Saturday, November 8, 2014


Brianna turned 13 and we wanted to Party Like It's HOT

I really loved how it all turned out.  
We had a fire pit for s'mores, sparklers, a fire chocolate cake, fire-color painted nails, and a lot of fun.  

And from my iPhone...

* candy fire topping instructions HERE (I use my own cake and frosting recipe)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Decor

First things first.  We have moved to Portland!  It has been the best decision EVER and we are so in love with the area.  It was a quick move and although our rental house has some flaws (like I wish I could paint the dang living room), I have loved being able to decorate a mantel (hooray!) and have space to breath in our adorable culdesac.  I'm super grateful and super happy to decorate for Halloween in a HOUSE.  Plus, I am no longer working in property management and so this SAHM Photographer is fa-reaking out with joy these days.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hot Chocolate Cake

This cake went for $85 at a recent auction, so apparently it was a hit and now everyone wants the recipe.  Here it is!

Homemade Marshmallows: (adapted from Martha Stewart)


    • Vegetable-oil cooking spray
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
    • 4 packages (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 large egg whites

    • Coat an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray and set aside. Put sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Stop stirring; let mixture come to a boil. Raise heat to medium-high; cook until mixture registers 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

    • Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 cup water in a heatproof bowl; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Set the bowl with the gelatin mixture over a pan of simmering water; whisk constantly until gelatin is dissolved. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla extract; set aside

    • Beat egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Whisk gelatin mixture into sugar mixture; with mixer running, gradually add to egg whites. Mix on high speed until very thick, 12 to 15 minutes

    • Pour mixture into lined pan. Let marshmallow stand, uncovered, at room temperature until firm, at least 3 hours or overnight. Cut into squares using a sharp knife dipped into hot water with each slice. 

Hot Chocolate Cake: (adapted from Paula Dean)

1 1⁄2 cups butter, softened
2 1⁄4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
2 3⁄4 cups all-purpose flour
3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk
1 (1-ounce) package hot cocoa mix (I use Starbuck's dark chocolate)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Spray 3 (8-inch) cake pans with nonstick baking spray with flour.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, and vanilla at medium speed with a mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
3. In a medium bowl, combine flour and next four ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together milk and cocoa mix until smooth.
4. Add flour mixture to butter mixture alternately with cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, beating just until combined after each addition. Pour mixture into prepared pans.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove from pans, and cool completely on wire racks. TIP: Put cakes wrapped in plastic wrap in fridge until ready to frost. 

Marshmallow Cream Filling: 
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 TBS whole milk
1 (7oz) container of marshmallow cream
Mix butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth.  Add milk and marshmallow cream and beat until smooth.

Hot Chocolate Frosting:
1/2 cup softened butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1 packet dry hot chocolate mix (Starbuck's dark hot chocolate recommended)
1/3 cup whole milk 
In a small sauce[am combine hot chocolate mix and whole milk.  Heat over medium heat while stirring to dissolve.  Set aside.  
In a large mixing bowl cream butter until smooth. Add in powdered sugar and mix until combined (it will be really dry).  Turn mixer to low and gradually pour in the hot chocolate mixture.  Beat until light and fluffy, scraping down sides to mix well. More milk or powdered sugar can be added if it's too stiff.  You want a fluffy frosting but not too creamy. 

After the cakes are chilled, place one on a cake stand and slide bits of parchment paper around the bottom edge (these are to pull out at the end so no frosting gets on the stand). Level the top of it with a serrated knife if needed and then place a large dollop or two of marshmallow cream.  Spread a thick layer only until there is 1/2 inch of cake visible on the edge, because the top layer will squeeze more out when it sits on top.  Place the 2nd layer of cake on top and repeat with marshmallow cream.  Put on top layer. Put a dowel in the center of the cake (cut to the level of the top) to keep the cake layers in place.  Basically you will have 3 cake layers, 2 layers of filling. 
Begin frosting with hot chocolate frosting from the top down to the edge and smooth out all around the sides.  Remove parchment paper bits from under the cake to reveal a smooth frosting finish on bottom edge. 
Stack square marshmallows and layer on top of cake (they are sticky so they should stay).  Sprinkle with hot chocolate mix through a sieve and add a drinking straw for fun. 
TIP: Make the cakes and the marshmallows the night before. 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Halloween: Hunger Games vs. Star Wars

Kai was a Jedi (Obi-Wan Kenobi, I think) and Brianna was Katniss Everdeen.  The amount of compliments she got all night was insane.  So much, in fact, that Kai said, "My costume sucks!" in response to all the attention on her.

