Thanksgiving |Little Princesses

So some of you are probably wondering why I titled this post thanksgiving.  Am I right?  Although I do love me some Thanksgiving (the turkey, dressing, and cranberries…umm yes please), this post has absolutely NOTHING to do with the actual holiday of Thanksgiving.  So why did I name it that?  It is quite simple.  I’m talking about another type of thanksgiving, and that thanksgiving is in our hearts.

Yesterday Sadie had a cardiology appointment.  This was a big one for us.  I wasn’t worried about what the outcome might be because I know I don’t have any control over what happens (contrary to what I might believe sometimes), but I was just anxious to get some information.  The day before her appointment her doctor’s office called and told us she was getting a full diagnostic done.  So naturally this got my mind on the subject of Sadie’s heart.  You see, I forget all the time that she has a heart condition.  She is such a normal happy smiling baby that it is super easy to forget that she has something under the surface that isn’t okay.

I feel like that is how people are a lot of the time.  We see their outside appearance and we think that they must have it all together, they are the best wife, or they must be really happy.  The truth of the matter, is that we all have something going on under the surface.  That is why it is so important to be there for each other and pull each other up when we fall down.  I love my group of girl friends that I have.  I am so incredibly thankful to God for them.  They support me when I need it, cry with me when I am going through a rough time, and they challenge me to want to be better.  When I leave their presence I always feel like I can conquer the world.  That is how it is supposed to be.  Remember that people are always struggling and that they need support and kindness.  Then maybe you can help someone else feel empowered.

Now, back to Sadie.  We got to Mansfield a little early so we go to Taco Bueno (my absolute favorite).  As we are sitting down eating Sadie decides she wants to grace us with a gift.  She has been on antibiotics now for a few days so her bowel movements are what I would call not even remotely solid.  So as I am sitting there eating my delicous Muchaco, Sadie goes.  And she doesn’t just go easily and it is a nice cleanup.  Oh no.  That would be too nice.  She goes so bad that it blows out of her diaper and lands on my arm, shirt, and upper lip…..#momlife.  So I take her, her carseat, and diaper bag to the bathroom to clean her only to find that they don’t have a changing table.  So what does a mom do when she is in desperate need of a changing table??  She improvises.  I got Sadie cleaned up (of course she got a new onesie), and then we went to her cardiology appointment.

Her appointment went really well.  She had an echo done on her heart.  We got alot of amazing information.  We had so many questions regarding what her future could look like and her doctor was really great in answering them all.  She will more than likely have surgery when she is about 4-5 to fix her ASD and her pulmonary stenosis, but neither one of those issues is causing her any harm right now.  She is thriving!  Her doctors are so impressed with her.  Here is my little Sadie Bugg , who has a whole in her heart and a narrow artery, and she just smiles at the world.  God made her perfectly.  Her problems are scary, but they are fixable!

On the way home, I just sat there thinking about everything the doctor had said and you know what I realized??  God is always faithful.  You would think that I would have already realized that with what we went through when Sadie was born.  And the truth is that I did realize it then.  But then life happens. and you get stressed and you worry and things seem crazy.  God is faithful.  Is there a chance that Sadie will need surgery?  Absolutely.  Does that scare me?  Yes and no.  Yes, because I just want her to be okay and healthy.  No because I have a God who loves me and who knows what is best for my Sadie.  He made her in his image.  He tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7).  This is exactly what He has done for my husband and I.  He has given us a peace about all of the situations we find ourselves in regarding Sadie’s health.  He is faithful always.

So today, I want to talk about thanksgiving.  I am thankful for my Sadie’s health.  I am thankful for the strong amazing man that God gave me to go through life with.  I am thankful for the amazing beautiful daughters that I have been blessed with.  But most of all, I am thankful for a God that loves me in my flaws, keeps me comforted even when I doubt His goodness, showers me with his grace, leads me towards His greatness, and is forever faithful.

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Butter Pecan Cupcakes|Sweets

Yumm! These cupcakes are pretty delicous.  We have had Vacation Bible School in the evenings this week at church so we haven’t been getting home until 9pm every night.  It’s quite exhausting.  It is completely worth it, but yeah, it’s tiring.  Well, last night I just really wanted something sweet.  I didn’t get to eat dinner at VBS because my husband forgot Sadie’s diaper bag (thanks Drew!) and I had to drive all the way home to get it.  Mind you, we live about 20 minutes outside of town.  By the time I got back to church it was time for VBS to start.  So that was unfortunate, but because I didn’t get dinner I was hungry when I got home and I decided to make some Butter Pecan Cupcakes.

I started by melting some butter in a pan and adding pecans and sugar.  I let that cook on a low-medium temperature to get those pecans nice and roasted.  The sugar kind started to thicken just slightly before I took it off of the heat.


