Beaver Roo Photography: Blog en-us (C) Beaver Roo Photography [email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:07:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:07:00 GMT Beaver Roo Photography: Blog 80 120 Pretzels I love fresh out of the oven pretzels. I mean really who doesn't? But I've never had the desire to make them before until I moved to Australia. (Apparently Aussies only do the hard small ones as my neighbours had never heard of soft baked ones!) I use to go to this amazing German Coffee Shop in Grande Prairie, Alberta called 55a Kaffee. It was one the best things about my mornings, sitting and enjoying a coffee with a fresh pretzel in hand while the snow fell outside. Now that seems like a distant memory because there is nowhere to go for fresh baked pretzels in the Whitsundays! 

Because necessity is the mother of all inventions, I knew that at some point I was going to have to breakdown a bake some. In all honesty I thought it was going to be this big drawn out process that was going to take hours, but truthfully they were super easy to make! The hardest part was getting them into that iconic "pretzel" shape. Lol I had a pretty steep learning curve! My first ones were fat and were more like pretzel buns but by the time I rolled out about six or seven of them I had it figured out. 

This recipe is so buttery and full of deliciousness that if you eat them while they are still hot out of the oven you won't need to add anything! (But you could dip them in a spicy mustard or even chocolate...)

Baked Pretzels


  • 2 cups milk (I used 2%)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp active dry yeast (2 packets)
  • 6 Tbsp packed light-brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, at room temperature
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus an up to an additional 1/2 cup as needed
  • 2 tsp fine salt
  • 1/3 cup baking soda
  • 3 cups warm water
  • coarse salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds to taste


  • Warm the milk on stove top in a small saucepan until the temperature of milk reaches 110F degrees. Then pour milk along with the yeast into a bowl and whisk together until yeast has dissolved, let rest 5 minutes.
  • Add brown sugar, 4 tbsp of softened butter, 1 cup flour and 2 tsp fine sea salt to milk mixture and whisk until blended.
  • Add remaining 3 1/2 cups flour and kneaded mixture until it becomes elastic. 
  • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow dough to rise in warm place until it doubles in size for about 1 hour.
  • Preheat oven to 450F degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper (because you'll have to bake them in at least two batches.)
  • Punch dough down to release any air pockets. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece out into a long, thin rope about 32 - 36 inches long (It sounds crazy but a non-floured to an extremely light floured surface worked best.) 
  • In a shallow bowl, whisk together baking soda and warm water then fully immerse the dough into water mixture and allow excess water to drip off. 
  • Place on the cookie sheet and shape the dough into pretzel. Sprinkle to taste with coarse salt, poppy seeds or sesame seeds. (My favourite is a combination of pink himalayan salt and sesame seeds.)
  • Repeat this process with remaining dough. Bake pretzels in preheated oven 7 - 10 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Serve warm with a dipping sauce if you choose. (Reheat in microwave or in a warm oven once they've cooled because warm pretzels are the best!)


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Baked Pretzels Homemade Pretzel Recipe Pretzels photography Tue, 02 May 2017 09:14:15 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2017: Canada to Australia via Texas Ferris Bueller once said, "'Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."

By the time you read this we'll be on a plane somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. Three months ago we sold our home in Grande Prairie, Alberta and everything in it, threw caution to the wind and began our move to Australia. It's been a very surreal three months. For the first 85 days it was just Matley and I. We put over 10,000 kilometres on my Lexus LX570. It was a killer road trip all over western Canada... Grande Prairie, Fort St John, Jasper, Edmonton, Banff, Kelowna, Whistler, Squamish, Vancouver, White Rock, Nanaimo, Victoria, Tofino. (I wonder how much of this Matley will actually remember in a few years.)

It's been stressful to say the very least. As things stand right now, Matley and I both have our Australian citizenship. However, I still haven't finished Marcel's sponsorship papers. But he has been approved for a Travel Visa which will allow him to enter in and out of Australia for the next year while being in the country for no more than three months at a time. The plan for now is that he will fly in and out while continuing to work in the oil and gas industry in Canada until he finds work closer to home. 

Home? Funny you should ask. For the past nine months we've been trying to figure out where we wanted to move. Having lived in Canada for the past 14.5 years and eight of those years in the north, I figure I've lost about four years of my life to shovelling snow. Thus the number one factor in finding a new place to live: no more than a ten minute walk to the beach! Yes, good schools, lack of crime, active community... all those things factored into the decision but honestly the most important thing was proximity to the beach. That said we are relocating to the.... Whitsundays!  (A decision that was made about 80 hours before we boarded the plane...) 

We leave Austin, Texas at 8pm (local time) on January 14th and will arrive in Brisbane, Australia at 7am (local time) on January 16th. We have a rental car booked and will drive to Bundaberg, four hours north of Brisbane, where we still spend the night. The next morning (January 17th) we will get up and drive the last eight hours north to the Whitsundays where we have a hotel booked for the next few days while we look for an apartment to rent and get Matley registered for second grade.

After 95 days in the fast lane, here's to hoping that life slows down a little.  

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Sat, 14 Jan 2017 17:26:02 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2016: Tofino Refections It's Thursday November 8th and the past few days have been full of awesome moments. By this time next week Matley and I will be stepping off a plane in Austin, Texas and about a month after that we will be in Australia. It's sometimes hard to wrap my brain around the fact that nine months ago Marcel and I threw caution to the wind, said "I do",  and kicked the snowball down the hit to start our moved to Australia. 

We still have no real plan in place other than kids go back to school January 20th in Queensland so we would like to be somewhat settled so Matley can start school with everyone else. (It will be hard enough being the new kid.) Thirty years ago at the same age as Matley is now I made basically the same moved, expect we went from Sydney to San Antonio. I'm sure on some level my parent's thought, "We are moving you to Texas for more opportunities." The same way Marcel and I are looking at Matley thinking, "We are moving you to Australia for more opportunities".

I'm having a lot of anxiety over everything, but mostly the uncertainty. I'm someone who over plans. I have a backup plan, to the backup plan, to the backup plan! Seriously I don't let my gas tank get below a quarter of a tank because you never know where life is going to take you and you need to be prepared. I guess this is why I've been so cranky lately and why I've been trying to spend time by myself; people ask too many questions that I simply do not have the answers for.  

With the days slowly slipping away I'm running out of time to get things done. I started a "Bullet Journal" at the beginning of the month to help me stay focused as to what was really important and had to get done before we leave. At the top of my list was a "sunset" picture on the west coast. I have the grande idea that I'm going to hang a picture of a west coast sunset next to an east coast sunrise in our new place. (You know very symbolic of our big move.)

After watching the weather for days I knew Monday was going to be my best shot at catching an epic sunset. So Matley and I jumped in the Sexy Lexy (what I affectionately call my LX570) and headed out to Tofino. Other than a few stops along the way for me to shoot some wildlife pictures and a late lunch at The Pointe Restaurant which is located in the Wickanninish Inn, we stayed focused.

We were on Chesterman Beach just before the sun started to set. But as the light began to fade, I forgot what I was doing. I was too busy watching Matley run back and forth being chased by the waves. His laugh and the sounds of the waves crashing into the shore was intoxicating. Suddenly it was no longer about my picture as I stood there quietly watching the moment unfold. 

