Saturday, September 14, 2013

life, & a granola (bar) recipe.

babies are mysterious things.
sometimes i wonder if it's phases that make them so difficult, or if it's based in their personality, or what. especially if they're fed and freshly changed and had a nap recently. (like the one above: s is 6 months old, and he fought that nap like no one's business. cranky babies fighting naptime is not fun. nope. and i'm pretty sure rocking chairs save lives. because babies eventually fall under the spell of spacial disorientation via said rocking chairs. thank God for those things.)
that's one thing i ponder, as i have 2 young nieces and a nephew --the latter of which is 6 months old, and fantastically (and i say that sarcastically) loud sometimes.
why do i think of all this? because i'm married and everyone asks when --whether in their thoughts mostly or not-- we will start to have kiddos. the answer is not yet. i have my fill of babies with my nieces and nephew. they're all cuties.
but, omg...gotta love their phases.

in other news, i adore the hoodie weather of yesterday and today. (just earlier this week, it was hot and windy. perfect for drying clothes on the line and saving the propane via the dryer.)
we haven't turned on the air conditioning since thursday. ceiling fans to circulate the air has been all that's needed since then. it's amazing.
oh my word.
hoodies and hot coffee and leaves just barely starting to turn.
i mourn the coming of winter after this beautiful, hot summer, and the autumn that is (hopefully) starting to set in.
but goodness, the fall day i feel all around me presently is such a relief.
such a beautiful relief.

i'm thinking of starting a new blog.
a different, clean, fresh place.
i started a new journal in the middle of a huge school-type notebook that i've been writing in since november 2012.
i got so tired of the plain bulky thing that i lugged everything in my purse.
so i dug around in a storage bin and found a few empty journals that i've either found or been gifted through the past few years.
and what did i do? i started a new, pretty, smaller, spiral bound, hard-back journal.
less space for so many words. less expectation.

also, i love hanging art.
this print from marisa's etsy is so cute, and i bought it in july 2011 for my house someday.
i'm thinking it'll look even better against pale yellow walls in the kitchen when we (hopefully sometime this year) paint it. :)

so, i started making no-bake granola bars.
and i can't find the recipe that i first used and adapted and memorized. i swear i pinned it, but it disappeared.
here goes.

no-bake granola bars

put in a medium sized bowl:
4 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups rice crispy cereal
stir to combine well.

simmer in a small saucepan:
1 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter
dash of salt
whisk steadily until the brown sugar is dissolved and the mixture has bubbled for a while.
add a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg if you like the idea of some depth of flavor. (we like it a lot.)
take the saucepan off the heat.
drizzle a tsp or two of vanilla in and stir till combined.
pour over dry ingredients immediately and mix till dry ingredients are well coated.
pat firmly into a slightly greased pan, and refrigerate for a couple hours.
cut into bars, and enjoy!!

if you're a blog friend of mine and you have Instagram and we're not friends yet, my username is love_beka_hill. i update that realm way more than facebook or my blog these days. hahah.

Monday, August 12, 2013

backsplash inspiration. :)

so, i can make do with the counters. they're in great shape.
but all evening, i have been scrolling through and clicking on and reading great diy projects (from pinterest).
and i'm super inspired to not only run the idea by our landlord so we can pick a few colors and paint sometime soonish before 2014 (because heck yes, he said we could paint!!), but i'm also thinking that along with a nice light color on the kitchen walls (which are paneling and would need oil based primer first), we should put up an easy peasy peel-and-stick backsplash of some sort.

ya know. to go over this farmhouse red. heheh.
i used to have a real crush on red when i was around 14-18.
i used to especially love the idea of deep red as an accent wall color.
not anymore. over the past few years, my decor brain has observed and learned and developed a different level of taste and style.

here are a few pictures that i brought together from my instagram posts, just to show ya what the atmosphere is like and what setting i'm working with.
if you've got an idea or inspiration or advice on what color is in your mind to help me pile up a few perspectives (before i go get samples somewhere someday), feel free to comment with your thoughts! :)
my cupboards are painted an off-white cream, so i'm trying to visualize something that would be versatile and simple and clean but complimentary to the cream tone and the wood-look laminate counters. 

let the photo stream begin.

this photo was taken at about midnight. therefore, no natural light to help, but oh well.
morning-time light! gotta love it.
now we really know for sure that the new and simple backsplash must be photogenic--with recipes i'm working on trying out, the backsplash will almost always make it into the picture. lol.
hmm. what color would look good behind the roses, clean and drying dishes, spice rack, and cream cabinets and trim.....
i'm almost thinking a look with white-background-based, varying pale spring greens type of small-glass tiles.....
remember: comment with your thoughts! i always love more inspiration. ;)
(but gosh, i love the varying pale green glass tile idea that came to my to find it on a budget....)

