Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Photography. Show all posts

Five Movies To Watch On Valentine's Day (And Other Fun)



Well, it's here! The day that keeps February from being a throwaway month.  The day of love.  Valentines's Day!

In the spirit of the day, I thought today's old-fashioned blog post could surround the holiday.  How often do major holidays land on a Tuesday, after all?  Not often.

(If you are here for the movie suggestions, scroll down.)


Valentine's Day Spirit

I'm sure you are all well aware by now that I love Valentine's Day - mainly because every year I mention repeatedly how I love Valentine's Day.  If you need to get into the Valentine's Day spirit, I suggest these previous musings on the subject.


Now that we are all on the same page...

The year that Gwen was born I started taking a Valentine's Day photo of the kids each year, so in the spirit of tradition I did the same this year.  I think this might be my favorite setup because it was so colorful!  The kids did most of the painting for those hearts, and they loved the little background I set up.




Best decision of 2016 - painting the house that grey color.  I just love it so much.

(More adorable kid photos on my family Instagram today!)


Valentine's Day Buckets

For the kids' Valentine's gifts I had to be a little thrifty this year, so we just kept it simple.






Cute Valentine's Buckets - Target
Educational Card Decks (wrapped in DIY wrapping paper) - Target
Valentine's Pencils - Walmart
Glittery Hearts - Walmart
Rolos - Anywhere

As of this typing they haven't seen their Valentine's treats yet, but I'm confident they'll be a hit.

I ordered a present for Derek a couple of weeks ago, but it has yet to arrive.  I was quite disappointed by this, because Derek always out-does me when it comes to gift giving, and I was excited to out-do him this time.  I've decided instead to sneak a little Valentine's gift into his work bag for each day leading up to the arrival of his gift.  That will keep up the suspense and gift-giving excellence, right?



Old School Movies For Valentine's Day 

Excuse me for using my old-fashioned post for something slightly Pinterest-y.  Last week I bemoaned the fact that there are very few new chick flicks out these days, and I am still stretching to think of a recent good romantic comedy.  I don't like my romantic movies heavy in any sense.  I appreciate light and happy.  I considered sharing my favorite modern chick flicks, but then I realized that I am sure all of you reading this blog have seen those many times over, so I reached a little farther back.  I present to you, for your Valentine's Day viewing consideration:

The African Queen (1951) - I admit, it's been quite a while since I watched this one, but I may have to remedy that soon.  Humphrey Bogart! Katherine Hepburn! A quirky love story that takes place on a boat! I can almost guarantee it will leave you grinning, for one reason or another.

How To Marry A Millionaire (1953) - Lauren Bacall! Marilyn Monroe! I realize I should probably stop exclaiming all these actor names, because unless you already into old movies it won't really make a difference to you.  But, just trust me, it's a winning combination.  This movie is funny, and outrageous, and just cute.  An old-school romantic comedy if ever there was one.

The Shop Around The Corner (1940) - Remember You've Got Mail (how could you not)?  This is the movie that inspired that movie.  I watched it several years ago, and thought it was different than the original but not in a way that ruined either one!

McClintock! (1963) - Imagine a John Wayne western and a romantic comedy got married and had a baby.  This is that movie.  Can't picture it?  Let me tell you, it's a lot of fun!  About a married couple on the brink of separation as they reconnect, all set in the old west.

If A Man Answers (1962) - And this one I'd call more of a "Galentine's Day" movie.  Not that you couldn't watch with your husband, but there is some (respectful) comparing of husbands to dogs, so it's more fun to chuckle at it with your girlfriends than with your man!

A couple of these are one Netflix, but if you don't have any luck there, I suggest checking your local library!

What are your Valentine's date plans (if you have any?).  We went bowling and shopping last week, so we'll probably just hang out and watch a movie tonight.

 (Photo taken by Wyatt!)


Old School Blogger Shoutout

I think I need to create a spreadsheet because I'm losing track of who I already mentioned! 

Elizabeth from Life In St. Petersburg - Elizabeth is an American mom living in Russia.  I always find her posts interesting, whether she delves into Russian culture or not!

