Pickling and Penelope

Today has been a much needed reprieve.  Windows open, dreamy morning light and lots of sweet sounds of play from our gal. 

The last two years (since P was born), I sometimes get these crazy hard headaches. I’m positive it’s hormonal, but still it doesn’t make them any more fun. Yesterday was one of those afternoons/evenings that was just plain hard because of said headaches. God bless my slow cooker for dinner and my awesome husband for taking over once he got home. The morning after a particularly angry one, it usually takes a good half day for the dull ache to wear off. 

We persevered and made it to today. Today is Friday, which brings so much happiness because it means we get a full weekend together as a family.

(I love this little corner! It’s so helpful to keep things from sprawling out everywhere after school)


Last weekend was a packed FULL schedule of fun times- lots of photos sessions (makes my heart so happy), events, and deadlines. So we’ve gone almost a full two weeks without quality family time. 

(seriously, look at this angel from a session last weekend)

We plan to have a family movie night, finish cleaning up the garage and play play play. I did have a photo session planned, but was able to reschedule to next week so we could refresh! Sunday evening, I’ll cap off the weekend with a women’s conference hearing the awesome Lisa Harp speak! 

Before all of that though, I have a few things I need to finish up around the house. I’d like to get things nice and tidy and all of my personal projects taken care of today so I can relax this weekend. Part of me sometimes wishes that I didn’t need things to be in order to relax and let loose, but the other part of me really relishes having things just so, so that we don’t have to worry about things being amiss at critical times. I also stress way LESS when things are tidy. 


This sweet girl has played so well this morning while I try to get some work done. Also.. morning light is my favorite. It’s so dreamy!!! 

So today will (hopefully) include editing my last two beautiful sessions from last weekend, canning pickles and finishing up the laundry and cleaning the house. Seems like quite a tall order, but pickles are already processing, the last two loads of laundry are ready to be folded and the house isn’t THAT messy, so it’s just tidying and giving it a fresh scrub. 

(trying to recreate my Mamaw’s Sweet Lime Pickles)

I’ll let you know how these beauties turn out! I’m hopeful. <3 

Happy week-ending to you all!! 

Happy New Things

This season has been a huge season of happy changes in our home. We had planned to homeschool (we did last year, as a Pre-K 5 type year) and had high hopes of doing so again.

But emotions, and anxiety and stress became regulars in our house surrounding school time. Keeping up with the littlest Cavalier has proven to be quite the challenge. While we REALLY see positives with homeschool, and will never rule it out for our future, we made the best choice for our family and our sanity to send C to the sweetest little school around the corner. 

Last year, Connor was “eligible” for Kindergarten; however, through prayer and lots of discussions, we decided it was best for him to wait one extra year. Even with homeschooling last year, we focused a lot on OT/PT for sensory issues and did lots of playing and learning through exploring. It was the BEST decision because he has blossomed SO MUCH this last year. Where last year, it would have been stressful and tearful, our first morning of Kindergarten was a huge smiling success.  


Monday was OPEN HOUSE at Connor’s school! We were able to meet his super sweet teacher, eat snow cones and grab a couple of “school” shirts. We are so excited to get to know all of the awesome people in his school.


On Tuesday, Connor and I were able to have some hang out time, and oh was it sweet. We went and got hair trims with the lovely Janelle (where the water stopped working in the entire salon right during my shampoo! hah) and then we met up with Chase for lunch. It was such a fun morning! After lunch, Connor and I hopped over to Old Navy to snag some back-to-school clothes. I think he had a blast picking out shirts and shorts he liked!

Last night, we picked out his clothes (he wanted to wear his new school shirt!), he brushed his teeth and we read a bundle of back-to-school books and said fervent prayers… it was so surreal thinking we were sending him off into the school world. 

This morning, things were SO smooth and fun. I watched on his monitor as his alarm woke him up! He turned it off, got dressed, cleaned up his bed and came down stairs for breakfast. So sweet seeing little seeds start to bloom as he gets older and becomes his own little person. Breakfast was quick, and we had quite a few “nervous nerves” but we gathered up little sis and headed to school. It took all of two minutes from our driveway to the school parking lot, but we stopped outside the van and said our prayer for the first day of school. Hugs and pictures with mom and dad and then we quickly walked in!

There wasn’t much time for nerves once we got inside the school. His classroom was just around the corner. His sweet teacher had put “aqua” play-dough on his desk, so he was SMITTEN. She walked him over to where his backpack and lunch box belonged and we said a quick good bye, and that was it. 

(we watched like creepers from the hall because we could) 

No tears (even on mom’s part), and lots of smiles. He was nervous, but he was so brave!! I just love this age and it’s so bittersweet seeing him sail through these milestones. 

