All the Kiddos {Photography Favorites}

Last week I shared some of my favorites photos of babies and toddlers from last year. And I had a couple of you ask if one of the toddlers was the little girl I nanny. It wasn’t, but it made me realize how long it has been since I shared a photo of her! You guys are not going to believe how big she is! So today I’m going to share my favorite “Kid” photos from last year and the very first one is of Mallory. She was four last summer so she’s even bigger now! Ah, how time flies!

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These kids are all just so precious. I love getting those sweet, genuine smiles and laughs from them. Does that sometimes require me to make animal noises, sing Disney songs, and tell corny jokes? Why yes, yes it does. But it’s absolutely worth it. ūüėČ

Love Rach

Buttermilk Biscuits for Valentine’s

Happy Valentine’s Day, my friends! I’ve been wanting biscuits lately so I finally whipped up a batch yesterday. I had forgotten just how easy biscuits are to make and just how delicious they are fresh from the oven. Mmm… warm biscuits! Yum! And because it’s Valentine’s… I made¬†half the batch into heart-shapes. ūüôā

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Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe originally found here on MyRecipes)

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups self rising flour
1 stick butter
1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 475.

2. Grate butter using large holes of a box grater. Toss together grated butter and flour in a medium bowl. Chill 10 minutes.

3. Make a well in center of mixture. Add buttermilk, and stir 15 times. Dough will be sticky.

4. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Lightly sprinkle flour over top of dough. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Fold dough in half so short ends meet. Repeat rolling and folding process 4 more times.

5. Roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2 inch floured round cutter, reshaping scraps and flouring as needed.

6. Place dough rounds on greased cookie sheet or glass pan. Bake 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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If you are looking for a good old fashioned biscuit recipe – this is it!

Tonight we’ll be celebrating Valentine’s with our normal Tuesday night crew (for those who don’t know, we have eaten dinner with the same group of friends nearly every Tuesday night for the past 5 years). The¬†guys are making dinner for the ladies and Christopher is in charge of veggies¬†so I’m excited about that (he’s a great cook!). I’ll be sure to let you know how that goes later this week! ūüôā

Love Rach

 

Babies & Toddlers {Photography Favorites}

For your daily dose of adorable, today I give you my favorite baby & toddler photos from 2016! ūüôā

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Ah! I just love those precious little faces! Babies are adorable and toddlers are so much fun to work with! Always bursting with energy and big smiles. Love it! As always, you can see more of my work at Rach Vendetti Photography on Facebook. ūüôā

Love Rach

A collection of reaction photos

We took a lot of video of us telling family our good news and eventually I want to compile that all into a sweet video telling the story of this pregnancy. But until I get my compilation video done, I want to¬†share a few stills from the videos of people’s reactions as they heard about the anticipated arrival of Baby Vendetti.

the-first-surpriseChristopher’s face when I first told him just minutes after I found out!

surprise!.jpgTelling my mother-in-law

surprise2Telling my parents

surprise3My sisters figuring it out right after we told my parents

surprise9Telling my sister & her husband who live in Prague

surprise5Telling grandparents

surprise7Telling grandparents

We didn’t take video of sharing the news with our friends because I couldn’t figure out how to do it without them knowing what was going on. But their reactions were pretty priceless as well. Lots of screaming, crying, and hugging. This baby has been prayed for and waited for by so many people other than just us. We truly have an amazing community and we are so thankful for that!

Love Rach

Baby Vendetti is a…

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We are delighted to announce that Baby Vendetti is a GIRL! We are SO very excited!! Bring on the ruffles and lace!

Love Rach

Gender Predictions

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This Saturday there will be photos both here on the blog as well as on social media officially announcing the gender of Baby Vendetti! But until then, I thought we should have some fun with some old wives’ tales when it comes to predictions!

Heart Rate Above 140 (Girl) or Below (Boy): At our very first ultrasound the heart rate was 119, but that was at 7 weeks when the normal heart rate is around 90-110 BPM anyway. Other than that very first ultrasound, the heart rate has been in the 160-175 range at the other 5 ultrasounds. So that is a solid GIRL prediction.

Craving Sour & Salty (Boy) or Sweet (Girl): Definitely craving all the sweet fruits and even frozen yogurt quite a bit in this pregnancy. Another GIRL prediction.

Beauty Glowing (Boy) or Stolen (Girl): At the very beginning of the pregnancy I had a little acne around the same time that I would normally have it for the start of my period. Other than that, my skin has looked great throughout this pregnancy so far! Hooray! A BOY prediction.

Morning Sickness (Girl) or Feeling Great (Boy): Well, I’m feeling pretty great now, but the first trimester was rough¬†so I’m calling this a GIRL prediction. I will say, while most people have been guessing it’s a boy, I’ve had several people tell me they think it’s a girl based on how sick I was that first trimester so I guess this particular old wives’ tale is pretty wide spread.

Ring Test: We did the ring test and it most definitely predicted a BOY.

Mayan Calendar: I really know nothing about this, haha! But¬†I heard about this from a “Gender Prediction” Google search and found this website. Looks like another GIRL¬†prediction.

Chinese Gender Predictor Chart: Thanks to this handy dandy website, all the calculations were done for me and a GIRL was predicted.

James Test: Our friend James has correctly predicted the gender of a ridiculous number of babies. We’ve watched him be right over and over again over the years. And James is predicting a BOY for us.