By the time we packed up and were ready to head back to Nanaimo it was dark and Matley was soaked. He changed into some PJs, I cranked the heat, and we hit the road. We pulled over at the tourism information centre just outside the Pacific Rim National Park and called to let Marcel's parents know we were coming home and to expect us around 9pm. They said it was snowing in Nanaimo and that the road weren't good on that side of the island and that if we didn't need to come back to just stay there for the night. 

Most places were already fully booked. However, we managed to get a room back at the Wickaninnish Inn, room 205 in the Pointe Building. After a long bath Matley curled up by the fireplace and passed out. I picked him up and tucked him into bed, grabbed my camera, and took the two minute walk down to the beach. 

As I'm standing there, staring up at countless stars in the sky, for the first time in about two months, I know Marcel and I are making the right decision. Everything is slowly coming together. Instead of taking a bunch of pictures, I take four. I shut off my camera and sit down on the sand.

Yes, it's chilly outside but my heart is warm. The next time I sit down on the beach it will be in Australia with my family by my side.

(It's been 58 days since I've seen Marcel, 59 days since I've seen my dog, and 60 since we've all been sleeping under one roof as a family.)


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Bald Eagle British Columbia Family Outside Photography Relocation Road Trip Sea Lions Seagulls Tofino Vancouver Island Wickanninish Inn Wildlife Photography adventure Thu, 08 Dec 2016 23:26:00 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2016: Even Ugly Ducklings Grow Up to be Swans It's Tuesday, November 29th and I'm sitting in my temporary office, Mon Petit Choux, drinking coffee and of course it's raining. Last week was a bit of a rollercoaster and it feels good to just sit and stare out the window watching the rain fall.

It started on such a high because Tuesday (November 22nd) the sky opened up and we had one of the best days since Matley and I have gotten to the island. Naturally we spent the day outside hiking around Jack Point.  It was the first time in a long time we've been able to hang out, just the two of us and talk. We're both scared of the unknown. Matley misses going to school and his friends. We both miss having a routine. But most importantly neither one of us can wait to see Dad again. 

It's been 50 days since I've seen Marcel, 51 days since I've seen my dog, and 52 since we've all been sleeping under one roof as a family.

Fast forward to Friday and I get totally lost while out exploring looking for Brick Bay in Nanoose Bay. I guess these things happen when you run out of data on your phone and they shut it off so Goggle Maps isn't working properly and the GPS map in your vehicle needs to be updated and keeps telling you that you are driving on roads that don't exist. It wasn't too big of a deal because I got to spend about half an hour hanging out with a Trumpeter Swan, which was totally awesome! Plus Matley called and said grandma had signed for something from Passport Canada.

It wasn't until hours later when I got back to my in laws and opened the envelope our passports came in that my heart sank... They misspelled my name!!!! There it was "Christine". My name isn't "Christine"!!! It's "Christina" with an A!!! Two steps forward, one step back. I'm in full panic mood (yet again). Holy shit this is the last thing I need right now!

"Hi, yes I am traveling to Texas with a one way ticket, because we are moving to Australia. No, I haven't booked our tickets to Australia just yet because I'm not sure what's going on. Who is this? That's my son. Oh I know we have different last names and his father, my husband isn't traveling with us but I have a travel permission document. I know everything says "Christina" and my passport says "Christine" but I promise we are the same person..."

By 4:30pm everything was sorted. I had to bring my passport back to the Passport Office in Victoria. They would issue a new one at no cost to me and I should have it by the end of the week.

I'm finally starting to feel like things are going forward. Matley and I will be in Texas by December 15th and will spend Christmas there. Hopefully in the next few weeks Marcel will get approval for time off in January and we will book our tickets to Australia to travel together as a family. 

Nanoose Bay Swan 2

Nanoose Bay Swan

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Thu, 01 Dec 2016 00:45:14 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2016: Fanny Bay Wildlife It's Friday November 18th and it's raining yet again in Nanaimo. The last time I spent this much time in the rain was the summer of 2002 when I was a counsellor at Echo Hill Ranch. So many awesome things happened that summer, but so did a lot of shitty things, 14 years later I feel like it's the same story. 

Tuesday Matley and I spent the night at the Fairmont Empress as we had to drive down to the passport office in Victoria to drop off our paperwork to renew our Canadian passports. (Our passports will be here by November 30th.) We spent a wonderful evening playing checkers in the Gold Lounge because we both thought this was the last thing we needed to do before we could hop on a plane for Texas. 

On our drive back home the following morning the Australian Consulate called. They had received Marcel's paperwork. However... There was another hiccup. Turns out that I filled out the section for mother on Matley's passport application but I failed to sign it giving consent and thus would now have to fill out the same paper Marcel had to (twice) and mail it in.

Really? I mean really? Come on! I'm so damn close but yet so horribly far....yet again.

Thursday morning Matley and I headed up to Fanny Bay to meet with my friend David so he can sign (what hopefully really is) the last piece of paperwork for our Australian passports. David and I met about four years ago at the Grande Prairie Photography Club as we are both photographers. Him and his wife sold everything and left Grande Prairie about a year and a half ago and now run Best Friend Dog Care and Kitty Kottage in Fanny Bay and couldn't be happier. 

(If you're going to drive up to Fanny Bay take the Oceanside Route and make sure you stop at a place called The Bean Counter in Bowser... Trust me, you won't be disappointed!)

We spent about three hours hanging out with David as he played our Local Tour Guide.

By the time we made it back to Nanaimo it was dark and dinner was ready. As I laid in bed last night I had the strangest sense of sadness wash over me. You would think that I would be happy knowing everything was finally in order for the second part of our move but the truth is I'm filled with anxiety. The realization that I'm going to be in Texas in a few weeks is scary. It means that in a couple more weeks Matley and I will be in Australia by ourselves as the plan right now is for Marcel to continue working to keep money coming in until his sponsorship comes through. I'm not 100% on board with this plan but it's hard to have a real conversation when Marcel has been working nights for the pass month and we are on completely different schedules. 

It's been 38 days since I've seen Marcel, 39 days since I've seen my dog, and 40 since we've all been sleeping under one roof as a family.

It will all be worth it in the end right?

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Adventure British Columbia Family Fanny Bay Outside Photography Road Trip Sea Lions Wildlife Photography Fri, 18 Nov 2016 21:42:04 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2016: From Tears to Cheers It's November 2nd and Starbucks already has their Christmas stuff out on the shelves. I'm standing at the counter waiting for my Vanilla Latte when I wander over to the small Christmas ornaments they have for sale. I picked one up and all of a sudden total panic sets in as I wonder... Did we pack the previous years Starbuck's ornaments or did we give them away with all the other Christmas stuff in the chaos as we moved out of the house three and a half weeks earlier.  (Yes, you read that right. I'm in total panic about some stupid ornaments!)

Truthfully, looking back I don't think it was the ornaments per say that was about to send me into a total meltdown in the middle of Starbucks, it was everything leading up to that moment and those stupid little things were just the straw that was going to break my camel's back. When I say "meltdown" I mean something along the lines of an epic meltdown that a two year old would have because they dropped their ice cream on the ground. I'm red in the face, can't catch my breath, sobbing in the middle of the Starbuck's lunch rush. 

