First: don't forget to enter to win a $100 Visa gift card from Dreyer's as they introduce their Outshine bars. All you need to do to enter is click over to this post and leave a comment and you'll be entered to win! There still are not too many entries, so you've got a pretty good chance of winning if you leave a comment. (Plus the comments are full of hilarious stories about the embarrassing things kids do in public - they're worth a read if you could use a laugh today.)
Second: It's time for another Creating Keepsakes giveaway - you can enter to win a full year's subscription by commenting on this post. More details below.
Third: There's another giveaway coming up on Friday as well as a pattern review for the cutest thing I've ever sewn. Remember to check back! (Keep reading for details on today's CK giveaway)
At the end of every school year my kids bring home a binder full of papers: drawings, writing samples, report cards, photos, etc. A whole binder for each year. My oldest is finishing up elementary school this year, meaning he has seven binders full of papers crammed into a bookshelf downstairs. In my never ending quest to fit our big family in a little house, I decided it was time to consolidate. I had my boys go through each binder and pull out four or five favorite items from each year to keep and we recycled the rest. Then I made year in review pages for each grade. Now instead of seven unorganized binders that no one ever looks at my son has a personal yearbook that hits the highlights of each of his elementary school years. Keep reading to download free printables.
This is the final installment of Eight Steps to Better Photos on AUTO. Most people think the only way to really improve their photos is to learn to shoot on manual mode, and it's true that using manual gives you the most control over the finished photo. But what if you don't have the time or energy to invest in learning about exposure and aperture and all the other details of manual? That's where this series comes in. There are plenty of things you can do to greatly improve your photos even when shooting on auto, and every Friday for the next eight weeks I'll share one of them with you. Step one | Step two | Step three | Step four | Step five | Step six | Step seven | Step eight
People want to take better photos, which often leads to buying a better camera and other equipment. Generally, I think improving your understanding of things like lighting and learning to use whatever camera you have will go further toward getting good pictures than any amount of expensive equipment. However, there are a few exceptions, and if you have a dSLR, a 50mm 1.8 lens is one of them. It's a pretty neat little lens, and it's not super expensive. Even on auto, it will make a difference in your photos, especially if you want to take portraits with extreme background blur (bokeh) or you want to be able to take photos inside without using your flash (and if you've read step 1 you know you never want to use your flash). To see how much difference using a 50mm lens as opposed to your kit lens (the one that came with your camera) I took photos in a number of different lighting conditions with both lenses so we could all compare. Keep reading for more explanation of what makes the 50mm lens a worthwhile investment and comparison photos.
A lot of cookies get made at our house. I try not to keep track of how quickly we go through the huge Costco sized bag of chocolate chips because I have a feeling I'd be embarrassed if I did. It's possible we overdo a little around here, but making cookies is a fantastic activity to do with kids of all ages. Even tiny kids can help dump flour or chocolate chips into a bowl, and older ones can do the entire project by themselves. Making cookies together is not only fun, it's also a great way to start teaching basic math concepts to preschool age kids - you can put ingredients in order, count together as you add eggs or flour, and talk about basic fractions like 1/2 and 1/4. To make the whole process a little simpler for my preschooler, I made a cookie recipe that's illustrated in photos. This way he can be more in charge of the process - telling me what comes next and figuring out how much to put in. It's genius, if I do say so myself :) Keep reading for the printable illustrated recipe.
While at the thrift store about a year ago, I found a pair of scuffed up white ballet flats that looked pretty sad but fit quite nicely (scroll down for before photo) and were only a few dollars. I purchased them with plans to spruce them up somehow, stuck them in my closet, and promptly forgot about them (sound familiar? yep, I've done this with more items than I care to admit). Then a few weeks ago therm-o-web sent me some of their products to try out on scrapbook layouts, and they included their Glitter Dust, which is basically gold sparkle in a spray paint can. And I finally remembered those old shoes and decided to bling them out with sparkly gold tips. In just a few minutes I had DIY gold tipped ballet flats. (Keep reading for more photos and tutorial)
I know that every time a blogger posts a recipe (myself included) she goes a little crazy telling everyone how good it is. It's like every single recipe is to. die. for. amazing. Right? I mean, with all the fantastic recipes being posted every day we should have attained world peace because everyone should be too busy eating to argue anymore. I guess we figure no one's going to want to try our recipes if we say something like: well, they probably won't actually kick you out of playgroup for bringing this for treats, but they might consider it...
...So yes, I know you're used to hearing how good things are, but I'm going to say it anyway: these little bars are devilishly good. That's right, devilishly good. My husband informed me last night (after our family ate almost an entire pan of these in one day) that I'm not allowed to make them anymore because he can't stop eating them. I agreed immediately. Of course. We need a break from this highly addictive, incredibly easy to prepare substance. Definitely. Except that I like them, which means I'll probably make them again much sooner than I should. Could I eat the entire pan and have cleaned up all the evidence by the time he gets home from work one day? Likely. (Click through for the recipe)