Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

Recipe Below

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This pair of buddies are basically like my little elves. They are magical little creatures who bring so much more enchantment to Christmas. Their joy and enthusiasm in the creating and giving makes me love Christmas more and more every year. Truth is, every person needs to have a child in their holiday preparations.

Think about it...

 The very first Christmas came to us in the form of a child. It really is all about children, and must be shared and celebrated in every which possible way with them.

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Since we were all decked out in our adorable aprons, they actually wanted to take pictures together. This doesn't voluntarily happen often.

Jimmy wanted to whisk the flour and sugar, and Colton wanted to Ninja pulse the cranberries.

Chocolate Cranberry Shortbread

1/2 cup fresh frozen cranberries, chopped
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cold butter
1 cup miniature chocolate chips
Splash of milk
1 cup chocolate chips for melting
1 additional tablespoon butter

1. Preheat oven to 325f degrees 

2. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Using a pastry blender (or Ninja Pulse) cut in the butter until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. Stir in almond extract, chopped cranberries and miniature chocolate chips. Knead mixture until it forms a smooth ball; if too powdery, add a splash or two of milk. 

3. Shape dough into 3/4-inch balls. Place balls 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Using the bottom of a drinking glass dipped in sugar, flatten balls to 1-1/2-inch rounds

4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes. Cool for 1 minute on cookie sheet. Transfer to wire rack and let cool. 

5. In a small saucepan, melt butter on low. Add chocolate chips and stir until melted. Dip half of each cookie into chocolate, allowing excess to drip off. Place cookies on wax paper until set. Makes about 60, providing you don't share too much of the dough with the boys. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Our First Cross Country Flight

And so the day came when the pilot assigned me as Chief Assistant to the Chief Navigator and together we boarded (crammed) our small adorable little crew and took off for the plains of Nebraska. Our first cross-country flight and we didn't have a GPS. Let me assure you, the world looks a lot different from the skies. Turns out we're a great navigating team, he and I. We made it without having to stop for directions. I will let the pictures speak for themselves because I can't do the majesty of the skies a whole lot of justice with words, nor the personalities of my nieces and nephews. 

That, and I'm sleepy. 

 Kind of like how these boys were supposed to be. But they loved the experience. They shouted happily on take off and landings; unlike their mother who remains calm as she turns her face away so nobody can see her gritting her teeth and holding her breath and wondering why she would agree to such a way to take her family out and why is she putting her children through this?
 Don't worry, my life flashes before my eyes on any flight in any plane with the most experienced of pilots. Defying gravity isn't exactly my comfort zone. Not at first.
 And cutting our travel time in half to see these crazies is so worth it!

 The Mississippi River


Okay so no offense to my Iowa friends, but Iowa is just a little bit.... monotonous.

 Nebraska reminded me of lovely and creative patchwork quilts.

 Coming back home.

Wisconsin... home sweet beautiful luscious rolling home. 

Wait, what was it that I said about being sleepy? 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Colton & Brecken | There's No Buddy Like a Brother

Maybe I'm prejudiced having two little buddies of my own, but brothers are the best! I absolutely loved these two. These shots were taken during a family shoot with their cute mom and dad (watch for more pictures on my facebook page soon!) and I just couldn't get over how sweet and lovable these little buddies are together. The way they relate to each other, play together, watch out for each other, squabble at each other, and go exploring together... Funny how very natural this brotherly bond is, and these two boys are so happy and lucky to have each other.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Grube Family

I was pretty sure Summer as Wisconsin knows it was over. We had hit regularly frosty mornings and cold rainy days for (what felt like) weeks on end. It was kind of a bummer because I really wanted lovely temperatures for this photoshoot. As glorious fate would have it, the day rolled around with a gorgeous amount of sunshine and warmth for an Autumn day. It couldn't have been more perfect to hang out with these guys.

Family is awesome. Who doesn't love everything about sibling humor, pretend in-law rivalry, strong parents, goofy kids? The Grube family had it all. They know how to have a good time together, make themselves and other people laugh. Spunky. Vivacious. Loving. They're the type of family that lasts. It was an honor to spend that sunny afternoon with them.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Discover Wisconsin | Let's Go Flying

"Let's go flying," he said. "Bring your camera, it will be fun," he said. 

After months of hard study while juggling crazy work schedules, home life, and flight school, he finally had his pilot's license and a plane to show me our Autumn-bedazzled countryside. Just him and me. What could possibly be a better date to take your lady on?

That Saturday morning dawned crisp and still. The rising sun pierced rays through the gently rising Autumn fog. Peaceful. Quiet. Perfect. It couldn't have been more beautiful. 

This is Wisconsin. 

This was my first flight in a small aircraft. I didn't know what to expect. With my capable pilot at the controls my only fear was motion sickness. But even that fear was unfounded as we took to the skies. The ride was smooth. The views were breathtaking. The adventure of it all was exhilarating. The flight was inevitably too short.

Yes this. This is the place I call home. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Neil & Anna | Today and Every Day

Let me tell you a story about a girl and a boy. Two park benches on a warm Summer day. An unprecedented romance.

Well this might not be exactly how it went down, but these two found the love that is known to find you in unexpected places yet lasts for a lifetime. They know they are lucky to be in love with their best friend each and every day from here to the end of time. 

This is my friend Anna and her forever best friend Neil. They were wed nearly two years ago, but the photos from her wedding day weren't enough to capture their undying passionate love. She asked if I would do more for her. Capture themselves as the bride and groom that they were on that cold December day and remain to this day. Have the wedding pictures without the wedding. So donning their wedding attire, an afternoon of sunshine and the wedding day glow as bright as ever, we took it to the park where sun rays and flowers and gentle breezes made the perfect setting to capture the romance. This, my friends, is the way to do it. Enjoy your wedding day and save the exciting photography for for another day. I have never had such fun with a bride and groom. I can't even begin to tell you how difficult it was to narrow down my favorite images.