Photo Tips with Emilie: Photographing Children

I came across a fabulous Utah photographer and she’s going to be post a monthly photography tip. She specializes in children photography and educating the Mommy Photographer.

Here is a photo of Emilie and Santa. She has it hanging in the studio and claims that she is one of his live-away-from-the-north-pole-elves and reports all good smilers to Santa directly.

Here’s her tip…
One of the more difficult challenges when photographing little one is keeping them in one place long enough to snap your shutter. Do you have a busy busy little one? No matter what you do you can’t snap quick enough to get a good photo!?! I’ve got some tricks for you.

Here are a few of my best trick and tips to get great images
of challenging little ones.

1. Bribe Them. There’s nothing that gets results like a good old fashioned bribe. My favorite bribing tool are Smarties. Smarties are great for several reasons, there are lots of them per package for a maximum bribe time, they dissolve quickly & don’t stain or color little mouths.

Another fun bribe trick are Pez dispensers. If your trim off their little feet they slide right into your camera flash hub. This is an excellent way to keep little ones focused on the camera. Again, lots of them per package for a maximum bride time.

2. For those little runners out there. Kids that won’t sit still is one of my most common challenges. My best solution is to put your little ones on a chair. Little legs can’t run away if they are sitting on chair. Use the Smarties as a reward for not dashing away.

Here are some examples…

The chair also adds some fun vintage style to this image.


Instead of a chair we used a dresser, same concept.
Look how darling her little feet look crossed like a princess.


2 above images – Same shoot, different chairs,
different way to use the chair both help me control
one busy little boy and a busier little puppy.

Not a chair, but the same concept. This busy little one
can’t go anywhere. Not to mention how the cute buggy
really ads to the image.

Again, not a chair but the same concept.

Using a chair in a family image is really fun too.
This little gal was about 1 year old and LOVED sitting in a
chair just her size. She would have sat in that chair
and let me take her pix for hours. I got some great
family shots and then mom and dad moved out of the shot
and I got some real cute smile ones of just her in the chair.

Again, not a chair but the same concept. She was
so mesmerized by this bowl and just sat and let me snap away.

Again, not a chair but the same concept. This is my
nephew
and he thought sitting in this tire was so cool
and just smiled and smiled. This tire made my job so
easy and that’s what I’m look for during every session.

Doubling up on a chair works great too. Sometimes it’s
difficult to get kids to stand close to each other, they
are just too wiggly. When photographing little
ones compositionally it looks better to have them
fairly close together. Having them both sit on a chair
allows you to pose kids close without any effort allowing
them to just sit back and grin.

Need I say anything about this last one?

3. What if they just want to run? When you can’t stop them – join them. Find a cute backdrop and turn it into a runnin game, have your kids run toward and away from the camera. I think running photos are just darling. After about 15 minutes of this game (and oodles of darling photos) they’ll be ready for that chair.

Here are some examples…

RUN RUN RUN!!

Same concept but dancing instead of running.

Capturing Mom and Dad in the foreground and
background tells more of a story.

A whole family walking. This shot also looks so cute
walking towards the camera. I typically shoot something like
this about half way through the session, the kids love it
and allows them a little break from following posing directions
which buys me some additional time.


This is a fun variation, I had these little kids running toward the
camera and this was the
last shot I got. Just look at their
faces, they are having a great time.

Here’s another variation. The concept is the same to
allow kids to run, move and play. All you’ll need to do
is set it up so you can capture a great shot.

Love Love Love this variation.

Line them up and march them. It took us a few times to
get just the right spacing but these kids loved it.

Like this little sweetie, sometimes no matter what
tricks you try they just want to move. I spent most
of the session following her snapping when
she turned my way. I had a packet of smarties in my
hand which dramatically increased the amount she turned
toward me. This image really captures her little free spirit.

Children photography is more than just having a nice camera or perfect lighting it’s also about knowing how to create an environment where you can capture the spirit of your little ones. The more tricks you have up your sleeve the more ability you’ll have to create an environment where children are authentically having fun and capturing that in your images.
Happy Snapping!!

