Monday, October 31, 2016

Trunk or Treat 16

Stop the press!  Bringing you direct from Georgia adorable Halloween photos of my children.  Your welcome!  I mean doesn't everyone need a dose of adorable children.  I mean everyone loves photos of puppies and kiddies, so for your enjoyment I give you photos of my children dressed in their costumes before we left for Trunk or Treat which is a Halloween Costume party put on by our church.  Ours happened to be this weekend.  The chili was fantastic! The costumes get better and better each year and the kids of course loved the getting all the candy.  How was your weekend?  Did you do something fun?  Well, I have a ton to do before the kids get home and we go trick or treating tonight.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Playing on the Chattahoochee

We have had an incredibly warm fall.  When a client called me in a panic because she said the weather forecast was predicting 85 degree weather and she didn't know what to now where for their fall photo shoot, I didn't believe her until I looked at the weather app myself.  She was right, it was going to be warm.  It had been in the 60's the previous weekend, but there the three day weather forecast sad 83, 80, and so on.  Well, who am I to complain.  We had a really cold winter that winter and I was going to take advantage every drop of sun and every ounce of warm weather.  After German school the children and I grabbed Subway for lunch and headed to the river.  They had a blast!

Friday, October 28, 2016

The Weekend

Hi!  How are you?  Hope you had a good week!  Our was nothing to write about, but that is OK!  The Children are finally in their routines with school, homework, and after school activities; however, the lack of light in the morning really makes it hard to get them out of bed.  We have another jammed weekend ahead of us as Addy has piano lesson, Winston has two soccer games, the 4 younger ones have German school, my oldest will be taking the SAT for college admission, and we will all be attending a Halloween party on Saturday night.  I may wear some cat ears, but I think that is as far as I will go.  Do you dress up for Halloween?  The children are so excited.  Before I sign off for the weekend, I wanted to post another family photo shoot that I shot a last weekend of  a family that I got to know through adoption.  They were adopting around the same time as we were and then brought two more home after we brought Avery.  They are such a fantastic family.  I am totally in love with their youngest.  He is super yummy!  Well, I hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Bienenstich and Big News!

Big News for our family!  We will be moving to Germany at the end of the school year and I can't be more excited.  The stars have finally aligned and we are packing up for a one year adventure in Germany.  My oldest graduates in May and will be going off to college.  My number 2 child will be staying behind to continue on with high school and his grandmother will live with him in our house, so that he can do that.  Why doesn't he come with us?  Winston is fluent in German as he has lived and gone to school in Germany.  Yes, we will miss him, but when all is said and done we felt that it was just too complicated working out his school credits.  He could home school, but he loves his high school experience, his friends, and has finally made the elite soccer team and doesn't want to give up his position on the team when there is no guarantee that he can have his spot back on the team when he gets back.  Where will we live?  We will be living just south of Frankfurt in a town called Weisbaden which is located along the Rhein River. Lots of details to still work out as it is no easy task to find an apartment or house for a family of 6.  I also have to get a visa to live in Germany.  I am the only one in our family who is also not a German citizen, so under law I am only allowed to stay there for 90 days.  Shouldn't be a problem though as I speak German and my family (husband and children) are all German citizens.  In celebration of the good news, I made Bienenstich a German yeast cake from Luisa Weiss new cookbook Classic German Baking which just came out this past week.  I was so excited when the cookbook arrived in the mail as I had pre-ordered it on Amazon. Luisa writes the beloved blog The Wednesday Chef  and is the author of My Berlin Kitchen.

I wrote about her book My Berlin Kitchen back here. I loved her book!!!  Bienenstich can be found in just about every German Bakery.  When I think of  Germany, Bienenstich is tied with my memories of this country because this is just about how popular the pastry is though you will also find it depending on the region filled with vanilla pudding.  I am in the same opinion as Luisa that it is so much better without the pudding. Making Bienenstich is super simple to make, but you will need a little time to make it as it does take time to let the yeast dough rise and to make the caramel honey almond topping.  Just saying caramel, honey, and almond in the same sentence sounds amazing doesn't it?   I can't wait to make other recipes from this cookbook.  Here is the recipe for Bienenstich.  I hope you enjoy it! Thanks Luisa!

