Monday, December 21, 2009

Costco makes me happy

Especially lately... usually I walk out feeling like I've been robbed because I don't feel like I buy much and yet it costs a lot. I walked through the door the other day to see one of my favorite brands of kids shoes for $24.99 (retails for $40-50) and sprinted over to elbow the other moms out of the way so that I could secure a girls size 7. Ok, there was no shoving, but there was great excitement.

And later on during my shopping trip I came across San Pellegrino in flavors Aranciata and Limonata and I nearly started crying in the aisle. They are my absolute favorite beverages in the world. They had this in Costcos for a while but then they disappeared (at least from ours).

Gingerbread House

We are definitely going to do this again next year. I think the whole family loved it, and it's been fun to have this as our centerpiece over the last few weeks:

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Pho Noodle House {Orem, UT}

Ok so we just got back from the Pho Noodle House in Orem. I can't remember being happier after a meal out. If you are a fan of Wagamamas this is your place! I ordered the chicken pho and was hoping it was like chicken ramen, and it honestly might have been better. Kyle ordered their August Moon beef, which is a Korean dish and I honestly don't think I have ever had a better beef entree in my life. The spring rolls were outstanding, the service was some of the best I have ever had. Can you tell that I enjoyed myself?

We will definitely be going back soon. Care to join us?

ps. I got an iPhone for my birthday last week (my husband surprised me and I was SO excited), but I completely forgot about its sweet camera phone until we were just about ready to leave and I all we had left was the chicken pho. The plating was fantastic and the entire meal was photography-worthy. I'll be sure to remember mine next time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Decorations {being sentimental}

Tonight is my Grandpa and Grandma's Christmas party. It's one of my favorite traditions and I am so excited, it might as well be Christmas Eve! It makes me sad to think that this is the last year I will for sure be here... the future holds great adventures, but it's hard to grow up.

Here are some of my favorite decorations from our decorating party on the 2nd... I took pictures of every tree in her amazing home (there's one in every room), so stay tuned for more pictures of her Christmas Wonderland.

my favorite decoration of all- the mistletoe hung from their gorgeous pendant light in their entryway.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Thanksgiving roundup

As we head into winter I'm longing looking back at fall. I love fall more than any season and it's never easy to let go. Especially when December has been absolutely freezing! If it weren't for Christmas coming up, I'd dread the snow too, but so far it's been pretty magical.

Before I get to Christmas posts (I'm pretty behind this year- what else is new) I thought I'd share a few things from Thanksgiving. We were with my husband's family, and I thought it would be fun to involve the kids as much as possible in the festivities. My niece and I were in charge of all the decorations for our feast and we elected to make not only a fabulous centerpiece with pumpkins and gourds, but also name cards so that everyone would know where to sit (my niece was very worried about this part). I let her be in complete control and she did everything from write the names to laying out the decorations on the table. It took some restraint not to tweak a few things, but I had to remind myself that it was her table and she was so proud of it. You should have seen her beaming!

Also, I did a twist on one of our family traditions with pie crust... instead of spreading butter on the leftover crust with a pastry brush and then sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar, I cut out little leaves with a knife. I was a little bummed that the only knives in the house were slightly serrated, but they actually made the leaves look more lifelike when they were cooked because they weren't perfect. I added the veins of the leaves with a knife, then spread butter and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. My favorite part was twisting the leaves in various directions on the cookie sheet so they would look more realistic. The pretty much flattened when they baked, so next year I am going to try dowels underneath them.

There's nothing like homemade pumpkin pie, homemade whipped cream, and a lovely little shortbread cookie to go on top...

Portrait of my life...

...a blur.

taken while chasing my daughter and husband through the SLC airport last month

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Daybreak photo shoot {S Family Portraits}

I met up with this lovely family at Daybreak in South Jordan. I'd never been there, and I tell you, it was so quaint I was ready to move right in. This little boy reminded me of trying to take pictures of my own daughter... which meant I chased him around most of the time. I love it when a photo shoot goes well and I get a good workout at the same time.

