Soft Pretzels with Cheese Sauce {Cooking with ChristyB}


Tell me I'm not the only one that goes in phases when it comes to cooking.  Sometimes I find time to plan an entire month's worth of dinners at once.  Other times, I have no idea what to fix, no desire to go to the store and can barely find the energy to cook.  I just can't seem to keep it together on a regular basis.  Coming up with meal ideas is the WORST!

With both kids away at college, I'm in one of my organized phases because I'm looking forward to trying out some of the recipes the kids would never eat.  (Keep in mind, it's only been three days since they left.  We'll see how long the organized phase lasts this time.)

It's also nice not to have to cook a full meal sometimes.  These homemade soft pretzels with cheese sauce were just enough for a light bite for two.  And, they aren't as hard to make as you would think.  

If you would like to give them a try, you can find the recipes here:




The Next Phase

Because so many have asked, I thought I would give an update to our home situation.  If you read the blog regularly, you remember that we sold our home of 18 years last January (HERE and HERE).  We were originally going to build a custom home.  After we sold our house, we finally settled into our rental and were ready to start the building process.  Unfortunately, the final build price came back WAY over the estimate.  It was either stretch our budget to the max or start the home search again.  As fate would have it, the home we were renting was for sale, had nearly 5 acres of land and was almost double the size as what we would get building new.

Today it became official.  Our rental is now our new fixer upper.  I can't wait to get started on it's facelift.  I have more space than I thought I would ever have, so much storage that I've got empty cabinets waiting to be filled and lots of land perfect for creating unique outdoor shooting spaces.  It's on to the next phase of life as empty nesters with both kids in college and a new home to put our stamp on.        




From a Senior to a Freshman Again {Dorm Room Inspirations}

I can remember it like it was yesterday.  My little 2-seater Mazda RX-7 packed to the ceiling with crisp new peach colored bedding, white plastic storage shelves, and way more clothes & shoes than I ever needed.  My parents followed along with more stuff I had carefully crossed of my detailed college packing list as we made the two and a half hour trip to Springfield and my new dorm room at (then) Southwest Missouri State University.  It was the beginning of a lifetime of awesome memories.  

And now it's your turn 2017 seniors!!  

I will soon have my Jeep loaded to the ceiling as I follow my own daughter to move her into her new dorm room at (now) Missouri State University in the exact same dorms that I stayed in all those years ago.  MAN time flies!!

In my day, the only big decision we made was what color bedding we were going to choose.  These days, it's not just the bedding but the pillows, rugs, throw blankets, wall decor, etc.  It's like designing a luxury suite now.  And I'm all about helping in any way I can.  For my 2017 seniors preparing to become freshman once again, here are some room decor ideas to help inspire your very own dorm room design.  And get ready to make awesome memories!!


GIRLS: Simple tips to make your dorm room extra cozy

1.  Add a faux fur skin to your desk chair.    

2.  Turn your bed into a daybed that serves as seating during the day and a cozy bed at night by adding a variety of fun decorative pillows and a cute throw blanket.

3.  Add a little flair on your desk with faux succulents.  No need to remember to water.   Cute & stylish.

4.  Printed tapestries are all the rage right now.  Add a splash of color to your room by hanging them on the wall or at the head of the bed for a simple headboard.  Even more cozy, hang a sheer bed canopy over the bed wrapped in a strand of lights for late night studying.

5.  For super simple decor with no wall damage, attach removable dots or decals to the walls.     

6.  What girl wouldn't want to display those images of her friends & family in her Instagram feed?  Print out those photos and hang from an LED photo clip light strand.  

7.  Make a statement with a light-up or felt letter board.  Change the sayings with your mood.  


GUYS: Simple tips to make your dorm room extra cozy

1.  Flag tapestries, college and team flags make easy wall decor.  

2.  Try storage trunks for more storage then use at the foot of the bed or as a bedside table.

3.  Keep track of the next party (I mean study date) and hang photos of family & friends on a cool stainless steel magnetic dry erase board.     

