Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Creating a "Bokeh Sandwich"

I recently read a tutorial on Clickin Moms about creating a "bokeh sandwich."   Bokeh is the nice blur you get in the background or foreground of a picture. 

In a "bokeh sandwich" there is blur in both foreground and background of the picture in between the subject. I think it is a neat effect so I decided to give it a try. 

Here is what you need to do to create the effect. Get down low on the on the ground or on the floor and put your camera on the lowest number f stop it will allow. If you are not comfortable with Manual mode on your DSLR then put it on AV or A mode. Then pick a subject, focus your camera , and start snapping. 

If you would like to learn more about manual mode, and your cameras settings, here is a link to a fantastic photography blog, Click it up a Notch.

I took out my camera and used my 50 1.8 lens ( by the way this lens is awesome for the price). I attempted to use my two little ones as subjects. It worked for a minute until my toddler decided to get on my back while I was laying on the floor. I tried hard to take pictures without them noticing. Obviously that didn't work! 

My settings were Shutter Speed: 1/200 sec,  Aperture: F 1.8, ISO 400. 

Since the kids didn't want to cooperate, I decided to switch to toys as my subject. :)

So what do you think of the "bokeh sandwich"? 



Monday, September 24, 2012

Fun With Felt

While cleaning the house yesterday, I found a bunch of felt squares that I had never used. Before putting them away, I decided to make a little fall scene that Liza could play with and we could add to throughout the season.

I draped my large piece of felt over her easel and then cut out different objects from the other colors I had on hand.

Here is the result!

XO Sarah

Friday, September 21, 2012

Inevitable Chaos

Happy Friday!

This past week we went on a road trip to Massachusetts for a few days. We wanted to be present for the home inspection for our new house.

Needless to say my life is currently very chaotic. I am guessing it will be like this until January due to the holidays just around the corner!  Seriously, can you believe how fast this year is going by?
We have about six more weeks left here in Ontario, and we have been fervently cleaning and getting rid of stuff we no longer need.

Lake Ontario

It is such a bittersweet time for my family as we have made Ontario home for the past two years and are not quite ready to pick up and move again.

My girls 2 years ago when we first moved to Ontario

The good side to this whole escapade is this is our final move. We have built a strong family and have learned a great deal since we moved away seven years ago. Our friends have become our "family" and we know how to be dependent on one another no matter what. I wouldn't change anything, looking back it was worth the all the sacrifices.

Cheers to the journey ahead...



Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Apple Stamping


We did a quick project this morning and it was fun!

All you need is an apple, paint & paper!

You should try it!

XO Sarah

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monday Randoms

Happy Monday!

Today's post is going to be a little random because I have a lot on my mind :)

Tea parties are a big deal in my house. Liza loves pouring the tea and passing out the cups and spoons. She adds the sugar and cream for us too. We aren't allowed to do anything except ask for more and raise our tea cups and say, "Cheers!"

Water and a paintbrush can be fun even without paint!

Here are some things that I am loving right now.
My new couch! We love it. It was cheap and it's super comfortable. I love that I can wash it when it gets dirty. I keep a few blankets on it for daily use so that I don't have to wash the slipcovers as frequently.
The Big Backyard exhibit at our local zoo. We are looking forward to a play date here this week!
I am totally loving this book right now. I am so close to the end and I'm not ready for it to be over yet! You should read it!

That's all for now.

I'll be back later this week with some Tot School updates and hopefully some other fun news!!!
Enjoy your day today and don't forget to smile!
XOXO Sarah 


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Tot School Fun: Apples 1

Happy Thursday my friends!
My little one woke up with a fever yesterday morning. It's so sad to see your baby sick, but I will confess that I've been enjoying the snuggles.
The other day we went apple picking with my bestie and two of her boys. Liza was so excited to pick apples. She kept telling me, "Mommy, we are picking apples just like my story, right?!"
We've been reading The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall. It tells the story of two little girls who have an apple tree in their backyard. It's a simple story and I love how it incorporates science by the illustrations of an apple tree through the different seasons. If Liza was older, we would have a lot of fun with that :)
Here are some things that we have done this month.
Tissue Paper Apples: 
  •  red and green tissue paper
  • contact paper
First I cut out some circles from my roll of contact paper. Then Liza (with a little help from me) ripped up some tissue paper and stuck it on the sticky side of the contact paper.

In case you noticed Liza's huge band aid....she burned her arm last week on a hot pan. So sad! It is healing beautifully and we are keeping it covered in antibiotic cream (which you can see seeping through the fabric band aid).
And here are the final products! Perfect window clings!

I also took out the sensory bin and added the tissue paper to it. I hoped that Liza would continue ripping and/or crumpling the paper. This is a simple activity that children of all ages can enjoy while strengthening their fine motor skills. You can add different  types of paper in too. Or for  older children, throw in some kid safe scissors!

She had some fun with it :)
Liza also looked at an apple that we picked with a magnifying glass. She mostly enjoyed pulling off the leaves that were still on the stem.

Oh, and eating it!

That's what we've been up to!

Hope you are well and that you are having a fabulous day.

XO Sarah

Monday, September 10, 2012

Attention fellow bloggers!

K5 Learning has an online reading and math program for kindergarten to grade 5 students. I've been given a 6 week free trial to test and write a review of their program. If you are a blogger, you may want to check out their open invitation to write an online learning review of their program.

