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Nora | Newborn Studio Pictures

Sweet Nora is on my baby plan.  What’s a baby plan?  It’s a session option that includes three sessions:  newborn, 6 months (sitting), and 12 months (standing).  I also include some goodies and discounts.  I like offering the baby plan because I get to watch wee ones grow and photograph their first year, which, to a sleep-deprived parent, seems to go so very fast.

I absolutely love her name.  I kinda like the uncommon, un-traditional, and different things in life.  As luck would have it, most clients that come to me, do too!  Nora’s mama, Terisa, is no different.  And I’m excited for Nora’s 6-month session tomorrow.  That is such a fun, fun age!  Everything is an experience and their eyes are so full of wonder.  That’s the age where they just start learning how the world works.  Which yields many games of got-it, dropped-it!  lol!

Nora was a very wide-awake newborn.  I think Terisa and I were both in awe of how she just never seemed to tire completely.  And as a photographer, a newborn can sometimes decide to run the show.  There is information I provide in order to make the session as successful as possible;  however, ultimately, those 10 tiny fingers and toes, just might decide otherwise.  And so it went…..Nora’s mostly wide-awake newborn session….little stinker!  Fortunately, she wasn’t spending the entire time in distress;  quite the opposite, actually.  She was content and just very wide awake, taking everything in.  I anticipate a very adventurous, laugh-filled session tomorrow.  :D

But first, let me share some images from her newborn session.

I would have loved to have photos like these with my littles.

mother and newborn studio pictures

clothed newborn pictures newborn posing

I could caption this next one!  ha!  “Neener, neener, I’m no longer awake!!” :D

newborn Christmas inspiration

5×7 birth announcement printed on premium press paper

newborn announcement design

Know someone expecting?  A gift certificate to VLV Photography, LLC is a wonderful gift!  I also can create a newborn registry for the mommy-to-be! :)

Have a wonderful Tuesday, everyone! :D

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Monday | Strumming along…

We’re nearly half-way through December and just a little more than a week away from Christmas.  Not that you needed the reminder, right?  ha!  Well, in case you needed a dose of some funny here’s one for ya!  Goes along splendidly with my new-found Pinterest addiction, thanks to baking recipes and DIY Christmas gift ideas.  lol!

Pinterest Funny Find

Speaking of which, I have a funny (not so funny to me) update on the whole baking thing.  So, if you read last week’s blog post, you’ll know I’ve been baking like crazy and freezing the goodies, in preparation of my turn hosting my family for Christmas this year (usually over New Year’s).  Well, over the weekend, my [fortunately] adorable husband who can’t help himself, tells me he and the kids have been digging into the frozen goodies.  Now, I RARELY bake, so I was a bit fuming, only because now I have to bake those same things again.  Whereas, my time could have been spent on baking the other things on my list.

It was funny though;  he felt it would smooth it over (I think), to throw the kids under the bus with him.  Needless to say, over the weekend, Tony was baking monster bars (which he used peanut m&m’s and we agreed they’re not as good – FYI if you make them) and cookies.  Seriously not sure how everything will last another two weeks!

In other news, I got my hands on an acoustic guitar today to teach myself how to play!  I’ve always wanted to learn to play the violin and considering that is a farther cry than the guitar, I settled on the guitar.  I got a hair up my butt nearly 3 months ago, and thanks to a very generous man who has given me a “loaner” guitar, I shall be strumming away hopefully sooner rather later.  I found a very good You Tube video and already learned how to get my fingers moving.  All I have to say is it is MUCH harder than it looks!  I think my pinkie finger may need some ice later!  I seriously can’t wait until I can play like I dream of being able to play.

In other, other news….due to my improper grooming skills, we will likely have a dog that may somewhat resemble a hairless cat.  When we got Gizmo, I put a ton of focus into learning how to properly train him.  Although I am pleased with how quickly he was potty-trained and the tricks he knows, I totally didn’t do enough research on the grooming.  Being he’s a havanese, he has very light, cotton-candy like fur – it’s very fine.  Well, I had been brushing him religiously and that was the problem.  I should have been using what’s called a buttercomb, and combing from the skin out, in order to get all the fine hairs.  He then got neutered and started to blow coat (where his undercoat started to come in more rapidly) and I couldn’t bathe him for two weeks.  I then slacked on the brushing, because with this breed, you want to be sure to brush before bathing in order to avoid matting.  At the same time, the weather started changing.  Needless to say, all of these circumstances were a recipe for a Gizmo fur disaster.  He is full of mattes and despite my best efforts in trimming him down myself, it’s just far beyond what I even want to attempt.  I feel terrible.  I just might have to get him an ugly Christmas sweater.  Poor, little guy! :(  I’ll probably share a before and after next week.  I’ll consider it my post of shame due to my not-so-great grooming.  It’ll be a “learn from my mistake” kinda post, I’m sure!

