Category Archives: Kids Photography

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Honey Sweetened Coconut Oil Peanut Butter

I finally did it. 
I made peanut butter and now I curse myself why I hadn’t done it earlier. 
Easy. Fast. Cheap. Delicious. 
It takes me 5 minutes to make it. 

it has 3 ingredients. 

and if I let them, my kids would devour it in one sitting. 

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I buy my peanuts in bulk: roasted and salted

Unsalted will do, too but you will need to add a pinch of salt to the recipe. 

Depends on how thick you like the peanut butter you can adjust the amount of coconut oil. 

So there are no precise measurements in this recipe. 

It all depends on how sweet you like it and how much coconut oil you want in it. 

My last recipe looked like this:

2 cups roasted salted peanuts 

2 TBSP raw honey

2 TBSP coconut oil 

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Because I run out of coconut oil the last batch came out a little too thick. Still delicious, though. 
My kids were fighting over it, and the younger one didn’t let me finish with the pictures.

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She is a little piggy when it comes to food. She eats my dinner and then what’s left from her sister’s plate so this delicious creamy stuff was just too much to say no to! 

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As for the directions how to make it, well… 
You will need one of those super powered ( :) ) blenders: Vitamix or Blendtec
I have Blendtec and I am LOVING IT 

Directions: 

1. Throw the peanuts and blend on “ice crushing” mode.

2. Scrape the sides and blend it on “ice crushing” mode again.  

3. Scrape the sides and blend on “smoothie” mode. 

4. Scrape the sides add coconut oil and honey. 

5. Blend on “smoothie” mode again. 

6. Adjust the flavor adding more coconut oil or honey.  

7. ENJOY

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Self-Portrait of the Photographer {Portrait Photography, San Jose, CA}

Ewa "Mom Photographer":

Who’s up to a challenge? :)

Originally posted on Ewa Samples Photography:

Taking pictures is my passion. It is a passion of every photographer out there, at least this is what I believe in.

We spent hours on end shooting, editing, thinking about locations or location hunting, visualizing sessions with clients, browsing the Internet and organizing our Pinterst boards. Everything for one purpose – to become a better photographer and to serve our clients better. Many of us have mastered and memorized all the techniques of encouraging our models to feel comfortable in front of the camera. We know a lot about posing, how to make people look good, how to use the light and how to use every bit of space as a good spot for a photograph.

We take tremendous amounts of pictures weekly… Don’t we.

But how many pictures of ourselves, with kids, with spouses or without them, do we have?
How many times when somebody said, “hey you’ve…

View original 220 more words

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Avocado Cucumber Spinach Smoothness

This smoothie was meant to be mine. Just mine. 

You know, these days I can’t eat in peace because whatever I take there is 3 drooling mouths (No.1, No.2 and the dog) watching me carefully with those begging eyes. 
No.1 is very particular about the color or texture of her food. So if there is something that looks or feels suspicious (like green food) she won’t even try it. 

That’s why this smoothie was meant to be mine. 

I made it… 
… and I barely ate a few spoons before the kids got to it.  

They just devoured it and were asking for more.

So here is the recipe to successfully sneaking some greens into your kids diet. 

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1 cup greek yogurt (honey or vanilla flavored)

1 TBSP honey

1 medium soft avocado

1/2 english cucumber 

handful fresh baby spinach

1 tsp. coconut oil

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Blend and Enjoy!

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You might also like this green smoothie I made a long time ago. (click here for the recipe)

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So, Happy Blending my friends! 

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Coconut flour Coffee Cake aka I can’t believe I made gluten free cheesecake and I loved it!

So, my last adventure with coconut flour was a disaster. 
I made pancakes and they were actually awful.

So the rest of the flour there was left had been sitting in my kitchen for months now, until last week my husband went to the store and bought 3 dozen eggs. Yes, this is what happens when you send a guy to the store and write “eggs” on the shopping list – you get 3 dozen of them. Too bad it doesn’t work like that when I write “ice cream” or “chocolate”.

Anyway, in order to use up those eggs I remembered about the coconut flour which always requires a lot of eggs.

I found a perfect recipe to try. Gluten free cream cheese coffee cake

I did made a few changes. I didn’t have pecans or maple syrup. And I used greek yogurt in place of the regular one (I think that what they meant in the original recipe). 