Monday, July 1, 2013

on life, and settling in.

it's the most interesting feeling, having your own place.
if i must be honest, i love it.
it's fun. the details. the mundane. the every day.
they're our towels.

it's our kitchen sink.
our laundry to do.
(two loads desperately need to be done right now.)
our coffee maker that brewed fresh, hot, yummy coffee this morning.
our front porch.
(it could use a rocking chair or love seat of some kind...maybe craigslist will let something out of the woodwork again. hah.)
our couch.

our entertainment center that we put hard work and concentration and teamwork into, one night from 10:30pm to 2:30am.
our budget to sketch out and write up.
our rent to be paid (and what a great deal do we have!! so blessed.).
our dresser.

our mirrors and awesome leather chair that i found while rummaging with lady friends back in wisconsin. :)

our coffee mugs. (great gifts from awesome friends, used all the time, if you would believe that. ;))

our milk glass bud vase from my grammy who passed on in june 2011.

our at-home date nights late on sunday nights with a movie and caesar salad kit from wally's.
(p.s. i love you is one of those films that i watch 2 or 3 times a year and it gives me a whole new appreciation for life and loved ones. just because. these humans are so precious to me.)
friday and saturday night, while justin worked, i had rachel over for one night, and anna for the other night.

we talked and talked and watched a movie before sleep. the next morning, i made them coffee in my kitchen. poured them coffee into my collected (or gift-given) mugs. 
it's pretty fantastic to be able to have sisters over for a night of quality time and coffee in the morning.
i like it a lot. ;)

after-dinner walks out here in southern illinois are amazing.
no doubt about it.
i used to live in a small town, about 10k. i could see sunsets, but not like this. 
friday night i think it was, justin and i took a walk alone on the country road. all the way up to the stop sign like we always did over the past almost-2-years. we stopped and stared at the sunset. hugged and talked about how we couldn't remember the last time we'd done this together. the past how many months were too busy to randomly take a walk.
i believe after-dinner walks are some of the best things to have in your life. it's pondering time, whether you have good, lovely things to think and talk about, or hard, frustrating things.
and i can't believe,  that I'm your man,
and i get to kiss you baby just because i can.
whatever comes our way, ah we'll see it through...

[michael buble]

all in all, we're loving the challenge and joy that is marriage.
i'm just so glad we're in this crazy life journey together.

Monday, June 10, 2013

oh, hey. i'm married now and blogging for the first time in forever... :D

i'm married now.
i quite enjoy being married.
to my best friend, nonetheless.
he's pretty wonderful.
it's fun and interesting learning to live with a husband. 
oh yeah, and now i'm living in the country. (i lived in a small, awesome town of about 8k all my life.)
and it's beautiful.
i've been instagramming it up because of my new phone.
my username is: love_beka_hill.
you're welcome to follow me. :)
arranging house is pretty fun. i haven't made many amazing meals yet though. (two people don't eat that much. who knew?! hey. i came from a family of 8. lol.)
trying to get the kitchen all organized and the bedroom, too.

the dining room and living room need to be tackled, that's what i know for sure.
how about some fun stuff now?
pictures from the wedding? how about a few. ;)
photo credit: samantha
here's a few picture from the wedding --we did a first look and got all the photography done beforehand by a friend, samantha, and my now-sister-in-law, jen. it was awesome and so relaxing.

 me, my older sister anna, and two of our besties -- coincidentally, now my sisters in law. ;) love!!

me and the siblings. :D

more besties. :)

i'm off to watch some Lie To Me on netflix and wait for the husband to come home from second shift. can't wait to see his face.
maybe some wedding thank you's should be written too. hmmm.
see you around, cyberspace (and real life) friends!!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

cilantro lime rice with pork chops & salad.

