9.30.2014

How to Take Your Own Family Photos

Take your own family photos with a tripod


If I could hire a professional photographer to take family photos for us once a month, I absolutely would. No questions asked. I love having updated photos of our family. Brian and Ellie would probably hate it, but I’d be in photo heaven! With Ellie growing so fast and changing so much, I feel like every few months we need to have more photos taken. Of course, our budget can’t really afford hiring a photographer multiple times a year (I wish!), so I’ve resorted to taking our own family photos every few months. Here’s a few of our tried and true tips for taking your own family photos.

 

How to Take your own family photos with a tripod


1. Set up a tripod!
After a few years of using books, rocks, countertops, you name it, I finally got a tripod. Setting my camera up on a tripod makes all the difference! Not only can I adjust the height and angle at ease, my camera is so much safer. Don’t have one yet? No need to get anything fancy, any tripod will do. Just make sure the legs are sturdy enough to hold your camera without tipping over.



tips for taking your own family photos


2. Get your settings right first.
When using a tripod, take a few practice shots. Test the light, make sure your aperture is set correctly, and crop the photo to your liking. Then set to your timer mode on your camera. After your camera is ready to go in timer mode, press halfway down to make sure you’re focused correctly, then press all the way down to set the timer.



tips for taking your own family photos with a remote and tripod


3. Invest in a Remote.
Have you heard of camera remotes? Let me tell you, they’re the best kept secret to tripod photography. Having a remote will eliminate the time you spend running back and forth from your camera, pushing the shutter. Most DSLR cameras will work with a remote. There are extremely affordable and super handy to use. (Mine is currently missing, so these photos were taken with the classic run back and forth mode!) On my camera and remote. You can set your remote to take the picture right away after you click it or give you a two second delay. I would typically choose the two second delay so I have time to hide the remote. I purchased my remote HERE.

How to take your own family photos, take your own family photos like a pro


4: Have something to look at.
Looking straight into the camera on the tripod is a little boring and can make your photos seem unnatural. Place a toy or object on or near your camera for little ones to look at. Having something in the background is also helpful. In some of these photos, we were watching a neighbor mow their lawn!


You can take your own family portraits by yourself


5: Mix it up
. After we have taken a few group shots on the tripod, I like to change up positions and take a few individual, daddy-daughter, mother-daughter shots. These are typically a little more candid and personal. After posing for so long, this is a much needed break for Ellie (and for me and Brian too!)


Take your own family portraits


6: Know your poses.
This is important, especially with small children (and husbands too!) Think of the types of poses you want beforehand, so you’re not wasting time moving people around again and again. I typically have 3-4 poses in mind that I want to have photographed. When my camera is on a timer, I set it to the highest number of photos possible (on my camera model it’s ten photos in a row). Unless we’re doing crazy faces, we usually stay in one pose for those ten photos. With an active toddler it’s nice to take a few photos. I’m usually guaranteed at least one or two good photos from those ten. Also note that not every photo has to be formally posed and smiling. Play ring-around-the-rosies or have a tickle fight. Often times, these candid moments make for the best photographs.


Take your own family photos for Christmas cards


7: Have fun.
Perhaps we’ve taken far too many tripod family photos, but Ellie loves it now! When we don’t use the remote, she loves helping me push the shutter button and run back to our position. We also let her look at all the photos we’ve taken after each pose. At the end of almost every session, we like to include some crazy faces. And man alive, has this girl got it down! When Ellie’s having fun, we’re guaranteed to have better photos
.

Take your own holiday family photos


8: Don’t expect too much.
Not every photo is going to be perfect. There’s a reason photographers don’t give you every single photo they take during a session. Someone is bound to be blinking, pouting, or fixing hair. Expecting perfection in every photo is just setting yourself up for disappointment. Aim for two or three fabulous, amazing photos and if you end up with more than that, consider yourself lucky!