Carol from Pur et Simple - Carol is a mom to eight kids spread across 20 years - so she has grown kids and little ones.  It's interesting to me to read what that looks like since mine are a lot closer together!

Both of these ladies are relatively newer reads to me, but it's so interesting to peek inside life with kids in different stages and places!

Who are your favorite old school bloggers?  If I don't get some new suggestions this section is going to peter out in the next couple weeks.  Or I might switch it to specific post shout-outs.  What do you think?  

Comment below if I haven't mentioned you yet and you'd like to be featured, or tell me your favorite old-fashioned blog to read (and read this post and this post again if you need a refresher on what I mean by "old-fashioned").

What I'm Drinking: Diet Lime Coke. I know. Where's the tea?  It's just a Diet Coke kind of day.









Hikes, Hurts, And Haircuts



Does anyone else have a hard time getting back to the rhythm of life after New Year's?  This week feels like the first "normal" week since before Christmas - and it's not even actually normal since we had a long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.  I'm declaring today an honorary Tuesday, so this old-fashioned post is a day late (but not really, because it's an honorary Tuesday).

A Winter Walk

I am happy to report that our sickness last week was fairly short-lived.  I had about a day and a half of feeling miserable, and then I felt almost totally better the next day.  A couple days after we had all seemed to recover from our cold I was definitely feeling the cabin fever though.  So I decided we'd take a winter walk!  I see no reason why we can't still enjoy the outdoors in the winter (we just have to bundle up first).  I drove us all to a stream, and the kids had a grand ole time poking through the ice with sticks.  It was a short walk, but it was lovely.  I think we might do it again this week.



























First Friendship Hurt

Today I sat down to type this with my bowl of mini wheats, Gwen sitting in the chair next to me.  Then I heard "Bobby* doesn't talk to me anymore."  I looked up, and she was looking at me with big, sad brown eyes.  She just looked at me, because I'm the mom and it's my job now to explain these things and make them better.  And my heart broke a little, and I didn't know what to say to my sweet little four-year-old with her first friendship hurt.

I remember the first time it occurred to me that my children were going to be hurt by their friends.  When Wyatt was about two years old, he made a little friend in his nursery class at church.  Every time I sent him in, his friend would grab his arm and include him in whatever the kids were playing.  I stood outside the nursery window and watched this once, and I just remember feeling that squeeze in my heart.  I was so happy he had a little friend, but I was also strangely scared.  What if his friend dumped him eventually?  What if the friend decided he liked playing with someone else more and Wyatt felt left out?

I've had my share of friendship hurts, but it's even harder for me to think about my kids being hurt.  I know it's the nature of the beast, so to speak.  You can't really venture out and make the good friends without also taking the potential for hurt that comes with it, but knowing that doesn't make it easier to watch your children as they take steps into the friendship minefield.  It's only a matter of time.  I just pray that they'll find friends who are good enough to make the risks worth it.

I looked at Gwen, grasping for words.  I mumbled something about little boys going through a stage where they only want to play with the other boys, and said "I'm sorry, honey."  It seemed to be good enough.  Now she's bouncing around Clarice's high chair and laughing, friendship woes forgotten.

I'm the one still sitting here thinking about it.

Hair Color and Cut

Moving on to something more superficial, this week is not only inauguration week (for which I've planned a whole little President unit study for our homeschool), but it's also haircut week!  For me, and for the boys (because I need to break out the razor and give them a haircut this week).  I still can't bear to cut Gwen's hair.

On Saturday I'm getting my hair cut and colored.  This is what it looks like now:



I think it looks fine now, but I'm overdue for a trim.  The shape is getting a little wonky, and I wouldn't mind an inch or so taken off (not too much because I want to grow it out a little for the summer, but we'll see).  The part I'm having a hard time with is the color.  I'll probably just get my usual blonde and red highlights, but part of me wonders if I should try something new.

What is "in" these days?  I rarely color or highlight my hair, and I am definitely not up to date on current hair trends.  I kind of do my own thing, at least thus far, but I am going to ask my hairstylist/friend if she has any ideas.  I kind of like these (ignore the purple and blue ideas, those are for if/when I get up the nerve someday - which is not today).

