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Shamrock Pretzel Pops
Saturday, March 05, 2016
By Stacie
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I love desserts.  And I am thinking you do, too.  Or at least your kids do! I'm always looking for ways to do fun things with my kids at home. They both enjoy helping with cooking, especially when they get a yummy treat after. I decided the best way to do this was to make a plan and be prepared - otherwise, we just get too busy for it.  With all of their activities, my work, and them going back and forth between two homes, this is really the only way for us to accomplish it.  When we made our Valentine's muffins as part of Celebrating Valentine's Day, I found that having everything set up and ready to go when they got home from school made it even easier.  Ah, the joy of being prepared! So, here we go on our first excursion into desserts together - I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

I chose this recipe, because it was another fun way for the kids and I to get in the mood for St. Patrick’s Day!  Of course, I found this recipe on Pinterest.  The original post is from Ana at Mommy’s Bundle.  Please check out her site to get the original recipe! She has wonderful "along the way" images to show you how to do it all!

 

 

I was a little nervous about finding green chocolate, but Walmart had it - pretty lucky for me since it was the first place I looked for it. They also had the lollipop sticks.

 

 

I had three helpers who were more than excited to help make a big mess with the melted chocolate.  I think we were all looking forward to that even more than the end result! My youngest helper needed help getting the pretzels in the right shape on the parchment paper, but was able to do the rest of the work completely by herself.

 

 

Our pops were certainly not as beautiful as Ana’s from Mommy’s Bundle, but we still loved the whole process. We decided that the more you do, the better you get at making them look prettier.  We didn’t use any sprinkles on ours, but maybe next time!

 

 

Leave a  comment below, and let me know if you’ve tried this recipe or if you have suggestions to make it even better.  Thanks for reading!

 

Related Posts: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day With Kids

 
Momlife: Celebrating St. Patrick's Day With Kids
Thursday, March 03, 2016
By Stacie
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This month is full of celebrations for us.  We've got a bunch of birthdays in the family, and of course, St. Patrick's Day and Easter are coming up.  This year, St. Patrick's Day falls on a day that I have my kids, so I am gearing up for our celebration for the holiday!

 

You saw our Celebrating Valentine's Day, and our St. Patrick's Day is following a similar formula. Easy is the key for us - or should I say for me! If it takes too much work, it will get pushed out the way to make time for things like homework and errands and snuggling.  All very important, but this can totally be worked in without too much struggle!

 

Because we had a school holiday in February, we actually already did one of the planned holiday activities - we made Shamrock Pretzel Pops! I'll tell you more about that in a later post, though - complete with a recipe for you to try, too!

 

For now, I'd just like to share the activities I am planning to do with the kids on St. Patrick's Day itself.  We don't usually do too much for this holiday.  I will be honest and tell you the main reason is because I've never planned it well enough.  It has always seemed to sneak up on me between all the family birthdays.  Sad, but true.  This year, I am on it like white on rice!

 

To plan for this, I have gotten some chocolate gold coins to give to the kids as a little present. But I am going to make them work for it - enter the joy of Pinterest printables!  Here are the ones we will be using this year:

 

-This scavenger hunt from Happy Home Fairy:



-This maze from Honey & Lime:




-This word search from Cook. Craft. Love.:



You can go to my St. Patrick's Day board at Pinterest to find more of these, as well as other crafts, coloring pages, and crossword puzzles.  I'd love to hear what you have planned to celebrate this holiday with your children.  Do you have family traditions that you do every year? Leave a comment below, and have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

 

Related Posts: Celebrating Valentine's Day With Kids

 
What's Inspiring Me Now - Winter 2016
Monday, February 29, 2016
By Stacie
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This month has been full of inspiration to me, which is a good thing. Sometimes I find the inspiration and creativity a little lacking, and I’ve come to realize that I just feel happier when I am feeling inspired.  I thought I’d take a moment to share with you some of the things that have brought me a bit of joy over the past month.

 

CaptureYour365

 

In the world of picture taking, everyone can be involved.  I decided to get back into the Instagram world, but was a little concerned that I’d end up not being able to figure out what to post or that I’d get bored and quit again. Enter CY365

 

CY365 is a project that encourages you to take a picture every single day.  A rather daunting task that can get overwhelming quickly.  You can do the project any way you like, but several years ago, Katrina Kennedy created a site that makes it so much easier - and fun!  She offers a list of prompts every month to get you going.  She also has paid versions that give you help with taking better photographs and delving deep into photography principles. For now, I just use the free prompts and set a reminder to take a picture that meshes with the prompt in some way.  I love it because you can interpret the prompts any way you like, you can go off-topic (no one will tell you that you’re doing it wrong), and you can follow the hashtag #cy365 on Instagram to be inspired even more.  The community is amazingly supportive of one another.  

 

Here are few of my posts from this past month:



You can see the rest of my posts, by going to my Instagram page. 


Color Schemes

 

I love seeing color schemes pop up on my Pinterest feed.  While I’m not planning a wedding, I find the color schemes showing wedding details are the most inspiring to me. 

 

Here are two of my favorites from this month:

 

 

You can find more like this at the Fabmood website.

