3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Friday, February 19, 2016

Being a Fashion Rep, Mom, Consultant. Teacher and Photogapher . . . . . Is it too many hats??

Recently on Instagram I was approached to use my Instagram feed to begin representing a fashion line on Spreesy.  I weighed my options and thought it couldn't hurt for me to give it a go.  I actually do LOVE much of the fashion I am representing through my instagram feed and I personally get to choose what I rep and put in my Spreesy Store, so I am not selecting pieces that don't represent my "mom" style.  However, I am beginning to question am I doing too much and trying to wear too many hats.  Should I be using my personal instagram feed or making separate feeds for the fashion line, my photography, and my personal life? OR even BIGGER question, you know the old saying, "Jack of all Trade Master of NONE" have I fallen into the pit of mastering none of what I do and just doing TOO MUCH?

As a mom of #3littleMiracles and stay at home mom for now, I just want to do my best to help provide for our children.  Truth be told if I had my best option by children would be in a private Christian school and I would be working full time 9-5 in a interior design studio, that is my first passion.  I hold two degrees (an Associate in Interior Design and a B.A. in Architecture) which for the past thirteen years have hung upon my walls to remind me of what was and what I hope to one day return to. For now I continue to help friends with their decor problems, redecorate my own home on a regular basis, keep abreast of current decor trends, and design furniture pieces for my own homes for my hubby to build in his spare time ;-).

I LOVE Photography, and WILL continue doing it, but truth is it takes a LOT of money and studio space that I don't have and so I just don't foresee me being able to truly grow this business very well.  In addition, I really need to get some formal training in photography.  I have taken some online courses, book training and I have relied on my past course studies in interior and architectural design to understand spacial relationships and how I want to compose the images that I capture for clients when I have more formal shoots. But I just don't do enough location shoots for it to be lucrative enough for a full time income and let other things go.  I LOVE doing it, love working with the clients, and I feel I do a pretty good job for the money I charge them.  I am honest with them if I feel they have a job above the scope of what I can handle I refer them to a good friend of mine who studied photography and has a well established studio.  I went most of 2015 without more then a handful of shoots, then suddenly in 2016 I have 3 shoots booked back to back without even trying and possibly a informal wedding and maternity shoot, go figure.  I just can't plot this business but I do love it and will continue until God guides me full time to something else.
Eastern North Carolina Photographer, Engagement Shoot, Downtown New Bern
Working with Mary & Martha is something I am not really sure of.  I got into it because I TRULY DO love the product and the message of the product and what the company stands for.  Spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the number one thing and when we as Christians have an opportunity to share God's Word with others we need to do so, Mary & Martha has empowered woman with a chance to do that & have a business at the same time. My slight hick-up with this is that I was in LOVE with the full product line that was in the 2015 Fall catalog, including a line of ceramic dinnerware that they had called the Grace & Gratitude Collection.  I joined in late fall and shortly after I joined the announcement came out that this line was going to be discontinued from the Spring lineup.  I was disappointed, but having done this kind of business before for almost 8 years with Southern Living at HOME I knew how this works and I eagerly awaited the reveal of new Spring products in 2016.  To my disappointment when my box of catalogs arrived in February and I sat down with my much loved heirloom mug filled with hot tea and find that after combing over every page I am not thrilled and find few new products that I am EXCITED about.  Do I still have products I love, YES!! Mary & Martha still has amazing products that are fantastic quality and speak God's Word into my life and my home, but I am disappointed that the Spring add in's aren't bringing in a FRESH style and excitement.  The one BRIGHT spot for me was the Adventure ON line.  So for now I keep trying to share Mary & Martha with others and see where God takes me with the journey.

As for the Instagram venture with Spreesy.  As I said earlier I am really enjoying the fashion, more so now at this point in life then I would have 80+ pounds ago, but I am not sure yet if this will be a lucrative adventure or not either.  I guess I am enjoying this so much because I was always hiding myself and not really able to wear fashionable clothing at over 260 pounds but with the weight loss I have a healthier figure and a better view of myself and want to look good for myself, my husband and my family.  My taste still runs very conservative compared to other bloggers and there are some pieces that I would wear with leggings or add length to the skirt by letting out a hem once it arrives to me, but for the most part I love the pieces I have posted in my little corner of the Internet at 3 little Miracles Boutique. Below I am wearing the Emma top that I purchased from my own shop, I love this top, it is super comfortable.  I do wish they had a L(they only have a Medium left in stock), because these days I wear a 14-16 and this top runs large and this was sold as a XL and when it arrived the tag said 1X (which as a former 2xPLUS girl I know that is actually larger then a XL).  Of course the Emma looks cuter on the model but I think I look pretty cute for a mom of #3littleMiracles.
So as you can tell I have some debates going on for what is the best "business" option for this homeschool mom.  BUT either way life is good and God will provide the way and in the mean time I am happy doing what I do and learning and building my skills along the way.