Beth Test: However, my Aunt Beth has also correctly predicted the gender of a ridiculous number of babies. At one point she was 38 for 40 when all her friends were having babies! And Aunt Beth is predicting a GIRL for us.

So the final count is 6 predictions for GIRL and only 3 predictions for BOY. Though if you go with what most of our friends are guessing then you¬†would think we’d already announced that it was a boy. ūüėČ

So tell me, what’s your guess? Girl or Boy?
Love Rach

The Best Books I Read in 2016

Last year I decided to keep track of the books I read in 2016. GoodReads made this easy as I just added each book to my “2016 Reads” list after finishing.¬†I ended with 116 books read in 2016. Mostly thanks to reading at the gym.¬†I’m a quick reader and spend one¬†hour (5 days a week) on the treadmill at the gym reading. So that’s 5 hours of read time meaning I easily read 1-2 books a week (depending on book length) just while working out at the gym. Plus I read during travel time on trips which we did a lot of this year. So, 116 is where I landed in 2016.

When it comes to rating books on GoodReads, I most frequently rate books at a 3 or 4. A 4 means I really liked the book and a 3 means that it was fine. If I rate it a 2 then I really didn’t like it (I have rarely given out a 1 star rating because I almost feel like it’s mean to the author, ha!) and if it gets a 5 star rating then it means LOVE! So today I want to share with you guys my favorite 5-star reads from 2016

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I re-read the Mark of the Lion¬†trilogy this year (A Voice in the Wind, An Echo in the Darkness, & As Sure as the Dawn). These are some of my favorite books so naturally I loved them all over again. I couldn’t even begin to tell you how many times I have read this trilogy since I was first introduced to it as a teenager. I just love all three of these books¬†so much. So so so good!

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Also a re-read for this past year was Scarred Faith. I first read this book in 2013 when it was published, but I think I’ve re-read it nearly every year since then (or at least parts of it). This book tackles several big topics (in a short 160 pages), but one of my favorite things about it is that it talks about how important mourning sad times is. We brush over grief so often because it’s uncomfortable and so many of us grieve differently and over different things. but I love this book for the reminder that God is standing with us through every moment of our suffering. And best of all, this book reminds us that the tomb was empty and that death doesn’t win. Jesus wins. And that reminder fills me with such hope for the brokenness in the world.

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The final re-read for 2016 was¬†Unafraid. ¬†Oh, how I love this book. I read it nearly every December because I love how it tells the story of Jesus’ birth from Mary’s perspective. It humanizes her in such a powerful way. Love it!

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I’ve read several of Cassandra Clare’s books and every one of them has¬†landed a 4 star rating from me. I enjoy them for sure, but they aren’t the best ever. Until¬†her latest book, Lady Midnight, which was just above and beyond! A 5 star read for sure! Personally, I think it’s the best she’s written and I am so excited for the next book to come out this May!

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I read Crystal Kingdom (the final book in the Kanin Chronicles trilogy) this year and loved it! I loved the original Trylle trilogy that she wrote and this follow up trilogy was equally excellent Рespecially the final book!

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I read The Crown (the fifth book in the Selection series) and I absolutely loved it! I loved the first 3 books in the original trilogy, but was really disappointed in the fourth book (partially because I didn’t know there was going to be a fifth book until the last few pages of the fourth so I was really confused as to why they weren’t wrapping things up better). This fifth book absolutely redeemed the fourth. Loved it! I look forward to seeing what Kiera Cass does next!

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I initially had mixed feelings about Harry Potter & the Cursed Child. I had no problem with the script¬†layout, but I didn’t love all the parts of the story or character development. However, when I finished the book I found myself happy to have read it. Happy to have spent some time with characters I had missed. And happy to have met some new ones. It barely squeaked by with a 5 instead of a 4, but in the end all the old Harry Potter feels won out. ūüôā

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This retelling of Esther is incredible! Like the “Unafraid” book I shared about earlier, this one humanizes Esther in a powerful way. It really helps you imagine what it might have been like to be in her shoes. Such an interesting read!

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I can nearly always count on Tessa Afshar for a 5 star read. Her book, Land of Silence, was no exception. She is a powerful story teller and I love that about her! I’m looking forward to her next book in June!

pride-and-prejudice

I have loved the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice since I was introduced to it as a child. And when the Kiera Knightley version came out while I was in college, I loved that one too. I obsessively watched every one of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries YouTube videos as soon as I heard about them and I have read countless re-tellings of the story in book form. However, somehow I just never actually read the original Pride & Prejudice. So this year I did. And I absolutely LOVED it!! I thought it might get tedious reading it all, but it was the opposite. Even though I knew everything that was coming, I still couldn’t put the book down. Jane Austen’s wit is just the best.

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As many of you know, Christopher and I began volunteering with World Relief last year. We were placed with a family from Syria and spent our Monday nights practicing English with them. Talk about an eye-opening experience. This book,¬†Seeking Refuge, is a great place to start if you are curious about what’s happening with the refugee crisis and ways you can help. (Note: this book was released before the recent temporary ban was put in place so it doesn’t address that topic, but it does give tons of great information).

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The Wonderful Things You Will Be is actually a children’s book which is a obviously¬†different from the others on this list. But I loved it so much that I wanted to share it with you guys anyway. The message is beyond precious and the illustrations are beautiful. As soon as I saw this book I bought it for Mallory (the little girl who I nanny a few hours a week). And you better believe I’m excited to read this book to Baby Vendetti as well! Such a sweet read. ūüôā

What was the best thing you read last year? 

Have you read any of these books?

Love Rach