Fall Family Photos

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You know those friends that are like family? That’s how we feel about Ash and her fam. Ashley lives a stones throw away from us, Ellie adores her two kiddos, and Brian now works with her husband (did I mention B got a new job?!) We go running every morning together, she lets me borrow baking supplies from her at the crack of dawn, we trade off watching each other’s kiddos, and go on double dates. She’s also a fantastic photographer, so we decided to do a trade! We packed up our kiddos (and husbands!) and drove to the mountains for a few fun, fall family photos. The kids were bribed with Froot loops and M&M’s. ;) We were slightly frozen by the time we finished up, but I love that we got some photos of our little family in the beautiful, color saturated mountains. Thanks for the all the pics, Ash!

And here’s a few of my favorite links this week:
-If you live in Utah (or are planning a trip!) here’s 101 Things to do in Utah, I’ve already added a few of these to our calendar.
-I designed a Printable Fall Banner for Kristen Duke (perfect for Halloween AND Thanksgiving) You can download it over on her blog!
-Brian and I have been craving soft pretzels lately and I can’t wait to try these whole wheat pretzels.
-Here’s 7 workout tips for busy moms, they’re fantastic!
-And here’s a short and sweet, but oh so uplifting spiritual message.

Happy (almost!) Halloween! XO


DIY Madeline Halloween Costume

DIY Madeline Costume, How to make a madeline costume, DIY Madeline Cape DIY Madeline Costume, How to make a madeline costume, DIY Madeline Cape, DIY Madeline HatDIY Madeline Costume, How to make a madeline costume, DIY Madeline Cape, DIY Madeline Hat

I mentioned yesterday that Ellie is quite obsessed with this Madeline book. Dream come true for this mama! I used to watch Madeline every day after kindergarten, and still remember most of the episodes.

I had originally planned on having Ellie dress up as Anna from Frozen, but her costume got lost in the mail, so we improvised. DIY Madeline costume? Done and done! I love this costume so much, plus, it was super easy to make. For a quick tutorial (and more photos), keep scrolling down.

How to Make a Madeline Costume - Supplies and Tutorial

DIY Madeline Costume

Blue Knit Fabric (think maxi skirt material! I found mine at Joann’s for 50% off. I purchased a 1.5 yards, but 1 yard would have been plenty)
Matching blue thread
White Felt
Long Sleeve White Tee
Red Ribbon
Hat (I found this hat at Zurcher’s party store. You’d think we should get a discount there since it’s our name, right?)
White socks or tights
Black Shoes

How to Make a Madeline Costume - Supplies and Tutorial

First, I started out with making a quick jumper. I cut around one of Ellie’s dresses I had on hand, cutting a little bit bigger, so it didn’t get smaller when I sewed it.

How to Make a Madeline Costume Tutorial

Then, on one of the dress pieces, I cut a scoop neck for the front of the dress. You can finish off the edges on the neck, sleeves, and hem, or you can leave them as is, this fabric won’t fray. On her dress, I finished off the edges first. Then I pinned the front and back dress pieces together (inside out!) and sewed down the sides. With white felt, I cut out a Peter Pan collar, then attached it to the front of the dress.(I googled a few tutorials first, I would recommend doing the same!)

How to Make a Madeline Cape

For the cape, I free hand cut a cape like shape. Then I stitched red ribbon to the top, front ends. I also took off the black fabric on the original hat and replaced it with the same red ribbon. To complete the look, add high white socks and black Mary Jane’s.

DIY Madeline Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, Madeline Dress Up, Madeline Cape, Madeline Hat

I finished her costume during naptime, and as soon as she woke up, she insisted on wearing it all day. In fact, ran around the house saying “Show Daddy! I Madeline! I Madeline!” She was thrilled, to say the least.

DIY Madeline Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, Madeline Dress UpDIY Madeline Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, Madeline Dress Up, DIY Madeline Dress

I added the peter pan collar to the jumper, just in case Ellie wasn’t a huge fan of the cape. I attempted to sew the Peter Pan collar onto the dress, but my dear ol’ sewing machine threw a fit, so I added a few drops of hot glue and called it good. Haha.

