Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Grace's Birthday pictures

Count Brenda and I into the category of fans of Portrait Innovations! Leading up to Grace's first birthday we took her to have her picture taken at Sears every 3 months so that we could watch her grow. Each time it was a difficult experience. Nobody at Sears seemed to be able to get Grace to interact at all. It usually came down to Brenda and I deciding on 1 decent picture out of the set to use. For Grace's 2 year old picture, we decided to try someplace different. We went to Portrait Innovations. Talk about a great experience. Just like in the previous times, Grace was fussy and not at all interested in having her picture taken. The difference was that this time, the photographer took her time to draw Grace in and make her feel more comfortable. We took some family shots and used lots of different props to keep Grace engaged. It also helped that they took a ton of pictures!
Not only did they take lots of pictures, we used 2 different studio rooms and several different backdrops along with 2 different outfits. We also consider ourselves very blessed, because Missy (my very girlie twin sister) has 2 very typical boys. Missy finds great joy in finding and assembling fun and "girlie" outfits for Grace. This outfit was a "must" for her birthday shoot.
So, 100 pictures later (seriously, 100!), we sat down at the big screen plasma TV to pick out poses and settings for our package. At Sears, we usually picked THE one that was good and ordered lots of sheets of 5x7 portraits to send to family. This time, we had WAY too many to pick from. By the time we were done narrowing down the pictures, we had everyone covered and we didn't have to order any extra sheets. As a matter of fact we had more than we really needed. We had twice as many 5x7s as we usually ordered, tons of wallets, more 8x10s than we needed and a few 10x13s that we definitely didn't need. Usually, when we ordered our prints from Sears, they would throw in some different pictures that weren't ordered using their special effects or larger prints that they would offer to sell us at a discount. With Portrait Innovation, we ended up with more pictures included than we could have ever expected. It also cost us the same as what we had been spending at Sears as part of their "special member" program. Needless to say, we won't be going back to Sears Portrait Studio. Oh, and with our package deal, they put our pictures on a CD... and not just the ones we selected for print, but ALL of the 100 photos they took.
One last detail to the Portrait Innovation mini-commercial here, the pictures were ready for us before we left the studio. 20 minutes after we picked the poses, Brenda and I were thumbing through the prints. And we had lots of great Gracie smiles staring back at us. I have loaded a few on the public photo album for you to see. Above is the family picture that is now hanging in our Family Room. I even put a link to Portrait Innovation on our list of favorite links on the right hand tool bar.
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Monday, August 18, 2008

Our little sous chef

Grace LOVES to play in the kitchen. If she isn't busy in her play kitchen at our house, or her play kitchen or Gram's, or standing on her stool with me in my kitchen, then its a safe bet she is standing on her stool at Gram's house helping Gram. And looking the part is extremely important, so she has aprons and chef hats at both houses. This one, at Gram's is a little on the big size, but to be fair, it is meant for all the grandkids to be able to wear. It probably fits Colton or Carson far better than Grace!
When you work in a kitchen, "mis en place" is very, very important. This is the process of assembling the ingedients before you start cooking so that you don't miss anything. Translated it means "In its place". At home, I rarely take it to the extent that Gram does. Look behind Grace and you can see all her pinch bowls lined up with eggs and vanilla, and measuring cups with sugar and oatmeal. To me, that's just more clean up, but it does help Grace see what is coming next.
At our house, Grace does not care for the stand mixer. Its too noisy for her, it kind of scares her. This picture makes me laugh, because she is standing right up there and looking into the mixer to watch everything come together. In Round Rock, we have a Young Chefs Academy, which I am really looking forward to taking Grace to one day. They have classes and events for kiddos starting at age 3. We still have a year to go, but I think Grace will really enjoy that. On Sunday, we were in Target, taking advantage of the fact that we can still shop for Grace's birthday with her sitting right in the cart. That won't work at Christmas time, but for now, she doesn't even know the difference. Anyway, we stopped and looked at a row of toys that included the Easy Bake Oven. Its recommended for children 8 and above. At this rate, I think she will be well beyond the Easy Bake Oven stage by the time she turns 8! Check out the gallery from the link on the right to see more pictures from today.
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