DIY on the 4th of July 

A photoshoot of Lucas was due as I had not taken individual portraits of him since his 1st birthday. I saw some pretty awesome patriotic backdrops made from pallets on Pinterest but there was one problem, the nearby shops either charge for them or reuse them. Being last minute I had my handy husband put together a pallet like board for under $10.

It was very easy to paint the colors using acrylic paints that you can find any craft section for under two dollars. I stamped my hands for the handprints in place of the stars. You can also get one of your little ones to have fun hand printing on the board, which I thought would be a whole lot cuter but Lucas was napping away.

Lastly, little one woke up from his nice long nap and was ready for his Fourth of July shoot. Check out some of his shots below!

I can’t wait to share the next photo theme!

Xoxo,

SaZa

Peachy-Keen 

It’s about the journey getting there they say. Or the journey getting back. Texas highways are known for many landmark highway stops and we found a little gas station named Cooper Farms Peaches in Fairfield, Texas. It is a homey little country store stocked with homemade goodness. From the minute you walk in an array of homemade pies, turn overs, and cobblers catch your eye and of course their famous peaches. This store is stocked with plenty of peach made treats and more to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Of course I bought too many peaches so I did what anyone with too many peaches would do, cobbler! Bites that is.

I found a simple cobbler bites recipe from justapinch.com and topped them off with Cooper Farms Homemade peach cobbler syrup. Delicious!

 

Xoxo

SaZa

Lucas Turns One

Troy and I have been celebrating our birthdays together for the past five years because they are a day apart. Little did we know last year that Lucas, who was due mid July, would make an entrance on the day right between our birthdays. Due to an unknown heart condition at the time, my pregnancy became complicated and he was born at 27 weeks and 4 days. A micro preemie with the heart of a fighter. He fought his way out of the NICU and into our lives and I can’t thank God enough for allowing us to get to know our beautiful boy despite all the risks that came with being born at such an early stage. He has been my inspiration to keep my head high while I went through all the medical ups and downs this past year. But now it is time to celebrate all the achievements, big and small, that we’ve accomplished as a family and the big birthday trio.

Troy and I decided that since this was the epic FIRST birthday we wanted make it big and take a trip to Disneyland California. However we still wanted to have Lucas celebrate with the family and a few friends so we were following the trip with a Mickey Mouse themed birthday party.

 

Weeks before our trip I started hand making all the decorations for the party. I have recently adapted some minimalism traits in life so I wanted to use up some things we already owned and of course try to keep it simple and capture the theme with just a few essential decorations. One piece of advice, even if you keep it simple it gets overwhelming if you’re hand-making decorations, so never follow a party two days after a big vacation. Give yourself at least two weeks in between.

I made Lucas’ piñata out of can soda boxes and paper mache and shaped it into a giant number one dressed as Mickey using tissue paper. I added Mickey Mouse silhouette heads to EVERYTHING using circle hole punchers and black card stock. I mean it was everywhere, yet simplistic and tasteful, from the ketchup and mustard bottles to the thank you treat bags. It was so easy and looked cute to see the Mickey head on what would otherwise be a plain party essential. Lucas loves the Hot Dog song at the end of the show, so in the efforts to keep it simple and go with the show theme, we served hot dogs. With a little research we learned that you can cook nearly 60 hotdogs in a crock pot at the same time.  Some people recommended no water but I added a teensy bit of water to it and it worked out. Simply kickstart the crockpot an hour or hour and a half before the party. My favorite and most recommended decoration was the Mickey themed photo backdrop made out of ninety-eight cent streamers. What a savings and awesome idea find! I think we must have spent a whole five dollars on it. I have a backdrop stand kit that I use for photography background rolls but you can tape the streamer backdrop to any wall in your home and ta-da! You now have a colorful custom backdrop. It is that simple.

Some of the props I used for Lucas’ one year photo shoot were integrated into the party for decorations, like the Mickey flag banner and his plush Mickey and Friends toys. Troy and I found a great sale at the Disney store and purchased them back when he was 6 months old and we’ve used them several times since. The overall trick is to use things more than once or look around to see what you already have and can use. It is less wasteful, keeps you from overbuying and saves money. I used to hand make things in the past and would spend double what it would have cost me if I had just purchased it. Of course it was a great feeling to make it yourself but if you are looking to stick to a budget then it helps to get creative and resourceful. If it takes a long time to make then be sure you make it nice enough to use is as a fun decor piece in your child’s playroom or bedroom. If its more expensive then be sure its durable enough to use it several times. We knew that our guests lists consisted of a lot of younger children so I also created several activity areas for them. We had a ball pit and building blocks area, a painting corner, a bubbles station, and even a sandbox inside a kiddie pool. All of these areas consisted of toys Lucas currently plays with with the exception of a few extra canvases and paintbrushes. This made it a lot of fun for the kids because they had something to do in between visiting, breaking the piñata, eating, and cake.

Our nearby bakery did a great job with the cake ideas I sent them. The cake and smash cake were the topping on the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse fun. All of our friends, family, and most importantly the birthday boy had a great time celebrating and opening presents. We even had cake left over for my birthday the following day and it was a great way to end our epic first trio birthday weekend.

Family Photo Fun

Taking family photos can be a lot of fun especially when they don’t cost a thing and are done on your own time. Right before Lucas turned one we took some fun outdoorsy themed photos with a teepee at the park. A little coordination goes a long way, especially when you are going to be taking photos of your little one and there will be no one there to make him smile. Here is a list of the equipment I used and a BTS shot of our shoot.

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bts

You will need:

  • A camera
  • A flexible tripod or something to hold your camera
  • Props for your set up
  • A remote for the camera shutter or run back and forth using the timer in your device

Once you are all set up with your props you are ready to start clicking away. In our shoot we used a big teepee and a small Mickey Mouse since his first birthday was going to be Mickey themed. We kept it simple and coordinated a few casual outfits and colors, blacks, grays, white, and denim. It is always best whether you are taking the photos or someone else to stick to a few colors and create a color pallet for the family instead of going too matchy matchy or run wild with colors.

Making a baby smile takes a lot of funny noises and silly faces, and since there is no one behind the camera my best advice is to interact with one another and make your little one laugh as if no one is watching or trying to capture the moment. As you are having fun doing this try not to forget to click the shutter and most importantly hide the hand that is clicking. I often forget this but it doesn’t bother me in the final photo as long as we have smiles. The 2 second timer helps as well as the 10 second timer to get everyone smiling in the shot. If your little one is old enough to recognize favorite toys that bring out smiles, then hang one right above the camera and ask your little to find it with a few tickles in between.

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Our final pick

Editing your photo can be done quickly on your phone now if your camera has wifi.  Some great apps are ColorStory, Adobe Lightroom, Facetune and Afterlight. They can really clean up those photos and make them pop.

Happy Clicking!

XoXo

Saza