My poor children.  Sometimes I think they can just be TOO cool for their own good, you know? 

Brianna's Outfit
Bow and Arrow: My Brother
Shoes: Ross
Jacket: Thrift Store
MockingJay pin: Christmas gift last year
Pants: Wal-mart
Good Looks: Mom

Kai's Outfit

Monday, September 16, 2013

Heading to Utah and Hawaii for photo sessions

I'm heading to SLC, Utah on October 18th-20th for family photo sessions.  I'd love to take your picture!  I'm just dying to capture those Fall Mountain colors.

I'm also heading to Oahu, Hawaii and am available for photo sessions November 8th-9th.  I'd love to take your picture there, too:)  

And because this photo session just pulls on this Mama's heart strings...

I feel so blessed to have photographed this twin brother and sister.  This type of love works MIRACLES. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How To Forget Your Kid's First Day Of School

I posted this on Facebook, but because I got such a following of laughing hysteria I figured it was blog worthy, too. 

 2nd Grade


1. Record on your calendar 3 months in advance that your daughter will be starting school on the 3rd, and your son will be starting school on the 4th. Since she is now in middle school, they have the 6th graders go a day early in order to adjust and then bring the 7th-8th graders the next day. So that means that elementary school starts that next day, too. It only makes sense.

2. Take daughter to school, lament that you can't get a picture with both kids together since they start school on different days. Then go home, take an extra hour to get ready for work and let son lounge in his pajamas a bit longer. Then bring son to work with you since you no longer have a babysitter for the day and give him your phone to play games while you work.

3. Take a quick Facebook status update break and suddenly see a friend post a photo of her kids back-to-school-pose. Think, "She must have forgotten it's TOMORROW and she is going to show up to an empty school." (Actually think this thought. No joke) THEN suddenly think, "There is no way that she would have gotten the day wrong and quickly Google the school start date." See SEPTEMBER 3RD, 2013 stare back at you. SCREAM.

4. Panic. Run home, comb his hair, pick out better clothes, find clean socks, can't find clean socks, put on dirty socks, throw backpack at son and race out the door. In the meantime, call husband and sob uncontrollably about how you are a horrible much that he cannot actually understand what you are saying and believes someone has died.

5. Feel like the drive takes 2x as long as normal. Park car. Check time. 2 hours late. Take quick picture of kid. Rush into office. Fill out tardy slip. Apologize profusely to the office and say something like," was the funniest thing......" as you flip your hair in embarrassment. Take him to see his teacher who has already started teaching and interrupt to bring in her new student. Smile, sneak out, and cringe as you collapse in your car KNOWING that this was one of your biggest fails.

This Mom Gig. Sometimes it's harder than it looks.

6th Grade

Monday, August 26, 2013

Before August Ends

I wanted to post at least one picture before I become the worst blogger ever.   

He said, "Look, Mom!  I made Lego Wonder Woman into a Photographer like you!" 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Clam'n around

I've been itch'n to write a blog post.  Partly because my blog just seems lonely and the partly because wellllll...I used to write and I miss my own little updates.

Summer is 1/2 way over and I can't help but say Horray because this Summer has been good to us.  The weather in Seattle has been dreamy and I feel like we have done so many fun things which is usually so hard to feel when you are a working parent.  I threw the kids into day camp this year and it was the best decision ever (even if it does cost an arm and a leg).  The mom guilt is no longer--knowing that they aren't sitting on their bums playing video games.  Instead they are swimming and playing and field-tripping and relishing in the fun sun.   

Twice in the past week we have gone oyster and clam digging.  If you have never done it, you are missing out!  There is seriously nothing better than digging clams with your bare hands, and then cooking clam chowder.  It should be on the list of things to do before you die.  

My MIL and niece came for a visit last week and it went swimmingly--like how they took care of my kids went swimming and stuff.  But what I enjoyed most was how my 13 year old niece just really loved being here.  We wanted to show her everything--the fresh markets, the good food, the beautiful views and weather and it made me really grateful to live here.    

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

We are a fun family and a colorful 5k

Sometimes fun families do fun things like run totally rad 5k's.  Or walk part of them because you have a 7 year old for gosh sakes.  Or whatever.

The Color Me Rad 5K Run was just such an event for us. 

Also, my kids came home from school saying that no one knew what the word RAD meant.  WHAT??? 

We are the cool colorful family in these photos in case you were wondering....

 It was so dang fun.  


Deep Thought:

Sometimes, when you are awfully low, and your dog feels like nothing but a burden...your friend can say something like, "I hate your dog"...and your heart will swell with gratitude for her. 

You see, a friend that can hate your dog with you is a friend for life.  

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