Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spiritual Sundays

“If we do not have a deep foundation of faith and a solid testimony of truth, we may have difficulty withstanding the harsh storms and icy winds of adversity which inevitably come to each of us.

“Mortality is a period of testing, a time to prove ourselves worthy to return to the presence of our Heavenly Father. In order for us to be tested, we must face challenges and difficulties. These can break us, and the surface of our souls may crack and crumble—that is, if our foundations of faith, our testimonies of truth are not deeply embedded within us.”

-President Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I need your HELP!!

I take pictures. I love doing it.

I first started out in College when I was in my program (finally finding one I liked after trying out 3 before that....) of Advertising and Public Relations.
In that program there is a photography class with a teacher named Kevin. Back then (ouch I sound old!) it was Dark room and film and developing with stinky chemicals. It was COOL!!! It was mostly taking pictures of events and learning to not be afraid to stand up in front of a room and take pictures of the main event. Which has served me well. It doesn't embarrass me at all now!

I took pictures now and then but didn't really fall in LOVE with photography yet.

While living in Nova Scotia I had started taking a lot more pictures. We had a nice little point and shoot digital Cannon given to us (or more correctly to our soon to be born first child so that Grandma and Grandpa would get some pictures of him). I realized again that I like it and I loved when I got a good shoot.

Fast forward a few years and a whole pile of photos later and a good friend asked me if I would take pictures at her wedding..... I didn't have a good camera and even our point and shoot digital was on the fritz from so much use. She found a film SLR camera and I used it at her wedding. And realized I LOVED taking pictures like this.

We moved home to Alberta for Medical School and I convinced Regan to let me spend some of our school fund on an DSLR. And then I started taking pictures a LOT. Of everything and everyone. I LOVED it. The more I took the better I got at it. I read lots of books and started looking at photographers on line to see what I could learn.

A few people started asking me if I wanted to get paid for it. And I entered that field with trepidation. There is lots I don't know about photography. Technically I make mistakes all the time. I have wanted to do some mentoring with someone for a long time. But being in med school doesn't exactly pay well. (In fact we pay THEM a lot of money!) And going to one on one teaching or seminars costs moola - most of the time lots of moola.

I have come a long way since I started. But I feel like I can do better. I want to do better and really work on perfecting my art. I need someone to teach me and guide me openly and honestly about where I can improve and what I can do better on. Enter a giveaway... I have the chance to win a mentoring session with one of my favorite photographers (and I actually even know her from my time in Nova Scotia where she was serving a mission)

About the session:
"“For the Love of Photography” includes:
-Weekend private mentor session

(2 hrs. on Friday evening and 2 hrs. on Saturday… one on one in the office discussing what YOU need to learn. Camera techniques, creativity, editing, or business.)
-Private photography session of yourself! (sat.)

Yep! You’ll be in front of the camera! This is good for a number of reasons. You get to understand what its like for those you photograph, you might learn a few things while I’m directing you, and of course, chances might be that you just might not have very many photos of YOU! Need a new stellar shot of yourself for your blog or facebook? An about page? We’ve got you covered!
-Model session of your choice (family, kids, seniors, couples) where we shoot side by side. (sat.)

You can watch how I approach a shoot and direct people, as well as take the reigns yourself and have the opportunity in a non-pressure atmosphere to ask questions and treat the session as a photography lesson experience. Afterward, we’ll come back and do a quick edit session to a few images and you can see the workflow process of post production."

oh I want to win SO BAD!!!! 100 people are in for it. You guys could help me out by going here and voting for me. Each computer can only vote once.... Oh pretty please!!!!! Will you do this for me???? With cherries on top??

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We've got a big problem around here people

And this is the culprit!
His current wake up time. 5:30 am to 6:30 am. That's EARLY people! Like REALLY early. Like to get 8 hours of sleep a person would have to go to bed at like 9:30pm And 6:30 would be a GOOD day.
Sure he's cute....
But that's EARLY!! So we have to keep him quiet (which is no small feat) until the other kids get up. Which is like 830 or 9. That's when there is no school. Alden has to get up at 730am for school.
But still if Eli is up at 5:30 that is 2 hours to try and keep the kid quiet.
And he's not quiet.

So by 11:15 he looks like this.......
(and it is also how I feel come 11:15)
But I have to keep him up until 1 so I can drop off Lucy at preschool. Which is always fun. And he is always happy during that time - NOT (I had an 80's flashback when I typed that....)

I just don't know what to do with him. Cause that is TOO early. He didn't get the memo. Around here we sleep in. Like at LEAST 8.