I think I found my new favorite cake and I do not feel guilty feeding it to the kids, also. 

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INGREDIENTS:

Filling:

  • 4 ounces queso fresco whole milk cheese ( I used it not because I wanted but because I didn’t have enough cream cheese)
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (room temperature) – 8 oz (or more) if you don’t use queso fresco! 
  • 4 TBSP raw honey (more if needed)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP dutch cocoa 

Cake:

  • 6 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup mix dried cranberries and raisins
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 

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DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease one 8-inch round cake pan.

2. Beat together all ingredients for cream cheese filling. Set aside.

3. Combine the first five ingredients for cake then add the dry ingredients through the salt. Mix well.

4. Pour cake batter into pan and drop cranberries and raisins on top of the batter.

6. Top with cream cheese filling and use a knife or tooth pick to swirl it around.

7. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool before slicing.

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After one bite hubby described it: “well, it tastes different“, and he didn’t eat any more. The thing is that if we all ate by his taste buds we would be eating cheeseburgers, BBQ pulled chicken, chilli and apple pie for 7 days a week, 365 days a year. 

That meant that the whole cake is for me and the kids only, and I shouldn’t be so happy about it, as my pants are getting surprisingly smaller on me lately.  

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Have a great weekend my friends.

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Southland Sightseeing

It feels like ages since I wrote my last post.

Well, it’s been a rough road that last month. Lots of ups and downs and something close to an aversion towards blogging. Nothing personal, just too little energy and too much in my head. 

No.1 turned 3

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I managed to have two photo sessions. One is already on my blog here. For that session I had the opportunity to try a wonderful lens: 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S. As I got used to it “Oh” ‘s  and “Ah” ‘s were coming out of me all the time. I was simply in heaven.

My second session was with a pregnant, beautiful mamma and her family. I didn’t have much time to post them on the blog, though.  Will do it shortly.

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I have two newborn sessions in front of me so starting tomorrow I am getting back to the hats making mode. 

Last Saturday we came back from Orange County where we had gone for husband’s business trip. We did some sightseeing but mostly just from our car.

 

We visited my husband friend and his pets

 

There was a lot of coffee involved

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Not as much as I thought of crocheting:

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And two nights in hotels. I was very surprised how good our kids dealt with that. 

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Before we had left the house we planned the trip so I could see the “Hollywood” sign. I was very excited about that but it actually didn’t happen, and I am not heart broken.

We drove by the place where we suppose to stand in order to see the sign:

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but when we got there, there were cars on cars parked on cars. Cars to the left and cars to the right. In addition the kids just fell asleep after a quite long time of screaming. I did not feel like I want to spend my time looking for a parking and then climbing up the hill to see some big letters – and just for that waking up the kids. It felt so good to ride in silence. They wake up pretty soon anyway. Go figure.

At least we stopped to see the “Walk of Fame”. I really enjoyed that. 

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I got lucky to find my favorite star within a few minutes from where we get out of the car. 

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Then a few more:

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And just as we were packing everybody to the car the husband spotted this place:

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On the way back we saw a sand storm, or a beginning of one.

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Oh… and we finally left our young doggy where she belongs – with a trainer.

 

and we picked up our Old Lady who during the last year has gotten so old, and blind, an deaf and oh… so disoriented. We got very close to actually not having her, but my crocodile tears had changed it. Not that I did it in purpose, but I just couldn’t stand the vision of not having her back. Simple. 

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She still is the very loving and patient dog I remember. She always has been. 

No.1 has already taken good care of the Old Lady.  After a few times of trying to ride the dog we finally told her that the dog is sick (which is not far from the truth at all), so she shouldn’t be doing it anymore. It worked. Now she is very carrying and loving towards the dog. She brings her blankets and pillows. 

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We are all happy to have her back. I can’t describe how happy I am. She is back where she belongs! 

warm hugs,  

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Tips for photographing kids and for family self-portraits

Haven’t posted any tips for self-portraits during the last several weeks. 
Time to change it. 

Today I’m going to focus on the entire family: How to take pictures of yourself plus your family members. 

My last photo session with my family taught me a few lessons, and I want to share them here.  