Brunette Friends, do you color or highlight your hair?  What's your favorite look?  Should I try something new or stick with the old stand-by?

I'll post an updated picture next week!

What I'm Drinking: Celestial Seasonings Coconut Thai Chai.  Think of a more summery spin on chai tea.  It's good!

Old School Blogger Shoutout:

Felicia at Behind The Yellow Door - My dear friend Felicia has jumped on the old-fashioned blogging bandwagon!  She wrote a post about her New Year's Goals, and I think I need to steal her book goal for myself (too many books, you know).

Bekah at Shafferland - Bekah is a newer blog friend, and I have really been enjoying getting to know her better through her blog!

*Bobby is not the real name.  But it seems like a great fake little boy name, right?










Here's My Christmas Card To You!



I love sending and receiving Christmas cards.  It's one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season! Almost every time I pick up the mail I have a card waiting for me from a sweet friend, and it just completely brightens my day! The Christmas card mail basically makes my whole year.  (Though I have to say, it's been a slower card year than some.  I have a good collection, but not the same as last year.)

If I could, I would send every one of my blog friends a Christmas card.  I so appreciate all of you who have stuck around during the ups and downs of blogging, and I love having this space to connect with you!  I'm blessed to know so many of you, and even if you have read and never commented, I feel like we are friends in a way.

So consider this my Christmas card to you! I wish I could send you all a physical card, but this will have to do.  This is the card we sent out this year (when we ran out I just sent a regular card with a picture in it - I never seem to order enough cards).  I used a couple of pictures from Clarice's one year old photo shoot (I promise I'll share the whole session soon!).  









Merry Christmas, friends!  
May you have a wonderful weekend celebrating the birth of our Savior, Jesus!  
And may your weekend be filled with lots of pie too.

How To Take Better Pictures Of Your Family This Christmas (+ A Black Friday Deal!)


(Note: Affiliate links used in this post.)


When Wyatt was one year old, I bought a DSLR camera.  I really didn't know what I was doing at the time, I just knew that I wanted to take better pictures of my son.  I wanted to capture the details of his babyhood in a way that my point-and-shoot camera just wasn't letting me.

I have never regretted that decision to buy a "big camera", and after a lot of trial and error I finally figured out how to use it!  My favorite time of year to take pictures is finally here - Christmas time!  I just love all the sparkles and colors and festivities this time of year - the "December" picture folder on my computer is always a little more full than the others.

Unfortunately December is also a difficult time to get good pictures, between the freezing cold weather that may make it hard to go outside, less daylight, a flurry of festivities, and kiddos that just won't sit still.  I've got a few ideas for how you can get some pretty adorable pictures even amidst the Christmas hustle and bustle, but point #1 is what you need first if you are going to get those Christmas-y pictures you might envision.



1. Know your camera.

The thing about owning a DSLR is that it really is no better than a point-and-shoot camera unless you learn how to get off auto.  Do you want that beautiful background blur in your Christmas photos? Do you want to capture the Christmas lights twinkling in the dark? Do you just not want the flurry of present-opening to result in a bunch of blurred photos? Then you need to know how to use your DSLR camera.

I bought my DSLR already knowing it was going to take a lot of trial and error to figure out how to manipulate the settings to get the pictures I wanted, but I am really excited to share a resource with you that I really think will help you figure it out faster!

Erin from Digital Photography For Moms has launched a photography course called Guided365.  It is a monthly subscription course, and each day of the month you will get an email that explains a different photography concept and gives you a prompt to practice your skills. This isn't a list of photo ideas, these prompts focus on techniques that will help you to learn your camera, learn how to get the perfect focus, find the best light, and so many other things!  

Erin was sweet enough to let me try out the course, and I've worked through the first couple weeks so far.  It really is excellent.  She starts out slowly to help beginners get off "auto", but I think people with intermediate skills (like me) can also get a lot out of even the beginning lessons and really hone their technique.  Even with just the first couple weeks, which I thought would mostly be review, I was reminded of a couple of bad habits I had fallen into with my photography.  

