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Friday, September 3, 2010

What is Real?

With each pump of my legs I got closer and closer to my goal... to touch the sky while swinging on the old swing set in my grandma's yard.

Many a summer's day in my childhood was spent at grandma's. There are several things today that remind me about what was real during that time. The smell of wild mint, the cat tails blowing in the rain, the sound of the train coming, the beauty of lilacs, vanilla ice cream cones, and the thrill of a child in a swing.

Those things were real and have left everlasting memories in my mind.

Today things that are real are not that simple. Today's reality is about studying philosophy, ideology, and theories in education. What is real right now is that these words are making my mind ACHE!

I have been reading page after page of information on all three. My mind is spinning. I need to be able to connect each to one another as well as point out their differences. It isn't happening.

These things are so abstract, and I do not do well with abstract.

I want to grasp something real right now. I want to escape for a moment to the time in my life when what was real was the smell of wild mint, eating an ice cream cone with grandpa, and reaching for the sky while sitting on the swing.

What is Real?, originally uploaded by little.tree.company.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hakiu Wednesday

So a friend of mine creates Haikus and every Wednesday she posts one over on her blog.
She has invited friends to play along, so today I did. Here is my haiku for the theme she chose for Haiku Wednesday: Exercise!

bend, twist, stretch and kick
lift those weights way over your head
run a mile or two


You can read my friend's haiku and others that share theirs on her blog here:


Sunday, August 29, 2010

She gave me magic wishing fries...

"Here mom", she said as she handed me a homemade envelope filled with strips of paper.

"What's this?" I asked.

"Magic wishing fries" she replied with assurance.

"You take one out each day that you miss me and make a wish. After you make your wish you put the fries in the back" she stated as she showed me how to do it. "When they are all gone you start over!"

Wow! What a creative power of imagination this six year old girl has. She also has an amazing power to love and be loved, as do all of my children.

I am blessed with an amazing family. We have a crazy household when it is filled with the 6 of us.

The summers are spent with all four children in our home and the days are filled with laughter and smiles as we go about creating memories.

When August comes around, part of each of us leaves when the two little ones head north for the winter. An emptiness fills our hearts and our home as they are missed the very moment they step out our front door.

I am so grateful for the memories of the summer that are alive in our hearts, our minds and our collection of pictures.

And I am oh, so happy for my "magic wishing fries".

20100806-IMG_2992 copy, originally uploaded by little.tree.company.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Weird Worm Story...

I have had a plinky account for a while now but haven't really used it. Today while going through my email I came across a message from plinky. Upon reading it I thought one of the prompts sounded fun...write a 200 word story as fast as you can. So what follows is my story. It is based off of the pet worm I had when I was 5. Yes, I had a pet worm and his name was Fred...What, didn't everyone have a pet worm at the age of 5?

Picture from flickr...

73 - o little boys

The worm lay sunning himself on the sidewalk. Fred is his name. He was totally lost in the moment when she showed up.

She picked him up and placed him in a bucket of mud, poking at him until he was submerged. She left him there for a few moments before removing him and placing him in a bucket of water.

Man, Fred was so tired of this routine. Every time he got comfortable in the sun she came along and did the bucket of mud, bucket of water thing. She would talk to him as she did it. She referred to the bucket of mud as his play ground.

Fred didn't think it was a play ground. He hated mud! Sure, worms and mud are suppose to go together, but not for this worm. Fred hated to get dirty. And even more than getting dirty, he hated water.

Sure you are thinking, what kind of worm is this...a suicidal worm or something. Don't worms need mud and water to survive. And why would a worm sun himself on the side walk? What about the birds and dying from being dried out? This worm is weird!

Yes, all of those things are true. But hey, this is s short story that I am writing as fast as I can...so if you want it to make sense then you better give me time. Now go back to whatever you were doing and enjoy reality!

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As Yoda says “There is no try, just do.”...

I love reading photo blogs, especially those that are informational, such as Photofocus.
Today there is a wonderful post on using available light. The opening paragraph puts forth the message that to improve your photography you need to practice.

Scott Bourne suggests that you "Shoot each week so you get to the point where you don’t have to think about how to operate your camera…You just use it to create images." I love that last part..you just create images. I love creating images. I love it when I create the image I had in mind. One of my goals with my photography is to nail the shot in the camera and leave photoshop out of my workflow. And how do I go about doing this, I practice...Practice makes perfect! I am working on perfecting my photography...my style!