God bless you ad yours on the journey!!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

White Bean, Spinach & Kielbasa Soup

When I first saw this recipe come across my facebook feed shared by my niece from food blogger It's My Side of Life, I started salivating into my cell phone and knew right away that it would soon be apart of one of our meals SOON.  So here we are on a rainy Eastern North Carolina night and a busy one in our household with therapy in one direction and karate in another after school and the third child who will most certainly have homework to do.  So I needed a meal that would be mostly ready to put to the table and I thought of this amazing looking soup and pulled all the ingredients from the pantry and freezer which I had purchased last week during our grocery shop for just such a night.
image credit
So while we had our busy homeschool day here around the house with our oldest #DJr, I stopped between my lessons to chop some ingredients, open some cans, fry some kielbasa in the skillet and throw it all into the crockpot to fill the house its beautiful aroma all day long and be ready to fill our belly's with yummo feelings after a busy day apart from one another.

Here are the ingredients from Melanie's original blog post:

3/4 pound kielbasa (turkey or chicken work great if you don’t’ want to use beef!)
2 cups chicken broth (vegetable broth works great in a pinch as well!)
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups Cannellini beans (you can use canned if needed make sure you rinse them as well)* see my suggestion above if using dry beans
Two medium sized tomatoes diced up really small, it should come to about 1 cup or more
6 cups baby spinach leaves
Freshly cracked pepper to taste

For our family I made a few alterations, we feed a family of 7 so I used a full 1 lb. of kielbasa to start with which is a full size link.  In addition I used 4 cups of chicken broth because I used canned spinach  (2)and as a result the soup was very thick and so I thinned it out with additional broth.  Finally, I did not have any oregano on hand so I omitted this spice all together. If I had my ruthers and I had the availability of fresh ingredients I would opt for fresh spinach all the way although canned or frozen spinach is not a bad option in a pinch.

The kielbasa, tomatoes and garlic were the only things that needed chopping and so fixing this truly was very simple, especially the crockpot method, just put all of your ingredients into the crockpot on medium-high for 4 hours and you will have a delicious pot of soup to place at the table before your family.  We served ours with a pan of cornbread, which my father loved dipping into his soup.


Nutritional info put into My Fitness Pal:
(I am not sure of how accurate this is when others compare at 221 calories)
Calories for 8 servings: 178 per serving
Total Fat:  12.0g
Total Carb:  7.7g
Protein:  12.6

*I scanned cans and chicken broth containers,

Let My Life Be for Your Glory Woven in your Threads of GRACE

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Barn Love

I am completely in love with a barn near our home
I am obsessed with the way that God plays with the light in this field each day and I want to find out who owns this so that I can do a family photo shoot and engagement shoots at this location.  I just love this field and barn.
This is an overcast day and I STILL love the way the sky and field play around this bright red barn. You may see more of my friend in the near future because this is the time of season when the morning light is particularly wonderful on it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Reality vs. Pinterest and LIFE

You know it truly is a lot of fun to go through Pinterest and pin image after image after image of beautiful things that we see whether it is fashion, homes, food, or places we want to travel.  For those of us that are old enough it is the same as what we used to do in the OLD days when we picked up those things called MAGAZINES and we turned the PAGES and we dog eared the pages or tore out the pages we liked and put them up on our bulletin boards or taped them to our mirrors maybe just maybe went so far as to actually create a folder or book (that might have been a sign that there was some hidden designer in us back then).
Image Source
But the reality is when we post this pretty picture of a room like this is that it's POSED with no children, no animals, no dust bunnies, no storage issues to deal with.