We shot at a number of locations within 2 minutes of their house. Pretty cool. I've always wanted a family portrait on the front steps, so I'm pretty excited about their family shots on their porch with their festive wreath. I'm really good at being jealous of my client's pictures, aren't I? I guess if I'm on the jealous train I might as well say that I wonder how it would be to have my entire family look like models? I absolutely adore their wardrobe choices too. Coordinating, but not 'matchy matchy' whatsoever. Ok, I'm done now.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Diana + Madeline {portrait of a mother and daughter}

There's nothing I enjoy more than capturing relationships through photography. The way people look at the ones they love, the sweet kisses, the laughter and smiles. I had the opportunity to take portraits of one of my dear friends and her daughter last month and they tell a story of their mutual adoration in such a tender way.

Since they moved away at the end of the summer it was wonderful to get together again and spend time with them for a little while. Diana is a classic beauty, don't you think? Stunning. Little Madeline ignored the camera just about as much as my daughter does, but we managed to get a few of those gorgeous eyes and maybe even a few with her smiling.

And if you show up to a photo shoot to 'observe' you are fair game in my book... you'll see at the end that Diana and Madeline weren't the only two who fell victim to being shot. Mwoooo-haha! (said with an evil, evil voice).

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Family favorites {recipes}

'Tis the season for amazing food! Seems like lately the most simple recipes I've tried have been my favorite, and I'm excited to try and share more recipes with you during the holidays. Lately we've been trying to have real Sunday dinners, so last week we had roast, potatoes, asparagus, and homemade biscuits with homemade strawberry jam. I'm sharing two adored family favorites: roast beef and baking powder biscuits. My mom makes the best roast, and my sister Stacey makes the best biscuits (so light and fluffy- amazing!), so even though it wasn't the best we've ever had, the Mister was pretty thrilled by this meal and so was I.

Roast Beef: this one is so easy and so incredible. Make sure to sear your roast (see videos HERE, or simply cover completely with flour and then brown in shortening over medium heat), then just put it in the crock pot and cover with a packet of au jus and cook on low. The guideline is approximately 1/2 hour of cook time per pound, but I generally just leave the crock pot on low and let it cook until it falls apart. Amazing.

Baking Powder Biscuits:
1/3 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk

Cut shortening into flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork. Combine until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Then stir in only enough milk to make the dough pull away from the sides of the bowl (not too much!) then knead lightly for 2 minutes. Roll dough until 1/2 inch thick and cut with biscuit cutter. Bake on a ungreased cookie sheet at 450 for 10-12 minutes. For extra soft biscuits, place biscuits next to one another on the cookie sheet (see pics above), if you want the sides to be a bit crunchy, place them one inch apart.

and while we're on the topic of making meals special, I really need a gravy boat. Maybe I'll ask for one of THESE gravy boats for Christmas so I won't have to be so embarrassing with my pyrex ghetto-ness

Stout {portrait of four siblings}

Don't know what to get mom for her birthday or Christmas? Follow this advice: organize a sibling photo shoot! This is exactly what this handsome group did, and I honestly can't think of a better present. I'm sure if you want to see tears of joy, this will do it. And don't we all want to get rid of our high school senior picture on the wall? I know I do!

Can you tell we all had fun on this shoot? We did.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you enjoy the day!

photo taken back in September in Ephraim, Utah

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Garage {August 2009}

My favorite place in my in-law's house is their garage. My father-in-law has got to be the most organized, meticulous person I know. I marvel at his spotless motorcycles, the cleaning supplies in perfect order, the tools in their rightful place on the wall and in their drawers, the pristine white cloths used for cleaning his bikes and cars, and the absolutely spotless floor. Everything is in it's place. I just like being in there because you can tell how much love he has for this space by the way he put it together. . Last time we were home I took some pictures so that I could always remember how much I love that place and the man it belongs to.