Other than baking, learning guitar, the dog getting stripped of his dignity, and the vendor show where I gave away a studio session to one lucky entry (hooray to Deann B.), I get to see sweet Nora again this week!  And as I searched for her previous blog post, I realize now I never posted all of the session images I meant to post!  Ack!  So, look for that post tomorrow!  :)

Well, I hope this week is a wonderful one and I will see you right back here tomorrow for Nora’s full blog post! ;)

My Life Monday | Pinterest Challenge

Two weeks and two days until Christmas Eve.  Are you ready?  Even my 9-year-old remarked at how quickly Christmas seems to be coming.  It seems, as soon as you get your Christmas decorations out and up, is as quickly as it is time to take them down again.  Today’s post is a jam-packed one with several recipes I’ve already tried for this year’s Pinterest-inspired Christmas baking.  I hope you enjoy them!

I honestly can’t wait until December 22nd.  Why?  Because December 21st is the longest day of the year with the winter equinox and every day after that, there is one more minute of daylight.  REJOICE!  These days where it starts getting dark around 5pm and it’s just light when the kids get on the bus, take a real drain on my motivation and do a number on my mood.  My husband and I have already decided that someday we shall be snowbirds.  Although, I can honestly say, I can’t imagine Christmas without snow.  It is suppose to start getting beautiful out this week though, and that is surely something to be thankful for. :)

So, you may be wondering what the post title is about.  Well, I have decided to give myself a challenge.  I am hosting Christmas this year for my family over New Year’s and I’ve already started preparing by baking like I never do.  I’ve said it before, the extent of my baking doesn’t go far beyond chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, brownies, and rice krispy bars (which I made for the first time this year – no joke).  By the way, cocoa pebbles rice krisipies with some peanut butter added….my new favorite induldence.  Yum!

Anyway, my challenge to myself was to make just about everything from sweets to meals, from recipes found on Pinterest and most things I’ve never made/tried.  Since I’ve started baking, I’ve made hershey kiss blossoms (that recipe actually came from the package), no bake chocolate oatmeal cookies (Pinterest), monster bars (Pinterest), and two loaves of Amish bread from the starter recipe (also from Pinterest and the best Amish bread recipe I’ve had).

The kids couldn’t choose a favorite between the blossoms, no bake cookies, and the monster bars – they loved them all.  Oh, and I had also made caramel rolls using the rolls pre-made by the Linton Grocery Store and all I gotta say about those – soooooooo good!  They are MUCH better than the kind by Rhodes and they actually rose really nice.  I think I’m going to attempt my own though – we’ll see…maybe I’ll have to search Pinterest for a recipe!

I’ve always enjoyed Pinterest;  however, it wasn’t until I was on the hunt for some homemade gift ideas that I really started pinning and searching like crazy.  I have come across so many neat ideas, recipes, crafts, tips/tricks, and I’m wondering when it won’t be free anymore.  Pinterest was a genius idea, and like Facebook, free eventually isn’t “free” anymore, especially when it comes to users in business.  I guess the jury is still out on that one.

In the meantime, if you’re not partaking in all things Pinterest, you truly are missing out.  It has started to take the place of my cookbook.  I recently made some porcupine balls (easy peasy with 1 pound of hamburger and Beef flavor Rice-a-Roni) that my whole family loved.  It might just be a dish I make while company is here.

If you’re interested in the recipes for the desserts I’ve made so far, I’m including them here in case you’re one of those “anti-Pinterest” people. lol!

Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms
Servings Prep Time
4dozen 15 minutes
Cook Time
8-10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4dozen 15 minutes
Cook Time
8-10minutes
Hershey's Kisses Peanut Butter Blossoms
Servings Prep Time
4dozen 15 minutes
Cook Time
8-10minutes
Servings Prep Time
4dozen 15 minutes
Cook Time
8-10minutes
Ingredients
Servings: dozen
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove wrappers from chocolates. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 c. granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
Recipe Notes

Kid approved!

Hershey's Kisses Blossoms

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Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
A quick treat for peanut butter with chocolate lovers that not only uses few ingredients, but also satisfies your sweet tooth.
Servings Prep Time
24cookies 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24cookies 15 minutes
Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies
A quick treat for peanut butter with chocolate lovers that not only uses few ingredients, but also satisfies your sweet tooth.
Servings Prep Time
24cookies 15 minutes
Servings Prep Time
24cookies 15 minutes
Ingredients
Servings: cookies
Instructions
  1. Add the first four ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for one minute. Stir in the next three ingredients and drop onto wax/parchment paper. Let cool until set.
Recipe Notes

Kid approved!