Katey & Sarah

September 11th

We wanted to take a moment today and remember all of those who were affected during the attack of the World Trade Towers back in 2001.

It seems like just yesterday our world was shaken. Today our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the lost and those whose lives will never be the same.

Although today marks the 11th anniversary of this tragedy, we always remember what we were doing and where we were when the first plane hit the world trade center.

Katey was in western civilization class when the instructor advised us to turn on the television. The class was then dismissed immediately following and all classes were cancelled for the remainder of the day. What she didn't know was the impact it would have on so many lives around the world. It leaves us all with sober thoughts as we think of the sacrifices made by so many on that day. We will never forget.

Sarah remembers driving home from Astronomy class when she couldn't find one song playing on the radio. When she arrived home she remembers seeing her mom's shocked face after she had just watched the planes crash. She has friends that were in NYC at the time whose lives were forever changed that day and her heart is with them. She also has quite a few military friends that have given up years of their lives to serve overseas to help keep America secure. Her prayers are with them.

What do you remember from September 11,2001?

God Bless America.

XO Sarah & Katey

No mess fingerpaint

Happy Monday! I found this activity on Pinterest & knew I wanted to try it with my kids! 

You need a gallon size Ziploc bag (or store brand), fingerpaint, a 8 x10 piece of white paper, and tape. I found the blue painters tape pictured below worked a lot better than the masking tape. The masking tape kept coming undone. 

First you put two colors in the corners of the bags.  I used primary colors so when it mixed together another color would made. 

Then the kiddos wanted to each have another color added to their bag.

My big girl decided to make letters.

She continued on to make the Canadian Flag. 

My little girl followed along and made letters too. This was interesting because I didn't know she knew how to do that. :giggle

After I saw how much fun the girls were having I made a bag for my toddler boy.; he had fun too! 



Friday, September 7, 2012

Apples, Apples, Apples!

Today I thought I would share with you my little plan for Liza and the Tot School ideas I have running around in my head.

First, I would like to share with you my thought process and the reasons why I am doing this for my girl.

  • Tot School is not really school :)
  • I enjoy doing little activities with her and I love brainstorming things I can do with her.
  • My intention is to present some new experiences for her and let her do with them what she would like.
  • I intend to keep these projects/activity child led and not mommy led.
  • My main intention is to have fun and possibly practice some early learning skills.
  • I am a firm believer that children learn through play. This means that my planning and ideas might sometimes go out the window and will more than likely be adapted during the process. We have to keep things fun!
I have found that the easiest way for me to keep track of my many ideas and keep things simple is to create a little web for the month. It's September and I  naturally think of apples. So, apples have inspired all of my plans.

I tried to incorporate at least one activity for each of the main categories of early learning skills: gross/fine motor, literacy, math, science, art, and sensory. Most activities/experiences flow together and compliment each other and the best part is that all of these things are super simple and can be tweaked for older and/or younger children.

Alright, this is the best I can do! A screen shot of my super fancy web...

So, here is an example I found online so you can get a better idea of what I mean. 


That's it for today. I'll be sharing all the activities I do with Liza with you.

Do you have any fun plans this month?

XO Sarah

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

School Days

I have been doing a bit of reflecting back on our time in Canada. We moved to Ontario two years ago. I honestly can't believe how quick it went.  I love to look back at the pictures of my kids and see how much they have grown over time. 

First day of grade 1 in Ontario.

 First day of grade 2

Many children go back to school this week. Yesterday my big girl started 3rd grade. She was so excited to get up and go to school. She surprised us by setting the alarm on her iPod. This is a sure sign that she  is getting older and more responsible. The past two days she has gotten up on her own and dressed herself.  I am happy she wears uniforms because it  would be more difficult getting dressed. 

 First day of grade 3

She had a great first day! We are making the most of our last two months here. 
It is great to get back into routines.  The start to the school year is a fresh start for me as well. I am hoping to get organized and clean out some of the stuff we have before we move. 

Wish me luck!! :giggle

What does the start of the new school year mean for you? 


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day

Labor Day has always been an important day to me.

It meant the day before the first day of school. The official end of summer. It meant a day spent with family and friends. Hot dogs, ice cream sundaes, and lots of silly traditions.

But it wasn't just Labor Day in my family. It was the Annual Paddy Skerritt Golf Tournament at my grandparent's house. You see, my grandfather created a little golf course in one of their fields and named it after a golfer friend of his in Ireland.

Every year on Labor Day, family and friends competed in a golf tournament. The prizes were legendary. Pens, Dollar Store shot glasses, maybe a bookmark, and if you won First Place you might get a little nip of whiskey. It was silly. It was fun.

It was weird not having that tradition this year, but we worked hard to create some end of summer memories for my own little family.

Our first lobster of the summer. This never happens only once, but that's the kind of summer
 it's been around here.
Liza's first time eating S'mores.
It's safe to say that she is a fan of these chocolaty gooey sandwiches!

We had clam cakes and chowder with some friends and spent Sunday at the beach!
 My husband insisted on taking a picture of my 18 week baby belly on the beach and I am so glad he did. Someday my new little baby will appreciate this snapshot!

And some yummy clams for luch! I'm glad we were able to cram in some New England summer Must Haves!

So, we said goodbye to summer and are excited to welcome the fall weather and all the fun we are sure to have this season!
I will be back later this week to share with you my plans for Tot School this month. I look forward to sharing some of the fun actities that I do with Liza.
Hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!
XOXO Sarah