Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 review

2014 is almost over. It's been a great year with a lot of ups and a few downs. I was making a list earlier of all the highlights and low lights of 2014 and I could honestly only think of one big lowlight. I felt so blessed that I could only think of those. What a great year we have had.

In March I ran a race with the pink series. It was my first race in years. I had a few connections and got signed up for the race through them and I got first in my age group and 6th overall. It was a super easy corse and a really fun race to run. I would highly recommend that race to anyone.
That kind of gave me the racing bug again. We signed up for the Run to Walk race a month later. As we got ready to run that race, we realized that it was founded by a family in our ward who had a daughter we taught in sunday school. That made this race that much more special. We had a blast running it and did pretty well again.

This year we can also say we got J fully potty trained. It took a full year to do it. She's a pretty strong willed child. She was showing signs of being ready before our M joined our family but we didn't start until after she was born. Even though she was showing signs, she didn't want to do it until it was her idea. So my tip for potty training: Don't even start until they are ready to do it. Other wise it will take way more time and energy. We tried absolutely everything on pinterest before she decided it was ok to poop on the toilet.

Trevon and I had our 5th anniversary. We left for the weekend while his mom watched our girls. We spent the night in Park City and it was so fun. That's where we went on out honeymoon so it was fun to go back and do some of the same things. We went on the Alpine slide and the Alpine roller coaster. If you live in Utah, and have never been on either of those, you should plan to go when they open again. We also went to a movie and then before we came home the next day we went and got an hour massage which was amazing. So luck you to have Trevon in my life. He's the best dad and husband. He works so hard to provide and support our family.

M turned one! I can't believe she's getting so big. What a sweet little thing she is. She's getting such a cute little personality and we love her so much.

I started this blog in October right after we got back from our anniversary trip. I never thought I'd get into blogging and I have been so shocked and happy with how much I enjoy blogging. I love getting comments from others sharing their thoughts. I love reading other people's blogs and meeting new people through them. So thanks to all of you who read this little blog.

The only Low I could think of is that in September, after  two weeks of not being able to breathe, I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with onset asthma...great, since then I haven't been able to run more than a mile and a half with out stopping. One of my goals for the new year is to get back into race shape. It's going to be hard work but I'm going to do it and asthma won't stop me!

I hope to have an even greater year next year! Thanks for joining me here for 2014.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Highlights 2014

I hope you all had a very merry Christmas. Ours was fantastic. Here are a few highlights from Christmas week.

Sunday night we went to my mom's family party. We had dinner and Santa came. The expression on J's face when he walked in was amazing. She had no idea what to think. But when he called her name, she ran up and sat right down and told him just what she wanted.

We finished our Christmas shopping on Monday and which was really nice to get done even though it was only stocking stuffers that we had left.

On Tuesday night, we watched Polar Express as a family. We had hot chocolate and snuggled up in our PJs on the couch for some great, fun family time. When the girls were in bed, Trevon went up to work on the doll house and I finished working on the quiet book. My sister came down and we watched a movie and wrapped presents.

Christmas eve was so fun and so busy. Trevon had the day off so in the morning we went and got M a new car seat because hers just wasn't going to work any more. We ended up adding it to her Christmas gifts. Then Trevon took the girls home for lunch and quiet time while I went up to do the last finishing touches of the doll house. Finally! It was quiet the project but it was so worth it. Trevon's mom had her Christmas party that night. So we gathered at her tiny, cozy place for dinner and gifts. We got spoiled again. We got a fun family night gift from his sister and her husband, and then hand made scarfs from his mom. The girls got clothes and books and dolls....we have some great family. Then we went over to my grandma's house to let the girls do the nativity. M was a lamb and J was an angel. She just loved "baby Jesus".  The girls were tired and ready for bed after that so we let them open their Christmas jammies and put them in bed.

 J is the one in the polka dots.
 (sorry for the phone pictures. I didn't take my nice camera to the party...and I didn't get it out until Christmas morning. I also haven't looked at those pictures yet....fail on my part.)

Christmas morning was perfect. After a full winter with no snow, We woke up to about four inches! and It kept snowing all day long. It was beautiful. We took the girls down to see what Santa brought and J's reaction to the doll house was amazing. She was so excited that she got her "shiny blue dollhouse" M is still a little young to catch on to the Christmas gifts stuff but she was glad to open anything we gave her and play with it. They were both very entertained all day. Oh, and I got my sewing machine! I'm so excited to start using it. Time for some new projects. And Trevon got shoes and a watch.