Remember the scene at the end of The Blair Witch Project where the girl has the camera focused tightly on her face, and her flashlight is shinning up her nose and she got snot just gushing from her nose, and all you wanted to do was scream at her, "Wipe your nose!"? I'm pretty sure that's what the guy standing next to me was thinking about when he handed me some napkins and asked if I was ok. Normally I'd have some something witty to say in a moment like this but instead I just took the napkins, said thanks, grabbed my latte, and quickly made my escape. 

I sat in my truck and proceed to sob for the next 30 minutes or so desperately wishing that Marcel was there and not in some shit town in Saskatchewan. That I wasn't living with my in laws and that Matley wasn't telling everyone that he met who asked him if he was excited about moving to Australia that he wasn't and that he was upset he was leaving the snow. That I would have all our paperwork with me to turn into the consulate in a few days instead of having to wait for the last piece to show up by mail. That people would stop asking me (the same) questions that I don't have answers for. 

It's been 30 days since I've seen Marcel, 31 since I've seen my dog, and 32 since we've all been sleeping under one roof as a family. 

What are we doing?

It's November 8th the day of the presidential election in the states and the day Matley and I have our appointment at the Australian Consulate. After spending the night at The Hotel Vancouver and having one of the best sleeps I've had since being homeless Matley and I make our way to our appointment. It was quick, easy, and believe it or not painless. On our way back to the hotel it felt like things were finally looking up. Our Australian passports would be here before the end of the month!

It wasn't until the next morning when I was back in Nanaimo and opened the letter Marcel had sent containing the last piece of paper we needed to submit for our passports that I realized we wouldn't be making it to Texas for the American Thanksgiving. He had forgotten to get a witness to sign the paper meaning that he would have to reprinted it, sign it once more, have a witness sign it, and send it back in.

So close and yet so very very far. It's not the end of the world, just a set back.

The leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground here in Nanaimo. Realistically our passports won't be here until the middle of December, maybe Matley will get to see snow one more time before we leave. 


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Adventure Alberta Another Australia Country Family Moving Photography Relocating Travel Travel Photography Fri, 11 Nov 2016 01:09:26 GMT
Beaver Roo Road Trip 2016: A Moment to Breath We've been on the road for 15 days and this is the first chance I've had to sit down and reflect on the craziness that has transpired. We successfully sold/moved everything out of our house in five days. I use the word "successfully" very loosely because I'm still making phone calls and tying up lose ends. I'm stressed to the max, at times it feels like I can't catch my breath. Everything is moving so quickly, yet so very slowly all at the same time.

Before the estate sale started we each got a large rubbermaid container to put whatever we wanted into, no questions asked, and it would be shipped to Australia once we had a physical address. It's hard to believe I managed to take the last 14 years of living in Canada and squeezed it into a box. I wondered what Marcel, my husband, and Matley, our seven year old, put into their boxes. But I made it a point not to look. I know it sounds crazy but I wanted to be surprised when we opened the boxes on the other side as to what each of us thought was so important that it had to come with us.

Are we doing the right thing?

We estimated there was around 300 people that came through our house during the estate sale. The more and more people we told our story to the more and more looks of "Are you smoking crack and out of your damn mind?" we got. To tell the truth there was really only one couple who seemed on board for the whole adventure. They had spent some time living in New York and had slowly made their way back home to Canada. The husband reminded us that life was short and that the world was a big place that needed to be explored. But is he right?

Right now it just me and Matley as Marcel is working to keep money coming in during the move and while we wait for his sponsorship papers to be approved.(Both myself and Matley are Australian citizens, although at this point I am still waiting for Matley's citizenship papers to actually arrive.) The nights are lonely but so were the nights living in Grande Prairie. Working in the oil and gas industry for most of our relationship means that Marcel has been "on location" for the majority of it. So what difference does it make if we are five miles apart or 5,000 miles apart if we never get to see each other?

It's how we knew we needed a change. Everyone comes to a fork in the road while traveling the highway of life. We can continue on the same path we've always gone because it's comfortable and safe or we can choose to take the path less traveled because it's a risk and people who don't take risks don't drink champagne.

Columbia Icefields Parkway

Right now we are living with Marcel's parents on Vancouver Island. The hope is that Matley and I will be in Texas for the American Thanksgiving and will then move on to Australia by the middle of December.   




[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Adventure Alberta Australia Family Moving to Another Country Photography Relocating Travel Travel Photography Sat, 29 Oct 2016 23:32:14 GMT
Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies There's nothing quite like a batch of chewy chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven! The way your house smells when they're baking in the oven can put a smile on anyone's face. So I guess I couldn't be that mad when I came downstairs this morning and found my seven year old, Matley standing at the kitchen counter surrounded with all the ingredients to make said cookies. 

"Way to make the most out of a day off kiddo," I said.

"It's raining and gross outside, so I thought you would like some cookies!" Matley said.

"Cookies for breakfast? Yes, please!" I replied.

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 2 cups yellow sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 cup mini dark chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  • Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter and yellow sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. If your butter was still hot when you added it your dough may be really wet at this point. Let it rest at room temperature for a couple of minutes if this is the case and then it will be cool enough to scoop into cookies.
  • Roll a half-cup of dough into a ball and place it on the cookie sheet making sure you rolled the ball more taller than wider.
  • Bake, reversing position of cookie sheets halfway through baking, until cookies are light golden brown and outer edges start to harden yet centers are still soft and puffy (approximately 11-14 minutes). Do not overtake!
  • Cool cookies on sheets until able to lift without breaking. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies Family Food Homemade grande prairie Fri, 30 Sep 2016 18:05:38 GMT
Adventures in Jasper Growing up in Texas one of the things I looked forward to every year was the three weeks I got to spend at summer camp. Learning how to shoot a bow and arrow, swimming in a creek catching minnows with my bare hands, tie-dye and overnights sleeping under the star filled Texas sky were just some of the best memories of my youth. Wait, actually who am I kidding? I hated archery; I was more a horseback girl. And it was all fun and games swimming in Wallace Creek until one year I swallowed a minnow (that’ll teach me to swim with my mouth open) and I hated overnights. I mean really, sleeping on the hard ground in a sleeping bag with all sorts of bugs crawling all over you in the middle of the night and then waking up the next morning covered in dew is not my idea of fun... 

Ok, honestly all these things were pretty awesome my first two summers at Echo Hill Ranch, a sleep away camp nestled in a little green valley, deep in the Texas Hill Country. However by the time I was twelve the best things about EHR were the lifelong friendships, the cute boys and no “parental supervision”. I’m not saying my counselors each summer didn’t do a first-rate job keeping me out of trouble; rather they allowed me the opportunity to discover who I was without the pressures of being in a judgmental environment.  Seriously I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I hadn’t spent seven summers of my childhood going to summer camp. 

So when my editor pitched me the idea of going camping in Jasper and staying in an oTENTik, which is a cross between an A-frame cabin and a tent mounted on a raised wooden floor, I thought this would be a great way of introducing the great outdoors to my four year old Matley without having to endure sleepless nights laying on the ground and pretending I liked it.  

