food · through my camera lens

Photo Challenge – Sweet… Maple and brown sugar oatmeal cookies


When I saw that this week’s photo challenge topic was “Sweet” I knew I needed to post about the cookies I made yesterday. I typically bake about once a week. Richard takes most of what I bake to work with him. So I get to enjoy baking and his co-workers get a homemade sweet treat. I call that a win-win situation!

We recently purchased a large variety pack of instant oatmeal. Colby often eats this for breakfast before school since it is quick and filling. He heats the water in our Keurig bonus points for this kitchen tool!

So we already had some maple and brown sugar instant oatmeal and then in the variety pack it has more maple and brown sugar than the other flavors. Guess which flavor Colby likes least…. yep exactly. So I decided on a random whim to see if there was a way to bake cookies using the instant oatmeal packets.

I found this recipe which is for apple cinnamon instant oatmeal cookies. I decided to give it a whirl. The only other change I made to the recipe, beside switching the maple and brown sugar oatmeal, was to use only brown sugar not brown sugar and white sugar. I wanted the brown sugar flavor to shine.


Let me tell you this was easy and yummy. Colby decided he really liked these cookies and took some of out of the tin I’d packed for Richard to take to work. Colby wanted to make sure there were some for him to have at home.

The cookies are a nice chewy cookie and the flavor was wasn’t super sweet, but brown sugar forward. I think this would be really good with cinnamon spice or raisin spice oatmeal as well. So if you have extra oatmeal packets laying around, or want to buy some I’d say this recipe is a “go for it” one!


**this post contains associate links. please read my disclosure statement**

through my camera lens

Photo Challenge: Silence

The topic for this week’s photo challenge is silence. This is actually something I have blogged about in the past. (here and here) That didn’t stop me from jumping on this topic for a photo challenge.

I debated on taking a picture of my computer with a mug of coffee. Each morning after my sons leave for school I take a few minutes of silence to have my coffee and write my blog post. I use it to ground me before moving on the activities I need to do each day. But, a lot of bloggers feel like their time blogging is a moment of silence in their life to reflect on what is happening/has happened that day.

I debated on taking a picture of the book I’m reading and my glasses. Each night I take 30 minutes or so to wind down from the day by reading. If you follow my blog, you probably know that I’m an avid reader. (I’m almost done with the book I’m reading so watch for a book review soon.


I decided to walk outside. to look at the wintered world that surrounds me and capture a moment (or two) of silence here. Having just moved (well moved back) to an area with snow, I’m truly enjoying the silence that winter brings. The silence of your footsteps as you walk through the snow. The silence of seeing trees covered in snow, and the creatures who line in them. The silence of snow covered grounds that have yet to be walked through by humans, dogs or any other animal. The freshness of the world in the frozen stillness of this silence.


Take today to walk outside and enjoy the silence of nature. Find that patch of snow that is just calling for you to put your own footprints in the snow.


via Photo Challenge: Silence

family · through my camera lens

2017 Favorite Photo

2017 was such a year of change for our family. Richard moved to Pittsburgh in April. The boys and I moved in June. The boys started a new school in August. We bought our new home in September and moved in shortly there after. Life has been busy, but sooo good.

One of the biggest benefits of moving here is the freedom and independence the boys have found. They spent the summer outside playing. They rode their bikes, met new friends and just loved being kids.

They now ride the bus to and from school. They have more responsibility and more freedom. I feel that they have grown up so much this year. They are no longer little kids, but are now full blown tweens. I see them turning into the teens we will have in the home very soon.

The photo challenge was to pick your most meaningful photo of the year. I could have posted a photo of the new house. I could have posted one of the many rainbow pictures I took over our new home. I could have posted pictures from our time in North Park.

But, most memorable is what stuck out… what is most memorable to me this year is the boys freedom. This photo shows them as they are… boys on the move. Free to run and roam. Free to play and explore. It shows my sons loving together being themselves.

Image may contain: one or more people, snow, outdoor and nature

via Photo Challenge: 2017 Favorites

through my camera lens

Transformation through my windows

This week’s photo challenge topic is transformation. I haven’t joined one of these in a while, but this one peeked my interest. My first thought was how much my view has P1070249
changed over the last few weeks.

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you know that we have recently moved into our new home that we built just north of Pittsburgh, PA. We build in a neighborhood that is very much under construction. If you look out the back windows of my home, you see the transformation of the seasons.

The view out of my siding glass door faces an adjacent street. In the last few weeks we have seen this view change from open space, street then houses, to now where we see the houses that are being built. While this means a change in view, it also means new neighbors. It means other people are building their family home.



I know that my view out my windows will continue to change over time. I will just continue to enjoy the transformations.

via Photo Challenge: Transformation


Photo Challenge: Windows

Life is busy right now. As I mentioned the other day, we just closed on our new house. We are slowly moving into the house.

When I saw the topic of this week’s photo challenge was Windows I wanted to take a picture out of the window of my new house. The challenge is to take a photo that uses a window to frame the picture. Ok… I can do this!

I started by taking pictures of the backyard out our windows… but I wasn’t happy with the results. This was the best of these pictures:IMG_20170928_091957
Then I snapped a few pictures of Dixie looking out the window. I love that she is starting to get comfortable in the new house. She is constantly looking out to see what is going on, especially if Richard is outside.

But, I wasn’t completely satisfied with these pictures either. They just weren’t THE picture.


