Northern Lights | Madison WI Photographer

Last Wednesday night's solar storm brought a beautiful display of Northern Lights, which were visible from the Madison area all throughout the evening. I spent hours watching rolling waves spread across the horizon, and the lengthly storm even meant I was able to get it from multiple locations. 

 

Astraea's 3rd Birthday Portraits | Madison WI Children & Family Photographer

Too often it feels like things need to be "perfect" before we get photos done. I'm no exception, I've put off my own family photos for a long time, and in the past I spent a lot of time not photographing my own kids due to an abundance of excuses, mostly related to wanting everything to be perfect before I bothered with it. 

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What's that thing they say about cobbler's children? They have no shoes. Well that's certainly been true for a certain photographer's children and photos the last several years. 

Last year I meant to do birthday portraits like these of my daughter for her second birthday, and then I didn't. I couldn't find the right location, I didn't have the right outfit for her, etc... so it never happened. I was too busy focusing on what I didn't have, so I didn't do anything.

THIS year I swore I really was going to do it, and that I'd do it on her actual birthday so there would be no putting it off until later... and then we got unexpectedly busy and my plan was derailed by errands and appointments.

Luckily, I had learned something from last year's mistake; capturing the memories was more important than being perfect, so I went for it anyway. On the way out the door I grabbed some of her dress up favorites and I took what I could get: The last ten minutes of light, in an office park, 20 feet from the parking lot, while we waited during my husband's appointment. 

Being willing to give up the quest for perfection gave me the best photos of my daughter that I've ever taken. This is exactly who she is... soft, and sweet, and goofy, with a massive personality. In other words, completely 3.

When I focused on what I had and not what I didn't have, it was clear I didn't need to do anything to make these moments perfect, they already were. 

(P.S. If I can do this next to a parking lot, just think what we could do with your family portraits at a REAL location. What are YOU waiting for? I'm now booking September and October portrait sessions and expect them to fill quickly. Contact me today to schedule yours!)

Snowfall | Madison WI Childrens Photographer

Apart from a couple of cold snaps we've had so little winter this year, it's hard to believe it's already March and that by next month the first little green buds of spring will be appearing.

My daughter loves the snow, and I love her exploring spirit. I snapped these shots quick on the way to pick up her brother from school yesterday. In 2017 I'm working hard to remind myself to take real photos of my own kids because I was especially lacking last year.

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chèvre and Almond

I made up these delicious bars for an Oscar party (what punny movie themed food name did I come up with? 'Hidden Figbars") and they were a hit! They feature preserves from one of my favorite Madison WI food makers, Quince & Apple, with soft cheeses all wrapped up in a delicious pastry.  

You'll need: 

2 puff pastry sheets
2oz softened cream cheese
2oz chevre cheese
1/8 cup of sugar
Quice & Apple Fig & Black Tea spread (or other preserves)*
1 egg, beaten
Almonds (optional) 

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chevre and Almonds - Yum! YUM! #MadisonFoodie

Black Tea Fig Bars with Chevre and Almonds - Yum! YUM! #MadisonFoodie

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together cheeses and sugar until well combined. Fold out your pastry sheets on parchment paper and spread cheese mixture in an even rectangle down the middle third of each sheet. Top cheese with Quince & Apple's Fig spread (I found 2-3 rounded TBSP per pastry worked well, adjust to your liking).

 *Feel free to substitute another preserve flavor, I also made a strawberry rhubarb version that my kids went crazy over. 

Slice the outer two thirds of the pastry in a diagonal fringe so you can fold the sides over the top in a braid (for more detailed instructions I used my friend Amy's method). Place both pastries on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with egg.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, topping with almonds after about 12 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes, sprinkle with powdered sugar, slice into bars and enjoy :)

My Daughter Is a Wild Thing | Madison WI Childrens Photographer

My daughter is a wild thing, an untamed spirit of wonder.
Her heart is deeply content, but her soul is not quieted. 
She announces her presence to the world in a cacophony,
Stomping, splashing, pounding, clattering, bouncing, spinning. 
She is an exporer and an adventurer. 

My daughter is a wild thing.