Chocolate Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

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Amish Bread (with starter)
This Amish bread recipe uses vanilla pudding - the best one I've come across yet!
Servings Prep Time
2loaves 20minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Servings Prep Time
2loaves 20minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Amish Bread (with starter)
This Amish bread recipe uses vanilla pudding - the best one I've come across yet!
Servings Prep Time
2loaves 20minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Servings Prep Time
2loaves 20minutes
Cook Time
55minutes
Ingredients
For the Starter
For the Baking Bread
Servings: loaves
Instructions
For the Starter
  1. To prepare the starter batch, mix yeast with 1/2 c. hot water until yeast is dissolved.
  2. Add 1 1/2 c. hot water, 1 c. milk, 1 c. flour, and 1 c. sugar. Mix until blended. Use whisk if needed. You now have enough batter for 4 portions.
  3. In three ziplock freezer bags, add 1 c. of batter to each bag. These can be given away or used immediately.
  4. In your bowl will be a remaining cup of batter. You can use this immediately following the directions below.
For the Bread
  1. To your remaining 1 c. of batter, add the remaining ingredients (except the last two for the crust). Mix. Will be slightly lumpy and that's okay.
  2. In two loaf pans, grease generously. I greased the pans, lined the bottom only with parchment paper, greased again, then sprinkled with sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  3. Divide the batter between the two pans and top each with the remaining of the sugar-cinnamon mixture.
  4. Bake at 325 degrees for about one hour. I baked mine for 55 minutes, so maybe check the last few minutes. Cool about 10 minutes in the pan, and remove to completely cool.
Remaining Batter
  1. For the remaining 3 bags of batter, write the following on each bag with a sharpie for easy reference.
  2. Day 1 - Day you make starter or receive bag (do nothing)
  3. Day 2-5 - Mush bag
  4. Day 6 - Add 1 cup of each: flour, milk, sugar to bag and mush
  5. Day 7-9 - Mush bag
  6. Day 10 - Pour contents into large bowl (non-metal), and add 1 1/2 cup of each: flour, sugar and milk.
  7. Measure out 1 cup into 3 Ziploc bags (give or bake). For remaining batter, follow the instructions above for making bread.
Recipe Notes

Best Amish Bread recipe I've tried!

Amish Bread recipe with starter

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Holiday Monster Cookie Bars
Servings
24bars
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings
24bars
Cook Time
30minutes
Holiday Monster Cookie Bars
Servings
24bars
Cook Time
30minutes
Servings
24bars
Cook Time
30minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray a 9x13 pan. If you prefer not as cake-like bars (as I do), I used a jelly-roll pan (larger cookie sheet).
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, beat butter, peanut butter, and both sugars on medium until light and fluffy and well-mixed.
  4. Stop mixer to scrape sides before adding eggs one at a time, beating after each egg.
  5. With mixer on low speed, slowly add flour/oat mixture until well mixed, ensuring the flour mixture from the bottom of the bowl is well-blended. This batter will be thick. If not, add just a bit more flour, a little at a time until you get the right consistency (I had to do this - added less than a 1/4 c. of flour).
  6. Fold in chips, candies, and cranberries and spread onto greased baking pan.
  7. Bake for about 30 minutes, until batter is puffed and brown on edges and dark golden all over. Let cool completely before cutting.
Recipe Notes

**I did not have neither the white chips nor the dried cranberries.  Rather, I substituted those by just adding a full 2 c. of M&M's (one whole bag).  Also, because it seemed like a lot of batter and I don't care for thick, cake-like bars, I opted for a jelly roll pan and shortened the reduced the baking time to 25 minutes.**

Kid approved!

Holiday Monster Cookie Bars

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Whew!!  I hope you enjoy these recipes!  This post took me MUCH longer to put together than I anticipates.  I originally tried another recipe plugin (to share via my blog), and after getting the first one inserted into the blog post, I would have had to have a paid subscription to add more.  So, I was back to square one.  I hope these print easily for you.  Let me know if you try any of these and what you think.  Also, know these are not my recipes.  They were adapted from various sources and some didn’t list on the printout where they were from.  And don’t be afraid to modify and make the cookie and bar recipe work for you.  I love to add my own spin to recipes.

Have a blessed week, everyone and HAPPY BAKING! :D

My Life Monday | Turkey & Tigirlily

It sure doesn’t feel like two weeks since my last My Life Monday blog post.  Last week Monday, I featured John on the blog, and it was also his 18th birthday.  These past two weeks sure went fast.  This morning I was reminded it’s now December.  Holy moly, how did that happen?

