Monday, July 22, 2019

3 Ways To Keep Outside Activities Safe

While outside activities can take place at any time of the year, they are more common during the summer months. It's a good idea to prepare your yard, your family members and your activities in advance in order to keep your family safe.
summer fun

Protect From Ticks and Mosquitoes
This is a big one, because not only are these little critters annoying, they can also carry serious diseases. There are many ways that you can protect your family and your yard from ticks and mosquitoes, and the diseases they can bring, even some which are organic mosquito control methods. These can be applied to your yard as a whole or to you and your family. Some of the ones you can put in your yard will be easier to use, especially if you would rather not chase the children around with sprays or lotions.

Dress Appropriately
Whether you are engaging in summer or winter outdoor activities, you will want to dress for both the activity and the weather. This means swimsuits and sunblock for summer swimming and heavy coats and boots for building snowmen. Wearing too many heavy layers in the summer can result in heat stroke or heat exhaustion, so can not finding enough shade or water on a hot day.

Have the Right Gear
A big factor in safety is the gear designed to protect you from falls, slips, and bumps. This means well-fitting helmets for riding bikes or scooters, safety tethers for wakeboards and surfing or even GPS locators for skiing. You can find lists of recommended gear, safety or otherwise, for each activity online to know what to pack and what to look for.

When you protect your family from ticks and mosquitoes, dress appropriately for the weather and activity, and have the right safety gear, you can spend more of your time having fun and less time taking care of injuries. With a little research, you can find the best protection for almost any activity you want to do with your family.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Three Tips for Staying Organized During Pregnancy

PregnancyIf you're a woman who's experiencing her first pregnancy, you might experience what many women affectionately call "pregnancy brain" where you forget a lot. There are so many pressing matters to take care of during your pregnancy, and you don't want to accidentally forget to take care of some of the most important tasks. Here are some tips to help you make sure everything is taken care of.
  1. Write everything down.
    If you're someone who loves to use a planner or a pretty notepad, carry it in your purse at all times. Just like you wouldn't go anywhere without your car keys, don't go anywhere without your planner. If you prefer to go the digital route, that's totally fine as well. You can opt to use your digital planner or calendar to write down all of your important tasks. There are some apps that will allow you to sync portions of your calendar with your partner or anyone else who's relying on you for certain responsibilities.
  2. Make time for breaks.
    If you know that a visit to your licensed birth center tampa bay will leave you wanting a nap afterward, don't schedule anything for a few hours after that appointment. Don't overschedule yourself. You'll only end up feeling extremely stressed out, which isn't good for you or your baby. Instead, make time for breaks. It's also great to consider how you feel at any given moment. If you're cleaning the kitchen and feel a bit winded, take a break for a twenty minutes to sit down and take a few deep breaths.
  3. Work until something is done.
    Even though this tip might seem like the opposite of taking breaks, it's not. Don't be afraid to live your life as a pregnant woman. Yes, it's important to take breaks and be mindful of your health. However, it's okay to still work hard and get things done. If you were already lifting weights and exercising before you got pregnant, don't stop now. With the right recommendations from your birthing professionals, you'll be just fine. Granted, if you run into complications and need to be on bed rest, this is not optional. If you've been cleared by your doctor to move forward, it's okay to work until you've completed a task.
In all honesty, I think these tips could be applied by anyone - whether you're pregnant or not. It's a tough job getting and keeping organized, and any help is welcome.

Or Just Get a Cat

I saw this on Good Morning America this morning - apparently Cow Cuddling is a thing. For only $75 per hour, you too can hug a cow.
"Cows lie down much more than horses," she said. "They get very quiet and soft. Just sitting with them makes people go quiet too."
Hey, my cat gets quiet and soft too. I can sit quietly with her - and it doesn't cost me $75 per hour.

How about you? Wanna cuddle a cow? Or does it make more sense to just cuddle your cat? Or your dog?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fixing Common Issues in Modern Swimming Pools

Statistics indicate that the United States is home to some 10.5 million swimming pools reserved for private, household use and about 310,000 public swimming pools. People like swimming in pools as compared to other bodies of waters, including streams, lakes, and rivers because the environment is controlled and many times safer. Plus, swimmers can actually see through pools' crystal-clear water, something that they don't get the chance to do when in rivers, ponds, lakes, or streams. Maintaining modern pools takes a little bit of know-how and elbow grease. Check out these common problems with modern pools, as well as how to fix them. 

Green, Dark, Slippery Spots

In most cases, when your pool is faced with green, dark, or slippery spots - including patches that exhibit all three of these characteristics - algae growth is most likely to blame. Get your hands on some calcium hypochlorite and sprinkle a small handful of the calcium hypochlorite crystals directly onto the spots.

Keep in mind that calcium hypochlorite also works for taking algae spots off of wooden decks.

Eyes Hurting While in the Pool? 

Humans obviously don't often open their eyes underwater. As such, when people do allow a body of water to come directly in contact with their eyeballs, they experience weird, one-of-a-kind sensations and are also susceptible to pain or discomfort.

If your eyes are hurting while swimming, it's most likely that the potential hydrogen level of the pool's water, also known as the pH level, is not where it's supposed to be. Put chlorine in the pool until it measures at a pH level of precisely 7.8. Also, the chlorine residual should range between 0.4 and 0.6 parts per million.

Experiencing Green Water?

If your pool's water is green, you might have to break out the elbow grease and shock, pump, brush, and filter the pool.

Although you have to treat Pool heaters Pittsburgh with care in order for them to work well and last very long, they're worth it. Make sure your chemicals are right and you'll be good to go.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Small-Budget Kitchen Improvements

I think the kitchen is the most important room in the house. That was one of the main selling points for this house and one of the biggest reasons we chose it. Obviously, there were other reasons, but knowing that the kitchen was good just the way it was and that we wouldn't have to (eventually) remodel the whole thing was a big plus.