DIY Madeline Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, Madeline Dress Up, Madeline Dress

I think I’ll call this last minute Halloween costume a success! Ellie refuses to take it off and it took less than 45 minutes to make. Did you watch Madeline growing up? What are dressing up as for Halloween?

DIY Madeline Halloween Costume, Toddler Costumes, Madeline Dress Up, Madeline Dress, DIY Halloween Costumes


Two Year Old Ellie

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Ellie at TWO:

-The other day she was telling me about a toy that was “boken! it’s not working!” Then her eyes lit up and she said, “Oh! Call Toodles! Oooooh Tooooooooodles!” Betcha can’t tell who loves watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse ;)

-Loves “waffles, see-rup, bagels, choc-late, and apples” the most.

-Before bedtime, we HAVE to play peek-a-boo under the sheets and read Madeline at least twice.

-Speaking of Madeline, she got the book for her birthday and has since memorized every page and every line. In the middle of the night, Miss Clavel turned on her light and said, something is not right!

-Very particular about what shoes she wants to wear in the morning. By the afternoon, she’s completely undressed herself.

-Insists on wearing one of my hats and yelling “Yeehaw Cowboy! Giddy up!” when riding her rocking horse.

-With big, sleepy eyes right before falling asleep she rolls over and says, “Mama, I sooo tired.”

-Recently discovered band-aids and suddenly her “owies” have increased. ;)

-Has crazy, wild, uncontrollable hair. It’s the best.

-Has both me and her daddy wrapped around her little finger. Oh Ellie girl, two looks good on you!


10 Tips for Photographing Everyday Moments

Photography Tips and Tricks, Photography Everyday Moments

I love taking pictures. I love the feel of the camera in my hands and the sound of the shutter. I have hard drives filled with thousands and thousands of photos. I have drawers dedicated to lose photos. It’s an obsession, really. ;) And while I love taking stylized photos for the blog, or product photos for my shop, I have realized that my favorite photos are of our every day moment, photographs of the little things that make me happy. Here are ten of my tried and true tips for capturing the little moments in life.

Photography Tips and Tricks, Photographing your child at home

1. Keep your camera close.
It’s really hard to get that perfect shot of that amazing moment if your camera is packed away in the closet. Keep your camera charged and located in an easily accessible (but safe!) spot. It get’s a little tricky with stairs. I find myself running up and down the stairs too often. I try to keep my my camera in one spot upstairs and one location downstairs, to make it a bit easier to find. While I prefer to take photos on my DSLR, when I don’t have it nearby, my phone camera works, too. Though, let’s face it, my phone is rarely charged. ;)

Photography Tips and Tricks, Shutter speed for photographing toddlers and kids

2. Have a fast shutter speed
. Have you ever taken a photo, only to look at it later a realize your subject is totally blurry? So annoying, right? Always try to keep your shutter speed quick! This will eliminate blurriness, especially if you’re photographing an active two year old.

The best way to keep that shutter speed clicking fast is learning to shoot in manual. You’ll have much more control over how fast your shutter speed is and how blurry your background appears. When it comes to phone photos, try to photograph in well lit areas. You’ll see less of a blur and a clearer, crisper picture.

Photography Tips and Tricks, Shutter speed for photographing toddlers and kids

3. Click before you freak out.
Remember when Ellie dumped half a box of cereal all over our recently swept kitchen floor? Or that one time I sewed right through my finger? Got the needle stuck and everything? I really want to freak out. Really, really bad. But, being the obsessive picture taker I am, I had to stop and take a photo. While these situations are ideal in the moment, it’s so fun to look back at them a few weeks, months (sometimes years!) later. Taking a few minutes to click calms me down too, so I don’t flip a lid.

Photography tips and tricks, capture all the little details you want to remember.

4. Capture your favorite things. I love looking back at my scrapbook my mom made and remembering my favorite doll or blanket. It’s so important to capture your favorites, and your kid’s favorites as well! One of my favorites, Ellie’s tiny painted toes.  My little E loves having her toenails painted. I couldn’t resist snapping this photo of her little feet dangling off the rocking chair.

Photography tips and tricks, capture all the little details you want to remember.`

5. Be sneaky
. I believe it’s a universal rule that if you pull out a camera around a child, they will automatically stop whatever cute thing they were doing. Am I right? Keep your camera close and be sneaky pulling it out! I’ve found myself peeking behind a wall or hiding in the hallway in attempts to get that perfect shot. Most of the time, if I’m sneaky about it, it works!