If you haven’t even started Christmas shopping yet, I feel for ya.  And I will also say “neener, neener, neener,” as we are pretty much done.  All I have to do is hit “submit” on my shopping cart on Amazon but it really just erks me that I need to add just over $19 to get free shipping.  I know all about Amazon Prime….but to me, it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be.  The $99 I would pay yearly just to have the service would likely equal the amount of shipping I end up paying because 3/4 of the stuff I order doesn’t qualify for free shipping.  We already have Netflix and the movies on there aren’t any newer or better than what we already get through Netflix streaming, which I can load with an easy app on my tv.  It may be nice for books, but I’m still old-school and prefer a book in my hands.  Besides, technology changes so rapidly, how do you know your Kindle version will even be accessible 10 years from now.  I read some pretty great books and I want to know I can pass those down to my kids someday.  You know, in case they ever need to know where to invest their money, how to brand themselves in their business, or figure out what their core desires are.  lol!

I read recently that less than 10 percent of the population read non-fiction.  Yup, I’m part of that 10 percent.  Come to think of it, it may have even been 1%, not quite sure now.  Regardless, I am considering reading 50 Shades of Gray Grey (better than getting your and you’re mixed up – lol!), which would probably tide me over in the fiction department for a while. lol!  A group of girlfriends and I plan to read it and then go to the movie.  Too bad movie theaters don’t allow wine.  Well hey….there’s a brilliant idea!!  ;)

Anyway, I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving with loved ones.  And if you were alone for Thanksgiving, I hope you had a door you could knock on.  Just having loved ones around for the holidays is a blessing, so I hope you cherished your time with them.  I don’t take part in the crazy Black Friday shopping.  I hate shopping to begin with and then to be shuffled like a cow or feeling like I’m at an amusement park on a really crowded day and then get to stand and wait my life away  in line- no, thank you.  I’m patient, but not that patient.  But, I have heard that people don’t do it for the shopping but rather bonding.  Well, ya know…I can think of a hundred other ways I would rather bond with my friends/family!  lol!

Rather than doing the Black Friday thing, I took my girls to the Tigirlily concert in Linton.  It was their first concert and they had an absolute blast!  These sisters, originally from Hazen, are sure talented!!  I spoke briefly to their mom while the girls and I waited their turn and off the bat, I could tell that she’s a very humble and proud mom.  Here are a few snapshots from my phone from that night!  Santa was handing out reindeer antlers, red noses and glow necklaces.  All were a big hit with the kids, I think.  Jozlyn wore her antlers and nose the entire night.  The girls and I have a wonderful memory and I’m so glad I took them.

Tigirlily Concert

Other than spending Thanksgiving with Tony’s family and going to the concert, we pretty much just enjoyed four days of relaxation.  It went so fast.  Saturday morning, I had an impromptu studio sesion with my family.  I’m so happy with the photos of the kids.  I took a few family ones too and even Gizmo (our pooch) made it into the pictures!  After church Saturday night, I made some popcorn, and thanks to BEK, we enjoyed watching “Captain Philips” on free Starz weekend.  If you haven’t seen this movie based on true events with Tom Hanks, I highly recommend it – very good movie!  We also watched “After Earth” with Will Smith.  That’s a different movie.  It wasn’t terrible but I don’t think I would watch it again.  All in all, it was a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend for my family.  I am so thankful for that time with all of them.

Well, I think I’ll close for today (actually tonight).  I was busy working on my newsletter today, which will be sent out tomorrow (click HERE to sign up), as well as a Christmas card design for a client.  I need to get my own card designed yet.  The hardest part will actually be choosing which images to choose of the kids.  It was that good of a session with them.  And that, my friends, is a rare ocassion.  It certainly didn’t start off the right foot but I am pleased with the results.  I will certainly share images from my family sesion on the blog too.  I still have a few sessions to blog yet too.  Most don’t know this, but it probably takes me a good 90 minutes to prepare and write a blog post.  I wish I were quicker; I have so much in my head that I’d love to share in the written word. :)

I hope this blog post finds you all well and I wish you a wonderful week ahead, filled with abundance from unexpected places. :)

ND Senior guy session | John

Over the years, there have only been maybe a half-dozen times I’ve had to reschedule a session due to weather.  And the evening of John’s session was an absolutely perfect ND summer evening.  A very soft-spoken, charismatic young man with a sense of humor, his down-to-earth mom who made me feel so comfortable in her presence (like it was okay for me to be myself), and a perfect night…..well, I’d say that’s a recipe for a perfect session.  And a perfect session it was.

