♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ This giveaway is now closed. ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Since life is back to some semblance of normal after our visit home last week (tying up loose ends with our rental) I have had some time to pull together a new post....other than the recipes and such that I already had scheduled to go.
Before we made our trip back to HomeTown, Hubby's parents were here for a visit and we were able to spend several days with them. Peanut, of course, was in her element. She has always been interested in the "hands off" cell phones, but she now has an idea of what texting is (thanks to Daddy) and even recognizes Daddy's alert tone when he has a new text. "Oh, Daddy's text!" she exclaims when his phone goes off. I say this all the time--but even our kids (meaning all of us 30 somethings) are just growing up in an entirely different technological world than we did. They'll never know life without web cams, cell phones, iPads, instant pictures on the digital cameras, etc. It's just crazy isn't it?
Anyhow, Peanut is obsessed with cell phones and texting--and she quickly snagged Grandma's cell phone and attempted to text away and was obsessed at looking at Grandma's pictures on the phone too.
I found a recipe online to make play dough, so I made some of that for Peanut while my in-laws were here. Peanut hasn't stopped playing with it since--she probably asks to play it with at least three times day. She loves it and I love that it's not flaky like the brand name stuff.
Grandma also fixed Peanut's hair in braids which I thought were pretty cute. I don't ever have enough patience to fix her hair that way--probably because the Peanut sits much more still for Grandma than she does for me.
Peanut was also sure to be polite and offer her Grandma and Grandpa tea....
she drinks with such gusto. We'll have to work on that and remembering "pinkies out" later.
I am kind of bummed that I didn't have more than a few good shots with Peanut and her grandparents. As I have mentioned before, I try to avoid using the pop up flash on the camera if and whenever possible. It just doesn't make the greatest photos. While I am by no means an expert in photography and I still have a LONG way to go to even call myself a "photographer," I have learned a few things in the last few years as I have tried to improve my photography skills. I try to do these whenever I remember (but sometimes even I forget!):
1. Use natural light or take advantage of all the lighting from the room--avoid using that flash whenever you can. I have been known to turn on every light in the house when taking photos at night, just to avoid using the flash. I shoot mostly in manual mode--the flash doesn't even come on when doing so. Adequate lighting is essential! However, if there still just isn't enough light in the room, with my Nikon, I have learned a little trick. I set my aperture and shutter speed in manual mode, then I switch over to the auto mode to get the flash to pop up, then I switch back to the manual mode and shoot my pictures. This allows my camera to adjust the flash strength so it's not so bright. It lessens the intensity of the flash and allows for more natural photos. That way it doesn't give the really bright faces and really intense shadows in the background.
Peanut at 7 months old.
2. Especially when you have little ones--get down on their level to shoot the pictures whenever possible. It makes the picture more "real."
Much more natural without the flash, don't you think?
3. Learn how to use your camera in manual mode. For reasons, see # 1. This does take a LOT of practice--believe me, I am still working on it, but I think my photos have gotten better over the last several years and that makes me happy to see the improvements I've made. :)
4. Last--and this one I have just realized in the last year or so. Good pictures aren't always with everyone's faces. The objects involved help tell the story too--this works especially well if you do scrap booking or photo books. Of course your primary focus will be the faces of your children and the rest of the family, but a picture of the Easter eggs or a picture of the snow boots sitting on the front step scattered throughout help tell the story too!
Hopefully some of these tips will help you in taking even better pictures too!
Now....for the giveaway! The fine folks over at CSN Stores have offered to give one of my lucky readers $35 to use at any of their 200+ online stores. If you remember in January, I did a review on some of their great bakeware they carry in their Housewares section 7and I am completely in love with my new baking pans. CSN Stores offers a variety of different items--from
To enter to win, just leave a comment telling me what you would like to purchase! Make sure to leave your email address in the comment so I can get in touch with you if you win.
For extra entries (leave an additional comment for each):
#1. Become a follower (in the column on the right) and leave a comment telling you are/or have become one.
#2, #3, & #4. Blog,
This giveaway will be open until 11:59 PM Pacific Time on Wednesday, March 16, 2011. The winner will be chosen using random.org and will be announced on Thursday, March 17, 2011.
Disclosure: This giveaway is sponsored by CSN Stores. The opinions expressed in this post are solely my own.