Coffee in Paris


















{Breakfast in a Parisian Café}

It’s been a couple of years since I blogged anything here at PaperPearls. The main reason being I just didn’t have a lot of spare time to commit to this space. Recently life has changed a lot.

This past summer, while my husband and I were visiting family in Europe, we found out we were expecting our first child in February. We were overjoyed with the news and couldn’t wait to tell our family and friends. In fact, we made a little video to surprise everyone. You can watch that here.

Fast forward to November 2012 and our little girl surprised us by arriving 3 months early. We spent two months in the hospital and got to bring her home in January. It was one of the best days of my life! My husband made a quick video of the moment we brought her home, which you can watch here.

At the end of January 2013 I left my day job to stay home with our little girl. Because of her prematurity the doctors strongly recommended that she not go out in public until May (when flu season had passed). This meant no grocery store runs, no church, no daycare, nothing. It’s now March and Kate has only left the house 3 times and that was to visit the doctor for routine check-ups. Recently we went on our first walk around the neighborhood and it was her first time being outside for any extended period of time (about 20 minutes). Our little girl is not sick but we have to be extra vigilant in protecting her from getting sick, because getting sick (even a little cold) would mean a lengthy hospital stay. If you come to our house we have a lot of Germ-X and Purell out and about.

All of that to say, since I am now a full-time mommy, I will be putting a lot more time and effort into this blog. And in order to catch-up on the past couple of years I’ll be posting some older photo sessions. I hope you enjoy!


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Welcome to autumn, my favorite season! This time of year charms the senses and is filled with simple things. Two of my favorite fall snacks to enjoy in the afternoon or late evening are candied walnuts and spiced apple cider. I keep a sticky note of the walnut recipe on the inside of my spice cabinet so it’s easy to reference any time. It’s also a great little snack to whip up whenever unexpected guests drop by.

Candied Walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°(F). In a large bowl mix 1/4 cup sugar, a couple pinches of kosher salt and couple pinches of fresh ground black pepper.

In a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon honey, 1 tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon olive oil over medium heat. Stir until combined, about 1 minute.  Add 4 cups of coarsely chopped walnuts and toss to coat.

After walnuts are coated in liquid mix place them in the sugar mix and toss to coat. Spread walnuts into a single layer on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes, stirring once halfway through. To cool, spread walnuts out on parchment paper in a single layer. Enjoy!

The candied walnuts are great on their own but taste especially of the autumn season when paired with spiced apple cider. I like to jazz up simple store bought cider by warming it in the microwave or on the stove and adding a cinnamon stick and 3 or 4 red hot candies. Pour your spiced apple cider in a pretty little teacup and enjoy your autumn snack.

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I hope your day is full of beautiful moments.

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Ahhh, the simplicity of bread and jam. One of life’s little pleasures. Strawberry raspberry bread is a simple quick bread similar to banana bread or zucchini bread that only takes about an hour to bake. This particular recipe is a double portion – great for sharing with a friend or freezing that extra loaf.

This raspberry jam is as simple and minimalistic as you can get. Just two ingredients and a little time on the stove and you have yourself a yummy homemade treat.

Strawberry raspberry bread
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups sugar
2 cups sliced strawberries
1/2 cup raspberries
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup cooking oil

Mix all ingredients by hand in a large bowl except for the berries. Add the berries last. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes in small loaf pans, or around 60 minutes in two large loaf pans. Remember to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t become overdone. Enjoy!

Raspberry Jam (small batch)
6 half-pints fresh raspberries (exactly 4 cups crushed raspberries)
3 cups granulated sugar

Wash and dry the berries. Place the berries in a large stainless steal or enamel bowl. Crush the berries using a potato masher or back of a spoon.

Measure exactly 4 cups of berries and place in a six-quart saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add sugar to the hot berries. Raise heat to high stirring constantly until the mixture comes to a full boil, about 5 minutes. Continue to stir at a full rolling boil until the foaming subsides, the puree becomes thick and shiny, and the jam reaches the “jelly” stage. This will take about 15 minutes. You know it’s ready when you drop a small spoonful onto a cold plate and jam forms as it cools, it’s no longer syrupy and runny. If the jam is not ready, return it to the heat and check it every couple of minutes until it is at the consistency you prefer.

To store this yummy concoction I simply divvied it up into small plastic containers. I put one container in the fridge and froze the rest.  It will last about a week in the refrigerator and it freezes well. Also, make sure to label and date your raspberry jam before you store it so you don’t forget what’s in there.

Make these two simple recipes this weekend as a last hurrah to the fading summer.

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And the random tidbits continue. Check out the rest of these fun facts about your photographer (that’s me!).