4.  Store dirty laundry in a laundry duffle bag.  When it's time to head down to the washing machines or back home to mom, just throw it on your back.  Folds away for compact storage when not in use.  

5.  Add some festive lighting with a three-sided stop light or fun plug-in neon light.

6.  For comfy seating that doesn't take up a lot of space, try a bean bag chair.


DIY Decor

1.  Geometric Memo Board:  Paint hexagon cork board tiles, lay out desired pattern, using removable wall tabs, secure to wall.  Hang photos, notes, or jewelry.   SOURCE

 2.  Clipboard Wall Art:  Hang a variety of clipboards in various sizes on the wall.  Display printed quotes, drawings, a calendar or photos.  Easy to change out art with holidays or as your mood changes.   SOURCE WITH PRINTABLES

3.  Tassel Garland:  Use tissue paper and twine to create a fun wall accent.  SOURCE

4.  String Art:  Using lightweight cork board instead of wood makes this project perfect for damage free hanging using removable wall tabs.  SOURCE

5.  Washi Tape Line Art:  Use inexpensive washi tape to add color and design to walls.  Doesn't damage walls.  SOURCE

6.  Decorate Your Fridge:  Even the refrigerator can be dressed up.  Use chalkboard paint and/or washi tape to add flair.  Top it off with fun magnets.   SOURCE

7.  Driftwood Jewelry Hanger:  By simply using a piece of driftwood, twine and a few nails, you can create a gorgeous display for your jewelry.  SOURCE 

8.  Washi Tape Clothespin Wall Hangers:  Cover clothespins with washi tape.  Cut removable wall poster tabs in half to fit the back side of clothespins.  Hang on the wall to hold photos, drawings, notes, etc.   SOURCE

Dorm Room Pinterest Inspiration Board

For even more dorm room inspiration, check out our Pinterest board.




It's Birthday Week Around Here

Hip, hip, hooray!  It's birthday week.  TEN years ago I officially announced the opening of Christy B Photography with a float in the Cass County Fair parade.  Fast forward to this year, the fair marked the opening of our brand new studio space in downtown Pleasant Hill as I watched the parade pass by through the windows of the studio.  Thank you to everyone that stopped in to see me after the parade.  It was great talking with you and sharing the new space.  Here's to ten more fun-filled years of doing my dream job with the most amazing clients!


The Cass County fair just happens to mark another birthday around here, as well.  This time last year we held one of our senior group photo shoots in the carnival at the fair.  Toward the end of the shoot we stopped to play a game thinking maybe one of the girls would win a stuffed animal we could use in the photos.  


They won alright!  But it wasn't a stuffed animal.  It was alive.     


One year ago Fishy came home from the fair and has lived happily ever after since.  He's made it through two moves, two cats that like to sneak drinks out of his bowl, and a near death experience on the floor (came out one morning to find him on the floor, thought he was dead, picked up up with a paper towel, he flopped around, put him back in his bowl and it's like nothing ever happened) and he's still going strong.  Happy birthday, Fishy!  The girls saved you from a life on the road as a carny.   





Say it isn't so.  We've come to the final day of pics from this year's Cass County Fair Baby Show / Wee King & Queen Contest.  I've had so much fun sharing these adorable images here on the blog.  It's always a crazy busy but super fun week!

To the parents of this year's contestants that stopped by for photos: within the next week, multiple images of each child will be uploaded to our baby show webpage for your viewing pleasure.  For those that would like to purchase prints, pricing and ordering information can also be found on the page.  The website is:  Thanks so much for allowing me to photograph your sweet children!





The fun continues on the blog this week.  Here's round 4 of littles from the Cass County Fair Baby Show / Wee King & Queen Contest.  Hope everyone is having fun at the fair!  Tomorrow will round out our baby show contestant peeks.  I don't know about you but I don't want it to end.  They are all so C-U-T-E!  See you back here tomorrow. 




Round 1 {2017 Cass County Fair Baby Show + Wee King & Queen Contest}

July always means two things...

