Where in the World?

We have had the game, Where in the World for awhile now, we were blessed enough to find it at a used curriculum sale last spring. It has been sitting on our geography shelf since then and finally came down today!! I now have geography built into our schedule 2 days per week and plan to play games (like USA Sequence last week) and do puzzles most of the time at this stage. This game was perfect and will grow with us SO well! I would pay full price for it if I hadn’t found it at the sale–now that I have played it!

We began with just a simple find the country game, starting with North America. It was hard for both of us since it included many small islands!!!
After North America, we moved onto Africa which was a great review for both of us since we completed our Africa (Rwanda specifically) lapbook last year, and worked a lot on African countries then.What fun things do you do with your younger (K-2) kids for geography? In my opinion our geography shelf will never be full of enough games and learning tools. I have a horrible knowledge of geography myself and don’t want the same for my kids. I hope that I can re-learn right along with them on our homeschooling journey!

Behind the Scenes ~ Photography

Behind the Scenes ~ Photography


So, this isn’t really a homeschooling post but I get a lot of emails about photography so I thought I would try to address the FAQ here too! I am no longer a pro photographer but was at one point years ago!

What is your photography background, how did you learn?

  • I have always had a passion for photography but never did anything with it until after I graduated from college(where I was a Birth-Kindergarten Child Development major). My roommate in college was actually a photography major and I remember always secretly wishing I was doing that!
  • While teaching Kindergarten I decided to take a photography course at our local community college, my best friend joined me and we had a blast. We took another class, learning all of the basics together (this was before either of us had children).
  • After completing our courses we realized we were on to something and we jumped into starting a children’s photography business together. We began with a darkroom and used all BW film, printing all of our own photos. We switched to digital awhile later and then began a HUGE self-taught learning curve.
  • We ran our business together for about 4 years, until I moved to become a missionary in 2004.

What kind of camera do you use, what did you start with?

  • I currently use a Canon 40D
  • I started with a film version of the Canon Rebel back in the day but if I were to begin today I would start out with something from the Canon Rebel Line.

What about lenses?

  • My favorite lens is my Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 IIwhich is also my cheapest lens! I LOVE this lens because of the f/1.8, that’s what gives you the ability to shoot in lower light without a flash and also gives you the nice blurry background when shooting portraits. It is NOT a good lens for everyday use because it is fixed lens (meaning it can’t zoom to anything other than 50mm).
  • For everyday use, I currently have the Canon EF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5 II USMon my camera. This is a fine lens for everyday use, and it was what I could afford at the time. I wouldn’t use this lens for professional use but it works fine for what I need on an everyday basis.
  • I used to use the Canon EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM but now my old business partner has this lens (we used to share lenses when we ran the business together). We also used our Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USMfor photo sessions this is also a *fixed lens* like the 50mm I currently have. The 85mm is great for close up portraits.
  •  Edited: I was given this lens as a gift from my Daddy! he saw what I wrote on this post and surprised me! If my wildest dreams would come true I would have the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM which as you can see costs more than my camera body alone!!! Why you ask? Because it has a fixed aperture of 2.8 which is a BIG deal with a zoom lens. Most lenses have a range like my f/3.5-5.6. If that makes no sense to you, then you’ll probably enjoy my next set of answers below so you can learn the photography language!

What photography blogs/sites do you recommend to help me learn to take better photos?

  • The online forum I used as a HUGE learning tool when I first began is: http://www.ilovephotography.com/. This is a GREAT community online and you can learn a TON. You might even see some of my old posts from years ago (around 2002/3), online over there I am "Little Moments" which was our business name. Be careful, this site will suck up your time if you are really interested in trying to learn photography!!!
  • Pioneer Woman has an awesome photography section on her blog with great tips and tutorials.
  •  i heart faces is a fabulous photography blog

How do you edit your photos, what software do you use?

  • edited 6/2010…I am now using Adobe Lightroom for my editing, I like it better than Photoshop for what I need-it saves me tons of time!
  • I use Adobe Photoshop 7.0, but that’s only because I won’t upgrade for the cost. If I were still working professionally today I would use Adobe Photoshop CS4.
  • Learning to use photo editing software was actually MUCH HARDER than learning the basics of photography itself! I felt like I was going back to college and I was self taught on Photoshop. The ilovephotography forums help a lot with the learning. It is a VERY long process and one you have to be committed to.
  • If I were beginning, I would use Adobe Photoshop Elements. It is a great and cost-effective way to begin learning PS. But even with Elements, you need to be dedicated to learning-it is in NO WAY easy!!!! I have heard Elements is much easier than PS, but I wouldn’t know as I began right away with PS7 since I got it as a gift way back when!