14. When I was younger my family moved around a lot as part of being in the Air Force and I was painfully shy. This resulted in playing alone during recess and eventually teaching myself how to do a handstand using the chain link fence for support instead of a friend. I’m thankful we moved to Kansas City and stayed put from there on out.

15. I took piano lessons for a few years when I was younger. I wish I hadn’t quit. I played the violin from 5th grade through my senior year in high school. I would like to join a local symphony but it’s just not a priority at the moment. In high school I taught myself to play guitar. I played guitar and sang/led worship in youth group.

16. My favorite instrument is the cello! I could listen to it all day. It would be awesome to find and purchase a cello at a flea market and teach myself how to play. I would love that.

17. One of the most surprisingly yummy desserts I’ve ever tasted was Almond Tofu at a little Japanese restaurant named Zakkushi in a suburb of Vancouver, BC called Kitsilano.

18. I chose to never attend a high school prom or other high school dance. I just wasn’t into it.

19. I always have my ‘bucket list’ with me. Usually located in the depths of my purse somewhere.

20. I enjoy watching sports live and in person. The only sport I can watch (and stay awake for) on Television is football. My favorite team is the Chiefs. (I know, I know) I also like to play sports. My favorite is volleyball and I can be VERY competitive.

21. My favorite genre of movie is one that can whisk me off to some foreign dream land. A fantastical place of tall tales and enchantment. I love engaging my imagination and these movies aide in that effort quite nicely. A couple of my favorite movies are ‘Big Fish’ and ‘Mirror Mask.’

22. I crave sunshine. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a rainy, gray day every now-and-again but I must have sunshine on a regular basis. It’s an absolute must. Winter is a bit rough for me.

23. I have awesome dreams. They’re vivid, fast paced, and fairly bizarre. A lot of my dreams seem to build on the previous nights dream. It’s very interesting to watch them develop. I love to share my weird-o dreams with my friends and watch them furrow their brows trying to figure me out. It’s fun.

24. I married my best friend on January 1, 2010. He is my encourager, my favorite comedian, and the one I get to do the rest of this life with. I could not be more blessed.

25. Photography has been intertwined with my life since I was young. I believe God gave me a passion for photography and I fully intend on fulfilling the call He has put on my life using photos to speak to others. I hope and pray I can be a blessing to you.

Now you know a little about me. But let’s turn the tables to you. Tell me about yourself. Feel free to leave a comment all about you!

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To kick things off I thought I’d start by introducing myself to you.  Here is a collection of facts about your photographer (that’s me!).

1. My real name is Amanda but hardly anyone calls me that. Most people call me Mandi, however, my Dad calls me Moose, my Mom calls me Man-Man, my youth pastor called me Man-Die and I also answer to Mandikins and Manda Panda.

2. My mother tells me I was named after a dog. A *pretty* dog but, a dog, nonetheless.

3. I collect smashed pennies and other random smashed change. I have quite the collection. I’ll have to show it to you sometime.

4. In 2nd grade my Dad snuck me out of school for the day and we went to a Royals baseball game. He let me choose one souvenir for myself and one for my sister. I went with a Royals mini baseball bat for me and a giant Royals pencil to give to my sister. A happy memory.

5. I much prefer tea over coffee. In fact, I can’t really stand coffee at all but I love tea. I’ll take mine hot with milk and honey stirred to form a froth or cold with 2 sugar cubes, thank you.

6. I love grid paper and making floor plans. It’s totally ridiculous. I believe I got this trait from my mother.

7. I would like to have a garden one day. Filled with tomatoes, beans, peppers, herbs, the works. I’ve got it all planned out. In fact, I’ve got it all planned out on grid paper right now.

8. When I was little I wanted to be the first girl on the moon. In 7th grade I switched gears and decided I wanted to be a veterinarian – that only lasted about three months. Then, in 8th grade, I decided that I wanted to be a photographer/camera operator and I’ve never looked back.

9. I worked in television for 3 years. It was a high stress environment but I am grateful for my time spent there. I was stretched and learned a lot about myself.

10. I LOVE volunteering. I’ve volunteered in many different capacities but my favorite thus far is being a Cuddle Therapist for premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. I loved working with those darling little babies.

11. My sister and I made up all kinds of silly games when we were little. Some of my favorites include: “Intruder”, “Hot Lava”, “Train ride”, and of course the classic, “Build a Fort Out of Anything/Everything You Can Find.”

12. I had a pet bunny in high school. His name was Spencer Thumperton. He was blonde with floppy ears and very cuddly and soft. I would often sing to him while I sat on a little stool in his floor to ceiling walk-in cage and feed him.  While Spencer would sit at my feet eating from my hand I liked to pretend there were birds sitting on my shoulder whistling away and squirrels scurrying about. Yes, it was very Snow White-esk.

13. I prefer the toilet paper to roll from the top.

Stay tuned for part 2 of getting to know me. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you on Monday!

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