Have a Valentine

Have a Valentine
It’s rolling around to the time where kids exchange those cutsie cards, or little candy treats, maybe even both! I remember the excitement, when I was younger, of getting to pick out which one I got to give out to all my classmates. Of course this was all pre-Pinterest, and I had no idea of the excitement I would experience when my kids turn came! I won’t lie to you, the first two years my son was in preschool, also Pre-Pinterest, I bought the cute little boxes of Valentine’s at Wal-Mart. Last year I did a Pinterest Valentine, and if you want those details, you can check it out at https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/07/08/my-fishy-valentine/. This year, Arthur is in kindergarten and Chiara is in preschool, so double fun for mommy!
I started this project a few weeks ago by posing my kids in front of a door for a clean backdrop. They thought I was a little crazy. Understandable, as I was making them look off in the distance and hold their fist out. It took a few takes to get one I could work with. Arthur has kind of a silly face on in his, but he’s still one of the cutest six year olds on the planet! He was getting bored with standing there, so I decided it was fine. Once I had the picture, I cropped it to a size I was happy with.
The first time I sent them to be developed in the Wal-Mart photo lab, I had forgot to put the message on the picture. After realizing my mistake, I did a little playing around in paint. I chose simple, and wrote on them “Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Arthur” and obviously “Love, Chiara” on her’s. I then sent those to be developed. Be sure you take into account where the top of your sucker will be when you place your words!
When they were finished and ready for pickup, I selected my choice of treats, going with the cherry Blow-Pops. Looking back, they may have been too big for my project, but they still work. After getting back to my hotel room, I’m currently away from home for some training, I sat down with all of my supplies.
I used my trusty Wal-Mart box-cutter, but I needed to be sure not to damage the surface I was cutting on. Before you ask, yes, that is a Pizza Hut box. It was trash anyway, so I could gash it all up. You use your cutter to cut a slit at the top and bottom of the fist. Make sure the slit is big enough to slide a sucker stick through. Then you slide your stick through and you have a Valentine!
I hope you enjoyed this little project. I got my inspiration for this particular one at http://www.ambersantics.blogspot.com/2012/02/youre-best-valentine.html. Be sure to check them out as well!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christmas Kid Photos

The holidays are coming and I get excited every year. I love the decorations, I love the food and I love watching my kids unwrap their presents like I have given them the keys to kingdom! Giving gifts is always so much fun for me! I usually try to start early in the year so I can get a little at a time. I don’t make enough to splurge right at the end! LOL!
Christmas cards are another thing I love about the holidays. I usually have an entire wall decked out with them before the holidays are over, and they stay up until New Year’s Day. I love devising our Christmas cards too. I thought, once upon a time, that I would create these wonderfully artistic, homemade cards for everyone on my list, but that has yet to happen. I do however, love taking the pictures that I use on our cards. If you’ve read any of my older blogs, you may’ve picked up on my love of photography. I don’t claim to be Ansel Adams or anything, but I’ve gotten some really great photos over the years.
This year, of course, I took my inspiration from Pinterest! Sadly, yet again, the link that for the picture was broken, so I can’t reference the original photo op. The original photo had a white backdrop, with two boys in red hats and plaid shirts, and the lights were unplugged and off. The kids also had duct tape over their mouths saying MERRY and CHRISTMAS. It was hilarious with the duct tape, and we did try, but I couldn’t get the words to show in the photo.
This was a great half hour spent with my kids, which at the end of the day is always my goal with photo sessions. They were giggling as I wrapped them up and stuck tape over their mouths. Before you start to get upset, I made sure the tape was barely sticky before I put it on their face. They ended up playing with it afterwards. I did try several outfits before deciding that pajamas worked best. I just loved the way they were glancing at each other too. Kind of a “this is all your fault” look. They were kind of sad to see me put the lights away, but we used them for other photos for our Christmas card.
If you try this, I would love to see your results! Keep the cords loose enough so it’s not hurting them obviously and have fun with it. I just cleared a space in front of my wall for a backdrop. Mainly because I don’t have a photo studio handy, but I do love the color we painted our walls. Try not to use your flash, especially if the lights will be plugged in for your photo. Play with the AV settings on your camera and bump up the ASO. It sounds really technical, but if I can figure this out, anyone can! Try to have a little bit of light coming from behind you when you’re taking the picture. That’ll ensure the photo is not too dark.
Happy holidays! Yes I know it’s not even Thanksgiving, but if you want to use this idea, you need to be taking these photos now for cards. So put yourself in a holiday mood!