Of course, if your kitchen is less than ideal, there are some things you can do to update it. Without spending a fortune.
  • Decorate - it may seem that your kitchen has enough stuff in it with all the appliances and other items necessary for preparing food, so you may not think about adding more stuff in the form of decor. Start with a few decorations and things that make you happy and see how it boosts your mood. 
    • Even something as simple as a nice clock can make a bold statement in your kitchen, while also being functional. PenduLux clocks are a great choice thanks to a wide selection of handmade items to choose from.
    • Your kitchen is supposed to be a happy place. If it no longer feels like that, changing the color on the walls may be the perfect antidote. The cheeriness of a new color will rub off on you and make you smile every time you see it. Like the way we changed our kitchen walls from blue to green shortly after we moved in. The green still makes me happy.
    • You use dish towels and cloths every day, so why not make them more fun? Buy kitchen linens in bright colors and patterns to help boost your mood and creativity. Even when you're not using them, they'll add a cheery splash of color draped over your drainer or hanging from your oven door.
  • Change up Cabinetry - whether or not you have the funds for a full kitchen renovation, making changes to existing cabinetry can be a cheaper option.
    • If the bones of your kitchen cabinets are still viable, give them a good cleaning and a fresh paint job. Sometimes a different shade makes a huge change.
    • Replace hardware. Even something as simple as a hinge can make your cabinets look instantly more updated.
    • If you have the space, tear out a small section of cabinetry and replace it with open shelving. Open shelves can be a lovely spot for displaying hard-to-store things like cake platters.
Kitchen improvements don’t have to be dramatic to create an impact in your home. Invest in the changes to your kitchen that make you happiest.

The most important tip of all is to fill your kitchen with the people you love.
Grandchildren make the best kitchen decoration!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Summer Reading


Do you have a plan for your summer reading? I signed up for the summer reading program at the local library, which starts June 1st, but as far as I can tell, it's just about keeping track of how much time I spend reading and then entering to win prizes. I like winning stuff, but I'm horrible at keeping track of my reading time. I just read. Whenever I can squeeze in some time. And I pretty much just read whatever catches my eye - though I am determined to finish Stephen King's Dark Tower series this year (just 2 books to go, and I'm enjoying it just as much this time as I did the first time through).

The main difference between my summer reading and my rest-of-the-year reading is that I need some 'real' books for summer so I can read them outside in the sunshine. The Kindle doesn't do so well in bright sunshine, but for any other time, I like it a lot more than I thought I would.

But what has me thinking about summer reading is this Goodreads Summer Reading Challenge. It looks pretty interesting and a good way to expand your reading horizons - especially good if you tend to read a lot of the same type of books, or books by the same author. I'm not sure if the intent is to check off every prompt on the list, or if you're just supposed to use them as a nudge to try something new.

Me, I'll probably use them as a nudge to try something new. Or I'll approach it from the backside and see how the books I'm already reading anyway fit into the checklist. I'm guessing that it doesn't really matter too much. As long as you're reading.

But, of course, I can't imagine not reading.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Whole Thing Makes Me Sick

Somehow I got on this email list. I pretty much disagree with everything they send out, or at least the ones I actually read. (I tend to just delete most of the emails) But I do occasionally read them, just to see what they're trying to say. This one I pretty much read with my mouth hanging open. There is just no part of my brain that understands the rabid need so many women have to defend their 'right' to kill their unborn children. How did we even get to such a place?

Their argument is that taking away this right to 'manage how many children we have and when we have them' is an outright war on women; it's 'not about abortion' but an attack on a woman's right to choose. Seems to me they've been waging a war on their own babies for years - and that seems far worse on every level. Why don't they exercise that right to choose in a timely manner - before there's another life involved? You want to choose 'when and how many children to have' (which sounds an awful lot like they're using abortion as a birth control method, doesn't it?) then choose. You have every right to choose. But choosing should not involve murder. Stop abdicating your responsibility to choose until 'Oops!' there's a baby you just don't want, and if you kill her before she's born you can go on with your life as if nothing ever happened...

And maybe that's what boggles my mind most of all. Why do these women who so desperately want to 'control their own bodies' only seem to be fighting for the right to kill their babies, while ignoring all the points where they really should be making those choices - don't be having sex with random guys, use birth control... Perhaps if we take baby killing off the table, they'll fight harder for the right to make the choices they should be making.

Anyway, here's the email. All emphasis is theirs.

Dear Anna,
Most women who have abortions are already moms.1 Being able to manage how many children we have and when we have them has been nothing short of revolutionary — not just for women and mothers, but for our country as a whole. It has helped to narrow the gender pay gap, improved the health of women and their families, and led women toward access to increased economic and political power.
Following on the heels of Georgia2, Alabama just passed the nation’s most restrictive reproductive healthcare bill that, if allowed to go forward by the courts, would impose criminal penalties on any doctor who performs an abortion, even in the cases of rape and incest. As moms, we know the lifesaving importance of access to reproductive healthcare for ourselves, and we cannot even begin to imagine the horror of a high schooler who has been raped learning that terminating her pregnancy is a criminal action. Despite these horrors, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey immediately signed the bill into law.3
* Join MomsRising in telling every governor that they must protect access to safe abortions and resist the attack on a woman’s right to decide when and how many children to have — or whether to have children at all — which is nothing short of a war on all of us, including mothers and our daughters.
Across the land, other states like Missouri and Louisiana are considering bills designed to provoke the reversal of Roe versus Wade, which protects a woman’s right to choose under the U.S. Constitution. (In good news, some states like New York are passing protections of a woman’s right to choose in response to the bans.)4 Ultimately, it’s up to governors to sign them into law. Signing such anti-choice laws signals a governor’s active participation in the war on women that wants to take away our bodily autonomy and our ability to make our own family planning decisions.
This coordinated effort to take away choice and deny reproductive health care involves states with some of the worst health outcomes for women, including high maternal and infant mortality rates.5 Politicians who say they value life should advocate for policies to solve the public health crises that are killing women and newborns, not dismantle women’s health care.
Governors must protect women, moms, and families, and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose, which is nothing short of a war on women.
Make no mistake, this war on mothers and women is not about reducing abortions. If the goal of those who are passing such severely restrictive laws was to avoid abortion, then they'd be passing access to free birth control, which is proven to lower abortion rates,6 not setting lifetime imprisonment laws for doctors who help women in need. What's really happening is a direct attack on women and moms having bodily autonomy, economic freedom, and sovereignty in our lives.
Twenty-five million women — that’s one in three women of reproductive age – now live in states in which abortion under any circumstances could be outlawed if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade.7 And this war on women, mothers, and our daughters particularly harms women in low-income families and communities of color, who face more barriers accessing reproductive healthcare.
Lawmakers should not be attacking women, who are half their constituents. Instead, they should be supporting us by passing paid family/medical leave like every other industrialized nation has done, access to health care including birth control, affordable childcare, equal pay, fair treatment of immigrant families, and an end to the mass incarceration that tears too many families apart — and not a rollback of our rights.
Women are the foundations of families, communities, and the economy. Tell governors to protect women and stand firm against the attack on a woman’s right to choose.
Please forward this email to everyone you know who believes in a woman’s equal right to freedom and her own autonomy, and ask them to sign too.
In solidarity,
- Kristin, Monifa, Gloria, Donna, Elyssa, Felicia, Sili, Tina, Casey, Maggie, and the entire MomsRising/MamásConPoder team
So, apparently, lawmakers should not be attacking women. but women should be allowed to attack the most vulnerable and helpless, killing them with impunity. And they have the nerve to talk about horrors.