Take your own family photos, take your own family christmas card photos

 

Do you take photos with your tripod? What other tips would you add to the list?

9.29.2014

Date Night and Provo’s Best Kept Secret

places to eat in utah: tamarack steaks


Brian and I budget for a few date nights every month, but let’s face it, half the time our “date” night turns into a family of three night. ;) After a few weeks of date/family nights, we decided it was high time to have an actual date night, just the two of us! We dropped Ellie off at a friend’s house and headed down to Provo’s best kept secret – Tamarack. I had perused their instagram and facebook page a few days before and couldn’t believe the pictures I was seeing. So fancy! When Tamarack invited us to try them out, there was no questions asked, we were there! I know I probably shouldn’t judge a restaurant based on it’s looks (because the best Chinese food comes from those little run down places!) but this is one restaurant you can judge based off it’s looks. Because the whole thing looks like it should be in a magazine! Actually, I really just want my whole house to look like it. It was GORGEOUS.

cool wood wall DIYdarling wood chevron wall tamarack in provo utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah


It took awhile before I was done oohing and aweing over the décor, wood and metal accents, and all the gorgeous furniture. (Is it weird that I pay attention to all that stuff? I love it!)  We finally got to the menu, oh the menu! I had a hard time deciding, but I finally ordered a limeade, and a steak, while Brian ordered some mozzarella sticks for an appetizer and a burger for his meal. Have you ever seen more beautifully plated food? I felt like we were supposed to be dining with the rich and famous, this stuff looked fancy!  I also  ordered pumpkin soup with my steak, and can we just take a moment to talk about it? That pumpkin soup was everything lovely and wonderful about autumn, blended up in a huge bowl of soup. It was incredible. Beyond incredible! I could go in for just the soup and be satisfied. Ok, ok, I’ll probably go back and order that steak too, because man alive! It was that good.


tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah tamarack in provo utah, places to eat in utah rocky mountain brownie and icecream at tamarack in provo utahtamarack steaks in provo utah


We ended the evening with the Rocky Mountain brownie, highly recommended! And yes, I know, talk about a lot of food! We had the best leftovers the next day! So fun to get a night out with my main man and devour delicious, gourmet (and reasonably priced!) food. Ahhh date nights. I’m ready for another one! (Maybe we’ll go back for brunch??)

 

And while I’m on the topic of date nights….
…I’m trying to figure out how to get one last camping trip in before it gets cold and I get wimpy. Loved this camping date!
…Any date that includes pumpkin cheesecake is the best date, in my opinion. :)
…Staying in? Here’s a few at home date night ideas.
…Think I can convince Brian to get take some darling photos like these ones?

 

Love you all. Seriously, this blog community is fantastic. Happy Monday! XO

9.28.2014

General Women’s Meeting and Free Printable Quotes

General Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General Conference, Uchtdorf Quotes

Last night, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend the LDS General Women’s Meeting. Talk about the perfect girls night out!  Dinner, uplifting messages, and dessert with two of my dearest friends. The General Women’s Meeting is a worldwide broadcasted meeting, held twice a year, for women 8 years and older. We heard such uplifting, amazing messages. I always walk away feeling edified, loved, and inspired to do better, to be better! Here are a few of my favorite quotes from the evening. As always, Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave one of my favorite talks. I am so grateful for the knowledge that we are all daughters (and sons!) of a very loving Heavenly Father. You can download all the printables below. Want to hear more? You can listen and watch the messages all online. And if you would like a free copy of our absolute favorite book (it makes us so happy!) click here. Happy Sunday!

