Portraits: Ethan Weston Homestead

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I never thought this day would be here.  Sharing in the triumphs and struggles of motherhood with my sister  has always been something I hoped for.  Even while my sister was pregnant, I couldn’t believe I might one day be holding my niece or nephew.  I knew that moment was going to special.

Photographing births and newborns would be an incredible job, if it weren’t for that being on call part.  I’ve only done it a few times for friends and family, but it is so thrilling and quite the emotional experience.  Waiting for the phone call makes me so anxious.  Though, getting to capture those wrinkly little human when they are only a few hours old is amazing.  The joy surrounding a birth cuts through most any difficulty experienced before and during labor. I said most, not all.

The human body is incredible.  I was always surprised by how much adrenaline kicked in during birth.  Who would think you could go all of those hours or even days without much to sustain you, nutritionally.  The water cup with the yummy ice was such a lifeline during birth, wasn’t it?  I kept my giant Yuma Regional Medical Center tumbler for a few years after Faith was born because it brought back happy memories of that cool, icy water roll down my throat when I needed it most.  I wanted to capture the little memories that fade, such as beloved ice cups, the discomfort of the IV that also brings replenishment, the dreaded blood pressure cuff that would automatically go off in the middle of a contraction, the “comfortably situated bed” for the Dad, the odd yet beautiful way the monitor shares the baby’s heartbeat,  and your first meal after the biggest workout of your life.

New life. New baby to snuggle.

Ethan Weston Homestead, you are loved.

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Rest & Value


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I feel like I’m right where I need to be.

So many times I asked God for contentment, to find joy in my daily tasks, to remove the heavy burdens of the world from my heart, to give my heart peace about what I’m able to accomplish in each season of life. I can’t homeschool, run a business, blog, make everything from scratch, do photography, and still be good to my family. I think I hid behind a busy life while ignoring significant pain. Also, most importantly, I can’t take care of myself well.

I have learned that I was taught incorrectly to be completely selfless. Even saying that, “I am important” would have been declared a sin to me. There is freedom to be found in the knowledge that Jesus thinks I am important because He loved me enough to create me. HE VALUES ME. Therefore, how can I not value myself? Rest, friends, it’s one of the greatest freedoms I’ve been given in my 31 years. Rest can only come after you have let trauma, sadness, anger, and grief pass through you without stopping them because you feel like you should out of guilt (message me if you need a therapist in San Diego!). This sickness has catalyzed so many gifts of understanding and I’m extremely grateful for it.

Take care of yourself, friends.

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List-Making Tips and Homemade Gin!

agoldenafternoon.comI don’t know about you guys, but I keep a list of food and drinks I’m inspired to make.  I’ve used Evernote to hold my notes (thanks for sharing, Erin! ;)) for a few years now and LOVE it.  It has a login so the information can never be lost if something happens to your phone.  You can download it here.  I no longer use my iPhone “notes” after having several years worth of lists lost twice (mysteriously not backed up).  Now, I keep notes for EVERYTHING in Evernote, especially inspiration from magazines and books, including:

Places to eat in San Diego

Places to visit in Italy/Sicily/Switzerland

Things to read/look up later

Inspirational quotes to remember

Books to read/Books for Faith to read

Natural health recipes

Everyone’s birthdays

Hiking spots

Cocktail notes

Things to buy/Gifts to buy

About this time of year, I pull out my Evernote list of gift ideas I gathered from magazines over the last several months and start making decisions for Christmas gifts.  I am so excited for Christmas, aren’t you?!  It’s so close!  This year somebody is getting some homemade gin after Uncommon Goods sent me this “Homemade Gin Kit” to try!  Yay!  I already gave one bottle away last week.  I also got to cross “making gin” off my list of things to try.   This gift works two ways:  you can give the kit itself or you can make the gin yourself and give it away.  Hostess gift, anyone?

