[Oh gee.  What did I get myself into?]


” For adult education, nothing beats children.”    Mark Ortman

In Raising Healthy Children, Jolene L. Roehlkepartain writes,  “In our eagerness to teach our children, we may overlook what they’re teaching us:  compassion, conflict resolution, and time management.  They show us how to let loose, be spontaneous, rest we we need to and become best friends with someone we were mad at minutes ago.  They help us to remember what it’s like to be a child– and they help us to be better adults.  Next time you learn a lesson from a preschooler, thank him or her.  You might say,  “Thank you for reminding me that yelling doesn’t help.  Adults sometimes forget.” 


My kids teach me the true meaning of living creativity.  When the moment strikes, canvas or no canvas they passionately draw, doodle and express their artistic side.   They don’t need fancy supplies or art lessons.  Even sharpie on legs is form of artistic expression for them.  

It is up to me to nurture their creative spirits AND to keep my sanity.  

 I hope that they always create with such fearless abandon.  I pray that I can always keep my eyes open to their wonderful lessons.       

Photographing Babies: A Checklist


Hi!  Meet Mr. IRRISISTBLE, whom I had the pleasure of photographing recently.  Is he PRECIOUS or WHAT?!!

He is here today to help me present a checklist of items you’ll want to have on hand if you have scheduled a photo session with me or if you are going to do your very own BABY PHOTO SHOOT.    



“Oh my! What on earth do I need to do to get ready for my big moment in front of the camera?!”   


1.        Blankets   The more choices, the better!!  Have a variety of solids & prints with different textures.  You may want to include heirloom quilts and special handmade blankets too.  I like everything from vibrant and bold to neutral.  Newborns will also need swaddling blankets in a variety of solid colors and prints (I love polka dots and stripes).

2.       Step Ladder or Tall Chair  

3.       Attention Getters   I have found that babies six months and younger are most receptive to sounds and touch during sessions.  Anything from bells, rattles, noisy toys to pots + pans.  Babies always love mom and dad’s voice the best; sometimes I’ll ask them to sing silly songs and make noises just behind my head.  A long feather or long handled blush brush are great to get their attention too.  

4.       Hats.  Bows. Leg Warmers.  Booties.  Ties.   Etsy.com has a plethora of cuteness for photo shoots…  search etsy for ‘baby photo prop’ or ‘knit baby hat’ and you’ll soon be lost in a sea of ideas you can make yourself or purchase.

5.       Boppy  Perfect underneath a soft blanket.  Pillows and beanbags also help prop baby up.    

6.       Toasty Warm Room   Essential so baby will be comfortable in his birthday suit.  You can use a small space heater or just crank up room temperature.  I always say, if I’m not sweating during a session it wasn’t warm enough for baby.

 7.       Cover-ups  Cloth diapers are perfect for covering nakie parts (see photo below).  I also like to use whatever blanket the baby is laying on and bring it up and over to cover privates.  Make sure everything is washable! 

 8.       Extra Baby Wipes & Burp Clothes Sessions get MESSY, trust me.  A little pee and poop hasn’t stopped a session yet!

9.       Camera Ready Parents Even if mom and dad aren’t the stars of the shoot, it’s okay if they look it.  I recommend long or short sleeves solids (charcoal or blue are always easy shade to work with).  Clean pretty hands, nice hair and moisturized skin helps too!  

    “Who is this lady taking my picture?  I much prefer mom!”    [I like to keep baby nice and close to mama or daddy until he or she gets used to my sound and touch!]



And here is where it gets really fun;  the last thing you’ll want to have on hand is-

10.    Something that reflects your STYLE, PERSONALITY and/or PASSION!  Look around your house for items that tell a story of your family or reflects something you love.  It doesn’t have to be expensive.  It could be a pretty selection of fresh cut flowers from your garden, a vibrant table cloth (above) or something like THIS or THIS.  Think outside the box and have fun with this one.  

 The ideas are endless:

Vintage Suitcases
Musical or Sports Equipment
BIG Bowls (Metal or Ceramic)
Baskets and Trunks
Antique Anything  (Toys, Phones, Typewriters)
Parents or Grandparent Outfits, Uniforms or Hats



“Ohhh weeee… this whole photo shoot thing isn’t so bad!”             




