Thursday, January 27, 2011

YMCA 2011 Campaign for Kids

Last year I donated a session and disc with printing rights to the Beaumont YMCA Campaign for Kids Silent Auction.  All bids go towards building a a bigger and brighter future for our community.  To find out more about this event, visit their site.  Last year I participated in their vendor fair.  This year I will not be able to, however, I hope you still find time to visit the Beaumont YMCA and stop by the silent auction.  Who knows, you could be the winning bidder for a session with me!  The silent auction is open to the community; a YMCA membership is not required. 

Where: Beaumont YMCA, 3251 Beaumont Centre Circle, Lexington, KY 40513, 859-219-YMCA (9622)
When: Thursday March 3 - Saturday March 5 (ending @ noon)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January Mini-Session

Once you see the dates for January's mini session you'll think it was a last minute thought.  Not the case!  I had this date picked out, but upon constantly checking the weather forecast (temps below freezing). I thought about scheduling sessions on an individual basis.  You may have seen my quick Facebook post about it. the forecast is calling for 45 and partly sunny!  YAY!! 

So now book your session!  (PS.  I'll have mini sessions on a monthly basis.  Check my site and blog each month to book!)

Date: Sunday, January 30th (make up day Sat. Feb. 5)
Times: 3:00-3:30, 3:30-4:00, 4:00-4:30, 4:30-5:00 (if needed: 5:00-5:30, 5:30-6:00)
Location: Masterson Station Park
How much: $30 ($15 deposit); mailing fee and disc included

Anything else???  I have props!!  I have Valentine's Day on the brain...Plush pink, red and purple roses; safe enough for my teething clients.  A large red glittery 'LOVE'.  I also have a pink chair-most likely will get use from the girls (blue chair for boys).  Get creative with your own props-flowery headband, lollipops, heart antennae headband, face painting, etc.  Location was chosen due to plain background, we want to show off the props, reds and pinks of the outfits.  :) 

30 minute session may also be used for a general session.  Birthday, winter picture, etc.

Double up with a friend!  Don't think your child will need the full 30 minutes, have a cousin or friend join in on the fun...and for no added fee!

What are you waiting for?! 

Need some ideas?  Shutterfly has absolutely adorable cards to send your loved ones!

And a more economical option?  Order prints with a LOVEly border!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A few of my favorite things...part II

So it is taking me two days to actually tell you about my holidays.  :)  Here is how my mom served Christmas dinner....her table looked like something out of Better Homes and Gardens.  :)  Oh how I wish I could that...but my son seems to think anything on the table is allowed to be in his hands.  Candles...too mats look good will be tugged on...table cloth DON'T EVEN GO THERE! 

Gift opening time!  So my son's head became the catch-all for bows.  :)  He didn't know what to do when we stuck the sticky part of the bow on his palm.  :) 

At the beach...getting some good play time pictures.  My cousin is reading Isaac his new favorite book.  "That's Not My Monkey"  He LOVES touching the monkey's fuzzy tongue, eyebrows and tummy!

How can you resist baby feet?!  Little man is pulling up EVERYWHERE...he even stood up on his own!  I mean went from sitting to standing without pulling up on anything for support.  He's growing so fast!

This was by far one of my FAVORITE Christmas presents...well, one of Isaac's Christmas present.  Leg warmers!!   Not just any leg warmers, but designed to MATCH his diapers!  For the newer followers, I cloth diaper our baby's tush.  Baby Legs made leg warmers to match the bumGenius and Flip diapering system.  The leg warmers make diaper changes SO easy.  Just imagine his legs staying warm WITHOUT the hassle of taking and putting on pants of a squirming crawler.  :) The links will take you to Kelly's fav place to shop for my cloth diaper stash.  By the way, this week giveaway from Kelly's Closet is 2 Flip covers and a pack of disposable inserts.  You better believe I'm hopping on this one!

Krystal & Allen: Maternity Session

Krystal has been a friend of mine for about 5 years.  We met when a wonderful group of gals decided to join together and form a bible study.  The gal group went through many stages of life together; broken hearts, marriages, babies, loss of family members...and throughout it all we still gave praise to the One above.  Even though our group split into two smaller groups, the memories have been fond.

I couldn't have been happier for Krystal when I found out she had met Allen.  He was right for her.  All of us were stoked when we found out about their commitment to love each other (and the Lord) for the rest of their lives!  Fast forward to today...they are expecting their first son...ANY DAY! 

Our session was originally supposed to take place back in December, when we had scheduled her baby shower.  However, due to the unseasonal snow storm, the shower was rescheduled to January.  We spent the few days prior to the shower doing anti-snow dances...we wanted this mommy-to-be to be showered with gifts, games and memories! 

