Friday, December 30, 2011

And ONE more

And by one more, I mean 15 more. Is it sad that I find it so hard to pull out my big camera these days? I'm so torn all the time, on whether or not to spend my time participating, or photographing. Serious dilemma. I must say, I'm so grateful for the easy documenting of an iphone... at least I know it's captured right?

Hope your Christmas was merry!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Catching up in Instagrams

I'm really hoping that after the holidays--- and after I finish up the end of my 2011 shoots.... I'll have time to blog again...

until then--- little pretend polaroids will have to do.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas!

(Front and back of our Christmas card.)

Off to soak up all sorts of family and food and fun and Christmas spirit. Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It's that time of year

Spare time has been hard to come by this Christmas season, but baking has been a priority. It's like icecream. There's always room.

I've decided that it's important because...

a: it feeds my children... and homemade wheat bread almost balances out the endless batches of cookies and candy--

b: it serves as gifts... and homemade gifts are the best.

c. the bread makes my house smell like heaven and I like the smell of Heaven.

d: it's thereputic for me, and calms my racing mind, which means it's worth the time... even when I'm waiting 'till midnight for my bread to come out of the oven.

One of the gift-treats we made for a few neighbors this year.... almond roca.

I love almond Roca, or toffee... whatever you like to call it because it feels so special and Christmasy to me... but it's really so easy and so quick. The hardest thing is just that you could really use a candy thermometer for it... and I'd imagine not everyone has one on hand. I do. nana na na na.

My friend, Lizzie taught me how to make this a lots of years ago when we had much fewer children between the two of us and could play all day in the kitchen.

1 lb butter
3 c. sugar
2/3 c. water
3 c. almonds (toasted and chopped up)
3 c. milk chocolate chips (I use the pound plus bar from Trader Joes chopped up... SO much better than chocolate chips... any good quality chocolate will do.)

In pot: add water, add butter and sugar, cook to 320 degrees. It's pretty mellow in the beginning, but stir pretty regularly (I should say that, but I walk away a lot during this part) When it hits the high 200's, it's getting really hot and needs constant stirring until you reach 320.

Have cookie sheet ready with sides greased and 1.5 cups almonds sprinkled on pan.

At 320, immediately pour mixture on pan.

Sprinkle with 3 cups of milk chocolate and let it sit till it melts, (it happens quickly) then spread around.

Sprinkle with remaining 1.5 cups of almonds. Let cool. (I cheat and pop it in the freezer to harden the chocolate when I'm in a hurry.)

Another recent obsession. I can't stop making bread.

I feel like I sound like a robot--- can you tell I'm in a hurry?

Oh and Lizzie gave me this recipe too.... I guess this is a what-would-I-make-if-I-didn't-have-Lizzie? post too.

Lizzie's Whole Wheat Bread

3 1/3 C hot water
1.5 T yeast
1/3 C honey
1/3 C butter
1 T salt
1 C flour
1/2 C wheat gluten
1 C oat flour (or grind up oatmeal in your blender- I don't always have this handy and just substitute white or wheat flour)
7 C whole wheat flour (I use hard white wheat, and I usually only need about 6 total.)*

Mix water, honey yeast. Let proof. Add white flour, oat flour, gluten and half of the whole wheat flour. Mix. Add salt and butter/oil. Mix. Add the rest of the flour until it barely cleans the upper half of the bowl when mixer is running. (this is much more important than getting all 7 cups of wheat flour in. It could take much less.)

Knead for 10 minutes in mixer. Dough should be smooth and elastic, but sticky. Let rest 10-20 minutes. Set oven to 170 degrees. Spray Pam on your hands and shape into 2 loaves. Put in oven and immediately turn OFF oven. Let rise in oven for 22 minutes then turn oven to 350 degrees and cook 28-30 minutes. Immediately turn out onto cooling racks.

*The amount of whole wheat flour you use will just depend on how dry your wheat kernels are and how humid it is where you live.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Letters to Santa

Dear Santa, What I want
for Christmas is a big
monster truck and my own
phone, and I want a doggy
with a leash, and my own
Jessie doll. And I want
a bike, please.
Sophia B. (and a picture of a phone with her name on it--- just to make sure he got it.)

A monster truck? Who knew? And a phone? Poor girl... it's going to be a LONG time before Santa agrees to that one.

Here's Mila's, she told me what she wanted to write and I wrote each word on another sheet of paper for her to look at. This was the result:

Dear Santa, please bring a doggy and a scooter.

