Friday, September 30, 2011




Mom and I went to take more pictures this morning. I thought she looked so beautiful and there were so many good ones. We ditched her dog after the first location. He was just too much for us to handle. After we took him back home, we could relax a bit more and some really great pictures were the result.

I wanted to include a before and after, just because. I thought most of the pictures looked great straight from the camera, despite the obvious little exposure and tone problems that can occur when you shoot in manual.

The blog sized photos never do justice to the beauty that I see full screen in Photoshop. The colors look over edited and quality is never as crisp. But it's the best I know how to do with the patience God has given me.

Once again she was a beautiful model and we had a terrific morning together. Even though she can't move as fast as my girls, she has much more patience and is a joy to photograph.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sweet potato pot pie

(sorry for the horribly lit photo)

This was yet another attempt at "fun food" as a ploy to get my 5 year old to eat dinner. Isn't it a cute fun seasonal dinner? I thought so. Basically it's a pot pie, with mostly chicken and sweet potato in the center and a lovely puff pastry crust over the top, and a jack-o-lantern face cut out.

My older two children loved it. Emma, not so much.

On a previous day, I made mini mummy meatloaves. Which was basically individual meat loaves made in muffin tins, with mashed potatoes piped over the top to look like mummy wrap, and green peas for the eyes. (both ideas came from a magazine but it escapes me as to which one at the moment)

Incidentally, Emma didn't like those either.

I am at a loss. I feel like giving up and letting her just eat her favorite staples like always (Greek yogurt or peanut butter bread). At least they are both healthy. But she's not getting a very well rounded diet with such few likable choices. I am giving her some "Carnation Breakfast Essentials", which she calls her "protein milk" because when I read the nutrition label, apparently that was the word that stuck out to her. Or maybe it's because of my own protein obsession. Whatever the case, it's like chocolate milk to her, but better, and she drinks it. So I'm a little less worried about her lack of variety with the food she eats. Only a little though.

We have gotten tough on her. We make her try everything. We send her to her room when she doesn't eat. But that backfires because she just falls asleep. I'm so hoping that it's just a phase. I mean, I know it is, but I want it to end. Now.

Any more fun food ideas that might be extremely-picky-child-friendly?? Preferably that include veggies AND meat.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mama Olson

This is my mom. Isn't she pretty? She never believes me when I tell her.

She's a wonderful lady. Probably the warmest, kindest, most unselfish person I will ever know. I think the pictures I took of her yesterday really reflect that kindness. When a person is so loving, it really comes through in their smile. All I can think about when I look at these pictures is warmth.

I as the photographer had nothing to do with how wonderful these pictures turned out. It was all her.

She wanted me to take pictures of her "and her little dog, too". - to get a little Wicked Witch of the West in there, for Christmas cards. We were going to wait until the leaves were in full fall color but the weather has been so perfect for being outside and taking pictures, I couldn't wait. I'm sure we'll go out again for another batch.

My mom told me she had the perfect day yesterday. Well, she spent nearly all of it with me, how could it not be?  =) We went to church together, then ate lunch out. Spent the entire afternoon shooting pictures at various locations. And ended the day with a DQ blizzard for supper. And yes, it really was all we ate for supper. I think it was my perfect day as well.

The only thing that could have topped that was baking home made chocolate chip cookies and eating 5 or 6 of them without guilt or care about calories and having someone else do up the dishes afterwards.

Now, go hug your mom and tell her how wonderful you think she is.

Friday, September 23, 2011

rAnDoM pIcTuReS

My husband ordered me a longer HDMI cable so that I could hook my laptop up to our high def flat screen and I could edit photos through the tv. I haven't gotten it yet, but I am excited to try it. To sit in the middle of the living room floor and see my photos being edited on a big tv on the wall just seems WAY cool. Sometimes, after I edit a picture and I think it looks awesome, when I upload it to the blog or facebook, it doesn't look so awesome anymore. It loses something. I'm too impatient to wait 10 times longer for the high res option. I think being able to edit in high def might help eliminate some of my over editing tendencies. Although, sometimes I mean to over do it - (see 3rd photo in this post).
Anyway, as soon as I get the cable and can try it out, I'll post how it went.

p.s. if you click on the picture and to view it larger, it looks a ton better

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I love a rainy day

Actually, I love sunshine. But sometimes, I can be in the mood for a dark, dreary, rainy morning. Like today.

