A Cloudy Morning and Sunshine at the Beach in White Rock, BC

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Last month, we had the chance to go to White Rock, BC to visit The Nerd’s family and attend his cousin Andrea’s wedding.

It was my first time in Canada (and Andrew’s too!) and The Nerd hadn’t been for several years.

The Pacific Northwest is beautiful country, with mountains and beaches that will just take your breath away. Of course, I had the time of my life taking photos of our trip.

Our first morning in White Rock, we headed down to the beach with Andrew. It was a bit chilly (at least, it wasn’t the usual 100-degree hotness that we have here in Texas!).

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Andrew had a great time riding around on his Grandpa’s shoulders and getting to see everything.

After our trip down to the shoreline, we decided to go visit The Nerd’s grandmother, Joan. Joan had never met Andrew, so we knew this would be the highlight of our trip.

Nana's House Collage

Joan had some fun wooden spoons for Andrew to play with on a pallet in the floor. He had the best time getting to know Nana and banging around with the wooden spoons.

Later in the day, went back to the beach because the weather was just gorgeous.

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The sunshine and the blue skies were perfect. The Nerd kept talking about his master plan to relocate our family to the Pacific Northwest. I think it was just the delirium from 70-degree weather talking.

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But when this is just outside your door, why wouldn’t you dream of living here?

It was such a fun day and a wonderful beginning to a great trip! I can’t wait to share it all with you…look forward to more tales from Canada this week!

Weddings Make Me Cry

Hoak Wedding -593 B&W

A few weeks ago, my cousin Katy asked me to photograph her wedding. I had taken photos of her sister’s wedding a while back, and I was happy to agree.

I wanted to share a few of my favorites with you all. Katy made a beautiful bride!

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I LOVE this girl and her family. So glad I got to be part of her special day!

Do YOU cry at weddings? I do!

Samsung Galaxy S III from Verizon Wireless: Such an Awesome Camera!

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One of my favorite things about the Samsung Galaxy S III from Verizon Wireless is the camera.

Since becoming a Mom, I take more and more photos on my phone. So it’s really important to me that my phone has an awesome camera.

One of the best things about the Galaxy’s camera is that there is no shutter delay. You click the button to take the picture and it immediately takes it, unlike my iPhone, which always pauses before taking the photo. This often results in blurry limbs in my pictures.

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The camera has many different options built-in, like HDR mode and a burst mode, so you don’t necessarily need an app to add cool effects to your photos.

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This is the Burst Mode. It automatically takes a string of eight consecutive photos. You can even enable the “Best Photo” option and the phone will automatically select the best photo from the burst series.

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Another awesome thing is that it allows you to share your photos on Instagram (or other social media sites, including email) right from the camera itself.

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How awesome is that? Follow me on Instagram to see the photos I’m taking with my Samsung Galaxy S III — I take A LOT. :)

What feature do you wish your camera phone had?

 

 

**Disclaimer** I am a Verizon Wireless Ambassador. I received a wireless device and phone/data plan free of charge to use for review and evaluation of Verizon Wireless products and services. As part of the program, I was asked to share my opinions with others, however, my opinions are my own. Please contact vzw@comblu.com with any questions about the Verizon Wireless Ambassadors’ Program.

{Flying With a Baby} Five Things You Might Not Know You Need

Canadian Flag Baby

We recently took a trip to Canada to visit The Nerd’s family there. I have lots more posts and photos to share of our time there, but before I do, I wanted to share a few tips I picked up while traveling with a baby.

For weeks before the trip, I was very anxious about Andrew’s first airplane flight. I spent hours looking for tips and tricks, essentials for packing, best ways to get through security — basically, anything I could think of to make the trip easier.

Surprisingly, though, most of the things that got us through the flight we’re things I could have planned for — but they turned out to be exactly what I needed.

Passing the Baby

1. An abundance of relatives — We flew with The Nerd’s parents and sister and I was so glad that we did. Not only did we have extra help to haul all of the baby gear (two carry-on bags, a stroller and a car seat… not to mention the suitcase full of baby items we checked) but they were great to help “pass the baby” when he got a little fussy. A new face can work wonders when the baby gets bored!

2. Helpful neighbors — On our flight to Vancouver, we sat in front of a sweet old woman who made it her mission to make Andrew laugh during the flight. He had a lot of fun and I think she did, too.

Looking Out Window

3. A window seat — We were lucky and Andrew slept for most of the flight there and back. However, on both flights, he decided to wake up shortly before we landed. As you know, take-off and landing tend to be the most tricky parts of flying with a baby as the air pressure changes can cause discomfort as the baby’s ears pop. Luckily, we had a window seat and Andrew was mesmerized watching the clouds and then the lights of the city below as we landed.