Scott closes the first paragraph with the Yoda quote..."There is no try, just do." This quote makes me think of something that Jasmine Star stated in the creativeLive workshop she is currently doing. I can't give a direct quote, but to sum it up, she said you have to fight for what you want....move toward what you want...vocalize it. Go after what you want....so in connecting it to Yoda's words...don't just try to go after it...GO AFTER IT! To connect that to my personal goal of nailing the shot in the camera...I can't just try to do it...by reading or wishing...I have to do it...how do I do it? I practice, practice and practice. Take note of what I did to make the shot that is IT! Do different and be different.

With that, I leave you with a one of my all time favorite photos...

The Joy of Laughter!, originally uploaded by little.tree.company.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


“I am worn to a raveling.” ~ Beatrix Potter

I have a love for things that are worn. My favorite blue jeans that are my go to for comfort. That old quilt that makes a nap complete. The old basket from grandma's chicken coop. Worn is good...worn is loved. Here is a sampling of worn from myself and my friends.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reflect on your work...

Currently I am working on my Master's degree in Elementary Education. Classes just started up again last week, so this past week I have been getting adjusted to my new class schedule. With this current class I am to write weekly journal entries. The purpose of which is to become reflective educators. As I ponder over this weeks readings I can't get one phrase out of my mind: "reflect on your work."

As I think about this phrase I feel that it is one that applies to more than just education and being an educator. It applies to life. How many of us reflect on our life's work, whether be as a teacher, a lineman, photographer, doctor, a father or mother, a husband or wife, a sister or brother, a daughter or son. We each have work in one aspect or another, and more than one aspect as well.

What purpose does reflection serve? How do you reflect?

The dictionary defines reflect as follows:
reflect |riˈflekt| (verb)
[ intrans. ] ( reflect on/upon) think deeply or carefully about

The thesaurus gives us the following synonyms
...indicate, show, display, demonstrate, be evidence of, register, reveal, betray, disclose; express, communicate; formal evince.
...think about, give thought to, consider, give consideration to, review, mull over, contemplate, cogitate about/on, meditate on, muse on, brood on/over, turn over in one's mind; archaic pore on.

How do you reflect on your work? Do you write in a journal? Meditate? Write poetry?
Does the way you reflect depend on what it is you are reflecting on?

As for me it does depend on what it is I am reflecting upon. Photography plays a big part in my reflection process. A lot of my photography serves as my reflection, my way of expressing myself and my thoughts. When it comes to being an educator I need to be better about reflecting on my work and in doing so writing my reflections down.

In this weeks reading it mentions conceptual framework as a reflection tool. Conceptual framework, according to the NCATE (National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education) is a "philosophy of education that gives meaning to teaching by integrating its daily demands with long-term professional commitment and direction." The aim of conceptual framework, in my understanding, is to make a clear connection between teaching and learning and connecting daily elements to the long-term goal of education.

Now, as a person who's life's work involves more than being an educator I ask myself how I can apply this framework to other areas of my life. My answer is to ask myself the following questions: Do the elements of my daily life correspond with my life goals? If not, what do I need to do to bring the daily elements of my life's work into alignment with my life time goals?

As I think about the answers to these two questions as they apply to different areas of my life I find myself thinking about the culture I was raised in. Setting goals and working toward achieving them was a large part of my youth. Reflection in the form of journal writing was a large part of my youth as well. At some point in time I fell away from using those concepts and have relied on "just winging it" with many aspects. I find myself realizing that "just winging it" doesn't work anymore. I need to go back to those foundational concepts from my youth and start using them again.

As I ponder these things I think of Stephan Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and feel that I need to revisit those habits and apply them to all areas of my life. You see, I want to be successful and "highly effective" in all areas of my life.

I leave you with a reflection picture...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

did someone say brownies?

ok... so what you are about to see is the a picture of the most delicious brownies ever made by my husband the super duper cook of this house everything he makes taste so good and these are more than good in the words of toni the tiger they are great and the picture below is going to make your mouth water and you are going to wish that my husband will come to your house and make you some but he most likely won't so you are going to have to make these brownies yourself because you will not be able to stop thinking about them until you do and then after you take your first bite you will say to yourself self are they really this good so you will take another bite to make sure that they are really that good and then another bite and then another and then before you know it the pan of brownies has disappeared and yes i know i just typed one very long run-on sentence but when describing these brownies it is very difficult to describe these brownies and type and use proper grammar all at the same time.

so i share with you this image and a link to the recipe. click on picture to go to recipe.

warning, image may cause excessive drooling.

**note: the brownies picture here were made with walnuts for the topping instead of powdered sugar.

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am currently working with a group of photographer friends on a project in which we each submit a photo each week that represents our own unique perspective of a word.  The photos are put into a collage and posted for our friends and family to see on facebook.  It is so fun to see how each of us interprets the word each week.

We are on week 9 and as each week comes and goes I will post the collages.  I will try to post the weeks prior to week 8 over the next few days or weeks.