And clearly after watching them write those, with so much intent.... mine:

Dear Santa,
Please keep them little forever.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Putting Up Christmas

Yay! I made a movie. With lots of Ross's help, which is why I'm in this one. We shot it with my Canon 5D mark 2, with my 50mm 1.4 lens. We used the song White Christmas by Michael Buble and Shania Twain, and I edited it in imovie.

There's just something about video. I already melt, watching my kids faces move on screen... I can only imagine what I'll feel like when they're all grown up and don't eat their gingerbread cookies like this anymore.

(Here's the one from Christmas day last year... maybe I'll make it happen once a year.)

Monday, December 05, 2011


Here's a few favorites from a recent shoot. Taking the time to blog a whole shoot on my photo blog seems wasteful right now... there's too much I'm behind on as it is. Maybe I'll just throw in a few here and there.

We finally decorated the tree last night. I did some video and (in my dreams) I hope to actually put together a little Christmasy video from it... we'll see how that goes. Hopefully better than the ragnar video I've meant to do since September. Obviously I'm inspired by the videos over on The Little Red House.

Figured out address labels and hopefully I'll get my cards out on time this year! I'm thrilled about it.

It's cold enough that my hands feel a little numb as I type. I'm in heaven.

Just because I never got around to an "I'm thankful for" blog, doesn't mean I'm not thankful. My head is exploding with all of the things that I'm thankful for this time of year.

Sophia and Mila are the coolest girls I've ever met. My time with them feels more and more scarce already (1st grade is SOOOOO long) and it makes me that much more aware of how much I love their company.

But Mila still throws fits that make me wonder if my neighbors will call the cops on me. Although our Elf on the Shelf has seriously helped my cause. When she's not TOO tired or TOO hungry where she can't think straight, she stops herself before a fit because of Ellie (the elf.) I think it was worth every penny. Though I sure wish I came up with it... 30 bucks for a book and like a dollar store doll? Nice.

I'm eating way too many cookies and not enough vegetables. Why do veggies stop sounding good when it's colder?

Finn is 11 months and cruising all over the house. I'm excited for/dreading him walking. Wish me luck.

Trying to SLOOOOOWWWW down the days so the anticipation for Christmas can last just a little longer...... I think bread smells better cooking than it tastes.... maybe this is the same?

Saturday, December 03, 2011

One way to feel like I'm "catching up"

Some recent instagrams. Why is it such a ginormous battle for me to balance feeling so busy in November/December that I get anxious for January, and yet utterly DEPRESSED at the thought that this month will ever end! I love it! I wish the whole year could be "the holidays". But I know better. Such a crazy/special/precious time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Like the best laugher ever

This is Emma. We took her family pictures a couple of years ago and then a couple of weeks ago. She was a dream for me. She had so much attitude and couldn't help herself from laughing every time we begged her not too. I was in heaven.

Things have been busy around here. Lots of picture-taking, lots of editing, lots of chores, lots of time-outs, lots of homework...

luckily also... lots of cool weather, and hot chocolate, lots of Christmas music, and yummy foods, and lots of family.

I've discovered instagram which I must admit, is the quickest easiest way to feel like I've frozen and saved a sweet moment-- which makes it that much harder to justify finding the non-existent time to get over here and blog. I miss my blog. It's theraputic for me to keep it up. And I love the dream of someday having books containing every morsel.

I'm thinking in like 20 years when all of the kids are off at college. Then I might "have" time.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's amazing what he can do with those four teeth

I feel like he went from mostly nursing to eating almost anything like overnight. This boy is growing so fast!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

There's no place like home

- These are my new red flats. They were on sale at J. Crew. Pay no attention to what looks like an abnormal gap between the little toes on my left foot. That's weird. It's sad that it's sort of a big deal for me since I am almost always in running shoes, or flip flops.

- Mila has strep, poor thing--- so we have been stuck at home for the last couple of days. She turns 4 on Saturday and I just keep counting down the days till she's 4 1/2, which is when I swear Sophia's behavior switched over to AMAZING. Mila's tough right now. Have I mentioned it? Knocking on wood that she (in all her glorious differences) might follow suit on that little calendar item.

- Ross's parents are moving to the desert!!!!!! His dad got a job here a while ago, that was recently made more permanent, and I am constantly lost in daydreams about what it'll be like to live so close to family. SOOOO excited!