Please note, I removed all the links. If you want to support this nonsense, you'll have to look up your own links.

Why Choose an Architect

blueprints_architectural_plans_2228686Oftentimes when you're planning to build a home for your family, your builder will give you a choice of 5 or 6 home designs. You pick one of those, and they build it. If you happen to know a bit about home design, you may be able to tweak the plans a bit to get something that works a little better for your family. Otherwise, your house is built according to the plan, and odds are there are several houses in the neighborhood that are just like yours.

If you'd like something a bit more unique, consider hiring an architect. Here are ten reasons an architect can benefit your new build:
  1. Dreams - Architectural design services include trained professionals that can make your dream design into reality.
  2. Investment - Your home is often your largest investment, so why not make sure you get what you want in your new build.
  3. Weather - A local architect understands weather conditions your home needs to be prepared to protect you from.
  4. Original - Working with a design team can let you create an original residence that includes unique areas such as hidden rooms.
  5. Green - Earth-friendly architects can help you create a home that is energy efficient and eco-friendly.
  6. Value - Working with an architect can assure you are creating a house that is the best value for your dollar.
  7. Costs - Construction costs are lower than they have been for several years, so why not take advantage of the savings?
  8. Property - If you have an unusual property, an architect can help you design a home that highlights the strengths of the land.
  9. Resale - The resale value of a home designed by an architect is often much higher than standard stick-homes.
  10. You - You are worth the extra time and effort it takes to find an architect to make your dream dwelling come to life.
Dream House
If you want someone to help you build the home you visualize, choose an architect. You can be sure he or she will be familiar with the latest technology, roofing fabrics, and building materials. With a trusted design team in place, your dream residence can become a reality.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Had to Share

Shortly after posting that last post on whether to buy wooden or vinyl horse jumps, I came across this video on Facebook. It seemed almost too coincidental, so I just had to share.

Is that wood or vinyl?

When It Comes to Jumping

Whether you keep your own horses at home, have a small training or boarding facility, or run a facility that hosts multiple horse shows a year you want to make smart choices with all your purchases. When adding horse jumps the first question you may have is whether you should invest in wood or vinyl. There are several reasons why wood horse jumps are the best choice.
Horse Jumping

While some horses are chronic overachievers, many are, like many humans, a little lazy. Using vinyl horse jumps teaches your horse that he doesn't need to respect the jump because it will come down easily at the lightest touch. A few times of this and he will quickly learn he doesn't need to be particularly careful with what he does with his legs when jumping. Hanging his knees or not tucking up tightly has no consequences. These bad habits are more than frustrating, they can prove dangerous as he continues to get more sloppy with his front end, or when he faces a more solidly built fence.

Another reason you should consider wood horse jumps rather than vinyl is that wood fences are made to last. Wood fences just look good. While vinyl fences may look nice when brand new, they quickly show signs of wear. If damaged, they cannot be repaired but must be replaced. Wood fences are much tougher than vinyl, but even if they are damaged, they can often be repaired. If they start to look a little worn, a fresh coat of paint can have them looking just like new.

I just finished a very lovely book - The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - in which the young girl at the center of the story learns to ride a pony (after never being out of the city or even the room her family lived in), and she works really hard to be able to jump. There's a lot more to the story, but the relationship between the girl and the pony was really special. I never really thought about whether they were jumping wood or vinyl, though because the story was set during WWII, I'm thinking it was probably wood - with a few logs and then a couple stone walls thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Liars, Every One

I occasionally watch Family Feud in the afternoons. Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) it's really hard to come up with the responses that are up there. And some of them have me practically yelling at the television screen. There was the time they asked single men what was the longest time they'd gone without cleaning the toilet. Remember, we're talking about single men. And the #1 answer was - any guesses? If you're like me, you're guessing a month, 6 months... But, no, the #1 answer was one week. I'm pretty sure they were all lying on that one.

There was a time - amazingly, back when my kids were very small - when I really did clean my bathrooms every single week. Thursdays, to be precise. Now, if I could just figure out how to get back to something that remotely resembles that.

Another Family Feud question was 'How long does it take to clean your house top to bottom?" I actually did clean this house top to bottom before we moved in. The house had been sitting empty for a few months, so it was mostly vacuuming up all the dead flies and spider webs in the corners, wiping down the bathrooms and kitchen, and vacuuming all the floors. There was no furniture (except for the table in the breakfast area), so that made things a bit easier, but it still took pretty much all day. So my response to the Family Feud question was 8 or 10 hours. Maybe? But the #1 answer was 3 hours. Yeah, right... What, do these people all live in tiny houses? Either that or they're lying. Lying.

Back when we lived in the apartment - before kids (all those years ago) - I could clean the entire place on my days off and still be able to get out to the pool when it opened at 10:00. But this house is a bit larger than that old apartment, and 3 hours wouldn't even come close to being enough time to clean the entire thing.

And then there's this chart I saw on facebook a couple weeks ago:

Yep, that looks entirely reasonable...  Does anybody actually do this? Probably those people who can clean their entire house top to bottom in 3 hours.

I do make the bed and do the dishes (mostly) every day, so there's that.
(also - *every day - there really is a difference)

Monday, April 15, 2019

Four Benefits of Enrolling Your Little One in Childcare

It is not uncommon to feel guilty when enrolling your kid in childcare. Many moms would rather be home with their children instead of working, but sometimes there is no other choice. In that case, it helps to focus on the positive aspects of enrolling your little one in childcare.

