aspen & pine

a journey in creativity and mindful living

Category: Uncategorized

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apple pie

I may sound cliche, but I can’t help myself: this is my favorite time of the year! There are just so many warm feelings (and food) being passed around. This is usually also the time of year when I am most productive. It makes me wonder why we don’t just keep that festive spirit around all the time, think of all the stuff that would get done! Of course, I understand that there are also those people out there that wish the festivities would stick to one day, NOT the whole month of December (my husband is one of them). While I respect that, it’s not going to keep me from stringing lights, making origami trees and stars, planning a cookie baking session with my sisters and making gifts. On second thought, it’s probably a good thing we don’t stretch the holidays year round considering all those cookies.

This week I loved:

How to Control Clutter Creep and Gratitude by Courtney Carver.

Seth Godin says don’t be afraid to start something new because “it’s been done before”

Take this global poverty quiz. For me it put this coming holiday season, and my spending in general into perspective. Part of living a simple life is to give more, and I think I really need to re-evaluate my spending priorities!

A study on lasting relationships, which just confirms what we all already know, kindness is the key.

This beautiful hiking journal makes me want to hike, backpack, and journal more!

I am doing The Road to Christmas Bible study by Love God Greatly. To get the materials just sign up for their emails.




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homemade bread

I made bread today since we ran out yesterday. Fresh bread is the best thing, right out of the oven with butter melting into it. I used Pennies & Pancakes oatmeal bread recipe, only I reduced the sugar to 2 tsp. It turned out great. (Except for the spot that burned in the top. It rose so high it touched the heating element in my little oven!) I have been sick for a couple days and my Mother-in-law sent some delicious homemade chicken noodle soup home for me. I finished it up today with a slice of this bread, and it was so good!

This week I loved:

A simple place to live by Courtney Carver is about what the meaning of home really is.

A really neat pen pal story between a ten-year old american girl and an enemy of the United States, the dictator of Panama.

I would love to try this new drink.

This is a post from last year, but I thought it was lovely, and found it when looking up information about Keen’s bern baby bern boots.

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minimalist journal

I found a three pack of these for a dollar at the dollar store. They are much cheaper than moleskins, but still cute! I am using one to help me work through what stuff I want to keep in my life, and what to edit out. I am having trouble getting rid of things, but really want a clutter free and clean looking environment in our home. To start I am answering some questions from Into Mind’s blog, which the links to are listed below. This way I can really focus on what Jordan and my’s needs and priorities are. For example since we have our own photography business, we have some extra items I need to make space for (like camera and video equipment).

This week I loved:

When being “frugal” actually costs more, some advice that fits into a minimalist lifestyle.

Minimalism: a beginners guide and how to start living a simpler, more intentional life in 9 easy steps from into mind.

I have to admit that I am a terrible tea horder! Here’s a tip from the kitchn to keep that stash in check.


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This past week we dog-sat for my sister’s dog, Molly. Now she has gone home and it feels lonely around here without her sitting at my feet, or accompanying me on a walk. However, I am trying to appreciate this day for it’s quiet, subdued nature. It’s overcast here, which can sometimes make me feel more tired or sad than usual. Today, I am choosing to focus on the beauty of rainy days. They are quieter, creating an environment of reflection and peace. The sound of the rain is gentle on the roof, and it is extra cozy to be indoors at my computer or cleaning the house. When you are feeling down, I encourage you to focus on what is beautiful in your day. It really makes a difference!

This week I loved:

I was trying to figure out how to put Jordan’s (my husband) hair in a bun and found inspiration here.

This article about the benefits of coloring for adults gives me the excuse I need to finish coloring that jungle poster I never finished.

Simple moments to a simpler life by Courtney Carver

5 simple tricks and tools for living intentionally on the honest blog.

8 things to let go of now by Courtney Carver. I am hoping to work on getting rid of  clutter when wedding season ends!

I used to have a pen pal when I was younger, I think it would be a fun thing to do again. Here are 25 things to write to a pen pal and some places you can find a pen pal here and here.


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lunar eclipse

photo by Jordan Baker

What a lovely (and a bit crazy) week! We woke up at 5:15 to view the lunar eclipse on Wednesday, and it was amazing. My sister and I were texting back and forth about it, and she ended up driving over to get a better view of it with us which was fun! My husband and I shot a wedding on Friday in Washington D.C. then traveled to Pennsylvania for a wedding on Saturday. We were so thankful for Jordan’s parent’s help with driving. We also took the opportunity to go on a little excursion to lake Erie on Sunday. I had never been before and it was so beautiful! We drove around Presque Isle State Park, stopped and walked down the beach picking up rocks and sitting on driftwood. It wasn’t crowded at all, and the leaves were starting to change color too. We also celebrated my Grandma’s birthday earlier in the week with a delicious meal of chicken and steak fajitas, beans, spanish rice, and cheesecake!

This week I loved:

Reading that Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize

Watching Tiny House Nation, now that’s a show I could get addicted too!

This is such a cute cottage, I especially like the cat.

ello looks like an awesome new social media platform, without all the advertising.



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photo by Jordan Baker

photo by Jordan Baker

Today I picked some granny smith apples from my Grandma’s apple tree and froze them for pies. I used this method, but omitted the flour in case I want to make anything gluten free for Thanksgiving!

This week I loved:

Writing encouragement on Rowdy Kittens

Journaling to success on Seaweed Kisses

How hiking is great for your health

5 simple ways to give with love and redefining abundance by Courtney Carver

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blackberry picking to cobbler

I hope you guys all had a lovely 4th celebration! I got to pick my Grandma’s blackberries while they were away for the weekend, and so I made this Cobbler. It was delicious, but I think next time I’d reduce the sugar in the batter.

We are leaving for a six week road trip at the end of this week, and there is so much to do! We already have our destinations planned (loosely to allow for improvisation), and I made a menu for our meals. Now comes oodles of packing and preparing food to do before we shoot a wedding on Saturday and leave Sunday. It’s going to be crazy.

This week I loved:

Gorgeous images of backpacking in the Grand Canyon

An essay about less, and how it’s really more

A great tip from the kitchn on how to keep guacamole green

I just discovered Yoga With Adriene on YouTube, and have beens starting out with her videos for beginners. My goal is to learn enough to be able to do some yoga out in nature on our road trip!


page one

First of all I want to say I am so excited to be starting this blog, aspen and pine! I hope that by sharing my journey towards a more mindful and creative life I can inspire you to do the same.  I was going to share a little about myself, but I figure I’ll do that in the “about” section, and those interested can check that out. Otherwise, stay tuned for coming crafty projects, recipes, thoughts/tips on living frugally and simply, and a little bit about my pursuit of the art of bookbinding and photography.