Project 52. 2018.

One of my favorite photography projects I’ve ever done is Project 52.   For 2015 and 2016, I kept up with it and finished that project and looking back at those makes me so happy.  Last year I started it, but sadly didn’t get very far.  I’m not sure why I didn’t.  I feel like I just couldn’t keep up with everything last year.

This year already feels to be coming along better, so I’ve decided to give it another go.

Project 52:  A portrait of each of my children, every week in 2018.

Week 01:





Week 02:




This simple little project is something that brings me so much joy.

Love, Jess

Create Simplicity.

That is something else I want to create this year.

More simplicity.  In my home. In my documenting.  In homeschooling.

Let’s start with Project Life.  Documenting.  While I love all the pretty products that you can get to make your albums, I found out this past year that I don’t need ALL THE STUFF.  I used some older cards I had, but still can’t get over the fact that I don’t like rounded cards with squared photos.  In fact, I just like the squared look better. Period.  So, I tried a couple of kits from Kelly Purkey’s shop, which I loved, but a little too pricey when you are trying to really watch your budget.  I will continue to buy stamps every once in a while as a treat, because they are something you can use over and over.

Things have really changed in the way of what I save our extra money for since I started homeschooling.  I usually try to save money for any extra books/supplies we need.

So, I sat down and looked through my albums from the past few years and figured out what I love.  I love the pages that are mainly photos anyway..

simple pl.jpg

I made a list of things I really need to document.

  • photos
  • page protectors
  • album
  • something to do journaling
  • stamps sometimes

Other than that, all the extra stuff is just that….extra.  So, I made a resolution to myself to only buy the things I need and will use over and over.  (That’s why I love stamps so much.)

As far as simplifying our homeschool, I have already started doing that this year and it’s working well.  We decided on The Good and Beautiful Curriculum for this year, and are loving it.  It’s simple, it’s beautiful, and the kids seem to be doing great with it.

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A little slideshow of the bulk of our curriculum.  Besides the language arts and history…we use Teaching Textbooks for math and different things for science.

The language arts includes so much…

  • grammar
  • reading
  • writing
  • geography
  • art

I really like how it’s simplified our process this year, especially since I’m not always the best at planning everything out ahead of time.  I am working on that also!

Creating a simpler environment allows me to really slow it down and enjoy all the simple pleasures I love without becoming overwhelmed.  Doing this helps me to still be able to do the things I love such as photography and documenting while keeping it simple enough to make it doable.

Looking forward to the journey this word will take me on this year.

Love, Jess

2018 One Little Word.



For the past few years, I’ve chosen a word to guide and inspire me for the coming year.  I’ve had words such as Explore, Deliberate, and Breathe.  This past year was more of a struggle to balance everything for me than it has been in the past.

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking of choosing my word and create came to me fairly quickly.  It can hold so many meanings for me personally right now.  I want to create so much more.

  • Create more art
  • Create calm
  • Create adventures
  • Create my environment
  • Create results I love
  • Create a better self (always striving for this)
  • Create experience

There is just so many places this word can take me, physically, mentally and spiritually.

I am looking forward to making my word visible and letting it be a reminder to create more.  I saw a quote this morning that I’ll share with you because I don’t think it could be any better for me and my word.

create soul

What word will guide you through 2018?


“The fears we don’t face become our limits.”


I don’t know where that quote came from.  I saw it online one day and liked it.  I thought of it after I took these photos.  I am terrified of spiders.  To me, they are one of the creepiest things ever.  Yet, at the same time I am fascinated by them.  How they work, the art they can make.  All while scaring the hell out of me!

But we face our fears.  Sometimes from a distance (like a zoom lens…so I didn’t have to get too close) and sometimes head on.  When I first started homeschooling I had so much fear to go along with my excitement.  It was hard for me to explain, and probably still is.  I am still afraid some days that I may screw it up.  I may not give them everything they need.  But that fear is just a lie.  I can and will give them what they need and more.  I know these kids better than anyone.  I know what their strengths and weaknesses are.  I know areas they need a lot of work and I know areas they excel in.  I see them growing into kind, compassionate human beings.  I am pretty proud to even have the smallest part in that.  Nevertheless the fear is still there sometimes.  And I power through it.  I don’t let it take over.  I will not be limited in what I can do because of it.