Week 9 was Pride.  I immediately thought of the flag of the United States of America.  It represents the hard work our ancestors put in to building our nation.  I have a strong pioneer heritage.  My ancestors gave up a lot to come to America and eventually the West.  I take pride in my heritage and the sacrifices my family made for me and my family.

One of our group members submitted this quote with an image of her husband standing in front of the Vietnam's Veteran Memorial in DC:  "PRIDE for those who have gone before us, both living and dead."  Another member, Matt, had this to say about pride: "Pride is when you build something you have no idea you could". 

The dictionary defines pride as follows:
pride |prīd|
1 a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired

Through our submissions you can see that we all have similar but different perspectives on what pride is.  The cool thing is that all of them fit the definition of pride.

So along with sharing our collage and my individual submission I leave you with the following question:  How would you represent the word Pride?


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Family Photo Time, and Good Eats!

It has been over a year and a half since my family has had family photos taken.  So before my little skittles, E and E, return to Utah for the winter we headed to downtown Gilbert to get some family and individual shots.

I absolutely love downtown Gilbert.  One of my favorite restaurants is there, Liberty Market.  They serious have some great food.  Joe's Real BBQ is another great one and it is kitty corner from Liberty (Do you call it kitty corner or katty corner?  I guess it all depends on where you grew up...for me it has always been kitty corner).  Both places give you free food on your birthday.  Another great restaurant located in Gilbert (and my very favorite of my favorite restaurants) which also gives free food for you birthday...Joe's Farm Grill!  Joe's Real BBQ and Joe's Farm Grill are sister restaurants.  Oh My Goodness, Joe's Farm Grill is the bomb! (Yes, ok, I know, that was so yesterday, but they are).  They have  been featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. I can't tell you what to try when you go because all of it is so delicious!!! If you are every in Gilbert, Arizona you have to try out all three of these places.  Hey, come for your birthday and do breakfast, lunch, and dinner and enjoy free food for your birthday.

Anyway, back to the family photos.  I decided that the exterior of Joe's Real BBQ was the place.  I love the old bricks and the vintage Coca-Cola sign on the side of the building.

It was quite a challenge to get everyone to smile in one shot.  One of the girls was showing her independent side that morning and did not want to get her picture taken.  However, I did manage to get her to smile in enough to make it worth the while.

A BIG THANKS goes to my mother-in-law who served as my tripod for the whole group shots.  She did a fantastic job.

Funny thing happened during the shoot.  A lady driving by felt that it was necessary to stop and tell my mother-in-law what she needed to do to get a good shot... hmmm, no thanks lady, we have it covered!

So, here are a select few from the shoot...

Monday, February 8, 2010

happy birthday to me...

For my birthday this year I made a gluten-free cake. I have been working on going gluten-free but still wanted to celebrate my birthday with something yummy. I found the recipe below in the Living Without Magazine...now go make you some...Enjoy!

05/365...Gluten Free Cake...

Mocha Chocolate Cake


“When I began living gluten free, this was the first cake I re-created,” says Diane Kittle. “Coffee enhances the chocolate flavor.” Top with Mocha “Buttercream” Frosting or Chocolate Ganache Frosting.

1 cup hot brewed coffee (decaf works fine)
1 cup cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
3 cups gluten-free All-Purpose Flour Blend more for dusting pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 cup dairy-free margarine or organic shortening
2½ cups sugar or evaporated cane juice
4 large eggs,* room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch round cake pans for Chocolate Mocha Cake on cover. Or prepare three 8-inch round cake pans for Chocolate Ganache Cake, pictured here.

2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the coffee and cocoa powder. Add hot water and whisk until smooth.

3. On a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour blend, baking soda, baking powder, salt and xanthan gum. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the margarine or shortening and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, approximately 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla and cream well. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

5. Blend half the dry ingredients into the wet batter, followed by half the cocoa mixture. Blend in remaining dry ingredients and cocoa mixture, mixing on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.

6. Spoon the batter equally into prepared cake pans or standard-size cupcake tins. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes. Watch carefully as time will vary depending on oven and pan size. Cake is done when an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

7. Remove cake from oven and cool in pans for 20 minutes. Then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting. Frost tops of layers with Mocha “Buttercream” Frosting or Chocolate Ganache Frosting Assemble cake and frost sides.

Dairy Free, Too!

Mocha “Buttercream” Frosting


This versatile recipe makes enough to frost a 3-layer cake. For a wonderful Vanilla “Buttercream” Frosting, omit the cocoa and coffee extract and add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract.

6 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons sifted cocoa
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling-hot water
2½ cups vegetable shortening, such as organic Spectrum shortening
¾ cups dairy-free margarine of choice
2 teaspoon gluten-free coffee extract
Fresh raspberries or shaved chocolate, for garnish

1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar, cocoa and salt.

