dear baby Kate. may you know how ADORED you are. everyone is smitten. including me. I might even hold you sometime…. I am not prone to wanting to hold others babies. maybe someday?
Funny how once you have kids the baby becomes the chill one… Also funny how the older I get the more I LOVE chaotic kids. Maybe cause I want it to rub off on me a little. give me a little spunk any day.
this is my newest nephew. and his spunky siblings. and tolerant parents.
this session left me with a few feelings…
one. I need more yellow in my life.
two. did I really have 4 kids that were 6 and under once upon a time and still had another? don’t get me wrong… the kids were delightful but all the tired that came with that stage of life seeped back into my bones and I wondered if I really made it through. no wonder I am a mess. good thing I have my kids to help me along (my kids really are so much wiser than I EVER WAS).
three. I need a blue wall.
I am getting old…. only because I am becoming one of those wise matrons that shake their heads and exclaim ‘oh, if I could only go back and soak it in a little longer’ whenever they see peaceful babies.
and peaceful this baby was. I desperately want to share his name, but I always feel a tad hesitant on the web so I won’t…. but know that it is a perfect name.
one day I decided I needed a bird hat. I searched the web high and low for a pattern and there was NOTHING. I locked my desire away and resigned myself too fate…. until it dawned on me that I could make a bird hat pattern!! So I did. I have my bird hat perched in my closet and it makes my heart squeeze every time I get dressed. Check out the Etsy shop for your own pattern and heart squeeze.
if there is place that holds mysteries and magic it is the Oregon coast…
hours upon hours in a car with my fam doeas’t always seem so dreamy, yet when I remember the collective experiences and live the pictures again I am BLOWN away with love. Love for the earth, love for my family and almost love for long road trips…
and there is no ode. not a really one anyone ~ just the one in my heart!
Winter Falls Trail/Silver falls is always on our bucket list. The forest is like a fairy land. The clover patches are ridiculously large compared to our Canadian clover and made me happy again and again.
DEVIL’S PUNCH BOWL.
one day wasn’t enough…. it is beyond cool and everyone kid was amused and full of wonder.
Lincoln city coast. Let’s just say that the only people swimming are the Canadians…
back at Devil’s punch bowl….
tillamook CHEESE factory. Every time we visit the USA we find a grocery store with TILLAMOOK ice cream. And eat it. All….because hotel freezers are small.
hotels are almost as exciting as beaches and forest…
Cannon Beach. If a had lots of money I would spend a few days at Canon Beach. The town is DARLING and the bakery is oh my. This is where you will find the famous GOONIES rock. Also if you would like to teach your kids how to swear like an 80’s child watch it on repeat.
Astoria. A little town on the coast. We checked out the GOONIES vehicle complete with bullet holes and the jail. Found our way up a tall, winding lighthouse and hiked a trail the led to the cathedral tree that was admittedly disappointing and the kids let us know repeatedly.
found an orchard in Washington just before it closed…. I really want to live on an orchard. I believe that would be my best life.
whelp, this post is looooong overdue. Sometimes I get to meet the most glorious people and I secretly wish we could be besties (and I could have their daughter’s name). It feels like it has been a good year for that. I am endlessly curious about other families and moms. A part of me wants to scoot right up and just listen and watch. I guess that is kinda what my job is, AND I get to create photographs. win win for me!
Another pattern is added to the shop!! I am rapidly becoming addicted to creating these. I made my first whimsy bunny for Gwyneth when she was around 4 for Easter. It is still a favourite friend!
Pattern available in the etsy shop!
Sometimes all we need to a portrait. A marker of what IS. simple.
I adore messy, love soaked, playful lifestyle images. I love curated, stylized, intentional sessions. Yet, no matter what… I come back to the simple portrait.
Sometimes we just need to see our people with nothing extra… cause they are ENOUGH.
I am starting a thing. the minimalist portrait session. cause sometimes you want a picture of the people you LOVE.
The first offering will be at the DWELL LOFT on February 9th. 11am - 12am. shoot me a message for more info!!!
I really cannot get enough of my Gwynnie. Some clean light, a neutral wall and 10 minutes.
my crew 2018.