 “Here I am all nestled and snug.  Can you believe they put me in a picnic basket?!”    






“Alright folks, modeling is hard work… time for a little snooze!”   



{Fun With} Fire Safety II

I was going to call this week’s activities FUN WITH FIRE

 But that just doesn’t sound right does it?! 


You can’t have “fun with fire” without DALMATIONS!  Toddlers can use the dog munchers as a matching game, while older kids can enjoy a math fun with the code sheet.  Fire Dog Cup idea via Twiggle Magazine HERE!


I loved Family Fun’s recycled fire set HERE!  Give me old boxes, bottle caps and pretty paper and I’m like a kid in a candy store. 




 The single best thing about a our fire study was serving lunch off a FIRE TRUCK!  

You know I dig this as much as the kids.  

Cinnamon bagels served as the wheels and almonds acted as ladder. 

  Fine Dining— Fire Engine Lunch 


Wishing you a TERRIFIC DAY! 


{Fun With} Fire Safety I

Last week we dove into a hot topic. 

All things FIRE!


[Search & Rescue Games Galore and Firefighter Imaginary Play]  

Streamers make for perfect pretend flames and recycled spray butter bottles work great as fire extinguishers. 


Finger puppets with a LIFESAVER surprise!   Puppet template via Alphabet Soup. 


FYI I have always been this ridiculously cheesy (silly?).  I’m not sure where it comes from?  I once, as an ADULT,  sent out a professional resume with an attached role of Lifesavers— “Hire Me! Let me be your LIFESAVER!”   Guess what? I got the interview.  The hiring manager said my application, “stood out from the rest.”  heheheheh… Didn’t get the job, but HEY, got the INTERVIEW!


1.  Five Little Fire Fighters Song via Bus Songs.  Puppet Idea via Kids Soup   2.  This is my work in progress.  It will eventually be a lift-flap discovery board with photos of the kids as drivers.   3.  52 SMILES Project— Thank You Firefighters Stationary   4.  Puppets are made from card-stock, large craft sticks and a cereal box.


Books + Craft Fun     



{Fun With} looks and feels a lot like THEME OF THE WEEK, doesn’t it?

I changed the name.  :) 

I never really did like the name theme-of-the-week.  It was too long and lots of folks thought we did a special theme study every single week.  I’m crazy, but I’m not THAT crazy!   {Fun With} will still focus on learning and celebrating through creative play, art and exploration.  It really is my favorite thing to do around here.  :)     


Fire Safety PART II:  UP NEXT!    


Untie the Ribbons

Emerson with her “magic” Valentine umbrella.  I loved seeing her twirling, dancing and rolling around in the snow. 


“Each day comes bearing it’s own gifts.

Untie the ribbons.”

Ruth Ann Schabacker

Heart Day!

I hope you had a WONDERFUL Valentine’s Day!!

I loved receiving this sweet little treat in my (in)box today… 

52 Smiles: February’s Challenge


 Once a month I’m going to present YOU with a KINDNESS challenge!!



Today your challenge is to find someone (or a group of folks) who do not normally receive Valentines and then go shower them with a little LOVE! 

Perhaps you could take some handmade cards to a local nursing home?  Or maybe you’d like to surprise the deli workers at your market with a carnation and card?  There are plenty of people who would treasure a Valentine surprise.  If you are shy, leave it anonymously. If you are feeling friendly, make a new friend.    

Use your creativity, imagination and joy to make someone’s holiday extra special!  Remember you are making a difference with your acts!  



Do your little bit of good where you are;

it’s those little bits of good

put together that

overwhelm the world.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu



If you are new here, 52 Smiles is a year long project were we intentionally do one out-of-the-ordinary act of kindness each week. 

Read more: HERE  We would love to have you join in at ANYTIME!  




P.S.  For those of you who were interested in a kindness BUDDY I’m going to match you up and send you email this week!  PROMISE!

Priceless Gifts

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for the priceless gift of these children.

Thank You for guiding us during times of joy and struggle.

Please help me to trust in Your love where ever I go today. 

Help me find ways to honor You in our play, love and life.

I pray that I live my life with such connection to You

 that my children feel Your love in my actions and words.    

Thank you for this place where I can share my passion.   

Thank you for all who read this.

I pray that they feel supported, loved and treasured always.  


Love, Me