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Cooking with Kids

If you are like me, you know it’s a great idea to include the kids when cooking in the kitchen, but sometimes it’s not as easy in practice. I love the dream-like visions in my head that we are all laughing and having fun, but sometimes it can be stressful! I’ve done it enough that I thought I’d offer up a few tips. World Market asked me to check out their Easter and Spring items, and I was compensated with gift cards to shop for items, but all opinions are my own;)

Cooking with Kids

Tip #1 Let the kids be a part of picking out the treat or meal… Continue Reading

After School Snacks

I don’t know about all of you, but it seems the second my kids walk in the door after school, I’ll hear, “I’m starving!” Even though they often have snacks in the last hour of school. After school snacks are a time to sit down with the kids (while they are filling that void of starving-ness), and hear about their day. Sometimes the snack is fruit, sometimes it’s popcorn or pretzels, every once in a while I’ll bake something, but I’ve found a fun way to mix it up, is to offer small bowls of cereal without milk. A favorite around our home is Kellogg’s Frosted Mini Wheat cereal, mixing in the standard flavor along with the strawberry and blueberry flavors. After School Snack Ideas Kellogg's Frosted Mini Wheats   It’s a hearty snack, that paired with an orange, will hold off the crazy until dinner time! I don’t sit down with them every day, but … Continue Reading

Mother and Daughter Outing: Hotel Sleepover with Friends

I had a fun outing with my daughter last weekend, and I wanted to share about it, in case anyone out there might enjoy a similar experience. My 8 year old daughter and I met some friends for dinner and a hotel sleepover, it was so fun!  The collage below is a mini photo shoot with just me and my girl (taken by my friend Heather).Mother and Daughter Outing ideas: chocolate mask and hotel with friends www.KristenDuke.com

We went with my friends  Heather and Tricia, whom I met several years ago in different random ways. They are both local photographers, I met Heather when we were both shooting at the same location with different clients (and I rarely shoot at that location) and I met Tricia in Houston when her family was being photographed by a photographer from Utah that we both admired–I was her assistant for the day–and realized we both lived in Austin. That was about 3.5 years ago, I introduced them to each other, and it just clicked with us right away. Two years ago, we attended a photography retreat, and have photographed each others families several times (I love swapping this service). I even photographed the birth of Heather’s 3rd baby!  You must see Tricia’s family photo shoot with the feather pillow fight on a bed in a field and our 2011 card.

We each have girls in a similar age range, and for a while now we’ve talked about having a mother/daughter outing with them. We met for dinner at the Macaronni Grill, and the girls had a grand ‘ole time drawing all over the paper tablecloth and being silly together.

Mother and Daughter Outing ideas: chocolate mask and hotel with friends www.KristenDuke.com

We then headed to our hotel to enjoy the activities we had planned. I saw online that my friend Cheryl at TidyMom shared a 2 ingredient chocolate facial recipe recently, and I thought that would be SO fun to do with the girls!  I didn’t have the coconut oil on hand, so did another search and found this chocolate oatmeal face mask recipe from Gourmande in the Kitchen. I liked that the oatmeal was used as an exfoliant! It also had honey, sour cream, cocoa powder, and oatmeal–all ingredients that I had at home! Let me say it is an understatement that the girls thought this mask was pretty fabulous. Then they got nervous at the idea at first…then said it was cold…….but it was so fun and we all laughed so hard!… Continue Reading

Taking Pictures at the Library

Jennifer Polson PhotographyWe love to visit our local public library. The Round Rock Public Library has an amazing children’s collection and the librarians are super creative and absolutely fantastic with kids. They regularly organize story times and exciting programs.

It is important to remember to photograph your kids as they move through their daily experiences and weekly routines. Everyday events like playing at home or running errands can become the backdrop for great photos. I love looking at pictures of my kids just being kids in familiar settings. These photos help me remember the joy and challenges that happen in our family.

My 4-year old twin boys attended preschool 2 days a week during the school year. Luckily, baby story time was scheduled on one of their school days. So after dropping them off and kissing them good-bye my daughter and I headed to the library. My daughter loves baby story time!

Jennifer Polson Photography

Jennifer Polson PhotographyIt is important to document routine events. The camera in your smart phone is a good choice for quick on the go photos because it can be hard to carry a “big” camera around all the time. Occasionally I take my “big” camera to events that are a regular part of our schedule so I can capture the experience with better quality photos.

Document everything. From the time you go through the door. What do your kids do first? We return our books. Then we visit the library’s pet snake. A Ball Python named Miss Rocksssanne.

Jennifer Polson Photography

Lighting can be very tricky indoors and a library can be especially challenging. Try turning off your auto flash. … Continue Reading