one day, i was craving chipotle's cilantro lime rice.
so what did i do, since after all....i live an hour away from any chipotle?
i looked up a recipe for it online. a gazillion links came up.
i skimmed one, made it to a T with all the details right, and since then, i just play it by memory.
this is awesome stuff, and it contains butter.
so it's all good going from memory, if you know what i mean. ;)
borrowed image
i melt a few tablespoons of butter in the pot i want to cook my rice in, and get it sizzling.
i love sizzling butter.
then i add the rice --for my family eating tonight, i made a too-huge batch of 6 cups rice, 12 cups water..... :P but at least i now have stuff to put in burritos whenever we're short on ideas for lunch for the next few days! hah.
so you add the rice. stir it around on medium-high heat, and smell its yumminess.

then, i squeeze 2-5 limes. depending on how limey you want your rice. ;)
dump the juice in the rice-butter mixture. or squeeze it right in.
now really inhale that smell. ohmygosh.
after a few moments of letting that sit on the heat --stir it a little, haha-- pour in the amount of water you need for the proper ratio of rice to water that you need.
put a cover on it, and let it cook according to the directions for the type of rice you're using.

mince a decent sized bunch of cilantro, and after the rice is done cooking, stir it in.

now eat up! :D
...tonight i made it as a side to some pork-barbecue-spice rubbed pork chops that i grilled on the good old weber.
i do enjoy grilling. i get to try my skills out a few times every summer, with dad's advice either on the phone if he's at work, or helping prepare dinner. :)
gorgeous evening.
proof of spring coming to stay....soon! ;)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

snow? dang you, snow. DANG YOU.

this was me, yesterday, happy and thinking i'd be in southern illinois right about now on sunday afternoon, on my merry way to see my new little "nephew". 

winter weather is stupid.
and my best friend and her husband welcomed their first baby --a sweet and small and very cute boy!-- to their family this morning at 6:40am in southern illinois, and i haven't gotten to roadtrip down there with anyone yet, so everyone is at the hospital seeing this cute guy:
and i'm having myself a little moment crying and frustrated and bummed out and angry, because suddenly he's in pictures on facebook with the rest of his sweet family and friends, and i could --was going to!-- be there in just a few hours if plans had persevered, if the snow storm hadn't hit illinois today.
it's the fact that i could've and should've been there right now.  i don't even care about the fact that technically it's the weather's fault and weather is weather and it is what it is. i don't care about that fact.
but yeah. it's great, because we have a gloomy day on our hands, and there's nothing planned for the rest of today, and i'm stuck indoors...two of my sisters are under the weather and napping, so no fun is going on there....and the party and lunch we had after church is over, though that was a lot of fun while it lasted.
no now there's not really any consolation except for the fact that i might get to visit there next week, but right now i just want to hole up in my room and watch some Bones and forget about failed plans due to weather and something as epic as a firstborn happening and me not being able to witness it as i'd promised to come and help. i so wanted to be there. to see my friend labor and bring a beautiful new soul into this world. i so wanted to be there and see the joy and be able to celebrate and be there for it all.
i so wanted to be there.
Bones isn't a consolation. it's distraction and stuff to keep my mind busy.

hope you enjoy your day, everyone.
i know there are worse things to happen to a person's day, but babies being born is a big deal in my world, and an epic thing to miss.
i'm past trying to think of things to make this day better. :\
i just want to forget about these long-grown hopes fallen through...maybe tomorrow i'll be cheery, and able to just look forward to the trip i'll actually end up making down there after Easter. sigh.

oh. well.
the sister, rach, just suggested a walk outside with her.....wearing specifically very large hoodies so we look hipster, she says?
i guess it's worth a try.
talk about a cool distraction. funny/cool sister. chilly weather out here in southeastern wisconsin. no snow. just.....gloom.

