Archive for the ‘Best Shot Monday’ Category

Say moo!

February 23, 2009

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We spent some time in Vermont at the end of school vacation week, visiting the cousins (not pictured here, these are just friends of the family), gathering eggs, feeding sweet clover to cows and playing in lots and lots of snow.

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These girls loved the attention from our little guys, but didn’t know what to make of my camera.

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Some of them were better than others at posing.

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Some even figured out how to pose and eat at the same time.

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Will is actually not feeding Henry to the cow, it just looks that way.

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Henry would have climbed in there and stayed all weekend if he could have. He left wanting to pet them and milk them.

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But the lure of the mountain dragged them away. And their dad.

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I think he’s saying there is a LOT OF SNOW!

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Bye, bye, Vermont family, thanks for the visit and we can’t wait to come again soon!

P.S. If I had to pick a best shot, I’d go for the extreme nostril closeup. how about you?

For more Best Shot Monday, go to Tracey’s NEW site.

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Hit me with your best shot

January 12, 2009

So, I’m back. I know, I usually have a guest blogger fill in when I go to the bathroom, but I didn’t think too many of you were missing me, especially since you, apparently, were all at the gym this week. Or at least I’m assuming that’s why I can’t get a parking spot there, yes?

I applaud your endeavors and wish you good luck, but I won’t mind when a few of you start slacking, because SWEET JESUS ON A TREADMILL, it’s busy there.

In other news, Henry scored the first shiner of 2009 yesterday, born of a spectacular fall off a kitchen stool followed by a smack into the edge of the kitchen table. Poor love, he was just reaching for some chocolate—he might have something of a candy aversion now.

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That was yesterday’s view, which was kid stuff compared to this morning’s swollen-eye-purple-lid look! Unretouched, as you can see from the collection of food crumbs and whatnot on his face. Don’t hate me for making this my Best Shot Monday. For more best shots and hopefully fewer injured toddlers, click here!

P.S. Even if you didn’t miss me, I missed you! I’ll be back more regularly now, I can feel it. In the meantime, any photo lovers out there want to help me with a project I’ve been working on? I need critique on my portfolio, and I’m looking for your opinion. Leave me a comment if you want to take a look, and I’ll send you the link!

I heart ecommerce

December 8, 2008

Dear Amazon,

The LARGE, FLASHING sign at the top of your web page letting me know how many shopping days are left before Christmas is NOT HELPFUL. Neither is your lame “Super Saver” shipping which, you tell me, will deliver my purchases promptly on DECEMBER 26.

Gee, thanks.

Anna

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Griping aside, here is a preview for this lovely and patient family! Which means I am not the only one who has not ordered Christmas cards yet. Whew.

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H&W readers who sent in your photos, I will send them back to you (if I haven’t already)  for tomorrow and will plan to post them tomorrow, too. Thanks for sending them, I got a great variety!

She almost doesn’t look cold

December 1, 2008

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I’ve taken so many photos of kiddies this fall, that it was really fun to take photos of an adult recently. This is my friend and work buddy Chelle, who is one of those people you are always glad to have around.  Chelle is helpful, thoughtful, kind and upbeat—and now I can add “extremely patient” to that list!

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We were outside taking photos of boats, the temperature was a very unseasonable 29-ish degrees, the wind was whipping off the water and yet she let me muddle around with backlighting and sidelighting and didn’t even shiver on camera while I took advantage of the gorgeous late-day light and her beautiful smile.

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I can’t choose my favorite for Best Shot Monday, so I’ll let you decide. For more beautiful smiles, go to Best Shot Monday at Tracey’s.

The one about Bronx Mowgli and Thanksgiving dessert

November 23, 2008

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I’ve spent the last two weeks communing with my computer, editing what I’m guessing is several thousand photos. I love this one, despite the obvious technical flaws. And I love that I can love such an imperfect photo.

Not much else to report here except:

1. Still not sure what to make as a contribution for Thanksgiving dessert. Pumpkin pie spoken for–any ideas?

2. I have come to the conclusion that  Lightroom is like digital crystal meth, while Photoshop is like digital oatmeal, the slow-cooked kind. I love love love LR, but it makes me feel slick and a little empty inside because it is so fast and crazy and wheeee! I’m not sure if oatmeal or meth will win–any opinions out there in the crowd?

3. The one diversion I allowed myself this week, besides wincing briefly over poor Bronx Mowgli Wentz‘s name, was to follow along with the Mammoth Men, a heartbreakingly talented crew of 12 male photographers who severely and thoroughly documented their third “mancation” together this past week. Sadly, I’ve won NONE of the excellent swag being promoted by their sponsors so far, but hope flickers eternal. Below you’ll find my pathetic entry for their “Make the Mammoth Men Laugh” contest, which echoes some of their favorite activities in the past week. I don’t think it has a prayer of nabbing a win among their talented followers, but it does mean I have a ready-made BEST SHOT MONDAY. Hope my little Mammoth Men don’t hold this one against me someday, but look at the swag!

