Saturday, April 30, 2011

basement remodel :: preliminary stuff

basement before

In case you haven't been following my Tweets, Tony and I are on the verge of a basement remodel. We are super excited about our contractor (New Creations of Minnesota) and are looking forward to getting started within the next couple of weeks. We've already ironed out many of the details with NC owner Steve Tuttle and met most of his team last week. The biggest hurdle for Tony and I so far has been trying to find a home for everything that occupied our third level! When the project is complete we will have a finished living area (which will include a landing on the fourth level), office/bedroom, 3/4 bath, and laundry room.

I am SO TOTALLY EXCITED about finally having an office, a place for not only all of my gear (scrapbooking and photography) but a place to meet with potential clients. I'm incorporating a special family heirloom into the space and have lots of grand ideas for decorating.

office paper dolls

I'll be incorporating client session images into the office and A TON of personal images into our living area.

office display

I'll continue to document the process here so you can watch it all come together.

paint chips

There will be lots of color and lots of IKEA stuff by the time all is said and done... sometime later this summer!! (I'll keep you updated on the process weekly so as not to overload you with details.) Until next time...

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hairy relationships

one of these things is not like the others

We've all got 'em. What I plan to address here are the relationships that God warns us about in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, a specific type of person He tells us to avoid. Several characteristics of this type of person are highlighted in the passage, some of which follow:
  • lover of self (i.e. selfish, self-centered);
  • lover of money
  • boastful
  • abusive (the word in Greek emphasizes speech)
  • disobedient to their parents
  • ungrateful
  • without love (the Greek word "astorgoi" is used, specifically referring to hard-heartedness towards kindred)
  • unforgiving
  • slanderous (the Greek word used here - "diaboloi" means accusatory)
  • without self-control
  • brutal (untamed, "animal-like" - people giving themselves over to base instincts)
  • treacherous (ready to betray friends and family in a heartbeat
  • rash (impulsive)
  • conceited (swollen with self-importance)
Beth Moore spoke much on the topic during our last bible study session, also sharing several tips to help us recognize toxic relationships. Proceed with caution when dealing with the following type of person:

1. One who is always coming up with new relationships but has trouble hanging onto old ones.
2. Incongruent, inconsistent. Their words don't line up with their behavior, for example. There may be an area of their life that seems to stand out in stark contrast to the rest of it. Elaborate or bizarre explanations when questioned.
3. Someone looking for instant intimacy. Healthy relationships grow over time. Beware of anyone attempting to become an instant best friend.
4. Beware of the pity play. You will find a superb article on the topic HERE. An intriguing excerpt is below:

The pity play or attempt to appeal to the sympathy of others was also addressed in research conducted by the Minnesota Department of Corrections and The Hazelden Foundation (2002). There, researchers concluded that criminal thinkers most often attempt to control others by portraying themselves as a victim, turning to fear tactics only when the victim stance fails to get them what they want.

Learning to set healthy boundaries can benefit us in every relationship but it is especially important when dysfunction abounds. Click HERE for a wonderful book on the topic. You will also find some great resource videos (like the one below) HERE:

Perhaps it's time for a change.

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Character is built during the hard times of waiting.

magnificent sunset

A wise (and sometimes difficult to hear) quote from my daily calendar.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. 1 Peter 5:10 (NIV - emphasis mine)

I have seen this to be true over and over and over again.

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5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Magnetic Chalkboard Paint.


Use THIS over THIS to create the SUPER COOL effect.

