Wednesday, November 30

Homemade Onion Dip

recipe from

Work is seriously trying to kick my butt this week. This is definitely one of those days I am glad to have a backlog of recipes waiting to be blogged. 

Creamy sweet onion dip. Yum! Chips, crackers or fresh veggies all would work well with this too. 

2 Tbls. olive oil
1 1/2 cups diced onions
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups sour cream
3/4 cups mayonnaise
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
 1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce

In a saute pan over medium heat, add oil. Heat and add onions and salt. Cook the onions until they are caramelized (average 20 minutes, onions should be soft, caramel in color and sweet to the taste). 

Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a small bowl and then add the cooled onions.

Refrigerate until chilled. Stir before serving.   

Tuesday, November 29

Souperior Meat Loaf

Meatloaf. You probably either love it or hate it. Around here, we love it. Well, the original concept anyway.

I can't even tell you the number of meatloaf recipes I have tried over the years. Tried them all I think! Looking for an actual meatloaf recipe, not salsa meatloaf, not hummus and beans meatloaf, not barbecue meatloaf, just plain ole basic meatloaf. Many of the recipes I tried were tomato or milk based and honestly, we found them quite disappointing and somewhat "mushy" in texture.

Being the Pinterest fanatic that I am, I am amazed at all the foodies of the world trying to outdo each other with their so called gourmet recipes. Do people really eat those odd concoctions? Is this the new "in" thing? 

That said, I finally found a real meatloaf recipe that we absolutely LOVE. I make two loaves so we can have leftovers and they are still gone in record time. 

Where did I find this? On the back of the box for Lipton Onion Recipe Secrets (dry packets). Yep, sure did and not ashamed to say it.

Tastes like meatloaf with a great texture and a ton of flavor. Quick and easy too and who doesn't like that? 

1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup Mix
2 lbs. ground beef
3/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
2 eggs
3/4 cups water
1/3 cup ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl.

Transfer mixture to bread pan or shape on 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

Bake uncovered for 1 hour or until done. Let stand 10 minutes. 

Monday, November 28

Caramel Filled Chocolate Cookies

Good morning, friends! Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. Mondays come around again so quickly, don't they?

Well, here is a recipe for some ooey gooey, completely decadent cookies to help get you through the week. Chocolate has a way of making any day that much better. Now add some caramel to that equation...

These cookies are so soft and chewy. Don't let the extra steps involved keep you from making them; the effort is well worth the finished result!

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbls. white sugar
48 chocolate covered caramels (Rolos, Riesens, etc.)

Beat butter until creamy. Gradually beat in the 1 cup white sugar and brown sugars. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Combine flour, baking soda, cocoa powder and salt in separate bowl. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture, beating well.

Cover and chill for a minimum of 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Put 1 Tbls. of sugar (or more as you need it) into a small bowl. Divide dough into four equal portions. Work with one part at a time, chilling the remainder until use. Now divide that portion into another 12 portions. Quickly press each piece of dough around chocolate covered caramel. Roll into a ball and dip the tops into the sugar. 

Place sugar side up, 2 inches apart on greased baking sheet. Bake for around 8 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes out of oven before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle with caramel or sprinkle with tops with extra sugar.

Store in an air tight container for up to 5 days.

I realize the colors are a bit off in these two photos and am working on better indoor lighting for my photos.

Saturday, November 26

My Love Affair with Nature

Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

Any amount of time spent here on my blog and you easily see how much I enjoy nature and the outdoors. I have always been more comfortable in an isolated forest full of wonders than a room full of people. I have lived in large cities and while I do enjoy all they offer, I am truly a country girl at heart. 

I would much rather witness, enjoy and capture the weather than talk about it. 

I have always thought bees to be amazing little creatures. I have so many photos of them from this summer. They are very photogenic and tolerant of me, thankfully. This photo was taken on one of Spencer and my walks to the school playground. 

Hope you are all having a great weekend!

*note: I have removed the photo slideshow on my sidebar and hope my site loads faster now. Let me know if you notice an improvement or not. Thanks!

I linked up with Camera Critters.

Friday, November 25

Homemade Peanut Butter Dog Treats ~ Christmas Gift Idea

 recipe from

If your dog is anything like our pug, then you know how fast they can go through dog treats. Garbage disposal comes to mind... We like to reward Dexter for being a good boy or for just being his silly self and making us laugh when he tries some new stunt and fails miserably. 

