Saturday, April 5, 2014

Photography Course with Click Love Grow {Sponsored}

I bought my first DSLR about 5 years ago.  My main objective was to have a good camera to document the Reason's lives.  I read the instruction manual that came with my camera and off I went.

5 years later, I am 100% self-taught.  I don't use auto, but I don't 100% use Manual.  I mainly get stuck on TV - which is 1/2 manual.

Now, I am going to be really honest with you.  I still don't fully understand all the camera lingo.  I mean, I get the gist -  aperture, depth of field, shutter etc, but if you asked me to explain it to you - I wouldn't have a clue!

One of my 2014 bucket list items was to do a Photography course.  I searched for a while, but never found one that I thought would be a  great starting point.  I wanted to master my camera step-by-step.

Then I met Louise from Click Love Grow and knew straight away that her online photography course was the perfect fit.

In Click Grow Love's  8 week Online Course you will master your camera settings and build and improve the skills you already have.

The course is delivered by email - which takes you to your virtual classroom where you will find all your resources in formats such as Video & Audio lessons, Workbooks & Notes as well as one-on-one feedback of your weekly assignments.  The best bit  - you will join your classmates in a friendly online community to share your ideas and support one another throughout your learning.

By the end of the course, you will have learned all about:
  • Composition
  • Light
  • Aperture
  • Shutter Speed
  • Portraits
  • Travel, Landscapes & Moments
  • Workflow and Simple Editing

I am really excited to start the course and would love my readers to join in.
The next course starts THIS WEEK!  So head over now to sign up.  

Enrolments close 7th April!

And remember - Mother's Day is just around the corner - Hint-Hint!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

For the Love of Photography.

I am not a photographer.  And I actually cringe when people imply that I am.  Would I secretly like to be one ? absolutely.  Do I have the confidence to be one? no way!

I constantly hear photographers talk about how they always knew that they wanted to get into photography.  That they fell in love with a camera in their childhood/teenage years.

I fell in love with photography later in life.

I wasn't one of these "I grew up with a camera in my hand" kind of a girl.   I grew up in a working class family, so a camera wasn't something we had lying around the house.  I remember buying my first camera when I was 17.  A cheap point and shoot film camera, which I barely used, as film and developing was so expensive.

Then, when Reasons #1 was born, we took the plunge and bought our first Digital Camera.  They were  very expensive and very low quality - but really a step up from the original we possessed.

I didn't really discover a love for photography until 5 years ago, when I purchased my first DSLR.  And it wasn't love at first sight.  It grew on me.

However the past 12 months, I felt like I lost it.  Lost the love.  Lost my confidence.  And also got addicted to my iPhone which was really putting a lot of strain on my relationship with my DSLR.

I have spent the week going through my photos.  Remembering the love I have for taking them.

And I really do love taking them.

Have you stopped yourself from reaching your full potential with something you love?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Putting Down the iPhone {Photography}

I am the first person to say that I am totally in love and addicted to my iPhone.  When I first bought one, some 4 years ago, I was instantly hooked.   It has everything I need - my diary, emails, apps and a video & still camera.  It's easy to carry everywhere I go without having to lug a heavy bag around.

My point&shoot instantly became obsolete and my SLR was put into second place.   80% of my photos these days are taken on my iPhone.  With apps like Instagram, photography has certainly been reinvented. With the press of a couple of buttons, I can uploaded them quickly and easily to Facebook and Instagram for family and friends to view.

My iPhone has made me a lazy photographer.

This would be ok, if I didn't have an interest in photography.

But I do.  So I need to get my camera out again.

I have decided that for the next month, I am going to use my DLSR 100% of the time.  I am putting down my iPhone.

To start me off… Here is a few I quickly took tonight.

Do you need to put your iPhone down?

Monday, March 3, 2014

Letting Go of Guilt

As you can see, it's been pretty quiet on the blog.  It has been so busy here with back to school and extra curricular activities - and to be honest, I have been struggling to stay afloat.

Everything is times by FOUR now as this year, the 4th Reason started prep (I think it is Kindy in the southern states).

4x uniform washing/ironing.
4x homework
4x extra circular activities.

For this year only, the 4 Reasons are at the one school.  My last year as a primary only mama.  Next year Hayden starts high school.  And I am having panic attacks already.

