Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Quiet

Christmas has become quite bustley at our house...or should I say at our house and everyone else's we visit. This year seemed to be overly so. There were presents and food and family and children and stories and lots of snow. Just about everything you need for Christmas. This year on our way home, on horrible icy roads and after exhaustion had set in...this is what we saw. The view fit the mood. Quiet.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Chocolate.....good

I've had a million projects going on in the last few weeks and today this one was a big mess and I had a blast making it. I made 36 jars of hot chocolate for friends and co-workers. I like to do a little something every year and I thought this was the least I could do. If I had more time, then I would do more, but alas I don't.


Making hot chocolate, if you've never made it, pretty much takes a horse trough in order to mix it up. There's A LOT. I just use a gigantic bucket like bowl. It pours over the edges and makes a big mess. I think it's funny when I end up with powdered sugar down the entire front of my body...it doesn't really bother me.

Next comes the putting in of the hot chocolate into jars. Once again it heaps over the edges and flies all over because I 'm not patient enough to use one of those strainer things...I just dump it in there with a measuring cup. Once again...I don't really care if powdered sugar has now gotten into my hair and is finding it's way down my shirt....it doesn't really bother me.

Now to properly drink hot chocolate you must have whipped cream...homemade if you have it lying around (which I just happen to most of the time). I don't go for marshmallows....whip cream is just...fluffier and dreamier. It's also nice to drink it out of a fancy mug....makes you feel special.


And then once you have kids you have to give all of it to them...even in your fancy mug that you made just for yourself....because they are sugar monsters and can never get enough....case in point...look at him licking his lips before he even has a drink.
And then they drink every last drop of it and end it by saying....."chocolate...good". either that or that make such a mess of your special fancy mug you will have to take a special scraping sponge to get it clean and you don't even want to touch it let alone drink out of it.


but....I let him drink every last drop anyway because really who could resist those eyes?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mr. Big Stuff

Meet Oliver. He just had a hair cut and he looks like a little stud muffin so I took his picture to make him feel good about himself. (yes he's that kind of dog...he needs a self confidence boost every now and again and this just happens to do the trick). You'll notice his trendy shirt...my son makes him wear it everyday (and yes I'm that kind of dog owner that buys cute clothes for my dog).
I just thought I'd share my little Oli...he makes our days bright and I love seeing him dressed for the holidays so I thought you might as well!



Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wassail

This is my new favorite winter drink...okay well not quite, I still love my spice tea, but this is a close runner up. I've had arguments over the way it's pronounced so I had to look it up recently. It's derives from Germany and it can be pronounced either "wass-l' or "wa-sail"...so to those of you I argue with...we're are all right!!!!
Wassail makes everything smell Christmasy in the house. I absolutely love coming home to this while it's been cooking in the crock pot. It's spicy. It's sweet. It's citrusy (is that a word?) and it warms the heart. I made it for work last week to warm people from the freezing cold and it went over quite well.




Wassail
2 Quarts Apple Cider
2 Cups Orange Juice
2 Cups Pineapple Juice
1/2 Cup Lemon Juice
1 Cup Cranberry Juice
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
3-4 Cinnamon Sticks
1 Tblsp Nutmeg
1 Tblsp Allspice
3 Orange Spice Tea bags
2 Oranges Quartered (studded with whole cloves)
Cook in slow cooker or pan on low heat for 1-2 hours
This recipe can be made anyway you want. If you want it to be more cranberry-ish then by all means add more cranberry juice. It's all a matter of taste!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

13

This was the last shoot of my Christmas season. It went so well and I was happy with the results. This young lady was soooo ready to have pictures taken, rightly so...she's gorgeous. She looks so much older than she is....she's 13....that's it! This mom and daughter took these to surprise their husband/ dad with these for Christmas.


Monday, December 10, 2007

Busy Boy

This little guy was so busy here. I asked him if he was ready for pictures and he said "ummm, in a minute" so we waited and then he was ready. But he wasn't ready for long, as most kiddos are. I have a fleeting moment to catch them at the right time. He's also at that age where he doesn't know what the term cheesy smile is....but he sure gave it to me!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Winter Wonderland Part II

Once again I woke up at dawn and could hardly wait for my son to wake up...when the sun rose we were in the car, coffee in hand, milk in tow, sitting at the park. It was an amazing morning. I've never ever seen the snow and frost stay like this in Wyoming. Amazing. The sun made everything so beautiful this morning and there is no way that one could drive down the streets without singing "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas"....it's just not possible. God did an awfully good job of decorating today.





