Friday, December 11, 2009

I am starting a series of posts on children's photography!!!

My artistic medium is and always has been photography. I think that capturing the essence of your child's personality in a photograph is such a beautiful, priceless thing. Over the years, I've photographed many children, and have taught classes and just given simple tips to mom's on how to take better at home pictures of their children. I've even taught classes to nurses in the NICU, on how to help parents get better photos of ther wee ones in the dim hospital lighting. It always gives me such a good feeling to help parents in this little, tiny way. After losing our daughter Mya in 2004, we've seen firsthand just how priceless photographs can be. I shared on my old mom's message board, a series of posts on different photography related topics, and a few people have recently emailed me to see if I'd share again, and elaborate a bit more. Absolutely! Now is the perfect time, as we're all nestled away in the house on the chilly desert evenings. I'll try to keep these posts as regular and "weekly" as possible, with my regular posting scattered in between.

My first topic, to be addressed next week, is LIGHTING...

Here, just for a trip down memory lane, are a few of my favorites of my own children from over the years...










Friday, December 4, 2009

Public Service Announcement

A little peek into our lives this week...


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

I hope you all are having a fantastic holiday weekend with your families! We had a whirlwind cooking spree here on Thursday, so, per tradition, I had to bust out my beloved Bella Pamela apron and hair wrap. I bought it years ago back in Michigan and am completely in love with it. I wear all the time in the kitchen, but the hair wrap is saved for the holidays only, and who would have husband says it's crazy sexy!! Now that Stella is old enough, I may have to get her one of Bella Pamela's darling kids' aprons. Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

my sister actually managed to snap a photo of me!! See my lovely apron?

My mom basting our 20lb turkey that the kids dubbed "Timmy the Turkey".

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Why I love World Market...

Because they carry things like this...

Bacon Chocolate Bar?? Oh yes, yes indeed...
Picture 5

The champagne that my husband and I drank on our wedding night...
Picture 6

And the coolest combination known to man, Pez, and the W of Oz...
Picture 7

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pre-holiday kitchen insanity!


Even though the holidays are not "officially" here yet, the kitchen has been like command central! We've had friends and family popping by, experimentation for Christmas gift-baking, and just general cooking insanity! The kids have loved every minute of it too, and I can honestly tell you that an 8 year old was almost entirely responsible for the chicken piccata shown below...






One of our family's favorite dishes of all time, is this roast chicken recipe by Ina Garten. It is poultry heaven! If you have never tried fennel, don't be thrown by it. While produce worker or gardener will tell you that fennel (anise) has a licorice type flavor, have no fear, your chicken will not taste like a hunk of the twisted black candy. The addition of fennel is the perfect touch to this dish, adding a flavor similar to that of a very mild, flavorful, sweet onion, so if you're wary, give it a try, and start with a half of a bulb or so!

Chicken piccata is one of our other standby dishes. I wish I could say I have a recipe to share, but it's all in my head and we just wing it. Here's some coaching, lol!

Take 4 chicken breasts and place a piece of plastic wrap over them, one at a time. With a rolling pin, hammer them flat until they are approx 1/4 inch thick. This helps to ensure they will cook quickly and through. Pat them dry with a paper towel, dip them in an egg wash, generously coat them in salt and pepper, and then dredge them in flour. Press the flour into the skin and lightly shake them off.

Grab a small sauce pan, add the juice of 2 or 3 lemons, 1/4 cup of good white wine, and a tablespoon of capers, allow to simmer and reduce by half, set aside.

Heat a large skillet with a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat. Add your chicken breasts, and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. You may sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley if you wish. Remove the chicken from the pan, and serve with the piccata sauce. Some people really like to coat the chicken with bread crumbs as well, but I find the simplicity of the egg wash and light flour coating to be devine, and not too bready. Simple, and a little bit elegant.

The red peppermint whoopie pies will need a makeover before posting the recipe. While they tasted devine, I'm not loving the red dye in the recipe, and the batter was just too difficult to work with. I'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Litchfield Art Fair...


In spite of feeling slightly under the weather, I hiked it to the Wigwam Resort on Sunday to scope out the last day of the 2009 Art Fair. I took the only little person who was healthy, and coincidentally, the one who wants to be an artist! We had a fantastic time, looking at all the handcrafted items, and of course, eating ginormous medieval style turkey legs. Some of our favorite items included this local woman who made the most awesome jewelry out of antique typewriter keys, a vendor with stunning semi-precious rings, and an artist who makes these fantastic ethereal looking fairie-esque sculptures using all natural components and hand sculpted faces. They were so cool! You can scope them out here on her website.



aren't these cool?

this jewelry is so cool, I fully intend on buying a bracelet! unfortunately, I couldn't get one at the show, as we had spent all of our cash on turkey legs! Luckily she had business cards.

these handmade bottle stops were perched atop antique bottles.

Monday, November 9, 2009


check out those cool, stripey armenian cukes! isn't "cuke" a fun word??

Arizona is home to many farmer's markets, the majority of which are all pretty darned close to us. And in the grand scheme of the sprawling Phoenix Metro, that's no small deal. Quite a few of them go on hiatus during the blistering heat of the summer, but now that the lovely fall and winter weather has rolled on in, the markets are up and running again. The one we visited yesterday was part of a new trend 'round these parts, the weekday sunset market. Though I do love my early Saturday morning markets, it's nice to be able to pop over to a market after picking the Littles up from school, when I'm feeling stuck in a dinner menu rut.

tiny apples!

The Twilight Market did not dissappoint. We sampled tart, mini apples from Sedona, and bought some fantastic Sweet Cider! The boys and I were over the moon to see a local cheese vendor, selling fresh curds, cheddar, and jalapeno jack. And how cool that the milk used comes from local dairy farmers! The block of cheddar that left with us was milk a mere 24 hours prior. So awesome. Dinner inspiration came in the form of a bounty of fresh, local mushrooms. light fluffy, meaty, and flavorful. We sauteed them with a bit of butter, pancetta, and fresh garlic. Added some kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper, heavy cream, and fresh parmesan, tossed with linguine, and we had a fantastic dinner, featuring locally grown food.