2. With a whip attachment, add boiling water and whip at medium-low speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.

3. Scrape down the bowl with a spatula. Add shortening, margarine and extract to the sugar mixture. Whip at medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy, approximately 10 minutes.

4. Scrape down the bowl and whip an additional minute. Frost cake and garnish with raspberries or shaved chocolate.

Each cake serving with Mocha “Buttercream” Frosting contains 838 calories, 49g total fat, 18g saturated fat, 2g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 949mg sodium, 99g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 4g protein.

TIP Refrigerate leftover frosting in an airtight container for two weeks. Let frosting return to room temperature and then re-whip for 2 minutes before using.

*TIP For Egg-Free Mocha Chocolate Cake, mix ½ cup applesauce with 2 teaspoons baking powder in a small bowl. In another small bowl, thoroughly mix 4 tablespoons cold water with 1 tablespoon egg replacer. (For gluten-free egg replacer, visit ener-gfoods.com) Add egg replacer mixture to applesauce mixture. Then add the entire egg-free mixture to the creamed shortening and sugar and proceed with recipe instructions.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

a little bit of this and a whole lot of that...

I feel like my blog has taken a back seat to life the past few weeks. I started working on my Early Childhood Education Master's program through Arizona State University and I have spent the past few weeks to get settled in with my classes...balancing being a wife, mother and grad student.

I have been out and about taking photos. Did a photo shoot of my son for his 10th birthday...wow, 10 years old already...where has the time gone? I will get some of these up soon to share with all of you.

This past Saturday I had the opportunity to be an assistant for Stephanie Harmon of StepOnMePhotos. I have been an assistant for Stephanie before and was thrilled when she asked me to do so again. The wedding was quaint and the bride and groom were beaming with love. To see some of my photos from the wedding go to my facebook fan page and check them out. While you are there check out my other work and let me know that you stopped by by leaving a comment.

I leave you with a recent photo I took that is currently the background on my desktop and my google calendar (did you know that you can put a picture as a background on you google calendar??? I just discovered this last week and love it...check it out in the lab section of your google calendar settings).

“Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery -- it recharges by running.”   Bill Watterson

Friday, January 8, 2010

dose of inspiration...

I stumbled upon this fun blog notebook doodles ... so full of fun quotes with drawings and photos...I just love it so much that I thought I would share it with you...so go check it out...grab a cup of hot chocolate, sit back and browse through it...that's what I am doing.

post note:...while drinking said hot chocolate I choked on it and sprayed it all over my keyboard and desk...good times, good times!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Senior Portrait Special...

I am currently running a special offer with Senior Portrait Sessions booked for January and February.

Book your Senior Portrait session in January or February and receive a Custom Graduation Photo Card design free.
(You receive the design file along with your photo CD. You may then print your cards at the printer of your choice) (A $15.00 value)

Hurry, get your session scheduled on my calendar and take advantage of the low portfolio building prices and this special offer.

Current portfolio building Senior Session specials are as follows:

Basic Package: $80: Session includes 60-90 minutes at 2 locations of your choice (East Valley), 2 outfits.

Plus Package: $110: Same as Basic Packge plus up to an additional 60 minutes which may include a 3rd location plus 1-2 additional outfit changes. This may be spread out over 2 days.

With all packages you receive the copy rights to 30-50 color enhanced images on a CD (image amounts
may vary depending on the package purchased). Included in the price are edits to 10-15 images done in B/W, sepia, vintage and textured...additional edits start at $2 per image.

Both packages come with one 8"x10" or two 5"x7" prints of an image(s) of your choice.

Little Tree Photography and Designs will also take care of your print orders for additional fees.

Contact me by phone (480) 202-9008 or email: littletreecompany@gmail.com

1Senior Front

Happy New Year...

I'm back after a nice...LONG..Christmas vacation. I took advantage of the break and totally relaxed pretty much the entire time. Now it is a little bit difficult to get back in the swing of things...I have been busy today cleaning off my hard drive and finishing up edits from one session...3 more sessions to go before Friday...I will get them done!!!

I am excited to get the New Year started...I have several goals for myself, my family and my photography business. I will be announcing some specials so be sure to check back soon.

Now's the time to get your session booked on my calendar. Call or email me to set up a session.

I have my first wedding scheduled for April. I am very excited about it. I have been a second shooter before but this will be my first big girl experience. It is going to be awesome!!! I have one second shooter lined up to help me with the wedding. If any local photogs are interested in helping out as an additional second shooter just leave a comment...the experience is the pay.

I hope everyone's Holiday was a great one and your New Year's is off to a great start.


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