We started at my studio, where we got some formal photos.  I think I forget how much older I am at times, because I remember at one point, I had told John to give me his “GQ look.” Well, needless to say, guys nowadays don’t know what “GQ” is, so I’m going to have to adjust my lingo, I think! ha!  I’m open to suggestions.  lol!

Here is John’s favorite from the studio portion of his session.

senior guy studio portrait

 

After the studio, we headed to the farm, where I got to practice my graffiti skills, got that “GQ” look I was waiting patiently for, and got to provide images with the farm as the backdrop that they were hoping to get.  Check out his posing – a natural!

senior guy what to wear

In the sequence below…his “GQ” look would be the one in the upper-left, in case you’re wondering! ;)

ND senior photographer

Took two-takes on the year.  And before we know it, we’ll all be writing “2014” on our check blanks for the first two weeks of 2015! lol!

senior guy graffiti senior guy farm session

By this time, the sun was starting to go down and we had to head to the football field before we lost the light entirely.  I had my lighting with me, but I was hoping for more sunset and what I didn’t take into account were the trees blocking my sunset, which was a bummer.  Overall, we still managed to get the job done.  After getting those shots and becoming mosquito lunch, the session was coming to a close.

senior guy football pics

One thing I hadn’t realized and that John stated during their consultation, was that when Tony and I were in Iraq, he and his fellow classmates had written us letters and drew pictures.  We had gotten so many pictures and letters during the deployment.  And I was pretty certain we still had many of those.  However, to my disappointment, that wasn’t the case.  So bummed about that! :(

In closing, I want to extend a very HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY to you, John!!  I hope your day was a good one and I wish you a memorable year ahead!  You’re a one-of-a-kind with so much humor and compassion to offer the world.  Never let anyone tell you differently.

This post will replace my weekly “My Life Monday” post because birthdays are more special.  Besides, John is probably way more interesting than my sticky floor life! lol!

My Life Monday | Everything is Figureoutable

“Everything is Figureoutable”

That has to be one of my all-time absolute favorite quotes (by Marie Forleo, business mentor and coach to entrepreneurs all over the globe).  It resonates so much for me because “figuring things out” has been my own personal mission many times throughout my life.

On Sundays, I typically don’t do anything business related.  We do things as a family, I tackle home projects, or just relax and recharge.  Yesterday, we worked on some minor household projects and I also started cleaning out my closet.  At one point, my husband had brought out several pillows I’ve been meaning to “do something with” for quite some time.  They were tearing and looked terrible, but I knew I could make them new again – just a matter of making the time.  So yesterday became “refurbish throw pillows” day.

While cleaning out my closet, I found a basket of a bunch of sweaters I had purchased from a second-hand store to be used at some point to make stuff.  I had upcycled a couple already into newborn hats, but still had several in the pile untouched.  I then decided that I would use what I had and recover those pillows.  The only thing was, I wanted something neutral so that all the pillows would coordinate or at least be able to dress them up differently but still go well together.  I decided to cover two of them with extra fabric I had from when I made a curtain for my studio and use a sweater for the third.  These took me a few hours, since it was my first time trying it, but I love how they turned out.  I taught myself a new technique too, while making these – a gather stitch.  You just gotta love Google. :)  The brown trim is a strip of rosette fabric and those are the pillows for which I used my extra fabric.  The one with the gather stitch decorated edge was the sweater I used.  The fabric for the gathered stitch was a rayon, which, I initially thought the fraying would look “shabby-chic,” but I think I may get tired of finding little frayed pieces of fabric everything.  If I did that again, it wouldn’t be with rayon.  I could have melted the edges a bit over a candle though, which would have eliminated the fraying, or if I had a surge machine, I could have used that along the edges of the rayon first as well.  Live and learn. :)

refurbished throw pillows

As I was sewing (with my $15 sewing machine I purchased literally 12 years ago), Alexandra was asking questions.  Both girls sat and were just so interested in what I was doing.  I told them, “if there is one thing you learn from me, learn this – everything is figureoutable.”  I proceeded to tell them that I taught myself how to do many things over the years, from the time I was a child and taught myself to swim after only one lesson (sink or swim, right?), cook, how to ice skate, how to use a camera, how to run a business, to crochet, to sew….so many things over the years and because I truly live by the fact that everything truly is figureoutable.  If there is something you want to learn how to do – if you want to know bad enough, you’ll take the time and practice over and over and over.  That being said, the next thing to figure out on my life to-do is how to play acoustic guitar. :)  Before that though, and in the very near future, I plan to try making some mittens.  If anyone has some old sweaters they are planning to trash, I may be interested in having them.