Color Splash


I’m a proud mama! She is such a good sport usually about pictures, but today I had to bribe her with candy. I get my pictures and she gets something sweet.  Win-win!
I started by putting her in a brightly colored tutu, which oddly enough came with a pj set, and a fitted tank top. I decided to leave her barefoot for the picture, she used to be terrified of grass and would not let her feet touch it, thankfully she got past thay. I carried her outside and tried to set her down, but she refused. This is where the bribery came in. Candy for cooperation.  She finally decided to cooperate and let me set her down. Then I told her to run away. She is a really fast runner for such a short person! I have the BEST PHOTO option on my amazing Samsung Galaxy S4. It takes 8 photos in rapid succession so you can get at least a few that are not blurred!
For more details on that product check out https://superstevied.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/samsung-galaxy-s4/
I ended up with a few I like, such as this


A little cropping to get closer to her and then it was on to one of my favorite photo editing apps: ColorSplash Effect Pro. I have to thank my friend Jenna for introducing me to this app, back when I had my iPhone, because I have had a lot of fun with it.
This particular idea came from an image on Pinterest, where else?! Check out the inspiration for today’s photo shoot at http://m.flickr.com/photos/ayodele/2471907307/

First Day of School

First Day of School

More and more kids are going back to school as we get closer to September. So often with Pinterest, I find amazing things after an event has passed. For instance, if I was to get married now, instead of 7 years ago, my wedding would’ve been a whole different party. It was beautiful, but Pinterest is such a great way to expand your own ideas by seeing other people’s ideas.
Arthur has been in preschool since he was three so he could have his speech therapy. I have always taken a picture on the first day of school, mainly because I’m a picture freak, but also for posterity. This idea from Pinterest has stuck with me since I saw it and knew I had to do this!
The picture in the frame was the first day of his last year of preschool and, as always, he looked so very handsome! I printed the picture off myself the night before school and used a frame that normally holds one of his baby pictures. The baby picture went right back into the frame, this was a just a quick borrowing!
I put him in the same location in our house, no special background, just found it amusing to have the same items in the background. I also found it amusing to have him wear his Hard Rock Café fedora again this year. I told Tony I am probably going to pick up some ‘backup’ hats while they still carry them and we can continue this theme up through high school!
He’s such a sport about having his picture taken, and he doesn’t ham it up the way Chiara is prone to do.
Don’t worry too much if it’s not the EXACT first day of school, in my mind, just put them in their ‘first day’ outfit and no one but you will know!
Happy picture taking!
Original pin goes back to http://www.thesuburbanmom.com/2012/08/13/10-first-day-of-school-picture-ideas-printables/

First Day of a New Grade

First Day of School

This whole site was a lot of fun pictures, mostly involving chalk. It was very cool. There was one picture of a little girl stretched out next to the word kindergarten. I was intrigued!
Sadly, my driveway was a little too beat up for this, but I remembered a previous pin that has already proved itself! Check out that blog about trampoline writing here
I made my way outside before bringing Arthur out and went to town, writing in big, if not overly artistic, letters. I don’t claim to be an artist, but it worked for what I wanted! Arthur is always happy to be on the trampoline, and he’s usually happy to pose for pictures. I started out having him stretched out, arms behind his head, as it was in the original photo. It wasn’t really him though. I think when Chiara gets ready for kindergarten, that pose would look great. As you can tell, we ended up going with Arthur sitting up Indian style on top of the word.
After we took several shots of several poses, I chose this as my favorite one. Luckily I got my favorite shot before Chiara worked her way up to the trampoline. The words were smeared inside 5 minutes.
This was a quick and fun thing to do as soon as Arthur got home from school. Good end to his first day of school!
Original pin is included on this site: http://www.modernparentsmessykids.com/2011/09/jazzing-up-your-photos-with-sidewalk.html