 


 

You can find more like this by going to the ColorPalettes website.

 

You can see more by going to my Pinterest board on color schemes

 

Nature Challenge

 

A family friend challenged me to post one nature picture a day for a week on Facebook. I have started this, but haven’t gotten the film developed yet. So far, it has been a lot of fun doing something that seems very different to me from taking portraits. I am excited to see the film. 

 

What has been inspiring you recently? I'd love to hear - leave a comment!

 
Happy Birthday, Gus!
Thursday, February 25, 2016
By Stacie
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Gus came to get his birthday pictures done, and I was excited to see what he would choose to wear.  For a time, Gus only wore ties to school, because he said when he looked handsome, he acted like a gentleman.  Well, this gentleman is certainly growing up fast.



Gus is celebrating being 10 years old this month, and decided to go with the cool kid, pre-teen casual look.  It suits him well, since he’s a pretty cool kid! As part of the process for birthday sessions, I encourage parents to let their kids choose what they will wear for the session so we can remember what their true current personality was when we look back over the years.  



Gus was so easy to photograph. He did exactly what I requested of him, and even had a few ideas himself!



What a joy to have this boy in front of my camera!  His smile was contagious and bright.  I can’t wait to photograph him again!



To book your child’s birthday session with me, please call me at (240) 252-9236 or fill out my contact form here.


 Related Posts:  Happy Birthday, Tiny! , Introducing The Birthday Club

 
My Film Saga - February Update
Monday, February 22, 2016
By Stacie
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As you know, I started my 2016 film saga last month. I managed to shoot three rolls of film that I sent off to thefindlab.com to get developed. They were tricky rolls, though - one expired 35mm roll that I shot with my Canon Rebel, one expired 120 roll that I shot with my Seagull, and one 120 roll of Portra 400 that I shot on my newtome Hasselblad.

 

I had some challenges to meet when I was getting started. I wasn't sure what to shoot, or what was worthy to shoot, and the weather wasn't conducive to running around town to do street photography (soon, though!).  Plus, my goals were to really shoot just to find out how the camera works. In the end, I also knew that since some of my rolls were expired (I have many that I will be going through this year), I didn't want to shoot "important" things, because I had no clue how they would turn out. I really didn't have any exciting subjects, but I did especially enjoy shooting some Legos and the construction at the kids' school with the Hasselblad. Here is a random crazy shot from my expired film showing me my shutter speed was way too slow - but still pretty cool result:



I am really loving that Hasselblad.  Its a beast, and so beautiful! I am still learning, and still have to think about how to load film into it. I've only loaded film twice into at this point, but I will get the hang of it quick.  I found a really fantastic video about loading film into it that is way more helpful than the manual.

 

One of the other challenges that I am facing is taking notes.  I have no record of what my settings were for any of the pictures.  Unlike shooting digital, none of that is recorded unless I do it by hand.  Part of me thinks this would be a good way to learn the way the film works (not the expired film - that's a crapshoot), but if I am using a lightmeter each time to find the "correct" exposure, I'm not sure it really matters.  I am still working through this in my mind and occasionally write down notes about what I've shot. I messed up pretty good on my first Hasselblad shot - I didn't use a lightmeter.  I fell prey to "look how gorgeous it looks in the viewfinder" and just focused on focusing on the little Legos. A bit later in the day, I realized what I had done, but couldn't find my lightmeter, so I grabbed my digital camera to use as my lightmeter, then reshot.  My first shot:


 

You can see here the comparison between my digital camera shot (first image below) and the Hasselblad shot (second image below) that I took using the same settings once I realized my error:


 


When I received the scans back from thefindlab.com, I was holding my breath expecting nothing special, but honestly hoping that the Hasselblad shots were decent.  I knew the expired film ones wouldn't be anything like what I shot, but I had no clue how they would be different from my expectations.  One of the best parts about thefindlab.com is that you can choose levels of development - what I mean is that you can just get your images developed, you can get them developed and they can include commentary on how to improve your photography, or even more choices.  I decided since I am really trying to learn, having someone who wasn't here with me while I was taking the photographs giving some input would be very helpful.  I was blown away before I even looked at my scans.  The comments were encouraging and so informative. For me, it was well worth the additional investment to have the input from the pros at the lab, and I intend to continue to use this option.

 

I learned from my expired film scans that when using expired film, I'm going to get darker and more grainy photos, so I will need to add at least one stop of exposure when I'm using my expired films. I also learned that cloudy days will need a stop of exposure on non-expired film, even when using a lightmeter.  This is something that I forgot about while using digital, and I think this is a good place for me to start experimenting. Unless, of course, we can start getting some sunshine around here again!  See how dark and grainy they are?


 

 


And I did manage to get a decently exposed shot of the construction at the school with the Hasselblad (thank you, lightmeter!):


 

All in all, I was pretty excited about the whole process this month, and I am super excited about shooting more film over the next few weeks.  I will let you know how it goes at the end of March.  Until then, please leave a comment below so that I know you were here. Let me know if you've ever shot film or if you do now.  I'd love to hear about your experiences, too!

 

Related Posts: My Film Saga Begins