Thursday...

A Little Reflection Time

A new school year, a new start, a new time for a second set of resolutions, and a new time for some thoughtfulness as the summer winds down. A time to be happy for a very good start to this school year.  A time to express my appreciation for those I am blessed to teach with because they really do care about the success of all their students.  A time to be thankful that I have a career that allows me to be around some of the most interesting (and funny) people ever--my students.

Personally, I'm thankful to have a husband who is totally supportive of my goals, thankful to have two healthy children who are very happy where they are in their lives, and extremely thankful that someone I love dearly got a good-news report on her health today.  

An Evening at YaYa's

Marley and Sophie

This is Marley.

This is Sophie.

They both are every bit as sweet as they look.

They are natural comedians and play off each other flawlessly.  Never a dull moment--total entertainment!

On the girly side, Marley and Sophie dressed in their play-clothes and applied lipstick because everybody knows you have to wear lipstick with sequins.  

And they applied more lipstick.  I believe these gals love lipstick as much as I do.

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Why, yes, sequins are totally appropriate for a walk up to the barn.

This sunset image is one of my favorite shots from their session.  Sweet, sweet sisters!  Looking forward to seeing them again. :)

Our Kind of Big Weekend

The past weekend found us busy with the fun things just before the school year cranks up for me next week. *sigh*

Stan and I made a trip to Nashville to see Delbert McClinton at The City Winery.  Stan had Delbert's concert on his to-do list and it coincided with his birthday so, there you go!  We had a great night of blues-y music.  

Delbert

Saturday evening, I wound up in Lexington for a girls' night out to see The History of the Eagles.  What a concert! I'll bypass describing how H-O-T the arena was because apparently, The Eagles prefer to perform with "no air movement" in the venue.  Not kidding--it's in their contract.  Nevertheless, it was an awesome concert and totally worth the sweat. 

 *All concert photos were taken with an iPhone 6.   Check out Saturday's Instagram to see a picture of us. ;)

 

We celebrated Stan's actual birthday on Sunday with his brother Mel and his wife Emma, and with Joel and Suzanne, friends and our daughter's future in-laws.

Birthday boy in the midst of a story.....

Mel likes to pretend he's camera-shy.  Poor Emma.

Kiley is blessed to be gaining Joel and Suzanne as parents-in-law.

Awwww.....sweet.

Now let's cut that cake!

Feeling More Official

I have to thank my daughter Kiley for getting me off the ground with her designs and suggestions for the layout of my website and for her patience in teaching me how to use it (on the technical end). She gladly created my business cards as well and they arrived today. Just what I asked for, it's a clean and simple look plus I'm really loving the turquoise-green.  

As parents we encourage our children to push ahead and achieve what they want most but sometimes parents need that same encouragement from their children.  She has unfailingly pushed me along (and bragged on me) and for that I am so thankful.

On a "proud-mama" note, check out her website at girlish.us


Orphans

In Greensburg we are fortunate to have an historic building that is now home to a very nice antique mall.  Practically every little bit of space is stocked and is quite organized with every thing imaginable.  Honestly, the amount of items is overwhelming and on some visits I don't even make it to the second floor.  On this particular rainy morning I stopped in hoping to run across a fabulously-colored Pyrex dish (one of the very few things I collect) but got sidetracked by a wooden box of old photos.  The "Instant Family History" note --a little dry humor that struck a chord--got me thinking:  who were these people and how did their images end up here?

 

Yesterday on my way to a local farmers' market I listened to NPR's full interview with Peter Cohen , an author and collector of old photographs, as he discussed his collection of "orphan photos".  According to Cohen, photos stay in the family about 3 generations before they find their way to estate auctions, flea markets, or wherever. Kind of sad, really, since these little snaps of family history just go away.

I went back to Glover's Station to take another look at the photos in the box and noticed there were far fewer pictures.  Maybe someone created an "instant family history" or like Cohen, just had an interest in old photos?  I didn't buy any but did take some snaps of a few that I liked for no reason in particular other than their simplicity and lack of pretension. 

 

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Jordan and Daniel

It's Never Too Early

I had the pleasure of meeting Jordan and Daniel for the first time when I arrived at their family's dairy farm this weekend. High school sweethearts who married during college, they are just as sweet together as they look!   I have to give Jordan credit for her foresight of documenting their family early in their married life.  About all couples have engagement and wedding images but all too often couples might not feel the need for family portraits until (or if) children arrive.  And a couple is a family, you know. 

Jordan tells me that she plans to regularly add portraits throughout hers and Daniel's marriage so I have to say that I like the way this girl thinks! 

