Macro Monday in Southern Utah 

My first periscope of Macro Monday 🙂 I haven’t posted video from Periscope before … so sorry about the skinny vertical format. It’s a learning process for me. It was also my first time using the new Case Relay from Tether Tools. It’s an awesome way to power your camera via standard electric outlet or using an external power pack. The best part is you can switch power packs without interrupting your time lapse! Helps avoid so many headaches!!!!

 

Life is not fair…but I choose to be a survivor.

I have fallen off the radar of social media lately. I have been extremely busy. Lots of life changes all at once can seem like a nightmare ….my life feels like it’s spiraling out of control and I’m just beginning to get my equilibrium back.

I am a very private person and don’t usually share private details of my life…especially not things so emotionally difficult for me. I feel like sharing my troubles today 😳.

Those who know me well know I was recently evicted from my home in Colorado City. Due to illegal maneuvers by the state of Utah and a corrupt judge, the church trust that owned the property where I built my home was seized and given to a fiduciary who is prejudiced against anyone from the FLDS faith. It’s truly “the fox watching the hen house” and the fiduciary is plucking out the hens ( people like me ) as fast as he can, for his own financial gain.  So since I won’t sign their occupancy agreement and pay their ransom (fees that give us no rights to the property and can be changed at any time if the fiduciary sees fit) I have lost my home. The fiduciary, Bruce Wisan, gave my home to someone I don’t even know, to someone that has no claims or ties to the property as I was the first occupant there. I personally did a large part of building that home from the drywall up. (Thanks to my background in construction I was able to do drywall, painting, ceramic tile, finish electrical, finish plumbing, trim, wood flooring, refinished all of the cabinets, and turned a barren yard into an oasis.) That home was a labor of love and we worked hard and scrimped and saved to make it happen! I feel screwed!

As a single mother with 5 children at home it has been a nightmare! We suddenly had to vacate our home and our community because no homes are available to us. I have no credit and no renters history so finding a home to rent has been daunting. I have been turned down by a lot of renters because I have “too many children” . And to add to that we have a dog that I’m not willing to give up because my children are so attached to him. They have had to give up too much already! My children have been heartbroken to have to leave their friends and cousins. It’s been a very difficult time for them.

It’s also been a “double whammy” as far as my livelihood… Loosing my home meant loosing the studio in my home. I now have the added financial burden of setting up a studio and office in St.George. I’m mostly stressed that by working completely away from home I am missing priceless time with my children. Work/home balance is already difficult for a single mother.

It’s very difficult, if not impossible to forgive the parties that put me in this situation!  I felt like showing up on Judge Denise Lindburg’s doorstep with my 5 minor children and asking her what I’m supposed to do! Does she have a spare bedroom for us? How is this right? How can a person who has sworn to destroy the FLDS be put in charge of watching out for our best interest.  What the heck happened to separation of church and state. Who is looking out for people like me? I feel abused by the system! Who cares?

Anyway….I’m done with my rant! I CHOOSE to not be a victim. I CHOOSE to grow from the difficulties in life. I CHOOSE to be a good example and a strong, loving mother to my children. I choose to SURVIVE! And hopefully someday I will be in the situation financially and socially where I can help others going through what I’m dealing with. I CHOOSE TO CARE!

The Granary at Santa Clara, Utah advertising photo shoot.

On Saturday I did a photo shoot for a local company, Most Wanted Jeans. They arranged for us to shoot at “The Granary” in Santa Clara. I suggested this location because I fell in love with their patio while driving by. Although I knew they existed, I just hadn’t tried them out before. The setting is beautiful! They have a lovely patio with gardens and fountains. It has the mood of a little European bistro. The historic granary building has been lovingly restored and is a nice centerpiece for this little gem. Pat and her staff were very sweet and accommodating. They were the models for the product we were shooting (aprons).

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Mostwanted_D8A8886After our photo shoot we stayed to sample the cuisine. Their menu may be small but what they do, they do to perfection! My daughter and I had the Quiche Lorraine and my son had their special, baked Caramel Apple French Toast. (BTW, if you don’t like bacon…make sure you order the vegetarian quiche. This was loaded with bacon! 😊 yum!!! )  Everything was fresh and delicious. It’s worth the drive! Go try the Granary, I know you won’t be disappointed!

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Patricia – the owner (and fabulous model) 

  
iPhone pic – Quiche


iPhone pic – Baked Caramel Apple French Toast

The Granary Cafe summer hours are Wednesday through Sunday 8 am to 3 pm. Click on the link to take you to their website and menu.
 

Summer is almost gone! Trying to do it all…work and family balance.