 

General Womens Meeting Free Printables Relief Society Young Womens General Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General ConferenceGeneral Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General ConferenceGeneral Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General Conference, Uchtdorf QuotesGeneral Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General Conference, Uchtdorf QuotesGeneral Womens Meeting Free Printable #womensmeeting LDS Quotes, LDS General Conference, Uchtdorf Quotes

Download Free Printables General Conference Womens Meeting

9.26.2014

Easy DIY Centerpiece using Grocery Store Flowers

I am so excited to introduce you to my friend, Erin, amazing florist and designer. Not only does she arrange the most beautiful wedding bouquets, she also is a rock star calligrapher and illustrator. Seriously, this lady has got some talent! Today, she’s taking over the blog to share her secrets for creating a beautiful centerpiece out of grocery store flowers. I cannot wait to try these tips out! Thanks so much for sharing, Erin!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am so excited to be sharing this little tutorial on how you can turn your everyday grocery store flowers (read: inexpensive!) into a cute centerpiece to have in your home!  Flowers always brighten my day, and this was a really great way to get fresh flowers into my home on a budget. 

I bought these flowers at Costco for $14.  I already had the vase that I got from a local thrift store for $3, and just spray painted it gold using paint I already had.  The other items you'll need are scissors and tape. 

Easy DIY Centerpiece using Grocery Store Flowers

First, let's talk about choosing flowers.  I wanted something that would make creating a floral arrangement easy, so for that I needed to find a bouquet that had a variety of flowers.  Look for something that has at least one large main focal flower, filler flowers, and some greenery.  I also wanted sunflowers which are in season right now and make my home feel fall-ready! 

I've separated and named the flowers below so you can see what I had to work with.

Easy DIY Centerpiece using Grocery Store Flowers

To start, I filled my vase 2/3 full with cold water, and added the flower food that comes with your bouquet of flowers.  Next, I used the tape to create a grid on the top of my vase.  This helps keep the flowers where I want them to be while I'm arranging, and is a good substitute if you don't have foam or if you have a clear vase and don't want the foam to show!

How to arrange flowers - affordable floral centerpieces

I like to start with my greenery to frame the top of the vase, and the bottom of my arrangement.  (Keep in mind that you need to cut all your stems at a diagonal helping the stem drink lots of water!)  Make sure you cut off any excess greenery that might be submerged in the water.  Not only will it help your flowers last longer, it will be much easier to add flowers later if you aren't working around a bunch of leaves. 

How to arrange flowers - affordable floral centerpieces

Next, I added my largest flower.  In this case it was the sunflowers.  I kept them pretty low to the bottom of the vase, and made sure the stems were directed toward the center of the vase.

How to arrange flowers - affordable floral centerpieces

Keep adding flowers, trimming excess greenery from the stems.  Keep moving from your large to small flowers, turning the vase and filling in the empty spaces as you go.  I added the alstromeria, then the snapdragon after the sunflowers.

DIY floral centerpieces, how to arrange flowers

Next, I added the remaining button mums, statice, solidago, and myrtle. 

DIY floral centerpieces, how to arrange flowers

You may need to adjust other flowers you've already placed as you add more blooms.  That is totally fine, and so easy to do!  Just keep adjusting until you're happy with how it looks!

DIY floral centerpieces, how to arrange flowers

Lastly, display your flowers for everyone to enjoy!   I love that I now have these gorgeous flowers to brighten up my home, and all for less than $20.  :)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Isn’t she amazing!? If you want to see more of Erin’s work, you can check her out on her blog, shop, or instagram.
Happy Friday, friends! Enjoy your weekend!

9.25.2014

Ellie’s Two Year Old Waffle Birthday Party

birthday traditions, birthday placemat, birthday table, two year old birthdaybirthday traditions, birthday placemat, birthday table, two year old birthdaybirthday traditions, birthday placemat, birthday table, two year old birthday

I adore birthdays. I love the planning, the partying, and the present wrapping. And birthdays with your own kid? 100 times the fun! Brian and I stayed up late the night before Ellie’s birthday prepping for her party and decorating her birthday chair. It’s been tradition in my family for forever to have a special birthday spot at the table and we almost always have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Ellie was thrilled to have balloons tied to her chair and we sang Happy Birthday and let her blow out her candle three times.