Photography tips and tricks. Capture your everyday life at home with these simple tips.

6. Take a step back. Too often I try to crop out the pile of laundry in the corner or the strewn toys all over the floor. While I feel like that’s ok sometimes, I also feel it’s important to capture those little details. Give it a few years, and looking at those heaps of laundry will make you laugh. It’s fun to see how the furniture has been rearranged, the wall color painted over, and Pinterest projects replaced with new ones.

Photography tips and tricks. Capture all the crazy messes and things your children do, you'll want to remember them!

7. Don’t forget the details.
Zoom in on the mess on the floor (and cereal crumbs in cracks between the wood planks! Eek!) Photograph your child’s tiny painted fingernails or crazy bedhead. Crop in on their boots in the snow or hands holding their first pumpkin. These zoomed in, detailed shots are visually appealing and add additional features to the story you are telling.

Photography tips and tricks. Capturing your children at home.

8. Tell a story. Your photos should always tell a story. Whether it be the story of your afternoon at the park, or the excitement on Christmas morning, try to capture that story through your photographs. A picture says a thousand words, make it count! In the photo above, Ellie couldn’t decide what pair of shoes to wear. She tried on each pair about five times before deciding. Simply getting a photograph of her face or top portion of her body, never would have told the story of her indecisiveness (and love of shoes!)

Photography tips and tricks. Capturing your children at home.

9. It IS photo worthy
. So what if your house isn’t Pinterest perfect. Who cares if your outfits don’t match, hair isn’t done, and Cheerios pepper the floor. Your life, your little moments, they ARE photo worthy. You’ll be so much happier knowing you caught your kids cuddling on the couch, instead of missing the moment because you had to move the laundry out of the shot. Capture the messy parts of your life, along with the picture perfect ones.

Photography tips and tricks. Take photos of your kids at home. Capture all the little moments.

10. Put your camera down.
I have to remind myself of this one daily! After I have taken all the shots I need, I remind myself to put my camera away for awhile. It’s easier for me to enjoy the moment if I’m not caught up fixing lighting, adjusting my aperture, and finding the right angle. :)

Photography tips and tricks. Take photos of your kids at home. Capture all the little moments.

Have any tips for capturing every day moments? I’d love to hear your suggestions! Happy Friday! XO


Everything You Need to Know About Blogging (and a giveaway!)

Everything you need to know about blogging

Seems kind of weird blogging about blogging, right? :) I love reading about blogging tips and tricks. The SEO, social media, and all the strategies behind it all fascinate me! Over the years I have found some helpful articles about everything you need to know about blogging, so I complied a huge list of all my favorites! Everything from beginner tips to blogging schedules to sponsorship suggestions, all in one place! It’s your ultimate blogging resource guide. If you’re ready to up your blogging game, check out the articles below. (And don’t forget to check out the giveaway below! If you’re a blogger, you don’t want to miss this one!)

Beginners Guide:

-Starting a blog? Here’s the Number One Tip.
-Top 10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started Blogging, a must read for beginner bloggers.
-These Top Tips for Blogging Success will help you take your blog to the next level.
-Read through these Tips for New Beginners for helpful hints (then find Part 2 here!)
-10 Fabulous Tips for Newbie Bloggers

Design Rules:

-Here’s 10 Blog Layout Tips to digest before redesigning your blog.
-Bethany shares why it’s important to Create a Style Guide for your Blog.
-Understand blog design and learn how to work with a designer in this post.
-Learn how to Create an Image Map, this one took me forever to learn!
-Add a Pin It hover button on your images for easy pinning.

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Tidy Desk Printable
Free Tidy Desk Printable Here

Photography Pointers:

-Regardless of what camera you have, these 5 Photography Tips for Bloggers will help you improve your photography.
-How to be Your Own Blog Photographer (aka how to use a tripod!)
-These 5 Photography Tips will improve your blog photography by leaps and bounds.
-Create Quality Blog Photos for your posts by utilizing these tricks.
-Super simple tips for staging your photos.

