strawberry picking + homemade jam

So we took Xavier to the u-pick strawberry farm last weekend, and it was downright hilarious. He loved it! Maybe a little too much. Lessons from this first adventure: don't dress your baby in a WHITE ONESIE when going to pick strawberries. Opt for red, perhaps? Or black? Or naked? Or even an old tshirt of dad's? White was definitely not the best choice. Lesson number two: don't take your FAVORITE BABY QUILT for them to sit on. Thankfully all the strawberry juice came out of it (breathe easy, Elise!) but I would have been so sad had it gotten ruined. Take an old blanket or an old towel or something definitely ruin-able. Lessons number three: don't bother taking toys, especially a stuffed cow you'll just have to end up washing. The baby will be much more interested in eating strawberry leaves than anything you brought to entertain him, haha.

It was such a fun little outing with my people and I'm excited for it to be a Memorial Day tradition for years to come!

Now, what did we do with 26 pounds of strawberries, you might ask? We made jam! Turns out making homemade jam is pretty easy, and the results are delicious! We made a bunch of jars of jam, using this recipe from Natalie Creates. I just followed the recipe word for word and it turned out great!

We also cut up a bunch and froze them for smoothies later. Pro tip that I saw on Pinterest: spread your berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet to freeze them, then toss them in a ziploc bag later. That way they don't end up as one giant frozen block!

Does your family pick strawberries in the summertime? Any home canners out there? I'm so excited to try my hand at preserving more stuff this summer if our garden produces as much as we hope it does!

local friends: Spencer Berry Farm is awesome! // baby quilt is by Dearly Quilt Company :)

SoCal trip 2014

Last weekend, Matt and I traveled to Southern California with my family to celebrate my papa's turning 85. Oh, what a guy my papa is!! It was SO good to see all my aunts and uncles--my dad has 6 siblings and they haven't all been together in who knows how long--as well as my cousins. We partied at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, a perfect spot to celebrate my sweet papa, a veteran fighter pilot in the Air Force and a lover of all things airplane-related.

On Sunday, Matt and I rented a car and cruised down to Los Angeles. First stop: Griffith Park Observatory! We oohed and ahhed over the Hollywood sign and ewwwwwed over the amount of smog hanging over the LA skyline. Serious smog. Gross.


Next up, we visited Hollywood! I was kind of underwhelmed, actually. I expected everything to be paved in gold and sparkling once we turned the corner onto Hollywood Avenue. Umm...nope. Just another street...kinda dirty...lots of weirdos. It was pretty cool to see the place where the Oscars is, and see Mann's Chinese Theater.

We were going to head to the Santa Monica pier after some margaritas in Hollywood, but my parents called and said to meet them in Laguna. We weren't even out of Hollywood traffic yet, so we said sure! If Hollywood and LA in general was less than thrilling, Laguna was AWESOME. Definitely putting this place on my visit-again list!

Daniel, Lindsey, Jaxon & Hallie

Soooo thrilled to share these images of the Birt family! I got to know the Birt's through my husband, who works as an EMT with Lindsey. Lindsey is hilarious, kind, inspiring and SUCH a great mama and wife. I was PUMPED when she booked a family session. After all, I'd been following her on Instagram for awhile and couldn't wait to get a chance to photograph her adorable kids (and Hallie's hair!) We met up for their session on Butler's campus and couldn't have asked for better leaves or light. Special thanks to my husband for being in charge of making the kids laugh and dishing out jelly beans ;)

Love you, Birt crew!

Daniel & Lindsey both work for Butler, so some photos inside Hinkle were a must. I have to say, I felt a little fancy taking these photos. We had Hinkle to ourselves and I was a little starstruck!

Nick, Kari & Kat

Meet the most adorable Gayes family! Nick, Kari and hilarious Kat rocked it out in the freezing cold, despite their being sick. Scheduling this session was a bit tricky so they did not want to risk having to reschedule, bless their hearts. Kat had me rolling this session, she is so spunky and spirited! I just love photographing kids. And parents. And parents who really love their kids. Like this team. So blessed! Happy Tuesday, friends!

She called this her "pirate face" you guys. I'm telling you. She's hilarious!

Nick & Kari were married in front of this statue of Benny, so I love love LOVE that we were able to capture a family photo in the same spot!