The idea behind an oTENTik is that all you need to do is pack food, some cooking utensils, bedding and show up. The night before we leave I take the time to prep a bunch of foil packs consisting of various vegetable combinations, seasonings and lots of butter. I even pack one with broccoli, cheese whiz and an ice cube because really who doesn’t love broccoli and cheese whiz? (This is where I should tell you I’m a vegetarian, however Matley and Marcel, my husband are not.) I leave the rest of the packing up to Marcel, who shoos me out of the kitchen saying he has it totally under control and wants to be on the road no later that 7am the next morning.     

It’s actually closer to 9am before we are finally on the road with various Starbucks treats in hand and after stopping in Grande Cache for lunch we make it to the Whistlers Campground shortly after 2:30pm. We check in at the kiosk, get a briefing on the abundance of wildlife seen in the area, rules of the campground, a map showing where an assortment of things are located around said campground and an Xplorers Book for Matley.  

We pull up to our campsite and unload. The oTENTik is clean and cozy and once we are settled in all Matley can talk about is the playground we passed when we pulled in.  

We slowly walk over to the playground in question, after passing two others along the way, and while Matley and Marcel are having fun on the swings I realize I need to go to the restroom. I walk over to the bathrooms and see a bulletin board with a sign up about Geocaching. (Geocaching is an outdoor recreational activity, where participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver  and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world.) What a great way to explore the campground and to burn off some energy before making dinner as I want to try and have an early night because we have all sorts of things to do the following day. I walk back over to the boys and ask, “Who wants to go on a treasure hunt?”

We grab a map from the front kiosk with the coordinates of seven geocaches, located throughout the campgrounds, and even though they offer us a GPS, Marcel wants to use our iphones instead. Thus after spending the next 20 minutes goggling and trying to figure out how to put longitude and latitude coordinates into goggle maps, we finally take off. 

We find the first two geocaches easily but Marcel gets a flat tire en route to the third and by the time it’s fixed we realize it’s almost 8pm and we need to get a fire going so we can have dinner. The boys roast cheese smokies and marshmallows and I enjoy one of my veggie packs.   

The next morning we get up early, refreshed and ready for a day of adventure. After taking showers, which are free to use when you stay at the campground, we stroll the interpretive trail that runs through the middle of the campground, back to our campsite, stopping to play in the little log cabin.

With our bellies full from an impromptu breakfast, consisting of grilled pineapple, corn, and black beans, stuffed into a pita with hummus and cheese, as Marcel forgot to pack the eggs…among other things; we head into Jasper to check out some of the interpretive programs Parks Canada has to offer to the old fire hall. 

As early afternoon rolls around we wonder the streets of downtown Jasper and make our way over to the Patricia Street Deli for a lunch. In between mouthfuls Matley says, “Let’s go for another bike ride!” We finish up and grab a Day Hike Map for the Information Centre then drive back to our campsite to grab our bikes. 

Sticking to the easier trails the time seems to fly by and before we know it we’re soaking up the sunshine on the beach at Annette Lake. I leave the boys playing with a beach ball and walk through the parking lot over to Edith Lake. As I’m walking along the shoreline I stumble across two red Adirondack chairs that are part of the Parks Canada Red Chair Program. The view is amazing and I’m not going to lie, I could’ve spent the rest of the day just sitting in those chairs. 

Back at our campsite the boys enjoy another round of cheese smokies and we share the broccoli and cheese whiz. For some strange reason Matley is still full of energy. So we put our campfire out, hop in the car and take the Icefields Parkway to Athabasca Falls, because there’s just something about going for a car ride that puts kids to sleep. We play Icefields Parkway Bingo, one of the activities in the Xplorers Book, on the short ride from the campground to the falls. 

The falls and sunset are gorgeous and even though he didn’t want to leave on the way back Matley finally drifts off to sleep and is snoring like a freight train by the time Marcel carries him in to our oTENTik. 9:30pm and it’s been a long action packed day, but not so long that Marcel and I don’t have time to enjoy a Keith’s sitting by the fire before quite time at 11pm.   

In the morning we slowly start to load our car back up after the boys have a third round of cheese smokies, and because our muscles are sore from the previous day’s adventure we make the call to stop at the Miette Hot Springs. 

It was my very first time to ever experience a natural hot springs and I have to tell you it was soooo relaxing! Before we left we did a little bit of exploring and took the path at the end of the parking lot that leads to the original hot springs pool. Although it is in ruins now it was easy to see why the pool was first located there.    

On the drive back we talk about what everyone’s favorite part of the adventure was. Matley thought it was staying in the oTENTik, Marcel said it was going on the bike rides and I loved my quite time sitting in the red chairs on Edith Lake. 

The only things I would have changed…We would’ve stayed for one maybe two more nights and next time I think I’ll do all the food packing because wow did that car ride home stink!      

***Remember if you like what you see visit the "Prints for Sale" tab at the top of the page!"***

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Annette Lake Athabasca Falls Black Bear Black Bear Cubs Edith Lake Family Family Adventure Jasper Meitte Hot Springs Outside Parks Canada Patricia Street Deli Photography Red Chair Program Whistlers Campground oTENTik Fri, 19 Aug 2016 21:49:55 GMT
An Afternoon at the Farmer's Market One of the things I love most about summer is going to the farmer's market. It never ceases to amaze me the things that people make right here in my community. The weather was beautiful over the weekend so I decided to spend my Saturday afternoon cruising the Grande Prairie Farmer's Market.

With goodies to explore both inside and outside the market, I could've spent all day there. But unfortunately the market is only open until 3pm. I figured I'd start inside and slowly work my way outside and back to the truck. One of the first things that caught my eye was Field Stone Fruit Wines. I mean honestly who can turn down a free sample of wine? Personally I thought they were a little on the sweet side but yummy nonetheless. (I could totally see myself using them in a sangria!)

From wine to donuts and not just any donuts, Friendship Donuts. As you probably already know from a previous post, Vanilla Bean Donuts, I love simple, basic donuts. The Friendship Donuts are yeast raised and coated in buttery glaze with a hint of caramel, but today they also had chocolate. You can find them at various locations throughout Grande Prairie but I first discovered them at the TAGs Food and Gas in Hythe.

From donuts to tea and Stuffitz Loose Tea. I'm a huge fan of loose leaf tea. For the most part I drink it plain with nothing added. Although I have to admit sometimes (especially when dealing with fruit teas) they just taste better with a little bit of sugar or honey mixed in. I always find the staff to be super helpful and with a massive selection, there is something for everyone.

On the topic of honey... I made my way outside and stumbled across Bee Sweet, which is raw, clover and alfalfa, unpasteurized honey from Webster, Alberta. Honey is one of those products that I ALWAY buy from a local source. When you buy local honey you really can taste (and see) the difference.

Finally the reason why most of us go to the farmer's market in the first place, fresh produce!

If you're looking for something to do that's fun for the whole family consider visiting a farmer's market in your area. There really is something for everyone!





[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Adventure Alberta Family Farmer's Market Food Grande Prairie Homemade Travel Sat, 13 Aug 2016 21:32:59 GMT
A Rainy Day at the Derby The Alberta Derby was held over the weekend in Grande Prairie and even though it was raining that didn't stop us from attending for the second year. It's a family event that starts off with brunch at 11am and then horse racing begins at 1pm. 