Here are four benefits:

    Best Daycare in Edmonton |
  1. Childcare Prepares Them For Kindergarten
    Once your child starts kindergarten, they are going to be on a certain schedule. Enrolling them in childcare prepares them for kindergarten by getting them used to a routine. Their schedule includes lunch, naptime, games and other activities. There are many childcare centers and kindergarten classes that offer a similar schedule and curriculum.
  2. Childcare Helps Your Child To Socialize
    A childcare setting helps your little one to socialize with children in their age group. Their teachers come up with a variety of activities that encourage children to play together, such as working on puzzles, building with blocks and pretend play games. The activities teach children how to communicate and work together to solve a problem. Teachers also use the games to teach children how to share and take turns with others.
  3. Childcare Encourages Children To Try New Things
    Children who attend childcare are encouraged to try new things. Teachers have different methods for getting children to try certain foods for the first time. Your child may also be introduced to unfamiliar games, songs and stories. There is a good chance your child will be more open to trying different things as they grow older.
  4. Childcare Increases Their Independence
    daycare camp hill
    When you enroll your child in childcare, you are helping them to gain their independence. Your child may need time to adjust to being away from you and home, but their teachers can help them adjust to their new surroundings. Children also learn how to do things without parental assistance, which helps them to develop and enhance their independent skills.

You can take comfort in knowing your child is in a positive atmosphere when you enroll them in child care Tampa Palms.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Get Your Ears Ready! Sync 2019 Starts on April 25th!

It's almost time for another summer of free audiobooks from Sync! Yes, they're specifically directed at teens, but I've been enjoying them for several years, too. I check out YA books from the library, too.

Every weekSync gives away two free audiobooks in themed pairs, often a current book paired with a classic. The program is a great way to get exposure to many different types of books. And audiobooks make it possible to read and do other things at the same time!

Unlike library books, these audiobooks are yours to keep, but you'll only have one week to download each pair. So be sure you have Overdrive on your computer so you'll be ready to start downloading. And sign up for email alerts or text syncya to 25827 to receive text alerts about all the featured titles.

2019 titles:

Who's excited?

Monday, April 01, 2019

Review: Simply Earth Essential Oil Recipe Box

A few weeks ago, the nice ladies from Simply Earth contacted me and asked if I'd try out one of their recipe boxes. I wasn't sure exactly what that meant, so I checked out the website and learned it's a great way to try out essential oils. With the box you get 4 essential oils, other natural ingredients, and some fun extras. The idea intrigued me, so I said yes, I'd love to try them out!

I received my box last week - along with a Bonus Box full of extras like roller bottles, smaller oil bottles, and carrier oils to use with the essential oils. The whole thing was so much better than I imagined. The box held some lovely recipe cards with recipes for things like Natural Laundry Detergent, Foaming Hand Soap, and a Laundry Stain Remover - as well as a Diffuser Blend to try. I've got that going in my diffuser right now, and my house smells so good! I am especially loving the nutmeg in there.

All of the recipes use the essential oils included in the box, and they sent along some additional ingredients needed for the recipes. Some of the recipes call for things you probably have around your house, like white vinegar, Borax, and distilled water, so those aren't included, but they did include a bottle of Castille soap which I did not have on hand. I used that to make the Laundry Stain Remover, and that went into a roller ball from the Bonus Box. They really make it easy to jump right in and start using the oils in your home. There's even a sheet of beautifully printed labels to apply to your finished products.

Besides the Laundry Stain Remover, I also made the Tea Tree and Lemon Surface Cleaner. Both recipes were very easy to follow and quick to mix together, and I love knowing I can clean my house with natural products. My 15-month-old granddaughter was visiting last week (along with her mom and brother), and she did a good job of smudging up my stainless steel refrigerator. I used the Surface Cleaner on that this afternoon, and it looks really good. It smells really nice when I spray it, too. The smell was a bit strong when I mixed it up, but I'm pretty sure it was because I put rubbing alcohol and the tea tree and lemon oils into the hot water. Note to self: next time wait for the water to cool a bit before adding those ingredients! Once it cooled, it was much better.

I need to get some washing soda before I can try the Natural Laundry Detergent recipe that came in my box, but I added a few drops of the BO Be Gone blend to my laundry today, and I love the smell. I used to make my own laundry detergent from basically the same ingredients as the Simply Earth recipe (minus the essential oil blend), but now I'm using a plant based detergent I bought online, so it's all good and natural. And smells so good!

Simply Earth offers a monthly subscription service for $39/month. You get all this every month - new oils, new themes, new recipes every month. Use my code - BCMOMTOOFREE - when you subscribe, and they'll include a $20 gift card in your first recipe box. You can use the $20 on a future purchase - you can buy single oils or accessories from Simply Earth too - or apply it toward your next box. Sounds great, right? I think you'll really love it. And everything comes with a guarantee, so if you don't love it, you can return it and find something you do love.

Be sure to use my link when you shop Simply Earth and use the code - BCMOMTOOFREE - when you subscribe to get the $20 gift to use on your very next box or order. I'll get a little something out of it as part of the Simply Earth #squad, and you'll get a fresh, natural house. 13% of company profits go toward ending human trafficking, so you can feel good about that too.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Show Your Creativity with These Graduation Invitations

Students everywhere are looking forward to graduation, and now is the time to be thinking about invitations. As I read through this, I couldn't help but think that it sounds like a great option for creating some personalized invitations you're sure to love:
One of the most wonderful things we can do in life is to be creative. Connecting to our creative sides helps us reconnect with our inner child and can help us feel renewed. Creating and designing is exciting and fulfilling. Our minds are stimulated and engaged. When we have finished designing something, we feel ready to turn our attention to our less creative and inspiring to-do lists again.

It can be difficult to find time to be creative, however. A few weeks ago, I had to help a friend start preparing for her college graduation. It was a very stressful time for both of us. I had graduated the semester before and was frantically looking for a job to pay the bills. My friend had finals and projects to work on. She also really wanted to send out graduation invitations. Initially, I didn’t think this would be a good idea. We were both stressed to the max, and I didn’t think we could find the time to take photos and design invitations.

My friend was adamant, however, and we found a way. One of our friends is majoring in photography, and she agreed to take pictures of my friend for free. It was great going out and shooting the photos. We both felt a huge rush of relief being outside and just having fun.