Camille is still at home with me full time.  And to be honest, she is a little lost without her sidekick Oliver.  They really are twins born 22 months apart.  However, she is a great little sidekick!  I am really enjoying being a stay-at-home mama to one.  The last time I had only 1 at home, was when Hayden was a baby, and it only lasted 17 months.  9 of those, I was pregnant (and tired) with Lucy.

I have started thinking about what I want to do for ME this year.  2014 is my year to be selfish.

Guilt Free.

My biggest problem is that when an opportunity comes up, my first thought it "how can I incorporate the Five and Brett into this?"

I am always trying to organise playdates, and family dinner dates, and movie dates with us all involved.  And I have realised that I don't need to.  Not every single time.

It's ok for me to see a movie without Brett.  It's ok for me to visit the museum with just Camille, or heaven forbid, by myself!

A few weeks ago, a girlfriend ask if I wanted to see Pete Murray.  My first thought, as usual, was "Oh, Brett loves Pete Murray, I couldn't go without him" followed by "Well then I can't go, because we can't afford 2 tickets and a babysitter".  I stopped and thought about this for a moment.   Why did it have to go from a $40 ticket to a $200 night?  Brett honestly wouldn't care if I went without him.  Why did I have to miss out on a night out with my girlfriend just because I thought Brett would like to go.

So without even talking to him about it, I replied with "Count me in!"  And you know what?  Brett didn't mind.  One single bit.  And I went and had a great time.  A really good time!

I have said that I need to take time for myself so many times in the past,  but is has never really eventuated.  I never followed through.

I love Brett and the kids more than anything in the world.  Deeply.  However, I need to realise that it is OK to not spend every spare moment engaging with them.  It's ok to take some time to do things without them.

I have to let go of the guilt.  It is ok not to spend every. single. waking hour with my husband and/or my children.  It is ok to enjoy doing something on my own, even if I know Brett or one of the Reasons would totally enjoy it too.

So this year, I plan to do more things with myself.  Visit the Museum by myself.  See a movie, by myself.  Maybe even take a trip.  By.  Myself.

And letting go of the guilt.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Searching for a Better Nights Sleep with Beds Online

Brought to you by

Brett and I have needed a new mattress for a little while now.    Ours is starting to sink in places, has marks all over it (from little people sharing our bed and then wetting it), and the plush top has lost his, well plush.

Now, I hate shopping.   With 5 kids, it's hard to pile them into the car and go down to the shops so Brett and I can find a mattress.  

We know what we like, so shopping online is the way to go.

Beds Online have a fantastic range of Beds & Mattresses, Bedroom Furniture, an awesome Kids & Babies range as well as a great range of Pillows & Bedding all backed by the warranties and guarantees and expert service. 

Beds Online pride themselves on their quality products and exceptional level of customer service. They offer friendly, professional and knowledgeable service. Expert advice is available to ensure that the bed you purchase is exactly the right bed for you. 

Using the user friendly search options, we were able to narrow down our results very quickly and easily.  

Brett and I love a plush pocket spring mattress.  We selected our top 3, and Beds Online brought up a easy to read comparison chart.

The 7-day Support line means you can still talk to a sales person - just like in the shops.

Most deliveries take place within ten days depending on stock availability and the customer's location. They will fit into your lifestyle and will endeavour to deliver at a time convenient to you such as evening, Saturday and Sunday delivery.

Did I tell you they also have bedding?  I am totally in love with this Quilt Set!  And it's only $59!!!

And I found our bed - at a fraction of the price!  

Do you need a better nights sleep?  Maybe it's time you upgraded your mattress.  

For a limited time - BedsOnline is offering Five Little Reasons readers 10% off store wide!  Just use the code 10OFF at checkout!  Code is valid until 31 Dec 2014

Now, excuse me while I go and choose a RUG for every room in the house!!  
All opinions are 100% ours. For further information please read our Disclosure Policy.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

{How To} Jewellery Station - Quick, Easy & Cheap

One thing that every woman admires when they come into my home is my Jewellery Station.  I made this a while ago after finding an old Silky Oak window frame on ebay.  For $10.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it.  And I love it.

As my collection of necklaces and bracelets grows, I need to add some more funky handles to the sides.

I wandered through Target recently and came across the trolly full of markdowns.

You know the one.  Full of items that have missing parts, damaged packaging or even broken bits.  I found two gorgeous white frames and I knew I had to have them.