2. Eggs Benedict Casserole.

benny close

6 English muffins, toasted
10 -12 ounces Canadian bacon (2 packages, or use diced ham)
8 large eggs
2 cups reduced-fat milk (or whole milk)
1 teaspoon onion powder
cooking spray
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 packages of dry hollandaise sauce mix, prepared according to directions


1. Cut muffins into 1/2-inch cubes after toasting. Set aside. Cut Canadian bacon into 1/2-inch squares. Set aside. Whisk the eggs well in a 2-quart bowl. Whisk in milk and onion powder.
2. Spray a 9-by-13-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with cooking oil spray. Scatter half the Canadian bacon evenly in bottom of dish. Scatter muffin cubes on top of Canadian bacon. Top with the remaining Canadian bacon, scattering it evenly over the bread. Pour egg mixture over the casserole. Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours, to let bread absorb egg mixture.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove casserole from refrigerator and uncover it. Lightly sprinkle the paprika evenly over the top. Cover the casserole with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove dish from the oven, remove foil, return dish to the oven and continue to bake, uncovered, until the eggs are set and the bacon on top begins to crisp, about 20 minutes more. Remove the casserole from oven and let it stand 5 minutes before serving.
4. Prepare Hollandaise sauce while the casserole bakes.
5. Serves 10.

Served this one up on Easter Sunday and I'll definitely be making it again.

3. Bacon Salt. Zero fat, zero calorie & completely vegetarian... what more could you ask for?!!

bacon salt

4. Hot Microwave Popcorn by Original Juan.

hot popcorn


5. This Flavored Whipped Cream Sampler Pack because I could never choose just one.

flavored whipped cream

Happy Friday!!!

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

hearing from God & knowing His voice

Does God really talk to us?

A great question and one I'd answer a hearty YES to now. Ten years ago... not-so-much. Learning to recognize His voice in our lives is a learned skill. You'll find some great basics on the topic HERE in addition to a few other incredible resources below:

1. Priscilla Shirer's book entitled, "Discerning the Voice of God: How to Recognize When God Speaks" HERE;

2. Priscilla Shirer's DVD-based bible study (same title as the book above) HERE;

3. Joyce Meyer's book entitled, "How to Hear From God: Learn to Know His Voice and Make Right Decisions" HERE;

4. Henry Blackaby's book entitled, "Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God" HERE.

All that being said... God spoke to me last night. Clear as day night. I received a phone call at 1:00 am from a sweet thing of a young lady. It wasn't so much a "phone call" as it was a phone call of a text message. (Which BTW, I had NO CLUE was even possible.) Miah had mistakenly texted a verse to my home phone - which came in as a phone call... I answered the call to hear Psalm 55:22 being spoken to me by a computer-generated voice:

Cast your cares on the LORD
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

I tell you that even in my fog, I knew it was from God - speaking a timely word into my life. After looking it up in my own bible this morning, I found the passage already circled.

psalm 55:22

Because God is really cool like that :)

You can't begin to imagine this peace it brings knowing He cares so intimately. And the reassurance I have knowing He is in the midst of all that concerns me.

He's got me covered. Thanks Miah :)))

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Monday, April 25, 2011

why are there snowflakes???

Okay. Seriously. Enough already.


What we really need is more of this:

spring flowers


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Sunday, April 24, 2011

straight out of the camera [sunday]

SOOC Sundayjpg

My shot for today:

lynn's bars sooc

While this image is un-tweaked, I can't say the same for the following:


trio of treats


Happy Easter!

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2000 Years

I first heard this song a couple of years ago when Beth Moore was in town. So fitting for today.

If I could see 2000 years ago
Travel back in time
And walk in the
Day when just one man
Turned this world upside down

If I could be a guest
At the wedding, and
Taste the wine
That was water moments before
Would I realize
What was really in store
That there would be so much more

Would I fall down and worship?
Leave all that I treasured behind?
For a chance to be closer
To the Man who might
Be the One who saves my life?

If I hear His voice
Call to Lazarus
Stand and stare
As my friend
Stumbles out of the tomb
Witness blind men see
Their first morning sky
Would I believe
What He says to be true

If I was there the night
Soldiers took Him away
Would I flee the scene
Like most of His friends
Then watch on the cross
What I thought was the end
What would I do then

Would I fall down and worship?
Leave all that I treasured behind?
For a chance to be closer
To the Man who might
Be the One who saves my life?