So after a few hours of exchanging birth stories, dipping into the punch bowl, some good munchies, and gift opening, we hopped over to the park near our house for their maternity session.  I hope you enjoy!  :)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

These are a few of my favorite things...part I

The holidays are over.  The hustle and bustle has calmed.  Refreshed after a vacation.  Life is back to normal. 

I took a vacation from the photography business, but not from photography.  What was so nice about 3 weeks away from clients, editing, and scheduling was I could turn my attention more to my family.  On our beach vacation I could shoot away and not think about the upcoming sessions, when I'm available to start scheduling sessions again, plans of updating my blog and website (which are still left undone) or planning my editing schedule for the rest of the month.  Business is slow this time of year.  And I like that.

Here are a few of my favorite things from those 3 weeks.

Cake Balls!  I was inspired to attempt this confectionery creation after watching The Scoop with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb one winter morning.  Angie Dudley, the woman who started the cake-pop craze was a guest speaker on the show.  She showed step by step how to make cake pops/balls.  The difference is cake pops are made with a lollipop stick inserted...cake balls are the same sugary treat minus the stick!  If you watched the segment you thought it would be a SNAP to whip up these delicious treats!! 

As with anything new you attempt, the first time isn't a SNAP...and it took me 3 days to complete my masterpieces...working around my 9 month old's nap schedule, Christmas shopping and wrapping packages.  :)  Tis the season!  I thoroughly researched the art of creating cake balls...just as I do anything (seriously, just ask my mom about my research on rabbits...and my husband could tell you how many hours I surfed the net soaking up cloth diapering info and tips). 

In a nutshell, here is what you'll need:
1 box of cake mix (or a homemade recipe)
1 tub of frosting (or homemade recipe)
2 bags of candy melts
2 plastic forks
waxed paper
Double boiler or microwave or Lil dipper crock pot
sprinkles/decorations (optional)

Here's how you'll create:
1.  Bake cake according to directions on the box.  Any cake mix will do.  Get creative.  The first time I used red/green confetti cake mix.  Think german velvet...strawberry...

2.  After cake has cooled, crumble it into pieces.  Yes, I know this seems SO counter-productive and destructive...but this is when the fun starts.  I found the top, edges and bottom of the cake were 'chunkier' so I sifted out the larger pieces.  Discard as you please...the scraps went in my belly!

3.  Add frosting to crumbled cake.  BE CAREFUL!  This when Angie made it seem so simple.  She simply dumped an entire tub of frosting into the cake crumbs.  I did this for my first round of cake balls.  First of all I used a super moist cake mix and the entire tub of frosting made the 'dough' too doughy.  It more or less felt like a super sticky cookie dough or really thick, raw cake batter (and hubby wouldn't touch CARES?!).  With my second round of cake balls I added HALF the tub of frosting and achieved perfect consistency.  So my advice is to start with half a tub, and add more if the 'dough' seems too dry and still crumbly.  The 'dough' should not be too sticky.  You should be able to roll 'dough' into balls without it sticking to your hands.  A pointer I read during my cake ball research was to put the 'dough' into the freezer before rolling it into balls.  The colder dough is easier to work with when rolling.  You will definitely to need to freeze the dough if you added too much frosting. 
4.  Roll into balls.  Place into a freezer-safe container, separating layers with waxed paper.

5.  Freeze rolled cake balls for about 30 minutes or longer.  Even freezing them for days is perfectly fine!

6.  Prepare your candy melts.  Follow the directions on the bag for double boiler or microwave use.  I thought I'd take a risk and use my Lil Dipper crock pot (typically used for warm cheese dips).  I had read another person used this method.  I didn't have a double boiler.  Also, on the bag of candy melts, the directions say to melt the entire bag at once...and I wasn't sure if I would be fast enough to dip cake balls before the bowl of melted candy would cool and harden.  The Lil Dipper worked so complaints!!  And one bag of candies fits into the mini crock pot.  :)  If using the Lil Dipper, candies should melt in about 15 minutes, stay near by to stir and mix to evenly melt all wafers.

7.  Spread waxed paper on counter top/table.

8.  Prepare one fork...break off the two center tines.  A tip I read online from another cake ball maker.  You will use the fully intact fork to roll the ball around in the melted candy, and use the modified fork to lift the ball from the melted candy.

9.  Remove 6-7 frozen cake balls from the freezer at a time.  Dip one at a time in the melted candy.  If you choose to decorate with sprinkles, you will need to sprinkle immediately after dipping; before the candy hardens.  The reason to pull only a few cake balls out of the freezer is because when they 'warm up' pieces of cake will come off in the melted candy.  It will leave your candy coating clumpy and bumpy.  I found the 'prettiest' cake balls are the first batch...after that the candy coating slowly gets lumpier. 

