October Visiting Teaching- LDS

October’s message is called Honoring Our Covenants.  You can view the entire message here.  Another quote I really enjoyed from this month is from Elder Russell M Nelson.  He says,  “When we realize that we are children of the covenant, we know who we are and what God expects of us.  His law is written in our hearts. He is our God and we are His people.”  His law is written in our hearts.  That is a beautiful line. You can download the handout from this month to take or mail to the ladies you visit teach.

Download the PDF

Essie’s Peach Cobbler

I’m sharing a recipe with you today that is known around our house as Essie’s Cobbler.  My grandma used to eat it when she was growing up (her name was Marion), my mom ate it all growing up (her name is DeEdra), and obviously my name is not Essie.   The point of this little family history lesson is that no one in our family is named Essie but somehow we ended up with her cobbler in our family recipe books.  However it happened  we’re grateful that it did!

This is a simple dessert and you probably  have all the ingredients in your pantry right now.  It is a good one to have in your arsenal when you have a sweet craving and need something quick, warm, and tasty.  Let’s start with the ingredients:

  • Peach Cobbler Ingredients1/4 Cup of Butter (softened)
  • 1 Cup of Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • Peaches (you can be creative and use any fruit you want too.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Grease an 8×8 baking dish and then mix the butter, flour, salt, baking powder, and milk together and put into the baking dish.

Top with enough fruit to cover up the crust and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Peach CobblerBake for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown and bubbly.  Allow to set for a few minutes before serving warm and with a big dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Baked Peach Cobbler

Oh yes.  Thank you Essie.

Peach Cobbler


The Golden Smokey Eye

I’m so excited to introduce you to one of my dearest friends today.   Her name is Morgan but you can call her MoMo.   She is that friend that knows way too many of my dark secrets, can tell way too many embarrassing stories about me, and I never would have survived high school without her!  We don’t get to see each other too often anymore due to the fact that we live on opposite sides of the country but whenever we do I swear I lose ten pounds from laughing and crying so hard.  Best ab workout ever.  Besides being one of the amazing people I know she is also impossibly gorgeous.  Just take a looksie:

Hehe, yes I stole one of her wedding pictures from Facebook.  But honestly…


Morgan also has her own business called Wink!  Can you see the name in the logo?  It’s like a where’s Waldo game!  (Except much cooler and not very hard.)

She offers great tutorials and make up tips, plus fantastic before and after pictures of her clients on her Facebook page.  Here’s just a few tips:

And today she is going to share a quick tutorial on how to achieve a Golden Smokey Eye with all of us!  Lucky us!  So without further ado here is MoMo…



Two words for you… Smokey Eyes. EVERY girl needs to master the Smokey Eye. The problem is, not everyone likes the super dark, almost black version. It doesn’t work for everyone. And that’s ok!

Let me introduce you to a new, fresh way to update your smoked eye… it’s called a Golden Smokey Eye and it’s seriously so super easy!

Just follow the simple steps below and keep these tips in mind:

*Don’t use shadow on your brow bone, right under your eyebrow. If anything, use your foundation powder to highlight your brow bone. A smokey eye can go from Fab to Drag in a matter of one foul brush stroke.

*Clean up your eyebrows. Tonight, your eyes are the center of attention. Let’s make sure they don’t embarrass themselves.

*BLEND BLEND BLEND…. That’s your Smokey Eye Mantra.

For my colors I used Mac Charcoal as the dark color, and for the Gold I used Mac Woodwinked. I used waterproof Black eyeliner, and just Mascara! That’s it!

If you have any questions, you can find me at http://www.facebook.com/WinkEyelashesbyMoMo




Double, double toil and trouble…fire burn and cauldron bubble.

While I am not quite ready to pull out my Halloween decorations (I think I’ll wait till next week) I am getting my decorations ready.  And it all starts with these fun spell books!

****Exciting Announcement****

Just for funsies, the first person to leave a comment on this post telling me where the names of all these spell books come from gets to pick one FREE item from my Etsy shop!  Ready, set, GO!

Okay, moving on.   If you want to make your own spellbooks along with me here are the things you will need:

  1. Book Spine Printable
  2. 4 books at least 1 1/2 inches wide and at least 7 inches long.  They can be bigger but not smaller.
  3. Coordinating scrapbook paper
  4. Glue, tape, or any sort of adhesive

Just for reference here are the four books I used: A collection of Jane Austen novels (my favorite!), The Host, Eclipse, and Brisinger.  These are the perfect size for this project.

Once you have all your supplies ready here’s what you do:

Remove the jacket covers from your books if they have them.  Measure the book from the top to the bottom:

And cut your scrapbook paper to fit that length.  You’ll only need to cut it that one time, the rest of the paper will wrap around the book.