Sure, one had cracked glass and the other a missing backboard.  But for $8 each, I didn't care.  I knew it didn't matter for my project.

After a quick trip to Spotlight for some cheap fabric and some trim, I headed home.

As the Five Little Reasons ride their bikes, I sit on the driveway and start my quick little project.

Staple Chicken Wire to inside of frame.

Staple your favourite fabric to the back of the frame.
Hot Glue some trim to hide the staples.

Add some hanging wire.

This one was a gift for a friend, so I put the wire both ways as I was unsure of how she wanted to hang it.

Here is the one I made for the girls room.  They have all their hair clips, and bits and pieces on there.  I also added some little hooks on the bottom to hang their headbands and necklaces.

It really is an easy, cheap and oh, so gorgeous project.

How do you store your Jewellery & hair clips?

**Please make sure that you keep safety in mind and hang it high enough for the little ones not to reach.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Back to School - Getting Organised with a Morning LaunchPad

As the holidays come to a close, my mood starts to shift.  I go into super organiser mode.  Collecting last minute school supplies, buying shoes, socks and uniforms and organising the house back to "school zone".

I pull out the personalised school things that Santa thoughtfully brought for the kids.  He is always very organised when it comes to school. The lunchbags and drink bottles are ready to go as well.

I was going to do up a Back to School checklist, but there are so many awesome ones on the web.  Check out The Organised Housewife for a great printable.  However, I thought I would share some of the things that I do to get ready for school.

  • Write the term dates on your family calendar.  Also include any school dates you already know.  
  • Organise the kids to get their haircuts before school.  I highly recommend taking your children for a checkup at the optometrist - especially preppies!  
  • Organise a separate school uniforms washing basket.  Makes life so much easier.
  • Buy plain white socks in bulk.  I am so lucky that my kids are all in the same size range for socks (9-13), so I bought 20 plain white socks and have put them in a school sock box near there launch pad {see next point}.  This saves on searching for pairs or sizes.  Just grab 2 socks and go!
  • Set up a school launch pad.  A place that holds their school bag, shoes, hat and a checklist for the morning. {see below for more information and a FREE printable!}
  • Label everything as you go.  My Dymo lable machine set me back about $30 and it has been well used for the past 9 years.  You can get iron-on labels, white, clear and coloured labels.  
  • The last week of the holidays start winding back the clock.  Get the kids back into bedtime routines and morning routines.  Putting bedtime 15 mins earlier every night is an easy way to retrain their body clocks.  Wake them up at the same time every morning (ours is 6am).
  • Designate a spot for school notes and papers.  Most schools are paper free these days, but the kids know where to put the notes that do come home.  My spot is on my desk.  They know to put it on top of my keyboard so that it gets read straight away.  

The First Week of School:

  • Head to the office and update all your details.  If you have any concerns about your child, ask to make an appointment with the Guidance Officer to discuss.
  • Find out about school banking and get the application forms back to the school ASAP.  Most school bank accounts are free and have great rewards for the kids.
  • Find out about any sporting, music or other programs that the school offers and get the enrolment forms.
  • In the 2nd week of school request a detailed class schedule from your child's teacher.  It helps the morning routine when the kids know that they have Library today or a music lesson.  Write them up on their Daily Mission Schedule {see below for FREE printable}

We make getting ready in the mornings fun and easy.  The kids have a countdown list - a "Pre Launch Checklist".  After the normal morning routine is complete and there is 15 minutes until "Take Off", we tell the Reasons to start their countdown.  They go to the list and get ready for "Blast Off".

Our Launch Pad.  
Hats, bags, school shoes.  A clock so we are never late, our Pre-Launch Checklist and their Daily Mission Schedule for each child. 
{some school bags and hats are missing as our uniform shop re-opens next week.  I have already ordered them}

Our school sock box - and a place to sit to put your shoes on.

They can refer to the Daily Mission Schedule - which includes specific things for particular days.  ie:  Tuesday Lucy has Piano, so she has to remember to take her Piano books.  Thursday Hayden has Chess Club, so he has to remember to take his Chess Set.  Friday is Violin day - so it goes on the list.  And I put whatever day their class goes to the Library, so they remember to take their Library bag.  It is a good idea to get them to check the list for the next morning before bed.  Put those items in their bag ready - which saves on spending time in the morning looking for a library book.  I laminate this blank so I can change it as the schedule changes throughout the year.