I got the idea to make him some homemade treats after I saw how fast he demolished any store bought treat. This can get quite expensive and the thought of a healthy option for our garbage disposal sounded like a good idea too. 

These treats are so easy to make. They would be a great gift too for the fur babies in your life. Around here, even silly pugs get Christmas stockings.

Great activity for the kids to help out with too! They will feel proud making their own Christmas gifts and there is nothing better than spending more time with Spencer helping in the kitchen for me.

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbls. baking powder
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup peanut butter (smooth only, please)
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, add flour, baking powder and oatmeal. Mix well. Add peanut butter and milk. Stir  until dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, knead it and then roll it out until it's about 1/4 of an inch thick. Break out your cute dog bone cookies cutters or a pizza cutter and cut the dough into desired shape and size. 

My cute helper

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. 

Cool before spoiling your fur baby. 

Store in an airtight container or reusable freezer bag. Amount made from recipe depends on the size of your cookie cutters. I used standard size cutters and made about 24.

Dexter approved!

Wednesday, November 23

Happy Thanksgiving, My Friends!

Hello! I have been staying away from the recipes this week as I think many of us are focusing on our Thanksgiving meals and the last thing we need to look at is another recipe for pumpkin. I will be posting them in full force at the end of the week again with Christmas in mind too. 

Wishing all of you who celebrate, a wonderful Thanksgiving full of laughter and great food! I leave you with Dexter. I think he has been getting into the leftover Halloween candy. He is such a spaz. His lip is malfunctioning and are those crumbs on his whiskers? He will gladly come help clean up any leftovers. 

Be safe and have fun!

The pug is living proof that God has a sense of humor. ~Margo Kaufman

Tuesday, November 22

What are You Thankful For?

Thanksgiving is almost here and many of you are probably tired of hearing about it already. To some it's all about the food, other's about the family getting together and the feelings that only family and close friends can bring. To some it means nothing at all. 

I love all holidays that we celebrate here in the U.S. Each one has their own meaning and tradition to my family and I. Many have been commercialized and you know what, I go right along with that to. As long as I remember what the holiday is really for, I see no harm in it.

I am thankful for so many things this year. Little things like Spencer's laughter and John's smile. Big things like my new job (that I LOVE) and new friends who make my heart smile. Totally vain things like the Homemade Girl Scout cookies I just made that totally rock. I am also thankful for my followers and those of you who are so good to me through your comments and inspiration. Thank you all so very much.

What are you thankful for even if you don't celebrate Thanksgiving? Have you stopped and thought about it today?

I linked up with my3boybarians.

Monday, November 21

There are Two People in Every Picture

There are two people in every picture, the photographer and the viewer. ~Ansel Adams

Isn't this the truth? Every person taking a photo, takes that photo because something has captured their interest, be it a simple leaf or their child's smile. Memories are captured every second of every day, to look back upon in remembrance of that moment. However, what interests you and what interests me may be two totally different things. I love that about the human spirit, it's what makes this world go round. Diversity.

With that said, I do pity the poor person who never takes that step to find all the beauty around them. It's everywhere if you look around, in the simplest of things.

I linked up with Lisa's Chaos.

Saturday, November 19

The Best Shots are Generally Attempted Through the Lens Cap

My title is a quote I found online and can't help but relate to. Please tell me I am not the only one who does this? I can't tell you how many times on an average day I pick up my camera and in my excitement to get that "moment" forget to take off my lens cap. Sigh.

This is a Hover Fly and was one of my first photos taken this summer. 

I linked up with Camera Critters

Friday, November 18

Walk Away Baked Spaghetti

recipe from

Another recipe success from my idol Paula. Spaghetti has always been one of my favorites to fall back on when dinner ideas escape me. I think it was one of the first dishes I learned to make on my own way back in the day. I haven't really done any experimenting with a new recipe as I love my own as it is. I usually make my own meatballs too.

Since Paula hasn't disappointed me yet, I tried this from her website. I have not made baked spaghetti before but I can guarantee I will be making it again. Delish! Super easy too, although with something this good, you could never tell.

1 lb. browned and seasoned beef
3/4 lb. spaghetti, cooked
1 jar (approx. 15 oz.) of your favorite pasta sauce (I used Preggo Tomato and Basil)
2 cups mozzarella cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown and season beef. Drain

Prepare spaghetti according to package directions.