A funny moment


This wasn’t anything super difficult, although I did have to figure out my new picstitch app…… What a pain that was!
Tony took these pictures months ago, but as soon as I saw a particular picture on Pinterest, I knew I had to do this to my Daphne pictures.
A little background on my Daphne-cat. She’s been with us for about 7 1/2 years. She was around one year old when I found her outside the loading bay at my Walmart. She was just sitting in the drizzling rain, meowing, just being so pitiful. I was on third shift at the time, so I called Tony to come to my store and pick up my new baby. She is the most affectionate cat. She’s also great with the kids. Even with provocation, she has never clawed them. The puppy is pushing her patience level to new heights, but she’s just the best!
Enjoy this for what it is: a cute animal moment!
For my inspiration, check out my board ‘freaking hilarious’. Follow me on Pinterest, Stephanie DeSantis

Baby in a Truck


I recently found this pin and was reminded of this picture I took of Chiara when she was only a few weeks old. When Arthur was born he was an absolute brute. He was 9lbs 10 1/4 oz. See? Brute! Chiara, on the other hand, was a petite 7lbs 1oz.
She was so tiny! Everyone kept telling us, oh you just forgot how small Arthur used to be. Then I got to inform them that Arthur was never that small!
Arthur has been collecting toys since he was born. First grandchild on my side and first grandson on Tony’s side. It was bound to happen! When he got this truck, I think Tony was just as excited with it. They don’t make a lot of metal toys anymore so this was a nice toy. He still has it and it is holding up great!
We were sitting around, watching tv one night, and Tony just got up and laid Chiara, blanket and all, in the truck. I had the initial OMG reaction. She didn’t even wake up. Arthur was fascinated and he just started scooting her back and forth. He has always been very sweet with her.
I know my shot isn’t as posed and ‘cute’ as the original pin, but mine was a quirk. We still find this to be a cute photo today, even though Chiara is now 3 and scoots herself around on this truck.
I think the most important thing to remember about pictures of kids, take a lot. This is the digital age and if the pictures are crap, you can delete them. Sometimes bad pictures are worth keeping too. I have pictures of my kids in complete meltdown mode, and they are funny to look at now.
Enjoy your camera time!
Original pin and picture can be found at http://www.inky-dinky-do.com/tonka-trucking-along-bakersfield-ca-newborn-photographer/

Love is a Promise


I fell in love with this photo idea the first time I saw it. Of course I saw it AFTER my wedding, so I’m not in a stunning wedding dress and Tony is not dressed in black tie, but oh well!
Tony is pretty indulgent with me as far as photo ops go. He might not be thrilled with the idea, but he generally goes along. Especially with something this easy.
He didn’t have to dress up, or even shave. I did make him wash his hands as he had been working in the garage!
It can be a little tricky to position your hands to see both rings, but with a little maneuvering it can be accomplished. Just remember, the most important thing about this picture is to focus on your hands. It’s not about you yourselves. It’s about a promise you made, or are making.
I also like the childish gesture, tied to such a grown up promise. I’ve known Tony since I was 13, so it added an element.
This is also fun because you can do this on your wedding day, an anniversary, or just any day. Providing I don’t start forgetting everything, I want to do this again when Tony and I are old and wrinkly, more to the point, when our hands show their age!
I would love to reference the original pinner, but it was just an image. Feel free to check it out on my Photography Ideas board. Look me up Stephanie DeSantis on Pinterest!

