1L, 4Ds and 5K

1L, 4Ds and 5K

It’s been a girl themed week.

Last Thursday my 4 daughters and I went big city shopping.  It was a birthday shopping trip for my oldest daughter Grace since I was going to be gone over the weekend of her birthday.  We spent the whole day hitting everything from anthropologie to thrift stores.  The girls are now set for clothes for the rest of the warm weather season, which is a relief to me since shopping with them is a test in endurance.  Of me and my wallet.


For myself, I am on the search for t-shirts with sleeves.  Not long sleeves or 3/4 sleeves.  Just plain old short sleeves that are long enough to cover my arm flaps.  It’s a sad day when you nearly slap someone with your extra arm skin and I am trying to avoid that with sleeves and prayer.

Saturday and Sunday I went to Austin.  I ran my first 5K this weekend.  I did it with my sister….she gave it to me for my birthday and it was a double treat to get to spend the time with her.

I have never had any interest in doing any kind of running or, really, moving at all.  But after walking every morning since last July it was pretty easy.  And on a cool spring morning….almost heaven.

My first 5k

To keep the girl theme going I will be going on a photoshoot for my daughter’s 17th birthday this week.  Shopping is not her thing.  She asked for a photoshoot in the city and as an added bonus she wants to be there when the sun rises to get the best lighting.  Leave the house at 6AM….oh sure.  Because giving birth to you wasn’t enough of a sacrifice.

Next week I need to have a boy themed week.  Those are much easier.  Just dump some Legos in the living room and throw food into the middle every few hours.

Have a great April!

Finally Getting the Family Photo Taken

Finally Getting the Family Photo Taken

Ever since Shutterfly let me do a giveaway (congrats to Tammy!) I’ve been planning to take family pictures.  I watched their cute video about Family Photo Day and realized it would be pretty easy to take a unique family picture.  I’d dream of simple backdrops and little fun props.  “Let’s make a giant chalkboard and draw things on it!” I’d think.  “Everyone in red and holding jingle bells!”

But it never happened.  I just didn’t have time between school and filling shop orders and taking naps.

So this morning I cupped my hands to my mouth and shouted, “FAMILY PICTURES IN TWENTY MINUTES!!”


We dragged a couple of bales of hay over to our red storage building, hung last year’s wreath on the door and called it done.  Line up kids….let’s take your picture.  We did have fun despite my constant, “Levi, take the hay out of your mouth!  Noah, don’t tilt your head so much!”

I still have to edit the good pictures pictures, but here are a couple of the rejects.

I will definitely be printing some of this morning’s pictures through Shutterfly.  Just not these two.

I like following their Facebook page and Instagram too.  They keep showing adorable photo ideas!

A couple of nights ago I got to hang out with some local bloggers and share ideas for family photos.  I learned some great tips on nearby places that are good for pictures and maybe next year I will actually do that.  It was so nice to sit and talk and enjoy a meal together.

I hope you will take some family pictures this year.  If you can’t make it just like your dreams then just stop everything one day and do it. BAM!

Follow me on Facebook to see more of our reject family pictures!

This is a sponsored post, but all opinions and pictures of children are my own.

Oh Shoot!

Oh Shoot!

I’ve been wanting to do this review for a month now and I keep thinking I will wait until I have completely finished the course.  But then I was learning so much that I decided to go back and watch the first few lessons over again and now I am feel I must break into 2 reviews….Part One is this, “Why I Love Shoot Fly Shoot” and Part Two will come when I have watched my last lesson and it will be called something like, “I am No Longer Afraid to Shoot in Manual.”

I’m talking about Shoot Fly Shoot.  It’s a photography website and I am in L-O-V-E with it.  These two very cool guys (the kind of cool I can never hope to be) are teaching me, the queen-of-the-inability-to-learn-anything-new, to understand my camera.  Even though I am only about half way through the lessons I am already taking better pictures and I cannot wait to see what else they will teach me.

I have been using an SLR for several years, but I never felt like I was getting the full benefit.  Their lessons are so clear and they make me feel like I can actually learn something even though I am old and my brain has a limited capacity.  Each video lesson not only teaches the concepts, but then they take a camera in their hand and SHOW you what to do.  I don’t have to be listening while juggling with my camera and trying to figure out what they mean with every step.  They actually do it with camera in hand…plain and simple.  Maybe they should have called it, “If We Can Teach Lisa We Can Teach Anyone.”

My daughter Patience and I have both grown in our photography from watching these lessons.  I took some indoor photos last week that were SO much better than what I have been doing.  Pretty soon y’all will be asking me how I did it and I will tell you to go ask mega-cool Kevin and super-hip Josh because my lack of ability to learn photography is only overshadowed by my inability to teach anyone about it.

If you want to learn how to take better pictures go check out Shoot Fly Shoot.

And I will let you know more when I finish the class.  Maybe I’ll include a few before and afters so you can see the huge difference in my photography.  And who knows, maybe some of their coolness will rub off on me in the end.  First I need one of those knit caps and a graphic tee with a snappy saying on the front.  No?  You’re right.  It will never work.

