Macaron Perfection

My mom and I have started a new tradition. For quite some time she has been telling me that she wants us to spend more time together. As a full time working mom and 2 little boys time is not something I have in abundance. However, creating memories with her and finding that time is important to me.  So for her birthday last year I purchased a cookie decorating class for us at Sur La Table. I have never taken a cooking class there, or anywhere for that matter. 

We had so much fun that I decided for Christmas I would find another class for us to go to. She has mentioned several times that she would like to learn to make Macarons. While scrolling through the classes I saw a Valentine Macaron class and thought it would perfect for our next morning together.

I picked her as usual and we headed to a little breakfast place where she had pancakes and I had a mimosa. It is the perfect start to a mother daughter adventure. After that we headed on over to Sur La Table to get started. I have to admit, I was nervous, I didn't know much about macarons. I had seen them before, but I had actually never even tasted one. What I did know is that they are hard to make.

Now I know my way around the kitchen. I am not a chef by any stretch of the imagination and I am not a star baker so I was worried about these finicky little cookies.

Macarons are pretty basic when it comes to ingredients. The cookies themselves only require almond flour, powdered sugar, egg whites, a little white sugar and a pinch of cream of tartar. Then you add whatever gel coloring you like (never liquid coloring). Seems very basic and easy, right?

The essentials

The essentials

WRONG! These little cookies are so fickle that you have to actually WEIGH all of your ingredients instead of measuring them as you do with most recipes. We had to measure things down to the gram. There is very little wiggle room if you want them to rise and have the little feet (scalloped edges). There is a lot of hand stirring required. There is a specific pattern suggested for that stirring and the consistency has to be just perfect.

My beautiful mother from whom I inherit all of my love for baking.

My beautiful mother from whom I inherit all of my love for baking.

Just when we thought it was good - nope more stirring. At least my arm got a workout that day.

Stir and stir and the stir some more. 

Stir and stir and the stir some more. 

The batter has to be just the perfect consistency - this is finicky baking!

The batter has to be just the perfect consistency - this is finicky baking!

Now our macarons would have been a complete disaster if it wasn't for our magnificent teacher, Sabrina. She used to make these little creations all day every day - God bless her. She is a macaron expert! She made me believe right from the beginning that I was going to succeed. See how the batter has to fall off of the spoon just right to know its ready for the piping?

Meet Sabrina - our amazing teacher.

Meet Sabrina - our amazing teacher.

The perfect consistency for Macarons - not too thick, not too then

The perfect consistency for Macarons - not too thick, not too then

The tricky part is not over once you have the perfect batter. NOPE! Then you have to pipe them just the right way. You have to have the right pressure and the right speed. That's right if you push to hard or too fast you're ruined. Basically your macarons live or die right here at this step.

Heart Macarons for Valentine's Day

Heart Macarons for Valentine's Day

Once our pink hearts were in the oven. we moved on to some green tea macarons - a staple in the macaron world.

Just before the oven

Just before the oven

Now once your macarons have cooled then you get to pipe in the yummy sweet center. On this day we filled our hearts with champagne icing and it was GOOD! Believe me these little cookies will definitely satisfy anyone's sweet tooth.

Now for the yummy center

Now for the yummy center

Where all the magic happens

Where all the magic happens

We had an amazing time together and most of all we made great memories. I am happy to say we even came home with some awesome looking (and tasting) macarons. My boys (the two little and daddy) certainly all approved when I brought my goodies home. I can't wait to decide what class we take next!

The Beauty of A Second | February 2017 | Holly Springs NC

What's the big deal about a second?  Not much happens in such a short amount of time. 

There are so many little moments I do not want to forget but my mind and heart simply aren't enough to hold these treasures forever. I will surely forget that sweet toddler voice as it fades into distant memories. I will struggle to recall that precious chubby face as it grows into a man. I will be unable to open my heart in a way that allows my precious boys to see and hear the memories for themselves as they prepare to welcome their own little ones. 

For this and many other reasons as 2017 approached I decided it was a priority to start a video project. I am extremely dedicated to documenting our days with pictures that show our "real" and our everyday. Yet, I wanted more - I wanted to hear and relive those memories. I didn't want to just tell stories to my grandchildren, I wanted to preserve these moments in a way that allowed me to really share them. 