In a large saucepan, simmer browned meat and pasta sauce together. Toss the cooked noodles into the sauce.

To assemble: Spray a casserole dish with non stick cooking spray. Spoon half of the noodle mixture into the dish. Pack it down lightly and add half of the mozzarella cheese. Add remaining noodle mixture and pack down lightly again. Top with remaining mozzarella. 

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly. 

Thursday, November 17

Chili Cheese Crockpot Dip

I love the convenience of crockpot dips. Throw a few ingredients in the crockpot, turn on low and stir. What's not to love? John and I spend many nights after Spencer has gone to bed on our computers, side by side, sharing some sort of snack. On nights where we have had a lighter dinner, a dip like this is one of our favorites.

2 (8 oz.) cream cheese
2 (15 oz.) cans of chili, (with/without beans)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I use medium cheddar)
cayenne pepper
salt and pepper
tortilla chips

Layer cream cheese and chili in crockpot. Turn on low. Depending on whether or not you have softened your cream cheese, warm 1 to 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. When cream cheese and chili are at least half melted/warmed together, add shredded cheese again stirring occasionally. Add cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to your taste, spicing it up or keeping it more mild.

When all ingredients are mixed and warmed thoroughly, serve with chips.

Great for get togethers or game day too. This can be left on low in the crockpot most of the day, just make sure to keep the cover on and to stir it occasionally. Can also reheat it in the crockpot on low, stovetop or in the microwave.

Wednesday, November 16

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

Most of my recipes are based off of getting the right texture. I have an aversion it seems to certain textures. For instance, sushi, oysters, and soups are out for me. Also dishes that require gravy toppings and cream pies for the most part. Just can't handle their textures. At all. May be the same reason I like all meats well done. If I order a burger or steak in a restaurant, I don't want to see any red whatsover. I also don't want charcoal on a plate and many restaurants can't distinguish between the two, so I rarely order beef when out. 

The only steak have touched for the last several years has been the ones John grills for me. You want to have the best steak of your life, come over here and I'll have him grill you a New York Strip with his secret grilling marinade and you probably won't leave. 

These bars appeal to these texture issues I have. The drier oatmeal base with the soft fudge center is really a great combo.

1 cup butter softened
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 cups quick cooking oats
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt

2 Tbls. vanilla extract, divided
1 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
3 Tbls. butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or spray 9 x 13 inch baking dish.

In large bowl, beat together 1 cup butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Mix in eggs and 1 tsp. vanilla. In another bowl, combine oats, flour, baking soda and 1 tsp. salt; stir into butter mixture. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, 3 Tbls. butter and 1/2 tsp. salt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in almonds and 1 tsp. vanilla.

Pat 2/3 of the oat mixture into the bottom of prepared pan. Spread chocolate mixture evenly over the top and dot with remaining oat mixture. (leaving some of the chocolate mixture exposed in places)

Bake for 30 - 35 minutes in preheated oven. Do not overbake! Let cool on wire rack, then cut into bars.

Tuesday, November 15

Windmills & Weather

I took this photo at a beautiful hidden little park/recreation area my best friend introduced me to early this fall. I have lived here for over 8 years and didn't know it existed until a few months ago. I have since spent some time here as it's full of photo opportunities along with a well maintained walking path through the woods. Spencer, John and I have spent a few afternoons here and I loved the quality family time.

I only wish we had known about it earlier in the year as the weather here in Wisconsin is gloomy as heck. Cold, windy, rainy, snowy and while the sun comes out it does little to warm the soul. I rarely discuss the weather because I can't change it and frankly often times find the topic boring but as the winter months are yet to come with their fierce cold, ice and snow, I am mourning a little like I do each year at this time. Mourning the sunshine that makes me so happy and cheers up the world. Mourning the walks Spencer and I talk and the precious time I get to spend with my sweet boy away from the rest of the world. And vainly mourning my sun-kissed tan that has already faded...

Anyone else just dread the winter months like I do?

I linked up with Sweet Shot Tuesday.

Monday, November 14

Macro Monday ~ Sweet William Flower

Another weekend has come and gone. We had a busy weekend to say the least. 

First the best news ever! Spencer had his 6 month cancer check-up and he is CLEAR again!!! Thank God. He has those angels watching over make it even better, his oncologist no longer thinks 6 month tests are needed and he has graduated to yearly tests. This is one happy momma! Spencer was brave and the best boy through it all. He really is one in a million as far as sons go!