- I loved the Twilight books so much... I wish I was more excited for the new movie. I wish I could have picked the cast. I mean, that's all I ask. Just can't get used to Kristin Stewart and how she always looks ticked off... and maybe high.

- Been busy taking pictures lately. Had a mishap with my 50mm and am having it repaired, so I rented the 35mm 1.4..... THAT's been fun. What a lovely lens.

- Baking way too much bread, and cookies, and nightly pizookies. Fall is here and baked goods just feel soooo gooooood.....

- Speaking of baked goods.... I need to make a yummy dessert for our big family Thanksgiving... anyone have a recipe that's to die for?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A few of my favorites from a recent shoot

I don't usually do hazy... but her expression just looked like it should be.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Lizzie took our family pictures

And I'm dying to post them all, but trying to resist until after I decide what's going in the Christmas card at least.... Maybe just one.. or two. A few. THANK YOU LIZZIE!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

It's that time of year

There's a couple of new shoots over on the other blog.

Sunday, November 06, 2011


And just because we were in the mood for braids.

I keep waiting to post their Halloween "costumes" because I never got a photo of Finn in his cow costume and I keep thinking I'll throw it back on for one.

And I keep not getting around to it. Where did all the time in our lives go?

So here are the girls before the school boo-bash. Sophia was set on being a pirate for months before Halloween... Mila debated between all of the princesses ... and Strawberry Shortcake... She ended up wearing the braid to the boo-bash, an Indian dress out of the dress-up basket for her school party, and Strawberry for trick-or treating. Why not?

So originally she'd decided on Strawberry Shortcake. We ordered the costume and she wore it non-stop for a couple of days, after which the leggings were full of holes and the wig was a frizzy mess. She assured me she didn't care (since she still wanted to play in them) and then just before Halloween, I made her this Rapunzel braid out of yarn. A friend taught a group of us how to make them, and I figured the girls would love it for dress-up... but as soon as she saw it, she was done with Strawberry and on to Rapunzel. Even if it meant that she had to wear a normal purple dress out of the closet.

Hence Mila's "costume" above.

This was the first year where I just let them pick whatever they wanted and didn't try to sway them my way. It was so liberating! No attempts to make their costumes (the braid was an accident) or pressure to be creative or base them around some cute tutu. As much 30 dollar cheep polyester as they wanted.

Then they collected candy to their heart's content just to bag up and freeze slash throw away. I wonder what year they'll start noticing that?

Friday, November 04, 2011

From the mouths of babes

Yesterday she said to me "mom, your bottom is beautiful, like the temple."

I whip around from the dryer where I'd been bent over... hence warranting a comment about my bottom.


"Your bottom is a temple, so it's beautiful."

I stare in awe for a handful of seconds as I realize where she must have gotten this.

"Did you learn that from church?"

"yeah... " and she proceeds to sing a song (I think) she's learned in primary that teaches her "my BODY is a temple."

We had a nice teaching moment, and a very nice laugh. The both of us.

She's at that age where I wish I was video-taping her most of the time. Well most of the non-tantrum-throwing time I should say... gotta keep it real. This one's gonna turn my hair gray way too soon... I can feel it.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Why Can't I blog in real time like everyone else??... it's so much more fun that way.

But here I am, starting with Sunday-- when we carved pumpkins before dinner at Brooke's. The fact that we were in the garage and not DRIPPING with sweat in the photos is a good sign--- Fall is here! Even in the desert.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Patch 2011

We look forward to this every year. It's so fun to be there and wander the pumpkins and let the kids enjoy the rides ... but for me, more importantly, it marks the beginning of Fall out here... and the possibility of cooler weather and ALL that that means.

Oh how I love cooler weather, and sweaters, and cold noses, and sou
p and crusty bread, and homemade goodies (not that the hot weather has stopped me... let's be honest) and holiday candles... and being able to go to the PARK.

I am SO excited for the next 6 months.

Here are some more pictures of our lovely evening at Live Oak with the Homecs.

And I couldn't help it. I did a search for pumpkin patch on my blog and realized I had pictures from every year since 2006 and it was WAY too fun to watch our family (and everything else about us) evolve and change over the years.

2008 wasn't our best year.

And for the record, 2010 I had Finn growing HUGE in my belly... (Sophia's hiding my excuse for everything else in that one.) Although I wish she was hiding my neon white hair instead. Can white be neon? I don't remember that. Weird.