I said yes to partnering with Uncommon for this post because I am a customer of theirs already.  Most of Uncommon’s products are made here in the USA, HALF of those products are made by hand, and 1/3 of them are recycled or upcycled.  Now, that’s a company I like to support. They have such unique and fun gifts that you KNOW you can’t find on Amazon.  I would suggest starting in the under $50 gift section here, because they are always spot on.  Also, I’ve found a few last minute gifts in the men’s section before here. ;)

Have you guys started Christmas shopping yet?  Go check out Uncommon first and keep notes in your Evernote!


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Simple Moments v.II

agoldenafternoon-9School is here again!  As much as summer was especially AMAZING for me, I know that life needs the routines of the every day.  Summer wouldn’t be a gift, though, if it wasn’t a deliberate break from the ordinary, right?  It was indeed appreciated.

Homeschooling friends, have you signed up for the free Wild & Free content bundle?  There are so many inspiring homeschool mamas sharing their wisdom and stories in there!  The first PRAIRIE bundle is free, then you just pay $19/month after that to keep the content flowing!  This next month you can find ME, in the GARDEN edition, sharing a fresh tomato risotto recipe and tips on how to cook with kiddos. Go and sign up here!

This last week brought some simple moments I wanted to remember:

// The boys made wooden boats.  I LOVE that they are old enough to go in the backyard and build something from their imagination,using a hammer and nails. //

// Getting back in the granola game with my old favorites, pecan and vanilla.  I posted the recipe here this week. //

// Jack was so sad it was summer because he missed doing math.  Go figure. //

// Math-u-see blocks are part of every school day, but seeing the manipulative picture below makes me think of these wooden math blocks I just saw on Etsy here. //

// FINALLY got my vintage 5-panel door hung up in the kid’s bathroom!  Praise the Lord for finding a handyman and progress! Now, to find the piece that makes the fabulous glass handle turn.  I think my littlest guy ran off with it somewhere. Ruh roh. //

//I attempted to help my extremely tactile kiddo with letter writing by breaking out the shaving cream option.  Quite simply, it didn’t go as well as I’d like, but it did create 30 minutes of bath-time fun for the boys. //

// Every kid loves the time of year when costume magazines come nearly daily. Not sure whether to thank them for the few quiet minutes it allows or shake my fists for the junk mail. //

// Snap-circuits are amazing.  I’ve been storing them away until school started.  Have you tried them?!  The instructions are easy for the kids to follow and they love the fact that they can make an electrical circuit that creates explosive noises. //

// Peach roses forever. //

// Ice cream in a can doesn’t work with regular goat’s milk,  FYI.  Fat is necessary so cream is the only way.  Guess I’ll have to go out of my way for some raw cream so I can have some. San Diego, you can find raw milk options from Organic Pastures at some Sprouts and the little Boney’s Bayside Market on Coronado. La Mesa Sprouts is the only one I’ve actually seen it at. //

// I’ve been taking a lot of clay and salt baths lately, trying to get rid of some yuck stuck in my body during the gut healing I’ve been undergoing.  The happy effect of this is I’ve been getting some reading done. Any good books you think I can’t live without reading? //

// Experimenting with some new board balm options.  Coconut oil seems to be the only option that brings the least amount of rancid effects.  Mineral oil is a spawn of plastic so it’s weird that people think it’s cool to put it so near their food. I’ve been using a coconut oil and beeswax combo.  So far so good.  There’s a convo happening on my IG about this here. //

// Filling our pantry shelves with as much homemade canned tomato sauce as possible before the season is gone. I started with is Better Homes and Gardens recipe here, I just added the roasting element and kicked up the garlic. //

// The blessings of a backyard sunset. //


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Anne with an E


Anne: I’ve always imagined that my name was Cordelia – at least, I always have of late years. When I was young I used to imagine it was Geraldine, but I like Cordelia better now. But if you call me Anne, please call me Anne spelled with an e.
Marilla: What difference does it make how it’s spelled?
Anne: Oh, it makes such a difference. It looks so much nicer. When you hear a name pronounced can’t you always see it in your mind, just as if it was printed out? I can; and A-N-N looks dreadful, but A-N-N-E looks so much more distinguished. If you’ll only call me Anne spelled with an e I shall try to reconcile myself to not being called Cordelia.
From “Anne of Green Gables
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