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4. I was serious about suggestions for Thanksgiving dessert.

For more Best Shot Monday, click here!

OPK

November 17, 2008

I’m always delighted to photograph Other People’s Kids, because mine? Well, it is a rare day I get more cooperation than this:

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Which is why I don’t take their Christmas photo. She does, thank goodness.

But Other People’s Kids? Another story all together!

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My Best Shot? I can’t pick. You decide.

Molly Got Married

October 27, 2008

Molly got married this weekend, and it was wonderful!

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Flowers from the church, enroute to the reception.

It was a perfect, sunny October day on the coast of New England, and all these beautiful people came.

Mike & Renee

Alena & Mike

Doug & Chelle

Wade & Elizabeth

Dan & Sara

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Former coworkers reunited. (It’s a fun place to work, as you can see!)

And then the beautiful bride and groom

And their sweet little sweetheart table

And they danced

And we had a delicious dinner…and for dessert?

Milk, cupcakes and cookies. Yum.

We had SO much fun, thank you for a beautiful wedding, Molly & M!

No surprise that there were a few bloggers in attendance.

From left to right, Mike’s Got Nothin,  Fabulous Former Blogger Whose Blog Identity I Will Not Reveal Here But Many of You Can Figure Out, Wearing Stilettos and Living on a Farm, These Little Moments, Hank & Willie, If I Had to Pick Five and Sunny’s Side of Life. We missed a few other bloggers in the crowd, sorry!

Things started to get a little silly. Did I mention how much fun we had?

But, if you made it this far, you’ll see my favorite shot of the night.

The shoeru’s bridal shoes!

And this is my Best Shot Monday.

When food bloggers have lunch

October 13, 2008

This is a very late Food Friday post, but I can’t go another week without posting this deliciousness. At a recent meetup of mommies and current/future mommy & food bloggers I enjoyed the most divine lunch, outside on the patio, on a gorgeous 75-degree October day. And now, you can, too.

The bread seen above is a bread that has made the rounds in the food blog world, known as No-Knead Bread or Sullivan Street Bakery Bread. I had always meant to try it, and now that I’ve encountered it in real life I can only say, “Hello, gorgeous, where have you been all my life?” Yum. Read all about it and then try it.

No-Knead Bread
Time: About 1½ hours plus 14 to 20 hours’ rising

3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
¼ teaspoon instant yeast
1¼ teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed.

1. In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

2. Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

3. Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

4. At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. Shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.

Yield: One 1½-pound loaf.

Eat with delectable cheeses outside on a gorgeous fall day in New England with wonderful company.

We also had salad, peppered with fresh herbs from the garden, and a delicious carrot soup. Which I ate, instead of photographing, so try it yourself to see what it looked like. I liked this a LOT better than some wintry carrot-ginger soups I have tried.

As prepared by my host:

“The soup: just cook fennel, onions, carrots, garlic in butter until lusciously soft. Add stock. Puree. Add more stock, s & p to taste. I can not find this recipe on line. It is from the Cooking for Mr. Latte book.”

Searching a bit, I didn’t find Amanda Hesser’s original recipe, but did find this adaptation on the lovely food blog, Orangette. Since I don’t have a copy of Cooking for Mr. Latte here, I’m not sure how different this from the original, but it sounds good, too.

Carrot-Fennel Soup
Adapted by Orangette from Amanda Hesser in The New York Times Magazine, and Cooking for Mr. Latte

This light soup strikes a perfect balance between the delicate springtime flavors of young carrots and fennel. Be sure to choose carrots that are sweet and worthy of being eaten on their own; if you make this soup with tired, winter-weary ones, you’ll be sorry.

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced; fronds reserved and chopped
1 ½ lbs. carrots, sliced into ¼-inch rounds
2 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4-5 cups vegetable broth (I used Imagine brand)
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
2 Tbsp. crème fraîche, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large, heavy saucepan, warm oil over medium heat. Add the fennel slices, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for another minute or two. Pour in 4 cups vegetable broth (if, after puréeing, you feel that the soup is too thick, you can add the final cup, but it’s better to err on the side of adding too little at first), and season with salt. Simmer, covered, until the carrots and fennel are very tender, about 20 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat, and stir in the orange juice and reserved fennel fronds. If you have an immersion blender, purée the soup directly in the pot; otherwise, transfer it in batches to a food processor or blender, puréeing until smooth. Stir in the crème fraîche. Taste, and adjust seasoning as necessary. Serve warm.

We, of course, also had dessert.

Watch this elegant segue—this is my Best Shot Monday.

For more Best Shots and less talk about carrot soup, go to Tracey’s!

Did someone say blueberries?

August 11, 2008

I swear I heard someone around here promising a blueberry post.

Not what you had in mind, maybe, but here you go.

More soon. Hard to pick them, cook them AND post about them, as it turns out.

For more Best Shot Monday, you know where to go!