To See Emilie Blog Click Here
To learn more about Emilie’s Workshops Click Here

Thanks Emilie! What great tips! Anything to help us capture those sweet little faces right! Thanks for joining the Blue Cricket Family! We look forward to seeing you each month and learning how we too can improve our photo skills!

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Sunday Flashback: Cookie Utopia

So here’s a little insight on me… I love me a good cookie but no where can I buy my dream cookie! I love the cookie part of both a Chocolate Chip and Oatmeal cookie but everyone seems to ruin them by adding chocolate chips or raisins!!! You’ll find me breaking out the chips and tossing the raisins!!! But man do I love everything else about them!

So finally I came up with the ultimate “Becca’s gona’ love it!!” cookie recipe and for all of you out there who know exactly what I’m talking about in having to pick out the parts of a cookie you don’t enjoy then you’ll have to give this recipe a try!!!

It’s based on a recipe I got in a magazine but because I omitted so many of it’s ingredients I claim this “New and Improved” final recipe my own!!! Like how I took those liberties myself!!!He he he!!!

Enjoy!!!!

Oatmeal Crunch Cookie

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp Baking Soda1 cup Quick oats
1 stick butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vinilla
1 cup flaky cereal ( I used CURVES!!! so good!)


Preheat oven 350

Cream butter , sugar, brown sugar,egg and vanilla.

In separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, baking powder,cereal and oats.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients until blended.

Form balls of dough and place on ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Lick the bowl!!!, and bake at 350 for about 14 min.

Proceed to eat 3-4 before you family realizes they are out of the oven and you are forced to share them!!!!

There you have it!!!The best cookie that’s only cookie that you’ll ever eat!!!

**** You can use any flaky cereal you have…I think Honey bunches of Oats, or Special K would work too. The cereal just adds a great crunch to it and any flavored flake cereal I am sure would be super yummy!

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Homemade Pasta? Yes Please!

I found this super easy and fun Pasta recipe on Pioneer Woman’s website! It had a step by step recipe that was so easy to follow! It’s so much fun to make with your kids! Let’s get started!

The recipe calls for only two ingredients!!!! Gotta Love that!!!

1 egg for every 1/2 cup of flour! That combo is the perfect amount per person so for our family of four I used 4 eggs and 2 cups flour!

Combine eggs and flour in large bowl and mix with your hands till you create a dough ball.Work the dough on a floured surface till it’s smooth and not tacky.


Separate your dough into manageable portions to roll out. I separated mine into two. Roll out the dough as thin as you can.

I used a pizza cutter to cut very thin straight strips.
Gently peel the strips off the cutting surface and collect on a plate.
Add cut pasta to a boiling pot of salted water and cook for approximately 2 min.

Drain and add your favorite pasta sauce!

Te Da!!! A super yummy, totally impressive, fun pasta dish!!! For reals guys! In the time it took the pot of water to boil we were ready to boil the noodles! This recipe is well worth the extra effort to make a snazzy meal your family will love! The kids loved being helpers and finding super long noodles to slurp!!! A new family hit!!!

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Framed Mirror


FINALLY! Finally after three years I can check something off my “To Do” list and I’m happy to brag that I did it all by myself! From start to finish I framed out our bathroom mirror. While my husband was out of the country for two plus weeks I got busy trying to surprise him with a fun bathroom makeover!

Here’s my before.

Standard builder issued large mirror glued to the wall. Plane, simple and begging for a makeover!

I had to ask myself once I was done why I hadn’t done this sooner! This really is probably the simplest project with a huge payoff in the end. I love how it looks!

Materials Needed:

Molding Trim and a Miter Box
Paint
Liquid Nails
Paintable Caulking
Level
Painters Tape


First things first… Measure your mirror. I planned on gluing my molding directly on top of the mirror so I measures the exact size of my mirror. Measure twice to be 100% sure!

Take your measurements with you to Home Depot or Lowes. Pick out the molding you like and have the worker cut them into four sizes at least 6 inches longer then the length you need for each section. This will make cutting them more manageable.

