Sunday, February 28, 2010

getting-to-know-you {blog parade!}

just found the cutest, sweetest, richest, most wistful blog as i'm wandering the web working tonight.  it's called rear window, and it just so happens this new one-of-my-favoritest-young-writers is having a blog parade!  wanna join?  i think i will.  so here's the deal: 

answer the questions below if you like, or just talk about you.  let people "meet" your heart-self and invite them back! (and after visiting a few of the adorable posts, i've edited to include some PICTURES. too many words not-as-exciting. :)  to start with, just in case it's your first visit, here's me!

1. What's your favorite time of the day, and why?
mmmmmmmmmmmm... early morning.  it feels so good to be up and about the day, especially before everyone else.  of course i'm struggling with all of me to get back to this favorite time of day; with my current job love of photography i find myself at the computer into the wee hours.  really wanna reverse it, though!

2. If health wasn't an issue, what food could you live off of?
just one?  bread (fresh baked sourdough).  aged cheese (primadonna).  red wine.  deep, dark chocolate.  my husband's lattes.

yes, i realize that's a communion image.  i still love it!

3. If you could have one wish granted (besides wishing for more wishes), what would it be?
one day a week to read.  all day.  with my children snuggled nearby reading.  and my hubby playing guitar and singing.  is that more than one?  oh and here is said handsome hubby.

4. What's one thing that you get teased about a lot?
my forgetfulness.

5. If you could choose one movie, book, or TV show to spend your life in, which would you pick? What type of character would you be?
well, the Bible.  one of the parts about a woman who was faithful and strong... esther maybe, but i don't think i'm nearly the woman.  if not that, then a historical romance novel with a beautful red-haired heroine.  or maybe a suspense novel with a beautiful red-haired heroine.  theme here?

6. If you could have one talent that you don't already have, what would it be?
oh goodness, definitely being an amazing dancer.  swing.  or bollywood.  or lyrical.

7.If money were no object, where would you go on vacation?
italy.  greece.  the holy land.  (just can't seem to follow the whole one-answer theme!)  can i just say "the mediterranean?"

8. If you were an awesome singer, which genre would you sing?
i am an awesome singer.  especially in the shower.  ask my husband.  and what genre is norah jones?

9. If you could have a $10,000 shopping spree to one store, what would it be?
oooh, anthropologie.  or no, b&h.  did i mention i am also highly distracted?  self-diagnosed.

10. If you could live in any point in time, when would it be?
now.  i can think of a million pros and cons to each era i'd like to explore so i think i'll say the present, and then i can read about all the rest!

11. If every outfit in your wardrobe had to be one color, what would it be?
red.  warm, earthy red.

12. If you were one of the seven dwarves, which one would you be?
(Doc, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, Bashful, Happy, or Dopey)
dang, this is intrusive.  grumpy.

13. What's the last "album" you listened to?
pandora.  jack johnson station.

14. What's something we'd be surprised to know about you?
i'm thinking about it.  how about that i am terrified of frogs?  (well, friends reading this won't be surprised.  but even they might be shocked to know that i am so afraid of them that i once threw my poor pregnant friend in front of one to save myself!  this is a definite issue.)  eew, this pixellated google image is even making me shudder!!

and to join in, add the button below to your blog/post.  on march first through eighth, visit rear window and leave your link so others can find you on the parade.  have fun!

love and hugs!!


friendships with women

true friendship is a privelege, and one not to be taken lightly.  especially woman-friendships... they're tricky, and easy to mess up.  royally.  trust me, i've had my share of broken-heart-friendship moments, and if you're a sistah reading this, i am sure you know just what i mean.

there's something that happens with woman-friends that either builds you as a person or tears you down.  i've been so challenged over the years to work to make sure those friends i commit time to are both building into my family and life-goals, and being built up by my friendship.  sometimes i see God-moments in that, and others i put my head on my pillow at night and wrestle with the knowledge that a conversation just wasn't right, or an issue was left unresolved.

as we've cycled through the seasons, i've often found that there just isn't time to devote to relationships that don't edify, and i have to let that be okay.  nonetheless, it's hard to pull back and not feel left out when others seem to go on just fine without you!  (and if you are a blogger, you may notice that bloggy-world feeds that, huh?  ahh, thoughts for another post...)

i thoroughly and completely soak up the times that it's just working, though... friendship moments and seasons that flow freely, when you sense that both "girls" are benefitting equally from knowing each other.  one such friendship i really value is with the amazing bren.  i am awed by her sensitivity, her passion for life, her security in who she is.  i want to encourage her however i can on her journey of being the woman God created her to be... and i sense that from her, for me.  as i've said to others, i appreciate her for who she is, but i don't wanna be her.  i get the same from her.  and that's vital.

