Day of Thanks

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I was excited to have a home large enough to host Thanksgiving this year. I was awesome to be able to take the burden of always having to host off of my mom and invite my aunts and uncles over to join us in celebrating the day!

I was a bit intimidated by the turkey, I admit. I'd never cooked one before, but figured it can't be harder--only longer--than roasting a chicken.

The Pioneer Woman came to the rescue. On a whim I check out her newest cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays from the library. I don't actually make many Pioneer Woman recipes. I love her zucchini cakes and cinnamon buns and that's about all I've made. But her turkey sure looked tasty so I made her recipe, which consisted of rubbing the turkey with rosemary orange butter. It turned out perfect! I also used A Year of Holidays to make my mashed potatoes. Now, I know how to make mashed potatoes, but usually they must be done last minute to be warm. But The Pioneer Woman's make-ahead version was just as tasty and made meal making much less last minute. Another tasty side I made for the first time was Sausage and Apple Stuffing and the baked brie appetizer was delicious! I baked some fig and peach jam on top wrapped in crescent roll dough and wow, I could have made a meal just on that!

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I was especially proud--and thankful--for our new farmhouse table that Josh whipped up for the occasion! We needed a bigger table to make hosting easier. Not just for Thanksgiving but in general. Our former table only sat 6. Our new table sits 8-10 comfortably. We didn't have the funds to buy a new table, so Josh built it. Also, so thankful to our friend who gave us the lumber for the top!

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But I have to ask, what's your favorite Thanksgiving dish? The turkey? Mashed potatoes and gravy?

I have to say this year mine was the stuffing and sweet potato casserole my aunt makes. Yum.

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It was a lovely day of thanks and my heart was full of thankfulness for the blessings of this year.

Weekending: Festive

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The weekend started off with a girl's night out for a fondue/birthday party for a good friend. So. Much. Fun. It was hosted by another friend who's house was cozy and sparkling with candlelight. Laughter, wine, cheese, chocolate. Birth stories and kid stories. Catching up with old friends and making some new ones. A downright good time.

Saturday involved errand running in the Thanksgiving traffic made more bearable by a Chestnut Praline Latte (totally yum) and my little Sophia's excellent attitude while we ran into five different stores.

Pizza night with the littles while they watched Planes.

Today church in the morning and now an afternoon of prepping. Granola baked for the week. Lesson plan/craft prepping in order to teach the phases of the moon in our little science co-op while listening to The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Pumpkin waffles for dinner.

How was your weekend?

Linking up with Amanda of The Habit of Being.

October Instagrams

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It's fun to return to some personal posts on this blog, after so many photography sessions!

October was a busy one but full of fun! We've been having lots of fun doing astronomy projects with homeschool friends, apple picking in an orchard with friends, painting, reading, decorating for fall, and getting our pastured poultry in the freezer for winter. A highlight of the month was going to The Maryland Zoo with friends. Ironically, we'd never been to the Maryland Zoo, although we've been to the National Zoo many times.

Here's the snapshot of our month through the eyes of Instagram . . .

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The Tripleheps! | Senior Session

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When the first picture you take for a session looks this good, you know it's going to be a good day.

The beautiful family above are quite inspiring to me. They have babysat my kids and I've taught them English literature in homeschool co-op. I can only HOPE my kids will be as intelligent, respectful, and responsible when they are their age.

So when they contacted me about doing their senior portraits, I was pretty excited! Take a look at what we captured . . .

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Gotta love the dreads!

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When talking about group shots and what they Hepler trio enjoy doing together, reading immediately came to their mind. And so it was fun to capture some quirky reading shots as they displayed some well-loved childhood books.

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Another activity that the three have enjoyed with their family over the years has been camping. We commemorated the camping experience by getting some group shots around a fire pit while roasting marshmallows.

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Congratulations Hepler family on your high school graduation! So excited to what your future holds!

Maher Family | Orchard Family Session

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I was so excited to do this family's annual session! You may remember seeing this handsome guy and his family last year as well as when he was three months old. It's been so amazing capturing this family as they've grown. Our first date for our session got rained out, but thankfully, we were able to reschedule and scored a gorgeous evening at Brown Croft Farm. I'm just in love with these pictures and the family interactions we were able to capture!

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Someone was excited to check out some farm equipment!

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Looking at the pictures I bet you never guessed Mom is expecting baby #2!

But she is! And we captured some images to use for the announcement once she finds out if she's having a boy or a girl in just a few weeks!

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We used this awesome chalkboard cloth Celebration Banner with a chalk pen to create the announcements.

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 Thank you, Maher family for allowing me to capture such a special time in your family once again!