How about printing your photos, storing online, etc. What do you use and/or recommend?

  • I use Phanfare for all of my online photo storage needs. I absolutely love this software.
  • I use WHCC for all of my photo printing, for portrait type prints. For regular snapshots that I print, I use Winkflash, but I wouldn’t say they are necessarily any better than the competition in their category (Kodak, Shutterfly, etc.) It’s just what I have grown accustomed to.

i heart faces ~ Week 1

I found a cool new photography blog and thought I would join up! The new blog is called i heart faces and it’s basically a photo contest each week, you can go to their site to read more and possibly join up yourself! If you do link up, let me know in a comment below so I can be sure to check out your entry!!!!

This week’s theme is anything goes, so i thought I would go with one of K’s common faces.


(tech info: f 4.5/250, Canon 40D, Canon 28-105mm lens, ISO 500)

Tot School ~ finally a normal week!

~”Krash” is currently 32 months old~

We were finally back to normal around here last week and it was SO nice! We had a fun Tot-School filled week and even got back to K’s YMCA gym class, which he loves and has been going to for over a year now! We do that twice a week, it’s great! Here’s most of what Krash did during Tot School this week…

We got out the instruments and song notebook several days. He finally learned how to play the triangle holding the string, thanks to his brother teaching him!We worked on colors a bit with our sticks/bottle tool…Then moved onto our color mats, only working on a few colors at a time. He didn’t last long with this activity!He did about 6 letters of the ABC puzzle (got it from Ross)By far, his favorite activity of the week was anything involving these eggs and spoons! I got them at Target on clearance awhile back and we have played with them before but this week he couldn’t get enough of them! We used them in SO many different ways.The boys had fun working on colors using our new Twister Hopscotch game. The game itself is neat, I mostly just like the colored rings as tools to work on colors while being active!He really enjoyed the chalkboard side of his new Chalk/Dry Erase Board, especially the erasing part!We got back to work on our ABC notebook, completing the letter Aa. He loved that his cousin Aubrey (that he just saw) was on the sheet!Krash is a big Buzz fan so when I saw this in the dollar section at Target last week I grabbed it for him.He loved drawing in it….Then he had tons of fun taking the caps off of all of his Crayola Pip-Squeaks and lining them up, then he colored double fisted!

Another day we got out our ABC bean bag mat and our homemade alphabet beanbags. Pac-Man was intent on lining up the letters and Krash was messing up his efforts, as usual! He much preferred running over the top of P’s line up…

Or just carrying them around like a dog…We also had a great time with our The Laurie Berkner Band DVD, here they’re playing Catch You-a big favorite in our house!

  • Want to see more Tot School posts? Click HERE!
  • Visit our Tot School Webpage HERE
  • Visit our Tot School Tools store HERE
  • See our Tot School Squidoo Lens HERE
  • Tools for Tots HERE

If you have a tot (approximately ages 1-3) at home, join in the fun and share what you’re doing with your tot! Here’s how to get started if you’re new…

Go HERE 1st for more details, then if you have any ideas you’d like to share, link up your exact post to Mr Linky (if you have questions about how to do that, let me know in a comment or email). Provide a link back somewhere in your post to this post so your readers can see other ideas too!

Look what I got…

So, I went to the mall today and passed by KB Toys…saw the BIG going out of business signs, but walked on by. Then on the way out, I stopped in, and I am glad I did!!! I got tons of stuff (mainly to stockpile our gift-giving closet), but I hit the jackpot with a few cool Leapfrog items!!! I got Krash the Bingo game for $4.99 and the Card Game for $2.49! They also had the Memory Mate Game for $2.49, but we already had that one (and had paid $9.99 for it!). These are neat games for Tot School, so I wanted to share them in case any of you live near a KB going out of business!!

Although I was most impressed with the learning toys, K was most impressed that I found a cool set of Hotwheels mini monster trucks!!!!