This summer I have been trying to hit the farmer’s markets as often as possible. It’s hard to take off on a Saturday morning when I already feel guilty because I’ve been away from my children so much during the week. As a single mom I find myself struggling constantly to balance income and family! So, lately I’ve been taking turns making it a “date” with one of my children. We get up early, grab an ice chest and head to one of the farmers markets. I usually go to the Farmers Market in Ancestor Square or the Zion Canyon Farmers Market in Springdale. It’s fun to have the one on one time and also nice to have someone to help choose our purchases and plan what we are going to make. After we are done at the farmers market we go on a brunch date. I let my “guest” choose where we go to eat.. It’s been so fun for me and my children. The children look forward to “their turn”, and plan well in advance where our “next date” will be. 

I feel like it’s very important to have fresh fruits and vegetables as a large part of my family’s diet. In the past I’ve always had a large garden. Due to moving and my hectic schedule I was not able to plant a full garden this year. ( I do have tomatoes and a good assortment of herbs in pots.)  It’s such a blessing to have farmers markets to fill that void somewhat. But there’s still nothing like harvesting it at home and using it immediately! Nothing beats that fresh picked flavor. 

   
  

  

  

  

 

It’s Summer…. Enjoy the simple things

It’s so easy to get wrapped up in so many activities during summer time that we forget to slow down and enjoy it. There’s a reason they call it “the lazy days of summer”, but you wouldn’t know it by most parent’s summer schedules. This summer as a break for mom (me), we have been taking turns making meals. To make things interesting we’ve been trying at least one new recipe a week. It’s so easy to be stuck in a rut when it comes to meals, especially when you are on a budget. This has become one of our new family favorites: BBQ Grilled Pizza!

  

It may not be pretty…but it’s delicious!

It’s so easy! All you have to do is plan ahead. These pizzas are very inexpensive if you make your own dough. About one and a half hours before you’d like to eat, mix up a batch of pizza dough and leave it to rise. (Recipe follows.) When you are about ready to eat…punch down the dough and heat up the grill. Separate dough into 4 equal pieces and have each person roll out their own. 

The key to making it great it how you cook it. When you heat up your grill, half of the grill will need to be set on medium to high heat and the other half set to low. Oil the hotter side of the grill with a little bit of olive oil. Then put your pizza dough on that side. Watch it carefully and just when the bottom is starting to turn golden turn it over and put it on the cooler side of the grill. Now is when you put on the toppings. Next you close the grill for a couple of minutes, just long enough to melt the cheese without burning the bottom of the pizza. Finally, remove pizza and enjoy while it’s still hot.

 You can use whatever you want for toppings. My favorite is a simple garlic marinara sauce with fresh basil leaves and fresh mozzarella pieces. My daughter, Summer likes one with BBQ sauce, leftover grilled chicken, fresh basil and shredded jack & cheddar cheese. The combinations are endless. You can just use whatever leftovers you have on hand; pre cooked meats, lunchmeats, sliced veggies, etc. We’ve even tried dessert pizzas… Sliced fresh peaches with cinnamon & sugar. Or caramel sauce with apples, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sprinkled with sea salt. I think they are great sweet or savory. Let everyone get creative and make their own masterpieces.  Please share what you come up with! We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

iPhone pic of my daughter’s masterpiece 
Grilled pizza dough recipe: 

Ingredients

  1 teaspoon sugar 

  1 packet active dry yeast 

  2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing 

  1 teaspoon salt

  2 1/4 cups bread flour or all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface 

  1 cup warm water 

Directions

1. Pour 1 cup warm water into a medium bowl; add sugar and sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.

2. Stir oil into yeast mixture. 

3. In a standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add flour and salt. Add yeast mixture and mix on low until liquid is incorporated (dough will appear dry). Knead on low setting, until dough comes together in an elastic ball, 2 minutes. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl; brush lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; set in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, 30-45 minutes. Punch down dough and cover; let rise another 20 minutes.

Roll out using extra flour. Lightly oil dough and take it to the grill 🙂

  

  

Nothing is ever perfect….

I was talking to my daughter today . She was having a rough time because she had planned a fishing trip with her husband and little boys this past weekend and nothing went as planned. She was wondering if she’s ever going to have a good time “like we did when she was little”. I found myself repeating what my grandma had told me a long time ago.

In my teens, my grandma told me “Nothing is ever perfect, so make the best of what you’ve got”. As an all knowing 16 yr old, I rolled my eyes and thought I’d prove her wrong some day. My life, my career, my husband, my kids… It was all going to be perfect.

Years later I know she’s right. I’ve only had one moment in my life when I looked around myself and truly thought “this is perfect“. What’s ironic is that at the time I had absolutely no control of the situation. (I am kind of a control freak, I like to plan every little detail.) I had been hiking since before day break, had spent a couple of hours photographing the Subway, which I’d been dreaming about since I was a kid. I was tired, hungry and trying to stave off a headache. I was feeling old…It doesn’t help that I was about 20+ years older than everyone on the hike and not in great shape. My son had hiked back to prod me up the trail faster. Then I walk around the bend to see this:


Our friends on the hike had prepared a surprise for us! Three of them had hiked in early hauling over 200 lbs of equipment… Plus a full size picnic table! The table was next to the stream and a small waterfall. It was set with cloth tablecloths, cloth napkins, candles and glass dishes. It was amazing! Like a mirage …I couldn’t believe it was real. A complete sushi dinner!