I love how it turned out.  It was a lot of work but it was worth it.  

We went over to Trevon's dad's house that morning for brunch. The girls got lots of more fun things. And Trevon and I got some great stuff too. Then it was nice to just relax and let the girls play and nap for a few hours. I even got a little nap, that never happens.
That night we went to my parents house for Christmas dinner. So much yummy food. I love food. My brother and his family, who live in Ohio, were able to face-time us and it was fun to see what they got for Christmas and to visit with them. We've always been a pretty close family so it's hard when one of us is gone. We were sad they weren't able to come out for Christmas but we were glad we got to spend time chatting with them. We did gifts after dinner and got spoiled again. Trevon and I got a really nice new vacuum which was needed. Our started to suck...haha get it? Anyway, the girls got some more little toys and I think we are set on what we needed and wanted. In fact, I think Jay got just about everything on her list.

Now we are having a day of relaxing and cleaning out what we don't need anymore. J is loving the snow, and trying all her new toys. M is just doing her laps and checking things out.

I'm so glad that I could do this link up with Jenna from Dearest Love. What are your Christmas highlights this year? Or how did Christmas go wrong? I hope it was just as good as ours.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Favorites

Today is the last day before Christmas that I will be posting. So here is a little Christmas card I made (really quickly as you can tell) for all of you. I've never been good at sending cards out, so this is as good as it gets for cards.

I wanted to share some of my Christmas favorites. 

Favorite Tradition

Some of my favorite Christmas traditions are starting to fade away since we are all older now. So it's time to start some of our own.  I know I've said it before, but I grew up with all of my family in the same area. I don't just mean in the same state, I mean, we all basically lived with in a few blocks of each other (with a few exceptions of an aunt and an uncle). So one tradition we had was that on Christmas morning as we were opening gifts, our aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents would slowly make it to each other's house. We usually ended up all gathered at my house. To see what everyone got. It was so much fun. 
My dad always made omelets for breakfast and my mom made bran muffins. Now that I have kids of my own, we've been having cinnamon rolls for breakfast.  Although, I might also make me an omelet too. 

Favorite Movie

White Christmas...Hands down. It's just not Christmas until I've watched it at least once. My sister and I used to sing "Sisters" all year round. 

Favorite Song

I don't know that I have a favorite, but I like the classics the most. You can't go wrong with Bing Crosby Christmas music. 

Favorite Childs Book

Twas the night before Christmas. I had to memorize it in grade school and have loved it ever since. I've been reading it to my girls every day. They like The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey better though. Which is another good one. 

What happens at your home at Christmas time? Do you have any traditions or movies or books that you have to read or watch or do in order for it to be Christmas time for you? What are your kids favorite traditions?

I hope you all have a fantastic holiday and that you carry the true meaning of Christmas with you through the rest of the season. I'm so thankful for this season and for a brother who was willing to go through the things he did so that I could live with God again someday. 

Here is one more video to remember:


Monday, December 22, 2014

Hot Chocolate with Ice Cream

When I was growing up, one of my favorite treats to have was hot chocolate with a scoop of ice cream in it. My grandma taught me this. It was our special treat. It didn't matter if it was in the middle of the summer or if it was freezing outside, any time I had a sleep over at her house, we had popcorn and hot chocolate with ice cream. I've seen this idea on pinterest now, but it's always been my favorite. I don't know where my grandma learned it.
The thing that makes this so good is that ice cream cools off the hot chocolate enough to drink it. But it doesn't water it down. It makes it super, super creamy.
I just make my favorite hot chocolate like normal and then add a scoop in after warming it up. Pretty self explanatory.
Anyway, enjoy!
from me and my grandma

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Christmas Spirit

I haven't had a lot of time to post on here lately with the projects we are doing and getting ready for Christmas. But, I found this video today and it helped me to remember that I need to enjoy this time of year and what it all means, instead of hurrying to this gathering and that party and getting my check list done.

I wanted to share this beautiful clip with all of you.

