Weekend Wrap Up

Welcome to my new blog series... Weekend Wrap Up! Since it's basically 2014 already (where did the year go?), I thought today would be a good day to start my new Monday posts.

This weekly series will be a place for my wedding sneak peeks and just general recap of life and all the exciting stuff I do over the weekends. Because I'm a VERY exciting person. (kinda..... not really.)

Yeah, I'm so exciting that I often have to look through my Instagram feed to remember what I did over the last couple of days.

But anyway....

Friday I took most of the day off to catch up with a dear friend who was in town visiting family for Christmas. We planned to meet at 9 and bake cookies. Needless to say, she didn't leave until nearly 3 pm. There was a lot of catching up to do!  We made some yummy blueberry cookies, which might just be popping up this Friday as our Sweet Tooth recipe.

Friday night Ryan and I had planned to stay home but we decided last minute to head up to our old high school for the yearly alumni basketball game. We definitely weren't very interested in the game and we didn't see anyone we hadn't seen in a while, but we did have a good time looking through old yearbooks and photo albums. Fortunately for us, most of the albums were just old enough that we were still adorable and hadn't quite hit the awkward stage. Exhibit A, anyone?

And Saturday I had the immense privilege of shooting a wedding for a very sweet and very in love couple. I don't want to get ahead of myself though, so I'll just leave you with this one image and you'll have to wait for the full blog post!

I'll be taking a few days off this week to celebrate the New Year with my husband, but don't worry, I won't be ignoring you! I'll be back on Wednesday with a FEATURE! Can't wait to show it off!

Merry Christmas

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 

And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 

For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 

And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 

“Glory to God in the highest, 

And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas day filled with love, joy, peace, and happiness. May the spirit of Christmas fill your heart not just today, but throughout the year.

Pumpkin Spice Cake ~ Sweet Tooth

 The past several Thanksgivings I've been responsible for the dessert. I'm the go-to dessert girl, and I've always made the very traditional pumpkin pie and apple pie. But this year I wanted to change things up a bit. Unfortunately, my twist on apple pie wasn't really a success, so we'll just focus on this year's pumpkin recipe instead, shall we?

This year, I made little Pumpkin Spice Cakes from one of my new favorite food bloggers, Table for Two. I've made several of her recipes already and it has all been delicious. And her website is adorable and her food pictures are mouth-watering. What's not to love?

Anyway, back to the pumpkinness. This recipe includes Greek yogurt instead of oil, so it's healthy right? Yes.

And since it's healthy, I figured we could go for monster-sized individual portions. My mother-in-law said these adorable dishes were the size of 4 cupcakes, but I think it's more like a double serving.

But hey, it's Thanksgiving, so we've got to go big.

Step one: make a big mess of the kitchen. 

Step three: pour into adorable dishes and bake. Then smother with cream cheese frosting (also included in the recipe) and chow down!

Still Offering Winter Sessions!

Winter is officially upon us! And while I'm not taking any more sessions until after Christmas, I'm still available for winter bookings.

A winter family session isn't for everybody, and I wouldn't recommend it for small children, but having everyone bundle up in their coats could make for a really cute family portrait. And although we don't have snow to blanket the ground and cover up all the deadness, there are still plenty of locations with evergreen trees or cute backdrops we can use (like rustic barns).

It can definitely be tricky to schedule a winter portrait session since it's dark outside before you even leave work. (I think that's the most depressing part of winter!) And while I don't usually offer sessions on Saturdays, I do have a few Saturday mornings available for family sessions and other portraits throughout the winter. So don't let the sun hold you back! If you think a winter session would be the perfect choice for your family, please don't hesitate to contact me!

Sunshine & Raindrops ~ Presents, Parties, and Plans!

The Sunshine:

- Christmas shopping is pretty much finished and the presents are wrapped and under the tree. No last minute crazy shopping for me!

- Cookie exchanges, ugly sweater parties, Christmas programs, casual potluck dinners... I love it all! But most of all, I love spending time with my family. I'm so glad that our parents and most of Ryan's family are local. It's really special to be able to spend this time of year with them.

- Christmas movie marathons! I can't wait to see all our favorites again this year!

The Raindrops:

- December is such a busy month and weekends are prime real estate! By Thanksgiving, I'd already been invited to at least 6 or 7 parties, mostly landing on the same days. I love Christmas and I love fellowship, so it's hard because you want to say yes to everything, but you also know that you want to make it to Christmas with your sanity intact.

Our Little Yellow House ~ Downstairs Before and After

It's finally here! I know you haven't exactly been waiting on pins and needles, but hopefully you haven't completely lost interest in seeing our little yellow house!

Last night we finally finished the last little details that I wanted to have done before showing you all. There are still several things to do (replace the thermostat, touch up the trim, swap out the ugly light fixtures, etc), but we've made HUGE amounts of progress over the last 3.5 months! Goodness, where has the time gone?

So, prepare yourself, because the before is a sight to behold....

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Those walls are peach!

Wood finishes everywhere and broken appliances. It was a depressing sight indeed.

Needless to say, we ripped stuff apart right away, and soon we had this.

I really meant to have this all finished before we had decorated for Christmas, but oh well.

It's not quite perfect yet, and who knows if it ever will be. After uploading these pictures I noticed an outlet cover we forgot to put back and we still need to replace our fridge. Our home is always going to be a work in progress, but I'm very happy that at least the first floor is much cheerier than when we first moved in.

Seriously, can you believe the difference?!?!?!