When we sat down to eat we just looked at each other…everyone grinning from ear to ear… This moment was epic…I knew I would never experience anything like this again in my life. There was a quiet connection ..a unity…a shared feeling of complete gratitude. No one spoke a word, but we all felt it. Gratitude for each other, for the moment we were living in, for where we were and who we were. Senses were heightened, a clarity, a feeling of peace.  I’ve never felt this before.

The silence was broken with a bout of laughter.  For some it was the surprise, for others it was anticipation of seeing the surprised faces of their friends. There was relief and triumph of pulling this off without us finding out. The amazement, how could they have possibly carried all of this stuff this far down a trail that I could barely navigate with a 10 lb pack?

We had a delicious sushi dinner.  The hikers coming by all wanted to know what the special occasion was? Proposal? Anniversary? It had to be something big! It was actually my daughter’s birthday and the birthday of one of the guys who hauled it all in ….but it was just meant to be a surprise for friends, and it was.

So how was grandma right?

NO-THING is perfect. (Moments, however fleeting…are!)

To others it might not have been viewed as perfect. If we thought about the 2+ mile hike – uphill – that we’d be carrying all of this stuff out (which ended up in the dark) it might have dampened the mood. It could be considered less than ideal, but our group was determined to continue the evening as EPIC! And it was … We hiked out in the dark. We didn’t have enough flashlights so we had the little tea candles from the table. It was slow going, lots of tripping and falling in the water and on obstacles on the trail. There was music (until our batteries died), singing and laughing and working together to get all of that stuff and each other up the hill.  When it was all said and done… Bruises, cactus, sore muscles and all, I wouldn’t change a thing! The circumstances were not “perfect” but the EXPERIENCE was!  (I still have the candle by my desk now as a reminder of that special day.)

“Make the best of what you’ve got.”

  
  I am :

Grateful for the good people who consider me a friend.

Amazed at what friends will do for each other.

Stunned that people are so generous.

Blessed to live in such a beautiful area.

Happy to be able to follow my dreams.
***special thanks to Johnny at Sakura for loaning the plates, serving dishes and napkins from his restaurant, and for preparing an amazing feast for us!

Moab Easter Jeep Safari

I went to Moab last week to shoot some jeeps for Flog Industries. It was the 49 th year or the annual Easter Jeep Safari. It was a good time. I’ve never seen so many jeeps in one place! (It made me miss mine!)

We spent the first day checking out the vendor show and scouting locations. I even made a quick trip to Arches NP to check it out. I had my son/photographer in training with me on this trip. Off roading, races, rockcrawling and jeeps….an 11 yr old boy’s version of paradise.

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iPhone pic – Skyview Arch
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My jr. photographer – iphone pic

 

 

 

 

 

The second day we went to watch the races at BFE. There was a lot of action! This event is one of the qualifiers for King Of The Hammers so it was intense. I will post photos soon.

We spent the rest of the day on the trails rockcrawling with Bryce from Dixie Four Wheel Drive and Cash from Bryce Christensen Excavating. They have some really sweet jeeps (with Flog bumpers). The photo shoot was great but the rockcrawling was even better!

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Cash’s jeep – Moab, Utah
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Bryce’s Jeep – Moab, Utah – Flog bumper

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Beauty Shoot this week

We actually had scheduled and outdoor-lifestyle shoot and weather didn’t cooperate. (What’s new?!?) Since we already had our model and MUA lined up we switched to plan B. We did an indoor beauty shoot instead.  Here’s a couple photos from the session.

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The model is my beautiful and talented daughter, Denise. The MUA is Janet Jeffs. Its the first time we’ve worked with Janet and she did a nice job for us. Email the studio if you are interested in having her model for you.

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Salt Lake trip continued

After I was done  with the Vincent Laforet – Directing Motion Workshop,  we spent the evening walking around in the downtown area including Temple Square.  It was nice to have a mini-vacation with my girls.

Mormon Temple
Mormon Temple
Downtown
Downtown
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My two youngest girls.
Salt Palace
Salt Palace

The next day, on our way home, we went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.  It was pretty.  I imagine they will actually be nicer in a month or so after they get filled in a little more. They were doing a lot of planting when we were there.  If you go to that area don’t forget to hit the outlet mall by Cabela’s 🙂  (There were some great deals.)

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Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah

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Vincent Laforet workshop

I went to the Directing Motion workshop by Vincent Laforet in Salt Lake City last week. It was a long, fun, educational day. If you have a chance to attend, I highly recommend it. Watching movies will never be the same!!! Seriously! Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😀
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Vincent Laforet

20140607-144936-53376894.jpg 20140607-144657-53217370.jpgWe actually got to help film 3 different scenes! It was really fun and educational.