I am only in my second month of this project but it is already so near and dear to my heart and I cherish the sights and sounds I have already preserved. My typical Saturday starts at 6:30 am when my 5 year old comes bounding into our room a total ball of energy and they end around 11:00 with some quiet moments on the couch with the love of my life. That means I am surrounded by my "now" for 17 hours. That means I have 61,200 seconds of memories to try and hold onto. Now let me say not all of those memories are sweet and happy, some are maddening and loud. There is fighting, tears, timeouts and exhaustion but there is also joy, love, tenderness and giggles. I want to cherish them all. 

This project has taught me that every second can be beautiful and special. That's amazing to imagine isn't it? I mean most of us don't give a second thought to just a second - how much can happen in a second? Well this project has made me slow down - see the seconds - appreciate the mundane - and I am glad I have found a way to preserve them. It reminds me to stay present and soak it in. 

So here it is..... The Beauty of a Second | February Edition. Enjoy and thanks for watching. 

Make sure you follow along this month’s blog circle. There are a some amazing photographers and videographers participating in the one second a day project around the world. Up next, go check out Jenn Rusby at Jenny Rusby Photography!

Want to book your own family film? Email me here!

 

A MIDSUMMER DREAM | HOLLY SPRINGS NC FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER

As many of you know I have recently finished my first film class. I am super excited about the ways it is going to expand my storytelling for clients..... and myself. I have been practicing relentlessly and spending loads of time checking out the films of more experienced storytellers. 

One of my favorite short film artists that shoots with her DSLR (aka fancy camera) like me is Francesca Russell from New York. While she is light years ahead of me - she has been doing this for a while, I love that she practices on her own littles ...... just like me. Her website is full of fun photos and videos of her own kids. Let's be honest, they are right there begging us to practice on them :)

She did a video of her own children that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. It had a dreamy whimsical magic about it that drew me in. I knew immediately I wanted to create a similar video for my own children. 

After finishing my class it was one of the first things on my list to create as a gift to myself. So off to the store I went for a bubble machine - which was a necessity for this Moments in Motion story. Now I want to share it with you. 

 

 

MILESTONES | Holly Springs | North Carolina | Family Photographer

And Just Like That You Were Five 

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

Dear Liam

I blinked - I shouldn't have done it, but it happened. I have no idea how it has been five years since August 7, 2011 when you bounded into this world making me a mommy for the first time. You were my best gift.

Today you turned 5. The day before your birthday we had your big party - I made it as awesome as possible, this is, after all, one of the big ones. We had a camping themed party and you had 6 friends spend the night in the tent with you......oh and mommy stayed and slept on the ground with you.

As the sun came up in that tent, you crawled over to me and whispered, "mommy .....mommy.....am I 5?" To which I replied "yes baby." The biggest smile came across your face and you beamed...... birthdays really are magical. 

You are no longer a toddler. You are one of the "big kids" now - but you will still snuggle with me and give me kisses without hesitation. You are able to now do so many things for which you used to depend on me. I am both happy and heartbroken by this independence. 

You are an energetic, loving, empathetic, curious, loud little boy full of love and laughter.

You tell us thank you all the time. You bring me flowers and rocks you find almost daily as little treasures to show your love. 

At 5 you are passionate and love music. Your favorite cartoon changes every day. You are very smart.....sometimes too smart. You bubble over with personality. You have almost mastered swimming - you are just on the edge of overcoming that challenge. Your favorite color is blue (at 4 is was green-nothing stays the same). Nerf guns and dodging nerf bullets have become the norm around our house. Nothing rivals chicken nuggets and "peanut peanut jelly time" sandwiches. 

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

You are an awesome big brother - you love Jack (even though you still aggravate him on some days) - that's what big brother are for thought, right? He wants to be just like you and why not? You are pretty awesome. 

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

HOLLY SPRINGS FAMILY PHOTOGRAPHER | HOLLY SPRINGS, NC

I love who you are and I hope you never change. I can't wait to see what exciting things this next year holds for us. Five is gong to be great!

I love you baby -

Mommy