The BEST Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are really the best you will  ever make. My mom’s friend Mrs. S gave her this recipe years and years ago, and since then we’ve never used another one. These muffins are light, moist, flavorful, and on top of that they’re pretty easy to make.

Mrs. S’ Blueberry Muffins

Preheat oven to 400F or 200F.


1/2 cup softened butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 cups sour cream

Mix separately:

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine wet and dry ingredients. Do not over mix.

Fold in:

1 cups blueberries

Spoon into muffin pans. Bake at 400F or 200C for 20-22 minutes. Recipe makes 1 dozen muffins.

Notes: Feel free to substitute any other berry for the blueberries. You can also use plain unsweetened yogurt in place of the sour cream. I did this last time I made them and they were just as good!

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Unrelated photo, but really what is a blog post without at least one photo? Also I just LOVE the photos I took at the Australia Zoo. Take me back anyday… So many amazing animals to look at and learn about and of course to photograph! Plus that bokeh in this photo? Kinda cool if you ask me!

Amazing Cookie Recipe

Last week I made some a. maze. ing. cookies. I found the recipe on Pinterest and somehow I didn’t end up pinning it. I printed it but must have thrown it away afterwards. But I needed to find that recipe again.

Because these are just so good.

Peanut butter. Oatmeal. Chocolate chip. Cookies.

Find the recipe HERE and trust me – save it to your Pinterest board, or bookmark it, or somehow make sure you have a way to find it again!

They’re easy to make.

Absolutely delicious.

And they don’t have butter, only call for 2/3 cup of sugar, and duh, who doesn’t love chocolate chips?

Trust me. They’re so worth it.


Changing Seasons – Moving Across the World

It’s crazy to think that it is winter here in NZ right now. It does get cold but it’s definitely not Bellingham cold. It was probably colder in Bellingham last March (when I returned to the US after 6 months in NZ) than it is now in NZ. It’s just about as rainy though!

I think I am finally getting a sense of the seasons again. Moving to the opposite hemisphere can just mess with your sense of time. You have cold, rainy, Thanksgivings where you huddle around a hot fire and drink tea and hot cocoa all the time. Christmas is freezing and everyone hopes for snow as you dig into roast turkey or ham. Then you have a few months of cold weather and relentless rain (or snow) with no fun holidays to break it up. Then spring finally comes around, and there’s Easter as it starts to thaw out, then by Memorial Day it’s actually getting warm again. The Fourth of July is hot and (hopefully) sunny, and it stays light until 9 or 10 so fireworks don’t get started until late at night. As the summer comes to a close and everyone’s thinking about school again, you have Labor Day, and the crisp fall days that come with it…

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Then you move to the other side of the world. You celebrate Thanksgiving in warm weather, Christmas is spent at the lake and Christmas dinner is barbecue. January, February, and March are hot and sunny and if you live in NZ you’re never more than a few hours’ drive from the ocean. Easter is when it starts to get cold, and Memorial Day doesn’t exist here. Fourth of July? Sure we have July 4th… but it doesn’t mean anything. The weather grows colder but surprises you. For a week it will be so cold you’ll need your heater going before you can get up and do anything. Then it will be actually *warm* for a few days, and then as rainy as Bellingham.

When Jared and I got married and moved to NZ, I was so glad that it was almost Spring. We got to NZ in August and spring started on September 1 (keeping track of seasons is so much easier when they start on the 1st!). Moving across the world is hard. Even when you are madly in love! Even when you have friends and even family in your new home. It’s not easy at all, especially when you have amazing family and friends that you must be crazy for leaving behind. Seeing the leaves return to the trees, flowers, birds singing… it helped a lot. Sometimes autumn and winter can be kind of dreary, but you can’t help but love the growth that comes with springtime! And while moving across the world is hard, it was so worth it. Look at this handsome face I get to see every day!

It’s really crazy when you move to another country how many things are different. I got so excited to see Stagg’s Chilli in the grocery store and I don’t even know why! It was just to weird to see an American product that I hadn’t even thought of in ages.