THIS IS REALITY, for MOST of us . . . . . our Master Bedrooms becomes a place where we hide the toys we take away from the kids, where "hurt toys" go to be repaired, the "I don't know where this goes" so it gets stuffed in a corner of our bedroom, and also the laundry baskets go to die. I actually hope that MOST of us are not really like this because I really do like neat spaces and most of my house really truly is neat and if you were to ask my friends they would all tell you I am a neat and organized person.  But the reality hides behind these double french doors because I would prefer for my friends and family to think I have it all pulled together.  I WANT an oasis behind these doors but I don't have one except in my mind and once I am upon the king size bed in the middle of that room.
But isn't that the problem that we as mom's we put this unspoken pressure on one another that we have this standard of perfection whether in the secular or in Christian circles, of what is popular, what makes someone "ok" to hang around, and sadly it isn't always their personality or their ethical behavior its their home, the clothing they wear or the places they go, the toys they play with, the books they are reading, the school they are going to, are they homeschooling? and on and on the list of pressure goes.  You may ask WHY did I have to say "secular vs. Christian?  I say it because many people think that woman within the Christian community to not fall prey to these kinds of pressures or put pressure like these upon one another, but I say we put even MORE pressure upon one another. We are lying if we say the pressure isn't there or that we aren't putting it upon one another.  Go on Pinterest, GO on Twitter, GO in Instagram, GO on Facebook, GO on Instagram and see what we are doing to each other.

I am a part of that problem, I am all over the Internet with my blog, google+ profile, twitter, instagram account, pinterest and this blog.  Each of these accounts give a snapshot of my life and at times my life looks neat and clean and perfect. It's true I use many of these for my personal way of journaling life with our #3littleMiracles and there is not shame in that, but I think there is a problem with blogs go to far and make life seem perfect and flawless.  Our pictures don't show the fight that happened before the picture between the boys, the sickness that happened afterwards, the migraine that hit for days after that post, the fuss that happened over the painting project or just the mess of life.  I want to promise from here on out to be more authentic with you to be more open in who I am and more raw in my existence.  I mean truly I am trying to head for the "pretty" picture with my spaces but it will take me a long time to get there and I will likely NEVER have the money to get there because God has better plans for my worldly goods this side of heaven for HIS good.

Well here is my reality.  I am not perfect, I am very flawed and I am hanging my shingle out there for everyone to see.  we have PLANS for things we would like to do, but we don't have big deep pockets and our plans take time and effort and a lot of work to create.  We don't have a flashmob of photographers, stylists, interior designers to come set up and fluff our house and make it look nice for pictures. WE have us and our house of 4 adults, 3 kids, 2 dogs 2 cats and a lot of pet hair.  Here is our room and the beginning of our next project.
 I have to work my way through this book shelf and get rid of some books and do some organization, sadly this holds EVERYONE's books for the house.  The bottom shelf is cookbooks because we don't have storage in the kitchen for them.  This just really needs some organization and dusting help but it will still not be a "pretty" shelf with pictures and nick nacks like in magazines, it will be practical and filled with books and office and school supplies.
 Now this is just SAD, this is a desk I built for my husband.  We don't even have room in our room for a chair at the desk or on the top for my computer to be on it.  Everything gets dumped on or around it.  This just screams HELP ME!!!!! This WILL look better after tax season I promise!
 We have a plan with these dressers, we have the paint and we are going to paint them a high gloss enamel white paint with brushed silver pulls.  We recently picked up these lamps at Ozzi's for $9.99 each and I picked up the lampshades at Walmart at for $15.62.  My husband used to have a HUGE cowboy lamp on his nightstand that was from his bachelor days and it was very difficult for him to let go of, in fact he didn't really let go of it he moved it to the attic LOL.
 Not sure what we plan to do with this table, it is a record storage table and it is filled with old records from both of our teenage years.  We really have NO place for this.  At one time my husband used it as his night stand, then when we moved the matching dressers out to use as night stands this moved here, now  we just don't know what to do with it.
The plan here I think is we will remove the curtain and hardware and frost the windows on the doors to provide us the privacy we need.  I hate the curtains and I have never gotten around to hemming them the way the need to be.  Not sure how the #Mr will feel about the frosting of the windows though, I'll let you know in a later post how that talk goes.

So here is my reality . . . . . piles, dust bunnies and all.  I will share it and it's transitions with you but I will no longer hide it and make it look like it's perfect because I am not a magazine and I don't have the deep pockets to create the images I love overnight and I suspect neither do many of you.  So lets do this journey together and stop judging and have fun being real.

Master Bedroom Project

  • Paint bedroom SW Tidewater 6477
  • Build Headboard (design posted to Instagram)
  • Shampoo Carpet while bed is apart
  • Paint dressers
  • Re-organize Shelves and Desk
  • Find Desk Chair
  • Find new home for Record Cabinet
  • Frost Doors??