Taking your own family pictures

I’m Back!! Haha. Its been years… Its been a crazy few years but I think I am just going to jump into life now. Basic updates. We had another baby boy, got new carpet (finally), and planted 3 new trees in our yard.

My oldest was in a little performance at his school the other day. Isn’t motherhood like the bomb?!?! I was so proud of him and all the other parents in the audience sat there being proud of their kids, we really all have more in common then we think.  Tonight will be basketball, I am not lying guys- watching kindergarten age kids play b ball is… the funniest thing ever, truly. Its adorable they “travel” more than not but the ref’s let it slide. I have my kids in sports, I think its so good for them, each Tuesday and Thursday I am running them too and from practices and I surprise myself with how much I like it! I guess I am gonna be a soccer mom (what does that mean exactly?) anyways.

I was trying to pick a profile picture and couldn’t , so I decided I needed to plan our spring family pictures. That brings me too the ‘How to take your own family pictures’ topic:

Find/borrow a camera and tripod (if you can’t find a tripod grab a chair and book to set the camera on) you are going to set the camera up and then jump into the picture.

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Choose a location that doesn’t have a lot of foot traffic. Because you are going to have your camera on a tripod (or chair) you want to make sure it wont get knocked over by a passerby.

 

Pick 2-3 poses you really want. You get everyone set up like you want and then you make sure everyone is in focus, using a remote or the self timer setting run and stand in the picture. Make sure you are not standing farther way from the camera then the person next to you since that can effect the focus.

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I generally try to grab a lot of pictures for each pose , I always do the last few shoots with everyone begin goofy -keeps the kids in a better mood. 😉

*By the way, I am not saying professional pictures are not important or worth the money. It is truly remarkable what a good photographer can catch on camera, they make it art and show the unique way your family interacts. Taking pictures yourself is better then not a taking them at all though!

Its good to be back, its fun for me to have this little creative outlet. I am on social media as well and hope to do some vlogs soon too (those are so fun to watch!).

-Melinda

 

Taking your own family pictures

Hand Made Easter Cards

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We had a fun time on Tuesday making Easter Cards for my brother- who is on a mission In Florida for The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

I turned the kids handprints into Easter bunnies and their thumb prints into chicks- or my kids decide they were baby ducky’s.

Simply paint the child’s hand a light color of your choice and stamp the print on to the paper you will use for a card.

Once dry, draw on a mouth and whiskers.

Then take a mid- sized pop pom and glue it at the tip top of the drawn on mount. Take 2 google eyes (the craft supply kind) and glue them above the nose. Now on the thumb of the hand place the big white pom pom or cotton ball for the tail.

For the chicks simple have the chick dip their thumb in yellow paint and stamp it wherever they will want a chick to be. After they dry take an orange crayon or marker and draw feet and a beak. Take a black pen and add a dot for the eye just kitty corner to the beak.

Hand Made Easter Cards

Delicious Gluten free Strawberry Ice Cream

To go with my sons Birthday cake (yesterdays post) he wanted strawberry ice cream. Since we just inherited an ice cream mixer from my grandpa I was excited to make some homemade goodness!

Ice Cream
Ice Cream

Delicious Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 Cups Skim Milk

1 ½ cups sugar (I used a little less than this amount)

8 Egg yolks

1 teaspoon good vanilla

½- 1 tsp salt

1 pound of hulled strawberries (take the green part of and the extra bit in the middle out)

Extra 2 Tbs sugar (for the berries)

2 ½ cups Heavy whipping cream

Directions:

Ready? ‘A lot of steps but believe me it is totally worth it! Let’s get going.

Start by placing the milk and 3-4 tbs of your whipping cream into a large saucepan. Add the vanilla. Heat this on a very low temp until it’s very hot- but do not boil or simmer it!

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Next step: Begin by taking your egg yolks and placing them in the bowl of your stand mixer- you could whip them by hand if you are strong- but I always like the mixer best.

Whip the egg white until they are lighter in color, add the sugar and salt and whip it until they are very light and thick. (See picture color how light the yolk mixture is? That’s what you want).

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Take your hulled strawberries and place them in the blender with the 2 tbs of sugar and puree them. Oh they will look so pretty and smell so good. But don’t drink the puree- it’s for your ice cream.

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Now take a cup or so of the hot milk and drizzle it into the yolk mixture. I do this with the mixer on medium high drizzle the milk in slowly. You are tempering the eggs here so don’t skip this step if you want creamy- not scrambled eggy- ice cream.

Now add some more milk doing the same thing. Finally add the whole mixture back into the rest of the milk in the pan on the stove.

Now stirring with a wooden spoon heat on the stove for 5 min. I had my temp set to medium low. Don’t worry if it gets hot and you have a few bubbles coming up. No hard boils please but a few simmers won’t hurt it at this point.

Now feel free to strain your mixture to make sure you don’t have any egg bits or chunks of anything. I didn’t do this this time because I felt confident in my custard skills but it is recommended. Although you hopefully won’t have any problems because of how carefully you tempered your eggs, and how watchful you were not to let your milk simmer or boil.