He's signing "all done" in these two and his hair is all spiky cause after he ate all he wanted he dumped his bowl of rice krispies onto his head and smeared it around. It was awesome.
I feel all done with this crazy early morning business!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

In the Kitchen: Baking Bread

You'll have to forgive all the cooking posts lately, and not so many craft or sewing posts, but my sewing machine is on the fritz and had to take a trip to the shop.

Lots of people have asked me for my bread recipe. So I thought I'd share it here. AND I actually measured all the flour this time so I could TELL you how much :) Wasn't that swell of me??? :)

I do mine in my bosch that my lovely inlaws bought me our first Christmas. If you aren't lucky like me you can make this by hand (I used to before my lovely inlaws spoiled me!)

1. Combine 2 Liters (or 8 cups) warm water with 3 Tbsp salt in a Bosch and mix to combine.

2. Melt 1 pound (2 cups) of margarine (or you can use 2 cups oil)

3. You are going to pour HALF of the melted margarine into your salt water along with 1 cup white sugar. And mix it up a bit.

4. Add 10 cups of flour (I do half white and half whole wheat) while mixing. (if you were doing it by hand - you would be mixing it with a spoon until this part)
A close up so you know what the dough should look like here. A sloppy mess. That you could stir with a spoon but it would be hard to do.

5. Sprinkle 3 Tbsp of instant yeast on top and the mix it in. (NOT active dry yeast)

6. Put your lid back on and turn on your machine
and start adding flour while it's running. You want to add 8 cups or until your dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

7. Dump your dough into a big bowl

8. Add about 2 cups of flour on top (one cup at a time)
and knead it in until it makes a smooth dough. When you press your fingers into the dough it should softly bounce back to you. If you live in a more moist place that southern alberta (which is most of the world!) you would need more flour.

9. Turn your dough over so the smooth side is up

10. Take the other half of the melted margarine and pour it over top of your dough, using your hand also spread the margarine so it coats all over the inside of the bowl (including underneath the dough). As it rises this margarine will seep into the dough making a very moist light bread. Just do it even though its a big bunch of fat!!! :) (as Homer would say, fat is the vehicle by which taste travels)

11. Cover dough with a tea towel and place in a warm spot until it doubles in size.

Do some other things while you wait..... like dishes

12. Once it has risen to doubled in size, punch it down and let it rise to doubled again. Then it is ready to use

13. Put it into pans and let rise. Cook at 350 for about 30 minutes (or until it is golden brown on top and sounds a bit hollow when you knock on it.

14. Enjoy!!

If you need any clarifications on anything (or if I missed something which I often do!) then let me know!!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Spiritual Sundays

"As a Church, we have enormous respect and gratitude to you mothers of young children. We want you to be happy and successful in your families and to have the validation and support you need and deserve. So today, let me ask and briefly answer four questions. While my answers may seem extremely simple, if the simple things are being tended to, a mother’s life can be most rewarding.

The first question: What can you do, as a young mother, to reduce the pressure and enjoy your family more?

First, recognize that the joy of motherhood comes in moments.
There will be hard times and frustrating times. But amid the challenges, there are shining moments of joy and satisfaction.

Author Anna Quindlen reminds us not to rush past the fleeting moments. She said: “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. . . . I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less”(Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11).

Second, don’t overschedule yourselves or your children.
We live in a world that is filled with options. If we are not careful, we will find every minute jammed with social events, classes, exercise time, book clubs, scrapbooking, Church callings, music, sports, the Internet, and our favorite TV shows. One mother told me of a time that her children had 29 scheduled commitments every week: music lessons, Scouts, dance, Little League, day camps, soccer, art, and so forth. She felt like a taxi driver. Finally, she called a family meeting and announced, “Something has to go; we have no time to ourselves and no time for each other.” Families need unstructured time when relationships can deepen and real parenting can take place. Take time to listen, to laugh, and to play together.

Third, even as you try to cut out the extra commitments, sisters, find some time for yourself to cultivate your gifts and interests.
Pick one or two things that you would like to learn or do that will enrich your life, and make time for them. Water cannot be drawn from an empty well, and if you are not setting aside a little time for what replenishes you, you will have less and less to give to others, even to your children. Avoid any kind of substance abuse, mistakenly thinking that it will help you accomplish more. And don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the time-wasting, mind-numbing things like television soap operas or surfing the Internet. Turn to the Lord in faith, and you will know what to do and how to do it.

Fourth, pray, study, and teach the gospel.
Pray deeply about your children and about your role as a mother. Parents can offer a unique and wonderful kind of prayer because they are praying to the Eternal Parent of us all. There is great power in a prayer that essentially says, “We are steward-parents over Thy children, Father; please help us to raise them as Thou wouldst want them raised.”"