I am so looking forward to working through more of the course, and I hope you check it out!  And Black Friday Deal Alert: If you sign up before December 2nd for the year 2017, you will get 50% off your first month subscription!  Use the code "Confidence" at checkout!  You any cancel or pause your subscription anytime you need to as well, but if you are wanting to learn more about how to use your DSLR, this is the most thorough resource I've found so far!



2. Be aware of the light and plan accordingly.

December is the month of the year with the least light, and low light situations are the trickiest when trying to get good photos.  This is when it is really important to know how to use your camera (see the first point), because that will help you know how to pick the right settings to get a good picture...but I'm not going to lie, that doesn't always guarantee those low-light pictures are going to turn out exactly right.  So my advice?  Plan your picture-taking around daylight hours.

What I mean by that is to try to do as many of those photo-op activities as you can during the day.  We usually set up our Christmas tree in the morning or early afternoon because I know we'll get good light from the windows (for you smarties out there - we decorated our tree in two stages this year, at night and in the morning, so I have both day and night pictures in this post! This was kind of an unusual year).  I don't try to take Christmas jammie pictures at night - I gather them up in the morning while the light is good.  You can't do this with everything you might want to photograph, but when you can, try to think about the light.



3. Think about the details.

Try to notice the little details you want to capture during the Christmas season.  Some of my favorite Christmas time pictures are of little things, like my son's little hands wrapped around a hot chocolate mug, my daughter's face when she is concentrating on decorating a Christmas cookie perfectly, my littlest baby on the floor surrounded by ornaments, or the way my two-year-old sticks out his tongue while hanging an ornament (see above).

Think about your favorite moments from Christmas last year, including all the little details that made it cozy, magical, or special.  Then I recommend mentally planning how you might be able to capture those details this year in photos - and that way, when the opportunity presents itself, you'll be ready!

On a similar note, don't just take the posed pictures - keep your camera nearby and take the spontaneous photos of those precious little details or moments in time.  Let your family interact as normal, but keep your photographer eye ready.



4. Fake It.

I'm about to tell you my dirty little secret of taking pictures of my family.  You don't have to take magical, perfect shots right when the action happens.  You can fake it.

Sometimes in the rush and hurry of Christmas festivities, I may miss my chance to get a picture that I really wanted to take of the kids.  So what do I do?  We stage a little reenactment.  The kids are used to me by now and think it's fun to see the pictures of themselves, so it's usually not too hard to get them to do something again later so I can take a picture.  We took a few tree-decorating pictures this way this year because I wasn't around to take them the first time.  I don't know about you, but my kids don't need any cajoling to put more ornaments on the tree.


Is this inauthentic?  I don't view it that way because we actually did do these activities in real life, and we enjoyed the activities.  Having pictures is wonderful, but sometimes it's important to be in-the-moment with my kids instead of worrying about getting a good picture.  This is how I accomplish that and still get whatever shot I wanted.  And that leads to my last tip...



5. Remember that it doesn't have to turn out exactly like you envisioned.

I almost always go into a Christmas activity thinking about which photos I want to get and when, but I rarely get the exact photo I was envisioning in my head - but sometimes the photo I end up with ends up being even better.  It may not be technically perfect, but it's my family, in that moment.  It's us.  Everything doesn't always go as planned, complications (or catastrophes) arise, and I think the mark of starting to become a good photographer for your own family is being able to roll with it.  

It doesn't have to look perfect.  The point is to be fully there, in these moments with your family, and learn how to capture the moments that you can while being flexible enough to let the rest go.  Enjoy your family. Enjoy this Christmas with them.  Don't make it all about the photo, make it about the memory.



If you are fairly new to your DSLR, or if you have yet to venture out of auto or program mode, don't forget to check out Guided365 and learn how to get the most out of your camera!  It will definitely be worth your time!

Do you have a DSLR?  Do you shoot in manual or auto?  For my fellow mom-photographers, what tips would you add?









© Through Clouded Glass. Design by MangoBlogs.