We arrived around noon and there was already a buzz in the air despite the rain. After enjoying our brunch Marcel, my husband, and Matley, our six year old, picked up a program and we made our way over to the paddock to start checking out the horses for the first race.

Here's the thing, I know I said this was our second year going but I don't have a clue how horse racing works. What little knowledge I have about horse racing comes from getting trashed at Retama Park on $0.50 Fridays while I was in university well over a decade ago. (Ah, the good old days when you could show up with $20 in your pocket: park, have a couple of hot dogs, several beer, place a few bets, and even if you didn't win anything, you could still walk out of there with a few dollars left in your pocket.) Seriously when I open the program all I really know is that the horse's names are in capital letters and bold print. So when Marcel and Matley started talking about their "strategy" I figured I would just go with the flow.

"I like that guy over there," said Marcel. "He just pooped so he is going to be lighter, so that must means he'll run faster!

"Are you serious dad?" responded Matley. "I like the number six. He is pretty jumpy. That means he is full of energy!"

After some arguing over the matter the boys decided to go with number six, Colorful Gabby. I tried to warn them that it probably meant something that the horse's name was "Colorful" Gabby and its jersey was black but neither one wanted to listen. So we placed our first bet, Colorful Gabby to Show (show means to finish in first, second, or third place). 

The horses start to line up at the gates and we take a spot along the fence line, close to the finish line. We can see that there is commotion going on at the gates and what do you know? Colorful Gabby has thrown her jockey before even getting into her gate. I look over at the boys trying to contain my giggles and say, "Better luck next race boys."

The second race they stuck with the same strategy and lost again. While standing at the paddock checking out the horses for the third race Marcel decided we needed to try something different. He has a friend from high school named Gabe. Gabe is one of those guys that if you ever got into a betting situation, you would ALWAYS bet on Gabe. So using this logic we bet on Gallant Gabe to win. Now I don't want to take away anything from Gabe and the logic used to place this particle bet but... Marcel and Matley love cars and I thought for sure they would want to bet on Another Gear.

"Boys did you see that one of the horses is named Another Gear?" I ask.

Neither one seemed to care, both positive that Gallant Gabe was the way to go. He lost, Another Gear won.

Feeling very discourage Matley was ready to call it a day. It was staring to rain a little heavier and after three races, only one of our horses had actually finished a race. But Marcel insisted that we stay for one more race and use the same strategy again and "bet on General Gabe in the fourth to win." It was at this point I decided to take over the betting, simply telling Marcel his "strategies suck ass" and it was my turn to pick a horse. 

Without even walking over to the paddock I placed my bet, Majorca Gold to Show. My logic... The horse was wearing blue and blue is my favorite color. I don't want to brag or anything but... We won that race!

Of course after winning Matley's attitude had changed and now he wanted to stay till the very end.

We managed to break even in the betting department that day and even though we were soaked by the end a good time was had by all.  



[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Horse Racing Sports Photography The Horses at Evergreen Park family grande prairie photography Fri, 05 Aug 2016 22:53:49 GMT
Sometimes You've Got to Take a Workshop to Learn Something New At the beginning of this month I had the opportunity to take a portrait workshop offered through the Grande Prairie Photography Club with the amazing Dave Brosha. It came as a welcomed distraction considering the shit show that was quickly becoming my life. 

I had taken a workshop with Dave once before about three years ago. The workshop was about natural and creative light. Like with most things in life I had bitten off more than I could chew. To be honest I think about 95% of what Dave said during that first two day workshop went completely over my head. While I did leave inspired, I fought back tears during the second day and felt like an idiot because I seriously had no clue what the hell I was doing and to think I was calling myself a "professional".

Fast forward to this workshop and it was like a whole new world. I was able to fully understand Dave's thought process as he walked us through an example of a portrait set up with one of the models without getting lost in all the technical jargon that is a photographer's life. 

Once again I left this workshop feeling inspired however in a completely different way. The first time after feeling like a complete jackass... I looked around for a mentor, took some Creative Live classes, and did a shoot here and there for myself. (As one of the most important things I took away from that workshop was that I needed to shoot for myself.) The second time as I sat there and listened to Dave's presentation about "The Life Adventure" I realized that there are people out there who are actively living the life they want to live, one they don't want a vacation from.

What separates them from me and you? The "actively doing" part. I think that's why I'm so excited to be moving my little family to Australia.

Change is a good thing, it's also one of the few things in life that is inevitable, so why not make changes to move toward something you actually want to do?       

Images from my first workshop with Dave in 2014

Images from this year's workshop


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Creative Light Dave Brosha Workshop Natural Light Outside grande prairie photography Thu, 21 Jul 2016 21:13:15 GMT
Yoga and Gourmet Cuisine It was my last semester at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.  I was living on campus and an active member of my sorority, Delta Sigma Delta. The way UIW worked certain classes were only offered every other even year and although I only needed two classes to graduate, in order to maintain my active status in the sorority and continue to live on campus, I had to take a full class load. 

My classes that last semester were: Interpersonal Communications, Children's Literature, Theories of Communication, English Literature, Yoga and Gourmet Cuisine. Can you say kick ass schedule? I mean really how could I possibly go wrong when I was centering my chi, reading the first Harry Potter book, and learning how to cook amazing food?

However truthfully, I was full on out of control and in some pretty heavy denial. My father was battling cancer and we'd lost the house. The only place I'd called home since moving from Australia 16 years earlier. My whole world was falling apart and instead of taking some time to deal with things, I bottled everything up and pretended like nothing was wrong. I was spending my nights bar hopping and my mornings sitting by my father's bedside in the hospital.My mind was constantly racing as I was dealing with things that no 23 year old should ever have to deal with, most of which was out of my control.

One of the few things I actually looked forward to that semester was Thursday night's Gourmet Cuisine class, it's where my love for food was born. It took  some convincing of my friends from the Communication Arts department to take the three hour elective class but in my opinion it was totally worth it. The class was from 6pm to 9pm and we would meet before to smoke a joint or two. By the time we made it to class the giggles would kick in and I would forget that in a few short hours I would be sitting in the hospital talking with my dad about "all the things he still wanted to do"... To this day I still use cooking as an escapism. When you're in the kitchen you can't let your mind wonder, if you do you'll end up with burnt pancakes.

​The other thing I looked forward to that semester was Monday and Wednesday's yoga class. I'd never taken a yoga class before in my life but I figured it would be an easy A. However, I struggled so much at the beginning I started to question why the hell I even signed up for it in the first place. But after a few weeks it got easier and easier to not let my mind wonder and to really focus on pushing my body further into the poses. 

As I continued to deal with my father's illness and all the revelations that came along with it, I took my yoga practice with me to summer camp after graduating and then eventually to Vancouver. I was practicing so much that at one point I really wanted to be an instructor. But after my father passed away I slipped back into my destructive behavior and within a few months had been headhunted to be a Cruise Director. When I'm getting paid to party, there is no time to center my chi.  

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Almost a decade after quitting my yoga practice my life is in total chaos again. Unfortunately there isn't really any where in Grande Prairie that offers the type of classes I like to take. That was until  Oranj Fitness  made an announcement they were coming to town. I was so excited that I signed up for their early bird special. What started out as a simple email about setting up a time to come in and pay for my membership quickly turned into a "we'd love to work with you" email.