Next, I mixed up my cake mix.  I used a french vanilla cake mix out of a box, but you could just as easily use your own homemade cake recipe.  Follow the instructions on the box or your recipe to mix up your cake mix.  My recipes called for three eggs, 1/2 c oil, and 1 cup of water.  I added a package of instant french vanilla pudding mix, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, 1/2tsp cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp butter extract.  Once all of the is mixed together stir in your pecan, sugar, and butter mixture.


Line your cupcake pan with liners sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or your could just spray your pan if you don’t have liners.  Once they are lined, pour your batter into the liners until they are about 2/3 full.

Place in the oven and bake for about 17-20 minutes @ 350 degrees.  I just followed the instructions on the back of the box for this part, so if your recipes calls for a different temperature or a longer time, follow it. When the cupcakes are a nice golden brown on top, take them out of the oven and let them cool.

While cupcakes were cooling I worked on my frosting.  I used a store bought buttercream frosting out of a can.  I spooned it into a bowl and added 1/2 tsp butter extract, 1/4 tsp. maple extract, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.  I mixed all of that together and let it rest until the cupcakes were cooled.


Once the cupcakes were cooled, I frosted them.  I used my Wilton decorating gun, but you could use a piping bag or a spatula and just cover the top.  When they were done being frosted, I topped them with chopped pecans.  These were so good!  They are really great with a nice glass of cold milk. My husband really liked them and will definitely want me to make them again.  I hope you enjoy!


 

Butter Pecan Cupcakes

Makes 24 cupcakes

For the cake mix:

1 box French Vanilla cake mix (or you could use your recipe instead)

1 box French Vanilla Instant Pudding Mix

Ingredients for cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.)

1/2 tsp. Imitation Butter or Butter extract

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons sugar

2 cups pecans

For the frosting:

1 can buttercream store bought frosting (or you could make your own)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/2 tsp butter extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp maple extract

1/2 tsp cinnamon

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or to the temperature your cake mix recipe calls for.

Melt your 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over low-medium heat.  Add in 1 1/2 cups pecans and 2 tablespoons of sugar.  Let this cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar barely starts to thicken and your pecans have a nice roasted smell. Remove from heat.

Mix your cake mix according to the back of the cake box or your recipe.  Add in your package of pudding, butter extract, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  When that is mixed well, stir in your pecan, butter, and sugar mixture.

Fill your cupcake pan with liners and spray the liners with a non-stick cooking spray.  You could also just spray your pan if you do not have liners.  Fill your liners or pan 2/3 full with your cake batter.  Place in the oven and bake for 17-20 minutes or according to your recipe. The tops will be a nice golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Empty icing can into a bowl.  Add your brown sugar, cinnamon, maple extract, vanilla extract, and butter extract.  Set aside.

 

 

 

Kamden and Casen | Children

I love photographing kids!  They make my heart so full.  Some kids are just so creative and love taking picture, while with others I am constantly chasing them around!  That is exactly how this session went.

Kamden and Casen are the children of Drew’s (My husband) cousin.  It is crazy to see the similarities between Kamden and Reagan.  They are both SO outgoing!  Kamden loved taking pictures and was telling me how she could lean against the tree for one pose.  It was adorable.  Casen on the other hand, was terrified and didn’t want to have anything to do with a camera.  He thought it was going to get him.  His session was a little more difficult, but I think we still got more than enough pictures for his birthday.

Their birthday theme is trucks and tiaras, so for Casen we took pictures with his bulldozer toys and some actual bulldozers.  For Kamden, we took pictures in field and had a tea party all while she wore her princess crown her mom made.  On a side note, this crown was beautiful!  Her momma is extremely creative.  The pictures turned out great and the kids were such troopers.  We hiked around a field and construction equipment in middle on June in Texas.  That is some heat y’all.  So without further ado, check out the preview I have for Miss Kamden and Mr. Casen.


Maple Bacon Cupcakes|Sweets


Let me preface this by saying that these cupcakes were amazing!! I was searching through Pinterest the other day and I saw several different maple bacon cupcakes recipes. After looking through them, I decided that I could make my own version! 

This recipe is extremely easy. It’s semi-homemade, filled with a good maple flavoring, and is topped with a healthy portion of fried bacon. I mean let’s be real, who doesn’t love fried bacon? My husband loved these cupcakes so much that as soon as he was finished with his first cupcake he was already reaching for a second. It would be perfect for a brunch baby or bridal shower as well as just to eat. 

I started with a box of French vanilla cake mix. I added the eggs and oil that were needed as well as a box of instant French vanilla pudding mix. Once all of that was mixed together I added 1 tsp of maple extract. 

Line your cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers and spray the inside of the wrappers with non stick cooking spray. Fill the wrappers with your cake batter and bake according to the box of cake mix that you used. I baked mine @ 350 degrees for 15 minutes. 