two year old birthday, two year old birthday party two year old birthday, two year old birthday party

We spent the rest of the morning slowly opening presents. Ellie would pick a present off the desk and squeal with delight as she opened it. We let her play with her new toy as long as she wanted before she remember she had “More pre-sents More pre-sents!” She was awfully spoiled by her grandparents and aunts and uncles.

tissue paper banner, two year old birthday, colorful birthday, waffle party tissue paper banner, two year old birthday, colorful birthday, waffle party waffle party, breakfast birthday party, colorful party, two year old party, waffle party, breakfast birthday party, colorful party, two year old party,

After a quick nap (and attending another birthday party for a friend!) it was time for Ellie’s waffle birthday bash! Ellie’s favorite things are waffles, swings, and balls, so we made sure we had all three! We held her party at the park right by our house, set up a few banners, chairs, and a waffle bar, and let the kids run wild. Brian had picked up a ton of those little, colorful balls, and the kids scattered them all around the park, buried them as treasure, and even the adults played with them. Ha!

two year old colorful birthday party, waffle breakfast party, birthday breakfast, birthday partytwo year old colorful birthday party, waffle breakfast party, birthday breakfast, birthday partydonut party, waffle party, breakfast party, two year old birthday partybirthday banners, colorful birthday, two year old birthday party, donut party, waffle party, breakfast party, two year old birthday party

Our waffle bar consisted of: homemade chocolate waffles, easy regular Bisquick waffles (haha), homemade whipped cream, powdered donuts, chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, sprinkles, bananas, homemade strawberry sauce, and homemade buttermilk syrup. It was a really warm day, so I went really simple and just served water with orange slices in it. We went through a lot of water! All the dishes I used were ones I’ve collected over the years. Some dishes are from our wedding, some from thrift stores, some I stole from my mom, they’re all random! I love collecting random, colorful dishes for everyday use and then when it comes time to party, I can just search through my cupboards for the ones that match, instead of buying all new pieces.

waffle birthday, birthday breakfast party, colorful birthday, two year old birthday partywaffle birthday, birthday breakfast party, colorful birthday, two year old birthday party, party at the parkwaffle birthday, birthday breakfast party, colorful birthday, two year old birthday party, party at the parkwaffle cake, birthday waffle cake, waffle party, breakfast party, colorful party, two year old birthday party

Ellie’s birthday “cake” was made out of waffle quarters and whipped cream. I froze it for about an hour before the party so the whipped cream wouldn’t just totally melt all over. It was small and simple and soooo much easier than making an extravagant cake ;)

waffle cake, birthday waffle cake, waffle party, breakfast party, colorful party, two year old birthday party`two year old birthday party, waffle party, breakfast partytwo year old birthday party, waffle party, breakfast partytwo year old birthday party, waffle party, breakfast partytwo year old birthday party, waffle party, breakfast party

After every party, I always wish I had taken more pictures of our guests. We were just too busy having too much fun! Ellie looked less than thrilled as we sang Happy Birthday to her, but she loved it, really! We had so much fun playing with our neighborhood friends and far away friends. She was again spoiled with gifts and presents galore. Thank you friends!

two year old birthday party, waffle party, breakfast partytwo year old birthday party two year old birthday party waffle cake, birthday waffle cake, waffle party, breakfast party, colorful party, two year old birthday party

We ended the day with some Café Rio (Ellie loves their beans, quesadillas, and candies at the end!) We let her stay up well past her bedtime to play at the neighbors on their bounce houses and ended the evening with an episode of Mickey Mouse. I mean, you can’t say no to the birthday girl and her sweet little voice begging “Pleeeeease?” :) We had the BEST day celebrating our sweet Ellie girl. Brian and I still can’t get over how blessed we are to have such a sweet, adorable, spunky daughter to call our own. Love you Elles!

tassel balloon banner, two year old birthday tassel balloon banner, two year old birthday

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...