Archive | 2011

Setting up the Christmas Tree

I host Thanksgiving at my house every year for family and friends. The past few years I have not had to work the Wednesday before the holiday, so I’ve taken that time to set up my Christmas decor and the trees. The boys are always home from school and love to help in the fun. I have two artificial trees, one larger and one smaller. The smaller tree is for the boys to decorate themselves. They are always so excited to get their ornaments out and put them on the tree. Here are a few pics of our fun day!


I know I’ve been slacking with my blog. We have had the flu going through the house the past week and we are just starting to all feel better. I should have been doing a month’s worth of thankfulness posts, but I guess I’ll save that for next year. Today I wanted to share two pictures from October that I took of the boys while outside at Papa and Oma’s house one Sunday afternoon. These two shots are my favorite of the fall, and actually the picture of my oldest and his little brother is my very favorite. I only wish all three boys were in it together, but I just happened to capture this one before their brother sat down. I sure am thankful to God for my three beautiful boys, even on the days when they all have the flu! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Fine Art Thanksgiving Weekend Sale

Are you looking for a great gift for someone, but just can’t figure out what to get them?  These are the fine art prints I am selling this holiday season.  There are basically two ways to purchase, one copy has wording and a border, the other copy is the original shot.  These prints will be sold as a 16×24 gallery mount and only one copy of each will be sold.  Each gallery mount is signed and dated on the back.  Gallery mounts come ready to hang, with a beveled edge, instant art for your walls.  Please contact me with any questions you might have.  They can be drop shipped right to your home for no extra charge.  Normal investment cost is $250.  Huge sale during Thanksgiving weekend with 20% off all fine art sales!  Happy shopping!  And I feel I have to state the obvious…my studio logo will NOT be on the purchased product.  This is just put on for copyright sake while online 🙂

Peanut Butter Balls (Buckeyes)

I came across this recipe on Pinterest, thought I would try it out to use on my Christmas Treats Plates.  These taste great and are fairly easy to make.  Just make sure you have time to roll them all.  This recipe makes a huge batch.  I rolled out all the peanut butter balls on one day (with a little help from my wonderful sister) and then I dipped them in the chocolate a day later.  I plan on putting them in the freezer until I make up my Christmas plates.  Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Balls (also known as Buckeyes)

3 lbs powdered sugar

1 lb butter

4 cups smooth peanut butter

3 packages of dark chocolate candy chips

Combine powdered sugar, butter and peanut butter in a large bowl.  Mix with your hands until everything is well blended.  Chill for at least 1/2 hour.  Roll the dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter.  Chill again for another 1/2 hour.   Heat chocolate candy chips according to package directions.  I just did it in the microwave.  Dip the peanut butter balls in the melted chocolate and let them cool on cookie sheet or wax paper.  Store in refrigerator or freezer.  Enjoy!

German Apple Pancakes

This recipe is an old one.  I’ve seen variations of it all over, but this recipe is from my Mom’s cookbook.  She used to make this quite often when we were growing up for dinner.  She’d usually make bacon or sausage to go with it.  I would love to do the same thing, but my hubby is not a fan of fruit in his dinner food.  Whatever…So I like to make this when I can have my friends over for brunch.  Hubby is at work, so it gives me the opportunity to indulge.  Unfortunately, this is not one for the waistline, there’s just a tad bit of butter, milk, eggs and sugar in it.  But this is easy and a great tradition to start for Christmas brunch.  You can also saute the apples the night before and just throw the 9×13 pan in the refrigerator until morning.  Just make sure you have lots of syrup on hand for your final product.  Enjoy!

German Apple Pancakes:

7-8 large apples (i used granny smith and honeycrisp)

1 stick of butter

1 1/3 cups milk

1 1/3 cups flour

2/3 cup sugar

8 eggs


Saute the apple slices in butter until soft.  Pour into a 9×13 pan.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.  I just sprinkle until it looks good.  In a large bowl, beat milk, flour, sugar and eggs until well mixed.  Pour over the apples.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Make sure you have room above your oven rack, this will puff up quite a bit around the edges as it bakes.  When you take it out of the oven and let it sit, the edges will deflate back down.  This is also great leftover.  Just pack the leftovers away and enjoy a piece every morning with your coffee…Yummmmmy!

Senior Guys 2011

As I was looking back over past posts, I realized I had not posted a bunch of my senior guy sessions from this fall.  Here are a few of my favorites from this year, 2011.  It’s funny, because out of all the seniors I photographed, only two sessions were girls…all the rest were guys.  Which is fine, usually means less outfits, less hair issues and less makeup changes.  I also have to laugh, because at every single senior guy session the following dialog would occur:

Mom:  Come on _________ (insert name here)!  Smile.  Smile nice.  Smile your real smile.  That is so not your real smile.

Senior Guy:  I am smiling Mom.  This is my normal smile.

Mom:  __________(name), please.  Just do some good ones for me.  I know you really don’t want to be here, but I want a nice shot for the yearbook and I would like a nice picture for the wall.