A Little Bit of Sweet and a Whole Lot of Tart

Top Shelf Lemon Bars

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Around the Shuffett house, we like the sugary goods A LOT.  We like them so much so that we've rationed and fought over the last brownie, the last slice of Triple Chocolate Cake, and even a few chocolate chips from waaaayy back in the freezer.  I suppose you could say we've got a thing for chocolate as well so before I go off on a tangent about my "problem" with Chocolate Fudge Poptarts let me get back to this oh-so-delicious recipe of Top Shelf Lemon Bars. My first batch for the summer (this is my fourth) were for dessert for a friend who was coming over for supper.  She loved them but I decided the recipe needed some adjusting because I can never leave well enough alone. That was a GOOD thing in this case because my minor adjustments on the next batch moved them up the tastebud ladder significantly.  My friend agreed because she and her office staff were the recipients of the revamped recipe.  She later confessed to me that she rationed them at her office.  Point proven.

 

 

Ingredients

CRUST

1 cup of unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup of granulated sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt

Mix ingredients together and press into an ungreased 9x13 pan or baking dish.  Sprinkle about a 1/2 teaspoon of Kosher salt onto the batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes before adding lemon filling.

 

FILLING

4 eggs

1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup of all-purpose flour

3 lemons, juiced

rind from one lemon

 

Whisk together eggs, sugar, flour, and lemon juice and rind.  Pour over the baked crust and bake an additional 13-15 minutes or until it looks like mine in the picture!  If you bake it too long the batter becomes "egg-y" and not very good IMO.  The finished product might look like it's not done but you want it to have a gooey texture because it will firm up as it cools. (Do a touch-test in the center and adjust cooking time accordingly.)  Sprinkle with powdered sugar after you have removed the bars from the baking dish.

 

Indulge with a cup of coffee.  The sweet is just enough and the tart is just right.

The original recipe for Lemon Bars came from allrecipes.com.  The photo on my contact page is evidence of that first batch.  

Thank you to Kiley for encouraging me to use this recipe for a blog post.  I ate an extra bar for ya! ;)

Kristi and Amelia

Sweet Family

I love this sweet mama and daughter!  I've known Kristi since she was a babe--I taught with her mama and babysat her older brother when he was a baby.  Now Kristi and her sweet Amelia live in the big city north of us where she is a nurse and Amelia is one sharp preschooler.  How gorgeous and photogenic can they both be?!

Amelia turns the BIG THREE tomorrow so be on the lookout for those big brown eyes....;)

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Birthday Milestone

He's 21 today.   Wait, what??

 

An almost 9-pound, bright blue-eyed baby that arrived July 9, 1994, somehow turned 21 years old today!  How time goes by so fast amazes me every day.  

Stan and I are proud that we get to be the parents of such a kind-hearted and compassionate young man, a smart, talented, and humble young man (he has 7 national championship titles to his list of accomplishments but you'll have to ask him about them) and a young man who gladly shares his spiritual testimony.  What a blessing he is to our lives.

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Family Portrait

Just Us

With both of our children living in different states, I had warned them several weeks ahead of their scheduled visit home that we would be getting a family picture SO in all of their running around and visiting friends and family, they had to pencil in some time for Mama.  They did not disappoint; meaning, I heard no complaints, no whining, no anything but that they were pleased to make their mother happy.  Daniel, who will become our son-in-law next June, (we are blessed to include him in our family!) graciously ran between the shutter and our group. 

A great family (self) portrait = mission accomplished!

Sweet Sisters--Macy and Kenzie

After a rain-delay from the night before, Macy and Kenzie and I got to spend a morning together at their home in the peaceful countryside.  We had a pond full of bullfrogs on one side of us and cows in the pasture on the other.  Truly a beautiful spot out in our county!  And do these two not look just adorable?!  (Mama Ashley used a great eye when she picked these colors. Thumbs up, girl!)

30,000 and 365

As I was thinking about what I would write on my first blog entry, I kept drawing a blank. Okay...I thought I could write as others have about their passions for photography and how they've always had cameras in their hands and while all that may be true for many, I came into my love of photography a little differently.

About three and a half years ago, I decided to invest some time in learning to use our camera on manual mode. It's too painful to go into the details--I'll save that for another time--of the struggle it was for me learning to balance the exposure triangle....I think one time I likened it to learning to juggle AND drive at the same time. That might be a bit dramatic but seriously, it was such a puzzle for me.  I invested in instruction (shout out to Kristin Tatem) and joined a couple of very helpful and supportive on-line groups. I've lost track of how many articles I've read, tutorials I've watched, and advice from professional photographers I've digested.  It's an on-going process. I will keep learning.  And then learn some more.  

That big number at the top of the page?  It's a real close, a very close,  estimate to the number times I've snapped a shutter.  That's for real.  And I take a picture/pictures every single day of the year.  I'm totally convinced that the first bit of advice I got, (shoot a LOT and shoot every day) was THE BEST ADVICE.  

So, here I am.  And while you're here  jump over and check out the rest of my site.

I wish you peace and a great cup of coffee.

Connie

 

 

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