May 02nd, 2015 | Author:

I finally got the chance to take a “Learn how to use your camera” class. I took it from Amy Horn Photography in Madison, Indiana and I finally feel like I can get the shots I’m trying to get without relying on my “Auto” mode!

I’ve always been obsessed with wedding ring pictures and I got a good one at the lake a couple weekends ago.

Our wedding rings in an old tree

And I’m finally getting good pictures of the chickens!

Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte hen in grass

I told Jimmy it feels like I’ve been taking pictures wrong all these years. How did you guys learn to get off your “Auto” mode? Or do you still use it?

March 16th, 2015 | Author:

At the lake, we always say that projects are on “lake time” which means they take longer to get done. There are some legitimate reasons- like we’re only down there on weekends… but there’s also some selfish ones- like we don’t want to waste beautiful summer weekends doing projects.

That being said, the Lake House walkway was a project 6 years in the making. When we first bought the house (okay, and for 6 years after that), the previous owners had started a walkway. It looks like it started out as a good idea… he used lake rocks in cement to create a neat, natural look…. but he didn’t finish it and the rocks held water and were rough on a person’s bare feet. We originally were just going to finish it but replicating what he had already started was impossible. So we finally decided to get our rears in gear and update the walkway.

First, Jimmy rented a skid steer loader and broke up all the old walkway. He then dug out the area where we wanted the walkway.

Jimmy carving out the area where we were putting in a paver walkway.

Next he (with the help of friends- Thank you Bubby & Stephen!) laid cloth ( to prevent weeds) and rock down.

Cloth and rock underneath a soon-to-be-paver walkway.

Then they had to level out the rocks.

Leveling out the rock.

Then they put sand down (I think I forgot to mention that they were doing all this work with temps in the 30s!) and leveled it out as well.

Leveling out the sand.

Then came the “fun” part… laying the pavers. The edge pavers are a charcoal gray and the inside stones were a “sienna blend” from Menards. (Found HERE, and HERE). And if you’ve never picked out pavers, it’s stressful- so many colors! & patterns! We wanted something that stood out from the grass but nothing too ‘trendy’. We also had to decide what pattern we wanted to do and calculate how much we would need. We ended up having to make 2 trips to Menards… not because we miscalculated (we’re engineers afterall!) but because the pavers were too heavy to carry on one load. (Also- Menards… one night we were there for 3 hours trying to get the pavers- they couldn’t find them, then we had to help the guy restack them onto a pallet with how many we ordered… all with 2 dogs in the car at at 8pm at night. IT WAS HORRIBLE. FIND A BETTER WAY.)

Laying the pavers.

The pattern and edging starting to come together! Also- it helps having a neighbor who is willing to help you with your projects but also use his mule to bring the pavers closer to the install area!

I was 7 months pregnant at the time so I helped by restocking pavers from the trailer every once in a while!

The end result is something we’re very pleased with. We debated doing stairs or a gentle slope for the hill and went with a slope. (Reasons being- if we sell the house, it would probably be to an older couple (since older people are generally the ones who have money to buy 2nd houses) and less stairs are better, but also when we’re wheeling coolers, etc… it’s easier on a slope!)

Here are some comparison pictures.

Before And After. We went ahead and made the walkway go to our future front deck.



Before and After.

Before and After.

Pinterest helped a lot with the paver ideas. (It’s why I decided I wanted to go with an edging of a different color to give it a clean look) I also insisted on some “interesting” details like the squares where the junction points are. (Jimmy at first always balks at my “interesting” detail requests because they add difficulty to the plans but then he ends up liking them!)

Junction area.

The next step is to add grass seed and maybe this will be the year I pay attention to my poor flower beds!

Want to see my Lake House Pinterest Board? Click HERE.

March 14th, 2015 | Author:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We had had a doctor’s appointment that day (I was 3 days overdue and still not having any contractions but the baby still sounded perfect- our doctor said!). We had firmed up our plans to get induced on Friday, February 6. Jimmy hadn’t slept much the night before so at 7:00pm, he said he was going to bed. He went to go get ready for bed and I went and laid down and picked up the book “What to expect when you’re expecting.” I couldn’t believe I wasn’t having contractions and wanted to see what the book said they would feel like. Suddenly I felt fluid leak out of down there (felt like my period had started, which I hadn’t read anywhere of people describing it like that, but that’s the best way to describe it!). I sat up and looked around just as Jimmy was walking out of the bathroom. “What?” he asked. “I think something just happened!” I said. “Are you shitting me?” he asked. Then I got up and ran to the bathroom as liquid started leaking out of me at a rapid pace. “My water broke!” I said.