Saturday, December 8, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Today I woke up to the most beautiful sight. It's rare in Wyoming to see snow on the trees as the wind blows here often. Today I woke up to frost and snow on the trees. It was gorgeous. I woke Parker up at 7:00 because I couldn't wait any longer. Put a coat over his jammies and piled him into the car. After a stop at starbucks I was off to find beautifulness....and I found it.






Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Getting Big

This little man is getting so big. His hair is growing. His features are becoming his own. He completely adorable...and sometimes shy. But he let me be his friend for a while...and I'm so glad he did!


Monday, December 3, 2007

Kevin's Onion Soup

It's the holidays.....and that means eating, eating, eating more eating. And, oh, did I mention eating? This weekend was a feast around here.
With permission from my brother-in-law (a fan-tabulous cook) I'm sharing this recipe for onion soup.
Seriously, I've never tried this kind of soup until recently. I'm probably one of the pickiest eaters on this planet and I ate it......and LOVED it. The photo is missing a part though....the bread. It's suppose to be covered in baguette bread and I didn't have any left.
You would think that onion soup is really, welll.... oniony....it's not. It smells wonderful. It tastes wonderful. It's wonderful in general.

Kevin's Onion Soup
2 tblsp butter
2 tblsp olive oil
3 lbs onion (about 8 onions) thinly sliced
4-5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 cup Marsala or Port wine
2 cans of chicken broth
2 cans of beef broth
Finely shredded gruyere cheese (for cheese toast and for topping of soup)
Baguette
salt and pepper to taste

In dutch oven or large pan, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and onions, salt and pepper and cover and cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook for 25 more minutes. Sir often until onions are dark golden brown. (if onions start to stick add a little water). Add marshala wine, cook until syrupy. Add broth and 2 cups of water, cook for another 10-15 minutes on low heat. Serve with cheese toast and cheese.

For cheese toast: slice baguette into 1/2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Dolled Up

December 2nd

My little miss sunshine was a pleasure today. After two years of no smiles and hard work I finally have won her over. She smiles willingly without asking. She talks a mile a minute and moves even faster. You have to be on your toes with her. She ran into my arms when I walked in the door saying "where's parker?"....she had been dreaming about him all day, I could tell.

Carmel Pull Aparts

December 2nd


I'm in the sharing mood today..so I thought I would share a recipe that I know everyone has probably had and most everyone loves. I remember as a kid my brother and I would devour a whole pan of these like we were starving wolves.

Carmel pull aparts are de-li-cous. They are ooey goodey goodness and here I will share one of the easiest recipes I have ever come across.

Carmel Pull Aparts
2 loaves of frozen bread that had been thawed.
1 box of butterscotch pudding (the cook and serve kind, not instant)
1/2 cup of melted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup of brown sugar
Walnuts (optional)
2 loaves of frozen bread that has been thawed

Tear the bread dough into little pieces and roll each individual piece in the dry butterscotch pudding and arrange in bundt pan to your liking. You can also use just a tall square pan as well. If you are using walnuts put those in there randomly between the pieces of dough. Sprinkle the rest of the butterscotch pudding over the arranged dough. Mix the melted butter and brown sugar until it's syrup like and then pour over the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until dough is even with the top of the pan. Cook for 30 minutes or until bread is golden brown and gorgeous looking. That's it. Nothing to it.
Ejoy!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Season

December 1st

It's the holidays and I feel like all I've done lately is complain about them. "I'm so busy", I'm so tired", "I wish I didn't have to do this", "I don't have time to do that" and so on, and so on. I've been going through movements both in my work and at home. I've realized that this isn't how I should spend my whole holiday season. It would be such a waste of such a magical and spiritural time.

The holidays are a time for giving selflessly. For believing without analyzing. For finding the child deep within. It's a time to tell your friends what they've meant to you over the past year/ years. For shutting the outside world out and spending a little extra time with your family no matter if that time is available or not.....

This Christmas season I'm going to sit by the tree in the evenings in the dark and admire the lights. I'm going to take notice of the lights in the streets and on houses and remember all the hard work it took for someone to get those up there....even if they aren't perfect. I'm going to drink eggnog and rum sprinkled with a little nutmeg and not one minute think that it's going to my thighs. I'm going to eat and be merry. I'm going to sing Christmas carols with conviction and heart. I'm going to loose myself in my child's imagination. I'm going to give without thinking of what I'm getting out of it. I'm going to put a little more change in the bell ringers' little red buckets at the stores.