1.  July 20th brings around another birthday for Christy B Photography.  This year is extra special.  We are celebrating TEN YEARS of business in 2017!  Not only that, we are debuting our new commercial studio space.  Watch this blog for peeks of the new studio soon.  Even better, stop in before or after the parade on Saturday morning to cool off, grab a bottle of water and check out the new space - 125 Veterans Parkway (across from the Post Office).  I would love to see you!

2.  July means the Cass County Fair is coming to Pleasant Hill.  It's my favorite time of the year because I get to photograph the cutie pies of the Baby Show / Wee King & Queen Contest.  It's an honor each year.  Over the next five days, the contestants that stopped by for a photo will be featured here on the blog.  Be sure to check in each day for another dose of cuteness.  Let's begin with Round 1.  




Daisy Mae {The New Christy B Mascot}

Introducing Miss Daisy Mae, our new dalmatian puppy.  She joined our family yesterday at 8 weeks old and already thinks she's a lap dog.  She's the sweetest thing!   Daisy will be keeping me company at the new studio this summer.  She'll be looking forward to people stopping by to give her some lovin'.  



The Cobbler's Daughter + {An Announcement}

The case of the cobbler's daughter strikes again.  To say this year has been Crazy with a capital C for our family would be an understatement.  Between moving to/from three different homes since February and still now knowing exactly where we are going to land for good, blessed, crazy busy work schedules, moving one child to an new place at college, having a senior prepping to graduate high school and taking on an exciting new project, there hasn't been one single free minute in life since last year.  

This past weekend was (what I hope) the commencement of some of the craziness.  We are temporarily in our rental house, our son has successfully moved to his new place for the next semester, our daughter has graduated high school and Saturday was her graduation party.  She is considering a career in business with an emphasis on event planning.  Knowing that, I had to throw her the best grad. party I could.  Only problem, I had to find the time to carry it off.  3:00am bedtimes and 5:30am wake-up calls became the norm in order to keep up with my own senior client photos, sports photos and planning her graduation party.  I had grand plans, most of which came to fruition but not without a few FAILS along the way.  

Fail #1:  I hoped to photograph the event after it was all set up.  That didn't happen.  In fact, 30 minutes after the party started, I was still putting out the food.  Positive #1: I was able to get the few photos on my cell phone during the party.  No professional, polished photos but I did get some photos.    

Fail #2:  There was a cake.  Key word being was.  We ordered a two-tiered blank cake that we decorated to match the purple and gold glitter theme.  When it was time to load everything to take to the party venue, the cake wasn't packed level in the vehicle.  When we opened the cake at the party, one side was entirely smashed and the second tier slid off.  Positive #2:  Thankfully I had baked plenty of cupcakes and the cake wasn't missed.  

Fail #3:  Just before moving, our garage refrigerator quit working.  With all of the moving here to there, we haven't had a chance to replace it.  I cooked all of the food for the party.  That morning, I ran out of room for everything in the fridge so the cream cheese mints were set out earlier than desired.  Half were coated in purple sprinkles.  Half were white with purple sprinkles mixed in.  When we went to set them out for the party, they were just warm enough that the dye from the purple sprinkles melted all over the white mints making them look less desirable.  Positive #3:  They were still edible even if they didn't look perfect.

Fail #4 (and probably the biggest of them all):  I photograph seniors as my profession.  I had a senior in high school this year.  We squeezed in her senior photos on my birthday the first weekend of October 2016.  I thankfully had super great holiday and spring portrait seasons so I postponed editing my own senior's photos until just before her party knowing the typical turn from my print labs.  After a full day and night of editing, the photos were ordered and scheduled to arrive the day before the party.  Perfect.  Only, not so perfect when I got the notification that there had been an "unexpected delay" with the delivery and were then scheduled to arrive the day of the party.   Positive #4:  I was still able to set up and video slideshow of her images.  And, the photos did arrive, albeit an hour after the party started.  They weren't framed and hung perfectly on the walls, but they were there and set out for those that arrived later to the party.    Just as the cobbler's children have no shoes, my daughter had no senior photos for her party...until she did.  

