Thursday, December 1, 2011

Pinto, Jack's Elf on the Shelf

I'd heard of Elf on the Shelf but thought they were too expensive for a little doll that just sat there. Then my friend Karen started posting all the cute little predicaments that her elf was getting in to. So of course I couldn't be left out! I ran right out to Target and grabbed one. Luckily they was a deal where you got a 5.00 gift card when you bought one (this somehow made it even more worth it for me!). Luckily when I checked out the cashier noticed a previous customer (sorry whoever you are!) left their gift card at the register and gave it to me.

Since Pinto (actually Pinto E. Snow) came home he, much like Karen's elf, Bell, has really had some fun in our home. I can't wait to see what other trouble he gets into between now and Christmas! I just hope Jack doesn't catch on and start blaming him for mischief created by "someone else".

Meet Pinto....he was playing Jack's piano while he was in the shower! He also went downstairs and fed the cat out of his front end loader....Once Jack saw this he accused him of many many other atrocities!

This morning Pinto TP'd Jack's bed!

What a MESS!!!! Pinto decided to make snowflakes out of paper!!!
Things are getting messier and messier...Snow Angels in my Instant Potatoes!!!!

First he plays with scissors then he used the oven! Face plant in his cake.

a little tipsy...let this be a lesson to everyone, don't try to build a rad house out of blocks while drinking.
Pinto was rocking out...a little private accoustic jam for the other toys this morning.
Twas several nights before Christmas and Pinto was being a good elf.

Don't play Scrabble with elves, I think they cheat.

Just hanging out talking about the game...Go STEELERS!
Max showed up to check in on Ben when he spent the night with Jack...they went fishing!
Jack stayed over Ben's house so Pinto followed...dominoes!
Gettin' the low down...
Good thing I just did laundry....
I think someone is confused about which holiday is right around the corner...
Note to self: Remove bungee jumping using Christmas lights from bucket list.
Bad Pinto! Jack thought it was hilarious, then immediately said "Ohhhhhhhh Pinto is in trouble!!! We aren't allowed to write on anything but paper in this house!"
See Pinto is a good elf!

Pinto has been on his best behavior lately. Tonight he helped make the garland.

Pinto got all wrapped up last night....

Sneaky sneaky Pinto but Jack spotted you right away!
Here comes Pinto down the zip line!
Pinto is almost ready to head back up to the North Pole!
Our last day with Pinto and he tries to steal Jack's gingerbread house!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kelly and the girls

Last Saturday I had the pleasure of spending a Saturday afternoon with not one but 10 lovely ladies...I know, you're jealous already- just wait until you see the pictures! I was so nervous going in to this shoot, I've never photographed more than 3 people at once. These ladies were perfect for my first time and treated me so well.

It did help that I knew most of them beforehand, namely my dear friend Kelly that I have recently reconnected with...Kelly is such a huge fan of mine that you will be seeing a lot of her shortly- and I do thank her for that!'s how my Saturday went...more Kelly to come.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Baby Easton

My first newborn shoot….

Meet baby Easton, the handsome little son belonging to my long time friend’s niece, Amanda. Isn’t he just perfect? It just amazes me how beautiful newborns are. Could there be anything any more perfect ever created?

I took these photos about 45 minutes before I had to catch a flight back home from my Disney vacation. Needless to say things were rushed  but in the end I think you can see what an amazing mom Amanda will be and what a handful Easton will be….apparently the shot held a bit too much excitement for Easton and he decided to wet all over his mom.

Trash the Dress with Courtney

Last weekend I had the pleasure of working with one of my very favorite models, Courtney and her handsome husband Jay. I somehow (with very little effort on my part) coerced her into participating in a Trash the Dress shoot. I have always wanted to shoot one of these sessions and told anyone who would listen all about it. As I rambled on endlessly I noticed I was getting one of two responses; "What the He** is a Trash the Dress Session??" which was inevitably followed up with "Why would ANYONE want to ruin a perfectly good wedding dress??"

To those that do not know, Trash the Dress is when you [sometimes] squeeze back in to your beloved dress of white and roll around on the ground, swim or even sit in mud puddles in very liberating fun and or sexy poses. It's a fantastic experience for both parties.

 The hardest part of the entire shoot was trying to figure out what on earth to do with said trashed dress when the shoot was over. Our answer: men's bathroom trash can at First Landing State Park. Afterwards we joked about the fact the next hiker that came in to use the facilities might call the police. For all he knew there was a naked bride running around the park fearing for her life after finding a muddy beat up wedding gown in the trash can. I watched the news over the next few days and alas...nothing...maybe that's not an out of the ordinary find in a men's public restroom.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