The next couple of minutes, I think we were both in shock. I still needed to finish packing (always last minute I am!) and I couldn’t get the fluid to stop leaking long enough to get off the toilet. Jimmy and I tried to remember if we needed to go to the hospital or if I needed to wait for contractions. “Well, text someone!” he said. So I called mom who told me the dr would probably want me to come in but that I needed to call them and to use a pad or a towel to keep fluid from leaking everywhere. So I called the hospital and the dr on call said “Did they not TELL you if your water breaks you need to come in immediately?” I mumbled something about how they did I just couldn’t remember. So Jimmy and I finished packing then he took care of the animals to prepare for us being away for a couple of days. As we drove to the hospital, I was really calm… I wasn’t feeling any contractions so besides the fluid leaking out of me, it was like we were headed to a normal appointment. “I feel like I should be writhing in pain or something to freak you out,” I told Jimmy on the way there.

We got to the hospital and Jimmy dropped me off while he parked the car. They took me upstairs to Labor & Delivery (they skipped the “confirmation room” since my water had already broke) and we got settled in. They hooked up my IV and the monitors. I went to the bathroom (this part made me happy… no pooping during delivery! ) but when they put the heart monitor back on for the baby, her heart rate dipped low so from that point on I couldn’t get out of bed. (Hello bed pan!) Then we waited. They started Pitocin right away and soon I could feel contractions. Nothing bad but enough that I couldn’t sleep so they gave me pain meds. I got a picture of Jimmy and mom sleeping on the couch and the chair. Poor things!

The next morning, the Dr on call gave the okay for me to get an epidural. I wasn’t progressing very fast at all. And I couldn’t eat or drink anything so it was popsicles and ice chips. ALL DAY. We got quite a few visitors which broke up the day nicely. Everyone was entertained watching the monitor that showed my contractions asking every once in a while “Can you feel that?”

Toward the end of the day (Thursday) I started asking Jimmy to sneak me in a sprite. He said no. DANG IT. (But I would be thankful when I was dry heaving later!)

Finally, around 10:30pm or so, I was still only at 4cm dialated and my water had been broke for 27 hours. The dr asked me if I wanted to do a c-section and I said yes. (I liked that she didn’t force it on me since neither me nor the baby was in distress) By that point I was pretty exhausted and was ready for it to be done! So they called in the OR team and at 11:15pm, they wheeled me back there. I could only have one person in with me and my mom was pretty upset (“I know you’ll be watching out for your baby,” she told Jimmy as they were wheeling me back, “but please watch out for mine too.”) I remember when they gave me the spinal block that it was an uncomfortable feeling to be completely numb. I didn’t like not having some sort of control. (with the epidural, I could still move my toes a little!) I was trying not to think about the c-section too much b/c I knew I’d get nervous but once they wheeled me into the room, I started shaking really bad. The anesthesiologist (Dr. Khalil) was great and asked me if I was shaking b/c I was cold or nervous. I told him both. I liked that he never told me to “calm down” because I wouldn’t have been able to. We still didn’t know the gender of our baby and everyone in the OR was pretty excited about that. They decided to let Dr. Khalil announce what it was (it was his last night at the hospital before retiring) and he asked me if we had names picked out. I told him yes- Luke and Emily. Jimmy was allowed to come in at about that time and held my hand. When he was holding my hand I could calm down a little but I was still shaking pretty bad. (He would later say that he thought it was the OR team who was pulling at me!)

The dr had said that I would feel some pressure and I did but I kept making myself think about work stuff so I wouldn’t get nervous. I felt pressure and then I heard a cry. Then Dr. Khalil said “It’s an Emily!” (I was pretty surprised at that- I had thought it was going to be a boy!) Jimmy would later tell me that he didn’t understand and didn’t know if it was a boy or girl until he saw our baby laying there!

Seeing my baby girl for the first time!

