Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas 2011

We are one of those families rooted in traditions:

- Filet mignon on Christmas Eve, either preceded or followed by church, at which there is the very-much-anticipated candle lighting. 
- Lasagna on Christmas Day, with appetizers to include shrimp and punch, among other things. 
- Crumb cake on Christmas morning. 
- Stockings first, presents second. 
- Ice cream cake to celebrate my grandma's birthday, which is on Christmas Day. 
- My mom's handwritten notes to each of us kids on our Christmas cards; they recap our year and usually take up the whole back of a card.
- Homemade cinnamon rolls made by my sister.
- Lights in milk jugs out in front of our house, lit on Christmas Eve by my dad, illuminating the way down our street (we're going to try and get our whole street to do it next year).
- A quick drive on Christmas Eve - with everyone packed in one car - to see lights in other neighborhoods.

But throughout the years, traditions have changed. Some have been welcomed and others... well.... haven't. This year my mom couldn't find our stockings, so she put our goodies in gift bags. And this year Grandma wasn't with us - she passed away in August. And Christmas was on Sunday, so we went to church, which just adjusted schedules a bit. And our Christmas here at "home" was smaller - just mom, dad, and me, since both my siblings are married. But the food was the same. The note on the card was there and written in red. The lights outside on Christmas Eve were pretty. And we again rejoiced in Christ's birth many years ago.

Sometimes I have mixed emotions with taking pictures on Christmas. I like enjoying watching everyone else and don't want to be caught up with my eyes behind the lens. But I tried to snap a few, and have some stories behind a few.

Each year I give the boys the newest Hess truck/car series. They look forward to it each year.

They also love Pez candies. This year my mom stumbled upon HUGE Pez
dispensers and they were in love.

Kids these days...they are getting so familiar with technology. Grant (especially) has been asking for a Nintendo DS
for years now, and each year he doesn't get one. This year all the boys got a DS. I am sure
they will be kept busy for hours and hours.

While they don't glorify Santa, the boys leave cookies for Santa.
Santa graciously writes them a note back and tries to disguise his handwriting.

Crazy Rudy with his bone. This is the dog that swallows socks, so you can imagine the horror when we
found out that he swallowed one of those ends of the bone WHOLE.

Fritz with his bone. He is a lot more quiet and looked apprehensive when someone would approach.

One of Santa's little helpers. :-)

It was tough on my emotions to know Grandma wouldn't be with us this Christmas, especially compounded
because her birthday is on Christmas Day.  There are a number of possessions my grandma had that my
sister now has - including this Christmas cactus. While my grandma had it, there were many a pink
flower that could be seen blooming around Christmas, but since my sister has had it, there haven't been too many.
But a few weeks ago, the pink flowers started popping up. What a joy to see
new life coming out of sadness in the loss of her life. We remembered her throughout the day and
thought of her as we had our ice cream cake, although this year minus the singing of "Happy Birthday."

Pin It

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Gavin and Cranberry Streusel Muffins

I am doing some testing with my watermark being applied to pictures (a goal of mine to have for all my blog and website pics for 2012)...and of course what better than to apply it to an adorably cute picture of my nephew from a few days before Christmas.

I had a wonderful Christmas and am thankful for the gifts I received. It was great spending time with my family and seeing the expressions on my nephews faces as they opened their presents. Hope you had a wonderful day celebrating with family and friends.

And just because.....I found this new recipe I am dying to try. If you're interested in a good muffin recipe, try this out. I have cranberries on the mind because I just mentioned to a friend last night that I was craving these grilled cranberries muffins we get at a fantastically wonderful coffee house in PA.

Cranberry Streusel Muffins

1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 T baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1/2 cup chopped mixed nuts
2 cups fresh cranberries
grated peel of 1 orange
2 T unsalted butter, melted

(makes 12)

1. preheat oven to 350.
2. put buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla in a small bowl and whisk lightly.
3. put the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large mixing bowl. add the chilled, diced butter and rub into the dry ingredients using your fingertips. when the mixture looks like bread crumbs, add the chopped nuts and mix to combine. scoop out about 1/2 c of the dry mixture and set aside in a separate bowl.
4. add the egg mixture to the large bowl and mix until only just combined. add the cranberries and orange peel and fold in briefly.
5. spoon the mixture into the muffin liners, filling them almost to the top. 
6. pour the melted butter into the reserved dry ingredients and mix with a fork until crumbly. scatter evenly over the muffins.
7. put the muffin pan on the middle shelf of the oven. bake for about 20 min. or until golden  and a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

When I make mine, I'll take pictures to post.