At first you miss the big things, like your family, friends, church, etc. As times goes on though you realize the little things that make it even harder. Not knowing which brands are quality and which ones are cheap. Makeup prices being twice as high in NZ than in the US for the same brands and same products. Sometimes it would be nice to just see a Walmart or Target, or to see a brand you recognize, or a food that you always had at grandma’s house. There’s so much more too, I just can’t think of it at the moment. They’re not things that you can sit down and think of, but things you’ll notice as you’re at the grocery store or on the way to church, and you suddenly realize, man imagine driving on the right side of the road again! I haven’t seen snow in so long… man I would love to go to the mall in Bellingham one more time.

It’s odd on a holiday when nobody cares. You’re all excited to celebrate Thanksgiving or Independence Day but most people don’t have a clue that day is special to you.

BUT there are fun things about moving as well! You get to learn another language! I mean yes we speak English in NZ but there’s so many words that are different, and slang words. I’ll just give you a few comparisons of American words vs their Kiwi counterparts!

Bathroom – Toilet. Unless it’s a bathroom *without* a toilet (because it’s in a separate room), THEN it’s a bathroom.

Counter – Bench.

Garbage/Trash – Rubbish.

Cookie – Biscuit

Biscuit and Scone – Scone

Have you ever moved to another country? Was it similar to the one you came from, or different? I can say that moving to another country is pretty weird. It takes a while to get used to! But I love being in New Zealand. From the first time I came here, there have been some great, friendly people who have helped make the transition easier. Shoutout to you guys! (that is; basically all my NZ friends and family. Love you guys!)

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A New Job and a Dryer!

Last week was incredibly busy, but for good reason! I found out that my work visa was approved (Praise the Lord!) and just a few days later I applied for a job, and less than a week after my visa arrived, I started work! It’s really a blessing to have a work visa now (previously I was on a visitor’s visa) and besides the extra income (which is a huge help) I love that I get to work with Jared! That’s right, I’m working for Alpha Construction Services Limited now. I’m just working three days a week so I still have time to take care of our house. AND this past week, Jared and I bought a dryer… so, exciting things happening around here! That really sounds so boring but that’s being an adult! When we were getting things for our house, after we got married, I was so upset that we were paying almost $400 for a vacuum. Now I’m glad we did, because it’s an amazing vacuum (Miele) and it will last us for years and years and years… but it does take a while to get used to being an adult.

Anyways, that was a long paragraph- so we got a dryer! It’s funny because before I met Jared, when I was staying with Adalia and Ben, I thought to myself, ‘If I ever lived here I would need a dryer. It would be non-negotiable.’ (by the way, I didn’t mind that they didn’t have a dryer! I just thought if I was permanently in NZ, and in the winter, I would get one) But when Jared and I were newly married (well I mean we still are, but…) and moving into our first house and getting things, a dryer really wasn’t the most important thing.


I am so. excited. To have a dryer!

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Alright enough about that, I don’t want to bore you! One thing I am hoping to blog about soon is ideas for meals that you can make ahead! Why? Because now that I’m working (!) three days a week, I am trying to do lots of meal prep ahead of time so when we get home from work, dinner doesn’t take long to make. Since I have Mondays and Tuesdays off, I’m planning to use those days to do groceries (as usual), meal prep, and make sure the house is clean. So far today I’ve done like 1/3 of that… I got groceries, came up with a meal plan, and tidied most of the house, but I still have to do the dishes and make dinner, and clean the bathroom. I’ll probably get my meal prep done tomorrow.

Tomorrow is also the day that we get our dryer delivered and installed!

Okay, okay, I’ll try not to talk about the dryer anymore. I’m just so excited!

AND I just remembered that one reason I haven’t blogged recently is because my camera broke so I couldn’t take any new photos! Thankfully the replacement part was only $30 so I ordered it on Saturday and I am hoping it will arrive soon.

However I still have a few photos from that day Jared and I went hiking! Oh and I also have photos from rugby, that I haven’t edited yet… so much to do so little time. I also have important thing to do like renew Jared’s passport, switch my driver’s license to an NZ one, and more… BUT I’m so thankful that I’m busy because the reason is that I have an amazing job!


PS Sonic gets cuter all the time, and I honestly just spent like thirty minutes looking at puppies on TradeMe cause doesn’t he need a friend?! But yeah I don’t think that will happen… I mentioned it to Jared the other day and he said NO haha! Plus we like JUST finished the whole potty training thing and I really love not having to clean up dog messes every day.


