Oven-Baked Caramel Corn

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I’m sick and can’t do much by way of packing (hello, moving in 3 weeks!!!) so I’m finally getting around to blogging this favorite recipe of ours. On Sunday night, I came down with a fever, aches, headache, sore throat, and all that jazz. Bleh. I laid on the couch all day yesterday and watched show after show after show on HGTV and Food Network. I didn’t fix healthy meals (good thing Little Caesars is down the road), my daughter ate the whatever took the least effort, and I sent my husband to the grocery store for sickness essentials like orange juice and frozen yogurt bars. I absolutely crashed on the couch after Daniel came home from work with the worst body aches and headache. I felt like I got hit by a truck. Today is a tiny bit better. I have some energy but still have a fever, sore throat, and clogged head. I’m hoping this passes quickly! There is SOOOOO much to do around here!

I was introduced to this recipe shortly after we were married (almost six years ago). A lady in our church made this caramel corn and my husband raved about it so we asked for the recipe. I have never been a huge popcorn or caramel corn fan, though I eat it on occasion. But I have to say that this stuff is really good. Give it a shot! It’s easy, very inexpensive, and a crowd pleaser. It would be a great addition to any backyard BBQ, labor day picnic, or late-night movie session. It would also make a great gift during the holidays!

Oven-Baked Caramel Corn

Ingredients

1 cup popcorn kernals (trust me, this will FILL your pan)

2 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1 cup (2 sticks) butter

½ cup light corn syrup

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. vanilla

Directions

Pop corn and put in large greased turkey roasting pan (I like to buy a disposable one with a lid). Melt butter over low heat in medium saucepan. Add brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Turn heat up to medium and stir with wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Set timer for 5 minutes and boil without stirring. Remove from heat and quickly add vanilla and baking soda. Stir well—mixture will turn a lighter color and start foaming. Pour over popcorn and toss well. Bake @ 250 for 1 hour—stir every 15 minutes. Pour out onto wax paper and spread to cool. Store in airtight container.

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Coastal Birthday + New Way of Doing Coffee

My birthday happened to fall on a Friday this year (woot!) which is my husband’s day off. For the majority of the summer he has taken almost no days off, so actually having a day off to spend together ON my birthday was pretty much amazing. Numerically speaking, this birthday was one of those not-so-cool ones. 29. Not a cool quarter century like 25. But not the big 3-0 yet, which will involve something super spectacular I’m sure (candid hint). Just 29. I honestly don’t feel a day over 25 and many people mistaken me for a 20-year old (until they see me toting my baby around). I’ll take it! As much as I’d love to believe I’ll be in my 20s forever, 30 is just around the corner and I’m going to have to just embrace it.

I opened my birthday gift from Daniel first thing after waking up. He purchased me something I’ve had on my Amazon wish list for quite some time – an AeroPress coffee and espresso maker (grammar/spelling nerd note: Espresso is spelled with an S not an X. Please pronounce it accordingly).🙂 A close friend has been raving about hers for quite some time and sent me info and tutorials about it months ago. I was very interested in it, but I wasn’t sure if I should commit to a standard french press or this new-fangled AeroPress thing. Aside from the fact that it’s the most highly rated french press on Amazon, what won me over was this article that Lyndsay Gugger posted on her drop-dead gorgeous blog. I’ve never made a better cup of coffee at home! Even my husband (who is a staunch non-coffee-drinker) asked me to make him a cup yesterday and he liked it. Shock of all shocks. I have been wanting to upgrade my coffee game for a while and this was a perfect and inexpensive way to do so. It’s very quick and easy and oh so delicious. You’ll find one here on Amazon.

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The temps yesterday were predicted to reach 108 DEGREES here at home, so Daniel decided we should head out of town for the day to escape. Great plan. I think it ended up reaching about 104, so not as hot as they said, but still. Hot is hot. We headed to the coast at about 10:00 after stopping at Starbucks to grab my free birthday drink. I love love love coffee but I always gravitate toward a chai tea latte at Sbux. I even got it hot (gasp!) because I just love a hot drink in the morning no matter the weather. I even shared a few sips with hubby (how kind of me).

We only live one hour from the coast. I have been probably six or seven times over the last six years, but that doesn’t seem like enough when we live so close! The weather out there can be a little hit and miss depending on the time of year. We’ve gone plenty of times when it’s cold, windy, and foggy. Not ideal because you can’t even see the ocean in weather like that.