It's when those dreary days last weeks on end that it tends to ruin a good thing.

But when it's gloomy like today, I like to sit with a hot cup of coffee or tea, with the candles lit and just go through pictures on my computer. I need to organize them BIG TIME because I haven't really done that all summer.

As I was going through the mess that is my desktop, I found these and thought they would be a delight to share on this gray day.

I'm sure I've shared these before, but I like to revisit some of my favorites.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Happy Sunday

This is one of those deals where I turn the picture in some program on my laptop and it still shows up sideways when I import to the blog. I must be dumb because I can't figure it out. Oh well.

I've been in a baking mood. Fall weather does this to me. I think it must be typical. There is just something about the cooler air that makes anything warm and cinnamon tasting seem so comforting. The picture above is apple cinnamon hand pies (or turnovers). I sort of made them combining two different recipes, neither of which were made with apples. But apples was what I had available. I think I'll make a pie next.

I've also made about 4 cardamom cakes. I've posted the recipe for that before. It's one of the BEST things to eat on a chilly fall day. So sweet and delicious!

Not only have I been baking (apple cake, blackberry cobbler, apple turnovers, bjornkaka....) but I went nuts-o yesterday morning at the breadsmith (coffee cake, chocolate chip cookies, bread, buns) and at the grocery store (donuts, Hershey's Nuggets, mini Twix). My husband is usually so happy when I bring home treats from the store, but I think he was on sugar overload by that time and even he thought it was a bit much. Which is really saying something because he has the worst sweet tooth ever.

He stood their patting his belly saying, "I've got to cut back on all the sweets." Yes, I agree. He really does. But even more, he needs a bit of exercise. He leads a pretty sedentary life. And I think he gets annoyed when I tell him he needs exercise. Probably because I'm a freak when it comes to working out and he doesn't want to give me the satisfaction of having rubbed off on him. I know he will never have a passion for it like I do, but at the very least I would hope he would want to raise his heart rate and break a sweat 3 times a week.

I say this after doing nothing but shoving baked goods into his cake hole for the past 6 days. But I only do it because I know he loves it. And I love seeing his eyes light up when he asks 'what's for dessert' and I actually have something prepared.

Oh, and I tried the Pioneer Woman's chicken and dumplings recipe last night. Oh. My. Dear. Lord. It was fabulous! I'm a dumpling lover. My husband isn't. But even he liked these. So light and fluffy. Simply perfection.

Yesterday we bought a new grill. We ended up getting a Weber. We looked at other brands but since my husband is addicted to his phone, he happened to be looking up reviews online while we were shopping. Good thing he did because the brand we were sort of eyeballing was supposedly a pile of junk. This is one of the only times I was glad he had his phone in his face the entire time.

Today we have Eden's birthday party at Space Aliens. If you remember, her last party was scheduled over Labor Day weekend and no one could go. I had a nightmare about this last night. We were waiting for the kids to arrive for the party and they just kept coming and coming until we had like 30 kids there. I was freaking out because we only said 6 could come. Apparently Eden had been telling everyone in her class about the party, not just the six we sent invitations to. And they ALL showed up. I was literally terrified when I woke up from that one! Let's pray it wasn't a prophetic dream!

Birthday shout out to my dear friend Carmen today! Hope your day is perfect, girl!
Happy Sunday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

home made

Yesterday, I made homemade pizza. I love love LOVE making pizza. I think more than the taste I like experimenting with different dough recipes and I'm forever searching for 'the' recipe that will be my go to recipe. I like to play with different sauces and ingredients and hopefully one day I will land a winning combination. I have a taste in mind that I long for and I just haven't hit it yet. Probably because that taste is grease and my homemade pizzas are anything but.