Experimenting With Photoshop

The other day I was trying to find some tutorials for Photoshop, and I stumbled across one on Pinterest that’s been my inspiration the last few days. Here is a link to the blog with the video tutorial. The video is about ten minutes, and totally worth your time! Up until now I only used the RGB part of curves, but after watching this video I’ve been experimenting with using the Red, Green, and Blue separately as well- in color and black and white.

I’ve also been experimenting with adding some grain to give my photos an old vintage feel. Photography is an art, and while normally I don’t edit my photos a lot, I’m really enjoying playing around with them and creating different looks! I’ll even include a few before/afters for you to see! So… enjoy!

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Before and After ^

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Look. At. That. Face. I love him!!!

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Another before and after! ^

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I was trying to go for an eerie/creepy feel with this one. I’m not totally happy with it, but ehhh that’s okay. Want to see the before and after of that one side by side?

Yes this one has four different versions… haha! From left to right: original, color, black and white, black and white with grain.

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Now that I’m across the world from my mother and her amazing photography skills, it’s rare that I’m on the other side of a high quality camera but praise the Lord, my husband is a great photo-taker. I adjusted the settings and all so it’s as simple as focusing and snapping the picture, but I guess it’s not as easy as it sounds. Anyway- my husband is good at it! Praise the Lord!

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With, and without grain ^

Enjoy your weekend, friends!

Hiking With my Hubby

Hey friends! On Sunday afternoon, Jared and I went for a hike at Whangarei Heads. It was only a short hike (it took about an hour total) but it was pretty steep. At the top there was a gorgeous 360 view! You could see every direction. It was also pretty windy and if you’re a bit afraid of heights, it might make you kinda nervous… (yes I am talking to myself). I took my camera and got some gorgeous photos! Then today my camera fell apart sooooo that’s fun… The battery hatch fell apart, so I’m trying to figure out how to put it back together, that’s all. Worse case scenario I buy a new battery hatch. Or a battery grip. It’s not the end of my camera, thankfully! It’s just out of commission until I get it figured out.

Yesterday I was so busy all day so I didn’t get a chance to upload my photos to the computer, but today I finally did, and I had fun playing around with a few of them!

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How handsome is he?!?! REALLY handsome if you ask me!

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You know you are married to your soulmate when your spouse can take decent photos of you (okay the focus isn’t quite spot on in this one but still! Still great!)

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On our way back down I stopped to take some photos because THIS TREE is GORGEOUS!!! Okay actually I stopped several times to take photos, but again, this tree?! I love it! And that’s just the background of this photo, the real star is that hottie in the right hand corner 😉

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So I definitely need to work on my black and whites — well I need to work on all my editing– but I love the angles and all the branches in this photos. I took this photo on our way down, and I was standing above Jared. It was SO steep!

Now this was the really fun part! I decided to play around with Photoshop and try and create a moody look. The photo on the left is edited normally (I usually adjust the exposure, sharpness, warmth, and the tint if necessary), and the photo on the right is the one that I played with. I really love it! It’s just a first attempt but I’m really happy with it. Except why is the inside of Jared’s hood bright blue?! That kinda ruins it…. lol

I have plenty more photos that I’ll be sharing later this week, once I edit more! If you know of any tutorials for moody photos, or black and whites… hit me up in the comments!

Saturday Means Rugby!

Hey guys! Most Saturdays– wait that’s not accurate. Sorry. Every Saturday, Jared referees rugby. He really enjoys it! Depending on the week and how much housework I’ve let pile up I sometimes stay home but sometimes go with him. This past week I went along with him, and it was a great day. It’s July so it was chilly, but the sun was out and it was a beautiful day. I’ll admit I didn’t watch the entire time… I mean come on we were there for two games (He refereed the first one and was the AR for the second) and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the game. So I did bring a book, and my phone… but I did watch at times, and enjoyed it! It was prems and prem reserves, so it was really exciting.


I didn’t take any pictures of the game he refereed but these are from the one he was the Assistant Referee for. What is your favorite way to spend Saturdays? After this we came home and watched tv cause come onnnn that’s what we do all the time! Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, anyone?