All in all, the party was a success.  We were blessed with many family and friends that were able to attend to celebrate our daughter and this great milestone in her life.  There may have been many fails in the party process along the way.  In the end, they just proved to be comical memories the added to the fun of the day.  

With that, here is the video slideshow of her senior images that saved the day at the party:

And a few cell phone snapshots from the party.

If you made it this far, you get to know a little secret I've been keeping for awhile.  Notice the building in the photos above where we held the graduation party.  That is the new commercial location of Christy B Photography.   There is still a bit of work to do before we officially open up the studio but it's getting there (and another reason things have been so crazy busy lately).  I can't wait to share the finished product and to start shooting in the new space.  Exciting things happening in 2017! 




As you might have read in the last blog post, we just sold our longtime home.  While the process of negotiating buying or selling a home is not always the most enjoyable, one thing that makes it tolerable is having a great real estate agent to help you through the process.  

When we knew we were going to list our house, we dreaded choosing a real estate agent because we have so many friends that were realtors and we didn't want to have to choose between them.  But, it had to be done.  We weighed our options and decided on Sandy Lobdell of ReeceNichols in Belton.  She had just received her real estate license prior to listing our house.  I'm not going to lie, it was a little concerning opting for an agent that was brand new to the business.  But we jumped in and didn't have a single regret.  

If you're looking for a real estate agent that will have your back every step of the way through the buying and selling process, you need to call Sandy.  This lady knows her stuff, is the most organized, honest person you will ever meet and works her tail off for her clients.  She doesn't miss dotting an "I" or crossing a "T" and she's going to catch it if the realtor on the other end of the deal does.  Once the whole process was over, it was a bit of a let down not to hear from her every day.  She became like family and we wish her much success in the business.  After only a month in, it's pretty safe to say, she's going to be well known in the real estate community in no time flat.  

Thank you, Sandy, and congratulations on the first of many accomplishments in your new "just for fun" profession!   

I was honored to photograph Sandy's professional head shots last fall after she became certified. I bet we'll be seeing this photo around quite a bit in the future.  




2017: The Year of Adventure

I'm officially declaring 2017 "The Year of Adventure".  

You might have noticed it's been pretty silent here on the blog since last fall.  It hasn't been for lack of something to do, that's for sure.  I've had a few people ask me, "Are you still doing photography?".  The answer is yes, Yes and YES!  I thought it was time to give a little update on what has been going on in the world of ChristyB.  

Last fall, during the crazy, busiest time of the year for a photographer, we decided it was time to put our house on the market and begin the process of building a new home.  We listed right after Thanksgiving and, for the most part, all was silent (except the weekend I drug all of my Christmas decorations out and then got a call for a showing on the house which meant 2 hours to do what normally takes me three days of decorating to get the house back together for the showing).  But literally, the day after Christmas, the phone was ringing off the hook for showings.  After some back and forth in the coming days, we agreed on the sale of our home.  

Did I mention my husband had a previously scheduled appointment for shoulder surgery after Christmas.  The night before his surgery we learned that the buyers wanted possession in 30 days.  Thirty days to pack up the previous 18 years of our lives without the help of my husband.  If you know me, you know I love a challenge.  Game on!  

I am beyond thankful that this job of mine allows me the freedom to shift priorities when necessary and always put my family's needs first.  So I took off the month of January to frantically pack up our home and my basement studio.  

Now for the next adventure.  While our new home is being built, we needed a place to rent.  The perfect place fell into our lap, which just happens to be right next door to the lot we are building on.  Only there's a catch.  The owners of the potential rental are also building and their house isn't ready yet.  So our life is packed up in boxes in storage units.  