I remember thinking “that’s a big baby!” and wondering how much she weighed. I felt pretty out of it at that point.

This was her minutes after being born. I don’t think she looks like a newborn… she has been beautiful since birth!

Emily minutes after she was born. Already a beauty!

Jimmy stayed with Emily while I got wheeled into recovery. They covered me with warm blankets and I told the anesthesiologist that I was getting nauseous. (He had warned me it may happen b/c of the movement from the OR room to the recovery room) He got me some medicine and I dry heaved into a bin but then I felt instantly better. They covered me with warm blankets and after a little bit, Jimmy, Emily, and my nurse came down. They asked me if I wanted to hold her but I said no because I felt SO WEAK! I remember thinking how pretty she was. Jimmy asked if he could stay with me but the nurses told him he needed to stay with the baby. (I loved that he asked though and he would later say he didn’t want to leave me there alone!)

They wheeled me up to my room and mom had went and bought us Wendy’s and gotten me a sprite. It was the best food ever. J She stayed around to get our first family picture (and I held her for the first time!) then went home to get some sleep.

I later heard that Jimmy teared up when he was holding Emily and showing her to everyone through the nursery. Just thinking about that now makes me tear up.

We had a lot of people who stuck with us during my 30-ish hours in Labor. My mom, Jimmy’s mom, Jimmy’s dad, Jimmy’s best friends, and our Lake Friends. It was nice having so much support at the hospital! I love this picture that someone took of them getting to see her for the first time from the nursery!

Everyone getting to see EJ for the first time!


The nurses were so great while I was in labor. I ate A LOT of popsicles and they never complained about getting them for me. My mom was very hands on and instead of scoffing at her, they thanked her for her help. They changed my bedpan like it was no big deal and were just great overall. They weren’t as attentive the day after I delivered but they were efficient and answered all of my requests!

There you have it… our first birth experience!

March 13th, 2015 | Author:

So we added our biggest addition yet to our little family:

Meet Emily Jo!

Our birth announcement! (Photos by Jaiden Photography. We had this printed at TinyPrints!)

September 14th, 2014 | Author:

My company has a family day every year and this year it was at the Indianapolis Zoo. When I tried to remember the last time I went to a zoo, I realized it’s probably been a good 15 years or so!

The Indianapolis Zoo is on 64 acres and had a good variety of animals. While I wish they all had bigger enclosures, I know that in order to fund these animals, they have to be somewhere where people can readily see them. I did get some good pictures though!

This bear seemed to be enjoying himself with his back up against the tree!



Caught an elephant eating!

We got really lucky when we saw the tiger- she was right up against the glass wall!

They have a bird exhibit where you can get a cup of food and the birds will eat out of your hand! I’ve never seen so many parakeet-type birds in one place!

This cheetah was funny. S/he popped their head up for a couple of seconds before laying back down. (Also, I was thinking of a ‘cheat-er’ joke in my head and named this file “cheatah”) They have a “sprint track” where you can race your friend and it’ll tell you your speed along with show how you would compare to a cheetah. Fortunately for Jimmy, the track was closed because I would’ve smoked him. :)

They had several rhinos who were relaxing while we were there. One of them let out a nice long fart and the kids (and most of the dads) laughed pretty hard.

Have you been to a zoo recently? Going to this one made me want to go to the other 2 that are around us- the Louisville Zoo and the Cincinnati Zoo!

July 12th, 2014 | Author:

We spent July 4th at the lake… and the weather was perfect. During the day, it was 80’s and sunny while at night it was down in the 60’s. Since last July it rained the entire week (and that was pretty much all the rain we got for the entire summer) and the year before that was uncharacteristically hot, it made us even more thankful for the great weather!

I did a blog search for “lake living” and was surprised how few blogs came up. I’m guessing that’s because most people who live on a lake are older and the “blog generation” hasn’t hit yet. But it was still kind of sad.

When Jimmy and I bought the lake house, we were still renting our house-house. We drained our savings for the (minimal) down payment, excitedly got our keys, and made big plans. We’ve had the lake house for 6 years now and can’t say we’ve ever regretted it. Sometimes taking care of 2 houses sucks (you work hard to super-clean one, only to go to the other one where it feels like you haven’t done anything) and needing 2 of everything is a pain. (Lucky for us, we have friends & family who have given us extra furniture and whatnot) But the mental benefits it gives us after having a long, stressful week at work and being able to go down there where there’s little contact and no thoughts of work? Priceless.