10.  After coating and decorating, place ball on wax paper to cool. 

11.  Cake balls are ready to eat as soon as candy coating has cooled and hardened. 

12.  Coated and decorated cake balls can be kept at room temperature, in the fridge or in the freezer.  A tip I read online was that if the cake balls are decorated and you choose to refrigerate or freeze them, the colors from the sprinkles will run or 'bleed' when warming up to room temperature.  And really, let's be honest...the cake balls won't last long enough to store them.  :) 

The red and green cake balls were my first batch.  The 'dough' had too much frosting, but they still tasted phenomenal.

'Snowballs' were my second batch and they turned out PUUUUURFECT.  Not too dry, crumbly or sticky.
Well, I was going to add more pictures from the holidays...but I think I'll do that tomorrow.  Stay tuned for 'A few of my favorite things...part II.'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

748 CHA or CAH

That's the license plate we're looking for.  White 95-99 Oldsmobile Eighty-eight/Regency with a badly wrecked front end.  Kinda ironic I would make a post about 'cherish' being my word of the year...and the same night we're involved in a hit-n-run accident, and we believe the driver was under the influence...from what hubby could tell from talking to the driver. 

Cherish...the thought that we're ok and we could walk away from the accident.  Or is that more relief?  Relief that the family in the car ahead of us are ok.  And the neat part...we were both on the way to church for the same bible study.  :) 

The accident happened like it does in the commercials and movies.  Everything is slow motion until the point of impact.  The traffic in front of us quickly braked, so we did.  I knew we'd stop in time, until I glanced in the side view mirror...I can't remember what I said, but I said something.  It was either an expletive or another thought racing through my head, "Get ready for it," "Here it comes," "We're going to get hit."  And then the impact.  Not once, but twice.  Nanoseconds.  We were pushed into the car in front of us.  The first was definitely harder than the second.  I remember glancing back to Isaac in the car seat, I saw the seat being jostled.  Stay calm.  Flashers on.  Hubby gets out.  I turn back to Isaac once more.  He's looking at me like he would any other time from the backseat  "Hi Mom, what's up?"  And then I think it hit him.  He let out a wail, but was quickly calmed with the help of a bottle.  Just a few sucks.  Then a few nursery rhymes and songs to keep him entertained.

Between verses of 'Old McDonald' and B-I-N-G-O I'm able to catch bits and pieces of the conversation from the rolled down window.  The family in front of us is on the phone with metro police.  The gentleman behind us mentions he has insurance. 

"Moo moo here, moo moo there..."  Then I feel the car being pulled backwards.  I glance through the back window to see the gentleman behind the wheel. "Ok, he's just trying to get his car out from underneath ours," I think to myself.  Something else catches my attention and I look back again.  He's backed away even further and then I hear the rev of an engine.  My next thought, "WHAT?!" He's pulling around us!  In the process he almost gets smacked by an oncoming minivan.  Seriously, I'm watching our very own hit-n-run.  You think it only happens on COPS, but is real life and that feeling of "it will never happen to me" is out the window like dirty bath water.  Shocked, stunned.  I think I had to pull my jaw up from the floorboard.  THINK FAST!  The plate, I read aloud the combination of numbers and letters.  I keep chanting them as I frantically search my purse for a pen.  I KNOW I just dropped two pens in before we left the house...for note taking at our bible study.  PaperMate...the blue ball point pens.  I have a great photographic memory and I'm hoping it helps in this situation.  Isaac squawks...shoot...was it CHA or CAH?!  I find the pen stuffed in the crevice of my side pocket....something to write on!  The insurance card.  So yes, our insurance card has the plate number on it.  Nate ducks his head in the window, shock and disbelief and he mentions he only got the first three numbers.  I reassure I got the last three letters.  I shakily hand him the insurance card with the information.

The fire engine pulls up, I can see blue lights behind it.  Help is here.  I went against my nature and stayed in the car to entertain Isaac.  I so desperately wanted to be out on the street hearing what Nate and the other driver were reporting to the officer.  After a short conversation between the trio of men, we pull off to a nearby neighborhood.  The standard routine of "license and registration" is next.  The officer pumps a little relief into us as he spouts off his statistics for recovering hit-n-runs.  75% success rate. a school teacher that seems sketchy...75%, that's a low C or Apprentice by district standards...but I guess it is better than 50% or 30%, right? 

So I'm asking for your help.  Not that I expect all of my readers to 'release the hounds' and become pretend bounty hunters.  But, while you're out, if you happen to see an older model white Oldsmobile/Buick with a smashed front end and license plate 748 (we're sure on that part) CHA or CAH, please inform the authorities.  UPDATE: A family friend of our's who works at the county clerk's office ran the tags both match to the vehicle description.  So possibly the tags are stolen or I misread the last three letters.  Hmm...C, G?! 

