Saturday, February 18, 2012

Pinterest Picture Project.

Try saying that title three times, fast.  I mentioned in this post that I would blog about projects that I tackled after seeing it on Pinterest.  It's as much for accountability for me to DO something with all the ideas I collect there rather than just let them gather virtual dust.  It's also hopefully helpful for you if you want feedback on some of the recipes and ideas you see there.  So much of what's there looks either better than it actually is (recipes) or easier than it actually is (projects).  I can guarantee for now my projects will be pretty simple!  I don't have a ton of time to make pallet beds and crate bookshelves. ;)  When I saw this idea, I thought it seemed easy enough and would be so cute for father's day.  Well for Valentine's Day Joe and I usually forgo pricey gifts and instead go out for a nice dinner in which we can order whatever we want and not worry about the tab.  My love language is quality time so I'd much rather spend the cash dining out on a date night, sans kids. (And there's still time to hope for a nice night out AND diamonds, but let's just say that's a hope for the future if we play our financial cards right today!).

So I try to find fun little gifts I can give to Joe to still celebrate on that day.  Usually it's a simple gift/trinket and lots of chocolate that we both enjoy so I can steal it when he's not looking.  This picture seemed perfect for that!  I'd purchased the girls Valentines shirts from Wal-Mart a week or so prior.  I didn't want to spend a lot of money and I wanted it to be something Genevieve could ruin at school and it wouldn't make me mad.  I decided to dress them in those shirts and take the photos that way.  I figured I'd have 20 minutes tops before Genevieve got bored and started looking quite cross instead of adorably in love with daddy...and before Nadia started pooping, throwing up, or fussing.  [This is the life]. I printed out the words on card stock in a fun, somewhat child like font that I downloaded from here, threw them in a neutral setting with lots of light and went for it.  Because I waited until the last minute--story of my life-- I had to print the photos quickly.  I googled "online photos same day pick up" and found CVS photo.  There is a CVS moments from my house so that was perfect!  Here are the photos I used in the frame, the outtakes, and the final product.



I'm a bit bummed I forgot to take their socks off!  If you can't tell Genevieve's shirt says "I love my daddy" and Nadia's says "I love mom."


Of course I couldn't get them to both smile at the same time...


Remembered to take their socks off....but can you tell I'm losing them at this point?  Yeah, shortly after Genevieve ripped that sign in two.  

the outtakes.  You HAVE to take a million photos to get 10 good ones. People always ask me how I get them to smile and how I get good pictures of my kids.  It's seriously a numbers game.  You just keep snapping and at the end you have over 100 photos in 20 minutes but [hopefully] you got a few good ones.  I do wish I could have gotten all three with both of them looking and smiling but that is just a pipe dream at this point!  But looking at these cute silly girls--I must say in all seriousness: this IS the life. 


Final product.



By the way, the frame was only 5.99 from Target!  This project cost:
G's t-shirt: 4.88
Nadia's t-shirt: 3.96
Prints: FREE! (first 20 prints free when you sign up- even for same day pick up)
Valentine's hair bows- from grandma

Grand Total: $14.83.  Obviously you could have the kid(s) wear something they already have to get the cost down even more.  While Valentine's is over, Father's Day is still coming up so that would be a great time..or mother's day...birthday.  seriously so cute, simple, and inexpensive you could even do it "just because."  

What gifts did you buy or receive for Valentine's Day? Any other projects/tips to get kids' involved in the gift giving?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Thing About Pinterest...

I am obsessed with Pinterest as much as the next gal.  It is impossible to hop on and off as I have proven many a times when consulting a recipe, etc.  I think I'm going to go to my "foodie" board, look up a recipe and be done with it.  But no, I end up re-pinning, ogling amazing fashions, admiring DIY geniuses, and invariably clicking on a link (or five) that takes me to a blog (or five) where I proceed to delve deeper and deeper into a DIY or fashion or home decor tailspin.

But the thing about pinterest is, it sucks you in with ideas.  Nothing is wrong with ideas.  They come in handy.  But for me personally, if I am only hoarding collections of them but not DOING anything with them, it kinda stresses me out.  If you just read that and are thinking "relax," you can join my husband in that chorus.  I'm sure not everyone feels this way.  It's just part of my OCD nature.  So while I do pin "dreams," for the most part I tend to pin practical projects and ideas that I will actually attempt one day, as well as affordable items that I might really buy, vs. just lustfully long for.  To that end, I plan to do a few posts here and there when I attempt an idea from pinterest to let you know the outcome.  I don't know about you but some DIYers make something seem so "easy peasy" as is the popular expression in the blogosphere.  But it's so not if you are not a creative genius.  I am not.  Therefore you can learn from my mistakes and come along for the journey.

So, a couple of things I've tried recently.  I re-pinned this delicious side from my friend Abby who has been described on a design blog as a "prolific pinner." That she is!  I've re-pinned at least half of her recipes all of which seem simply amazing.  The main course, I pinned myself after watching the Nate Berkus show.  Many of my recipe pins are derived from watching a cooking segment on his show.
photo source.


The egg rolls were a little more challenging. They required more prep and I've never been a fan of rolling egg rolls. My mom always made egg rolls for us, so growing up, I'd help her roll them....they'd come out ok but I never got the hang of it. Aside from that this recipe has a helluva lot of ingredients. geez. I omitted the bamboo shoots (husband's not a fan) and saved time by buying a bag of slaw mix so I wouldn't have to shred the carrots and cabbage. I learned that trick from my mama. Instead of using the egg mixture to roll the wraps, I used a flour/water mix. My mom always did it that way and it works. If it ain't broke.... Lastly my mom added about a tablespoon of flour to the chicken/cabbage mixture which helped the consistency not be so crumbly. And then she proceeded to fry them for me while I fed the baby. Oh how wonderful it is to have mama in town. Don't think I'm exaggerating when I say these were AMAZING. Definitely worth the prep.

photo source.