So what do we do while we’re at the lake?

One of my favorite things to do is get up and drink coffee on the back deck.

Coffee mug on deck

It’s usually quiet at that time and a perfect time to prop your feet up and read a book before making breakfast for the guests who are down. (That’s a lake tradition- Jimmy and I make a huge breakfast when anyone is staying with us- eggs, bacon, biscuits & gravy)

I love watching the birds at the bird feeders. We have hummingbirds, finches, woodpeckers, cardinals, and doves to name a few. We also see squirrels and groundhogs.

Bird at bird feeder Hummingbird on feeder

Squirrel at feeder

After breakfast, we head out on the water. Our neighbors (which is how we found the lake house lifestyle) are almost always down there at the same times we are. Sometimes we each take our boats out, sometimes we ride on theirs and sometimes they ride on ours.

Driving a pontoon with a tuber

 After a long day of sun, drinking, and swimming, we head back and start dinner. Dinner can be anything- sometimes we go traditional & easy with hotdogs and hamburgers. Other times we do grilled chickens (like below), ribs, lasagna, tacos, pork tenderloins, or we throw something in the smoker.

Grilled whole chickens

After that, it’s more drinking, some cornhole, some hot tub time (we have a hot tub in our garage…. the goal is to eventually get it built into the back deck, but everything at the lake takes longer to do than it should!), movie watching, or just sitting around a fire.

I think one of the misconceptions about having a lake house is how much you have to spend to get one. Yes, there are lots for sale for $75,000 down the road from us. But there is also gems like this one:

 Nolin Park Rd House for Sale

Zillow link here: 912 Nolin Park Rd.

Yes, it’s small at 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and 576 square feet. But it’s $50,000 with a lake view. And any improvements you put in, you would almost definitely get back if you were to sell it later.

The other thing I love about the lake house is that it gives my nieces and nephews something to do during the summer. I remember when they first starting coming down and they were scared to jump in the water. Now they jump in all the time and are always looking for fish to catch.

Jumping off the pontoonSmiling on the pontoon

So that’s a little blurb of lake living for us. Do you guys have a weekend escape you like to go away to every once in a while?

May 21st, 2014 | Author:

As I mentioned before, I’m going to try and get some Wedding reviews done with some of the vendors and choices we made. I’m not getting paid for these, I just know that sometimes buying wedding items is like grabbing blind at items that are expensive and hoping they work/look nice/arrive in time.

One of the things I wanted to make sure we got that was interesting was our Unity Candle. My parents’ still sits in the china cabinet and I knew I’d want to display ours somewhere too. I just didn’t want it to be a plain boring one. (I think that was a benefit of being older when we got married… I had a good idea of what I wanted to be able to display and what I had no interest in!)

Again, I turned to Etsy and came across Ribbon Candles. He offered several different sizes and colors and his reviews were extremely high. His candles are hand carved and made when you ordered them. I believe I asked for a gray and white which wasn’t specifically listed on his site but he was easy to work with and accommodated my request!

Unity Candle - Ribbon Candles

Images is copyright Angel Canary.

 He was very easy to work with and the candles arrived in the time he said they would.

Unity Candle - Ribbon Candles

Images copyright Angel Canary.

When I got them, they were very well packaged.

Unity Candle Ribbon Candles etsy Unity Candle Ribbon Candles

Images copyright Angel Canary.

 A funny story- right before the ceremony, our minister noticed that we didn’t have candle stick holders for our mothers to light the candles. Oops! I had thought of that a couple days prior and then it had slipped from my mind. One of my friends ran around trying to find candle stick holders but to no avail. The minister came up with a back-up plan though and everything went smoothly!

Now our unity candle sits on a shelf between a couple other treasures (a vase from a cruise & a boat that my mom got me for Christmas that I love!)

Do you guys still have your Unity Candle?

May 18th, 2014 | Author:

Remember when I was all gung-ho about Lakehouse remodel stuff? And then life started happening (new job, wedding, etc) and things started getting pushed to the back burner. With the wedding stuff done, we started picking up on things again this past winter.