And what would it be like
After three days gone by
Would I believe what they said
Or wanna see with my own eyes
Put my hand on the scars
Only then realize
My Lord, my God, alive

Will I fall down and worship?
Leave all that I treasure behind?
For a chance to be closer
'Cause He is still alive
And the One who saves my life

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Friday, April 22, 2011

christ as my only hope

egg carton

I gave up a lot of things when I became a Christian... like trying to be perfect, being ashamed of my past, and worrying about the future. I gave up trying to control every*single*detail, allowing God instead to [finally] take over the driving.

Many of you have heard my story at the monthly faithbooking crops. During a period of grief and loss, I came to see Christ as my only hope. It was through my own suffering that I was drawn to Him; God became very real and personal to me. I share my story by way of scrapbooking because that's how He reached me... through photos and journaling.

I pray that He may become real to you as well, in an equally powerful and personal way - that the miracle of Christ's resurrection would become a source of light and hope for you this Easter. (Click HERE for an inspiring message entitled, "He Really Is Alive" by Dr. David Jeremiah.)

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. John 3:16 (AMP)

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5 Fun Things Friday

five fun things

1. Easter Story Cookies - to be prepared the night before Easter. The recipe follows:


1 cup pecan halves
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
3 egg whites
1 pinch salt
1 cup white sugar


1.Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
2.Place pecans in a resealable plastic baggie. Crush the pecans into small bits. Read John 19:1-3.
3.Put 1 teaspoon vinegar into a medium bwl. Read John 19:28-30.
4. Add egg whites to the vinegar. Read John 10:10-11.
5.Sprinkle salt into the egg whites. Read Luke 23:27.
6.So far, the mixture isn't very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16. Beat with mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.
7.Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Read Matthew 27:57-60.
8.Place cookies in the oven close the door and turn the oven off. Read Matthew 27:65-66.
9.Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22.
10.In the morning open the oven and take out the cookies. Read Matthew 28:1-9.


Use the code NOPEEPS at checkout to receive 10% off through today!

3. Taste of Thaiyai (Apple Valley, MN).

taste of thaiyai

My husband and I stumbled upon this place one night and the food totally lived up to its hype!

4. Woodland Take-N-Bake Pizza Company (Savage, MN). Simply THE BEST pizza around! My favorite is the Barnburner (Spicy Buffalo Sauce, Buffalo Chicken, Jalepeno Bacon, Banana Pepper Rings, Jalepeno Peppers, Pepperjack Cheese). They have a huge selection - well beyond your average pizza experience (check out their menu by clicking HERE).


craft desk

With a basement remodel around the corner, I've had my eyes on all sorts of fun things. We'll be working in an office/craft room (in addition to family area, laundry room, and 3/4 bath). It's not a huge area to work with so we'll need to be creative when it comes to organizing all of my albums, CM inventory, and photography equipment. Here are a few ideas I found online:

craft room full 1

small area

craft room full 2

craft room full 3

Happy Friday!!!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

finally getting around to updating my portfolio

tina vega photography

I spent the entire day updating galleries on my photography website... still not finished but the end is near[er]!!!!!! Enjoy the fresh pics :)

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Monday, April 18, 2011

easter greetings

easter card

easter promo

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

this makes me smile

kitty in the sick spot

Apparently, even kitties need The Sick Spot now and again :)

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the four of us :: april 2011

* one family photo * MY family * each month * for an entire year *

April family feet

I snapped this one as we were getting ready to head out to a coin show. You'd never guess that only 24 hours earlier, snow was covering the ground.

It's definitely Spring in our household, we even had grilled corn-on-the-cob for dinner tonight :) We've made lots of warm-weather plans already including a camping trip, swimming lessons, band and sports sign-ups. Tony and I have a second meeting with a contractor tonight to discuss details regarding a fun summer project as well. We also took part in a rally at the Capitol this month, I honed my potty training skills, we enjoyed Taco Night with friends, had burgers with Tilly's family, went to Grand Slam to celebrate a special birthday, and so much more.

Tony and I are enjoying these times with the boys, knowing it will all pass in a blur. After all, our oldest will be FOURTEEN before you know it.

Oh my.

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straight out of the camera [sunday]

SOOC Sundayjpg

Today's image reminds me of game of pool:

sooc eggs

Only a yummier version.

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