When they are done baking they will be a nice golden brown on top. Take them out and let them cool before icing. 

While the cupcakes are cooling, fry up your bacon and drain it on a paper towel. 
To make the icing I just used store bought vanilla ice icing and added 1 1/2 tsp of maple extract and 2 tsp of bacon grease. 

Once your icing is mixed and and your cupcakes are cooled, frost your cupcakes! I used my Wilton icing gun but you can just as easily use a piping bag or just use a knife and cover the top. Honestly, these are so good it doesn’t matter how you ice them!!


Next, take your bacon and crumble it on top of your cupcakes and enjoy!! 


Maple Bacon Cupcakes 

Box of French vanilla cake mix 

Ingredients for cake mix (eggs, oil, water, etc.)

Can of vanilla icing

2 1/2 tsp maple extract

6 slices bacon

2 tsp bacon grease

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or whatever temp your cake mix directs. Mix together your cake mix following the instructions on the cake mix box. Add 1 tsp maple extract. Fill cupcake pan with cupcake liners and spray liners with a non stick cooking spray. Fill liners with cake batter about 2/3 full and bake according to box directions. 

While your cupcakes are baking, fry up your bacon and drain on a paper towel. 

Once cupcakes are golden brown, remove from oven and let cool. 

While cupcakes are cooking mix up your frosting. Empty your icing can in a bowl and add 1 1/2 tsp maple extract and 2 tsp bacon grease. Mix until well combined. 

Once cupcakes are cool ice the top off them with a spatula, knife, piping bag, or piping gun. Crumble your bacon top and enjoy!!

Captured HOPE |Photography

There is a project that I have had in mind for awhile now.  I have been wanting to set it into motion, and I just figured why not now?  It is very dear to my heart and I have prayed about it quite a bit.  I really feel like God has put it on my heart.  So without further ado, let me introduce you to my project:  Captured HOPE.

Captured HOPE is a session that I am now offering to patients who have cancer, patients who have beat cancer, children with life-threatening illnesses, and children with genetic/chromosomal abnormalities.  This idea came to me one day after I read an article on one of my favorite photographer’s blog (Here is the link to the article:  https://amandahedgepethblog.com/2016/05/24/i-prayed-for-creativity-saltwater-grace/).  After reading this, I just really felt like I wasn’t using all of my creative talents to the best of their abilities and more importantly for God.  So, I started thinking of ways I could help.  I saw that there are several nonprofits that photographers can join and be a part of that take pictured of people for various reasons ( cancer patients, military families, etc.), but I didn’t want to be limited in who I would offer my services to.  I also wanted to make sure that people would even be interested in my idea.  I called several cancer centers and spoke with them, talked to my cousin who works at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Ft. Worth, and I talked to a woman from ECI.  All of them seemed to think that this idea was a really great thing.  With that feedback, I decided to offer my Captured HOPE sessions.

I am really excited about this!  I just feel like this is a great thing for families.  There are so many families that don’t even think about pictures when they are in rough situations.  This allows them to get prettied up, laugh and smile for an hour, forget about their circumstances for a small while, and to have some great memories.

Why the name Captured HOPE do you ask?  Well, it’s quite simple really.  Scripture tells us in Hebrews 6:19 “For we have this hope like and anchor for the soul, firm and secure…”.  Hope doesn’t mean that nothing bad will happen, but it is simply having faith in something greater.

Captured HOPE is something that is very dear to my heart.  If you or a loved one or maybe even just someone you know of might be interested in participating in a Captured HOPE session let me know!  I can be contacted through a couple of different ways.  My facebook is either https://www.facebook.com/briana.whistler or https://www.facebook.com/raisingarrowsphoto.  I also have a website for my photography that is http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com that has a contact page that  can be filled out.  Or if none of those work, comment below and I can give you my cell phone number.  Any of the ways mentioned above will do.  Like I said, I am super excited about this.  I look forward to hearing from you guys.  Have a blessed day!!

Logan|Seniors

This girl right here should be a model.  I actually believe I told her that.  She was amazing!  Logan is an amazing young woman who is graduating from Corsicana High School.  I was so excited to take her pictures.  It took us awhile to finally find a time that worked, but I am so glad we did.

Logan was so great during this session.  It was so nice getting to talk to her about her future.  I love it when I hear that a young person has a plan and wants to go to school.  It is always encouraging to follow your dreams.

Take a look at her preview!  If you want to see more of my work got to my website http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com.13266105_499765403551473_2536739814189369582_n

Sadie Bugg|Little Princesses

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Whew! It’s been awhile since I have posted.  Life has definitely been crazy.  A lot has happened in the month since my last post.  Sadie is sitting up so much better and rolling over life crazy!  She has graduated to her crib (Praise God!) and only wakes up about once or twice now.  I am not going to lie.  I really thought the transition to her crib would be an extremely difficult task.  She has definitely not been our easy child on transitions, but she surprised me.  Not only does she sleep in her crib without a fuss, but she can fall asleep in there by herself without me having to rock her or give her a bottle before bed!  It is really quite amazing.

