Spring Cleaning Tips

With the warm in the air, the beautiful flowers poking their heads up out of the earth, and my parents flying out next week we are in full on Spring Cleaning mode over here! I thought I’d share some of my tops tips-please share yours in a comment or leave a link to your blog post–I’d love to read!

Spring Clean all Year Long ~ Ever since January I’ve been using FlyLady’s zone method and am super pleased with the results! I’ve been able to get my kitchen and our bathrooms super organized and decluttered using it and all by just doing a little bit 15 minutes a day–definitely do-able even with my crazy busy schedule!

Game Plan ~ Even if you have been “spring cleaning” all year long it still feels good to go on a good cleaning spree–especially before company comes. I found that I am the most productive when I write down a list of what exactly needs to be done–then I can even accomplish “deep cleaning” when I’m on the phone–I just look at what is next on my list and tackle it!

Set that Timer ~ another idea from FlyLady–set your timer and clean as fast as you can! You’ll be amazed at how much you can get done in a short amount of time! Don’t try to go TOO fast though…if you’re clumsy like me you’ll end up bumping into everything and spilling things, haha!

Try Some New Products ~ I’ve also mentioned before that ever since having kiddos I’ve been straying away from all the more toxic cleaners and starting to use green cleaners a lot. I even used good old baking soda and vinegar to clean the inside of my stove shiny bright (yes it really did work!) In the bathroom though I have a hard time not using something more “heavy duty” though–so Colorox Green Works has been a great solution for me!

I don’t normally use wipes but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how nice they are for quick tidy ups throughout the week of the bathroom counters and also for wiping down the outside of the toilet. The toilet cleaner has been my favorite–it works just as good as any of the bleach kinds do and I will definitely be purchasing it again. The All Purpose cleaner worked well also for the counters in the bathroom during my weekly “deep” cleans. I wouldn’t recommend it for the bathtub though, ours usually need something with a little more “omph”.

What are your spring cleaning tips and what products do you love to use for it?

How to take great pictures of your kids ~ part two

Yesterday I did a post on How to take great pictures of your kids and since I didn’t want to make it *too* long today I’m doing the second part!

Rethink your perspective ~ Kiddos are considerably shorter than you are, so in order to get the best pictures normally a stand and shoot at them doesn’t work all that great. Learn to play with the angles you’re shooting from and you’ll be surprised at how much it will change your pictures. Which leads me into my second tip today….

Don’t be afraid of back and side shots ~ some of my very favorite pictures of my kiddos are ones in which you can’t even see their faces. Back shots just have an artistic quality to them that I just love! Shooting from the side of their face, their back, or even from directly up above (like the picture at the top of this post) Study some professional photographers sites and pay close attention to where they are shooting from. It’s probably crouched down, way up high, or laying on the ground…that’s how they get those crazy cool shots!!

Zoom in ~ A big problem that people make is standing WAY too far back. Of course you can always crop to “make up” for this, but you might as well just zoom your camera in and/or step closer so that you will have less work later on. Also just simply turning your camera vertically can add huge quality to your pictures–you can get your kiddos whole body (or most of it) in a shot–instead of all the background around them that you really don’t care about! Close up face pictures are always winner’s for grandparents and putting in that 8×10 frame as well!

Always be looking ~ There are so many great places to take pictures all around you! The shot at the top is of Tyler “kissing” his reflection on our sliding glass door, and this shot of Amber is right outside our apartment door. “Real” backgrounds in nature are always nicer looking than backdrops, so get outside and find somewhere beautiful to shoot!

There you go! Using these easy tips will help you capture some amazing shots of your children that you’ll be able to always treasure!


How to take great pictures of your kids ~ part one

These days taking your own family photos has never been easier or more affordable! Whether you are just looking to up your every day snapshots, or are hoping to score that “perfect” picture to get an 8×10 for the front room here are some tips to help!

Perfect Timing ~ one of the great things about taking your own pictures is you can run on your kiddos time table, and not that of the photographers. Because more than likely the day you pick for photos is going to be the day your toddler throws a fit, the baby cuts a tooth, or your preschooler decides to be sullen. If this is the case just skip it and try another day! It will save both of you a lot of frustration (and I’ve learned, even with monthly baby photos you really DON’T have to take them on that exact day!)

Great Lighting ~ One of the first things you learn in any college photography class is about lighting. The best times of day for natural lighting are early morning and sunset/dusk. Any shots taken around noon will probably result in a lot of squinting and harsh shadows. Also be very shadow conscious, never shoot with the bright light directly behind your child, it will result in the shot being “back lit” and even editing can’t fix it into being a great shot.

Good Editing Software is worth its weight in gold ~ Personally I adore my Photoshop Elements. It is not very user friendly, and several years after getting it I’m still learning the ins and outs, but that’s because it can just do SO MUCH! I’ve been able to take my point and shoot camera and get some amazing professional looking shots from it thanks to my editing. Many of my friends love PicMonkey which is a great easy & free online editor.

Use Fun Props ~ Does your child have a stuffed animal they sleep with or a special blankie they drag everywhere? These are things you will want to record–so go ahead and include them in your photo shoot! Having their lovie close will also help your child to relax during the shoot–win win!

Another fun and adorable idea for a photo prop is using Sticky Bellies these fun and super cute stickers are a good alternative to expensive custom onsies and can be stuck right into your photo album/scrapbook after the shoot. They sell ones from 1-24 months, and pregnancy ones as well! (I wish I would have had these during my pregnancies, would have been so much easier than photo-shopping how many weeks I was onto the picture! The Inventor has a background in Child Development and shares advice on this and all things picture on their Facebook Page, so be sure to check them out!

Don’t forget to read my Part 2! 🙂

I received the Sticky Bellies as part of a review for the Mompact Promotions. All their products are made by moms, for moms. All pictures, thoughts, opinions or other products mentioned are my own.