Wrap the scrapbook paper under the front cover just a little bit and then continue around to the back cover.  The paper won’t completely go around the back cover, but who cares?  It’s the bottom and no one will see it.  I like to use masking tape to hold down the paper because it shouldn’t do any damage to the book after I’m done using it.

Cut out your book spine from the printable.  The printable might be a little longer than your book so just trim off the edges until it fits.  I intentionally made them a little long since people may be using all different sizes of books and this gives you room.   I also inked mine along the edges a little bit using some black ink, just for fun.  You don’t have to do this step.

Then it is as easy as gluing/taping/etc. the printable to your book and repeating the process 3 more times.  You can use any kind of scrapbook paper you want, you can layer papers if you want to get fancy-schmancy too.

And poof!  Like magic you have some fun spell books to add to your decor.  Now…have you figured out where I got the titles yet?

Download the Spell Book Printable



Happy Helps with Ashley- What to Wear!

Time for another fantastic post from our once a month contributor Ashley.  She is amazing!  Don’t forget to stop by her facebook page and show her some Darling Doodle Love!

Happy Friday Doodlers!  You are probably looking at this mid-September post and thinking to yourself, geez, we haven’t even carved our pumpkins yet.  That’s exactly how I felt when I wandered the isles of Hobby Lobby a few days ago.  It seems like Christmas keeps creeping up further and further and trampling on the toes of every other cold-weathered holiday.   But despite the fact that I sincerely believe Christmas tree buying can wait another month or two, I will promise you that it is definitely not too early to be thinking about Christmas card photos.

There are so many reasons why right now is the perfect time to schedule your family’s photo session.  1- You probably don’t want to be shelling out money for pictures at the same time you’re finishing up your gift shopping.  2- September and October offer gorgeous weather and scenery for a fun outdoor session.  3- Photographers tend to book quickly during this season and you don’t want to miss out on the photographer of your choice!  4-  Many photographers offer Holiday Mini Sessions if there is enough interest shown at the beginning of the season.  If you are keeping to a budget, this is usually your best option.  5-  If you are anything like me, this is the one time a year that you are going to actually even think about needing new family pictures.  Act on it while the thought is there.  Time just has a way of getting past us if we let it.

I thought it would be fun and hopefully useful to make some what-to-wear suggestion boards.  I know that can often times be the most stressful part of family photos.  Before we move onto those though, let me share with you a few issues I feel strongly about. 

*Color play.  Don’t limit your family to only a few solid colors.  With some restraint, mixing patterns and colors can add a lot of interest to your photos.  You don’t want to go overboard of course, but putting everyone in the same colored polo isn’t necessary either.

*Logos.  If no one is paying you to wear their brand, keep away from the logos.  Your family photos don’t need to be a billboard for a clothing store.  I prefer no text at all, but that is just me.

*Wearing the accessory vs. Becoming the accessory.  For babies and young girls I have a rule of thumb, if the flower or bow on your child’s head is half the circumference of her face, it’s too big!  Don’t turn your beautiful baby into the accessory of her headpiece.  For women and young ladies I offer the same advice as well as a reminder that just one statement piece of jewelery is enough.

{ All items in this collection are available at shopruche.com } Mom is first because mom is usually the orchestrator.  I find that dressing myself is the hardest part and I have the feeling that I’m not alone here.  First of all, the most important thing to remember is that if you don’t feel comfortable in it {ie. if you are tugging and pulling at fabric, using extreme caution in your movements, etc.} you may come across as uncomfortable in your photos.  You don’t want to feel stiff or rigid or be preoccupied with every little detail of your outfit while what you really should be doing is having real and meaningful, stress free interaction with your family.  Your photographer can capture beautiful moments when you and your family are in your element with each other.

The next thing I would stress to you mothers out there is that sometimes less is more.  Keep your outfit as simple as possible.  For example, in the board above I chose a dress that with a little accessorizing, could stand on it’s own two feet.  That doesn’t mean you can’t add layers.  This yellow pea coat could be worn for some photos and taken off for others, a simple change that will add some variety to your photos.  The statement piece of jewelery would definitely be the gorgeous teardrop necklace.  After choosing the piece of jewelery that you love and that really will stand out, keep everything else very simple.  These pretty little flower studs are cute and sweet and won’t be battling for attention.  The belt is a simple accessory that can do a lot for your outfit and it will also help to define your waist, especially with a patterned dress like this one.  The suede ankle boots are a neutral color which leaves you with plenty of room to choose a fun bright pair of tights to go along with the outfit.

{ All items in this collection are available at oldnavy.com }

I kind of had to laugh as I put together the “dad” board.  My husband could care less what he’s wearing.  More than once he has tried to show up to family pictures in a pair of less than attractive tennis shoes.  In fact last year I think he actually managed it.  Something to do with me having two boys and a one month old  baby girl to get ready, along with my postpartum self.  Just let dad be comfortable, offer him the more subtle shoe and a nice shirt and you’re good to go.  If he’s feeling festive, a scarf can be a fun addition.  If he’s not into man-cessorizing, let the man be!

