For the third year in a row, we are choosing Minted for our holiday cards. They are my go to destination for cards, stationary, and photo gifts because they offer the highest quality materials paired with the most beautiful designs and support the work of independent artists from around the world. Whether you prefer a simple pre-printed postcard or an elaborate mini-book style card, Minted has it. They offer HUGE discounts all the time, so you can almost always find a deal. Minted is also sponsoring this year’s Festive Family Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway, so read on to find out how you can enter to win a $100 Minted gift card and find the best Minted discounts and coupons.
My siblings and I are all spread out all over the country, so when we get together we have to get a picture of the kids all together. As you might imagine, getting 3 kids age 3 and under to sit still and pose is nearly impossible. Sweet Luke hadn’t quite mastered the whole sitting up thing, which made it even trickier. There was a small scuffle over the little blue fish in the middle, but we persevered. Two more cute cousins will be added to this side of the family in April and June.
How do you get kids to sit still for a photo?
I love to change up my fireplace mantle, but I don’t like to spend money. I have to look at it constantly, so I want it to be something I enjoy. Often I repurpose items from around the house. I used one of my Meme’s vintage blue mason jars to hold up 3 fun pinwheels I found on clearance at Hobby Lobby last year. I also used 3 red candles from around the house for the other side. The giant photo in the middle is my masterpiece. I saw a great post on Pinterest about blowing up photos for under $5 and decided to put it to the test. I edited my photo by adding text, then took the file to Kinko’s on a thumb drive. I asked them to blow it up to a 2×3 engineer’s print. It cost $3. Total. The quality is not the same as when you pay for a more expensive print, but I love the look of it and the fact that I can change it out at will.
My husband cut out a piece of foam insulation to fit the print, and I painted the edges aqua to match other accents in my living room and disguise the ugly foam insulation. I mounted the print using spray adhesive. Easy.
Have you tried the giant print trick yet?
I made 2 others; one for Jed’s classroom and one for the
ugly mirrored closet doors in The Bear’s room.
So fun and so frugal. Go for it!
I love linking my ideas at these blog parties. Click the links to check them out and find crafty inspiration. If you’ve never visited a blog party, you will be blown away by the creativity shared and imaginative ideas.
Monday: CraftOManiac, Mad in Crafts, It’s So Very Cheri, Sew Chatty, The Girl Creative, Keeping It Simple, C.R.A.F.T., Boogie Board Cottage, and Sumo’s Sweet Stuff
Tuesday: Raising 4 Princesses, The Kurtz Corner, Hope Studios, Today’s Creative Blog, Coastal Charm, and New Nostalgia
Wednesday: The Trendy Treehouse, Polka Dots on Parade, Lil Luna, and The Thrifty Home
Thursday: Somewhat Simple, Tales from Bloggeritaville, The Shabby Creek Cottage, and House of Hepworths
Friday: Sugar and Spice, Kojo Designs, and The Shabby Nest
Weekends: Tatertots and Jello, Serenity Now, and Candace Creations
A big family photo shoot is one of those things that I’ve wanted to do for a while, but is nearly impossible to actually make happen. Obstacles were stacked against me. My family is large and spread out, four siblings, 3 spouses, 3 states, 4 cities. We hadn’t posed all together in any organized fashion since before Chris left for Afghanistan and any of us were married. It was time. Over Christmas break there was a 12 hour window when we were all in the same place at the same time, so it was go time. As the oldest kid and natural born bossypants, I basically forced everyone into it, but most thanked me later. Just kidding, but maybe they will someday. I told everyone to wear any shade of grey, white, black, or red, and put a brush through their hair. Somehow my daddy managed to sneak in a baseball cap, but you can’t win ’em all. We called our friends the Filipeks and had them send down a photographer or two. We had three cameras going to get lots of pics. I marched the group down the street to the other side of the lake behind my parents’ house for a scenic backdrop. It was like herding cats. Finally we got to posing, and the results are pretty great.
Nice and normal, grouped close together.
Each little family group separate, looking at each other.
You’re a tiger! Roar!
Big thanks to the Filipek family for snapping our pics.
The silly ones are probably my favorites. After the group shots we took a couple of the grandkids with Dede and Poppy. My goal was to get these printed on canvas for my mama’s birthday, which is today. Over the weekend we sat down and edited them using Picnik and ordered a few canvas prints. I can’t wait to see the results. All in all it was totally worth the hassle and cat herding to get pictures we will treasure for years to come.
What tasks are on your “Make It Happen” list this year?
My family has taken a Florida beach vacation almost every year since I was a toddler. We used to go to Destin, but now prefer Navarre Beach. It is a lovely piece of land that is much less crowded and has no traffic. We love it.
This year we almost didn’t go because of the oil spill. We thought that there would be oil everywhere and the beach would be ruined. Thankfully we had a great real estate agent who kept us updated on the real beach conditions, even sending pictures. With her encouragement we decided to go for it.