I hope all of you are having a fantastic holiday season. Remember what the true meaning is and keep that in your hearts all year long. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Community Brew: Generosity

What does generosity mean to you during the holiday season?
  To me, Generosity is giving with out the intent of receiving. Not just receiving a gift back, but receiving anything back. During the holiday season, when I think Generosity, I think of those who don't have as much. Those who are trying to make the holidays special for their family on what little they have. It shouldn't take the season to remind me to give to others, but I'm not all that great at giving. I'm trying to be better at that. This year we are sending money to a friend who is going through some hard things in life. We hope this will help with their holidays and making them feel a little more on their feet. Someday I'd like to be able to do this kind of thing more often, but as Trevon is still in school, we don't have much to give but our friendship and love. Until we do have more to give, We do what we can. 

Why and how are we called to be generous as believers?
  This question makes me think of Christ. He gave everything he could and never expected anything back. He asked us to follow Him, I think that doesn't just apply to the following the gospel, I think that applies to his life. Who He was as a person. 

How is generosity a theme in your life?
  As I stated before, I want to be better at being Generous. There are several times a day I realize that I'm doing things, or acting a certain way, because I'm being selfish. From the way I talk to my kids sometimes, to the way I ignore the homeless people asking for help. I had so many great examples of Generosity in my life, and I find myself thinking more and more about them and about how I can be more like them! 
So glad I was able to join Madison and Kaitlin this link up for the last month of this year. 

What does generosity mean to you? What are you doing this holiday season to be more generous?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Soft Home Made White Bread

On a cold day, what is better than a bowl of soup and some nice, warm, home made bread? Growing up this was always such a great comfort food for me and it still is. Any time someone in my family is sick or having a bad day. Or even when it's just a cold fall or winter day, This is one of my go-to dinners.
This is my favorite white bread recipe. Its soft, fluffy and taste so yummy! 

1/4 c warm water
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 Tbs yeast
mix this in a cup and set it aside to rise.

3 Tbs sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbs shortening
2 cups scalded milk
6-7 cups flour.

In a mixing bowl, put the salt, sugar, and shortening and mix together. Pour hot milk over it and let it cool. When the milk is cool, add the yeast. Then add the flour slowly. (I usually put 6 1/2 cups in but it depends on the day and the texture of the dough. You don't want it sticky but you don't want it firm either. Switch to your kneading paddle and mix for a minute.
 Let the dough rise for two hours, then mix it down for five minutes.

Before rise                                                                  After Rise
 Let it rise again for an hour, then mix it down and divide it into two loafs. Let it rise in the pans for 1-2 hours. 

Before Rise                                                                      After Rise

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Rub butter on top. 
Let it cool before you cut it.

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 stocking stuffer ideas

Are you in need of ideas for stocking stuffers? I have a few ideas for you today. I thought it would be fun to share with you a 5 of my favorite "little" things that I use daily...or at least weekly.

This NYX dark circle concealer has been a life saver for the last few months. I am super make up challenged. I never learned how to put anything besides mascara on, and even with that I put it on  "weird". Not that it looks weird. It's just the way I put it on is weird, I guess. Anyway, My friend introduced me to this stuff and it is amazing. On days that I don't get enough sleep and have baggy eyes, I put a little of this on and you can't even tell. 

This water bottle. I'm sure by now lots of you have seen it. The reason I like this one is that when I go to the gym, I can stick my membership card in the "pocket" and my keys on the carabiniere on top and that cuts on all of my clutter to carry. I can just grab this and my phone and go in. 

This pen! Oh this pen is awesome. It's a Pilot Frixon pen. You can use this pen on basically anything. I use this pen on paper and on fabric. Here is the coolest part: you can erase it. There is an eraser on the bottom of this pen and I've never seen an erasable pen that gets all the markings off, this one does. Also, if you use it one fabric, it comes off with an iron or with a hairdryer. So you don't have to wait for the marks to fade like other fabric pens. You can buy them in packs with different colors or just get two pens. You can buy them at any office supply store or at some fabric stores. I know that the Cotton Shop in Provo, UT has them.

 Girlie Glue. Do you have a baby girl? This right here is the best stuff to stick bows in. Heck, you can use it as a gel for boys or girls. Just put a little dab in your had and add a little water. I've even used it, instead of bobby pins, to hold my hair back. It's all natural. Honey free. and it's super easy to wash out. It comes out in water.  When Evey was a baby, I could keep a girlie glue bow in her hair for about 3 days! If you know someone who is having a baby girl, this is THE gift for them. Also, you can use it for about a million other things too, not just hair. 

