The past two weeks, I’ve shared new-to-me recipes that we tried out this year and enjoyed. This one though, is a tried and true favorite from my childhood and my husband’s favorite cookie. You may have seen them called Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies but that’s too much of a mouthful for me, and my mom called them Chocolate Jumbles, so that’s the name I stick with. I can still see the yellowed paper, with chocolate and butter splatters on it; the beautiful handwriting; and Mom’s orange and gold recipe box. I can remember the smell of chocolate and peanut butter cookie on the stove, and how hard it was waiting for them to cool enough eat. We’d impatiently test them, still hot, and they’d fall apart as we tried to pick up the still-molten chocolate from sheets of waxed paper. So, when my oldest son insisted on making “Daddy’s favorite cookie” I was definitely game. He insisted on making “chocolate bars” so they looked a bit less appetizing than the typical spoonfuls dropped onto waxed paper, but they still taste every bit as good as I remember.

And here’s what happens when kids the hear that Mom is attempting to photograph cookies. The cookies disappear.

Chocolate Jumble Cookies


Chocolate Jumbles (aka Chocolate-Peanut Butter-Oatmeal No-Bake Cookies.)

1 Stick Butter

1/2 Cup Milk

2 Cups Sugar

4 Tablespoons Cocoa Powder

1/2 Cup Peanut Butter

2 teaspoons Vanilla

3 Cups Quick-Cooking Oatmeal


In a medium saucepan, melt butter and add milk, sugar, and cocoa powder.

Bring to a boil and add peanut butter.

Remove from heat and mix in vanilla and oatmeal.

Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper or parchment paper and let cool.


Yep, that’s it. Quick, easy, and delicious. Good luck waiting for them to cool off before you attempt to eat them.

Making Cookies with Kids


5 Simple Ways to ROCK Your iPhone Photos



Want to learn to take better photos of your everyday life? Grab my free guide 5 Simple Ways to ROCK Your iPhone Photos and learn some simple tricks that will get you big results.

Click on the image to the right to get it delivered straight to your inbox.



I can remember eating these peanut butter cookies with a Hershey’s Kiss in the middle at all sorts of events when I was a kid. Potlucks were the typical method of socializing in the circles that my family traveled and people brought all sorts of goodies. No one worried about food allergies back then; I don’t know if they were more rare or if the world was just less accommodating. If you happen to have a peanut allergy concern, swap the peanut butter cookie dough for the sugar cookie dough that I shared last week, and enjoy them that way. They’ll still be delicious and more allergen friendly.

Despite having eaten dozens of these peanut butter cookies during my childhood, I’d never actually made them myself. We baked lots of cookies when I was a kid, but these were never in the recipe box. So, when my four-year-old decided that he wanted to make these particular peanut butter cookies, I had to find a recipe. That turned out to be quite easy. I bought a bag of Hershey’s Kisses and the recipe was on the bag. Easy peasy. I’ll share it here for your convenience or just in case your bag of Kisses doesn’t end up having the recipe printed on the back.

Peanut Butter Kisses | Chapel Hill Family Photographer


Peanut Butter Kisses a.k.a. Peanut Butter Blossoms


48 Hershey’s Kisses

1/2 Cup Butter

3/4 Cup Peanut Butter

1/3 Cup Sugar

1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar

1 Egg

2 Tablespoons Milk

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Extra Sugar to roll cookies in before baking.

Set your kids to work opening the Kisses (mine had way more self-control than I would have) while you preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Beat butter and peanut butter together until smooth and well blended. Add in both sugars and beat until fluffy. Beat in milk, egg, and vanilla.

In another bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to the peanut butter mixture, combining well in between additions.

Roll into walnut-sized balls. Roll in sugar and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. While their still hot, push a Kiss into the center of each cookie. Be careful not to overcook, because the cookies crack a lot more as you push in the Kisses and they’ll start to fall apart as they cool. Still tasty, just lots more crumbs.


5 Simple Ways to ROCK Your iPhone Photos



Want to learn to take better photos of your everyday life? Grab my free guide 5 Simple Ways to ROCK Your iPhone Photos and learn some simple tricks that will get you big results.

Click on the image to the right to get it delivered straight to your inbox.



Kind old man Saint Nicholas dear,

Come into our house this year.

Here’s some straw,

And here’s some hay,

For your little donkey, grey.

Saint Nicholas Day is a festival more commonly observed in Europe than here in the United States. It wasn’t until my kids began attending Waldorf preschool that I’d ever heard of it as it’s own holiday. On the evening of December 5th, children set out their shoes before bed and wake to a treat from Saint Nicholas in the morning. In exchange they leave cookies for Saint Nicholas and a treat for the donkey that he rides through town to visit all of the children. If any of this sounding familiar, you know that many of the Saint Nicholas traditions have been absorbed into American Christmas celebrations. I’m a fan of anything that extends the magic of the holiday season so when my kids wake up Tuesday morning, they’ll find golden chocolate coins and a clementine in their shoes.