Last week we had No.2 B-day, and I had this neat idea for some cute pictures which of course ended up not as I had planned. I mean, TOTALLY not as I had planned. Well, this should be a lesson for me and for all of you out there who plan photo sessions with kids and husbands.

Most of the ideas that you have probably won’t work out!  

Here are pictures from the session. 

Family portraits used in this post are from the same day, but about an hour earlier when everybody wasn’t hungry, tired and cold. The best thing would have been to stay at the same place and continue with my ideas, but I had different vision in my head and the only place I saw in that vision was the second location. So we had moved, and by the time we got there the weather had changed from nice to not VERY nice :) – cold and windy.

Before dragging all those balloons and the basket (which is kinda heavy), I tried it at home, and No.2 was very happy to sit in it. She actually didn’t want to come out. Every time I took her out she would climb back inside.

Guess what she did during the photo session?

The very first second after I put her inside she got the hell out of there and she did not want to get inside. From there my entire vision was ruined and I was ready to go home. In addition the wind tangled all the balloons and it was a TRAGEDY. 

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So, the conclusions are:

- do not expect a lot while planning session with kids – at least have more than one back-up plan!!! 

- do not use balloons in windy days – or at have a good plan where you’re going to place them. 

- have plenty of food for the kids – and for the adults as they tend to get the same grumpy when hungry! 

- have warm clothes, no matter how warm the weather is when you start the session.

- one location is probably enough. 

- give everybody a break from the camera.

- do not panic – which is hard when you take pictures for money at the session turns into this kind of mess!

- do not get angry - which is hard when you take pictures of your family (kids and husband)!

So far I’ve made all those mistakes and probably will do them again! 

As for the family self-portraits. 

Well,

First of all you must have a partner  who does not want to kill you (or you him) during the session.  

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Second of all plan your session according to the endurance not only of your kids but of your partner also! I figured that for my husband one locations is already ONE TOO MANY! And a session that is 2 hour long is about 1 h 40 min too long for him.

Knowing that you are going to take some family shots WEAR SOMETHING NICE. Make it a reason to pamper yourself a little. Do not wear or let your husband to wear anything that later will be a reason to reject the pictures.

Prepare yourself to run back and forth, from the camera to the family, many, many times.
Prepare yourself that most pictures are not going to be pretty, and I am not talking about “pretty looking” but pretty as “technically correct”.

In addition, if you have a dog who acts like it has fireworks shoveled up her/his rare end… well… then it is extra hard!  Probably it’s better to leave her/him at home.

If only the light wasn’t shining on N-o.1 face I would consider this picture as the best one:
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and probably this one IF (again), the dog wasn’t looking like she just saw a squirrel, and No.1 is making very silly face:

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Finally we moved to a different place and this I consider a good shot, although the dog is not in it:

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1/160 sec., f/2.5, ISO 320

and No.1 is a little out of focus as she started to wiggle like a worm. 

To be sure that all members are in focus even if they move a little, use smaller aperture – f/3.5 (and up), and faster shutter speed – 600 sec. for example. At this point you might have to bump up the ISO also.
In case if you have people standing in front of each other, using aperture f/1.4, f/1.8, f/2 simply won’t work. There will be always somebody out of focus.

Of course, if you have a perfect light and a great gear that allows you to bump up your ISO to 1000 and up, then you could set your shutter speed to above 2000 and that would make easier to take photos with less blurriness.

During my year of self-portraits I found out that my 18-55mm f/3.5 – 5.6 lens doesn’t produce very stunning shots, the background is not as pretty and and the depth of field isn’t blurry and shallow, BUT it is more likely to take pictures where I am in focus even if the focus was a little bit off from the start. While with 35mm f/1.8 you have to be very precise with the focus if you want to get a sharp picture. 

One rule that is very helpful in taking family portraits is to keep everybody close to each other. KEEP IT IN A TRIANGLE. Bring the family together! 

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Considering that there is nobody standing behind the camera, waving, making silly faces or using his/her voice to catch the kids attention the best way would be to use something like those lens creatures for the kids to keep looking at the camera:

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Simple, “Hey, Smile at Elmo” would do the trick.

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Of course, I did not take it with us, what is very clear looking at all the pictures here. 

And as I always say, “do not expect perfection”, but if you still have the time and the energy, and if you haven’t killed each other already, try for better picture, again, and again, and again. It is free.