My Roo Sport. This is a pretty new thing. And this is my "old one", I'm anxiously waiting for my new one to get to me. But the Roo Sport is a way to exercise "hands-free". It clips onto your pants and you can put cards, phones, ipods, keys, anything in it. I use it to put my iphone in and run with it. It even has a place for your headphones to come out. This thing is my running buddy. I love to run with music so this is the best thing ever. You don't even notice you have it on. It's super light and there is no bouncing or sliding when it's on. This is perfect for the fitness nerd in the family!

These would all make fabulous gifts! I hope it gave all of you guys some ideas.
I would love to hear some of your stocking stuffer ideas and go-tos. Please, leave a comment below.

got to do this fun link up with dearest-love today.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Unselfish Service

As I was thinking of what to write about today, I decided to say a quick prayer and ask our Heavenly Father what He would want me to write today. So I hope that someone, somewhere needed this message today. This is what I felt I needed to share. This is a "mormon message" that I came across this afternoon and wanted to share with all of you. You don't have to be Mormon to know the truth in this message of Unselfish service.

I'm so thankful for the family I was born into and for the example of service that my entire family was to me. I was blessed to live with in a few blocks of my aunts and uncles and all of my cousins, as well as a couple houses away from both of my grandparents. Both sides of my family are great examples. When your car breaks down, you just let one uncle or your dad know and they all show up to help fix it. When you need to move, you don't even have to spread the word, somehow they all show up. When someone passes away or a baby is born, and there is a meal that needs to be brought in, my grandma was always the first to jump on board. She was always happy to teach me something new. She was the first person I went to when I got my first bee sting as a kid and didn't know how to take care of it. She stopped what she was doing the second I walked in and put witch hazel on it to take the sting out. There our countless other examples to me of service. 

As the Christmas season approaches I have felt the need to teach my girls something about service. They might be young but that's the best time to learn it. And the bets way to learn it is through doing and through example. I know I already said I was going to start working on this but I'm going to make a goal now to do one act of service at least once a week. And, I'm going to include my girls in it in any way that I can. That's a big thing for me because I have some weird anxiety thing going on with messes lately. 

Who wants to join me? Is anyone interested in doing some sort of service link up? Somewhere we can share each other's ideas of serving others? Think of all the happiness we can share by serving each other. And I think we need that in the world we have today. I'd love to get some fun service ideas from you. Comment if you have any!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Campbell's Products

Today I want to de a review on some Campbell's products that I got as a free sample. Here is what I got from Crowdtap:

  • Slow Kettle Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Chunky Beer and Cheese soup
  • Speghetti-o's
  • Prego Alfredo sauce
  • Creamy Parmesan Chicken skillet mix 
  • Portobello mushroom Easy for Cooking soup
  • Great for cooking Queso sauce
  • Cream Starter
  • A cutting board
  • A wood spoon
  • A tote bag
  • A shaker cup
A huge box of stuff! I was so excited!

Ok, So for starters, the cutting board is small but it would be great to pack for camping or trips. The tote bag, honestly I haven't used. Not much of a "big bag" fan. The wood spoon has honestly become one of my favorite spoons to use.  And the shaker cup didn't work at all. Although I'm not really sure how to use it in the first place....maybe I'm a little naive or something, anyone know what you use a shaker cup for? I would seriously love to know. Please, comment.

Now to the stuff that they probably really wanted me to critique.
Slow Kettle Chicken Noodle Soup. It came in a great little tub that I could keep the soup in if it wasn't finished and store in the fridge. A huge plus because I don't have a lot of tupperware. This soup was quick to make (like any other canned soup. you just warm it up on the stove or in the microwave. It tasted pretty good. I would compare it to Progresso soups.