In a bowl combine 1 2/3 cups of leveled minus 1 tablesppon of all purpose flour plus a little extra for kneading with 1 teaspoon of fast acting instant yeast with 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. Stir in 3 Tablespoons of whole milk 1/8 teaspoon of salt, and 1 egg.  Then add 3 1/2 teaspoons of softened high fat European style butter until combined.  Turn dough out onto counter top and knead until smooth.  Place dough in a clean bowl covered by a clean dish cloth and allow to rise for an hour. When the dough has risen roll out the dough so that it covers parchment paper that covers the size of a 9 by 13 baking pan.  Place the dough into the pan and set aside.  Then  in a sauce pan add 9 tablespoons of European butter, 1/2 cup of sugar, 4 1/2 teaspoons of honey, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream.  Bring to a boil and let boil for about 5 minutes until the sauce begins to change colors and is a light brown.  Take off the stove and add in the 2 1/4 cups of sliced blanched almonds allowing to cool for 10 minutes before spreading out on top of the dough mixture.  Place pan in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Top of the cake should be golden brown as seen in the above picture.  Allow to cool and then cut into pieces.  Enjoy!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The C family

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to shoot this sweet family.  Their daughter Grace was a pro! She needed no direction and rocked the shoot as if she was a professional.  I love shoots like that. I love how children have no fear of the camera and can be so comfortable around the camera unlike their teen and adult counterparts who are so worried about weather or not their outfit looks good or the long list of items that we seem to worry about.  When I say we I have to admit I am just as guilty of being so self conscience; however, I just need to let it go and embrace the camera each time I am on the other side of the lens.  Are you comfortable getting your picture taken?  Why or why not? Well, I better get going.  I have a ton of laundry to fold and the kids will be home early from school as it it is early release today.  Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I don't mean to sound like a broken record, but we have been busy.  and to be honest I will be glad when things slow down.  I need to back track a little and go back to September simply because I didn't have time to write.  Back in September we celebrated the Harvest Moon Festival which is an ancient Chinese holiday to celebrating the moon and the fall harvest.  Frank was in Germany at this time, but little kids and I went to PF Changs to eat dinner with my friend Lucy who is always up for Chinese food.  Frank's college gave us a wonderful box filled with mooncakes.  They were delicious! Skipping forward to this past week the children went to a fall festival sponsored by my friends company.  The children had a great time!  Then this past week, Addy and her class visited the art barn where they had an opportunity to learn about farm animals and then paint those animals close up. Wish I could have gone with her, but I am hopeful that maybe I can  go next time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Taste of Fall

Hi!  Did you have a good weekend!  It was a lovely weekend here in Georgia.  Saturday started off a a little chilly, but by late Saturday afternoon the sun was out and it had warmed up considerably. I am happy for the 80 degree days and will enjoy them while they last. It has been a full weekend for us. Winston had two soccer games this weekend, Frank and Harris went to see Snowden, and Winston went to a youth activity at the Christmas Tree Farm where they ate played, played games, and hung out by the camp fire.  The girls and I went to a baptism for my good friend Lucy's son Andrew and then to a fall festival where they jumped in the bouncy house, painted pumpkins, and eat got their faces painted.  Now they are all fast asleep in bed and I am ready to go watch Poldark.  Have you seen this TV show.  It is on PBS and I am loving it.  Though I can't wait for another season of Call the Midwives to come out in the spring.  What are you watching these days?   Have you ever had butternut squash soup?  It is so good.  It is the perfect taste of fall.  Here is my recipe.

Butternut Squash Curry Soup
2 large size butternut squash peeled and diced into chunks
2 large sweet onion chopped
4 apples peeled and chopped into chunks
2 Tablespoons of butter and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 Tablespoons of mild curry
salt and pepper to taste
2 cups of water and 2 cups of apple juice
Sour cream and pumpkin seeds for garnish

In a large stock pan melt butter and oil and saute the onions until translucent.  Then add curry powder and cook for about a minute.  Then add squash, apples, water, and juice.  Cook on medium heat until squash is soft.  Then transfer in small batches to the blender or with a hand held blender where you will blend but leave it a little chunky as I think this makes the soup better and also you won't feel like you are eating baby food.  Transfer back to stock pot and add your salt and pepper.  (about 1-2 teaspoons of salt and about a 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.  Serve with a teaspoon of sour cream and sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top.  Perfect with a large crusty loaf of bread and a leafy green salad.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The G family

It has been busy around here, but with 6 kids there is never a dull moment. After church the Sunday before last, I headed over to the park and took these fall portraits of my sweet neighbors. I just adore their family. I am also thankful it has cooled down some as it has made taking pictures much easier. The leaves are finally starting to get some color on them, but we will be another couple weeks away from a real fall show of colors.