I feel extremely blessed to have gotten a sneak peek at their beautiful space before it opened to the public, to hang out during some of their open house last week, and to have been their official photographer for their Largest Outdoor Yoga Class on Sunday. Their team is super friendly and it's such an encouraging environment.  

Their motto and philosophy is simple:  "The fitness world needed a place where "you can be you;" the kind of place where everyone knows your name and welcomes you with open arms – a place where the status quo is boogying!" 

I've taken four classes already and have signed up for my fifth this Friday. It's called Hot Yoga Barre and it's so awesome, I totally recommend you check it out. Maybe we'll even see each other there! 


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Family Oranj Fitness Grande Prairie Outside Yoga grande prairie photography Tue, 19 Jul 2016 19:36:50 GMT
Just Me and a Fox on a Rainy Saturday Morning Every year I make a list of various wildlife I'd like to photograph. Most years I'm fairly successful. But there's one animal I've had on my list since I picked up a camera and that's a fox. I don't know why but I've always thought of foxes as my animal kindred spirit. Some people pick lions or bears or eagles but not me. Maybe it's because we are both gingers and understand that sometimes life ain't easy for the ginger. Or maybe it's because I like to wink at people and tell them, "I'm crazy like a fox." 

Whatever the reason might be, when I saw one driving home from yoga class early Saturday morning, I almost lost my shit. Yes, yes, every time I see an animal on "my list" it's exciting but this was different. You see during the past 17 days my house has been "sold" twice (remember we are moving to Australia) and both times that "sale" has fallen through. Not only that but in the middle of all this my husband, Marcel lost his job, "due to market conditions". So to say that stress levels have been at an all time high in my house would be an understatement. So when I saw this fox at the edge of a clearing, it was like a sign. I pulled my truck over to the side of the road, put it in park, and slid over to the passenger seat. I reached behind the seat to grab my camera, my hands already sweaty because I was soooo excited finally something positive was happening! 

Yeah.... I spoke too soon. My camera bag wasn't in my truck. So here I am on the side of the road, too scared to drive to my house (which is about 5 minutes away) and grab my camera, to come back and shoot. Because lets get real for a second, if I take my eyes off him, he'll disappear and the magical moment I've been waiting for won't happen. So I grab my iPhone and start shooting because I'll be damned if I'm not going to get at least one shot. But it's starting to rain and no matter how bright I try to make my image the fox just looks like an orange blob.

What am I going to do?!?!

I do what any wife would do in this situation, I call my husband and start yelling, "There's a fox and I don't have my camera!!!!!! So you need to get off your butt and bring me my camera. Like NOW!!!!!!!" Did I mention at this point I'm basically in mass hysterics? I mean the tears are flowing down my face and I'm talking at a million miles and hours. But Marcel isn't at home. He is about ten minutes away with his friend Steve, who is trying on clothes for his up coming wedding. I proceed to sob loudly into my phone begging Marcel to figure out a way to get me my camera because I can't let the fox out of my site. He tells me to clam down, take a breathe, and that he is going to borrow Steve's car and that he'll be there shortly. 

It's going to work out I tell myself, Marcel is on his way. But about two minutes later I watch the fox slip back into the trees. My heart sinks, my stomach turns, fuck why can't I catch a break? I call Marcel back and tell him never mind the fox is gone. As I start to drive away slumped behind the driver's wheel with my shoulders heavy from defeat, my eyes filled with tears, I take one last look back... nothing.

I pull into my driveway and as I walk through my front door, I stare at my camera bag sitting at the bottom of the stairs. I'm not even sure what happened but the next thing I knew, I had grabbed my camera and was half way back down the block. It was like I was filled with this sense of nothing else mattered. All the bull shit over the past two and a half weeks just melted away. I was on a mission and that mission was to get a fox picture. A few minutes later I was back at the clearing.

Breathe I told myself, just be patience and it was like the fox had heard me, because he resurfaced. He saw me and I saw him and we just stood there looking at each other.  Wow! There is just something so deeply moving and peaceful about being in the presence of a wild animal. 

Fox Fox Fox Fox

Thank you Mr. Fox for allowing me to check one off the life's to-do list.

(Like what you see? Click on "Prints for Sale" at the top of the page. They're in wildlife!)

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Fox Wildlife grande prairie photography Wed, 13 Jul 2016 22:09:13 GMT
Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes! Every family has that one go to dish that they make all the time and ours in no different. We make ours so much that Matley, our six year old, can basically make them all by himself. It's nothing fancy, but you can jazz them up countless different ways. I mean seriously the possibilities are endless. What is this amazing go to dish you ask? Pancakes. That's right pancakes! Think about it for a second. You can put basically anything in/on pancakes. Everything from maple syrup, to freshly squeezed lemon juice and sugar, to whip cream and strawberries, to peanut butter, raspberries, and honey, to cinnamon and brown sugar caramelize apples.... The list goes on. But none of that deliciousness can happen if you don't have a solid base and as much as I want to say this is my recipe, it's not. It's my mother-in-laws recipe. But it makes such light, fluffy pancakes that I absolutely had to share!


Karen's Pancakes


2 Large Eggs

1 Cup Milk

2 Tablespoons Oil

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Tablespoon Sugar

1 Tablespoon Baking Powder

A Sprinkle of Salt



​Add all dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk until combined. 

Dry Ingredients Dry Ingredients Dry Ingredients

Add all wet ingredients to the same bowl and mix until smooth.

Wet Ingredients Wet Ingredients Wet Ingredients Wet Ingredients

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve hot!

Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Food Homemade Pancake Pancake Recipe Pancakes family grande prairie kid friendly photography Mon, 11 Jul 2016 18:55:48 GMT
Kiskatinaw Bridge If you've ever gone for a drive on the Alaska Highway between Dawson Creek and Fort St John you've driven over the Kiskatinaw River. But the questions is... Did you take the detour across the curved bridge?

The bridge was build in 1942-43 and was the first of it's kind in Canada. It's a three span, timber truss structure sitting 30 metres (100 feet) above the river, located at mile marker 21.

What makes this bridge so unusual is that it curves nine degrees along its 162.5 metre (534 foot) length and is the only timber bridge built along the Alaska Highway by civilian workers still in use today.

Park your vehicle at Kiskatinaw Provincial Park and you can wonder down to the river to get a better look at this amazing bridge. Just keep your eyes open for wildlife!

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alaska Highway British Columbia Dawson Creek Kaskitinaw Bridge photography Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:49:57 GMT
Greenhouse Adventure It's early Sunday morning and as promised Matley, my six year old, and I are going on an adventure, a greenhouse adventure. Every year I try to be this amazing mother and have a killer garden and every year I fail miserably. I know as a vegetarian I should have some sort of "green thumb" but the truth is, if I had to grow my own food I would starve. (I wonder what it means when you spend your entire 20 minute drive out to a local greenhouse listening to your kid pump you up about how this year's garden is going to be different?)  

When we arrived at Herbs & Spice "N" Everything Nice, there were two large greenhouses filled with flowers and herbs, that smelled amazing! 