We also celebrated my friend Carolyn's daughter ,A's, 8th birthday on Saturday.

Last night my best friend and her family had us over for the best stir fry I have ever had in my life. Venison stir fry. John and I ate so much we could barely move. When done right, venison is one of my favorite foods. 

The photos above are also from my best friend's flower garden. Sweet Williams. I find them to be very photogenic little flowers.

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday!

I linked up with Lisa's Chaos.

Saturday, November 12

Thanksgiving Tepee Cupcakes

 recipe from

Aren't these just so darn cute?! I love creative people. I love it even better when creative people are willing to share their "how tos" for the rest of us to try! These were so much fun and the whole family helped, giving us some quality time together in the kitchen. 

I'll get right down to the good stuff!

1 cake mix, flavor of your choice
sugar cones
pretzel rods
handful of chocolate chips
disposable aluminum baking pan

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix cake mix according to package instructions.

Turn disposable baking pan upside down and poke with small holes. (use something small and round if you can compared to horizontal slits in the pan. This will help keep the cones upright while baking) Fill sugar cones 2/3 full and stand them in the holes made in the pan.

*Keep an eye on them to make sure they don't topple over while baking. You WILL have to reach in your oven and stand most of them back up as they are baking. Please be careful not to burn yourself!

Bake on lowest rack in oven for about 10 - 12 minutes or until batter springs back lightly when touched. Remove from oven and immediately snip off the bottom of the sugar cone - the pointed end- (which will now become the top of your tepee). You must do this immediately while the cone is warm and soft or it will break into pieces.

You can also snip off the end of the cupcake too if it is too rounded (to ensure your tepee stands up straight).

Take 3 pretzel rods and stick them on the top of your tepee. Melt a handful of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir until smooth. Dip the bottom of your tepee in the chocolate. This seals the bottom of the cupcake in and also gives you your frosting.  Then roll it in green sprinkles (for grass).    

Lastly, take a little melted chocolate and pipe it around the pretzels to hold them in place.

Daddy helping Spencer dip his tepee in the chocolate.

Sprinkle time!

 I used some scrapbooking supplies to decorate some marshmallows for my Pilgrims and Indians. Our friend "Nicole" (far left) stopped by our village.

Friday, November 11

Wild Grapes ~ Photo Friday

Happy Friday, my friends! I can't say thank you enough to everyone who gave me feedback on a new name for my watermark. I had so many responses via Twitter, Facebook, here and through messages. You are all so good to me and I appreciate each one of you!

Here is what I am thinking? (see above photo) Sheri Lee was overwhelmingly chosen. I like the simple clean font (called Champagne and Limousines) along with the fade. My OCD kicks in a little and I want to capitalize everything but the flow is so much better with all small letters. Thoughts? 

I linked up with Photo Friday's theme, One. This is a wild grape cluster with one grape ripening well before the others. 

Thursday, November 10

The Cook's Perfect Chili Recipe

adapted from

Over the past few months I have had the wonderful honor of getting to know Nicole from The Daily Dish. Nicole is amazing, just amazing. She is not only a mother, wife, author and foodie (secret superpowers too, I suspect) but has become a true friend of mine. One I look forward to talking to every day, one I can confide in and one who makes me laugh and smile without even trying. She brightens my days and makes me ask "How did I get so lucky?" 

On top of all this is the fact that she can take any recipe, common or otherwise and give it that extra ingredient or two and make it spectacular to your taste buds. I have tried many of her recipes (they are posted on here) and never once were they anything short of delicious! So when she posted her perfect chili recipe, I was thrilled. 

You see I have tried countless chili recipes over the years trying to find that one perfect combination that would persuade John that chili does NOT contain noodles. Right? Right. He loves all the recipes I have made from The Daily Dish; it couldn't hurt to try this one...

I served this having already tested it for myself and knew it to be the best chili ever. When John took his first bite, he kind of looked at me in surprise. Then he said, "Honey, you can make this anytime." We had leftovers the next night and the big pot of chili was really is that good.

Thanks to Nicole for yet another success in my kitchen! I love this girl.