Friday, March 22, 2013

life? that's happening, isn't it?...

hey hey hey!
so, according to calendars it should be spring, but we've still got stupid cold freezing weather around.

also, today i finished the last of the last of the last of the wedding invite stuff!
i have been taking pictures all along so peeps (and future friends/family) and see a post to come about how fun it was to put it all together. :)

gosh, it's been forever since i've even read a blog
besides young house love, i mean.
hello....we're renting a little house down the country road from his family. :) and it needs a bit of sprucing up, even though the landlord has neatened it up and updated a few things about it, cosmetically.
i can't wait to step inside it myself and hopefully get to paint the kitchen with a color. :)

i made onion soup with my youngest sister, lyd, earlier. our other two sisters (anna and rach) are under the weather a bit.
they are now watching the best version of emma on the awesome new couch, in the newly-painted-because-it-was-so-needing-it living room.
this photo is just more proof of the awesomeness that different shade and styles of a similar color will be pretty cool in my wedding......67 more days. wowza. (more sweet ideas found at my pinterest board. yes, yes.)
i can't wait; it's going to be warm out by then!!!!!
yes. spring, and getting married. how much better will the end of the month of may be. :) ;)
women: my sister lyddie, me, my sister anna, beth, martha, 
(little girl: alice) my sister rach, ?? nancy, anna a.

men: my justin, my brother caleb, justin r. and zechariah, 
my brother ben (The groom;), dad, monty, elijah, jason
also: in other news, my brother got married to a friend of mine --martha-- sunday!!
yes, yes. the pictures are quite handsome (thanks to her friend from ireland, louise the talented and awesome.)
and yes, we know we're good looking.
pretty fantastic, no? and it was freezing as heck outside!

hope you all have a dandy last week and a half of march.
maybe i'll blog again before i get married. maybe. lol.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

when i get inspiration for writing posts like this, i'm tempted to put my blog as private.

but then what kind of courage and honesty and guts would i have?!
none. that's what.

(i therefore make no apology for the honesty and guts and courage i have to post this, and stride forward to ignore thoughts of what everyone might think when i post the link on facebook. these are my thoughts, presently, and i'm allowed to give my thoughts for accepting, wonderful, humor-seeking friends to enjoy also. lol.)

it's 11:39pm, and this post by michmash inspired me.
i am no longer immune.
you kind of might want to read the post, just to get context for what i'm about to write. don't read the comments of that post yet, though. lol.

hmmm....i'm not a mom, but i'll tell you my secrets to keeping the mental birth control cap on the hallelujah-chorus-singing-ovaries . . .

i read horror stories of moms who go into their 6 week post-birth appointment. their dramatic personal experiences keeps the "oh i sooo want a baby!!" hormones calm. i love babies. but it freaks me out thinking a baby is going to plow through the lady parts. yeah. i've seen two births over the last 6 months, as a birth photographer who sometimes works by the side of my awesome doula sister, anna. for only a week ---only a week!!!-- i am cured into thinking and believing that i'll want to wait 5 years even after we get married.
unfortunately, that mindset doesn't last, and i'm wandering around on the internet looking at cute maternity and packs of adorable onesies a few days after the week anniversary of the trauma.

i nanny this freaking adorable little boy.
he's 4 months old.
he wakes up every 2 hours (i hear he used to wake up every hour in his first 3 months). to feed. and to get changed. because he pees a lot. because he's well hydrated.
and the parents (wonderful, wonderful people who have a great sense of humor and i love them and their cute little family so much already) don't get that much sleep!
just think how much you like sleep.

also, the first things to spring to my mouth (when a sibling teases about the high chances of fertility between justin and i and if we have an oopsies 6 months or less into marriage) are: i don't want nausea and exhaustion that soon. or to have to start researching and saving for a midwife/doctor, saving for diapers, all the changes before we've gotten to settle in and live life together for a while, figure things out, etc etc etc etc.....yeah.
and did i mention the lady parts being forever changed? i know that recovery is sooo possible and there IS an amnesia that comes about after a time, or else people wouldn't have more than one single freaking kid all the time!

that's my story of encouragement. haha. hahahah.
but i have to say...and this is speaking as a part-time nanny....just as you're getting tired at the thought of the lil kiddo waking up in 1/2 hour for his almost-due feeding and you're still finishing up laundry after you got a bite to eat for lunch....he wakes up and smiles the sweetest smile at you. and you know that this is why the world goes on. and that there IS, after all, a gorgeous, challenging circle of Life going on. and it all grows us up, makes us better and worse in all sorts of different ways.

sheesh. why don't i freaking blog this?! i need a blog post. maybe. but am i used to being this blunt and honest on my OWN blog? i mean, heck, obviously your blog is so dang inspiring, it's drawing words out of me. sentences and paragraphs. holy crap.