Last year, we made the decision to go ahead and take the kids out of public school and homeschool before I knew a single other person that did it.  Sure, I knew of people online, on Instagram that did it.  But I didn’t know anyone personally.  I came across a woman online, and immediately recognized her husband.  It turns out, he had went to school with my husband.  So, even though I don’t feel comfortable introducing myself and making new friends, I put myself out there and contacted her.  Now, we go to nature walks and field trips with a great group of women and their children.  Because I didn’t let fear overcome me.  I took that first step.  It wasn’t easy for me.  I am a fairly social person and enjoy friendships, but I’m not good at taking that first step.  I am more of an introvert.   But taking that first step led me to where I am today.  With other like-minded mamas to be there to support and help each other on this journey.   Sometimes it can feel like we are almost alone on this different path we’ve chosen, but these women make us know we are not.  We may have chosen the road less taken, but it’s made us stronger and we are learning more because of it.

Whatever you have going on…whether it is homeschooling, a career, sharing your art or passion with others….don’t let fear stop you.  Let it be what pushes you forward.  Your gifts need to be shared  in some way.  Whether you have a business or just like to post your pictures to inspire others.  Whether you  have been homeschooling for a couple years or ten, share with others.  It may help them to overcome a fear or two.

Love, Jess


photographing nature.

My daugther has taken an interest in photography.  She is using my old camera I had let my mom have (sorry for borrowing it back mama!) to start taking with us on some of our adventures and around the house.  I love seeing her this way, focusing on the way she is seeing the world.


She was getting a little frustrated the other day though, because she wasn’t fast enough to get a photo of this beautiful butterfly we came across.  This hobby of photography turns into a great way to teach her about the value of patience and practice.  She sees how passionate I am about capturing the world around us in creative ways.  But I explained to her how the technical skills and learning the camera didn’t just happen overnight.  I am interested to see what shots she gets!

In the meantime, here are some shots I got on our little saunter through Riverbend Park.


I’m hoping the kids will learn about patience from one of those great teachers:  Nature.

It sure helps me to slow down and pay attention.

Love, Jess

Field Trips.

Last week we went to the Science Center for our first little field trip of the year.  The kids always love it here.  They had a new gross lab.  It was just as you imagine…gross.  However, the kids make great little doctors and scientists.


The best part of the science center for me was getting to hear the Electric Eel.  The guy put a piece of fish in the tank and told us to listen as the eel started to search for the fish. They have speakers attached to the tank. It was so loud, it made us jump!

I have to say I always enjoy the art museum.  It’s on the other side of the building, and if you are in Hickory it’s a great place to go and explore.  It’s free too, which is a huge help to homeschoolers.  The exhibit that really caught our attention was called Hickory Sticks by Jonathan Brilliant.  Yeah, not making that name up.  He makes sculptures out of items you would find in coffee shops.  So, wooden stir sticks, coffee sleeves, and cup lids.  This sculpture was so big.  He weaves the wooden stir sticks together, not using glue or tape.  It is simply amazing to see.

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I love these little outings we get to take to explore and learn.  I highly recommend seeing this exhibit, but you better hurry…I think it closes September 9th.

Love, Jess

Take a Walk

We decided to walk around a town near us Sunday and take a few pics.  It was such a great day.  We met the nicest couple that ran this shop called “Lost and Found.”  This was the door outside the shop when it was closed.  The inside was unreal.  They had everything from old video games to locally made jewelry.  If you are ever in Salisbury, NC I highly suggest stopping by.  I wish now I would have gotten one of the leather cuffs, but I’ll be going back!thosekidscolorfulpianos

heavyWhile there, I took a photo of myself that I could get creative with.  I’ve felt a need lately to get off Instagram, which is pretty much the only social media site I use anymore.  Don’t get me wrong…I love Instagram.  I’ve gotten such inspiration from other homeschooling mamas, photographers and artists in general.  It’s a great place to go, until it is hindering your creativity, instead of allowing it to grow.  That’s precisely what I was feeling…that I was getting in my own way.  I feel like inadvertently I was thinking about the photos I would take to post to Instagram sometimes(not all the time, but some) and I ended up stifling a bit of my creativity.  I think it will just be a much needed little break to concentrate just on the way I am seeing things again.  It will help me to get back to myself, how I create.  While I think inspiration is such a great thing, sometimes I think getting too much from outside factors and not yourself can be a bit crippling.  So, I am excited about this little break and I’m only gonna be posting stuff here for me until I decide to get back on.isabelle01makeajoyfulnoise

This was the cutest little hidden away spot.  I actually had to hold my camera up through the fence so I could get a photo of the garden.  It was locked up.  It was behind a financial institution, and I’m wondering if this was just a place for their break time, or if it may be open to the public through the week??!!  I wanted to go in so bad, because it was just so pretty and peaceful.secretgarden

Then, the kids found the air.  Some very cool air was coming up through this vent and seeing as how it was probably in the 90’s, they took advantage of it!


Like I said, it was the best day.  It’s amazing what you can find and who you meet if you are just willing to explore a little.

Love, Jess