Disney Photo Memories


This was something I actually pinned after our most recent Disney trips. I was really excited about it because I realized that this Brittany Smith must be a picture freak, just like me!
I’ve actually been to Disney World in Florida 3 times in my life. The first, my Nana and Papa took my brother and I when I was 7 years old. I have a few specific memories, but the big one is just the wonder of it all!
The second and third time, my dad had an army conference in Orlando, so my parents took my family and I to the parks.
The second and third trips, obviously I was an adult, and my picture obsession had completely set in. I took almost 1,400 pictures in 10 days. I don’t regret a single shot either, because those are moments that will never be quite the same again.
I went through this amazing list compiled by this blogger, and selected my favorite choices.
#4: The Gates of Walt Disney World. This shot can be a little tricky to get. They have big signs saying DO NOT STOP! You may in fact notice little smudges, they’re bug splatter through the windshield. I can understand them not wanting you to stop. It would take twice as long to get in the park otherwise!
#15: Get as close to Cinderella’s Castle as you can. Look up! Snap that shot! It’s absolutely mind boggling how many angles you can take of one location! I have at least 12 shots of different views of the castle, maybe double that of Hogwarts over at Universal! This is one of my favorite angles, probably second favorite after the full shot. It’s an amazing angle, that honestly, not a lot of people will think of.
#17: In motion. Riding the Tea Cups. This is one of the rides I remember riding as a child. Arthur actually rode this twice. Once with my parents, then he rode with us. After we got off, my mom told Tony she would never ride with him. We were spinning like a top!
#18: In the air, on Dumbo. This is a ride I distinctly remember NOT riding. This was closed for repair when I went as a kid. I made a point to ride this with Arthur. Not the most exciting, not the biggest thrill, but it is a landmark ride, and Arthur really enjoyed it.
#25: If you spot Cap’n Jack, snap his picture! We rode Pirates of the Caribbean A LOT!! At least 8 times over the course of the week. There are in fact 3 Jack Sparrows on the ride, and I snuck a picture of all of them. This one is my favorite!
#28: Any shots of the parade are great. I have a great many pictures of a great many parades. Main Street Electrical Parade is fantastic, they all are, but the effects on this one are ASTOUNDING!
#32: This one listed several highlights on the Epcot world showcase. We saw them all. I fell in love with the Eiffel Tower, so of course I chose the pic of that one!
#36: in Animal Kingdom, make sure to take a picture with Everest in the background. I took several shots, with selected backgrounds, of Tony and I. I’m quite good at selfies. I enjoyed how the one of Everest turned out.
#41: Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, don’t miss the ‘Singin In The Rain’ Umbrella. We found this one by chance while wandering. We took shots of all of us. We also made sure to take these on the return trip!
Remember, if / when you go to Disney, it’s not about working your way through the list. All I’m suggesting is that you read it through and try to remember. You don’t want to spend your vacation focused only on your list and your camera. Memories are important, but you want to experience your family time, not just record it!
Original pin and complete list can be found at http://3qtguys.blogspot.com/2013/01/50-must-take-disney-photos.html?m=1

Hearts in a book

Hearts in a book

This was an impulse of the night. I only pinned this recently because I love shots like this, the ones that play off the light and are simple to set up. The original pinner used the bible as their book of choice as well, and I knew immediately which verse I wanted in the shot.
I was a little bummed that my favorite verse from 1 Corinthians was on the outside of the page, but it still worked out. I wanted the focus on the highlighted section, “Love is patient, love is kind…..”
The hardest part of this was getting my husband’s ring off of his finger. It fits him a little snugly so getting it off is always a little bit of a struggle! I’m not complaining though! This is part of the reason we got him the titanium ring so he wouldn’t have to constantly take it on and off to work on cars.
We have one of those fun lamps that have a reading light attached, so I was able to use that as my spotlight.
I think this would be fun to do with a few Shakespeare passages as well. Maybe a section from Much Ado About Nothing, or Romeo & Juliet. Romeo & Juliet was a least romantic before it went horribly wrong.
Let me know what book and passage you would use…..
Original pin is at http://www.projectwedding.com/photo/browse?tag=jewelry&thumbs_page=31&photo_to_show=1621061