Daughters of God Elder M. Russell Ballard Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the Kitchen: Paillard

Anybody know what Paillard is?? Well I learned last night. It's a french term (that sounds fancy) but really just refers to the flattened meat. So last night I made Chicken Paillard. It was SUPER easy and quick. And you can do this to pork or veal.

Steps to making Chicken Paillard:

1. First flatten some chicken breasts in a ziplock bag and season with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon of olive oil in large pan over medium high heat until the butter foams.
3. Add 2 paillards (the flattened meat ;) ) and saute on 1 side until golden brown (about 2 minutes) reduce heat to medium.
Flip and saute paillards until cooked through, about 2 minutes. Trasnfer to a plate.
4. Add 1/4 cup minced or sliced onions to skillet. Cook over meduim heat, adding oil or butter as needed, stirring often, until golden, about 1 minute.
5. Raise heat to medium-high. Add segments and juice of 2 lemons, 3/4 cup chicken stock and any plate juices and deglaze the pan, scraping between brown bits from bottom with a wooden spoon.
6. Simmer until sauce reduces by half, about 3 minutes. Gradually stir in 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter until just melted. Season to taste. (this sauce has BITE!!)
7. To serve, place fresh spinach on your plate, add chicken and juices. It will slightly wilt your greens slightly.

And on the side......

Potatoes with Bacon and Onions

1. Bring 2 1/2 lbs of small potatoes, 4 cups chicken stock, 1 clove garlic, 1 dried bay leaf, 6 stems of thyme, 1 cut-up into large chunks plum tomato and a pinch of salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a knife, 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a bowl with a slotted spoon. Strain cooking liquid through a coarse sieve; discard solids.
2. Cook 4 chopped slices of bacon in large skillet over medium high heat until fat is rendered and bacon is just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
Add 1/2 medium onion chopped, and reduce heat to medium. Cook stirring frequently until golden, about 7 to 9 minutes.
3. Add potatoes to skillet, and pour enough cooking liquid to come halfway up sides. Raise heat to medium high. Simmer, turning potatoes occasionally to coat and season with salt and pepper. until liquid has reduced and glazes the potatoes, about 15 minutes.
My plate....
The kids didn't want the sauce, so they had all of it separate. But at least they tried it all (only cause I called the potatoes circle fries. hahahhaha)

And for dessert...(or just for girl's night) Linzer Torte

What did you have for dinner last night??

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


We just got home last night from spending a couple days staying over at our good friend's, the Chute's house. It was so good. I was going through Sarah withdrawals. We played, we ate, we swan, we baked, we laughed. I loved it. Regan took a few days off and we went as a family. It made me really happy! But I don't have anything fun to show you today because of it! :) I pre-did my last three posts... but not today's.

I am LOVING the marvelous things posted this month on the lovely Dana has been sharing. Go check it out!!!

On Saturday as I was just finishing up an engagement shoot my camera fell. On to gravel. And completely broke the flash BAD. And my nice lens was hanging off the camera body a bit. After sending the couple home i was in a bit of a panic since I had a wedding to go shoot in on hour (and it was 45 minutes away). I kind of got the body fixed up (the lens is fine - Hallelujah!!!!) But I had to borrow a camera (a Canon - thanks Lindsay!! which I didn't really know how to use.) I had mine looked at that day but something is fishy with it now and I have to get it fixed up since I have lots more shoots booked in the next few weeks. YES I was freaking out. YES it was horrible. It still makes me feel a bit sick to my stomach!!! But the wedding shoot turned out good. And no they had no idea.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

In the Craft Room: Creative Organizer Idea #2

This is a repost from last year.... but it goes along as a viable option for creating a creative organizer! See idea #1 here

One Micheal's binder found at the Okotoks Scrapbook Convention on give away table.

First step is covering the outside.
I used one of my all time very very favorite scrapbooking papers EVER.
By Basic Grey.
I cut the paper to fit the width of the sides but left it long on the ends so I could fold it over.

The way to get the nice tight edges is to use a bone folder if you have one. (if you don't a marker or your hand will work.)

I left little spaces on the edges where the binder folds so that the paper will not get bunched up and moved around.

To cover the corners you use a wonderful special tape called Book Binding tape. Mine is from Autumn leaves. And i just love it.!! It's my third role I've gone through.

I added another cute striped paper on the inside.

Here is what it looks like at the end of the process.
Trash to Treasure: mini album 2

another view....
Trash to Treasure: mini album

So now I could turn it into a mini album or a creative organizer. Either way, it was FREE!