Then we had to find a stationery company to print our cards. We looked at dozens of websites, but we finally settled on Basic Invite. My friend and I really liked their simple graduation invitations. They are pretty and elegant, and they match my friend’s personality really well. Searching through all of Basic Invite’s graduation announcements was another great way for my friend and me to relax.

Once we chose the invite (the Gemstone Grad Graduation Announcements, above, for those of you who were wondering) we got to the fun part. Basic Invite lets you customize your invitations. You can choose the colors you want your invites to be, from blue to red to yellow, and anything in between. Many of their invitations even have foil options. All of their foil is available in either gold, silver, or rose gold. You can also choose if you want your foil to be raised or not.

Designing the invitations was a joy. It felt great to let our imaginations run wild and come up with the craziest color combos. We had trouble deciding between a couple different color combinations, so we decided to have Basic Invite print out a few samples to help us come to a decision. The samples arrived in the mail a few days later, and we were able to decide which one looked better IRL and chose the paper quality we liked best.

Once we settled on the color scheme, we went to print our order. Basic Invite has over 40 different envelope colors to choose from, and we were able to choose envelopes that matched my friend’s invites perfectly. We also took advantage of their address capturing service. My friend shared a link to her Facebook and Instagram profiles and had all her friends and family input their addresses. Their info was saved on my friend’s Basic Invite account. We selected the option to upload the addresses to the envelopes, and just like that, the hardest part of sending out announcements was finished. And, the envelopes are peel and seal, so we didn’t have to worry about eating gross envelope glue when we mailed the invites out.

If simple grad invites aren’t your thing, you might take a look at some rustic graduation invitations or these Hollywood graduation invitations. Our photography major friend can’t wait to use those when she graduates next year!


For anyone who needs invitations printed out, but doesn’t feel like they have the time, I really recommend Basic Invite. I think taking the time out of your day to do something both productive and creative will be a big help to you emotionally. You’ll feel better after creating something unique and beautiful, and if you need to get invites anyway, you might as well kill two birds with one stone, right? I hope you can reconnect with yourself and knock something off your to-do list by grabbing a few invitations from Basic Invite. You won’t regret it.

Right now Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

Winter is Here

But we still have to wait until April 14...

Who's getting impatient excited?

I think it's time to watch last season over again - just so we're ready. Or maybe we should just start over again at the beginning?

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

5 Basic Principles for Planning a Wedding

Planning a wedding takes a lot of time and effort. Everything needs to be planned and organized in order to avoid any last minute hassles. The ultimate aim of all this planning is that the bride and groom enjoy their day, and all the guests should leave with smiles on their faces and appreciation for the couple’s wedding party.

Besides planning the theme and finding the perfect venue for the party, one of the most important decisions is what the bride and groom will wear. The groom might not really care what he wears, but every bride wants to find the perfect mermaid wedding dress, and she won't stop looking until she finds it.

Here are some basic principles to follow while planning a wedding:
  1. Don’t Overspend:
    Some brides blow the entire wedding budget just to purchase that perfect wedding dress. Shopping for the wedding dress is a lot of fun, perhaps the most essential part of the whole process, but do not spend your entire budget on a single dress. That doesn't mean you can't have a nice dress because there really are cheap wedding dresses with the same design and features. They'll leave you with money to pay the photographer!
  2. Book the Venue in Advance:
    This is really important. Decide on the wedding venue and book it as early as possible. If you wait too long, it will most likely already be booked on the day you want. You do not want to be scrambling around at the last minute looking for some place - any place - to hold your wedding. So get the venue taken care of, and then you can focus on all the other details.
  3. Involve Close Friends Only:
    You don’t need to invite every single person you know to the wedding. It will just lengthen your wedding guest list and add to your expenses. Instead, focus on inviting close friends and relatives, people who are important in your life. Not only will this save you money, but it will make your special day more meaningful because you are sharing it with people you care about.
  4. Don’t Get too Stressed:
    Yes, this is one of the most important days of your life, but stressing out over all the details can take all the fun out of it. Brides especially tend to worry about all those little details. Remember to schedule some time that doesn't involve wedding planning. Get the groom involved in some of the details - it's his day too, and splitting the work will make it easier on both of you. You'll enjoy your day much more if you're not burnt out and exhausted by the time it gets here.
  5. Keep Your Budget Handy:
    In order to avoid spending too much, put together a budget before you begin planning.  Keep it handy as you're planning so you will know if something you want fits into the budget. If you save money on the wedding dress, you'll know you have a bit of extra money for that special cake. Or if you spend a bit more than originally planned for the photographer, you'll be able to see how much you need to save on something else.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when planning a wedding. Feel free to share any other tips that you have. I'd love to hear them!

How Long Will it Take You to Read All Those Books?

I got an email today offering to tell me how long it will take me to read all those books on the TBR list. Of course I had to find out! Here are the results:

Yep, 2 years and 4 months to read all the books on the TBR pile... I'm pretty sure there are actually more than 150 books that I want to read, but I just took the number from my 'Want to Read' shelf on Goodreads and rounded it up to 150. That's close enough, I suppose. Or at least a good start.

Wanna know how long it will take you to read all those books on your TBR pile?  Calculate it here.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Sleep Well

You'll spend roughly 1/3 of your life on your mattress. That means buying a mattress is one of the most important purchases you will make. It can also be one of the most intimidating. If you are researching new mattresses Kennesaw GA area, you'll want to find a store that offers sleep experts on-site to guide you in choosing the type and style of mattress that is right for you.  Here are some basic guidelines to start your search:
  • side sleeper needs a softer mattress that allows the hip to drop down and spine to align properly.
  • A back sleeper needs a softer mattress that allows the hips and shoulders to sink in a little and the spine to align.
  • stomach sleeper needs a firmer mattress because the spine is already aligned. A mattress with more give will likely cause your spine to slump a little, which could lead to waking up with back pain.
Perfect Pillow Expert
And if you sleep with someone else who sleeps differently, things can get more complicated. You'll want to find the best balance possible between buying the perfect mattress and staying within your budget.

Getting a good night's sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health, so keep that in mind when choosing your mattress. Getting the right sleep impacts your productivity, your mood, and even the aches and pains that you suffer. So besides getting the right mattress, you'll want to develop some good habits that will help you get the best sleep possible.