at first our friendship began because of similarities.  we have five kids each.  we use the same curriculum.  we have similar passions for art, and books, and Jesus.  as i got to know her, though, i realized we have so many differences. sometimes that doesn't work well, but in this case, it added richness to our acquaintance.

we can go for weeks without really hanging, and it's okay.  but we can spend hours together and feel refreshed, too.  she's just one of the women God's brought into my life who are a gift.

anywho, i thought i'd pour out all that mush because

one: women friendships have been on my heart and,

two: today i wanted to feature some of her handiwork.  she's built quite a following with her informative helps on the uber-helpful website curriculum choice.  she is connecting women in the homeschool community through the fabulous our lifestyle of learning.  and she shares from her heart in her personal blog, the tie that binds us.  and because this week, brenda's featuring one of my photo tips on her blog.  so check her out, and maybe add a couple new women friends along the way!

if you've had some God-moments in your friendships with women, i'd love to read and share.  leave a comment below or email me at  hugs!

p.s. - she would KILL me for writing this so shhhhh... don't tell her!

Friday, February 26, 2010

espresso mocha buttercream cupcakes {coffee cupcake recipe}

I made these cupcakes a few weeks ago as a little experiment.  My final analysis is that they are good, gooey, and rich, but maybe a little not-so-much-on-the-light-and-fluffy-side.  :)  I'd love to hear your feedback!

Caramel Mocha Truffle Cupcakes

(Can you say “YUM?”)

For these cupcakes, I altered the recipe for caramel Lightning Cake from The Joy of Cooking (75th Anniversary Edition), by Irma Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, and Ethan Becker.

For truffle filling:

1 ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup flavored creamer (I used eggnog flavor, but any would be great!) or half-and-half
10 large marshmallows

Begin melting chocolate chips in 30 second increments in microwave, stirring thoroughly after each interval. As chips begin to melt, stir in creamer and marshmallows and continue to heat/stir carefully until blended. Set in refrigerator to cool.

Whisk together in a large bowl (I use my stand mixer)

1 ½ cups flour (we often use half whole wheat):
½ cup sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

Add in and continue to blend:

2 large eggs
1/c cup milk
1 Tbsp espresso powder
1 Tbsp coffee liqueur (opt)

Beat in and continue to blend until light and airy (about 3 minutes, stopping to scrape down bowl halfway):

½ cup salted butter, softened

Fill cupcake cups ½- ¾ full (I use a large ice cream scoop). Carefully place a small scoop, approximately ½ tsp, of the ganache onto each cupcake, trying not to drop it to the bottom.

Bake at 375 degrees for approximately 16 minutes, watching carefully. Allow to cool and frost with:

Espresso Mocha Buttercream

2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
3 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
2 Tbsp dark cocoa
1 tsp coffee liqueur (opt)

Beat until light and fluffy.

Angela Sackett, Jan 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010

mom-tography {the growing art of taking your kids' pics!}

for those new to my blog, i'm a homeschool momma who decided a couple of years ago to learn what i could really do with my digital camera.  ever-so-quickly, i became addicted to the art of photography and haven't looked back.  i started a portrait photography business when i realized the passion i had along with the desire to connect with others was something people appreciated, and were willing to invest in.  (and i jokingly say as i realized i needed new equipment to get better at the craft, i had to find a way to pay for it.)  :) 

along the way i've had lots of friends ask for help and i'd like to share some tips you can use right now in your everyday snapshots of your kids.  (and if you're local ask about the mom-tography workshop we're working on for this spring!)  i thought i'd call it mom-tography... after all, just because you don't do it for a living doesn't mean a mom doesn't want to get better everyday pictures of her own gang!
How low can you go?

which do you like better?  why?

anyone driving by when I am doing a photography session, especially a session that involves kids, would get quite an amusing view. i’ve been known to climb onto a willing assistant (my father-in-law volunteered, and I really wanted the shot!), a wobbly railing, and a park bench. i’ve also been attacked by fire ants four times so far lying on the ground (and thank goodness, it’s always me and not my clients who get it!). why on earth? well, some of the best shots you’ll get of your kids will be when you’re on their level. think about it: when you “shoot down” on your kids, you emphasize how little they are, and how far you are “above” their world. sometimes that’s a cool thing – but sometimes it’s a good thing to enter into their world – both in real life and in capturing their lives with your camera.  it's known as "perspective," and it can determine what you "say" about your subjects to those who look at your images!