In other news, I’m looking forward to my Christmas promotion sessions this week.  Last week we ended up getting dumped with snow and cold, which put a damper on things, but that’s where I am thankful for having a studio.  Although, outdoors is still my favorite.

Also new is I started teaching CCD (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine – yup, had to look that one up, not something I easily remember) for Kindergarten and 1st grade.  In short, Catholic teachings.  Last week was my first day and I think I won the kids over with lunchbox s’more bars (if you’re on Pinterest HERE’S THE LINK).  If you’re not on Pinterest, get in touch and I’ll send you the recipe or I can share it in a future post with a few other recipes I’ve been meaning to share as well.  For this week they loved the idea of cocoa pebble rice krispies (add in some peanut butter and it’s like eating a reese’s peanut butter cup – YUM!).

Well, I suppose – I best get back to working on a little project for my upcoming Christmas promo.  I have no idea how it will turn out but you’ll likely see it on here in a future blog post.  Also, I need to finish up a special project that will be a very personalized gift for my mom for Christmas using images from her beauty session with me and my kids (images from that session to come to the blog too).

In closing, is there anything you would love learn to learn how to do?  I was thinking as I was working on my pillows yesterday that it would be kinda fun to get some ladies together that are interested in learning something new (that I know how to do), or to get our scrapbooks up to par (which is something I mentioned last Spring that would have been a great project for winter).  If this interests you, get in touch!  If there’s enough interest, I’ll work on getting something put together. :)

Have a wonderful week!

P.S. If you’re bored this evening, the Central Dakota Concert is at the Zeeland school tonight at 7:00 p.m..  Several schools get together to perform – should be a great program!

P.P.S.  I am offering my Christmas Card Mini-Session Promotion through the end of this month, so if you’re interested, email me at victoria@vlvphotography.com.  You’ll still have time to get your cards sent out! :)

 

 

Bradyn | ND HS Senior Photographer

Bradyn, his mom, Kelli, and I met this summer for Bradyn’s senior session in Linton.  We had perfect weather from start to finish.  We started out at the school, where I got to try some new lighting techniques and shoot in the locker room for the first time.  So, I was pretty excited when Bradyn said he wanted to try out the locker room.

Here are a few of my personal favorites, as well as Bradyn’s.

high school senior football pics

From there, we headed to the football field.  With every session, I enjoy trying to come up with a different shot at some point in the session, that I’ve never tried before.  With Bradyn, the sun was in the perfect spot, and it was just the inspiration I needed for this shot.  Someone on Facebook had suggested I put “20-15″ on the scoreboard.  As I was editing the images, I thought the same thing, but was thinking it would have been neat to have had the score 20-15, rather than add it in Photoshop, like I did (after reading the FB suggestion).

senior boy football scoreboard photo

Before we headed a bit out of town, we stopped to get some photos of Bradyn with his truck.  We had a vision of what we wanted to do, since Bradyn had invested so much into these awesome lights, but it would have had to have been much later and there were other pictures they for sure wanted.  So, sometimes you just gotta make hard choices.  Regardless, these turned out pretty sweet and Bradyn ended up with a pretty awesome metal print of the image on the right.

senior guy with his pickup

After the football set of images, we headed to one of my favorite shooting spots of the summer on someone’s private property (with permission, of course).  I imagined myself living there as a child;  dancing among the trees – pretending to be “Max” of “Where the Wild Things Are.”  It just had this perfect child playground vibe to it.  I imagined numorous forts among the trees, a hammock, and an outdoor entertaining area, complete with a stone fire pit.  And since most homes around here are not embedded in a mini “forest” like this place was, it really did feel like I was transplanted to somewhere far away.

Here are some images from this wonderful place, the perfect setting for Bradyn’s derby car.  And thanks to his dad and another little helper, for helping with the smoke bombs.  This was another new thing I wanted to try and I felt fitting for his derby car – adds to the edginess of the derby car, I think.

senior boy derby car racing pics

senior boy portrait

Finally, we decided to end the session by becoming some mosquito lunch.  Well, at least they were loving me!  This was another wonderful, hidden spot we found –  again with permission to shoot there.

senior guy outdoor portrait

And I just want to add to today’s post a very happy 18th birthday to Bradyn!  I actually started this post some time ago and thought itwould be fitting to save it for today.   Enjoy the rest of  senior year, Bradyn and I hope it was a memorable 18th!!