Years and years ago I OBSESSED over baking and perfecting recipes. My fudge recipe is a result of those early labours. I am fully aware that fudge in its truest origin was a mishap and slightly grainy in texture… I prefer smooth. So I present my fudge recipe. No marshmallow knock offs here…
1 1/2 Tablespoon - dark cocoa powder
3 cups - granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups - heavy/whipping cream
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
Pinch of salt
3 1/2 ounces - dark chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine cocoa and sugar. Add cream, corn syrup, chocolate, and salt. Continually stir over medium heat to dissolve all the sugar crystals. Bring to a boil, wipe down sides of pot with a pastry brush dipped into cold water to ensure no sneaky sugar crystals are hiding. Stop stirring and continue to boil to soft ball stage (235 - 238 degrees Fahrenheit). It will take approximately 7 minutes - watch closely!!!
While the fudge is boiling prepare a 9x13 pan by smearing with butter on the bottom and sides. Have the 1 1/2 Tablesppons of butter chopped and ready to dollop on top of the fudge once it is poured into the prepared pan.
When the fudge has reached soft ball stage, remove form heat and add vanilla. Pour into the prepared pan, and dollop the butter over the top. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can place outside, if it is cold, to hurry the process but don’t let it get too cold… it will take more energy to turn it later. While it is cooling prepare an 8x8 pan with parchment paper the extends past the edge of 2 opposite side and spray lightly with oil. The parchment draping over will allow you to grab the ends later and lift the fudge out and be sliced into beautiful uniform pieces.
Once it is room temperature there are two ways to ‘turn’ the fudge. The old fashioned way is with a paddle (wide, strong wooden spoon with a flat top). Butter the counter top, put the fudge on top and start pulling the fudge on top of itself with the paddle. It will get easier as you go, then harder, than easier, then exasperating until you feel utterly defeated and at that moment you will begin to start seeing the glorious shades of opaque threading through the mixture and you know you are nearing the end…. The whole process takes 30-40 minutes.
The other method is using a Kitchen Aid mixer with a paddle attachment. Butter the mixer bowl and add cooled fudge. Beat on low - med until the turns opaque. Be prepared to scrape the sides of the bowl down as the fudge goes through its sticky phase.
The fudge is ready when it turns opaque (not transparent) and is no longer glossy or sticky. It is a breath taking process really. Once it is turned, press into prepared pan immediately and smooth the top with an icing spatula. Wrap tight and refrigerate or freeze. I have no idea how long it lasts because it never sticks around long enough to test its residency.
YES PLEASE. This is my Gwynnie’s FAVOURITE Christmas treat, as well it should be.
This recipes was inspired by the Chocolate Meringues in the Duchess Bakeshop Cookbook. Whenever we visit Edmonton we head over to the Duchess pronto and eat patisseries. The Duchess is absolutely inspiring and a must visit, if you can!
I use weights for this recipe…. If you do not have a kitchen scale then GO BUY ONE. They are pretty darn cheap these days AND they are kinda fun.
Salted Caramel Meringues
180 grams egg whites (fresh works best, not prepackaged carton)
345 grams confectioner’s sugar (icing sugar)
Pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup Salted caramel (recipe HERE)
1/4 cup dark chocolate chopped
Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine the egg whites, confectioner’s sugar and salt in a metal/glass mixing bowl that has been cleaned of any oils. I usually wipe the bowl and whisk with a paper towel soaked with lemon juice or vinegar.
Place your mixing bowl(i am using a kitchenmaid mixer bowl) over a pot of simmering water (double boiler). Stir mixture until it reaches 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove from double boiler and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer bowl to mixer with a whisk attachment and whip on high for about 10 minutes. The peaks should be stiff and glossy.
Using a spatula fold in vanilla.
Using a teaspoon, spoon messy drops of meringue onto the parchment. They should be about 1.5 - 2 inches wide and at least an inch apart.
Warm salted caramel and chocolate (separately) until they are melted, but not hot. If they are too hot it will effect the meringue. Working with one row of meringue mounds at a time, put a small dollop of caramel and chocolate on each one. The dollop is about 1/4 - 1/2 tsp in size. Using a toothpick swirl the caramel and chocolate into the meringue.
Lower the over to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Place baking sheet in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
Allow to cool completely. Store at room temperature for up to one week.
There are a few skills that get us through life. Talking, bathing, working…. the basics. There is one skill that will make ALL THESE THINGS BETTER. You may loathe the kitchen, yet this is the one thing you should teach yourself to do. It will sustain you. The Salted Caramel Skill.
Salted Caramel improves lives everyday. Specific real life case in study…mine. Perfect in every season and makes a irresistible offering to friends.