I think people get so caught up in the the holidays, including myself, that they forget to enjoy them, or even remember what Christmas is all about. The true meaning of Christmas is is taken for granted and swept away with shopping and gift giving and the bustle. I wish everyone would take a minute in this wild roller-coaster season to reflect on it's true meaning and why this holiday exists.

Enjoy life. Enjoy the specialness of this time...it's only comes once a year.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tough Crowd

November 26th

I had some visitors yesterday, and let me tell you they were tough cookies. It all started off fine and dandy. I got some beautiful smiles in the first 5 minutes..... perfection...and then came the snow. We decided to go outside. It wasn't cold enough to keep us inside, so out we went.

He wanted absolutely nothing to do with me the whole time,he cried and cried when I came near him and this is the only thing that made him happy. Little did I know that while I was shooting this I would get pelted in the head by the other one....they tag team you know!!! The joys of winter photography!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Italian Adventure

November 25th

I thought I would post now about Italy. The pictures are done and now I will tell you all about the adventure. We flew into Venice, over the tops of the Alps and landed in the the late evening. We had to take a boat taxi to the Island we were staying on which took a good 45 minutes. When we got there we had no Euros. No idea in which the direction our B&B was, which was only 200 meters from the dock. We walked around lost in Lido (the island) for a good hour before we found our way. That night we met Cody, Gizzy and Morgan, our cousins based in Germany that flew to Italy just to see us. We had dinner and our first Italian experience of gelatto. (ice cream) So good.
We spent the next two days exploring Venice. The stolen city. Gizzy told us the whole story, but I don't want to repeat it as I don't know if I will get it right. The city was quaint and winding and just like a maze for humans. The canals were as romantic as they look in the movies only you get surrounded by other people feeling the romance as well. While we were in Venice Brady fainted in the bathroom. Luckily he didn't hit his head or back on anything. He went down right on his legs though and hurt himself pretty bad. He was able to walk on it and was able to drive so we went onto Tuscany.

We stayed in the little town of Pienza in Cretaiole. This was a working farm/vineyard that rents out apartments on the property. If anyone ever wants to go to Tuscany, please stay there, you won't regret it. It's amazing. Isabelle the owner is amazing as well. She helped us with everything. Gave us wine upon our arrival and just sat down and talked with us about what we could do while we were there but also urged us just to relax. Tuscany was tranquil. It was just what you might think it to be like. I would go back in a heartbeat. The wine flows like water there. Naps are a requirement in the afternoon. Desert and cappicino are also a strongly advised. The pasta was magnificent. The cheese was stinky. I got really sick with a headcold while we were there that lingers even now. I've never been sick on a vacation so I struggled with this one. I felt it was hard to focus on the things I was suppose to.

Next we went to Rome. Busy, busy Rome. We saw everything we could in the couple of days we were there. The basilicas were huge and sacred. The piazza's were full of busy talkative people. Ancient Rome was amazing to see as was the Colosseum.

Just to prove we were there, as I didn't include these in the photoset on flickr, here are a couple photos of Brady and I on our adventure. Here is the link to the rest of the photos. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Best Brownies on the Planet

November 22nd

"Families are like brownies..mostly sweet with a few nuts."

I know I promised this yesterday, but I can't seem to stay awake past six o'clock in the evening right now and I had to be dragged out of bed to unpack my suitcase just to repack my suitcase to leave for Thanksgiving break. To my family....I promise I will get back to normal soon.

I did end up cooking up that brownie batter I made and they turned out fabulous as usual. So I will share the recipe with you.

I know it's not the typical Thanksgiving type recipe....but what can I say, I never have been conventional at the right times. (though I am headed to the kitchen this eary a.m. to bake a pumpkin pie.)


These brownies, I must say, are mouth watering. But it's the frosting that really makes them.

So here goes........

Best Brownies on the Planet
2 cubes melted butter

2 cups sugar

1/4 to 1/2 cup of cocoa (I always use the latter if not more to make them ultra chocolately)

4 eggs

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons vanilla

some nuts if desired (again, I don't cook with nuts, so I never desire them)

Mix these ingredients in order given and put into regular pan used for cooking brownies.....whatever size you desire. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes, but keep testing with a toothpick to make sure they are done. Sometimes they take longer.

Mouth Watering Frosting

1 Package cream cheese (I love cream cheese...I think it makes everything wonderful!!!!)

1 cube of butter (softened)

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla (sometimes I use more though, I like to mix it up)

some cocoa (I don't want to put a specific amount, because it varies with my mood, so it might with yours too!!)