If you go to Home Depot they will have a self serve cutting station with a Miter Box that you are welcomed to use. You can also buy a miter box for less then $10 to make your cuts at home. Lay out your four pieces of molding and measure and mark your cutting lines knowing which direction your 45 degree angle will go.

Cut your angels and head home with the hardest part behind you!

Paint your moldings and once the front is dry you will also want to paint a small section of the back side. You will see a reflection in the mirror of the back so you’ll want to paint it!

Add a strip of Liquid Nails but keep it at least an inch away from the edges.

Start with the bottom section and firmly press on your piece of molding. Use a level to make sure it’s nice and level. This will help make sure each of the other pieces fit perfectly!


Use painters tape to help keep each section in place. Let dry over night.

Use Clear paintable Caulking to fill in the edges and cracks that will inevitable appear after it settles and dries.

Smooth the excess caulking with your fingers and wipe smooth. Let it dry according to the directions and lastly paint over your caulking and there you go!


So easy! Such a dramatic change! And talk about an affordable home improvement…

Molding: .98 cents a foot
Liquid Nails: $4
Caulking: $2
Paint: $8

Total cost for all my supply’s:$30

And now besides the molding, I have everything I need to do my two others bathrooms!

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Flashback Sunday: In the kitchen


I came a cross this post and realized I never shared this recipe I came up with on BCD! I have to admit I impressed myself with this one and seeing as I’m on a clensing diet right now and can’t make these I’m going crazy over here as I am reminded how good these babies are! So do me a favore and make a batch, eat half the pan and email me telling me how good it was! Maybe that will make up for the fact that I can’t indulge myself!

Originally posted 4/21/09

I love to bake! LOVE LOVE LOVE to bake! It’s a creative outlet for me! I love adding something to a recipe to make it feel more like my own creation. Sometimes it works out! Sometimes it flops! I’ve never created a recipe on my own. I don’t necessarily have the skill set to know what to add to make something rise or have a flaky crust. But I was determined to give it a try. I wanted to create a treat that I had enjoyed but kick it up a notch and REALLY be able to call it my own.

This is my take on a White Chocolate chip Macadamia Nut Cookie! I added coconut and crushed Pineapple and bake it in bar form. The hardest part about creating recipes is knowing what measurements are needed. This was a “cross your fingers” and just try attempt!I have to say, I totally love the out come!

Here is the recipe I came up with! I may tweek it in the future to try to make it more dense. At this point it’s half way between a cake or moist brownie and a cookie bar. I think the pineapple really moistens it.

Tropical Bars…

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
1 can of crushed pineapple drained
3 1/2 c. unsifted flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 pkg. white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped Macadamia nuts
1/2 cup shredded coconut
more coconut to sprinkle on top

In mixer blend butter, sugars, eggs and vanilla.

Drain can of pineapple and add to mixer.

Add in flour and baking soda to wet ingredients.

Add coconut, chopped nuts and white chocolate chips.

Spread onto greased sheet pan and sprinkle coconut on top.

Bake at 375 for 20-25 min ’till golden brown and fork comes out clean in the middle.

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Little baby blessed in white

While relabeling my post I was reminded how much I loved this project. I still can’t believe I made my daughters own blessing dress! It’s so easy my friends. I still cherish this dress and that sweet little nugget that wore it!

I was totally inspired by a post I saw on this blog MADE. She has a step by step tutorial on how to make a toddlers dress out of a Mens Dress shirt! How fun is that!!!! I took the general idea and adapted it for a Babies Blessing dress. I haven’t made a dress for the girls out of their dads shirts yet but I think I will for Fathers Day!!!

Here’s my go at using the instructions but with modified measurements and bolt fabric and trim instead of a shirt…

First create a pattern on a poster board. I folded the poster board in half the long way and made HALF of the dress, that way it was exactly the same on the other side once you open it up again! You will cut two of each piece… two sleeves and a front and back. I got a general idea of the measurements by looking at a shirt or dress that fits my baby but as you notice the neck line is extra wide. WORD TO THE WISE: because it’s a gather style you don’t have to be exact and I would go bigger if in doubt. (trust me!!! I had to make two dresses because I didn’t go bigger!!!) To get a perfect curve for your pattern use a bowl and trace it’s curve. For making your pattern please refer to the original tutorial I have linked above. I’m sure it’s way clearer in her description!
With fabric folded with rights sides in, trace and cut out pieces.