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We bought her some new big girl jammies because she has graduated out of three month clothing.  She is now wearing 3-6 month and some 9 month clothing…..guys, I definitely didn’t think that would happen for sure.  Sadie is growing so much.  I am so proud of her!  She is without a doubt our happy child.  I mean you can wake her up, and as soon as she opens her eyes, she is smiling at you.  Be still my heart.  Feeding her has gotten a ton better!  She can now eat an entire thing of stage two baby food.  Now for those of you that don’t know, that is a lot of food for her little belly.  She loves food!  Her rolls are starting to show and I couldn’t be happier.  I am so thankful to God for her accomplishments with her growth.  Heck, I am just so thankful for her and her sister period!  Sometimes (who am I kidding, MOST times) I may not have a clue what I am doing, but man am I glad to be their mommy.

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Chili Verde Chicken Stuffed Shells|Dinner

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I love Mexican food.  It runs through my veins.  Well, I guess it is more like Tex-Mex, but whatever it is, I could eat it at every meal.  I also love me a good pasta dish.  Anything with carbs was sent from heaven to my make my life just a bit brighter.  One night I was wanting Mexican food, but also craving my carbs so I thought why not combine them?  I have made Mexican Stuffed Shells before, but I really wanted something with a white kind of alfredoish sauce so Chili Verde Chicken Stuffed Shells were born.

I started by boiling my jumbo shells in water.  While those were cooking I boiled 4 chicken breasts in water.  When they were finished cooking, I shredded them up really good and added it to a skillet.  To the skillet I added about a 1/4 c of our favorite salsa (which is the Joe T. Garcia brand found at Walmart), 1 block of cream cheese cubed, and 1 can of green chilies.  It is very hearty and the green chilies add such a great flavor.  Once the shells were cooked, I strained them and sprayed them with cold water to cool off.  To a 13X9 baking dish I spread the remaining 1/4c of salsa just so the shells wouldn’t stick.  You could probably also just butter it or spray it with cooking spray.  I then stuffed the shells with the filling mixture until all shells were stuffed.  I placed them in the 13X9 baking dish and got to work on my blanco sauce.

For the Blanco sauce I started by melting half a stick of butter in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.  Once that was melted a can of green chilies and stirred for about one minute or until it stared to thicken a little.  Once the sauce was starting to simmer and thicken, I added about 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream.  I reduced the heat to medium and stirred it occasionally until it started boiling.  While that was cooking I shredded up about 1 c of pepper jack cheese and cut up about 8 slices of White American Cheese.  When the sauce mixture started boiling, I added my pepper jack and White American Cheese.  Let that cook, stirring occasionally, until all of the cheese is melted which is about 7-10 minutes.  Once the sauce was done, I smothered the stuffed shells with it.  I then covered the top with mozzarella cheese and placed it in a 350 degree oven for about 20-25 minutes.  Really it was just until the cheese had started to melt and barely turn brown on top.

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I am really horrible at taking pictures of my recipes and creations.  I normally don’t think about it until I am finished and by then it is absolutely too late, but the recipe is delicious.  My husband loved it.  Heck even my two year old loved it!  The pepper jack cheese adds a good spice to it.  I didn’t add a ton of pepper jack because I really didn’t want it to be too spicy for Reagan, but if you like spice then I would say definitely add more pepper jack.  You most definitely will NOT be disappointed in this dish if you make it.  So good!!!

Ashley and Chris|Couples

Wow!  What an amazing couple.  Ashley and Chris were my first ever engagement session.  We actually took these pictures on a ranch in Blooming Grove, TX.  It was literally five minutes down the road from my house and I had absolutely no idea it existed.  This ranch was incredible.  The scenery was just so beautiful. Tall trees, a pond, and tall grasses.  It was every nature photographers dream!

Ashley and Chris were great.  I got to meet her dad who was incredibly kind and their two little boys.  Talk about adorable!  Since this was my first engagement session, I was a little slow to come up with different ideas, but they were great sports and did anything and everything that was asked of them!

Take a look at their preview! If you want to see more of my work got to my website http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com.

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Chad and Carmen|Seniors

I had the great privilege of taking these seniors pictures.  We took them in Downtown Corsicana, TX.  There are so many fun spots for pictures when you visit downtown areas. There is so much history that it is just easy to let your creativeness shine.  These kids were awesome!  I barely had to tell them what to do.  It’s always so exciting to take senior pictures. That is just such a big time in a person’s life.  These kids have such great futures ahead of them!

Take a look at their previews! If you want to see more of my work got to my website http://www.raisingarrowsphotography.com.13166116_498046993723314_8090772112640215565_n

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