Good Habits to Encourage Good Sleep:
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule even on your days off work so that your body can react consistently.
  • Unwind before trying to go to sleep and avoid searching the internet on your phone or computer.
  • Keep your bedroom somewhat cool for sounder sleep.
  • Avoid napping during the day as it cuts into your night sleep, which is recommended to be seven to nine hours for most adults.
  • Don't expose yourself to bright lights, especially the blue ones, in the evenings.
  • Don't drink caffeine or alcohol before bed.
  • Don't eat a big meal within three hours before bedtime.
  • Don't sleep on a worn-out mattress where the coils or foam can no longer bounce back and provide the necessary support.
Dream Home Furniture is an example of a company with a great selection of mattresses and bedding needs. Their staff of experts is happy to help you decide on the perfect mattress with the comfort level that best fits your body based on your sleep preferences and habits so that you can wake up each morning feeling refreshed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

They Could've Told the Kid

This young man is doing a good thing. He decided to walk almost 100 miles in hopes of raising at least $10,000 for the Tyler Trent’s Cancer Research Endowment, which funds cancer research at the Purdue University Center of Cancer Research.

The news team filmed him on Sunday. Anybody see anything wrong with this video?

There he is - walking on a busy road, planning to walk 100 miles along busy roads - with earbuds in his ears and his back to traffic. And the news crew talks to him and films him walking along - and nobody bothers to tell him that he's on the wrong side of the road.

Does nobody know that you're supposed to walk facing traffic? That bright yellow vest is good, but it's not going to warn him if a distracted driver starts to get a little too close. Being able to actually see the cars that are coming toward you is important for your safety.

I haven't heard any different, so I'm assuming that Aaron made it to Bloomington tonight - they showed a bit of the video on the news again this evening and said he was running a bit behind so he had to do some running to make up time. Thankfully he's safe, and he raised quite a bit of money for cancer research. (if you're interested in reading more of his story and donating, please click the link)

And be sure you're walking on the proper side of the road when you're out walking - especially on a busy road - and teach your kids which side of the road they're supposed to be on. Their safety (and yours) depends on it.

Obviously, this boy's mama didn't teach him.

Are You Considering Filing for Bankruptcy?

bankruptI keep seeing advertisements on TV saying that if you have more than $5000 in credit card debt, they can fix it so that you only have to pay back a fraction of that. What? I have no idea how that's even supposed to work, but it seems kind of crazy. I don't understand that any more than I understand other options like bankruptcy, but I do have some bankruptcy information to share. Hope it helps.

If you’ve been considering filing for bankruptcy, it can be hard to know what to file. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of the differences between the two.
  • Chapter 13 - a Chapter 13 lawyer Orlando FL can help you file your bankruptcy with the courts. Also known as a readjustment bankruptcy, Chapter 13 gives you time to pay back some of your debts over the course of 36 to 60 months. The ability to restructure current debt such as auto loans or home mortgages can help you keep your assets while catching up on payments. This form of bankruptcy is a good option for those unable to meet the income requirements of Chapter 7 but still needing relief from debt. Such debt relief can come in the form of child and alimony payment extensions, credit card debt relief, avoiding wage garnishment and even stopping litigation due to debt issues.
  • Chapter 7 - for those that qualify based on income, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a good fit. More and more Americans may be choosing this form, but is it right for you? Debtors often get immediate debt relief with a trustee appointed to handle selling any nonexempt property. The trustee provides creditors with the assets gained to help cover the debts. After the trustee completes the sale and distribution, the court closes the case. The debtor does not have to repay the debt. Future property acquisitions are generally safe if acquired more than 180 days after the case is closed.
For more information on the differences and which one is right for you and your situation, consult a bankruptcy attorney. Many offer a free consultation to help you see if they are a good fit. Bankruptcy may be the right choice for those with lowered incomes and crippling debt who are looking for a fresh start.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Long Weekend?

Presidents and TeensThe ABC evening news came on tonight, and they said something about the weather improving in time for everyone to go back to work after the long weekend. I never really thought of Presidents' Day as a real holiday. I mean, there's no mail and I guess the banks are closed, but does anyone else get the day off?

For most people, it's just a regular 2 day weekend. Like all the rest of them. Isn't it?

Let me know if you get a long weekend for Presidents' Day. Maybe I'm wrong...

Why Bail Bonds?

Why is a bail bond the best way to bail someone out of jail? Thankfully the only knowledge I have about bail bonds is what little I've picked up reading Janet Evanovich's Stephani Plum series. Obviously, that's not much, so I thought I'd share the following information: Bail Bonds
Finding out that a loved one is in jail is never easy. You need to look at the best way to get a person out on bail. With bail bonds Stroudsburg PA residents find that it’s the easiest solution. Why?
  1. It’s Fast - You can get a bail bond quickly. A bail bonds company will walk you through the process of getting a bond as soon as you know what the bail has been set for. Many bond companies are open seven days a week. It ensures that you can get a loved one out of jail so that they don’t have to sit there any longer than absolutely necessary.
  1. It’s Affordable - When bail is set, you have options. You can pay the whole bail amount on your own and wait for the refund from the courts, or you can get a bail bond. It’s not uncommon for bail to be set at $10,000 or more. Without using a bail bond, you would have to come up with the full amount of bail on your own. Many people find this to be cost prohibitive. Bail bonds are, typically, set at 10 percent of what the bond is for, which could mean as little as $1,000. It’s more affordable, allowing you to get a loved one out of jail faster.
  1. It Allows You to Move On - When you pay a bail bond, you’re done. You don’t have to wait around for all of the court proceedings to wait for the rest of your money to be returned to you. While you won’t get a refund on the bond, it’s the easier solution. If you were to front all of the money, it could take a year or longer to get it back.
As soon as you find out that a loved one is in jail, consider how you’re going to help them. Talking to a bail bond company may be the best solution all around.

Monday, February 11, 2019


I received an email the other day from an author I follow. Actually, I signed up for his newsletter a while back in exchange for a free copy of one of his books. A book I have yet to read. Will I ever read all those (or any of those, for that matter) free Kindle books I keep grabbing? But I just can't resist grabbing them. They're free!