You’ll either love me or hate me after reading this…

Either way you’ll be screaming my name!  
I have a new obsession….Gooey Butter Cookies, but more about those in a bit.
When I was making the dough for the deal breaker of my weight loss tonight, I got to thinking about cooking and what it is to me; the thoughts that cross my mind, what I’ve learned from my family and friends along the way. For instance, I do not scrape a bowl clean of its batter without hearing my grandmother Solloway in my head every single time “Shawn, you get every single speck of batter out of there. Don’t leave one drop. I don’t want you messing up my cake!” Needless to say there wasn’t much licking of the beaters once I was old enough to cook in her house. I also can’t crack a hardboiled egg without thinking of an argument I had with my dad over the easiest way to get the shell off. His way was to crack the shell into a million tiny pieces; mine was to just make sure I got under that thin skin/membrane, no matter how big or small the cracks in the shell it will come off easily. I’ve recently learned neither is better. Per John’s Aunt Mickey,  older eggs peel easier than fresh ones. That’s a really good one to know ahead of time, especially when making deviled eggs for 50! Mickey’s advice got me to thinking about some other great truths of my kitchen.
When cooking veggies like mushrooms, onions and peppers, cook /sauté for 8 minutes covered (no peaking!!) over medium heat, no more no less, they’ll come out perfect every time.
Low and slow on the grill is the way every time. The meat is done when it is done, NOT when the timer goes off.
Spend good money on at least one good pan. I have one and only one non stick (coated) pan. I am the only one allowed to use it. I don’t even like to let John wash it. The same holds true about knives and a really good stand mixer. (Love ya Cathy Brown)
If you are making a soup or stew and it gets too salty, cut a potato or 2 in half, drop it in. It will soak up some of the saltiness. If your soup or stew is too thin, add instant mashed potatoes a little at a time to thicken it up.
Something that is a given: Red wine and chocolate are a blessing sent to earth straight from heaven, nothing else goes as well together, nothing ever will! I should know. I add red wine to anything I’d add beef broth to. It adds a depth of flavor that can’t be beat. That and I always seem to have some around…a-hmmm.
EVERYONE can cook, it just takes patience and practice. Don’t be afraid to stray from a recipe. If you don’t like an ingredient substitute something that you do. If it doesn’t work out, try it the way it was written..You never know! I try to view most recipes as suggestions. They are the baseline or guide for what I want my end result to hopefully achieve or exceed. If you think you can’t cook, try baking. Some people excel at different aspects of cooking in general. You don’t have to be good at all of them. I’m quite mediocre at most and damn proud of it thank you very much.
Ok, so the reason this all came about. Gooey Butter Cookies. Any Paula Dean fan worth their salt (or mayo or butter) in the kitchen knows of her Gooey Butter Cake. Well this is a twist on that recipe and ever so easy to make! I am now completely obsessed with making these. You can make any flavor or combination that you desire…or that Duncan Hines offers in their cake mixes. My problem is that I made a huge batch of lemon flavored cookies on Sunday….they are gone. So I figured that meant I must try to make a new batch..No wait..2 new batches.  Tonight I have whipped up one strawberry and one double fudge.  I  think in honor of Halloween  I’m going to get a little Frankenstein with it and combine a few of them together….daring...I know!!!
Now please, go  get the 6 ingredients together that you need to make these, you most likely have everything in your pantry and fridge already. Then proceed to yell my name in praise for introducing you to these moist little bites of gooey perfection or to curse me for ruining your sleek slim little waist line that you’ve worked so hard to keep. If it’s the latter, shut it, put a cookie in your mouth and enjoy, you can stuff yourself on celery tomorrow to make up for it!
Gooey Butter Cookies (via Food Network)
  • 1 (8-ounce) brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 stick butter, at room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (18-ounce) box cake mix
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl with an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese and butter until smooth. Beat in the egg. Then beat in the vanilla extract. Beat in the cake mix. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours to firm up so that you can roll the batter into balls. Roll the chilled batter into tablespoon sized balls and then roll them in confectioner's sugar. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake 12 minutes. The cookies will remain soft and "gooey." Cool completely and sprinkle with more confectioners' sugar, if desired.

·         2 hours chill time is NOT a suggestion!!  Follow it or you’ll have very sticky fingers
·         I didn’t need to add the powder sugar sprinkle after
·         The Lemon is good, Strawberry ok, Strawberry/Fudge real good (think chocolate covered Crunchberry)    and the Fudge- out of this world!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Polka Dot Pajama Pants.....

You know you wish you had a pair too!
John and I had a rare chance to go out without Jack....Don't get me wrong I love the little crazy man's company but I also love being able to ride in the car and flip through my IPod and not having to stop on every Imagination Mover, Social Distortion or Jason Aldean song! - What can I say my kid has a diverse taste for music…back to the story at hand…

We had a lovely evening out ...which turned into more of a night having drinks in the bar of Kelly's Strawbridge. Needless to say I felt a little fuzzy this morning when I woke up. Unlike what I'd normally do; lay on the couch and pray for forgiveness, I decided to switch things up this time. John left to retrieve the boy so I grabbed the camera and began shooting random things in the yard. I was on my knees hunched over taking a dramatic photo of some lovely Italian galoshes that were gifted to me when John's Aunt and or Uncle decided to ride down our shared driveway....I'm sure Mickey, Dixie or both were quite bemused to see their niece on the ground wearing red polka dot pants, a pink t-shirt and green hoodie (think Christmas watermelon) taking pictures of shoes while laying in wet grass. *sigh* sadly for them, that is an unfortunate bi-product of having the privilege of being my neighbor.

I should probably just post the photos at this point and go check on John. He has donned his wetsuit and is in the process of finally cleaning and closing our pool. Another unfortunate site for our neighbors, who I’m sure, would have us removed from the neighborhood if we weren't related (and didn't always show up with wine!).
Enjoy this beautiful fall weekend.