Construction Cake Returns

July 21, 2008

We celebrated Will’s fourth birthday yesterday, and as you can see, it was a day of glorious celebration and excess for him, starting with breakfast out and a stack of pancakes bigger than his head.

That’s birthday frog out to breakfast with us, a present from his friend Lydia when he was still a wee one nicknamed Froggy.

We enjoyed a swim after breakfast, and then a wonderful party with friends and family in the afternoon. And cake.

I know you’ve heard me say this before, but seriously, folks?

BEHOLD.

This year’s construction/dirt cake topped last year’s version by a fair bit, with a water feature, a roadway and pixie stick/caramel guardrails. The cake was Smitten Kitchen’s moist, delicious Homemade Devil Dog Chocolate Cake, and it was enhanced with chocolate pudding as mortar, gummy worms of two varieties, pulverized oreos for that earthy, dirty look and pulverized golden oreos as sand. Oh, and a retaining wall of chocolate frosting and malted milk balls. Sorry I didn’t take step-by-step photos as I went, as you might imagine, my hands were COVERED IN CHOCOLATE.

I SO hope Henry wants one of these next year. I’m thinking of a Necco-shingled cottage being constructed by the sea…

My favorite part was seeing all these sweet little ones chomping on what looked like real, mud-covered worms. (Brown earthworms courtesy of Bee’s in Bar Harbor, Maine.)

Like the symbolic STOP sign?

And finally, the dreamy look on his face may be my favorite shot of the day, so I tag it my Best Shot Monday. For more best shots, head over to Tracey’s.

Happy birthday, my big four-year-old boy! We love you!

Not one pirate treasure cake, but two

June 30, 2008

Please welcome my college friend Sarah, mother of about-to-be-four twin boys. She’s here with her gorgeous photos for Best Shot Monday and for a little party-planning therapy.

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Hi, my name is Sarah and I’m a kids’ birthday party planning addict. Honestly, I don’t plan to throw a crazy complicated and over-the-top party each year. In fact, I usually announce in the wake of my twin boys’ birthday party that I am DONE. That, next year, the kids are going to have to be happy with cake and a pizza at home with family and that’s IT. But I always give in and I always get in way over my head.

Case in point: this year, I’m wanting to try to make their birthday cake myself. Worse still, it’s a pirate-themed party and I keep lingering over photos of a treasure chest birthday cake, thinking “it really would be so fabulous to make that” even while the remaining sane part of my brain is shrieking, “what is WRONG with you? Just call the bakery like you always do!”

Let’s look back for a moment.

First birthday party: we had a shrimp boil. The boys both got a little scared when we sang happy birthday to them, and just as they got their cake, it started pouring down rain, making it even more unbearably humid (we live in Mississippi, so really, we know unbearable humidity here).

Second birthday party: Meant to be “just family” but it, um, got out of hand. Plus one of the boys had a massive allergic reaction to a bugbite on or near an eyelid, causing him to look just like Rocky and I do not exaggerate one single bit about this. So those are some charming photos.
Third birthday party: actually quite fun, we had a luau at a candy shop, but we overlooked the sugar high thing and as a result, I am pretty sure we are the reason the candy shop instituted new rules for having birthday parties on-site.

So now we’re gearing up for their fourth birthday party. And, like a fool, I’m back in the saddle. I’ve mailed out the invitations, ordered up a mess of stuff from Oriental Trading Company, and spent an entire weekend downloading Pirate-ish fonts just for the thank you notes. Oh, plus the aforementioned treasure chest birthday cake thing (seriously, y’all, I have been test baking layer cakes for a few weeks to see if I might could actually manage it.).

In my defense, I would like to point out that a book I recently read about the emotional development and well-being of twins strongly recommends giving twins individual birthday parties, and I literally put the book down and laughed for an hour straight. I’m SO not falling for that. Though, perhaps I will make each of the boys a birthday cake. Which, if you’re keeping count, would mean now I may be making two treasure chest birthday cakes.

When Sarah isn’t busy chasing twin boys and planning parties, she is busy dreaming up creative new designs for her Etsy.com shop, Miniblisscakes.

For more Best Shot Monday, head over to Slurping Life, where Melody is guest hosting Best Shot Monday while Tracey is on vacation. I know, so complicated, all this guest stuff. Work with me here.

Summer is…

June 23, 2008

…birthday parties in the yard, complete with cake and kiddie pool. This was the birthday party of one of Will’s pals, who is clearly excited that he is turning five! His friends are, too.

Happy Birthday, Ian!

Henry came along, and thought he was just one of the gang. I even overheard him telling one of the nursery school crew that he was four. I’m completely serious.

It all went fine until his cake capsized and landed on someone else’s toe. And that someone else ate it off his own toe. Henry was distressed, mostly that someone else ate his cake.

And Will was thrilled to be reunited with his nursery school buddy. Seems they had a lot to catch up on! This is my Best Shot Monday.

Wishing you a summer filled with backyards, cake and kiddie pools. Bring on the sunshine!

For more Best Shot Monday, click on over to Tracey’s.