Friday, November 25, 2011

30 degrees and a very cold Kansas wind... WORTH IT!

Absolutely worth it.
Malaysia is a Senior this year 
and braved the very cold Kansas wind,
and did everything I asked of her
(which I'll just throw out there right now...
if I'm doing your pictures,
you need a good stretch routine for before and after!)
and just LOOK at this loveliness!
It was seriously hard to pick favorites 
out of this session because
they all turned out so beautiful.

And this weekend is the last weekend of my 2011 sessions;
three sessions in two days!
December brings birthdays, weddings, Christmas, and an anniversary!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give thanks

Sometimes there are moments
when I forget that this is not my home.
And sometimes I forget that
my Maker 
had even THOSE moments written for me...
with purpose.
So, today,
I'm thankful for hope;
for overwhelming joy;
for opportunities to actively exercise 
for undeserved grace;
for humility...
ah, yes, even humility.

I'm thankful for the new little 
purposed life that made her entrance 
into this incredible world
with a full head of jet black
Betty Boop hair;
for brothers who make me laugh;
for sisters who literally stop what 
they are doing and come rescue me;
for parents who taught me how to 
encourage others
by encouraging me...
for getting the opportunity to 
not only know my grandparents,
but to actually live life with them;
for friends to love and be loved by:
and for big blue eyes
that make me melt.

Give thanks, friends.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A lovely day...

This was indeed a lovely day! 
The Kansas wind had a very brisk chill in the air,
which provided lots of opportunities to
snuggle and cozy up to one another.
We were also in an area which provided
the little guy A LOT of space to run around in and explore...
which also provided Dad with a great workout for the day.
Two birds with one stone...

I'm looking forward to this next week.
REALLY looking forward to it, actually.

Coming soon... as in TUESDAY!!
My SIXTH niece is making her debut 
(maybe... possibly... before then????).
I cannot wait.

Oh yeah...
and there are some projects brewing around here;
our living area and small hallway WERE painted;
and I DID get that Spangles Pepsi
from one of the most awesome sisters 

Give thanks this week!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Loving this...

I have been waiting for the day that I step out my door and gaze upon this.
The jeweled colors of Autumn have arrived here.
And it kind of gives me a little extra skip in my step.

I actually have a lot on my mind right now...
which is NEVER good for me to combine with blogging.
So, I'm keeping this short...
but delicious!

This last weekend provided the opportunity for a great photo session; 
the images are still in editing,
but should be up soon.

I also had the opportunity to throw an 
open house of sorts 
for one of my brother-in-law's and his fiance
who will soon be united in wedded bliss 
forever and ever.
I can't wait.
And it was a great time to see some family friends
who we just don't see as often these days.
So, here's the delicious part of this post:

The recipes for the spread of food were provided 
from none other than,
yep, Pinterest.
(By the way, my Pinterest is whacked right now!
Anyone else experiencing this??
And now of course since I just typed this,
I checked it out and it's working fine.
Ah! Pinterest!!!)

This crumb cake is so good. SO GOOD.
As I was checking this recipe out,
I stumbled upon the Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles.
Needless to say, 
I'm now following a new blog...
because I want to eat everything I saw.
However, the Peanut Butter Chocolate Bars were...
And so easy to make...
seriously, melt some stuff and set it aside.
All in all our bellies were full of some 
pretty tasty treats.

Also, I just feel like mentioning that
I am SO incredibly grateful for the mate
my little punk bro-in-law has found himself.
All my brothers have provided me with 
incredible sisters...
and I'm not just writing that because 
I know they all read this.
I mean it should definitely earn me some points,
but I DO genuinely mean it when I say
that I have been extremely blessed by each of them.
(In fact, I somehow managed to wrangle one 
of them into helping me 
paint my living room this week!
I've only had the paint since February!!
hehehe AND I might even get a Spangles Pepsi
out of it because she's now hooked as well!
Pictures to come!)
Anyway, to learn more about the newest sis
go look at her blog...
unless you don't like things that are awesome,
because it's basically awesome at it's greatest.

So much for keeping it short!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Roasted Carrot and Caramelized Onion Soup

Last week sometime, I had noticed that one of the blog's I follow had a recipe for some kind of carrot soup. 
I never had the chance to actually look at the recipe and didn't really mind that I hadn't... 
until last night when, 
out of the blue, 
I wanted to make carrot soup for dinner.
So, I thought to myself,
"Carrot soup can't be that hard to make,
give it a go, Nicole!"
(and the other voices in my head were chanting,
"Do it, do it, do it!".
Too much info about my psychotic tendencies??)