Finish the entire session with a nice dinner in your favorite restaurant 

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That will calm everybody down, and the frustration will go away with the first sip of a hot coffee!

Nurture Photography Challenge - Spring 2013 Edition

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Photo Art Friday, b-day girl and spiders

First of all…

No.2

is

ONE

YEAR

OLD

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This young lady origins from the grumpy kind (my blood).

Very recently she has learned to climb on mom’s bread machine.

She walks like a pro, but sometimes she still prefers to get on four – mostly when she has to keep up with her Big Sis.

She loves to blink at mom and dad. 

She wears sunglasses like a real star. 

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And not like her sister, she eats almost anything

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She makes a great bunny

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and she loves to be her Big Sister’s partner-in-crime – or it’s the other way around… (probably).

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This week’s theme for Photo Art Friday is “shadows and/or light”. I’ve missed last few weeks :(
I dug out this picture from my archives:

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and this one is from few days ago:

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I finally finished my shawl, something I wanted to make for a long, long time, but always thought it is too complicated to make. 

And I must share with you those few shots of baby spiders we saw the last weekend. What an awfully great experience ;) 

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Crochet Granny Squares Kid’s Poncho and Hat

This project had its beginning because of a few left-over granny squares. When I saw them I immediately thought about making granny squares hat for my daughter; I came across one somewhere on Pinterest and it stuck in my head since.

So, as soon as I dug out those left-over squares from a box with unfinished crochet project I knew what I’m going to do.

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Then out of nowhere I came up with the idea of making her a matching poncho. The work was terribly slow and frustrating because I had made the poncho way too big for her and had to unravel part of it at some point. That had made to put this project aside for a week or so.

 

btw,

we do have a matching blanket as well. I made the blanket when I was pregnant with her. It has served her pretty well.

 

HIT THE “PUBLISH” BUTTON by an accident… 

Will add the pattern soon!!! (although, you can make it with any granny squares)

 

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Photo Art Friday – Portrait

Good Morning from my dark (in light, not mood - thanks god) and quiet corner, 

This week’s theme for PAF is “portrait”.

Well, I’ve got many of those! ;)
Every single day there is a new portrait. 
Every single trip to a park – new portrait(s). 

So I had a lot to choose from. 

No.2 is a very moody girl. She can change her state of being from very, very grumpy to very, very happy within 5 seconds. And she just switches from one to another all day long (just like her mamma, by the way!). 

Happy

Mad

Happy 

Mad

Happy 

Mad

…. 
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No. 1 LOVES balloons. 

This girl doesn’t need a lot to be happy but balloons made her exalted. 

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I’m in process of 3 projects.

2 sewing project (one already done) and 1 crochet project.

I’m actually stuck as I do not have the materials to finish the second sewing project and the crochet one, well, there is more unraveling that crocheting now, so I am very discouraged.

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Anyway, 

we’ve got a little piglet growing here. 
Nothing like her Big Sister who after her very picky father is a picky eater herself, No.2 eats almost ANY DARN THING! 

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and a few latest shots of her:

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I had many more PORTRAITS to share but I don’t want you all to get bored with all the kids stuff, and I need to start the day myself, as the magic word (or two): IN-LAWS!!! is/are circling around our home like a fly… 

Hope you guys have a wonderful weekend

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Photo Art Friday on Thursday, and ALL my kids (minus No.4 – the husband)

I’ll try to make this post very short today.
Simply because No.1 just went down for her nap and I am able to become a couch potato for an hour or two.

Starting with my submission for Photo Art Friday:

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because Bath-Time-Fun is not for kids ONLY

Following with some shots or my darlings who drive me crazy lately.

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Finishing with No.3 (I call her My Special Needs Child  – the one with ADHD).
A few week ago she had a professional photo session with Black Newf Photography (click the link for some awesome shots).
This dog is a separate topic I am getting ready to write about (but not yet). I am waiting for the right mood to do so. Believe me or not, it is a hard topic for me to talk about. Not having two very young children but this dog is the main reason I get up at 6:30/7 am every morning. She is the cause of my weight going down. While those two are relatively good things the third one is not -she is the main reason of my new grey hair, a lot of them!

But I don’t want to go that road today…

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Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!