First SLR Images

First SLR Images

Patience finally, after saving for over 2 years, bought herself an SLR camera.  She’s been playing with it for the past few days and wants to show you a few of the pictures she’s taken.

Our ugly, falling down fence never looked so good.

Be still my heart….


This last one is a card they have listed in their shop, Little Women….

How exciting to watch Patience learn to use her new camera.  She’ll learn more in the next month than I have learned in 2 years of having my camera.

Youth.  Ya gotta love it.

Patience’s Weekend Pictures

Patience’s Weekend Pictures

by Patience

We visited with friends over the weekend:


My sister, Grace:



The field behind our house:

White Background

White Background

by Patience


I love white backgrounds, but unfortunately I don’t have a studio or a seamless white background like the pros.

I had Levi sit on a piece of foam core: about 24″x30″, and literally the edges of the photo are the edges of my makeshift white background.  The trick was just not showing any edges, so it looks like my resources are a lot bigger than they really are.
I used two light souces. 
1) The flash unit on my mom’s SLR. I just pointed it directly up at the white ceiling of the room, so it would bounce down as nice, even light. 
2) Mini blinds!  they may not be the nicest looking blinds, but they are awesome for diffusing window light, and getting just the right amount of light in your photo, at the exact angle you want it. 
In this photo, he’s placed, directly next to the window, and I had the blinds mostly closed, but a little bit open, letting more soft, diffused light into my photo.

Even with careful light placement, without a big professional get-up, my white background is never going to be pure white, it usually turns out as a medium-light gray.  So how do I get it to look really white?

I use a tool on my photo editing software.  I use a free program called GIMP.  I use a section called levels, and it’s used for making color, and brightness adjustments to your photo.  In this photo, I picked the white eyedropper in the lower right hand corner, and clicked on a few of the spots that were supposed to be white in my photo, and voila! A perfectly white background.  Now all you have to do is make minor color adjustments, and you have a profesional looking white backround!


A Giveaway!!

A Giveaway!!

I love taking pictures. Oh! I have so much to learn. So much to glean from the experts.

One of my favorite places to go to learn about photography and Photoshop is clickinmoms.com. They are a group of photographers, both professional and amateur, that share their wisdom and knowledge of photography.

You have to subscribe, but it’s very inexpensive. I learn something new every time I go there.

So today, for those of you that are interested in photography, I am giving away a one year membership to clickinmoms.com.

You have to go to my second blog and leave me a comment.

Just answer this question…..

What is your favorite thing to take pictures of?

I will do a random drawing on Thursday night.

Here are some pictures I played with after reading on clickinmoms.com about how to add textures to your photographs….

Before: (my little cutie pie)

After some of the great tips:

Straight out of the camera: (lovely already)

After some of my new ideas:

The front porch:

How fun!

The rules:

Go to my second blog and leave a comment about what you like to take pictures of.

You cannot already be a member of clickinmoms.com to win.

I will announce the winner on Friday morning.

Don’t forget, you can’t enter here. You have to go to my second blog to enter the giveaway!

Portraits by Jenn

Portraits by Jenn

It’s time to take another family portrait. Well, past time really.

The last real family portrait we took was ten years (and three kids) ago.

We did take a casual one right after the baby was born.

He’s two now.

Seriously, look at this group…..don’t they require a professional touch?

So I called upon my new friend/photographer. Her name is Portraits by Jenn. But I just call her Jenn. We’re close like that.

She was terrific…..very creative and encouraging.

She’d say things like…

“You guys look so great!”


“Mom, you need to put away the rag that you are using to wipe away the incredible amount of sweat off of your face or it will show in the picture and we’re trying to make it look nice and sweaty rags just won’t do”

OK, she didn’t say that last thing. I hid the rag behind me and she just gave me a grin that said it all without words.

She’d be all excited and say how great we looked. DUH, in his usual style, took all of the credit. He’d puff out his chest when she complimented us like he had shopped and sewed and labored over these little darlings.

How about my boys? Aren’t they da bomb?

Jenn had the idea to give the baby an apple. He was delighted. When you’re the youngest of nine…you never get a whole apple to yourself.

I think the other boys were jealous.

She took the girls out into the street to take their picture..

Now, I’ve lived on this street for seven years and I have never even though about photographing my children on it. Of course, that’s probably because I knew what would happen…..DUH was yelling the whole time, “There’s a CAR COMING! There’s a CAR COMING!” even though there was no car coming. He’s a little nervous about his children playing in the street….go figure.

Jenn went to great heights to get the perfect pictures (ba-dump-bump).

Soon we’ll have a new family portrait over the mantle. We previewed the pictures today and let me tell you….they are fabulous! I wish I could get one of everything, but alas….I do not have a truck load of money. So we’ll have to pick and choose. It’ll be so hard.

While you wait anxiously for our new pictures to arrive, go out and get yourself a new family portrait. If you’re in the area….call Jenn. You can even use our house for free….street and all!

This will be reposted on my second blog.