Monday, December 21, 2009

Death By Chocolate

*Blog update on my family blog, also.

This year I decided that I would actually bake something from all the food blogs I religiously stalk (, are two of my FAV'S!) and make a truly delicious treat for my neighbor gifts. Delicious, but easy. I finally decided on these little beauties:


(Photo from

So, I set off on my culinary journey and decided to take pictures along the way since, you know, I like pictures and all...(disclaimer, I am NOT a food photographer and it SHOWS!)

I started off by making brownies- from a box, and unwrapping half a million peppermint hershey kisses. I HEAVILY greased the pan as per the recipe instructions, and then shoved a kiss into the middle. See the before, and the beautiful after:

brownie WEB 6

They puffed up so nicely over the kisses, I was really excited!!! Lovely, right? Sigh....

brownie WEB 5

Except...Oh. Wait a minute. No.

brownie WEB 1


brownie WEB 3


brownie WEB 2
Fast forward 2 hours and a trip to the store for more ingredients INCLUDING mini cupcake holders, and we are back in business. Another batch of adorable brownies? Check.

Next, pop some chocolate chips along with some half and half in the microwave and......DARN IT!

brownie WEB 7

Okay, well, let's improvise the 'joy' way and do it on the stove. ahhhh. Much better.
brownie WEB 4

Ooooo they are coming together and looking really yummy!
brownie WEB 8

Crush some candy canes and.....I had to run outside quickly and grab one in natural light before the sun went down...
brownie WEB 9

A snap of the chaos as we are preparing all the plates...
brownie WEB 10

....and finally a quick snap of the finished product as husband gives me the 'let's go' stink eye from the door.

brownie WEB 12

Concensus: These actually ended up tasting DIVINE and were not too much work once I figured out I needed cupcake wrappers. The problem with not having wrappers was that the kisses would sink down and stick to the bottom of the pan. Otherwise, a pretty painless recipe. I could look at Our Best Bites and Picky Palate for a month straight, I am excited to try more recipes!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Personal Message from Santa

Okay, so a friend of mine clued me in to this site: MESSAGE FROM SANTA, you go to the link and fill out some info about your child, and then it will give you another link so that your child can 'call' santa, like a webcam chat. Santa knows your child's name, what he/she wants for Christmas, specific things he/she has done this year....I did it with our 3 year old and her eyes were as large as saucers, she was so mystified! It made me want to bawl my head off, truthfully, seeing her believe so much in the magic of Santa. It really is worth the 2 minutes it takes to do this. I am going to have her watch it again and get her reactions on video, they were so sweet!!! Anyway, hope you are all having a happy Christmas season! Our family was hit with the stomach flu, but hey, at least we will be healthy next weekend, right? ;)

Friday, December 18, 2009

My Newfound Hobby

It seems I start off every blog post with some sort of excuse why I have been so neglectful of my blog, and truthfully, on top of being completely and utterly swamped with Christmas card orders, I am also a little slow to write over here (I have another private family blog). I can see that people are checking, though, so never fear...HERE I am! I have lots of posts in mind so I promise I will be better. Plus, you know what is happening on January 4th, right? RIGHT? That's right, my friends, Jake will be back, armed with roses, ready to break some hearts. I cannot wait for it, and I hope that commenters will come out of their hiding places because I love a good Bachelor discussion!!!

Okay, enough of that. I am sure that you see the title of this blog and think, "ANOTHER hobby, Joy, are you kidding me?" Yes, I tend to overwhelm myself by trying to learn everything (still on the list: sewing and cake making/decorating) but this one isn't too time consuming...
So, here it is: I have found a lot of joy in making my own wreaths this year. Hobby Lobby has great sales on all of their wreath/decor embellishments every season...So I just buy a base wreath and stand in the aisle assembling my dream wreath while my children run a muck around my feet. They have turned out beautifully, I would HIGHLY recommend it! And they cost around the same price as pre-made wreaths cost, or a wreath at Target. I wish I had a picture of the wreath I made for the fall, but it is already in storage. I thought I would snap a quick one of my Christmas wreath, though, because I love it so. I took my warm little tush out into the FREEZING cold and snap snap snapped my poor frozen camera, so sorry the pictures are not the greatest.

So here it is:
Wreath 2 WEB

My favorite part:
Wreath 1 WEB

Thanks for letting me share!

Friday, December 4, 2009

She's Two!!

Just blogged on our FAMILY BLOG

Blog 6

One Month

Well, here I am posting one month later. My blog is still Thanksgiving-a-fied and it looks as though it will be staying that way for a week or so longer. I have been up to my ears with sessions ( and we also took a two week vacation to Utah (where I did more sessions)!!! With the holiday rush, I have had no time to blog. I am crossing my fingers that by next week I will have all my sessions finished, all my Christmas cards ordered, and have nothing but free time. And sleep.

Anyway........I wanted to take a moment and post about something- I get an email almost every day from up and coming photographers who are just starting out. I saw a post on a photography forum that I really liked and it really opened my eyes to pricing. So often I see photographers charging $50 for a session and disk (this ASTOUNDS me) so I hope this sheds some light on what a session REALLY costs. This is not the 'why does photography cost so much' article that has been circulating. This is FOR photographers, really laying out what it costs to have a biz. Hopefully it is helpful to newbies out there!