As has been the case throughout this adventure, God has taken care of us every step of the way.  Until the rental is ready for us (hopefully very soon) we are able to stay in my Grandpa's home while he is away enjoying the warm winter in Texas.  There are a few downsides, but we're taking it in stride.  We are living out of the few boxes not in storage, as you can see from the photos above.  It's kind of like doing a tiny house experiment (which I definitely wouldn't be able to do long term).  The kitchen table serves the dual purpose as an office.  A random box and the couch serve as a desk during the day.  I cook dinner each night out of boxes lining the kitchen.  There is one TV in the house which has been interesting.  We typically compromise and opt for HGTV or The Food Network.  It has been kind of fun to have the entire family in the living room each evening instead of each in our separate rooms watching our own TV channels.  Let's just say internet in the country has been a challenge on the work front.  (It took me 56 minutes to upload the photo above.)  When we finally get back into town, I will appreciate my fast-speed internet even more than before.   

The moral of this story is ChristyB and family is on a big adventure in 2017 and we're so excited to see how it all plays out.  Hopefully, in March we will be back in town (just one mile from where we were before), with reliable internet, more than one TV, closets for our clothes and the studio back up and running for studio sessions.    We should be breaking ground soon on the new house.  We'll have a graduating senior in May (maybe I'll even get a chance to edit her senior photos we took back in October).  Both kids will be in college in the fall.  And with any luck, I'll talk my husband into adding a new family member in the form of a puppy just to keep things interesting.  God is good and we are more then blessed!

If you would like to follow along on our 2017 adventure, be sure to follow ChristyB on social media.

SNAPCHAT:  thechristyB

In the meantime, I am continuing to shoot sports photos and location/outdoor sessions.  Seniors, you only have a few months left to get those senior photos done!  2018 seniors, it's time to start planning YOUR senior photos.  I'm hard at work planning one-of-a-kind sessions for ChristyB: Team '18.  Want more info. on how to be a part of it?  CONTACT ME and I'll spill the deets.  I'm bound and determined to get back to regularly posting here on the blog.  That gives me an excuse to frequent Starbucks while we are living in the country - I NEED their internet.  Their drinks aren't bad, either.  Stick around and enjoy the ride with me, won't you?       



Living Room / Dining / Kitchen {HOUSE TOUR}

Well, the time has come.  We are preparing to list our home of almost 18 years for sale.  While I'm excited for what's to come, I still LOVE this house.  It has been just perfect from day one for our family.  And I'm 100% confident it will be just perfect for the next family to come.

Today I'm giving  a tour of the heart of our home - the living room, dining and kitchen.  I've previously shared the master bedroom and bathroom.  You can see them by clicking on the links below.

Master Bedroom

Bathroom / Laundry

Welcome to our home. 

The rooms are surprisingly spacious and are now more of an open concept since we removed the doorway between the two and opened up the adjoining wall as much as possible.  When we moved in, the living room and dining area had OFF-WHITE carpet.  I lived trying to keep OFF-WHITE CARPET clean for 15 YEARS before we were able to put hardwood flooring throughout.  15 YEARS of cleaning up dirty footprints, spilt drinks, kid's puke and Mastiff doggy drool.  Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my new hand-scraped hardwood floors?

The popcorn ceilings have been removed in each room.  Every piece of 1980's thin, brown trim and doors have been replaced throughout the house and painted a fresh, bright color of white.

You can't tell from the bright sun, but the living room windows have pretty custom wood blinds.

The hallway features old photos of the kids to embarrass them as they grow older.

The dining area in the kitchen has room for the gigantic farm table I insisted I wanted, even though a nice round pedestal table might have been a better choice.  There is even room to add the table leaves when we have family get-togethers.

We added the window bench for extra seating and storage.

And then there's the kitchen.  It's the only room we never really touched over the years other than replacing the brick-patterned vinyl with hardwood.  We replaced the dishwasher a couple of years back, too.

The "old-fashioned oven" (as named by one of our daughter's friends) must be part Energizer Bunny because it just keeps on going and going like it's brand new.

For additional storage and extra counter space, we have this rolling butcher block island in the kitchen.  Our neighbor custom made to perfectly fit in the kitchen.  When we need more room in the kitchen, we just roll it to the garage.   

It's not extra fancy but it's been more than adequate for our family over the years.  Now it's time to pass it on to another family.  House listing coming in the next few weeks.  I'll share more rooms in our home here soon.  Thanks for joining me on my little home tour.