I’m also a fan of cookies. I don’t really love sugar cookies. but my daughter insists on sugar cookies for Saint Nicholas so I’ve searched high and low for a delicious, chewy, sugar cookie that doesn’t taste like sugar-coated cardboard. This year’s recipe is a winner. In fact, I’m hoping that there actually are some left to leave out on Monday night. I found this recipe on AllRecipes and it definitely delivers.

Chewy Sugar Cookies RecipeChewy Sugar Cookies

2 3/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups butter

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Extra sugar to roll cookies in before baking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In one bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt, and set aside for later.

In  a larger bowl, cream together sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla.

Gradually stir in dry ingredient mixture, a little at a time, until just blended together.

Roll the dough into golf ball sized balls and roll them in sugar.

Place approximately two inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for approximately 8-10 minutes until lightly browned at the edges. Let cool before eating.

*We have a propane oven and it took 15 minutes per batch for our cookies. I know our oven often takes a bit longer than recipes call for when baking, so if you know your oven runs hot or takes longer, adjust your timing as necessary. The very edges should be just turning golden brown when you pull them out of the oven.

 Happy Baking!

Baking Cookies with Kids

I know it’s past Thanksgiving at this point and therefore too late to add our favorite Thanksgiving recipe to your menu but this is a good one that you can most definitely bookmark for next year. Or just make it on a random Tuesday because it’s delicious. And easy. And did I mention delicious? This is the recipe that my kids talk about for weeks before Thanksgiving. You know that one special Thanksgiving recipe that you just can’t have Thanksgiving without? Well, this is theirs, and bonus, it’s the easiest dish on our Thanksgiving menu.

Personally, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year. You’d never know it the other 363 days when I have no clue what to fix for dinner, but I look forward to the two days every year that I spend cooking up a giant feast for my family. Without further ado, here it is; our favorite Thanksgiving recipe.


Cranberry Relish

Cranberry Relish


1 Pound Fresh, Whole Cranberries
1 Large Apple (I prefer Red Delicious for its natural sweetness, but use your favorite, for sure.)
1 Whole Orange
1/2-3/4 Cup Sugar (Adjust according to taste.)


You’ll use the whole fruit, so wash everything really well.
Cut up and core the apple.
Cut the orange into chunks.
Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor or blender. Pulse until relish reaches a nice, even consistency.
Chill until ready to serve.

A note about sugar:

The amount of sugar to add really varies depending upon personal taste. I use less sugar to let some of the natural tartness of the cranberries shine through, but if you like it sweeter, then by all means gradually add sugar until it reaches a sweetness that makes your taste buds happy.


There you have it. The easiest Thanksgiving recipe there is. Next year my daughter will be nine and this is her absolute favorite Thanksgiving recipe. I know she’ll enjoy having the responsibility of being in charge of a portion of our Thanksgiving menu. This recipe is going to be all hers.

If you’re on the VIP email list, you should have just received a special sneak-peak to this year’s (extremely limited) Small Business Saturday special. Not on the list? Sign up here. And, tomorrow begins our cookie-baking extravaganza. Keep your eyes on the blog over the next few weeks for reviews of the various cookie recipes that we bake up this year.

Ever since the first motion pictures were created in the 1890s, even without sound or color, we have fallen in love the experience that comes only from watching a film. There’s a full, rich sensory experience that can’t quite be captured in a single frame.

Once VHS camcorders hit the market in the mid-1970s, home video making took off. We wanted to savor our babies’ first steps; their tiny voices; learning to ride a bike. And suddenly, it became affordable for the middle class to create their own family movies.


Of course, the videos were often shaky and grainy. The sound quality was terrible (especially if you were shooting outdoors) but we didn’t care. We had a piece of our lives that we could relive over, and over, and over again. Today, almost everyone carries a video camera with them everywhere they go. We take 30-second videos on our phones of all sorts of important moments in our lives. They’re still shaky. The sound quality still isn’t great if there’s any sort of background noise. And the film clips tend to stay locked up on our phones and social media accounts where they are all too often simply forgotten about. We may rematch them once a year when Facebook pops up reminders, but otherwise, we tend to simply forget that they exist at all.



How much better would it be to have an actual family short-film. A whole story about your family and what makes you unique. No distracting background noise. Moments thoughtfully captured. Your toddler’s shaky steps. Your two year-old’s adorable mispronunciations. The way your five year-old gets so excited about making a basketball goal. The beautiful capability and self-confidence of your ten year-old as she starts to really feel like a young woman, and not just a little kid. Imagine all of these moments woven together artistically with music, and movement, and voices to create the fabric of your lives in a way that you’ll want to watch over and over and over again.

Don’t just imagine. Watch.

This is a day in my family’s life. Let’s preserve a day in your family’s life.

Drop me a line to learn more about special introductory pricing available for bookings through the end of the year. Your life is beautiful. Family memories are within your reach.