Chunky Beer and Cheese soup. My husband took this to work and came home saying he couldn't even get through it. We don't drink beer, and obviously the alcohol cooks out so we were not opposed to eating it. He just said it tasted awful and he had a stomach ache the rest of the day. So that's a no go. We wouldn't even consider buying it again. And to be honest, we wouldn't have bought it in the first place.
Speghetti-o's.  Nothing new here. My one year old loved it. The only difference between this and the original Speghetti-o's is the packaging it came in.
Prego Alfredo Sauce..EW EW EW! It tasted like stinky feet. I kid you not. I hope I don't offend someone who likes Prego, but they will not be getting our business. I can make far better Alfredo sauce from scratch in as much time as it takes to warm this one up. And it taste a million times better. We didn't even end up serving it for dinner because we didn't want to waste all the pasta. Thank heaven we tried it before dumping it on the pasta.
Creamy Parmesan Chicken Skillet Mix. This was not too bad. It was really easy to use and it tasted pretty good. I think I made chicken and broccoli with some penne. I forgot to take a picture though. I would buy this again on a week that I knew was going to have lots of busy days and that I'd need some quick dinners.
Portobello mushroom Easy for Cooking soup. Not bad, but not good. I don't like mushrooms and I don't think I'd buy this again. It was too strong of a mushroom flavor.
I haven't tried the queso yet. I haven't had anything to make it for yet.
Cream starter. Now this I liked. It was so nice to have on hand to make soups or sauces with. It didn't really add a flavor but it helped a lot with thickening things. I think i even used it in gravy one day. I'd buy that again.

Has anyone else tried any of these products yet? What did you think? How did you use them? I'd love to hear for some future ideas, please comment below.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Helping the Christmas Spirit

I've been reading a lot of Christmas-y blogs lately and I'm loving them. I haven't been able to get any posts of the Christmas season up yet so I wanted to make this one a Christmas post.

It hasn't felt a lot like Christmas to me yet this season. We live in Utah, where normally, we have snow from October to April. But this year we haven't had much snow yet. I think it snowed once in November. And for me to be sad about that is huge because I hate winter and cold. But I'm ready for the snow to help me feel Christmas.

I decided that since it doesn't feel like Christmas, I need to do some work on that. So my goal is to do one thing every day that makes it Christmas to me. Here is a list of ideas to make it Christmas:

  1. Hot chocolate--lots of hot chocolate
  2. Christmas shopping
  3. wrapping gifts
  4. decorating 
  5. parties--Family parties, work parties, ward parties...
  6. listen to Christmas music
  7. Christmas crafts
  8. watch Christmas movies
  9. read the Christmas story--teach it to my girls
  10. service
  11. sledding (please bless it snows!)
  12. baking
  13. date night
  14. reading Christmas stories
  15. LDS Christmas devotional
  16. See Santa

We've already got to do a few of these this year. Like the Christmas Devotional, if you haven't ever seen or read it, you really should. It's a great reminder of what Christmas is really about for all faiths. We decorated the day after Thanksgiving. That's always been when we decorate for Christmas. J and I made a Christmas collage one day.
I think it turned out fantastic, it's a great addition to our Christmas decorations. As for serving others, I'm going to challenge all of you and myself to serve one person every day at lest until Christmas. This really helps the Christmas spirit for everyone. It can be anything from doing a secret santa to sending someone an uplifting text message to brighten their day. I will do my best to add the act of service I did to every post until Christmas.

Do you have any fun traditions that help you feel more in the Christmas spirit? Comment below! And if you want to join in on the service, feel free to add a comment of what you did if you feel inclined to do so.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Roasted Tomato Basil Soup

This is one of my favorite soups to make. It's so yummy and not too hard. I believe originally this recipe came from foodnetwork.com but I tweaked it just a tiny bit here and there to make it the way I like it.

You'll need:
2 1/2 lbs or tomatoes. (I usually use roamas but any tomato will do)
4 cloves of garlic peeled, more if you like.
1 small yellow onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
1 quart of chicken stock
2 bay leaves
4 tbs butter
1Tbs- 1/4 c basil depending on your taste
3/4 c heavy cream

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut tomatoes and onion in halves, place on a cookie sheet. Drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper over tomatoes, onion, and garlic. Roast for 20-30 minutes or until caramelized. Transfer to a large pot.

Add 3/4 of the chicken stock, bay leaves, and butter. Bring to a boil and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Add Basil. Remove from heat and use a hand blender to puree the soup until smooth. (I used to do it that way but I got an awesome Blendtec blender fro Christmas last year so I got rid of my hand blender and use that instead. I highly suggest that if you have one. It turns out much smoother that way.)