{ All items in this collection are available at oldnavy.com }

{ All items in this collection are available at oldnavy.com }

You can have a hay-day with your children’s wardrobe.  Don’t be a
stickler on them matching perfectly.  I love fun color combos and
patterns thrown together. I think that the outfits on this board are fun and spunky and the bright colors will really pop in the photos.  Let them help in the
process as well because you want them to feel comfy and you want their
personalities to shine through it all.

{ All items in this collection are available at gap.com }

{ All items in this collection are available at oldnavy.com }


And because I was having so much fun with the children’s boards, I went ahead and chose some outfits that are a little more edgy and lean to the classic colors of Christmas without being completely obvious.  Plus, not a single awkward Christmas sweater! I am in no way an expert on style.  For me, the main thing is to make sure that everyone feels happy about what they are wearing.  For example, one year for family pictures my mom put this gigantic bow right on top of my head.  I was probably ten at the time and as tomboy as they come.  I NEVER wore gigantic bows in my hair.  Despite my best efforts I look like a Debbie Downer in every single shot from that session.  I realize that most girls at the time were wearing big fouffy bows and my mom had good intentions and all but we are just not all cut from the same cloth.  And isn’t that the beauty of families anyhow?  The best thing your family can wear to family pictures is a happy and content spirit.  That’s when the magic really happens.

Thank you for letting me share my two cents with y’all this month!  Enjoy these beautiful autumn days ahead and don’t let the year pass you by without a family photograph.



In My Dreams

This past weekend Sam and I took a trip down to our summer cottage and I thought it might be fun to give you a little peek into our home away from home.

While we are here we spend the afternoons having brunch on the veranda, playing croquet in the garden, and planning our next grand ball.  It’s a rough life, but someone has to live it.

  *Snort*  I WISH!

No this glorious mansion is called The Elms and is one of the Newport Mansions.  Yes, that is right I said ONE of the mansions because there are several in Newport.  They belong to the Gilded Age when this small town in Rhode Island was the favorite place for families like the Vanderbilts, Astors, and Wetmores to retire for the summer.  Eleven of these mansions are now run by the Newport Preservation Society and yes, you can go inside and tour each one.

Taking a step inside these mansions is like taking a step back in time.  Many of them were built in the late 1800’s and not only is the lifestyle fascinating but your jaw will drop every time you enter a room and find yourself completely enveloped in luxury and opulence.

You are not allowed to take pictures inside so let me just share with you some of the beauty from the outside of these amazing pieces of history starting with a couple more from the Elms.

Another mansion is known as The Marble House, aptly named due to the 500,000 cubic feet of marble inside!  I think this was the most lavish of the mansions.  One of the rooms was literally covered from floor to ceiling in 24 carat gold and dripping with diamonds and crystals.

Everything from the hinges to the door handles to the gates is so intricately carved and every surface was covered in something glittery, silky, or something really really expensive-ly.  I can’t even begin to describe how lavish these mansions were.  Words are not enough.  It is something you have to see for yourself…huge chandeliers, massive ballrooms, imported marble and wood, rich fabrics and furniture, and gold, gold, gold everywhere!

One of the oldest mansions is the Chateau Sur Mer which means the Castle by the Sea.  This mansion helped usher in the Gilded Age in Newport.  I think I could very happily live in a house known as the Castle by the Sea, yes?

The largest of the mansions is The Breakers, and it is probably my favorite.  We spent the most time here enjoying the house and the beautiful grounds.  I loved everything about it, starting with the massive iron gate at the front.

I was expecting to walk around the corner and see Mr. Darcy or Matthew Crawley waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs.  And I’m positive Anna and Mr. Bates were down in the kitchens  talking with Mr. Carson and Daisy.  (Downtown Abbey anyone?)

How would you like to wake up to this view?  The salty air and sound of the ocean was gorgeous on this warm September day.  The Breakers is named for the ocean waves that break against the rocky cliff below.

I loved the beautiful grounds will all the intricate stone work, crawling ivy, and colorful flowers.

We spent the entire day in Newport and I don’t think we even scratched the surface.  We only visited 4 of the 11 mansions owned by the Preservation Society and there are dozens and dozens of privately owned mansions as well.  The downtown is full of charming and colorful shops along cobblestone streets with yummy cafes nearby.  There is a cliff walk that follows the sea along a rocky cliff and the views are breathtaking. There were so many moments were I felt I had been transported to a European country and it reminded me of the sights we saw in England and Scotland.   I know that we will definitely be returning to Newport and if you ever find yourself in New England I would put it on your must-do list.  I can honestly say it is one of my favorite places we have explored so far.