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Thursday, July 18, 2013

DIY Hair Clip Tutorials

One afternoon with Mia, we had an hour to spare before Doug got home from work. Rather than doing our usual this and that, I knew I had to make the most of my day off with her. Instead of continuing to put off projects, always claiming that I don't have enough time to get them done, I finally decided to just do something. After rounding up our supplies, Mia and I made a dozen DIY hair clips. The next day when Mia excitedly showed Grandma her new accessories, Grandma asked, "Did Mommy make those for you?" Mia said, "No, we made them together." And that's why I knew I had to make the most of that one free hour we had together. Here's how to make DIY alligator clip accessories for the little girls in your life...

Time: Depends on the style and how many you make. Took me 2 hours to make 12.
Alligator/Single Prong Clips - $3/12 I bought mine from a local Sally's Beauty Supply over a year ago
Scraps of Fabric/Ribbon/Tulle/Felt - any material you want
Buttons/Flowers - any doodads you can find
"Shabby Chic Naked" Flowers (in #1 and #4) - $4 from a Very Jane deal
Hot Glue Gun
Total Cost - 60 cents each!
Instructions: See below for each style.
1. Since I was making these for my own daughter, I didn't take the time to hide the back of the clip with felt. If I were buying hair clips from someone else, I would definitely expect them to do this, which makes it softer on the child's head and is a more finished look.
2. Also, prep/cut/hand sew all your designs and then glue them to the clips all at once. That way your hot glue gun isn't sitting on for too long while you hand sew each piece together.
3. When you hot glue each one to the clip, make sure you open the clip while it dries so you don't glue the clip shut!

1 - Simply hot glue fabric flower to alligator clip. My fabric flowers were purchased, but you could make your own rolled fabric flowers like I did here.
2 - Take a 24 inch strip of tulle and tie the ends together to form a circle. Hold three fingers up and with your fingers in the middle, wrap the tulle around until there's no more. Tie securely in the middle with a piece of twine/thin ribbon. Now you should have a tulle bow. Take 2 small flowers, layer them and hand sew them to the middle of your tulle bow. Slide your alligator clip through the back of your twine/thin ribbon. If that doesn't seem secure enough, hot glue to clip. 
3 - Make a bow lout of 3 pieces of felt like I did here.
4 - Layer two different sized/colored buttons and hand sew to middle of fabric flower. Hot glue to clip.
5 - Tie a bow like you would on a present or your shoe lace. Adjust to your liking. Slide clip through the loop in the back of the bow. If that doesn't seem secure, hot glue to clip
6 - Cut a strip of felt. Glue ends together. Cut hearts from felt. Cinch middle of felt loop and hand sew heart to center. Hot glue to clip.
7 - Same instructions as seen here for the singed flower
8 - I've seen these cabachon flowers all over lately. I hot glued three of them to a tiny strip of felt. Then hot glue the strip of felt to the alligator clip.

And there you have it. Pretty {and cheap} little accessories for the little girls in your life!

linked up with Tatertots & Jello

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

{Jenelle} - 2 years

Before hitting up the annual Burgerfest, I took Jenelle's 2nd birthday pictures. Look how much she's changed since last year! She's wearing pink and orange, just like her 1st birthday party that I decorated for under $5!

I'm pretty sure I said this at her 19 month session, but aren't her big brown eyes and long curly lashes just gorgeous??

Oh Jenelle, you are quickly catching up to Maya and Mia! I have loved watching you get so big from behind my lens since you were a chubalicious newborn. Happy Birthday baby girl! Have a wonderful day at the pool!

While it sounded like chaos with me in the room with these sisters {15 months apart} do what it takes for the shot!
Love you girls!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

BurgerFest 2013

Last weekend was one my favorite street festivals in Chicago - Burgerfest! Being in it's fourth year, the turnout is getting better and better. To my surprise, the line to get in on Saturday evening was down the block! 

By 9am, I blended up pitchers of frozen strawberry margaritas and pina coladas while the fridge was stocked with cold beer and water. By noon, we picked out our spot under a shady tree and posted up our chairs until 7pm when it started to get crowded. Between Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner and Sunday dinner, Doug and I managed to hit up 9 of the 14 vendors for a total of 12 different sliders/burgers!! 
There were solid offerings that were the same as last year: Butcher & The Burger's bison burger and other one where they don't melt the cheese enough, two sliders from Cortland's Garage {pictured above}, two sliders from Goose Island, Rockit, Select Cut, and Mrs. Murphy's (not very memorable). 

My favorites this year were the spicy chorizo slider from Hamburger Mary's with pico de gallo {their tatertots and fried cheese curds are good too!}, Stanley's burger with special sauce, lettuce, tomato and red onion and the two offerings from Square Bar & Grill. One was topped with cajun sauce and sausage and the other one - the Belmont - consisted of two full sized patties, peanut butter, bacon, plaintains and cheese. Totally weird sounding, but it worked!

Our favorite cover bands were A Thousand Julys for current hits and jams from the 90s and Wedding Banned closing out the fest with all the songs we loved when slamming T-bombs at Brother's.