Do it do it do it do it do it. This is really what Nike was talking about.
yields 1 cup
1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons (90grams) salted butter, room temp and cut into pieces
1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream
1/2 tsp salt
Heat granulated sugar in a medium heavy bottomed sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon.
Sugar will slowly start to melt and form clumps, it will eventually turn an amber colour and melt completely. KEEP STIRRING. Always. The sugar can burn quickly.
Once the sugar is melted, add the butter. The caramel mixture will bubble up and spit butter, be careful..
Stir butter until completely melted, about 2 minutes. Sometimes a whisk work better at this stage.
Slowly drizzle the cream over the mixtures while stirring. Once all combined continue to boil for 1-2 minutes, while stirring.
Remove from heat and add salt.
Pour into a jar and allow to cool.
Store in Refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Devour as needed.
Walking through the door and the warm sugary smell of cookies intoxicating your senses is one of my favourite memories from childhood. They were routinely the same cookie. Sometimes my mother would throw us for a loop with her coconut cookie, but usually it was the plain ol’ chocolate chip oatmeal ones.
These are not fancy. They do not require browned butter, sifting flour, necessary refrigeration time etc. Throw the ingredients in a bowl in a sloppy manner and you are good.
I have had this recipe memorized for years. I reguraly fill my home with the smell of these delicious confections to please the hungry bellies walking through my door after school.
In fear of pulling a ‘Gramma Birdie’ (rest her soul, I wish I had known her properly), I will scribe it for all to use, lest at some future point the recipe becomes a medley of 3 fistfuls of flour, half an eggshell of oil, just the right amount of sugar…
Plain ol’ Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
makes approximately 40 cookies? not sure, as the cookie dough is often pirated away…
1 cup margarine
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups quick rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
Prepare 3 cookie sheets with parchment. I prefer LIGHT cookie sheets ~ the dark ones can cause excessive browning on the bottom of baked goods. Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a mixer, with a paddle attachment, cream margarine and sugars. Add eggs and vanilla. Scrape down sides of the bowl and mix until evenly combined.
This is where I get sneaky…. Traditionally all the dry ingredients are sifted together and then added… I simply add the flour on top of the creamed mixture, make a small well and nestle the baking soda, baking powder and salt inside. Place the oats on top, give it a light mixing with a spoon and continue to blend with the mixture until combined.
Add the chocolate chips and mix until distributed.
Using a 1 1/2 inch cookie scoop, spoon or your hands make 1 1/2 inch mounds of cookie dough onto the prepared baking sheets. Lightly push down the tops, not flat like a finished cookie, just a wee bit.
Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool on sheet. Freeze well!
I have deeply desired to make a bird hat for YEEEEAAAAARRRRSSSSS. I am still perfecting the creation of this pattern and I do plan on adding to my ETSY shop so all can create bird hats at their whim. Miss Pip was going to wear it for Halloween. She is not. Her latest plan is a Peter Pan princess or a replay of last years little Red riding hood. Or a princess. Or a princess ninja. She has a princess thing going on….
The end of September was COLD. Which caused me to immediately toss summer aside and start playing with Halloween. I always have grand intentions and a flurry of anticipation for every holiday…. however, once the holiday is upon us I have usually disengaged somewhat.
I decided to outsmart myself and did most of the prep in the very beginning of October… leaving lots of time to fall into a slump. Nailed it. Made fun Halloween crafts with the kids AND became useless the closer the day came.
My Gwynnie had a party… Here is some of the fun. We kept it pretty simple. I perused the Halloween edition of BHG and instantly started to fall into the perfection trap… happily I pulled myself and remembered that paper plates and simple crafts the kids create is ENOUGH. I do love pretty magazines, though…
The front door spiders were the super cheap rings I found at Wallymart. I snipped off the ring part and glued on tiny magnets. The wreath spiders are the full ring clinging on for their dear lives.
I few years ago I resented my hubby for insisting on living in Lethbridge. Dreaming to live with fruit trees, mild winters and flowers, I was unsettled.
Overtime I have found little pockets of gold nestled in Lethbridge and area that are slowly appeasing my heart. One of them is little shops like Crazy Cakes. It is just like out of a novel. Quaint, family owned, with fiercely loyal patrons. The confections created are immaculately made and taste like sugar drops from heaven. Long ago I dreamed of having a little ‘patisserie’. Finding one that I can admire and frequent stirs my heart in the fondest ways.
These pictures are from I went with my two youngest when summer was a thing…