To make them even better, my husband, the king of diner food and sauces threw together an amazing dipping sauce. As I type I'm pressuring him to remember exactly what he put in the sauce.
So those of you who need a recipe to be precise and exact, you are not gonna like this one.  But if you're adventurous and you love it when Rachael Ray calls for "a handful" or asks that you "eyeball it" then you'll do fine. This is "about" what he used for the sauce:


1/2 c Ranch
1/2 c Sour Cream
1 TBSP Paprika
1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (omit if you don't like spicy)
1 TBSP Cumin

Ok so I would encourage you to start with the ranch and sour cream and just season to taste. You do have to use a lot of spices--otherwise it just tastes like ranch. Also, know that this makes a lot of sauce. There were 3 adults and we used the sauce that night and with leftovers the next night and still had some left. You could probably even start with 1/4 cup of both the ranch and sour cream. Lastly, I mashed up some avocado in mine and that made it that much better.

Ok, I think that's it. I've been making so many pinterest recipes that I need to tell you about! I'll be back shortly with a few other recipe reviews as well as the Valentine gift I made for Joe after seeing the idea on pinterest.  Ciao!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A Fun Little Picture Project.

I wanted a boy.  There, I said it.  I had convinced myself that I didn't care--even that I'd prefer a girl since that meant I could recycle Genevieve's oh-so-cute clothes.  But when the sonographer told me it was a girl, I knew the truth.  Poor little Nadia!  The only reason I can even admit it now is because I am so beyond in love with that little chubster that I'm so very glad God knew that she'd be just what this family needs.  And two girls?!  Oh the fun. 

Being a parent, you realize no matter what choices you make or in whatever circumstances you find yourself regarding your children, there are always debbie downers.  "Oh they'll be so competitive."  "Oh just wait until they are teenagers!"  "Does Daddy have a shotgun?" [okay I secretly like that one]. "Just wait till one borrows the other's clothes without asking!" "2 proms? weddings? [insert expensive event here]?"  oy.  Yes, I am aware that girls can be competitive, catty, and expensive.  Thanks for telling me that on day 2 of my beautiful daughter's day on Earth.  I'm really not as bitter as I sound; It just never ceases to amaze me, the things people feel obligated to share.  Girls can also be sensitive, compassionate, strong, beautiful, fun, smart, and just. freakin. adorable!  I know there will be those times when I'll be wishing for more testosterone and less estrogen, but oh my gosh- the FUN we will have will far outweigh the sorrow.  It's already beginning. 

When looking at the pictures from Nadia's birth, one particularly struck me.  I thought, oh, my goodness- she looks JUST like her sister!  I made this little collage in picnik and played a guessing game on facebook.  More people got it wrong than right!  Can you tell who's who?


The next one I made wasn't on purpose either.  I'd just taken photos of Nadia and one reminded me of a photo I'd taken of Genevieve:

Nadia on the left.

After this one I thought, 'if they look so much alike on 'accident,' I need to start getting intentional.'  And then this shot was born:

Nadia on the left.

This one was kind of on purpose and kind of not.  I always loved this bright onesie and it brings back fond memories because Genevieve wore it right around the time her funny and bubbly personality was starting to emerge.  I remember that I hadn't planned to take photos of her in it...she was just so cute and totally showing off for me that a half hour photoshoot just sort of happened.  I knew I wanted to take a few pictures of Nadia in it and that I'd better do it quickly because she was outgrowing it.  I had no idea though that I'd get so many similar expressions out of her--so many that I couldn't choose which ones to compare!

Nadia on the left.

Nadia on the left.

Genevieve on the left.

Genevieve on the left.
I will be so sad when Nadia outgrows Genevieve's baby clothes (which is almost upon us since G was so tiny.  Nadia could probably fit her summer clothes now...).  I also imagine that as Nadia gets older she'll look less like her sister and the Narcissist in me is hoping she'll look more like me ;)  We shall see!

Tips & Suggestions:
If you want to try this you have to be a little forward thinking.  And this little project isn't for anyone into instant gratification, that's for sure! 
  • Hang onto those baby clothes! Even if you don't like the thought of hanging onto baby clothes from one child (will I even have another?  If so, what are the chances that it'll be the same gender?  or born in the same season?  I had these arguments with myself over and over again!), it's worth it to at least hang onto a handful of favorites.  If you took a bunch of pictures of one kid wearing someting, make sure to hang onto that particular outift. 
  • Buy a gender neutral outfit with this specific project in mind--perhaps a pair of overralls the baby can wear with no shirt.  That way your next baby- boy or girl- can wear it. 
  • Make sure to take lots of photos of your little one (as discussed here).  Then you'll have some to choose from if you want to re-create an image with your consecutive child(ren). 
  • They don't have to look alike! Even if they don't look alike I think it's still so darling to have photos of your children wearing the same thing.  It just makes you stop and think "Wow, Genevieve used to be that tiny?!" which in turn prompts you to slow down and treasure the time with the most recent child.  And surely we need those reminders with consecutive children don't we?! 

What other fun photo projects have you tried?  Month by month shots?  Newborn photos?  Oh and what photo editing software do you use?!  Do share!
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