Starting with the sleeves, one at a time, pin to the main dress section and sew a 1/4″ seam straight stitch. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are touching. Sew both sleeves to both main pieces until you end up with it looking like this. I always finish my raw edged and press and sew a top stitch.

At this point we are going to iron in a hem, or fold around the neck line for the elastic to be added. I folded it over 1/2″. I also used a surging stitch to first finish the edge. I don’t have a surger so I just found a stitch that does the trick. Straight stitch around the neck line but be sure to leave about an inch opening so you can thread in the elastic! We will thread the elastic once the dress is pretty much done, not at this point!
If you plan on adding any lace or trim this is when you would do it! I sewed on two rows of lace just by pinning it in place and using a straight stitch.

Once you have your trim on you can fold the dress inside out, lining up the sleeves and bottom. pin it together and sew with a straight stitch leaving 1/4″ . Sew from the bottom of the dress all the way to the sleeve section.

Repeat the same ironed hem you did for the neck now on both sleeves.

To add the elastic you need 1/8″ elastic and a safety pin. I cut two 8″ pieces for the sleeves and one 12 ” piece for the neck. ( I like to thread much longer then needed pieces and do the sizing while it’s in the garment. Easier to adjust!) pin the safety pin to the end of the elastic and now push the safety pin through the casing on the neck ’till it comes out the end. you can at this point try the dress on the baby and see how much gather you want and tie off the elastic several times and trim off the ends of the elastic. Do the same for each sleeve. I just guessed on the gather and made my sleeves slightly loose so they didn’t pinch her arms. Stitch up the space you left for the threading and there you have it!!! All the gathering is done!!!

Hem the bottom and add lace!


This process would work for any baby dress. Just shorten and use any fabric that makes you smile!!! It’s a simple easy pattern and can be adjusted for any size. Use the rule of thumb that bigger is better when it comes to measuring!!! The gathering is very forgiving! The important thing is to gauge the width in the chest area as best as possible! If any thing I hope this post inspires you to try your hand at creating a pattern!

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Sunday Flashback "Remember"

I hope your like me and have endless memories of your childhood and growing up years! If so has it ever made you wonder what your own kids will one day remember about you? I’m glad I took the time to reflect on that very thought!

Originally posted 6/29/09

I was thinking the other day “I wonder what my kids will remember about me?” What impressions am I leaving on them at this point in their lives? Am I leaving a good one? Will the good out weight the bad!? It made me do a little inventory and want to try even harder to make their childhood full of positive memories of time with mom!

I want them to remember….

* that I sang to them at night and taught them my Girls Camp songs.
* that reading was important in our home and we often read chapter books together and I didn’t skip pages.
* that I baked home made bread.
* that if I was mean or short with them that I always apologized.
* that I loved and adored their father, that I would even be found kissing him in the middle of the afternoon in the kitchen.
* that it was ok to say things were too expensive.
* baking with me in the kitchen and sharing what we baked with others.
* that I give the best back tickles!
* that even though I didn’t think they needed a band aid, I still let them have one just because it made them feel better!
* that dinner time was super important to me! Home made meals, manners and saying thank you were required!
* that I sewed cloths for them.
* that I was frugal!
* that I made them their birthday cakes and each one was special.
* that making things from scratch could be more fun!
* that I would often be found singing throughout the house as loud as I could.

Hopefully these memories will over shadow my faults. If anything this has made me want to create even more positive things my kids can one day look back on and smile about!

Makes you think huh!?! What do you hope your own kids remember most about you?

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Flavored Apple Chips! Yep you heard me…FLAVORED!

I need a little more time before I reveal my bathroom make over. Here’s the proof that I’ve been working hard and getting my paint on! In the mean time I have to share with all of you the new treat we’ve been stuffing our faces with over her in the Blue Cricket house!