I really like buying mozzarella balls and putting fresh cut chunks on the pizza. It melts into a lovely white pool of bubbling goodness. And fresh basil from my kitchen window......mmmm!

Also, because I had a wild hair, I finally tried a recipe that I've been wanting to make for a long time. It's called one bowl apple cake and I got the recipe off the Pioneer Woman's website. Really easy. Really delish!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Campfire Mocha is the Devil

Yesterday I took my mom on a couple of errands. We ended up at the grocery store to get some groceries and to get some pictures developed of her dog. She finished her shopping faster than I did (first time ever) and went into Caribou Coffee to wait for me. She called me to let me know she had gotten a coffee for me to and I said, "Aw, mom, I really wasn't planning on getting a...

"You'll drink it!" she barked.

I said, "Well, ok, did you make it a non-fat...{YOU'LL DRINK IT!!! - she cut in}

"Ok ok!" I said, a little scared of her now.

When I met her, she greeted me with a giant cup some fancy cold coffee with a mountain of whip and marshmallows on top. Oh. My. God. Not only did she not get me my regular non-fat mocha, she got me a very large cup of fat and sugar.

"MOTHER!" I said, "What did you do?"

"What?" - she's acting all innocent here.

"I don't typically like to drink my entire day's worth of calories. I might as well go guzzle a two liter bottle of coke, this thing probably has as much sugar!" - yes, I was freaking out because she was adamant about making me drink this thing. And I was scared. Remember when I said how she's always trying to fatten me up? Case and point. This is what she does.

"You drink it." she said again.

"Why didn't you get hot coffee?" I said.

"Because it's hot outside." she said

I had two sips and said, "I'm sorry, mom, but I just can't. I know you don't understand and you are probably mad now that you bought this for me and instead of showing appreciation I am refusing to drink it. But I don't want to erase a week's worth of workouts just to drink this. I'm really sorry."

She did look disappointed but I think she was eventually happy because I had brought it home and put it in the freezer so that my husband could have it later. And he loved it. And nothing pleases my mother more than making my husband happy.

FYI - a large Campfire Mocha is 700 calories, 37g fat, 79g sugar me crazy for not wanting to drink THAT.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend

We went to Space Aliens for lunch on Eden's birthday. It was supposed to be a lunch with her friends but being a long holiday weekend, the last of summer, it was no surprise when all her friends were lake bound and couldn't come. We rescheduled for a couple weeks out and went to celebrate anyway - just us.

We had fun, eating greasy food, playing games and winning tickets. We go for the kids, but secretly we have just as much fun. Really, we are just like kids except we weigh more. Some of the fondest memories from my childhood were the special times when my parents would take me to Chuck E. Cheese's - which is a lot like Space Aliens - you can play games and win tickets. It probably wasn't my parents' idea of the best day ever, but they knew I had fun there. They did it for me. And so I do it for my kids too. They love it.

Later in the afternoon, our friends the Lees dropped by with their 3 kids. And eventually Gram showed up too. Eden said she had the best birthday ever. She says that every year. I guess that means I pretty much rock at making my kids' birthdays fun ;)

These next two are Eden opening her present from us.

She wanted a Fijit Friend so bad. We got her one. And I knew if I wrapped it up, she would know what it was right away simply by the size and shape of the package. So I wrapped up the gift receipt from Toys R Us instead. She was trying to guess what was in this box that weighed next to nothing. After looking at the receipt, she still didn't get it until I pointed out the word "figit".

One happy girl!

That night I was exhausted. I ended up getting sick in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. I don't know if it was the combination of excitment, bad food, no sleep lately or what. But I felt fine the next day.

On Labor Day (Monday) we met family at Maplewood State Park in Minnesota for a picnic. The weather turned out to be a little windy and chilly but it was still beautiful in the sun. That's what they make sweatshirts for, right?

It was the perfect long weekend. The last holiday of summer. A final goodbye to those hot lazy days. It's always sad to pack up and head home.