What I came up with wasn't too bad.
In fact, my taste-tester aka the-one-I-love-most-all,
gave it an "Alright" and a 4 or 5 on a scale of 10.
That's actually MUCH better than what I expected from him.
(When he walked into the kitchen and saw what was being prepared,
he asked what was being made, 
we had some "flirtatious" banter, 
and he then said,
"Oh, that's just not what I would have picked off the menu.")

If you LIKE carrots, you might enjoy this.
If you have an insane love of root vegetables pureed into soup,
then you're going to love this.

Roasted Carrot and Caramelized Onion Soup

Two Cups of Carrots (I just used a bag of baby carrots)
Half of an Onion
Two Cups of Chicken Stock/Broth
One Tablespoon of Honey
1/2 Teaspoon of Ginger

I first tossed the carrots around with some olive oil, honey, and ginger and roasted them for about an hour at 350 degrees. I also sliced the onion and began caramelizing it in a skillet. Once the carrots were soft, and the onions were beautifully browned, I added them plus the other ingredients to the blender, excluding the stock. I pureed the mixture, adding the stock as needed, until it reached the consistency I preferred (I did end up using the entire two cups and even added a little bit of water as well). I moved the soup to a pot and let it simmer for about 20 - 30 minutes. 

I served this with a little dollop of sour cream and some freshly baked bread drizzled with honey and I actually really liked this soup. 
It may not become a menu staple, 
but it will definitely be "pinned" in my mind 
(oh, yeah, I think in Pinterest terms now). 
I also think some Thyme would be a really good fit somehow 
(because one time, my sweet friend, Sarah, made some Carrots with Thyme for book club and they were so marvelous!). 
So, give it a go sometime and see what you think!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Homemade Laundry Detergent

A few weeks ago,
the discussion of laundry detergent came up
with the book clubbers
(yes, we DO talk about other things...
hehe actually if you sat in on any of our conversations, 
you'd have no idea we were a book club!).
A few of us began making our own 
and were swapping recipes
(recipes sounds weird, but I don't really know 
what else to call it).
I use a liquid/gel recipe that I 
found on the internet and tweeked to my liking.
I was due to make some soon after that, 
so here you are...

You'll need:
1 cup of Borax
1 cup of Washing Soda
1 bar of Fels Naptha
Five Gallon Bucket

Shred the Fels Naptha into a stock pot
with three quarts of water and let simmer until soap is melted.

Add in one cup of Washing Soda and
one cup of Borax and stir until dissolved.

 It should look a little something like this.

Pour two quarts of water into the five gallon bucket
and then add your soap mixture and stir.
Then add two gallons and three quarts of water and
stir very well.

Once mixed very well, 
place the lid on it and 
let it sit for about 24 hours.
It should gel within in this time
and then it's ready to use.

This recipe usually lasts (for us) around six months,
and gets our clothes cleaner and fresher
than any detergent I've ever used before.
And the savings is nice, too:
Fels Naptha $1.12
Washing Soda 55 oz. $2.99/ 8 oz. $.43ish
Borax 76 oz. $3.99/ 8 oz. $.42ish

Less than $2.00,
yep, it's worth the 24-hour gel period for me.

There are lots of recipes out there on the old world wide web,
so check them out and find one that works for you.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Red hair and freckles,
a little boy named Bear,
and a third-born little rascal who steals the show...
yeah... this was kind of a fun session.
Throw in two amazing parents who 
love these little munchkins so wonderfully, 
and a beautiful Kansas evening,
and you may end up with something a little like this:

And this little one...
oh my goodness!
She gets her own "MERCY!!".

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whew doggy!

This is Robert and Charlie... 
oh yeah, and their owners.
Robert and Charlie have their own ideas,
and their own way of doing things.
I obliged...
because LOOK at those faces!!
Well, and the fact that Robert is actually the size of a small pony...
I have never had the pleasure 
of photographing dogs before
(except my own The Most Disobedient, Tig),
and Robert and Charlie have set the bar high.
Such great dogs and SO sweet.
My pal, Kristy, actually fosters dogs and Robert
just happened to be one that they ended up keeping.
For more info on fostering, check out the organization,
And if you need something to smile about later on,
just come on back over here
and check out little Charlie
(who preferred to have his backside photographed
more than his front... hey, if you got it, flaunt it.)