Return the heat to low and add cream. Adjust the consistency with the remaining stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Note: If you're using a blendtec or any other kind of blender, I suggest you break it up and blend it in groups. Otherwise you'll have a huge, hot mess (seriously hot though) to clean up and you won't have dinner. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Family Photo Tips

Yesterday I got to guest post  over at Officially Stoked so I thought I'd share with all of you the post I got to share with them.  Here it is.

Today I decided to share some of my tips on preparing for family pictures.  Christmas is almost here and that means we are all rushing to get our Christmas cards out. As an "on the side" photographer, it gets really busy  this time of year and families get stressed so, I hope, this list will help your planning and your photo sessions go a little smoother.

1. Plan ahead! Seriously, nothing makes family pictures more stressful than doing a last minute photo session.

  • Outfits: What colors are you going to wear? I like to stick to the three color rule. Don't have everyone match in the same shirt. Instead, pick three colors and have everyone wear a variation of them.  
    This is my family! We stuck to blues, whites, and pinks. 
  • Location: Do you like indoors or outdoor pictures more? How far are you willing to travel to meet your photographer? What style are you going for? If you are doing an outdoor session, do you want trees and grass and mountains in your picture? Or are you going for more of an urban feel with old buildings and graffiti? 
  • Schedule: When you find a photographer that has the style you're looking for, try to schedule at least a week in advance. It's a busy time of year. Then longer people have to plan around a session the better. The photographer won't feel so rushed and you're pictures with turn out better. 
2. Prepare
  • Let your family know well in advance when and where you're taking pictures, as well as what colors you're planning on wearing. You don't want to be walking out the door and have your teenager put up a fight because they had other plans or because they want to wear their favorite black top when everyone else is wearing browns and yellows. It just stresses people out more to change things last minute. And we want happy, smiling faces, not forced or scowling faces. 
  • Remind your family, over and over. Make sure their plans haven't changed
  • Get in touch with your photographer. Let them know if you have something in particular that you're wanting. Is there a special prop you want to use? Are you looking for family and single pictures? Do you want candid shots or more posed? All these things will change the way your pictures look. Let them know that you want to reenact a certain photo, or that there was this darling photo of a baby on pinterest that you just have to get? Keep in mind that you want to stay with in what the photographer does best. Look at their style and remember that their style says everything about who they are artistically. Respect that. 
3. Your session. Here are several tips to keep your session easy, stress free and quick.
  • If you have young kids, it always helps to have a bribe in place. If they are old enough to bribe them with an ice cream treat if they listen and cooperate during the session, do it. If they aren't quite that old yet, bring little treats for in between poses to help remind them that they are doing a good job and if they keep it up, they get another one. Do not bring messy snacks though. Stick to fruit snacks or pretzels or something like that so you don't have to worry about chocolate faces or sticky fingers or hair. 
  • Relax. Let the photographer do their job. I can't tell you how much easier it is when the parents realize they don't have to do the posing or even make the kids smile. When Mom is calm, the family is calm and everything will work out.  Unless your photographer says "hey mom, it looks like little Johnny isn't warming up to me quite yet. Can you come stand right behind me and make him laugh?" don't do anything except sit close by incase your child needs you. Trust me on this, I worked at Kiddie Kandids for three years and I always had to remind parents to sit in the corner by the posing table because their kid was so overwhelmed with everyone trying to make them smile. Very rarely did I actually ask for help with that. When the parents listened to that advice, the pictures turned out perfect. 
  • Smile. If you're smiling, the picture will look like it was supposed to be that way, even if the kids aren't looking or they are crying, it will look like its supposed to be that way. 
    this is such a great example of this, as well as of a candid photo. The kids didn't want to look and smile so we had Mom hold and talk to the boys. She's smiling and we got this beautiful shot of them interacting. I love it.
  • Be flexible. Be willing to try a different pose, even if it's not what you were thinking. The photographer can see everything that the camera will see. So if you're wanting Dad to hold Sally but the photographer wants her to stand. Be willing to make that adjustment. Maybe Sally's hair was covering Dad's face. 
  • Give kids a break. Sometimes it helps to take a break from the session to let the kids relax a little. And just give them a break in general, some kids just don't smile in pictures. That doesn't mean the pictures look bad. 
    Here is a good example of kids who just don't smile in pictures. I know this because these boys are my nephews. They just don't do the smiling thing in pictures. But, look how great this picture turned out. Their faces are still so sweet and the picture still looks awesome.