The Daily Mission Schedules are blank, ready to put things on once I get their class routine sheet from their teacher.

I hope this helps with some of your Back to School organising.  It makes the morning routine so much easier.  

And, just for you... here are your FREE printables of the Pre-Launch checklist and the Daily Mission Schedule.  

Click on the picture to make it large, and then right click to save to your computer.  Print and laminate them and sit down with your Reasons to explain how they work.

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

GoodBye 2013

As I reflect on the year that was supposed to be, I am saddened by the year that it had become.  One of the hardest, most challenging, most heart breaking and soul searching one in my short life to date.

It was supposed to be "our year".  It was far from it.

Twenty-Thirteen was the most challenging in our Bi-Polar adventure.  So many lows, including 2 hospital visits and Brett actually going missing on me for 2 days.

I felt my clutch slowly slipping on more than one occasion and was ready to throw in the towel.

We had financial dramas (who doesn't), car problems (which are still not sorted - seems my car is not far off needing a $8000 transplant!), health problems (who knows what is going on with my shoulder!),  devastating friendship ends, far too few adventures and a major issue with time.  Seriously, where the heck did the year go?  Not that I am complaining really.  I am happy to see the back of 2013!

So as the year drew to a close, we decided to try and salvage the last moments to say goodbye.  Cleanse our souls and welcome a fresh new start.

We had planned a quiet, watch the fireworks on TV, eat pizza kind of night, but when I woke on NYE my inner voice was telling me to make an effort.

So we packed up the Reasons and headed to the big city.

You know your kids are growing up when they ditch the cheesy grin for a more smouldering look.
Every. Single. Photo.  
We arrived at Southbank and decided that the $30 in parking right under the parklands was going to be worth it.  A short walk from our "campsite" to the car in the dark, with pram, esky, 7 camp chairs and other bits and pieces - oh and 5 children.  We knew it was a good choice.

We found a good spot and decided to set up camp sooner rather than later as the crowd was already starting to assume their positions. 

After quickly making friends with a couple of young couples beside us, and kindly asking them to watch our spot (which later we reciprocated), we headed off to explore.

But not before branding the Five with my phone number and giving them instructions as to what to do if they loose sight of us at any point.  

We walked the streets of Southbank and I reminisced of the times I came here as a child.  Unaffectionately recalling the reason I can not swim in public pools.  Ear Infections.  Every. Single. Time.  

We ended up at the Museum.  A place close to our hearts.  It never gets old and the memories the Five already have of our visits astound me.

I took the time to marvel at the pace at which my children are growing.  Hayden is already 4 foot 11 inches.  Seriously.  

Oh a side note:  According to an online calculator - using his current weight and height, and the height of both parents - he is predicted to be 6foot at full height.  Eek!

I took the time to watch the relationships my children have with one another and with us.  This one specifically mades my heart sing.

After some time at the Museum we slowly made our way back to our "camp".  The crowd had grown thicker and the hive of activity around us was buzzing.  

We spent the next 3 hours just being.  Watching.   Boat watching, people watching, cloud watching, bird watching, and gradually light watching.  

Brett ferried the Reasons back and forth from the playground just 20 meters behind us.  The kids made many friends.  I marvel at how easily they make friends.  It's something that I will always be in awe about.

I wish I had a book.  But it was peaceful just sitting, watching the world go by.  A happy goodbye to 2013.

Our awesome spot - right in front of the fireworks barge.  

As the sun started setting we assumed our positions.  The worry of loosing a little Reason in the fast growing crowd was making me nervous.  So we sat.  Told stories.  Shared lollies and played with our glow toys.  

Finally it was time.  Time to bid farewell.  

As the crowd had their eyes on the fireworks, I couldn't take my eyes off my family. 

Through the eyes of a child, they are the most magnificent, enchanting and spine-tingling display of magic.  

As the fireworks finished, I hugged each of my children and whispered "Happy New Year Bug" into their ear.  

We took a moment to let the crowd dissipate before packing up and heading home - surprisingly skipping traffic.  

Even though the process of starting a new year has no tangible effect, the process in my mind creates a sense of relief.  I reflect on the past year and realise that it wasn't what we had hoped for, but it is what it is.  And I can only hope that 2014 will be so much more.  

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