i'll leave you alone to decide your fate. well, kind of. heh.

as a note of btw, things that have been happening lately: 
invites and programs getting figured out; food person/chef nailed down for the dinner reception; ideas for flowers being tossed around; my first (of two, in all) bridal shower today!! it was a double bridal shower for the extended family ladies to celebrate martha (getting married to ben in march) and i (getting married in may!)
it was so much fun. anna coordinated it, and was super super awesome at it.
opening up homey stuff and kitchen things was so exciting....i feel so blessed. :)
now for sleep. how am i ever going to get rid of this nose/throat yuckiness if i don't get decent sleep? sheesh. for pete's sake. :P

Saturday, January 19, 2013

there is joy at the end.

oh, hi.
i didn't plan on coming around here to type anything anytime soon.
but here i am.
a few hours ago, the thought of blogging was completely...resistible.
i don't want to blog.
i don't want to blog because whitney would comment on the link i'd post in my facebook, and she'd say "can't wait to see your face again! you should visit!" and other stuff like that.
i don't want to blog because the thought of everyone knowing what my christmas and new years was like does not sound good to me.
i want to keep it to myself, and those who lived it with me.
those i lived it with.
i don't want to blog because eventually i'll have to write things like "____" and then it'll be published on my blog, and then those words will die away, and they'll be written and stamped on the internet, on my blog, they'll be reread and remembered, as if reality wasn't good enough to remember and do that.
nonna. whitney. also known as justin's mom. (holding her first grandbaby girl in august when i visited.)
she died in the wee hours of december 26, 2012. short notice, health decline from a virus to something more odd and extreme within a few days.
her life was entwined in so many people's lives with so much love --for Jesus and for people, no matter what-- and therefore, so many were touched by the joy of who she was, and all those people now feel that certain element of emptiness.
i don't think there's been a week in my life yet that hasn't held a day where i haven't questioned God why?
but He's giving me peace. slowly. i'll see her again. and she's watching us from up there with Him. i like thinking that. sometimes it helps a lot.
but because it's only been (nearly) a month, when this song featured below comes on --because i just searched it; i love the words-- my throat squeezes up uncontrollably and i can't breathe; i feel the emotions and helplessness and pain of that early december 26th morning around 3am creep over my entire body, when anna pushed play on the song after justin got the call from his brother and sister about the news.

and even though He's giving me peace slowly, my heart still hurts and i miss her... because over the past year, her and i grew closer and closer, and she was such an encouragement to me.
I've been waiting for the day when at last I get to say:
My child you are finally home.
Sing, O son of Zion,
Shout, O child of mine 
Rejoice with all your heart and soul and mind 
For you are finally home
I've been waiting to watch you realize 
What all your longing was for 
And I've been waiting to show you the thread of grace 
That ran through all your pain
And I've been waiting to let you drink the water of which 
Your greatest joy on earth was just a taste 
I've been waiting for the day when at last I get to say 
My child you are finally home.
 me and whitney, august 2012.
pictures from visits down with them in the summer of 2012. ♥
her tortillas are amazing.

i'm marrying her son.
(sarah helped us do a photoshoot for our parents christmas present....on. christmas. day.
he spent christmas eve and christmas day up here in wisconsin with us.)

i'm best friends with her daughter. have been for almost 12 years, i believe. pj is due in march with her first, and i'm going to be at the birth. i can't wait to see the little guy. nonna whitney was predicting it to be a boy...
her husband, brad, is going to be the officiator on our wedding day.
brad and their second grandbaby girl... :)
me and grandma eva, whitney's mom. i love her. :) i stayed with them for two weeks after justin and i made the roadtrip down there in the early afternoon of december 26. grandma eva told me "good morning, sunshine!" every morning. she's a doll.
it's beautiful how God made it so that we all can see glimpses of whitney in each other. because she gave us all a part of herself.

one of the songs giving me the comfort of truth. 

I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. 
In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! 
For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]
[john 16:33]

even though things in life can be completely out of the realm of understanding for our hearts and minds, life here in this world is going to be flawed and full of pain and bitter-sweetness as times. seasons are going to suck. but there is going to be complete joy at the end. here, at the end of all things. we have hope. if nothing else, we know we have hope in the end. i hope in my God.