i challenge you: next time you take a snapshot of your littles, get down on their level. you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in capturing them at home in their world!  leave a comment and let me know your thoughts... or share an image and i'll feature you in a future post!

p.s. if you enjoyed this thursday tip, visit
Coffee with Me Thursday Tips

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

works for me wednesday!

just a few short years ago, i was a cooking maniac.  i was even featured on some local tv stations and was a candidate for a Food Network reality series... one would think i am a super-cook!  flash forward... our family has five homeschooled kids, we are running a family photography business, and i make occasional television appearances.  something's gotta give!  well, cooking gave - now we often grab (gasp!) premade frozen meals or whip up (double-gasp!) canned soup for lunch.  i know, i know, but it's survival!!

here's where my favorite recipe site kicks in... for a decade, i think, i've been loyal to my go-to food site,  i love this place!  i can quickly find any amount of recipes both familiar and new.  there's a wealth of information by way of tutorials and ingredient information pages.  i can rate recipes and post my own. i create my own recipe box and shopping lists.  but one of my favorite features about is the ingredient search where i can type in "ingredients i want" and ingredients i don't want."  it's fabulous for dealing with picky little stinkers individual preferences and also for making the most of what we have in our frugal pantry!  (and even though we're working to be frugal, we are somewhat food-snobs, so this helps us truly balance the two!).  it's also great for sending the oldest ones, who are now cooks in their own right, to find recipes for impromptu cooking sessions with what's-on-hand-in-the-pantry.
i've seen some other sites out there, but in a pinch, my works-for-me go-to site is

here's one of my favorite recipes from allrecipes - sesame tilapia.  it's simple and fast and tilapia is both mild and reasonably priced. (and this picture is one from the site - couldn't dig mine up from the files in time!!!  :)  go here for the recipe.

p.s. to see what "works" for other bloggers, visit We Are That Family!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

monday nights at our house are girl night and guy night.  don't mess with girl night and guy night.  we started this tradition some time ago when i was inspired by my sweet friend's post about sisters night at her house.  the guys do crazy stuff like swim after dark at the beach, or rent dollar movies and pick up ice-cream sandwiches to enjoy in a parking lot, in our big conversion van.  they eat stuff like taco bell (blech!) and pizza.

we take turns with little blue - he's not quite big enough to enjoy all the crazy guy night stuff, and it interferes with bed-time.  on this particular night sister snuggled and read to him while i prepared our "foodie feast."

we've done everything from meet girlfriends at panera to paint a canvas with sand and acrylics at the beach (which now hangs on my girly's wall.)  recently we added a "girl night journal" to our ritual which holds scripture and quotes about mothers and daughters and will hold our memoirs of our time together.

toasting with sparkling cider - "to us - and to girl night!"

it's so important to me that when she is "over" me (and i know with my own sinful nature there will be plenty of times she is), my girl can go to the memories of our time together and read my thoughts of love toward to her.  i want her to write in it, too, so her memories are active and personal!

on this girl-night, we cooked together and feasted on steamed artichokes with butter and balsamic vinegar, brown-butter sauteed butternut squash ravioli, and an antipasti platter with pickled garlic, roasted tomatoes, italian meats and cheeses, grapes, bruschetta crackers, and (her favorite and mine) herbed goat cheese!

we had a pan waiting for the boys of the evil delicious saltine crackers made with a toffee-chocolate topping - yum.  very, VERY bad.  you can find the recipe here. and very fun - we were a giggling mess as we dug into the artichoke.

we finished with some journaling and set up my girl's new photography blog.

very little will ever be as precious to me as girl night.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


so often He says, "inhale.  blow out all the yuck - the doubt, the self-hate, the criticism of others, and breathe in ME."

the day comes and i rush through and it ends and begins again and i am out of breath and Papa calls softly, "rest."

i do stuff and i make stuff and i write stuff and i even yell stuff, and Papa says,

"stuff doesn't matter.  I matter.  come be with me."

sometimes i move and i shake and i make noise and i flutter about and i work to make a splash in my little pond and then when it gets quiet i hear my Papa say,
"little one... shhhh... come dance.
lose yourself in the breeze and the warmth -
dance with me."

there's movement that is aimless and wreckless and not in a way that is restful

there is movement that is joy-filled
and achingly satisfying

and then i am restless and instead of throwing up my arms and soaking in the Sun
i frantically search around me for ways to fill my hungry heart
and He whispers,

"come.  be with me and be filled by me
and consumed by me,"
and at last
my stubborn heart


and once again i hear the rhythm of His heart
and i partake of Him
and somehow
i am filled.