, kayaking, living out of a van, interviews with #defendersoffun, places to visit and outdoor gear reviews. Look at their site and scroll through some articles -- it will stir up a feeling of wanderlust. If you are a traveling writer, Dirtbag Darling accepts contributions.

Making It Beautiful | Adventures While Passing Through
Sara is an elementary school teacher in Nashville, Tennessee. (Look up Rocketship Nashville School.) She is not only a teacher, but an encourager, an explorer, an artist, a comforter, a brave-heart. Her blog brings to light the beauty of life and the joy of following Christ.

January 15, 2017


December 29:
Today is a new day - rejoice and be glad in it!! Golden sunlight, warm breezes and a songbird who was indefatigably cheerful.
A foxy looking squirrel is sitting in the crook of a tree eating his routine breakfast orange. He nibbles at the peel until there is a hole wide enough to drink the juice inside. The fruit is too big for him to manage gracefully and he often drops it on the ground.
(EVENING:) The jungle was beyond my wildest dreams: palm trees, banana trees, lizards, birds, ferns, mosses and rivers made up the delicate ecosystem we were able to admire. I only took about 2,000 pictures. Mountain hiking is tough man! Or maybe I'm just out of shape -- but I was winded for shore. We forded rivers, sloshed through deep mud and slipped around on wet rocks. Having a clear cut path made it easy for us (thank you National Park system!), but I would never have made it through the raw jungle.
I had never seen so much GREEN in my life! I was afraid to touch anything for fear I might contaminate it; I had to watch my step in case there was a frog or parade of leaf cutter ants. There were wet, decomposing dead plants matting the ground + yet everything was so vibrant and alive. The experience was just as I had hoped -- I worshiped God the more for his glorious creation.

December 30:
Last night was spaghetti dinner + poker. I won quite a few poker hands - mostly because I had no idea what I was doing + Charlie and Ben kept helping me. Once I had a full house - ace high and I didn't even know it.
  • Excitement of the day: Charlie found a scorpion in our bedroom before we left this morning. The poor little fellow was scared and hid under a leaf.
  • The volcano crater we visited was closed because another volcano had recently erupted and they didn't want people to smell the sulfuric acid. We didn't care. We poked our heads out to take in some hefty whiffs of sulfur. Ash fell on the windshield. It was all very rebellious and exciting.
  • During our harrowing road trip through the mountains, we stopped to take pictures. There was a breath-taking view of the mountains at sunset. The air was so thin I started wheezing. But MAN OH MAN LOOK AT THE VIEW.

          Clouds poured over the mountains, bathing them in pinkish-golden light. There are no words.
We finally reached out hostel on Uvita Beach. Lover and I threw on our Tevas and followed Josh's flashlight glow to the Pacific Ocean. I'd never seen the Pacific till that night. It was low tide and the multitude of stars were mirrored on the glassy wet sand -- it truly felt like we were walking on the sky. Romantic. Until Ben mentioned there were crocodiles. (We were only able to see a small one.)
Also, we weren't entirely sure we were supposed to be on the beach at night, so when a police car with flashing lights started following us we all freaked out and started running away. Turns out the copper wasn't after us at all.

December 31:
Last day of the year and I am spending it with family on the beaches of Marino Ballena (the sand bar that looks like the tale of a whale.)

January 14, 2017


Whaddya know. I'm back from Costa Rica! The Herrick family disappeared sometime after Christmas for two weeks and returned to Missouri - travel weary, hungry and very sunburned. I'll be writing a series of blog posts over the next week to summarize the highlights of our journey. You'll get to see pictures and read snippets from my travel journal; all very casual, so pour some tea, sit back and scroll as quickly or slowly as you'd like.

December 26: 
"At this moment, we are at gate C18, sleeping, reading, eating and generally neglecting all manner of sophistication. Matt is passed out on the floor. Our flight goes from St. Louis to Charlotte, NC to San Jose. By dinner tomorrow we will be walking the streets of Costa Rica."