P.S.  My heart goes out to all the veterans today as well;  those who may have been forgotten, the POW’s, those who didn’t receive as much love and support that veteran’s today receive, and to all those serving  today –  far from their loved ones.  I read this interesting article and I really enjoyed the perspective.  Having served in Iraq, I will echo one of the remarks made in the comments section, where the reader stated that even after having served two tours – one in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, he personally didn’t feel nearly the veteran as those who served in wars past; [and in my words] where nearly every man experienced one of the three: gave the ultimate sacrifice, lost their best friend, or  left a body part in some foreign land…wars where you went in knowing you likely wouldn’t be coming home.  So, like the article states, thank a veteran not for serving, but for allowing you to do and live each day as stated in that article.  Better yet, join me and donate to The Wounded Warrior Project or another cause that serves veterans.  God Bless America!   

 

 

 

 

 

My Life Monday |A Life-Lesson from an 8-year-old

Today, Alexandra turns 8 and before she went to bed last night, she whispered to me “thank you for my birthday party.”  She hadn’t even had her party yet and she was already sharing her gratitude.  I got a life-lesson from a soon-to-be-8-year-old in that moment.

Some may say, after reading that “kids are easy to please, who cares?”  And two months ago, I probably would have agreed.

However, something has been happening, within myself, and to me, it’s more than just my kid being easy to please.  Which, if you’ve been around Alexandra for any length of time, you quickly notice that it doesn’t take much for her to get excited.

It’s the fact she shared her gratitude before even experiencing her birthday party that really warmed my heart and made me feel proud in that moment.  And that, dear readers, is the one take-away I hope you get from today’s blog post.

About 3 weeks ago, I began a daily practice of gratitude.  And not just writing down  what I am grateful for, but emotionally feeling it…so much so, it’s brought me to tears at times.

Every night, we pray as a family and afterwards, we go around and say what we’re thankful for that day – we’ve done this for years.  But, I never really personally went beyond that.  However, since deciding to make a conscious effort to do more than that, it has changed the energy and the feelings I am putting out to those around me.

Don’t get me wrong – it’s not all kumbaya and 24/7 joy beaming from my pores, but what it is – is more peace in my own mind and less irritation, even when my 5-year-old accidentally spills my wine all over my electronic device and keyboard (true story).

So, as Thanksgiving nears and people begin the regimine of sharing on Facebook what they’re thankful for (which sure beats depressing news stories any day), maybe try and take it one step further and start a gratitude journal or spend a few minutes in silence thinking about all the good things in your life.  You have the time while in your car as you travel home, or in line at the grocery store – just drive all other thoughts out of your mind and focus on just being in the moment with thoughts of gratitude.

No matter what happens today, there is an 8-year-old in my life who has taught me something very important, without even realizing it.  It’s not just about being grateful for what you already have, but also being grateful for what is to come.

We’ll be partying like rock-stars tonight in the Volk home over party pizza (by request of the birthday girl), angel food cake that only her dad knows how to make just right, mint ice cream, with grandma and grandpa and a bunch of young girls joining us. Sounds like an amazing day ahead to me!

Have a blessed Monday and week ahead!

**This portrait was taken several weeks ago.  I will forever cherish this.  And one day, Alexandra will as well – I have no doubt about that.  If only….I had one just like it.  Heck, even a picture of my grandmother would be wonderful.  Alas, I have many more to share from this memorable session with my mom.  Stay tuned….**

grand-daughter and grandmother portrait

My Life Monday | A Spooktacular Halloween

Hey all!  Everyone joining me in a post-Halloween sugar crash on a regular basis?  Must.  Practice.  Self.  Control.

Although, I have figured out an easy trick to avoid the extra, no-good, will go to your ass, calories – let the kids keep the candy in their rooms.  lol!  And since our kids’ rooms are not on the main level, digging out sweet treats requires a step of actually taking the stairs.  Whereas, if you leave the bowl on the counter, you’re far more likely to sneak here and there.  You know I’m right.  ;)  We’ve actually never done this before.  Typically, we pool all their goodies to make one, big loot and keep it in a cupboard in the kitchen;  however, this year hubby told them to take it to their rooms.  I think he realized that way, he too, won’t be seduced by the sweet temptations.  And he, my friends, has ZERO self-control when it comes to sweets.  ha!

Anyway, it was a great weekend with friends, and even better that my friends and I won the costume contest!  It pays to spend a little money to dress up and you don’t necessarily have to spend money but we did have to invest in the jackets.  We might just have our Grease names embroidered on them and wear them out!  lol!  Just call me “Jan!”  It was fun to dress up as a group and I’m already swirling with an idea for a group next year!