Anyway, the point of this particular email was to ask for feedback from the readers. This author has written a series of books, but very few people ever read through the entire series. They'll read one or two or three of the books, and then they'll quit reading. He was asking how far we'd read and why we'd quit when we did.

Of course, since I haven't read any of the books, I couldn't speak to those books specifically, but I did give my best guess - there are many, many books available, and readers tend to get distracted.  Seriously, my TBR list is already miles long, and it just keeps growing. Every time someone mentions a book that looks interesting I add it. So, even when I start a series that I really like, I usually only end up reading 2 or 3 of the books. Then I decide to take a break from the series and read something else. Next thing I know, it's been 3 or 4 years... (there are a lot of something elses)

Here are a few examples:
  • I read the first three of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series in 2008, stopped for some reason and never continued. Now that we've started watching the series on Starz, I'm wanting to start that series again and read them all. But there are so many...
  • I re-read the first 4 Harry Potter books in 2011, fully intending to finish the series, but I took a break and haven't gone back since. (Though to be fair, I did read all of them as they came out, so maybe that's not the same?)
  • I started George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series in 2013 - After finishing #3, I took a short break to read other books and had definite plans to read the remaining 2 books in 2014.
    It's 2019, and I haven't gone back. Not because I didn't LOVE the books, because I did. (We did watch the series on HBO. Just waiting till April so we can find out what happens next)
  • I read Justin Cronin's The Passage and The Twelve in 2016 because the 3rd book in the series was coming out. I'd read The Passage several years before (in 2010) but never continued on... So I read both of them in preparation for City of Mirrors. Loved them both. And still haven't read City of Mirrors. (I do have it on hold at the library right now, so maybe I'll finally get to it)
  • And I started re-reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series in 2015. I've read a lot of other books along the way, but I haven't actually taken a complete break from the series. I'm still working my way through it and planning to finish the last 2 books this year. Check my 2019 book list when I post it next year to see if I actually accomplish that.
Yes, there are some series that I've continued with - Jan Karon's Mitford Series, The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer (wanna listen to those again!), J.D. Robb's In Death series. And that's the real question - WHY do some series keep us coming back for more? And why do some fail to get our attention back once we've been distracted by all those other books?

I just need to learn to read faster, so I can read all the books.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

It's Not the Cold; It's the ICE

I walk every morning - unless it's pouring down rain or the windchill is colder than -20°.  Seriously, bundle up properly, and it's really not that cold.  But the weather is supposed to be crazy cold around here the next couple days. Schools are closing, libraries are closing, grocery stores are selling out of everything. Well, I don't actually know about the grocery store thing because, unlike all those people who apparently don't have enough food in the house to survive a couple of days, I have plenty of stuff. So I didn't run out to the store.

But it does sound like it's going to be colder than my cutoff temperature of -20° windchill, so I'll have to skip my walk for a couple of days. It'll probably be safer that way. Not because of the cold - because of the ice. It has to snow quite a bit before they do anything with the streets in our neighborhood. What that means is the snow stays until it goes away on its own. Some streets get driven on more, so some clear off sooner. Others clear off a bit during the day and then refreeze at night when the sunshine goes away and the temperatures get colder. And when I go walking in the mornings, the ice and slushy snow make every walk an adventure.

My dad Fred has made a bunch of wooden walking sticks, kinda like this Natural Wood Walking Stick, but more rustic, so I use one of those when the streets are iffy. It's really helpful to have something to hold onto when my foot hits a slippery spot. I probably could have used one of those all those years in Wisconsin, but the streets were usually a lot better. Here a walking stick is a definite need. And sometimes even that isn't good enough - like this morning when my foot hit a hidden patch of ice, and I ended up on my butt. I'm a bit sore... (and hopefully no one was watching)

I'll probably be glad to stay inside tomorrow morning and avoid that crazy cold windchill.

Crazily enough, we're supposed to have temperatures in the 50s by Sunday and Monday. That ought to clear off those streets. At least until the next snowfall. Or freezing rain.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Let's Play a Game

I found this game several years ago, on a blog that no longer exists. Well, it exists, but it's owned by someone entirely different and written in another language, so I won't be reading it any time soon.  At least I got this game.

It's called One Degree of Separation. It's fun, but only if you play along.

Here's how it works:
  • The first person (in this case me because this is my blog) picks an actor or an actress.
  • The second person (1st commenter) names a movie that actor has been in.
  • The next person names another actor from that movie.
  • and then the next person names another movie that the 2nd actor has appeared in.
Popcorn- Movie Time!
Actor, movie, actor, movie, actor, and so on. This can go on and on. (Unfortunately, that song is going through my head now. Extra points if you can guess which song I mean; I'm sure my kids know)

A note: Using IMDB is not considered cheating, but do try to come up with your own first. Grab your popcorn and play along!

First actor: Bradley Cooper

Help Your Daughter Explore Her Interests

There are plenty of studies that show how many women are missing in career fields like science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). One of the reasons might be because it's more popular for a woman to explore fields like medicine, music, and education. While these fields are absolutely amazing, it's important to have more women at the table across all fields. Whether it's politics or ballet, consider these three tips to help your daughter explore her natural talents and interests.
Princess reading
  1. Encourage reading and playtime.
    While many children might want to play with their favorite toy all the time, introduce your daughter to different options. Let her play with a pretty doll one day. The next day, encourage her to play with the train set. Give her many options so she can learn what she really likes. For story hours, introduce different subjects. You can teach her about the Spanish language in one book. In another book, you can allow her to learn more about the U.S. government. Make sure that all of these books are age-appropriate so that they don't go over her head.
  2. Cultivate an appreciation for STEM subjects. Kids Baking Class
    Take her to science museums. Practice math problems together. Don't wait until she has science projects that are assigned at school. Instead, work on science projects at home. Learn how to mix different ingredients with different measurements while you two are cooking. As you find creative ways to infuse STEM lessons into her daily life, the chances of her loving these areas might grow.
  3. Encourage exposure.
    Go out of your way to expose your daughter to as much as she can absorb. Visit the children's theater to appreciate the fine arts. Allow her to take a dance class. Sign her up for lessons to learn a particular instrument. Instead of going to the local fast food restaurant, go to a Japanese steakhouse. Get her a passport when she's really young. Travel as much as possible. Make sure to include international travel in the agenda. As she travels the world, her world view will naturally expand. 
Make the moments count with these practices. As a result, she'll be able to learn whether or not she'd like to be an engineer who can build a tray deaerator or a world-class actress who wins Oscars each year.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

25 Things Peggy Said About Me Once

I was looking for a post on my old livejournal, and I came across this fun list. It still makes me smile even (almost) 10 years later.