4. Something to entertain Mom — In all my preparation, I totally forgot to account for any down time for myself. So, while Andrew slept soundly on the flight, I was dreadfully bored. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!

5. Something to take care of unexpected surprises — Remember how I said that Andrew woke up right before we landed? Well, cabin air pressure changes don’t only affect the ears. There can be other, um, stinkier surprises that await you.

Children’s Probiotic, like Culturelle Kids!, provides a solution for digestive discomfort and poor health. I’ve given Andrew probiotic before, but the nice thing about Culturelle Kids! is the convenient packets it comes it. They’re small enough to store easily in your carry-on luggage. Just pour the packets into a sippy cup or bottle and you’re good to go. Easy peasy.

Culturelle Kids! helps support digestive health. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract? So, maintaining a healthy and balanced digestive system plays a vital role in strengthening your child’s overall health and well being.

Have you ever flown with a baby? What are your best tips?

 

 

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Culturelle Kids! I was provided with samples to use and review. All opinions are my own. 

 

 

{DFW Mom} Varsity Tutors Private Tutoring Services

River First Day

A few weeks ago, my niece, River started school. I cannot believe that the little baby girl I have watched grow up is old enough to be in school. Right now, she’s in a Montessori pre-school, but before you know it, she’ll be headed to high school and then on to college. Yikes!

It’s that time of year when kids across the country load up their backpacks and head to class. It’s easy to be excited about the school year with freshly-sharpened pencils and brand-new supplies in their lockers, but eventually the new will wear off and it will be time to hit the books.

When that happens, sometimes a little extra help goes a long way. Need a chemistry tutor to help your child master their AP course? Do you have a student headed for college soon? There are many ACT tutors in Dallas!

That’s where Varsity Tutors steps in! They can schedule affordable one-on-one tutoring by SMU and TCU students. They will meet in your home, at a library or where ever it’s convenient for you and your family.

Tutors are matched to their students to ensure that they best fit your needs. All tutors must past stringent requirements.

I know I could have used a math tutor in school. And statistics TOTALLY kicked my butt in college. Why do you think I became a journalist and later a blogger? Words are my forte.

What was your worst subject in school? Do you have any kids going into school this year? What grades?

 

 

Disclaimer: This is a partnered post with Varsity Tutors and I am receiving compensation. All opinions are my own and information was provided by Varsity Tutors.

 

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dublin Dr Pepper Icing

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If you’re from Texas, you’ve heard of Dublin Dr Pepper. It’s one of the best things about this state. I remember going to family reunions in Dublin growing up, and we’d always stop and grab a Dublin Dr Pepper on the way home.

I’m a HUGE Dr Pepper fanatic, so when I found this recipe for Dublin Dr Pepper Icing, I knew I had to try it.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Dublin Dr Pepper Icing
Adapted from: Annie’s Eats and Dying for Chocolate

Ingredients:
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 c plus 1 Tbsp hot water
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks plus 1 Tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 c sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
3/4 c sour cream

Icing:
1/2 c Dublin Dr Pepper
1/4 c butter
3 Tbsp dark cocoa
3 c powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp vanilla

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl, mix together the cocoa and water until smooth. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a small saucepan, combine butter and sugar and heat on medium, stirring constantly, until butter is melted. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with paddle attachment, and mix on low for 5 minutes until cool.

Add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the vanilla and cocoa mixture and blend until smooth.

Turn mixer on low and add the flour mixture in three additions, alternating with the sour cream. You should begin and end with the flour mixture.

Scoop the batter into two muffin pans prepared with cupcake liners (recipe makes 24 cupcakes) and bake for 18-20 minutes, rotating the pans half-way through.

While cupcakes are baking, prepare the icing.

Add butter and Dr Pepper to a small sauce pan on medium high-heat and stir until butter is melted. Stir together the cocoa and powdered sugar and add to the bowl of a stand mixer. Pour in the butter and Dr Pepper mixture once it’s melted, while it’s still hot. Add vanilla and mix on low until combined.

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Frost cupcakes quickly — the icing will harden as it cools.

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Enjoy!

Swimming

Pappy

A few weeks ago, my sister’s family stooped in for a night on their way home from a summer road trip. Andrew missed seeing his cousins, so we loaded up and headed to Nanna and Pappy’s house to go swimming.

I was able to capture some fun photos of everybody on my iPhone, thanks to this waterproof case.

Eli CollageAndrew floatingHyrum Collage

We are definitely going to have to go swimming more often!



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