Happy fall to all of y’all sending your littles off to school! <3 Here’s to this newest season and all the joys that are to come. 


Camping we will go…

About 5 years ago we visited a beautiful campground called the White Buffalo Resort. I instantly fell in love with the huge bluffs surrounding the camp that sat right on the White River’s edge. 

Early in the mornings a fog would roll off the cold river… it was simply breathtaking! Connor and I got to fish and relax and just enjoy the week with my dad and sister’s family! Chase came on the weekend and it was just perfect.










(photo proof that this kid did indeed use to love all kinds of food…) 







We swam in the pool, we explored the swimming hole in Cotter, roamed and threw rocks into the river… it was just a perfect little trip.

Finally 5 years later we are returning! I am so excited to camp right on the river’s edge and enjoy the sunrise and sunset in the valley once again. I’m packing up our board games, swimming supplies and good nosh and we’re heading out in just a few hours.

While we aren’t all going to be there (Penny isn’t old enough to canoe down the river and my dad and sister’s family won’t be there), we are SO excited to make some new memories and come home with a new set of photos to look back on and smile.

Also… just LOOK at that tiny baby Connor sleeping away. I can barely remember him being so small! Also, this is the trip he started walking on!! He was just over a year old here. My how time flies!

So precious… I love having these photos to cherish! 

Camping Cavaliers

 Something about getting away for a weekend with my loves is both rejuvenating and relaxing. 

(Branson Ridge Resort, we LOVE staying here in Brason! Everybody is so friendly, and they have so many fun events for the whole family… bingo, cookouts, crafts.. you name it!) 

Even if it’s a bit chaotic trying to get a baby to sleep in a camper… it brings us together. 

Some have asked how we sleep in the Shasta! A little cozy is the answer! 

In the back of Sharon is a pull out “gaucho” style bed. It’s plenty large for Chase and I to sleep comfortably! 

Up front is the dinette that folds into a very large twin size bed! The kids sleep there. At first when Penelope was very small, we built a crib slat to section off a portion of the bed for her and then Connor slept on the other side. 

Oh those sweet memories!!

  She was such a little thing!!

My sweet sleeping P. 


Connor loves waking up and waking up P! They were SO sweet at this age.

Now they both sleep head to toe and it seems to work just fine!

We have camped at some truly amazing places! My favorites are pretty close to home so we can get there quickly and enjoy a long weekend. We look for clean bathrooms because we don’t have facilities in our camper (just running water in the sink). We did that intentionally to lighten the camper, and also because we didn’t want to sleep in such close quarters to a bathroom, ha! 

(Natural Falls State Park- a close favorite for us!) 

Something about watching a football game over a campfire is magical and perfect. Even though the Hogs lost that day, we sure enjoyed our view! 

But my FAVORITE part about camping (aside from relaxing and slowing down) is exploring and finding pretty little scenes like these. 

I might have helped this scene a little…. that dark black shale was just calling for a pretty heart rock! (this was a quiet morning at Bluff Landing Campgrounds outside of Broken Arrow, OK)

and this sweet scene on a dewy, cool morning… happy little dewy webs!

But the happiest times are when we’re together! Connor loves building fires with Chase. We are SO excited to take him to the Buffalo River this weekend to camp, explore and hopefully canoe the river. (weather pending)

(outside Harrison at a small campground called Shady Oaks)


(the fish hatchery in Branson)

Camp meals are totally my jam… especially fall camp meals. Sigh!

and camp coffee… always. <3 
We are always on the lookout for new, cozy spots to frequent. 

Our top 10 to try are:
Withrow Springs
Lake Fort Smith (for kids mainly- pool and splash pad)
Lost Bridge- Buffalo River
Lake Ouachita
Petit Jean
Mt. Magazine
Mt. Nebo
Long Pool
Blanchard Springs

Leave me a comment below and tell me your favorite camp sites!

Hope you all have a beautiful Wednesday!

Sharon the Shasta: The Reveal!

I never dreamed Sharon would come out looking as she does now….


I’m SO SO proud of our little family for sticking it out. Now we have so many precious memories in our camper, and many more on the horizon. 


So, if you remember, here’s where we started in 2014.  

(this is the photo from the Craiglist ad!) 



Whew… bringing back some painful memories of mouse droppings and carcasses, STENCH like you wouldn’t believe, and so much sweat. 


AND HERE is what Sharon looks like today.

We still have a few things we’d like to do (new vent cover, door repair, trimming door… but for now, we are content to just enjoy!

Hope you guys had fun seeing the transformation!!



I'm Kalyn

love music. love the outdoors. love life.

Following life around with a camera is my passion; along with mama-ing, beauty-ing, DIY-ing, cooking, and exploring.