Fueling the Fire

I never meant to LOVE photography. Really, I just stumbled into it. I was taking pictures while in the Smoky Mountains with the Hubs and couldn’t get enough! We literally were wrestling over taking photos.

Then once I saw the results, I was hooked. There is something so awesome about catching a perfect moment and someone else saying, “Whoa,photography-camera-hd-wallpaper1 that is an awesome shot”! That is when I realized just how much I loved snapping pictures.



I was lucky enough to take a photography class in college that still counted toward my degree (just in case someone other than family didn’t think I had the chops). The class has changed my life! Taking pictures in RAW mode, learning about editing, and exploring different light & focus settings has been an adventure.

Once I really started to dig in, I found my niche! I love taking pictures of kids!!!! I have caught some really cool shots and I look at these shots with pride. There has always been a creative side to me that I felt scared and intimidated to explore. This is that outlet for me! Pictures and working with families is an amazing way for to me to use those creative juices.


I have been lucky enough to get TWO chances to be a part of a wonderful wedding day with a THIRD on the way in April. I have been blessed to be a part of a family’s first family portraits. I also have gotten to give amazing photo gifts of moments captured for some of my best friends.


I write this post today, to tell you to EXPLORE! Take a moment to tinker, play, and immerse yourself in a new world. It is never too late to find an amazing passion! Go to National Camera and rent a camera for the day. Check out a local art club like the Lakeville Area Arts Center or Minneapolis Photo Center for classes or people to help you.

Remember, it doesn’t have to be photography. You could paint, try glass blowing, my mom is trying a welding class, or your could try a global cooking class. The point is to get out there and try something!!! What is something you have always wanted to try?



Easy Chicken and Sausage Tortellini


cheesy-sausage-tortellini-1Prep Time: Under 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 25 Minutes

Serves 2-5






2-3 boneless chicken breasts

1/2-1 lbs sausage (kielbasa style), I use a smoked beef sausage but this would be great with a chicken or turkey sausage too

1 package pre-made tortellini, we choose the 4 cheese blend

24-32 oz or 1 jar spaghetti sauce

1 tbsp butter

1 sliced green pepper (optional)

1/2 sliced onions (optional)

Couple dashes of crushed red pepper flakes

1 package Tastefully Simple Mama Mia Marinara Sauce Mix

– or –

1 tsp italian seasoning

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt & Pepper


Heat saute pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add bite size cut pieces of chicken and cook through. Remove from pan and set aside.

Place pan back on heat. Slice sausage in 1/4 inch rounds and place in pan. Heat sausage through and allow some caramelization (brown bits). Dump onto paper towel to remove excess grease.

Place pan back on heat. Add sliced peppers and onions. Saute until just slightly cooked (like 2 minutes). Add sausage and chicken back to the pan. Reduce heat to simmer. Add sauce and seasonings.

Bring water to a boil in separate pot. Cook tortellini according to package. Drain and pour drained pasta into sauce. Mix and serve with parmesan cheese, a side salad, and garlic bread.




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