IMG_20170928_104047When I was working upstairs prepping Colby’s room for painting, Dixie laid down in the sunshine and I snapped a picture of this, a different interpretation of being framed by the window… it was a windows of sunshine. But, again I wasn’t happy with the result. I may play with this photo in photoshop a bit and see if can make it more to my liking, but it wasn’t the photo challenge photo.

We decided to have dinner at the house for the first time. Our kitchen table is still at the apartment, so the boys were eating on tv trays. Colby decided he wanted to eat his dinner looking out the back window.

I took this picture of him. As soon as I did, I knew this was THE picture. I don’t have time to play with photoshop to clean it up and crisp up the pictures so SOOC … and really its from my cell phone so it’s even rougher than with my camera, but it’s the photo… this is my window. IMG_20170928_182754


via Photo Challenge: Windows


Photo Challenge: Layered– Layered in Nature

Yesterday I decided that instead of going to the gym to workout I’d go on a hike in North Park. I went and hiked a trail that I have hiked before with the boys. It is the trail that Richard rides on most times when he mountain bikes on the weekends.

I left shortly after the boys went to school. My goal was to walk, relax, take pictures and enjoy nature. I walked about 2.5 miles in about 2 hrs. It wasn’t the distance or the time I was focused on, it was the ability to stop and enjoy. I was one with nature. I listened to the animals. I watched the leaves fall out the trees.

On this hike I saw 8-10 deer, lots of squirrels, birds, and chipmunks. I saw two people out riding on their horses and a few mountain bikers. I stood in a clump of trees and watched the trees fall around me. I will be back.

When you stop and look and listen to the layers of the day, you can enjoy depth of all life has to offer. Here are a few of the pictures that I took on my hike. I love that you can see the layers of nature.21751824_10203851685330573_8247826261917715891_n21751735_10203851697090867_1070674681408311279_n21616152_10203851684970564_5217475284863688517_n

via Photo Challenge: Layered


Photo Challenge: Waiting

This week’s photo challenge had my brain racking a bit. What am I waiting for? I could post pictures of the house we are building, because we are waiting for it to be done. I could post pictures of Irma because we are waiting to hear what will happen and if our family and friends will be safe. I could post pictures of fall because the boy have been excitedly waiting for their first year with real seasons.

But, I didn’t want to do any of those things. I decided to post about someone in our family who does a lot of waiting. I don’t think I’ve posted about her yet, so here you go… Dixie!


Dixie is our lab/border collie. She is 6 years old. We got her when Blake was in pre-K so the boys had a dog to run and play with, we had an older dog at the time and she didn’t want much to do with the boys other than guarding over them.

Every day Dixie waits until the she sees the buses start passing by the house. She watches to see… is this the boys bus? Once she sees one bus she takes position…

Dixie will wait laying here on the floor until the boys walk through the door. The tail will wag slowly until they start getting closer and then it wags faster and faster. She gets so excited. She checks to make sure they were home and safe. Then she goes back to waiting. She will lay on the couch until she hears my phone ring. She hears me talking to Richard on the phone and then gets ready for waiting position number two.


While waiting for Richard she takes a different position. I think this is because she can see a bit further down the street. When she hears the truck roll up the tail goes crazy. She has waited all day for her whole family to be home. And now she is happy.

via Photo Challenge: Waiting


Photo Challenge- Structure

On Wednesday, I read The Daily Post’s photo challenge. This week’s challenge is Structure, it got my mind going in so many directions. The post talked about structure in nature, which is always an interesting photo venture, so I tried going in that direction to begin. What I found was I couldn’t find the “right picture”.

Last night we went to the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game. If you know anything about downtown Pittsburgh, then you know there are so many fantastic examples of structure right there to see.

I took these pictures last night with my cell phone.

IMG_20170901_203601.jpgThis is a picture of the Roberto Clemente Bridge. I love that you can see the airiness of bridge in juxtaposition to the solidness of the city buildings.  I also like that you can see the arch in the bridge as well as the arch in the Renaissance Hotel.


IMG_20170901_202950.jpgThis is a picture of the Fort Duquesne Bridge. This bridge brings you into Fort Pitt / “The Point”. While the first picture shows the bridge as part of the landscape, this one shows the bridge as the main feature of the landscape. Compared to the dark background, the bridge stands out. Under the bridge you can see the fountain at the Point, as well as a line of lights that lines the banks of the river.


What I really like about these pictures is it shows the structure of this city. In order to get in and out of Pittsburgh you must travel by bridge or tunnel. There are 446 bridges going into the city. The first bridge was built in 1818, but most of the bridges were erected between 1924 and 1940. These steel bridges are a huge reminder of this being the Steel City.


via Photo Challenge: Structure


Photo Challenge- Turning a Corner

Every week they post a photo challenge based on a given topic. I often look at these posts but,  never decided to join. This week’s topic was corner. It could be any interpretation of the word corner, well this one really hit me. So this morning I made sure to get a good “corner” picture. Read below to find out why I wanted to write about a Corner!


Today my boys turned a corner, literally and figuratively. Today is their first day of school. Now I make a big deal out of the first day of school every year. It is a new start, new beginning. It’s a time to meet new teachers, make new friends and learn new things.

But, this year is different, it’s special. This is the first year my boys are going off to school in PA. It’s the first time I’m not dropping them off at school. It’s the first time since kindergarten that they are going to a school they know only a few people at, and most of the people do not know them. It’s a time for them to re-imagine themselves. I’ve told both the boys that today is the day they can decide who they want to be, no one knows them as a student, a friend, a person. They get to decide.

So even though the picture is of them turning the corner to go to the bus stop, it is so much more. It is them turning the corner on the next phase of their life. And, I can’t wait to hear all about it.