Meet our newest obsession…


Bet you didn’t think you could jazz up dried apples but I’m here to tell you it’s oh so easy


Grab yourself some apples! I’m a Gala Apple fan.

Thinly slice your apples begin sure not to forget to remove the core.

Jell-O strikes again! I think Jell-O is quickly become my favorite additive to all thing yummy and bright! Grab a few packs of Jell-O in the flavor your family loves! It can’t be sugar free!

On a sheet of foil lay out your slices of apples and be sure that it’s only a single layer.

Sprinkle the Jell-O on one side of your slices.

Layer one flavor per food dehydrator shelf. I have three flavors going on… Orange, Raspberry, and Blackberry and by the way… I scored this brand new 5 level food dehydrator form my local thrift store for $10!! CRAZY huh! You know I’ve got thinly sliced steak meat in my fridge waiting to be jerkified!

Dry them over night and like magic you’ll get amazing flavorful treats that the whole family will beg for!


The only bad thing about this is that they don’t last long!

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Sunday Flashback " I can’t help myself…"

First of all…

Happy Mothers day!!!

I hope all you moms, grandmothers, sisters, wives and all the women out there feel the love today! I’m lucky enough to have fabulous woman in my life! So thank you Mom, Diane, Boopers, Vanjo, Kathy,SW Karrilynn, Steph, Tiffany, Megan #1, Megan #2! I love you all and wish you the best!

And I think to celebrate Mothers Day I’ll take most of your advice and hold out for the Paula Dean Blue cookware set! It’s the perfect Mothers Day gift to myself don’t you think! When I was first introduced to the CSN stores and found their cookware.com site I knew I’d find something I’d love! CSN has Everything! From TV Stands to Bedding, Cookware to Furniture! So look out Paula Dean! I’m gaining on ya! I’ll be cooking like the pros in no time!

Now onto my Flashback post! It only felt right to share a favorite post about the ones that made me a mom!This post cracks me up! I’ll often find myself sifting thorough my old photos and I just love when one makes me laugh out loud. This was the case when I found this photos of Blue! Hello Chris Farley! It’s easy to see when I find old posts like this why I needed to scale back and focus on the important things! Unlike what one “anonymous” poster called “self induced drudgery” I’d like to consider mothering these crazy girls one of the greatest perks in my life!

Originally posted 6/30/09

Is this not the funniest picture of Blue or what!!! She is going to die when she see this picture when she’s older!!!!
And here’s Cricket telling us all about the “Snuggie!” She’s a sucker for a good infomercial just like her dad!!!

I love sifting through my old photos and finding gems like these!

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There I go again playing with hardware!

What’s my deal! I officially have a thing for accessorizing with hardware! Maybe it’s my thing! Maybe it’s just easy and always seems to turns out adorable! Let’s just go with it!


I picked up this 3′ long chain of linked metal in the jewelry making section of Robert’s Crafts. Once I bought it I wish I would have just gone to Home Depot. Those orange aproned workers are starting to recognize me. There on to me I tell ya! Check out their chains as well… I think it’s cheaper and they may have a wide variety.

Cut a strip of ribbon twice as long as your chain. Be sure to cut a nice sharp angel to make it easy to thread in between each link.


And start threading away! Go in and out of each link until you’ve weaved the entire length of the chain.

Tie off your ribbons and trim the ends. Be sure to burn the edges to keep the ribbon from fraying.






Add a little color and get crazy in the hardware section…yet again! This entire project cost me only $3! Gotta love that right?

Oh and I must share and get some advice. I want to order some new pots and pans and I fell in love with this set from www.cookwear.com

I love this blue Set by Paula Dean but it’s out of stock and I’m dying to get it! It also comes in orange or red but I really love the blue! Do I just hold out for the blue or do I pull the trigger on the orange?

And look what else I love… Matching mixing bowls!!

I’ve sort of kind of fell in love with this new site but man… I can’t make my mind up!HELP!!!

And p.s… I’m still looking for your tutorials ! I haven’t turned a single tutorial away! They have all been awesome! I’d love to answer any questions you might have when it comes to submissions!

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