Mix together until creamy and smooth. Wait until brownies are cooled to frost. Cover the brownies when your done to lock in the moisture and keep them soft and delicious.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! Have safe travels if your traveling. Try not to break any buttons on your trousers from eating too much.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In the Kitchen

November 20th

One of my favorite places to sit is on the kitchen floor. I like to sit against the stove while I'm cooking something to stay warm (I get cold often. I even sleep in sweats pants in the summer. Romantic huh?). I like to read while sitting there. Sometimes I like to enjoy a nice cup of Earl Grey. It's just a great spot. Well now I have someone that likes to join me on the kitchen floor. It's our favorite place. And our favorite thing to eat while sitting on the kitchen floor is brownie batter. I rarely make brownies to eat the actual brownies.....I make them just to eat the batter and if I get the brownies cooked that's fine, if not, that's fine too.

Tomorrow I will post the recipe for them. But today I'm sharing with you the fun I get to have with my son while cooking.



It's also a good time to practice singing....we were singing the puppy song here ("how much is that doggy in the window, etc") and it's quite obvious my son is definately into it. Excuse the horrible picture, but this was just too cute not to show.

Next it was time to look at cars going by. A hat was required for this and it took quite a while to find the right one. He tried them all on, but needed the one to match. Wonder where in world he would get that kind of trait from.

Italy photos are in process. It's taking a while. But have no fear, it won't be long.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Home

November 19th

We are home. It's early in the a.m. and I've been up since 1:00am as my internal clock needs to adjust.

For those that don't know we went to Italy for 10 days. We spent three in Venice. Three in Tuscany and three in Rome. It was a crazy vacation full of exciting and new things. I will write more when my head is more clear. But I will leave three images from the three places we visited respectively. They are my favorite shots and I knew they were great the minute I took them. They are all very cliche type photos...but I was blessed to see this with my own eyes. Thank you God for allowing me to see the world. It's an amazing place....so is home though, so thanks for that too!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Feline Companion

November 7th
I had a conversation with a friend today about all kinds of different dogs.....it made we want to come straight home and photograph my cat. I was never a dog person.....until I got one. But I have always been a cat person. I know, I know, that makes some people uneasy and someday I might be thought of as the crazy cat lady....but I don't really care.

Meet Libby. She's a princess. She's aloof. She's kinda snotty. She's prissy. She's mine. I've had her through trials and tribulations. I had her through the happiest moments in my life. She sat next to me in the bathroom through most of my pregnancy. She's slept next to me for ten years in the same spot. She's traveled the country. She head butts me when she's happy. She's caught on fire and survived. (That's a whole other story!) She has survived my brothers rath after scaring him for life. She's run away and returned. She's been lost too many times to count, yet she's still here with me.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ooky and Kooky

October 30th

After careful consideration and many sleepless nights of trying to decide of what to carve in our pumpkin this year, I finally decided on one design. It's breathtaking. It's magificent. It's.................................................

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ELMO!!!!



There were several others that the boys worked on as well. The monster from the wild things was abosultely the hardest, but they all turned out beautifully I think. (Keep in mind I'm not a nighttime photographer so I did the best I could)


Monday, October 29, 2007

Tricks and Treats

October 29th

I've been tagged often as a little Martha Stewarty...and I guess that's probably true about me. (mind you I haven't always been that way) But I can tell you, that the feeling you get when you make something beautiful that is edible at the same time....is like none other on earth. And to watch people enjoy it is even better.

Carmel apples were on the list last night. I wrapped pencils with ribbon to be used as holders (and no the lead in not a problem unless you were going to keep them for months, then it might leak out, but if you're going to eat them right away, it doesn't make a difference because the pencil is in the center which you don't eat anyway). Kevin and I painstakenly unwrapped all the carmels and melted them along with a little water and a dash of vanilla. When they were done they looked so good and I soooo wanted to eat one immediately, but I knew I had to wait until the next day after I took pictures. That, my friends, is self control!!




The other thing on the list last night was pumpkin seeds. After cleaning out 4 pretty good sized pumpkins, I washed all the seeds and then spiced them up......cause I'm kind of a spice girl (I never made it into the group though.) In a bowl I melted some butter, threw in some worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, Franks hot sauce and some other random things. I cooked them and kept adding a little as I went along to make them just perfect.
So those are just a couple of my favorite Halloween treats. I love popcorn balls too, but that is another day's project.