Social Media Tips:

-Here’s a huge list of ideas for Growing your Pinterest Following
-Learn the Do’s & Don’ts of Social Media from Lauren Conrad.
-How to Use Social Media for your Blog, great tips from Design Love Fest.
-Learn how to Double your Instagram Followers in One Month
-Avoid sounding like an advertisement and use Natural Social Media Marketing.

SEO Basics:

-What is SEO? Find out here, plus tricks on how to use it!
-Don’t know where to begin? How about here: SEO Basics for Bloggers.
-Try these Simple SEO Tricks for bloggers.
-How to Increase Traffic to Your Blog through SEO and social media.
-Discover the SEO of Pinterest to increase traffic through your pins.

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know about SEO, organization, posting, sponsorships, and more!

Sponsorship Suggestions:

-Learn how to manage your ads with Passionfruit, such an awesome sponsorship resource.
-How to Write a Media Kit that Rocks.
-Master the art of advertising and make your Blog Sponsorships Successful.
-Discover the best secrets on How to Sponsor Other Blogs
-3 Tips for Successful Sponsored Posts

Post Ideas

-The Secret to a Gazillion Post Ideas, seriously.
-In a rut? Here’s 30 Blog Post suggestions.
-How to make your Blog Post go Viral
-20 Types of Blog Posts for Writers Block
-Still stuck? 25 Post Ideas for the Uninspired  

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know about SEO, organization, posting, sponsorships, and more!

Organization Tricks:

-Go big and print off this huge Monthly Calendar.
-Learn how to Organize and Plan Blog Posts in five easy steps.
-Keep your inbox clean, 5 Tips for Managing and Organizing Emails.
-This Printable Monthly Calendar from Emily Ley are perfect for plotting out posts.
-Running behind? Here’s 12 Time Management Tips for Bloggers.


-The Blog Life E-course, from my favorite ladies at A Beautiful Mess, is worth every penny.
-Learn how to create Blogging Collages on Photoshop and take other classes through Skillshare.
-Atly offers a variety of classes geared towards bloggers, like the DIY Bloggers Handbook.
-Joy Cho, from Oh Joy, spills her secrets in her book Blog, Inc.
-Learn design, fonts, and color basics for blogging in Blog Design Love 2.0 e-course.

 Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know! A huge list of resources.

Feeling inspired? Ready to spruce up your blogging skills? Today’s your lucky day! These lovely ladies and I have teamed up to offer you a chance to win two of the best blogging resources out there! Joy Cho’s Blog, Inc book is incredible, and the Blog Life E-course from the ladies at A Beautiful Mess is beyond amazing. You can enter the giveaway below. Giveaway ends on October 30 at midnight. All entries will be verified. Good luck!!

Blogging Tips and Tricks. Everything you need to know! A huge list of resources.

Giveaway brought to you by:
He & I | Deidre Emme | Caravan Sonnet | Coco Bands | A Mommy App

a Rafflecopter giveaway


An afternoon well spent

While in Washington, we ventured to Faye Bainbridge Beach for an afternoon in the sunshine. I have fond memories of this beach, we visited Bainbridge Island a lot when we were little. It smells the exact same! Mmmm. The weather was beautiful and warm. In October! In Washington! It was glorious. Ellie dug in the sand with Grandma Cindy’s spoons, and eventually ran bare bottomed down the beach. ;) Zac convinced me to be brave and jump in the water with him, three times! It was the perfect afternoon. Take me back!

Faye Bainbridge BeachFaye Bainbridge Beach in Washington `Faye Bainbridge Beach in WAFaye Bainbridge Beach in WAWashington Faye Bainbridge BeachWashington Faye Bainbridge BeachWA IMG_9059wawashington wa Faye Bainbridge Beachtrip to Faye Bainbridge BeachFaye Bainbridge Beachwashington beachwashington beach

And a few of my favorites in the internet world this week:

Ten dates under ten dollars, bingo!
CLICK HERE if you love floral or chevron. Or both! Cutest nails ever.
-If you’re visiting Utah soon, here’s
101 AMAZING things to keep you busy.
-Too busy to carve pumpkins?
These are my favorite don’t-get-your-hand-all-gooey pumpkin ideas.
-If you’re ever wondering why Mormons are SO EAGER to share what they believe, watch this. Explains it perfectly. :)


Have a happy day! XO

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