25 Things Peggy Said About Me - originally published in March 2009

About a month ago I was working on doing that 25 random things list on Facebook. I was having some problems coming up with my list, so my friend Peggy helped me out. Of course, I didn't open my email until after I had already finished my list, or I could have saved myself all kinds of work. Just for fun I've been meaning to post her list too - just finally getting around to it.

Peggy's 25 things about Anna: (any comments by me in RED - because Peggy hates red, and I'm just that kind of friend)
  1. does laundry on Mondays--- if I don’t do laundry on Mondays the whole week is shot! Or, Monday is the day I spend with my favorite Washer and Dryer. Monday is my workout day, 20 times up and down the stairs to do laundry.
  2. For years thousands of people have relied on my team (my friends and I) to keep their kid’s school activities straight— I have had a large part in the set up of the printed calendar that the school system sends out to the community. (this one needs work)
  3. I am addicted to blogging, I have 4 of my own and have helped ? number of my friends and family set up theirs. I just can’t help myself, they’re free! (LOL! - love that free comment)
  4. frugality is my life, I refuse to pay full price for anything!
  5. I can account for every penny earned and spent in this house since 19?? Receipts rule!! (not quite)
  6. I see no redeeming purpose in dogs, but cats are the coolest! (Well, Tillie is the sweetest, anyway)
  7. I have two amazing kids….. oh, and a husband that isn’t bad either.
  8. I have walked across America. Or , I walk 2 miles every morning, ? days a week. so I estimate that I have walked --- (pick one) across america, to austrailia and back, halfway around the world and my goal in life is to make it around the world. (LOL!)
  9. I have walked ? miles in my current pair of walking shoes. 
  10. frugality is my life, I refuse to pay full price for anything!
  11. I have made some of the coolest websites on the internet or, I love to make website/pages and have designed, or helped design many websites. Here are a few you can check out: etc
  12. I have naturally curly hair, I like it short, Jeff likes it long--- I indulge him sometimes. (I wouldn't exactly call it curly - just thick and wavy, I guess)
  13. I have a coupon for everything
  14. I am the queen of rebates
  15. I live with a man who hoards Jack Daniels and won’t share. (
  16. I see no real purpose for the existence of sugar
  17. I rarely shower alone (on the weekends)
  18. If you are going to argue with your husband, you should get naked first
  19. I often wonder why anyone would put a white plastic spoon in the spaghetti sauce
  20. if you come to visit me at my house, bring slippers
  21. Jeff is making me a pergola (I think he's making it for himself, but I'll enjoy it too)
  22. live life in the sun is my motto---air conditioning is evil
  23. I have 3 brothers and really cool parents (yes, I do!)
  24. there is my way of doing things, and the wrong way.
  25. I have this great friend who can’t remember how to do anything in Photoshop, but writes really cool things about me. (LOL!)
See, that was fun, wasn't it? It was fun for me, anyway.
Some of the things haven't changed much - I still do laundry on Mondays; I still walk every weekday; Jeffrey has even more Jack Daniel's; Peggy still needs help with Photoshop.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Growing Closer To God As Women

As a woman who attends church, you likely know that fellowship with other women is important in your walk with the Lord. If there isn't a program at your church, there are a few ways that you can start a Christian women's fellowship so that classes can be offered as well as activities that bring everyone closer together.

Women's Bible Studies Sign UpThe first thing that you should do is define the type of ministry that you want to start. It could be one where you come together to pray over other people, to go through a Bible study series, or even to learn how to do something new, such as a craft, while learning about the Lord.

Think about whether you can lead the group or whether you should ask someone who has been walking with God longer than you have or who is in a better position to lead the group. You want the women to be successful, and if they can't relate to the woman who is leading, then they likely won't get any kind of blessing from the ministry.
Try to make a calendar of events that spans the course of a few months. Arrange a few special activities that include other members of the church as well as a few activities where the women can spend time alone together. Ideas include dinners that you can prepare together or collections that involve gathering items to donate to an organization in the community.

Make a plan that you can present to the church. Although allowing women to sign up for the ministry is an option, you should keep the ministry open to all women who want to be involved and who want to grow. Listen to the advice of others, and seek the assistance of other ministry leaders so that you can be the woman who the Lord wants you to be and who the women of your church need.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Capture the People in Your Life

We live in a world of social media and selfies, but sometimes people need something a bit better. Hiring a professional photographer to take some special family pictures is always an option, but it's also nice to be able to take some nice pictures of your own. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Taking pictures of people is a bit different than taking pictures of inanimate objects because if you don't photograph at the right angle or with the right light, somebody's going to be unhappy with the way they look. Keep a realistic expectation in mind, and don't make promises you can't keep. While you may want pictures that look a certain way, you might not have the skills to deliver the results. Of course, the more you practice the better you'll get.

Don't try to take pictures at a straight angle. Sometimes, the best pictures are those where the people sit or kneel and you stand above them. Let your subjects smile naturally. When they are together and they relax, then their natural reactions will shine through, giving a beautiful image instead of one that looks forced.

As a people photographer, try to keep everything as simple as possible. You don't always need the most extravagant backdrops or props. Sometimes, the best pictures are taken using natural lighting and the things that are already in the background instead of adding a lot of extra details. Try to find an area that is flat if you're taking pictures outside so that the surrounding details can come into play when you take pictures. Perhaps the biggest thing is to be aware of those surrounding details. You don't want to take the perfect picture where everyone is actually looking at the camera with a nice smile on their face - and then find out there's a tree growing out of Aunt Mary's head.

When you take pictures of people, you're going to need to play around with a few of the settings on your camera. These settings will allow you to zoom in and out along with giving you a margin of error while taking the pictures. Some of the settings on your camera can allow you a bit more freedom when editing pictures at a later time before delivering them. Try to find a camera that has multiple settings that are needed for taking pictures of not only people but inanimate objects as well. Take the time to learn about some of those settings and what they do before you get the family together for that important photo.

Also, have fun and take plenty of pictures. Even the ones that aren't perfect will bring back memories in the future.