My friends, you really need to make this. You can find Nicole's original here

2 lbs. ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 cans light kidney beans (1 drained, 1 not)
1 can Rotel
3 - 16 oz cans tomato sauce
3 Tbls. chili powder
2 garlic cloves, crushed or pressed
salt and pepper to taste

In a skillet brown ground beef with onion and green pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Drain meat and set aside. 

In a large stock pot, place ground beef mixture. Add kidney beans, Rotel, tomato sauce, chili powder and garlic. Cook on medium heat for minimum of 1 hour to maximum of 3 hours. Stir occasionally. 

Nicole suggested to let it cook a couple of hours to seal the flavor in better. I left mine on almost a full 3 hours and it was perfect. We also topped ours with a little grated medium cheddar cheese. 

Wednesday, November 9

Sage and Garlic Pan Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Fingerling potatoes bring back pleasant childhood memories for me. I remember waiting for my Aunt Mattie to bring us them in the summer. My mom would boil the potatoes with us kids drowning them in butter and salt. Fingerlings have their own wonderful distinct flavor. Don't let their small size fool you.

I rarely find them in my local grocery stores anymore and was delighted to find a few bags to bring home a couple of weeks ago. I tried something new with them and while the kid in me still prefers my mom's way of making them, this recipe is great too.

12 - 15 Fingerling potatoes, scrubbed clean
2 Tbls. olive oil
1 Tbls. sage
1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
salt and pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until tender (8 - 10 minutes). Remove from heat, drain and cool under running water.

Cut potatoes in half, lengthwise. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Place potatoes, cut side down, and cook until lightly crisp ( under 5 minutes). Turn potatoes and season with sage and garlic. Cook an additional 4 - 5 minutes or until crispy on second side also. 

Toss to distribute spices evenly. Add additional salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8

Like Giving Your Opinion? Good, I Need It!

Hello friends! I rarely post two blog posts in one day, but I could really use some feedback from all my friends out there.

I am working on some changes around here that I am pretty excited about. First I will be opening up my own online store/shop for my photography. I have been receiving some great advice and encouragement from friends online and offline that I should consider calendars, cards and individual photo downloads as they would like to purchase some! This is a big deal to me that my passion for photography means something to others too. I am flattered and so grateful! This might take me a bit as I have to label, categorize and upload all my images for display. I only started last night...I have at least a couple of hundred unedited photos, besides what I have posted here, waiting for me to get to also. So fun but time consuming.

With that said, I want to change my "name". Not my blog name but my watermark image name. Me and My Tadpole Photography is not only a long name but too cutesy for me. John has mentioned more than once that I should reconsider this name and he is right. Most people use their partial or full name. I have never really liked my name all that much. My slightly evil parents named me after Sheri Lee Lewis; I am only glad that they weren't more evil and named me Lamb Chop! Here are my thoughts so far but feel free to offer any suggestions, please!

Sheri Lee Photography 
Sheri Nolan Photography (my maiden name)
Spencer Photography (after my sweet boy)
Spencer Lee Photography (yes, we both have the same middle name)
Photography by Sheri Lee

So please give me input on any of the above. Have/do you manage an online store similar to what I am working on? Any advice or tips you want to share? As a consumer, what interests you? Turns you off?

Share this with your spouse, mom, dad, grandma and friends to get their opinions too. Much appreciated. Without all of you, I would just be talking to myself...

I'll leave you with this and know some of you will appreciate it. This comes from my newest online fascination, um addiction, Pinterest.

BBQ Burgers ~ Mouth Watering!

recipe from

I know I proclaim my great likes and dislikes when I post recipes and it may seem that I have a lot. I do actually, to be a foodie I think it only goes with the territory, right? 

If you were to ask me what my favorite main meal would be, it would be a toss up between cheeseburgers or shrimp. Funny how they are from opposite ends of the spectrum but I rarely pass up either no matter the time or place. 

I like my cheeseburgers more on the traditional side. No extra ingredients so they end up tasting like meatloaf or meatballs. I really don't remember what made me try this recipe a few weeks ago but I am so glad I did.

A few extras added to some ground beef, shaped into patties and I am in cheeseburger heaven! I cannot believe how tasty these were. Don't take my word for it, give them a try!

1 lb. ground chuck
1 egg
2 Tbls. BBQ sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
bacon strips, cooked
cheddar cheese
extra BBQ sauce

In a mixing bowl, combine the hamburger, eggs and 2 Tbls. BBQ sauce. Use your hands or wooden spoon to mix thoroughly. Divide meat into 3 equal portions and gently form them into patties. Grill or pan fry to desired doneness. 