We already have raspberries, strawberries, blueberries and some herbs, so I was going to keep it simple this year and only do hanging baskets. Our backyard gets lots of afternoon sun, so it is important that we get plants that will do well in full sun. After talking to Charlotte, one of the super helpful ladies that work at the greenhouse, Matley and I made our first two selections. He picked out a plant with no flowers and funky leaves, while I chose a purple and white flowering basket. 

With one more basket to pick we made our way over to the second greenhouse with herbs. There were so many things to choose from, I had to remind myself we were on a mission. Charlotte pointed over to a red and orange flowing basket and asked if we had any humming birds?

"Not yet," Matley said, "But my mom sure wishes we did!"

"Well humming birds love those flowers," Charlotte said.

And just like that we had our third hanging basket. We loaded them up into the back of my truck and headed home. Here's hoping they last all summer! 


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Adventure Alberta Greenhouse family time flowers grande prairie hanging baskets photography shop local Mon, 06 Jun 2016 20:31:32 GMT
I Went For A Walk to Clear My Head I'm a long time migraine sufferer. What started out as a once a month kind of thing around my period when I was 12 has now progressed to four or five a month. One of my biggest triggers is stress. So one of the things I like to do when I'm super stressed out is take my dog Besse for a walk. As Besse is pushing nine years old she doesn't move very fast anymore, which is prefect because she doesn't seem to mind when I stop a million times to take a picture. For the most part our walks are pretty uneventful. However, today was slightly different. 

We were doing the loop around Crystal Lake Park here in Grande Prairie, Alberta. The sun was shinning, the birds were chirping and I had already taken what I thought was going to be the image from the day. That was until we came around a bend in the path and there they stood. Two deer, completely unfazed by the fact that I had a camera in once hand and a leash attached to a 120lbs dog in the other. 

The four of us just standing around, perfectly normal, nothing to see here. At one point the deer were less than ten feet from us.

Sometimes you can get tunnel vision when you're looking through your viewfinder, and to my surprise when I finally did put my camera down to take stock of the situation, Besse had fallen asleep at my feet, and there was a young mother and her baby quietly waiting for me to finish. I waved her by and she was so cute telling me, "I didn't want to ruin your shot, so we just sat very still so we wouldn't startle the deer."

By the time I made it back home I had forgotten what had made me so stressed out that I wanted to take a walk in the first place.

Mother Nature one of the best stress relievers out there!  

(Like the images you see? Click on "prints for sale" at the top of the page. They are in Wildlife!)

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Fri, 03 Jun 2016 20:15:00 GMT
A life in Transition Sometimes the hardest thing in life is taking the first step towards something we want.

Marcel (my husband) and I have lived in the Peace Region for eight years while he has been working in the oil and gas industry.  Fort St. John, Whitecourt, and  Grande Prairie have all been places we have called home. But with so much uncertainty these days we knew it was time for a change.

Don't get me wrong, I love Canada! I've been living here 14 years this September but the truth is.... I hate the snow. No, I mean I really hate it. I'm a vegetarian and when winter is in full swing there is no amount of dead animal I can layer on that will keep me warm.  So it only seemed natural to start the ball rolling to move from Canada to Australia.  I am an Aussie and in my mind I was simply moving my family back home. However somewhere in all the excitement of finally taking that first step, I forgot just how hard it was really going to be.

Silly things like: I haven't lived in Australia for 30 years and while I don't remember being afraid of crocodiles, snakes and spiders when I was a child, I'm sure as shit fearful of them now! We have a dog, Besse who in a few weeks turns nine. Which doesn't seem that old but for a Saint Bernard/Bernese Mountain cross she is ancient. At first I was like of course she is coming with us, she is a family member. But now, I realize a move that big might not be the best thing for her. I have an SUV, a Lexus LX570, that no word of a lie, took me three years to find because I wanted it in blue, Costa Azul Mica, to be exact. When I bought my Sexy Lexy, as I like to call her, she was going to be my baby for the next ten years but I haven't even owned her two yet! (Yes, I know first world problems.) 

Not to mention where are we going to live? What are we going to do for work? Are we bringing stuff with us or selling everything and replacing it once we move? Where is our six year old going to go to school? And for that matter what grade is he going to be in as our school year runs September to June and Australia's runs January to December? 

It's going to be a long and bumpy ride. A ride that I hope you'll join my family on as we share our adventures finally building a life that we don't want to take a vacation from. 


Before the Bloom

Image: Before the Bloom

Because sometimes you have to remind yourself flowers don't bloom overnight, there is a lot of hard work before the bloom.

(If you like the image you see click on "prints for sale" at the top of the page. It's in the landscapes!)

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Outside grande prairie photography Wed, 01 Jun 2016 19:16:08 GMT
2015 Year in Review 2015 has been an amazing year for me professionally. I got to work with some people I really admire, my clients have allowed me to try new things, and most of all I have grown as an artist. Instead of doing a "year in review" I'm going to share what I consider my 3 favorite images from the past year.

1.The Clarke Wedding

I Love this image! It was taken in July of last year on a hill just outside of Grande Prairie, Alberta.  It's so simple, yet tells the story of a newly wed couple and their love of classic cars. 

2. Working with the Good Eats Magazine 

I am a total Foodie! So, when the opportunity presented its self to work with the Good Eats Magazine I jumped. I photographed 8 out of the 14 restaurants featured and it was an amazing experience. I'm looking forward to working with them again this year.

3. Northern Lights

This image was taken in April just outside Sexsmith, Alberta. After living in the Peace Region for almost 8 years this was the very first time I had ever seen the Northern Lights and it was amazing!


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Cars Classic Food Northern Lights Outside Sexsmith Vintage Wedding Photographer bride grande prairie groom photography wedding Fri, 08 Jan 2016 20:40:00 GMT
Amy and Graeme When I first met Amy and Graeme a little over a year and a half ago it was abundantly obvious that these two were smitten with each other. The way he looked at her every time she giggled and how she looked at him when talking about their classic cars as he smiled and nodded with approval was the cutest thing I had ever seen. Their love story started 14 years ago meeting in high school. But it wasn't until years later when Amy was at Lakeland College that their paths would cross again thanks to her friend Nichole. Their wedding had a vintage feel, pastel colors, and of course their two classic cars! Thank you so much Amy and Graeme for letting me be apart of your special day. 

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Cars Classic Grande Prairie Vintage Wedding Photographer bride groom wedding Wed, 26 Aug 2015 21:29:20 GMT
Vanilla Bean Donuts If you ask anyone in the Peace Region where to get the best donuts most people would say Crooked Creek General Store. There is just something about the simplicity of eating a vanilla glazed donut fresh out of the fryer early on a Saturday morning. However Crooked Creek is kinda in the middle of nowhere off highway 43 in between Grande Prairie and Valleyview. Seriously if you blinked you'd miss it and road trips just for donuts aren't for everyone. But after a visit to the general store a few weekends ago I promised my six year old we would make donuts one morning. And today was that morning.... as he whispered from my bedside at 7:30am, "Hey mom wouldn't donuts be so yummy for breakfast this morning?" 


Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts

1 Cup Flour
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1 Large Egg
1/4 Cup Vanilla Greek Yogurt
1/4 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Butter, Softened
1 Tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste

Vanilla Bean Glaze:
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp.  Milk
1/2 Tsp. Vanilla Bean Paste 



Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. and spray a donut pan with non-stick cooking spray. 

Combine the first four dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon) into a bowl until well blended and then set aside. 

In another bowl whisk together the remaining wet ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until everything is full incorporated.

Spoon or pipe the dough into the prepared donut pan, dividing evenly among the sections.

I put my dough into a gallon ziplock, sealed it, cut the end off and used that to pipe into my pan. 

Place the pan into the oven and bake for 13-15 minutes, or until the donuts are cooked through. 

The donuts will not turn golden brown, but should 'spring back' to the touch when done. 

In the mean time, whisk the ingredients for the glaze together in a small bowl and set aside.

Once done, remove the donuts from the oven and allow to cool.

Dip the donuts face-down into the glaze and then let the glaze set.  Maybe 5 minutes or so.



Adapted from:

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Baked Vanilla Bean Donuts Crooked Creek Donuts Food Photography Homemade Sat, 22 Aug 2015 21:25:07 GMT
Fort St John Graduation Shoot A few weeks ago I was in Fort St John, British Columbia doing a graduation shoot for two amazing young ladies. We walked the community forests over by the college and had a great time, even though the mosquitoes were out of control!




[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) British Columbia Fort St John Graduation Outside photography Wed, 22 Jul 2015 22:42:32 GMT
Butternut Squash and Arugula Pizza I love pizza. As a kid growing up in San Antonio our house was right next door to a Pizza Hut. So it’s no surprise that as an adult I make pizza for my family on a pretty regular basis. The most complicated thing about this recipe is shaving the butternut squash into thin slices. I use my food processor for this but if you don't have one you can always cut up the squash, toss it in olive oil with a little bit of salt and pepper, and roast it in the oven first.   

Butternut Squash and Arugula Pizza


1 package of Pillsbury pizza dough

3 cups of thinly shaved butternut squash

1 small onion diced

1/2 cup of pine nuts

2 cups of arugula 

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp of butter

1 cup goat cheese 

1 cup of Asiago cheese shredded 

balsamic vinegar to drizzle


1. Prepare the pizza dough as directed.

2. While pizza dough is in the oven cook onions and pine nuts until caramelized

3. Remove pizza dough from oven and let cool

4. Once cooled lightly oil the pizza with olive oil. 

5. Cover the pizza with the butternut ribbons. It’s best to let them curl up and be wavy rather than lie flat against the pizza.

6. Next layer is the caramelized pine nuts and onions, followed by the arugula.

7.Then crumble the goat cheese over the pizza using a fork, followed by the shredded asiago.

8. Return to oven for another 6-10 minutes (long enough to melt the cheese).

9. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar

10. Enjoy! 

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Butternut Squash and Arugula Pizza Food Homemade Recipe Vegetarian arugula butternut squash pizza Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:53:43 GMT
Northern Lights in April I've lived in the Peace Region for almost seven years and I can finally say last night I got to check something off my bucket list... Northern Lights! I drove out just north of Sexsmith with two fellow photographers around 11:30pm. And let me tell you Mother Nature did not disappoint! I think at one point all I was doing was saying "Wow, did you see that?" over and over again.  If you like what you see and are interested in purchasing a print, check out the prints for sale section at the top of the page!

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Aurora Borealis Canada Northern Lights Outside Sexsmith photography Fri, 10 Apr 2015 19:34:51 GMT
Light Painting A few days ago I had the pleasure of dropping in on a friend's photography class while they were doing some light painting. With the help of a lighted hula-hoop, two different performers and a dark room a blast was had by all.

Settings: 7D Mark II, 24-70mm, F/4.0, ISO 100, various shutter speeds from 5 seconds to 15 seconds.

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Creative Light Painting photography Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:50:52 GMT
The Chilly Weather Couldn't Stop This Family -25C and a little bit of snow couldn't stop this family from braving the chilly weather and heading outside for a family session. The reason? In just a matter of days they'll be welcoming a new addition to the family! 


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Grande Prairie Maternity Outside Snow family photography Thu, 05 Feb 2015 00:20:31 GMT
First Creative Shoot of the Year There's so much awesome stuff happening this year that I wanted to take a moment to share one of the things I'm most excited about. For the past year I've had the opportunity to work with a pretty amazing mentor who has been teaching me all about creative lighting. So.... Every month to push myself out of my comfort zone I'm going to be doing a different "Creative Shoot". It's a time for me to pick up my camera and shoot for me! Needless to say I'm very excited to be starting and sharing this journey with all of you.

For my first creative shoot of the year, the concept was simple: Beauty. I was looking for something to add to my portfolio. I rotated between a one and three light setup and although only the first image made it into my portfolio... I had a blast working with these two gorgeous ladies!


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Beauty Creative Fashion Female Lighting photography Sat, 31 Jan 2015 00:06:39 GMT
Bill and Michelle I traveled to Prince George, British Columbia for this wedding. The day before I drove around the ceremony location and scouted out two very different locations to do some shots of just the bride and groom alone. The first was a broken down greenhouse, the other a white picket fence. With the help of an awesome assistant we captured the image that would later be on the back of my business card.

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) British Columbia Prince George bride groom photography wedding Thu, 08 Jan 2015 17:49:20 GMT
George and Cristina Words could not express how excited I was when George and Cristina asked me to be their wedding photographer. You see, George and I use to do the morning radio show together on the Bear in Fort St. John, British Columbia and I've known this adorable couple for almost six years now. The Edmonton weather was amazing, the bride looked beautiful and we managed to squeeze in a stop at Macs for Froster's slush!


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Edmonton bride groom photography wedding wedding party Wed, 07 Jan 2015 22:49:45 GMT
Families Who Play Together, Stay Together! I traveled to Demmitt for this family shoot. It was the end of September and the Fall colors were amazing. The family had such a beautiful home that we spent the afternoon running around and exploring with the children. From leaf fights to hide and seek this family was full of energy and an absolute blast to work with.

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta Outside demmit fall family photography Sat, 03 Jan 2015 17:05:29 GMT
Always On My Toes One of the neatest things about my job is getting to watch my returning client's families grow. I first started shooting this family back in 2013 and they've quickly become one of my favorites. They always keep me on my toes and there is never a dull moment.

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta baby children family grande prairie photography window Sat, 03 Jan 2015 03:23:34 GMT
Babies Babies Babies! What's not to love about babies? Those chubby cheeks and tiny toes scream cuteness! From little girls who were a breeze to work with to little boys who required more patience, 2014 had a little bit of everything.

[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta baby basket boy girl grande prairie newborn photography skateboard Sat, 03 Jan 2015 01:45:00 GMT
Melissa and Kyle I traveled to Whitecourt, Alberta to kick off my 2014 wedding season with this couple. Out of all the weddings I shot this year Melissa and Kyle's was the most laid back. Their easy going nature was so infectious that it was no surprise when we finished with formals early the whole wedding party sat down for an impromptu picnic of KFC!


[email protected] (Beaver Roo Photography) Alberta bride bridge clock tower groom photography wedding whitecourt Thu, 01 Jan 2015 22:08:50 GMT