December 27:
"Mark + Charlie + I are watching planes landing and taking off through the big glass windows. We're trying to enjoy the process of waiting. There are three different sizes of passenger planes: small, medium and ginormous and they all look like toilet paper tubes with wings."
(EVENING:) "We've arrived. Juan's Papa is taking us to the supermarket to buy food. Everyone is enjoying the twilight, resting under the pavilion, smelling of citrus mosquito spray. Ben says that Costa Rica is the happiest country on earth and I can understand why; the green here is brighter than anywhere else + the mountains stand guard practically everywhere you look. Crickets and insects hum peacefully. It is already Pura Vida and we've only been the country 1 hour."
("Pura vida" means "pure life" and it represents the relaxed, sunny lifestyle of Costa Ricans.)

December 28: 
I woke up to the tune of a different songbird. I'm living under the colors of another sky.
Ben and Andy saved the day. Enterprise had no cars for us to rent, so Ben caught a ride with Juan's Papa and brought home an 8 passenger van. Andy bravely drove us to downtown San Jose (pop. 3 million). Ticos drive like chickens with their heads cut off, and most of the roads are hairpin, mountain passes. It didn't help that the GPS was more obnoxious than helpful: "Turn left, turn right, in 600m turn right, go north. GO SOUTH!"
Downtown San Jose reminded me a lot of Chihuahua City; swamped with people, modern retail shops mixed in with local restaurants and street vendors. Bands on every corner playing on homemade instruments. A mosaic of colors. Break dancing in the main plaza. Pigeons and parrots. Vehicles plowing through crowds of pedestrians.
We made it through alive with sore feet, full hearts and strawberry smoothies :) The best part of it all was the butterfly house, filled with caterpillars, banana trees, jungle plants and bright blue Morphos. They were a breathtaking color -- like the ocean mixed in with the stars.
(EVENING:) We are now reclining under our favorite pavilion next to the B&B, invigorated by the pleasant cross breeze and eating rice. Tomorrow we drive to the jungle. Buenas Noches.

December 17, 2016

icy winter days


| homemade egg nog | 
(see the recipe at the bottom)
| skidding around on icy sidewalks
| youtube Christmas playlists |
| ordering 5 million books off of |
(best. website. ever)
| hosting friends over for dinner |
| game nights by the glowing Christmas tree lights |
| packing for a trip to Costa Rica |
(be jealous) 
| skyping my Mother |
| laughing at my own jokes |
| doing crazy college student things |
(mainly 'cause of Charlie)
| bundling up in 4 layers of clothes |

 It's been a cozy winter so far. Cooold -- but lovely. For Advent, the husband and I have been crossing things off of our bucket list. We put up our first Christmas tree together, visited downtown St. Charles, did our Christmas shopping on Amazon and experimented with homemade eggnog.  
Somehow we ended up with (literally) 16 dozen eggs from Charlie's grandparents. Making eggnog was the obvious solution. I love eggnog -- I could live on it. This recipe makes such creamy, rich nog -- infinitely better than the stuff you buy at Wal-Mart. There's something satisfying about slurping on the foam and bragging about your abilities in the kitchen. 

1 dozen eggs
4 cups milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 cups sugar
nutmeg to taste

~ Separate the yolks and the whites
Cover the whites and put them in the fridge
Whisk the yolks with sugar until it's creamy and banana colored
Beat in the milk and cream
Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Beat the whites until it forms stiff peaks
Fold it into the creamy mixture
Serve with nutmeg ~
*recipe is not mine -- it's from the wonderful inter webs*

In case y'all haven't heard. I am headed to Costa Rica in a next week with the Herrick fam. You won't be hearing from me for a while. BUT I will have several thousand pictures to share once we return. There will be a bombardment of jungles, beaches, volcanoes and toucans here on the blog ;) 
Till then -- stay safe m'dears and have a Merry Christmas! Praise the Lord for sending His marvelous Son!!