Pin It

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas....

Merry Christmas everyone. 
I pray that today you are able to reflect on Christ's birth 
as you spend time with family and friends.

I await 2012 with anticipation.....


Pin It

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas rose

For many years, my dad has given me a single red rose on Valentine's Day. He walked in from work yesterday with roses for my mom, and a single red rose for me. I immediately noted that the "greens" behind the rose were not the typical ferns you see. He mentioned the lady at the floral counter said they were all out, and hoped these would do. I actually prefer them. The edges are tipped with white and they almost have this smell of Christmas to them, if Christmas can have a smell.

And so I knew my next step would be finding a vase. I knew right away what vase I'd get...the one I got this summer from my friend's wedding. She had looked and looked for the perfect vases, which would become just one part of the centerpieces for her tables at the reception. And she gave me a vase from her special day. It has an antique-like feel to it and yet a modern flair - the perfect fit for me. And so now my rose has a home, in a very special vase, from a very special day this year.

I can't wait for it to open up even more.

Pin It

Friday, December 23, 2011

Larry, Moe, and Curly

Alright, so their names aren't Larry, Moe, and Curly, but they are still some of the cutest kids in my life. I am so proud to call them my nephews and I will - even if they outgrow calling me it - forever be their Aunt "Sissy".

And of course, they are subject to my camera a lot more frequently... and tolerate it when I ask them to stand still for the millionth time...well, with bribes of course!

Pin It

Mr. and Mrs. Burkholder

I met Megan and Jared during my tenure at PBU. Jared was the student government president and I served as his advisor.  We had many meetings together to plan and think about many potential ideas or possible events for the students he was leading. And Megan was his faithful girlfriend, then bride-to-be. I got to know Jared "faster", simply because I interacted with him a lot. But Megan soon became one of my favorite people to see in the halls and in the office where I worked. Whenever I'd see them - individually or together - a nickname began to stick. My initials are SAZ...and so became the nickname many would use at PBU. So whenever we'd see each other, it was, "Hey SAZ", or "SAZ, how are you?" When they asked me to photograph their wedding, I couldn't have been more honored to photograph their special day.

They got married on a beautiful (and sunny) day in July. Their wedding was at Chelten Baptist Church and their reception was in a beautiful barn in Telford, PA. My favorite part of the wedding was watching the emotions as Jared shared a dance with his mom and Megan with her dad. The candid smiles and giddy faces show how much their families love them both.

Megan and Jared, God's blessings on you as you navigate through this thing called marriage. I am excited to hear what's next with jobs and opportunities to serve and be leaders, just like you were at PBU.

Love,  SAZ

Pin It

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Mr. and Mrs. Haas

It's exciting to know that my job will allow me to celebrate in the joy of marriage with couples who choose me as their photographer. And it's even more fun when I know the bride and groom, along with members of their families and bridal party. Such was the case with Jess and Phil. Their wedding was in Clarks Summit, PA on a beautiful Saturday. Rain was in the forecast, but held off long enough in the morning for us to get pictures outside. We drove to nearby Scranton - where a graduation ceremony was taking place - and took some beautiful shots near this location we appropriately called "The Secret Garden".

Their ceremony was heartfelt; one of the things I loved about it (and wish others did this too) is that for most of the ceremony, they faced their audience. So often brides and grooms are facing the pastor and all their guests see is their backs. So Jess and Phil, I loved this decision you made.

Their reception was equally as touching. At one point, they played a video, but it wasn't just a photo slideshow...both Jess and Phil had voiceovers throughout the video to thank important people in their lives. I will admit, I had tears in my eyes as I photographed reactions to this video, especially when they thanked their parents.

Jess and Phil, thank you for allowing me to photograph your special day. God held the rain off just long enough...moments after they got in their getaway car, the rains came down!

Here are just a few of my fav images from the day...


And many thanks to my friend Natalee who assisted this day. She got some great shots.
Pin It