She Has An Eye For It

While visiting friends a couple years ago, Rue picked up my former preschool student’s SLR camera (my former student was 19 by then and Rue was 10).  After a few pointers, Rue began to move around the group taking photos.

When we looked at them later we all were taken by the quality of the photos, the composition, the angle, and the way she captured interesting moments.  You could immediately see that she had that “eye” for photography.

That Christmas we gave her what we thought was a high-end camera for a 10 year old, a Nikon point and shoot.

The thrill of having her own really nice camera lasted about 6 months and then she began to pine for a camera with more options and a greater lens range.  I could have easily gone to, “ungrateful child!”, and maybe I did just a little, and yet she made a good case that she had a vision she wasn’t able to fulfill with a point and click.

Christmas came around again, and though we couldn’t believe we were doing it, we did what felt right.  We gave her the camera she was dreaming about, a Canon T3i.   It’s a serious camera for a child.  Yet what she can do with it amazes me daily.  I know I’ll never regret this investment.

And now photography has morphed from an interest into a real passion for her.   She loves the process, she spends enormous amounts of time creating the perfect shot, and it’s a great outlet for her creative expression.   And that, to me, is the real gift.


A timer + a tripod = happy girl
A timer + a tripod = happy girl



She’s Been Baking

A lot.

Both Gigi and Rue are adept in the kitchen.  Since we’ve been homeschooling, however, Gigi has really, really gotten into baking and cake decorating.

It started with cupcakes.

The layered rainbow cupcake.
The layered rainbow cupcake.













And then it went from there.

A handful of her creations.
A handful of her creations.



















She used boxed cake mix and ready-made frosting in the beginning and watched every episode of Cake Boss on Netflix.  The cake itself was just a canvas, her energy was devoted to the design.

When it came time for my parents’ 50th anniversary party, Gigi wanted to make the cupcakes.  Now it was time to take this to a higher level.  She found recipes at The Cupcake Project:  ultimate vanilla cupcakes, half with chocolate cream cheese frosting and half with vanilla bean buttercream frosting.

Simple and absolutely delicious
Simple and absolutely delicious.
They were finished off with gold sugar crystal sprinkles.

















These recipes were a big jump in complexity from the boxed cake mix (I mean seriously…vanilla infused sugar using vanilla beans)  so we worked on them together. Although Gigi, with her extensive experience, was much more adept than I at piping on the frosting (the funky ones in the pic are mine). These cupcakes are A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.  My dad couldn’t stop taking big spoonfuls of the vanilla bean frosting right out of the mixing bowl.  And the frostings and cupcake together…inspired.

Which in turn inspired Gigi to get creative with the batter, making maple syrup cupcakes with a bacon frosting and most recently champagne cupcakes.

Gigi’s passion continues.  And as far as the scale is concerned, I’m just relieved she combines this passion with her other one and takes most of her creations to the horse barn 😉