Thursday, January 26, 2012


I love family traditions. That annual occasion that is shared by generations, year after year after year. I wish that I could say that my family has our own, but sadly, we don't.
Fortunately for me, I was able to photograph one family and their annual tradition. Every year, the day after Thanksgiving, this family gets together to make candy canes. I had no idea how much was involved in making this sweet symbol of the holiday season... it is nothing short of awesome.
First step is to boil the sugar. I believe that 60 pounds of sugar were used on this day.
After the sugar is boiled, it is poured out on the counter to cool 
and add the peppermint flavor.
Now it is time to add color
and knead the batch.
Unless you want to make white. 
In which case you must do this:
Work it over a hook. 
For what seems like an eternity.
And you can't stop, not even for a second.
I had no idea candy cane making was such a physical endeavor.
The colors are then mixed together to form the stripes.
This is done in front of a heater, still wearing gloves as the batch
is still too hot to touch.
From this point, you can make several different types of yummy treats.
You can roll it into traditional candy canes:
To make ribbons, you flatten out the batch and send it
through this contraption:
 Or use this to make bite sized treats
 Shiitake happens.
 The traditional hanging of the giant candy cane.
For as much hard work goes into making these candy canes,
there were lots of smiles all around.

 And the youngest generation gets in on the fun:
 Kylie sneaks a taste
 Cole is proud of his creations:
 Candy cane making is a dirty job...
...but Krista makes it look gooooooood.

I had so much fun watching this family work together, honoring their generations-old tradition of making candy canes. And if you are thinking to yourself "I wish I could be a part of that!", have no fear - you can be. Each year, the family volunteers their time and their kitchen to benefit the American Cancer Society. On this night, the winning bidder spent the evening making candy canes with this wonderful and amazing family. 
Traditions. Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Out my window

I have a very large, very ancient oak tree in my back yard - I can almost touch it from my kitchen window. While washing dishes cooking drinking my coffee, I watch the riotous antics of a squirrel family who uses our tree as their personal jungle gym. They run up and down the limbs, and jump from branches to the roof of our house. It is kitty porn at it's finest.

As I looked out the window this morning, I was confused. With the sun shining, I thought it was summer. Apparently so did this squirrel, who was munching on an acorn:

Winter, I miss you. But I certainly don't mind that summer has hung around for a while.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's a new year...

I am not a fan of resolutions. No matter how big or small, I never seem to keep them... not even for a day. And since it is the New Year, I am tempted to make some resolutions (yes, I realize we are a week in to 2012). But I am going to resist the urge because ultimately I am setting myself up for failure. Exhibit A: my last blog, dated November 9, 2011. I proclaimed that I would be catching up on my blogging... in fact, I threatened a cavalcade of blogs. Here we are, nearly 2 months later, and not a blog in sight. Can you say winning?

It is the first weekend of the New Year and I am in Tahoe. Four families, totaling 8 adults and 10 children, are sharing a fabulous house in the mountains. We have been friends since vet school and our kids are all the same age. Even though there is no snow (it's January, and there is NO snow), we are having ourselves a great time. And I have actually had some time to sit, relax, take photos and blog (resolution or not).

Here is a recap of our fun-filled, snow-free weekend, starting with fun inside the cabin. It is amazing to me how tech savvy these kids are:
Fortunately, they are able to have low-tech fun as well (just add a broom or a box):
And what is this? A child reading a BOOK!?!?!
Smiles and laughs were everywhere:
We made our way to Soda Springs where there was some ice snow. It was cold, it was windy and at times, it was downright miserable. But the kids had a blast.
Thank you to the Cooks, the Karles and the Kreuschers for such a great weekend. Good food, good drink, but most of all, good friends. We are already looking forward to our trip next year!