Most of MY activity has been fueled by Pinterest. All our cabinets at the lake are the laminate stuff. I found a pin on Pinterest which led me to an easy method of painting laminate cabinets without having to sand. I was a little skeptical so I decided to try it on an old bathroom cabinet that I was either going to a.) throw away or b.) find a magical way of making it look the way I wanted it to.

The pin I found led me to this blog (The Pear Tree Cottage) which detailed what she did in order to paint laminate cabinets.  I won’t detail what I did because I followed her technique exactly. (I haven’t added the floor finish coating yet though!) And I’m pretty sure the oil-based paint fumes had me seeing funny things so if you do do this, make sure you have plenty of ventilation! Here are the results:

Laminate Cabinets

Laminate Cabinet After

Lake House cabinet

I loved it! I found the basket that the toilet paper is in at Hobby Lobby for $5.00 on sale. I also got the glass cannisters with q-tips & cotton balls at Hobby Lobby. The one thing I had to figure out myself was the “LAKE” letters. I looked everywhere for them and couldn’t find what I was looking for. So I made them using mod podge, chipboard letters, scrapbook paper, and paint.

Painting Chipboard Letters

I found several techniques for painting chipboard but have you ever gotten tired of knowing exactly how to do something? For some reason, I did and I decided to try my own technique. (aka wing it!)

Step 1- I bought the chipboard letters at Hobby Lobby. They were on sale for ~$1 or $2 each.

Step 2- I painted them white using Valspar paint. I did this to help the scrapbook paper stick (not sure if it was necessary or not) but also because I didn’t plan on wrapping the scrapbook paper around the letters so the letter sides & back would be uncovered.

Step 3- I applied mod podge to the letters then placed scrapbook paper over them. The easiest way to have coordinating but different letters is to buy a pad of differing scrapbook paper. The one I bought was called “Stonewashed” and gave me all sorts of options for matching-but-not-too-matchy! When you put the paper on, you have to be careful that it’s straight but also that you apply it from the top down, or bottom up, or left side to right side, etc. By doing that, you can make sure you eliminate any wrinkling or bubbles.

Step 4- Let dry completely. (See mod podge for specific requirements)

Step 5- Use an exacto knife to cut the paper. I wasn’t too worried about it being perfect so there are some jagged edges, but it’s not something anyone will ever notice.

Step 6- Display as you want!

I was really happy with the result and I think even Jimmy was impressed. I may end up doing this same sort of thing for a “Welcome to the Lake House” type of entry or something but that reno portion is a ways down the road!

As for painting the cabinets, I actually started painting the vanity cabinet in our master bathroom after seeing the success of the cabinet. (see below) After seeing the cabinet, even Jimmy was on board with letting me go to town painting! It’s not done yet so it’s still in this state with a holiday weekend coming up. Oops!

Lake House vanity painting

Want to see more Lake House remodel stuff? See HERE. And why yes, our master bathroom DID have carpet in the bathroom. In front of the shower. Which had molded the plywood below it.

May 17th, 2014 | Author:

A couple weeks ago, Jimmy & I, along with our friends Alex & Jenna, decided to take a trip to New Orleans. We were only there for 4 days but loved it. Jimmy’s Grandpa had asked us to pick up a gift for Jimmy’s cousin from one of the plantations and I’m sure glad he did. Oak Alley Plantation was one of my favorite parts of the trip!

The drive was about an hour outside of New Orleans, but well worth it. We had looked it up on the internet so I knew about the giant Oak trees… but seeing them in person it was still breathtakingly beautiful!

The first thing we noticed was how some of the branches swooped down to the ground & then went back up. We had never seen a tree do that and the size of the Oaks made it seem majestic.

Oak Alley Plantation

Oak Alley Plantation

The view from the garden areas to the back of the house was beautiful too. We got there pretty much as soon as they had opened and there was no people. If you go and plan to take pictures, I recommend going first thing in the morning. With no people walking around, you can take pictures and not worry about having to photoshop people out!

Oak Alley Plantation

The plantation is set up nicely for visitors. They have a restaurant & a bar area. They have the best mint juleps I’ve ever tasted. (And I’ve been to Churchill Downs where the Mint Julep is supposed to be the best!)

Jimmy & Alex took a break while Jimmy called his grandpa to tell him we were enjoying a Mint Julep!