Pink Ladies and T-Bird Costumes

Here are my goblins, along with a friend’s goblins.  This was the first year we went trick-or-treating with friends.  The kids and I both really enjoyed it!  (don’t mind the iPhone pics)Kitty and bush Halloween costumes

This past week, the kids also had their Fall concert.  They were pretty excited;  they got to wear their costumes this year.  I was pretty impressed with the band too!  It was a great concert and I’m just glad Xavier is liking the clarinet.  He didn’t squeak his instrument a once either!

Fall School Concert

Finally, the kids had their 4-H awards ceremony last night, for their participation last year.  They received their first year member plaques and discs for event participation that will be added to their plaque.  I really encourage parents to get their kids involved in 4-H.  DeAnn Larson and Carrie Heidrich are our group leaders and if you’re interested in signing your kiddos up, you can either get in touch with me and I can get you their contact info, or if you know them, contact them directly.

My Take on 4H

4-H encourages kids to get familiar with public speaking (which can be a paralyzing obstacle for many adults), as well as teach teamwork and encourages kids to use their imagination.  It takes a little work on the parents part, but it’s well worth it, I think.  Some kids may just not be interested, and that’s certainly understandable.  There are many different categories though, that surely, every child could find something of interest.  I also understand, as a parent, you have to choose sometimes, otherwise, you’d be running around every day of the week here and there.  Our group (Emmons County Southern Stars) meets the first Friday of every month, so it’s generally not a huge time commitment.  If you’re interested – get in touch with questions or come to a meeting to check it out.  We’re meeting this Friday, at 4:00 at The Amvets in Hague. :)

Emmons County 4H Southern Stars

In business news – my monthly e-news will be coming out tomorrow!  I share content not shared anywhere else, as well as anything else that suits my fancy that month!  Also, a while back on my Facebook page, I had shared a link to a Social Media Content Survey.  If you take two minutes to answer this quick multiple choice survey and share your contact info, you’ll be entered for a drawing to win a $10 gift certificate to a local business of your choosing.  So far, only one person has shared their info, so the odds of winning, at this point, are pretty darn good! ;)  Click here if you have two minutes to spare and are feeling lucky!

In closing….

I hope everyone has a great week!  Go out and vote, ladies & gents!  I voted absentee ballot, so my good deed has been done.  And if you’re like me, you’ll probably disappear from social media tomorrow because people just might get pretty ugly to each other.  Sitting behind a computer screen, making ugly remarks, then shutting the computer down for the day and pretending like nothing was ever said has become the norm in our society.  “Social” has taken on a whole new meaning nowadays.  Lift with your words and realize that some people are just looking for a fight or to stir the pot.  I don’t publicly discuss my personal views on certain topics for a reason – because they’re personal and based on my own belief system and life experience.  Belief systems and life experience are unique to each and every one of us.  We’re passionate about what we believe because, each of us has very intimate knowledge of ourselves that no one could ever know.  In my opinion, there isn’t a human alive that could gather what that knowledge is from a two minute Facebook scroll.  So, share your views if you like but know you will likely be met with resistance and be welcoming an opposing view.  And unless you know, without a doubt, that you can be open-minded and cool-headed, I will suggest you save yourself some self-induced stress and like me, keep your personal beliefs….personal.  But again, that’s just me.  I shall instead try to maintain a positive spin to my day and be thankful that I can vote in the first place.

 

 

Christmas Card Mini Session Promotion

So glad you stopped by for more information!

Session dates for the outdoor Hague sessions are as follows:

Tuesday, November 11th (no school – Veteran’s Day)

Wednesday, November 12

with an alternate date of Saturday, November 15th

Note:  The 15th could be a possible 3rd session date if there is enough interest and the weather cooperates.

Christmas Card Mini Session

– Steps to your updated portraits & awesome holiday cards –

1.  Contact me via email at victoria@vlvphotography.com or call 701.336.7720 to book

2.  You will be able to book your time slot online, as well as pay for your session and fill out the session agreement

3.  Choose your wardrobe.  Coordinate by choosing one outfit with several colors and pulling from that for the rest of the family.

4.  Want to include Props?  How about add on anything to your session to receive 10% off?

5.  Enjoy your time in front of my lens during your session!

6.  Within 10 days view your images online in a private, password-protected gallery

7.  Choose your digital images and your card design (you will have several options to choose from)

8.  Approve your card design online

9.Receive your beautifully packaged order

10.  Mail out your beautiful cards to friends and family

Get in touch with any questions or if you would like to book your session!  Time slots are to be determined but space will be limited!

P.S.  If there are at least 3 or more families more than 50 miles from Hague (58542), I would extend this promotion to take place in your town on another date.  Please inquire if interested!

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