4. After your session, what's next?
  • Bring a check or cash to pay unless otherwise told. Most photographers will ask for at least a percentage down at the time of the session. Most also don't have a way to run a credit card on them all the time. Be ready to pay in cash or with a check. 
  • Arrange with the photographer a way to get your pictures. I usually mail a cd of the pictures to my customers but some may require you to pick them up or use email. If they do offer to mail a cd, make use you give them a good address and ask about shipping cost, some may cover it but others will expect you to pay for it. Especially if it's not their first choice in getting the pictures to you.
  • Give it time. It's a busy time of year, give the photographers time to edit what pictures need editing and getting the pictures to you.
  • Spread the word. Did you love the way your pictures turned out? As a photographer I love it when I know someone enjoyed their session because they referred someone or posted them all on Facebook and tag my business page on it. 
You're photographer's are awesome, and you want awesome photos.  Put these tips into play and things will turn out great for your pictures! I promise.

Do you have any favorite photo tips, or even a memorable photo session? Comment below to share with me!

All these pictures are my own, meaning I took them. You shouldn't use pictures that aren't yours without permission. If you want to see more of my pictures go to jennyalbertsonphotography.blogspot.com. If you want to read my personal blog, go to allthesethingsbyjenny.blogspot.com

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


I know I already posted today, and it's rare that I post more than once a day, but I love doing the currently link up. So here it goes.

Watching: right now I'm not watching anything, but we went to see MockingJay part 1 last weekend. Holy Intense! I'm a movie cryer, so I cried like, four times. But it was really awesome. They did a great job on the movie. And I definitely left wanting to watch part two RIGHT NOW. Anyone else watch it yet?

Listening: Right now I'm listening to my three year old's movie, "Rock-a-doodle". Don't know if anyone else has seen or heard of that movie. It was mine growing up and now my daughter loves it. Thank heaven we found my grandpa's old VHS player. Also, we of course have lots of christmas music playing. And, going back to Mocking Jay, I've had "Then Hanging Tree" stuck in my head since we watched it. I've always had a knack for picking lyrics up really quick so when I started singing it the next day my husband was surprised I knew all the words already. The problem is, now it won't leave my head.

Wrapping: I haven't wrapped presents yet. I just got some of them in the mail today and the others are projects that I have to finish before I wrap them. Some of them are really big projects, like a doll house. Lets all pray I finish on time!
this is part of the doll house. It's a pretty big job.

Making: Home made bread. mmmm. So good. Also a doll house, and a quiet book.

Anticipating: The end of finals for Trevon. First one is tonight. After this semester he only has one more left. The end is in site!

Thanks for the link up Jenna and Anne.

Christmas cookies, a guest post

I am so excited to have a guest post today! So, here is a very delicious looking recipe from the lovely Suzanna Davies from onehooliemama.blogspot.com

I was in a baking mood a couple of weeks ago and wanted to come up with something quick and easy for moms to have in their arsenal for the "surprise! we need cookies in an hour" scenario.  I mean, let's be honest, with all the craziness that can happen during the holiday season, things can fall through the cracks sometimes and having tricks up our sleeves can be very helpful.

Without further ado, here are the 5-ingredient black & white peppermint cookies

What you will need:

cake mix (technically, I suppose, for the black & white cookies, you need six ingredients - a chocolate cake mix and a white cake mix, but just roll with it, 5-ingredient cookies sounds better)
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil
peppermint extract
candy canes

Preheat the oven to 350

Mix together the cake mix (one variety at a time), eggs, and oil.  Add peppermint extract to taste (I used about a teaspoon and a half per cake mix).

Put first batch aside, and prepare the second batch.

Using a rubber spatula, mix the two together, without mixing too much.  You're looking for swirls, not a well-blended mix.

Unwrap your candy canes and use a meat tenderizer or hammer to crumble them.

Spoon out your batter onto parchment-paper-lined cookie sheets (I made my cookies larger, using a tablespoon to measure them out, but you can make them whatever size you want).  Sprinkle the crushed candy canes on top of the cookie dough.

Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes.  They will be very soft coming out of the oven, so let them cool on the baking sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack. 

One of the best things about this recipe is that it can be customized using whatever you have in your pantry.  Perhaps give a red velvet cake with almond extract a try?  Or devils food cake with white chocolate chips or macadamia nuts? 

I'd love to hear what varieties you try - leave a comment below!