And I'm writing this now so I can 'get it out of my system' so I can hopefully drift off to sleep...I'm not angry, not dwelling on the 'what-ifs,' I just can't get to sleep.  It will be on my mind.  No wait, that's a self fulfilling prophecy...I don't want it on my mind for the remainder of the night.  And hubby is softly snoring, surely sprawled across our king-sized bed since I'm not there to stake my claim to my half.  Now it is time to nudge him back over to his side.  :)  UPDATE: Thursday I was seething with anger.  By Friday I was mentally and emotionally exhausted...I just didn't want to think about it and wished it would all go away.  At church on Sunday the message was about appropriate.  :)  And today...I'm just waiting it out until I can get my hands on the police report.  In the meantime, we took the car to two auto body repair shops.  And the icing on the cake (really...I'm not being sarcastic, this is the good stuff) is we only pay our deductible and our auto insurance rates "should not" increase since it wasn't our fault.  Ahhhh.....another sigh of relief. 

UPDATED 1.20.2011

Word of the year

So I fell for it...choosing a word for the year.


Merriam Webster defines it...

1 a : to hold dear : feel or show affection for <cherished her friends> b : to keep or cultivate with care and affection : nurture <cherishes his marriage>
2: to entertain or harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely <still cherishes that memory>
I felt it was appropriate.  As a photographer my camera is ALWAYS handy for the big moments in our lives.  Christmas morning, the stroke of midnight for 2011, our son standing on his own for the first time, our son shoving sand in his mouth during our winter beach trip...images allowing me to cherish milestones in our lives.
But these are moments to cherish within our family.  'Cherish' can carry outside our family and into the community.  'To show affection for' is what I want to do for others.  For example, the homeless person on the side of the road.  I was once afraid.  Roll up the window, lock the doors, and make sure sunglasses are in place.  Avoid.  Scared.  Unknown.  Silly.  That's right.  I was acting silly.  It took my husband to show me how to reach out to strangers.  Without a second thought he rolls down the window and hands over whatever bill(s) he has in his moneyclip.  Wow.  He cares.  Salvation Army Kettles in the winter...without a thought he drops in cash before we go into the store.  My tax-savvy brain used to think, "If we wrote a check instead of cash we could write it off on our taxes."  Writing it off on the taxes is just a bonus...the real gift is the actual gift.  We've always wondered if the recipeients of our gifts have used them wisely.  Is it really our business?  We are just stewards of this money, it really isn't ours. 

So how can I show affection towards others?  Sure, hand out a few bills, or pack a paper sack of non-perishables and keep in the trunk of the car to hand out.  So this year I'm challenging myself to cherish and show affection for others.  I have a few ideas...we'll all just have to wait and see how these ideas pan out.  And it includes my God given gifts and talents.  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Sessions

Wow, it has been awhile since I've posted any images!  I mean, I've made a few blog posts, but none of any recent work.  I guess I really did take a 'vacation.'  :)  Here are images from various family sessions and mini-sessions from December (in no particular order).  Enjoy!

The S Family
4 words: Get Ready to Laugh.  Maybe it is one of those 'you had to be there' moments.  I spent the entire hour laughing so hard...I'll try to recreate the setting so you can laugh along...

Do I really need a caption for these?!  The facial expressions are enough to laugh about!! :)

5th grade yearbook pose...and yes, his brother followed with the same pose!

 Tis the season for a little gift giving...

If you heard the 'sweet nothings' he was whispering in mom's ears you'd have the same expression on your face!
 Single white male blowing kisses to his mama.
PS.  He also had a leather jacket and insisted I "take a picture of me wearing my Broke Back Mountain Jacket."

The H Family
Family friends.  Such a joy to watch the kids grow year to year. The oldest daughter looks more and more like her mother.  The son is a spittin' image of his daddy. :)

The K Family
I did their Christmas card pictures last year and now he's a big brother!  Always a treat to be around little boy B!

The M Family.
Surprise pictures for Daddy and the rest of the family!  I LOVE the props they brought.  They have inspired me to do monthly sessions for each holiday!

The S Family.
More surprise pictures for daddy!  Little boy R is just a few weeks younger than my son.  This fam signed up for the Baby's First Year Package, so I've enjoyed watching him at milestones.  :)

The F Family.
The face says it all!  What fun kids to capture 'in the moment.'

The W Family.
A new addition to the family.

The K Family.
And baby makes 3.  A few newborn images and her older cousin.

The H Family
She was my maid of honor!  It was good to catch up since she's moved elsewhere in KY.  PS  Doesn't the snow make for festive Christmas pictures?!

The L Family
Recognize the oldest son?  I recently did his senior portraits! This time I got to meet the whole fam!

The J Family
Sisters...and the two on the left are preggers and have the SAME due date!  How exciting!!

and yes...I was the target of that snowball!