We saw very little oil and had a amazing week of sand, sun, and fun together. Perfection.
Jed learned how to snorkel and collected so many shells to add to our collection.
Sweet Caroline, our niece, loved her first beach experience. She played in the sand and loved the water.
The water was so calm and clear by the end of the week that the snorkeling was just awesome.
The clean up crews were everywhere, keeping the beach spotless. Their tent was just down the beach from us. You can see it in the left side of the picture above.
This was our incredible house. My parents and their best friends the Filipeks rented it for all of us to enjoy. We are so blessed.
This tent has been through many Short/Filipek beach vacations. It is a lifesaver in the hot Florida sun.
We went crab hunting one night, and it was so much fun. We hadn’t done it in years and had forgotten how much fun it was.
Here we are, the Shorts and Filipeks, now with the addition of the Johnsons and the Ebys. We have been going on vacation together since Sarah and I (the oldest kids in each family) were 4. That year was 1983, my friends. Each family has four kids, and now 2 of those kids have babies of their own. We play on the beach all day, play board games and watch movies, cook fresh seafood every night, and enjoy each others’ company.
Does your family have any vacation traditions?
We’ve all been there. You are on vacation, wanting a group photo or a couple photo, but left without anyone to take it. If you go on a trip as a couple, you end up with lots of photos of one of you while the other holds the camera. I take tons of pictures and Jed always feels awkward posing by himself. We have harassed strangers to take our picture more times than I could even count. They always end up cutting off someone’s head. Then you feel bad making them do it over again. We know people who hire professional photographers to come and take their family beach photos. That is not exactly in our budget. This summer, we found a solution to this quandary.
No, we did not ask a stranger to watch us make out. We did a 15 minute photo shoot on our own on the beach in Playa del Carmen.
This is the group that went on our family vacation to Navarre Beach, FL. Do you know how long it takes to get a group this big to pose and smile at the same time? It takes a while.
Our new solution is two words:
We bought a small compact tripod for $20. It folds down to pack easily in a suitcase or carry-on. I can even carry it in my purse. How did I not think of this before? We simply set the tripod up on a beach chair or deck and found the angle and height that we needed.
My camera has a 10 second timer setting, so it gives me plenty of time to run back and join the photo. It took me a little while to get the hang of setting it and running, but thankfully I have a patient husband. For a big group photo, you just get 1 person to stand there while you set it up, then bring out the rest of the troops when the camera is ready. Make a place for yourself to jump in, and go for it.
There you have it. It isn’t rocket science, but it saved me a ton of headaches and stranger harassment this summer. My other beach photo tip is to take stage your shoot in the morning or evening, rather than midday. The light will be much more flattering.
How cute is this instant scrapbook page from picnik.com?! Seriously.
Do you have any beach photo tips? Share them with us!
Don’t forget to link your beach posts to the Beach Week Link Party!
I’m linking to some great parties. Check them out here.
on our recent trip to mexico we visited the ancient mayan city of tulum.
the city was built around 900 a.d.
now it is only inhabited by iguanas.
i love the sense of history you get walking around in a place where people lived so long ago. we miss out on this so much in the u.s.a. here we put a plaque on a building if someone lived there 100 years ago.
the mayans built their city right on the beach,
with protection provided by high cliffs.
they were an advanced people who developed a calendar, understood the concept of zero, and spoke and wrote a language that is still used today.
apparently they loved the beach.
tulum is one of the prettiest places i’ve ever been.
the combination of the ancient buildings with the rugged cliffs
and gorgeous aquamarine water is awe inspiring.
i definitely recommend a visit to tulum or one of the other
mayan ruins on your next trip to mexico.
have you ever visited a place that gave you a sense of history?
we are headed to the beach in less than a week, and i am so ready. one of my favorite beachy recipes (and favorite dessert ever) is this easy key lime pie. is was given to me by mom’s friend mary (she is my friend as well, but my mom gets the credit for knowing her first. at any rate, it is super easy. there is none of the zesting or making of meringue that goes with other key lime pie recipes.
mary’s easy key lime pie
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 14 oz. can of fat free sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup key lime juice (i use paul and joe’s or mrs. biddie’s)
i really like the key lime taste, so i use 3/4 cup
1 container fat free cool whip
dump your ingredients into your mixer or mixing bowl.
mix them until well blended and smooth.
pour the mixture into your pie crust.
so simple and perfect…
place the plastic cover that came with your pie crust
back over the pie to make a dome.
put your pie in the freezer for at least 8 hours,
be patient. it is worth it.
this pie serves 8-10.
it contains 240-300 calories and about 5 grams of fat per slice,
depending on your slice size.
that is not bad at all for a delicious dessert.
have a slice and dream of being on your favorite beach.
what is your favorite beach recipe or food?
i’m linking to some great parties. check them out here.