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But yesterday we hit the jackpot as far as weather was concerned. My husband has lived in Oregon is entire life (31 years) and has never seen the coast as gorgeous and warm as it was yesterday. It was 80-ish, sunny, breezy, and perfectly clear. We first stopped for lunch in Florence at a famous Oregon coast restaurant called Mo’s. It boasts of amazing seafood and a water view. I had a bowl of their famous clam chowder, Daniel ate a huge plate of cod + fixings, and we ordered a kid’s meal for Kya for the very first time. Mac n cheese and applesauce. Every toddler’s dream. She also enjoyed the crayons and coloring page while we waited. What a big girl!

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 Even in warm weather, the PNW water is very cold so it’s not like we could swim or anything (though there were craaaaazy people doing it yesterday)! But sitting on a beach blanket taking in the sights and sounds with my little family was just perfect. Kya was very apprehensive about the sand. We tried to coax her off the blanket but she was most content to sit and play on the blanket. We walked down to the water a couple of times so she could see, hear, and feel what the ocean is all about. We stayed for about an hour then drove back into Florence and I poked my head in a few antique shops before we grabbed a bowl of cherry ice cream from BJ’s and headed home.

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We ended our day together with an early bedtime for baby, my favorite homemade pizza, and a romantic comedy. Perfect and simple and a birthday I’ll always remember.

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Three Boys + Baby Brother

I’m a little late getting this post up (my excuse is packing/moving).🙂 This family is so full of energy! I loved capturing these little boys and their distinct personalities. Mom and dad have such an obvious love for each other and for their kids. They welcomed a new little addition this spring and it was exciting to see him already smiling so big for the camera! Grandma joined the shoot and made it even more fun!

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A Golden Evening

I had the chance to photograph this beautiful family over the weekend! As you can see, I’m posting a lot of photoshoots these days. I’m thankful for each opportunity! I absolutely loved the outfits this mama chose for her family. Perfection! I am in love with the golden light that a 7:00 evening summer shoot allows. Couldn’t have been prettier!

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Fun-Loving Family

I had the chance to capture this dear family a couple weekends ago at a local park. They have become some of our best friends over the last several years. We’re going to miss them dearly! We’ve already cried about it.😦 They are all a bunch of goofballs and SO much fun to be around!

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Evening at the Ponds

This family is one of the sweetest around! This is my third time doing a photo session for them and it was more fun than ever! Their toddler is such a sweetheart and has the most adorable smile. She said “cheeeeeeese” every time she smiled for a photo! They’re expecting another baby girl this fall! These are my favorites from the shoot (though it’s really hard to choose favorites)!

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Sharpy Family

I had such a fun time photographing this sweet family over the weekend! They have become dear friends to us over the last few years. They moved in next door and I quickly realized what amazing neighbors they would be! Traci and I ended up pregnant at the same time (due about three weeks apart) and we commiserated over all the joys, sickness, pains, and cravings that pregnancy brought to us. She gave birth to her third son 13 days before I had Kya. I remember photographing her newborn son while I was 38.5 weeks pregnant and days away from giving birth! What a workout!🙂

A while back they actually moved directly across the street to a bigger home when their 3rd son arrived and I was SO glad to keep them as neighbors! I’m pretty sure she was a LIFELINE to me during my first year with Kya. I knew I could text her at any hour of the day for advice or tips or just for empathy. We chatted when life got hard and we needed listening ears. We enjoyed many play dates and late afternoon time with our kids on our quiet dead-end street. We even snuck out a few nights to Target and/or Starbucks when we needed some mom time. They’re the type of neighbors that you share things with, borrow things from, and take all your extra baked goods to. That happened more times than I can count! YUM!

After announcing that we were moving to SLC, they told us that they were buying a house across town and would be moving as well! I was sad but I’m glad the timing worked out like it has. It’s been so different not having them across the street! We miss them tons but I’m glad we’re still in the same city for at least a bit longer. They’re one of the sweetest families I know and I’m so thankful that God let us be neighbors. He knew exactly what He was doing (of course).🙂

Here are a few favorites from the shoot on Saturday. What a joy it was to capture their adorable and funny personalities!

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