Top burgers with cheese, bacon and extra BBQ sauce. 

See that massive glob of dripping cheese up there? Back away from it, it's mine!

Monday, November 7

Macro Monday ~ Dandelion Seed Head

My friend Carolyn really liked my last photo of a dandelion seed head that I posted here. I love feedback! So I went to find some more. I am very happy with this capture, even with all the background noise. I am looking forward to taking shots like this with my DSLR, however, as then I will be able to really work on my background and foreground more distinctly. Still I could never ever complain at what my little point and shoot has given me. 

Is it really Monday, again? Already?

I linked up with Lisa's Chaos.

Sunday, November 6

Camera Critters ~ Meet Mrs. Frog

If you remember this post , I have snakes living under my deck. EEK! Luckily for me, I didn't know that the night Mrs. Frog paid a visit. If you have been following my blog for any amount of time, you know how much I love frogs. One of my favorite things in all the world. The night in the above mentioned post, I was sitting still as could be waiting for moths to land near so I could photograph them. Good things come to those who wait...

I am not afraid of the dark or being out in it by myself. In fact, I often find it peaceful. Yet I couldn't help but wonder as I sat their in complete silence other than the beating of many moth's wings, what that somewhat loud thump was to my left. I waited a moment and when no other "thumps" came, I turned and snapped a photo in the dark. My review screened showed not a only a frog but a fairly large one at that! I think she might have eaten a few neighborhood cats before stopping by my deck for some moths. Good froggy.

She is a green frog, which are very common in central Wisconsin. She is also one of the largest ones I have seen. Very healthy and bold too! 

I linked up with Camera Critters.

Saturday, November 5

Beer Cheese Dip

 recipe from

We don't watch any type of sports here. At all. Just not our thing but we will gladly partake in all the "game" day appetizers rolling around the net, especially any sort of dip. 

I have to admit, I found this dip very tart. It may be because I ,um, don't like beer? It doesn't taste like beer, yet that may be the factor in why it is so tart and not to my liking. 

I found this recipe on Pinterest, along with rave reviews so I thought that even though it isn't to my taste, it may be to yours?

If you do make it or already have, I would appreciate your feedback on it.

2 - 8 oz. packages cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup beer
1 envelope Ranch Dressing mix
2 cups shredded cheddar mix

Beat cream cheese, beer and ranch dressing until well blended with hand mixer. Stir in cheddar cheese by hand. Chill and serve with pretzels, chips or veggies.

*if dip is too thick, add a little beer to thin it down

Friday, November 4

Wisconsin Autumn Sunrise

I think one of the most overlooked areas in photography may be the sky. It could be that due to the vastness of the subject, most captures rarely pick up what the eye is actually seeing and the photos fail to show the depth of the clouds or the amazingly vibrant colors tend to be flat. 

The sky, just like the weather, here in Wisconsin changes often. Clear blue skies can change to dark clouds in a matter of minutes and then change back as if it never happened. To be honest, I found this a great challenge. At first I was so frustrated, trying to capture color, depth and clarity of what was an amazing sky. My eyes saw so much, my camera processed so little.

After many many many attempts to find the settings I needed, I was finally rewarded with some results. You'd be surprised what a good point and shoot can do once it's user learns a few things. I used my Canon point and shoot for these, not my DSLR.

 I changed my white balance setting to Tungsten (which I rarely use). I disabled my flash and set my ISO at about 800 (to let more natural light into my camera). I also used Landscape focus mode in my manual program settings. That is why the background is more clear (farther away) than the tree branches (closer). 

 Again white balance set to Tungsten, flashed disabled, ISO changed to 600 and Macro focus settings used. Nothing here is really in great focus, color is a little more skewed. Depth is still here but in a much softer way.

Lastly, white balance setting changed to Vivid, flash enabled, ISO 400 and Manual focus used. Everything but the sky is more detailed, colors fairly accurate too.

I did not use zoom on these. I find when taking more of a landscape, sky shot it rarely picks up depth and most often really skews colors.

Maybe some of these tips will help you? I hope so! These settings will also work with a DSLR and most lenses. 

I can't choose a favorite, I like them all for different reasons. What's yours?

Oh and Happy Friday! Thanks so much for stopping by!

I linked up with Skywatch Friday.