Oak Alley Plantation

Using old pictures, the owners of Oak Alley were able to recreate the slave quarters. They have lots of history info that you can read and each house shows a different aspect of the life back then.

Oak Alley Plantation

Inside on of the replica houses, there’s a wall of all the slave’s names. They note that without then, Oak Alley wouldn’t have been the place it became.

Oak Alley Plantation

One thing we saw when we came in was this little cart selling Oak Alley saplings. Jenna & I decided to buy one and take it back with us. Jimmy & Gooch weren’t as impressed but we made big plans to add a plaque to them. Heck, in 300 years, they’ll be as big as the ones at Oak Alley Plantation!

Oak Alley Plantation

After we ate lunch (which was awesome. If you go, I definitely recommend eating at the restaurant. The service was great and the drinks were awesome!) We did the house tour. They have people dressed in the old-time garb to lead you around and point out different aspects of the house. It was interesting to hear the history of the house. Most of it wasn’t original due to the original owner’s wife bankrupting the family and later cows breaking into the house during a storm (in which they ruined the floors as well as tried to climb the spiral staircase that used to be there!)

Oak Alley Plantation

This was the view during the tour from the upper balcony area. Beautiful!

Oak Alley Plantation

This was the front of the Oak Alley Plantation. As you can see, by this time there was a ton of people there (lots of tour buses!) so most of my pictures have people in them. I love plantation-style houses and can’t imagine how grand this one must’ve seemed back then when it portrays such grandness today!

Oak Alley Plantation

Here’s the view from the front. I used the color-selection setting on my D5300 to get this shot. These Oaks are all evenly spaced and are 300+ years old. That’s just amazing to me every time I see these pictures!

Oak Alley PLantation

This last picture is of one of the many blooming flowers there at this time of year with one of the huge Live Virginia Oak trees in the background.

Oak Alley Plantation

They have a really nice gift shop there with posters of the plantation. I had hoped they would have their items online so I could figure out what size, etc I wanted but they don’t! I did have a good picture that I was able to use photoshop with and remove the people walking in front of the plantation so I’m going to put that on canvas.

Have you guys been anywhere like this that just took your breath away?

March 26th, 2014 | Author:

In the sake of not over-doing it on wedding posts (our wedding was June 1, 2013 so it’s not like I’m in a hurry to do them anyway!), I’m going to try and do some small reviews or other tidbits about our wedding on Wednesdays.

The first Wedding Wednesday will be dedicated to our guestbook. When Jimmy and I were planning our wedding, I knew I didn’t want a normal guestbook. The thought of having our friends and family sign something that ends up dusty on a shelf didn’t really appeal to me. Since our engagement pictures kept getting pushed back due to weather (so. much. rain. last spring!), we had to come up with something else.

I browsed Etsy trying to come up with a creative guestbook. There are several neat ideas out there like these: (I have no experience with the below shops, just think they offer a neat product!)

This one where guests sign the leaves of a tree – WeddingTreeGuestbook

This one where guests would sign around the last name – Alphabet Canvas

This one where guests sign hears & put them in a jar – Bateman Design

The one we ended up going with was Elegance Letters. We got to pick from a couple of fonts for our monogram (“J’s” are sometimes ugly!) and the item was shipped when they said it would. We went with the 30″ letters based on the # of people we invited. It comes as wood, ready to paint. We chose white based on where we were going to hang it in our house. (We used Valspar Latex Enamel Indoor/Outdoor paint in Satin White from Lowes)

We LOVED it. Our original plan was to just put it on a table and have people sign it, but our venue had an easel they let us use.

Wooden letter guestbook displayed


Guest signing wooden guestbook

Wooden guestbook close up

All images copyright Angel Canary Photography.

We also used it in our wedding pictures

Elegance Letters Etsy Guestbook

All images copyright Angel Canary Photography.

We have it hanging on our living room wall but right now it’s the ONLY thing on our wall. Once I get it prettied up a bit (I’m thinking wedding picture canvases!) then I’ll post a picture of how it looks in our home.

I will say that when I walk by it, I catch a different signature or message on it and it reminds me of our wedding day and makes me smile… which is exactly what I wanted from our wedding guestbook!

Have you guys seen a guestbook that caught your eye at a wedding for it’s uniqueness?