Traditions like these make us not want to leave the city! 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Easy Homemade Popsicle Recipes

When my Amazon package of Zoku Popsicle Molds came in, I told my neighbor (who creepily coincidentally has the same name. and birthday as me) that I was going to make popsicles. She gave me a weird look saying, "Who has time for that!?!" But let me assure you friends, homemade popsicles take all of 5 minutes to make (not including freezing time of course). Here's a few simple, healthy homemade popsicle "recipes" that I like to make with whatever fruit I have on hand and the help of my three year old. She gets to put fruit in the blender, press the button when I give her the ok and put the sticks in.

Typically I just eyeball the amounts and a little goes a long way. Popsicle molds don't hold much - just a few ounces each! My new Zoku pop molds make six regular sized popsicles. My 25 year old popsicle molds from when I was a kid make eight small popsicles, perfect size for kids. Or you can use wooden popsicle sticks and dixie cups, but I don't like the short/fat/round shape with this method. It's just not as lickable as a regular shaped popsicle.

Just wash and cut fruit, blend, pour, and freeze!
Watermelon: 2 cups cubed seedless watermelon + squeeze of lime (optional) + sugar (optional)
Mixed Berry Yogurt: 1 cup of any combination of berries (hulled strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or blueberries) + 6 heaping tablespoons of vanilla yogurt + few tablespoons of sugar depending on natural sweetness of fruit (optional)
Mango: 1 mango, cubed + 1/2 cup of orange juice + a few cubes of ice + squeeze of lime (optional) + sugar (optional)

The mango is my favorite. I can't wait to try other combinations like peaches + yogurt, pineapple + OJ, lemonade + berries, and mimosa pops for the adults. Fresh fruit popsicles are the perfect treat for hot summer days!

And you may have to clean your toddler's clothes right after. That berry face looks like one satisfied customer!

linked up with Home Stories AtoZ

Friday, July 12, 2013

Chicago Trolley Tour & Al Fresco Lunch Along Michigan Ave.

With 4th of July being a Thursday, Doug and I made it a long weekend by taking Friday off. We swam in Grandpa's pool on Independence Day, went downtown on Friday, photographed a wedding at the Chicago History Museum on Saturday and went to the beach on Sunday. Ooooowheee! It was a fun holiday weekend!

Originally, Doug wanted to do a double decker bus tour through downtown Chicago. But at $80 for two adults, that was too expensive for us! Especially because we both work downtown and walk through the loop every day. Since Mia was bummed she couldn't go on the post-ceremony trolley with Daddy at his best friend's wedding, we decided to take her on a trolley tour instead of the bus tour. After looking for Groupon's, we found a $35 deal (for all three of us!!) through Millenium Trolley Tours to use just a few hours later.

We hopped on the trolley near the DuSable/Michigan Ave. Bridge where the iconic Wrigley, Tribune, Trump and Marina City buildings overlook the River.

It was a relaxing hour and a half tour through our beloved city of downtown Chicago. Mia {3 years old} didn't lose interest and with only two other people on board, she happily exclaimed "I took a picture there!!!" at every landmark she recognized from her DIY Good Night Chicago book. I would recommend this Groupon if you're looking for something to do in Chicago.
Mia's first picture here was when she was just eight months old - nearly three years ago, when I first starting blogging!

After getting dropped off where we started, we took a short walk across Michigan Ave. to the Tribune Tower to have lunch at the newly opened Howells and Hood. While service may be spotty, I love love loved our al fresco lunch here! The restaurant's large outdoor patio (5,700 square feet with 300 seats!!) complete with sleek tables, banquettes and tables, over-sized umbrellas, lush greenery, and expansive tap offerings outshines any other al fresco dining option in Chicago.

We didn't have to wait at all on a Friday afternoon (and a holiday weekend!). Our fish tacos and lobster roll came out quickly and tasted so so light and delicious! Mia enjoyed a super cheesy grilled cheese on Texas Toast from the kids menu. Since our server did not bring my raspberry ale out in a timely fashion, she was quick to take it off our bill. From surrounding patrons, we did witness two salads get sent back to the kitchen and two tables go ungreeted for an unacceptable amount of time. Lucky for us, we had an amazing al fresco dining experience. You can't go wrong with a quick and delicious meal outside on a summer day with historical buildings towering over you, and a free beer! I can't wait to get back to Howells and Hood!

After napping on the train ride back home and waking up to a cold ice cream treat, we played at our park to top off our family day out. I'm pretty sure this girl had a good day!

Who doesn't love summer in Chicago!?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

{Skye} & {Baby Joey}

In addition to newborn Baby Benson, I recently photographed his cousins, Skye & Joey. Skye just turned three while her little brother will soon be six months old.

Part of being a photographer includes capturing candid moments, not just the happy posed smiles... 
And this my friends, is how you know when a toddler portrait session is over! Love this capture! Take note parents, while I'd love to photograph your children for hours, they can never go longer than an hour! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Introducing {Baby Benson}

As of last month, I can proudly say I have another nephew! I met Baby Benson at the hospital a few hours after he was born. But now I can officially introduce you after his recent newborn portrait session.

Here's a little before and after photograph from Sandy's maternity portraits.

As you can see, Ben was awake for a majority of our session. Unlike most newborns, Baby Ben did not want to sleep much!
Oh, Erin. Look how you've changed from your one year portrait session