Senior Guy:  I know Mom. (grunt, eye roll, loud sigh)

Mom:  _________ (name), now fix your hair.  It’s hanging in your face.  (To me…) He really needed a haircut, I can’t stand it so long and hanging in his eyes.  (She walks up to him and starts fixing his hair) Do you want me to get the hairspray out of the car.

Me:  It really is the style right now, the girls love it.  He looks great.

Senior Guy:  Ugghh…Mom, it’s fine.  Don’t touch it.  No, I don’t want any hairspray.  Just leave it.

And on it goes 🙂  I just smile and try to make the guy as comfortable as I can, and make Mom happy in the process.  Not always easy, but definitely rewarding when I can show them some fun, good looking shots.  Enjoy!

Henry Paul {3 Month Session}

Last Sunday was my nephew Henry’s 3 month birthday.  Feels like my sister and I were just flying north on US131 early on the morning of August 2 from our vacation cottage to get her to the hospital, when in actuality it was already 3 months ago!  Little Henry made his debut about a month early, but he has filled out nicely and is such a sweet little baby.  Mom wanted a few pics of Henry with each member of his family.  For any other photographers out there, you all know that it can be a challenge getting a picture of a 3 year old and a 3 month old, but I think we got a few cute ones of Henry with his big sister Elsha.  Love you all!

Steak Salad Pizza with Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing

OK, I wrote this post way back at the end of August, saved it as a draft and then never posted it.  I thought for sure I had, but it’s still showing up as a draft.  For some reason, my apple, Gorgonzola, artichoke pizza post from a few weeks ago has gone viral today, over 700 hits on my blog today and most on that post.  I had one fellow blogger, Kathy, ask if I had any other fun pizza recipes.  I was going to reference the shrimp pizza on the grill and then this steak pizza, when I realized this steak pizza never made it.  So, long story not so short, here is that old post.  This pizza was fabulous!  Although, it’s much more of a summer pizza.  Enjoy!

I had so much fun making the shrimp pizza a few weeks ago that I thought I’d try another one this week.  Again, I used a Boboli thin pizza crust instead of making one from scratch.  I also used ranch dressing on half the pizza instead of the blue cheese dressing, as my hubby does not like blue cheese (what can I say, he’s weird).  This pizza turned out great!  I loved it and would make it again next week.  Even my 9-year old son liked it, and he’s usually into cheese pizza, no toppings.  You could also mix things up a bit, adding almost any type of veggie that you like and leaving off those you don’t.  Enjoy!

Steak Salad Pizza:

1 Boboli thin pizza crust

olive oil

1 New York strip steak


1 1/2 cup mozzarella shredded cheese

3 cups chopped lettuce of your choice

chopped tomatoe

chopped onion

chopped mushrooms

chopped red pepper

chopped green pepper

Prepare crust by brushing with olive oil.  Cook steaks on the grill to your taste after rubbing with some salt and pepper.  Let steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing against the grain into thin strips.  Cover crust with mozzarella cheese.  Top with your favorite toppings.  I used tomatoes, onion, fresh mushrooms, red and green peppers.  Top with slices of the steak.  Bake at 400 for 15 minutes or until mozzarella cheese is melted.  Remove from oven.  Top with chopped lettuce and drizzle with blue cheese dressing.  Slice and enjoy!

Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing:

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 t. white wine vinegar

salt/pepper to taste

Whisk together well.  Drizzle on top of pizza.

Chocolate Flourless Cake

I pulled this recipe out of an InStyle magazine almost three years ago and make it all the time.  It is very easy and only has five ingredients in the cake.  It’s very easy to whip up on the fly or if you have to bring a dessert to pass.  It tastes decadent and most people love it.  It’s also great for anyone with gluten allergies, as there is no flour in the cake.  The spiced whipped cream is what really puts it over the top.  Try it, you’ll like it.

Chocolate Flourless Cake:


1/2 lb bittersweet baking chocolate

1/2 cup unsalted butter

3 T bourbon

4 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

Spiced Cream:

3/4 cup cold heavy whipping cream

2 T confectioners’ sugar

dash of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9″ pie pan or 9″ round baking pan.  Melt chocolate and butter in saucepan, stirring frequently so as not to burn it.  Stir until smooth.  Mix in bourbon, remove from heat and set aside.  With an electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar until mixture is thick, about 7 minutes.  Fold into chocolate mixture slowly.  Mix well.  Spoon batter into prepared pan.  Bake for 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.  Cool completely.  Just before serving, beat heavy cream until frothy.  Add confectioners’ sugar and spices, continue beating until soft peaks form.  Serve on individual slices of cake with chocolate shavings.  Yummy!  Enjoy!

Fall’s Morning Frost

I was able to sneak outside early this morning before church to capture the beautiful fall frost.  This is my favorite time of the year, when the sun sparkles off the early morning frost, creating beauty in the quiet early morning hours.  I am a morning person anyway, and someday I hope to be able to head out every morning to shoot, enjoying God’s creation by immersing myself in it.