The mixture will be done when it can coat the spoon. Now add the strawberry puree to the party- oh yeah yummy- and then add the heavy cream. Stir everything together.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and follow your instructions for whatever ice cream machine you have.

We enjoyed it right from the mixer, and then froze our leftovers in the freezer. Many people like to have it in the mixer and then freeze it before eating. My mixer does a very good job and it was plenty stiff to enjoy right away but do what works for your family!

*Tip if you hate strawberry seeds you can strain your puree.

Also this ice cream is really, really good made with peach puree- I can wait for summer so I can grab some peaches off the tree and  make some ice cream.

Delicious Gluten free Strawberry Ice Cream

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Yesterday was my sons birthday! So a cake of course was made- and homemade ice cream- that recipe will come tomorrow!

Enjoy it (we did!)

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Gluten free Sponge cake

Directions.

Begin by preparing a baking sheet. I used a spring form pan but I think any pan could work. Place parchment paper on the bottom and grease the side well. (I used coconut oil)

Now separate the eggs. Place all the white in the metal bowl of your stand mixer.

Place the yolks and vanilla and baking powder in a separate bowl and whip together very well. Until they just start to look lighter in color. Place the sugar and water in a microwave safe bowl and heat until it is boiling. About 2 and ½ min on high at one min intervals. Check the mixture periodically to stir in the sugar.

Mix the Egg whites on high until they can form peaks. Now drizzle in the Boiling sugar mixture- very slowly- with the mixer running. Once the sugar water is in beat the mixture on high for 3 min. They will be stiff glossy peaks when done.

While the egg white are getting whipped together in the mixer. Sift all the dry ingredients together.

When the egg whites are stiff add the egg yolk mixture into the egg white. Careful not to deflate the whites. Now incorporate the dry ingredients a third at a time. Folding everything in gently.

Once combined spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min. or until the sides of the cake are starting to pull away from the pan. If you touch the top it will spring back.

Remove from heat and immediately drop the pan from “knee height”. I drop mine from the height of my head to the counter, because I think it’s gross to drop in on the floor- I don’t care how clean it is-. Really do this. It is a sponge cake thing and apparently it “shocks” the cake and keeps it from falling. Also it’s pretty fun.

Once you have shocked the cake by dropping it invert it from the pan onto a rack to cool. Once cool I cut mine in half and made a cream cheese filling.

*This recipe makes a small cake. For a true layer cake I would recommend doubling the recipe. I just kept it small since I knew we would not need leftovers-what with Easter almost here!

Gluten Free Sponge Cake

Gluten Free Chiffon Cake

We made a big fabulous feast to kick of spring brake
I made a delicious chiffon cake (Gluten free of course)
We made a big Breakfast this morning!
We began our garden plans for the year.Hint it will be ALOT of work! But I know we can pull it off it we put in the work and stick with it!
I went out shopping -I’m starting to get Our Easter outfits put together and plan for that big day!

Gluten Free Chiffo n Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/4 cups white rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/4 cup tapioca starch

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum

7 large eggs, separated

3/4 cup water

1/2 cup canola oil (its healthier than vegetable oil)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

Directions:

  1. In a mixing bowl whisk together all the dry ingredients except the cream of tartar. Set aside
  2. Separate the eggs. I recommend using a small custard dish to catch the egg whites. Do this one at a time to make sure no egg yolk gets into the whites. Put the yokes into a largish bowl and the egg white in the metal bowl of your stand mixer.
  3. Once all the whites and yokes are separated, whisk the yokes together until lighter in color. Add in the water, vanilla extract and canola oil. Gradually add in the dry ingredients and mix together until very smooth. Set batter aside.
  4. Using the whisk attachment to your mixer beat the egg whites on medium for a few seconds, until they start to look frothy. Now add in the cream of tartar. Now beat on high until medium peaks form –not too stiff or shiny.
  5. Now take one fourth of the egg whites and fold into the batter, this first one I move quickly and try to incorporate very well I mix this first forth in more than the others in order to help lighten the batter. Now ,a fourth at a time, gently and carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites.
  6. Now spoon the batter into a clean and dry angel food cake pan. Do Not Grease!
  7. Bake at 325 on the middle rack for 50-60 min or until the cake springs back and is golden brown. (it was a hour for me).
  8. Take the chiffon cake out and immediately invert in over a bottle. Just like you do for angel food cake. Let it rest for several hours, until it is completely cool.

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Gluten Free Chiffon Cake

My brothers response to my letter

Remember the letter I wrote to my brother? I posted it here because I was feeling particularly amusing that day.

Well my brother respond in his usual fashion.

It read in full:

“Those Pansies! the ones in the front? Wow I’m surprised too.

and the fish are alive as well. Congratulations

I’m glad your happy
 Elder “M” (name removed for privacy)”
So classic M.
I hope you can appreciate the letter. He is the funny quiet type. I am sure you can understand why I miss him so much!
Have a very excellent Thursday.
*Also for your benefit a picture of the never dying pansises
My brothers response to my letter