Guest Post: Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway

Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

It’s been a couple of months since I did an official guest post here on the old blog and I decided it was time I get back into that.  I love being able to collaborate with other bloggers and business owners and then introduce them to you so you can love them too!

Today, I’ve got Maranda on the blog.  She owns a darling little Etsy shop called Bellissimo Bebe.  Maranda and I have known each other for a couple of years.  We live in the same neighborhood, go to the same church and are in the same book club so we see each other pretty regularly.  Maranda is super talented when it comes to all things crafty and home decor and you should see their house during Halloween through Christmas!  She totally puts the rest of the neighborhood to shame. *wink* I’ll let her take it from here!

(p.s. There’s a giveaway opportunity at the end so read about Maranda and then go enter!)

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Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

My name is Maranda Crop and I am the owner of Bellissimo Bebe.  I believe in yoga pants, hard work, lip gloss, and chocolate chip cookies.  I grew up in Provo, Utah and I am married to my best friend and we have two boys and a little girl.

I have always enjoyed crafting and making jewelry and once I had my baby girl in January I dusted off my tools and went to work.  🙂  I wanted her to have a special bracelet for her blessing and that grew into a bracelet for every outfit. 🙂  People kept asking where I bought them and the idea hit me that maybe I should start my own little business.
Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!

Right now my business focuses mainly on bracelets and necklaces for little girls and some matching Mommy and Me sets.  I wanted to create something that was different than what was already out on the market.  I wanted to offer more variety but still maintain that sweet, vintage feel.  I am a perfectionist and am known for starting all over if it doesn’t look exactly right. 🙂  I love making these and I am so proud of my products!

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See what I’m talking about?  Maranda is amazing.  Be sure to check out her Etsy shop for baby shower gifts, birthday gifts, Christmas gifts, blessing gifts or just because they are so darn cute gifts!
So I teased you a little at the beginning about a giveaway and here’s what it’s all about.  As part of Maranda’s guest post today, she has offered TWO of her darling bracelets from her Etsy shop to be given away to TWO lucky ladies!  (Or maybe the lucky ladies are the little girls who get to wear them!)  Just look at these sweet bracelets: the Pink Pearl and the Precious Lavender.
Bellissimo Bebe + A Giveaway!
To enter, simply follow the instructions below.  The giveaway will run from today, August 31st 2016 through Tuesday, September 6th 2016, ending at 12AM MST.  The winners will be announced on Wednesday, September 7th 2016 at 8AM on Facebook and the blog and each winner will be contacted by Maranda for mailing addresses.

a Rafflecopter giveawayhttps://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

Good luck!

Guest Post: Kendra Leigh Photography: How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

I’m so excited to introduce today’s guest poster: Kendra Hill, owner of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video!  Kendra and I live in the same neighborhood and go to the same church house so we see each other pretty regularly.  Kendra is actually the photographer who took our most recent family pictures and she also took my kids’ pictures about a year ago for Mother’s Day.  And see that picture of me on the sidebar?  Yeah, she took that one too.  So I am very familiar with her work and think she is great and totally recommend her to anyone looking for a photographer.  When I asked Kendra if she’d be willing to do a guest post for me, I was so happy she said yes because I know photographers are always super busy in the spring with weddings and family pictures.  I’m guessing that some of you might even be in the midst of planning one of these things out for yourself/your family.  Today, Kendra will be sharing some tips for choosing colors for family pictures (which I always find super tricky)!

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Ohhhhh the joys of pictures! Honestly, I love them! That’s why I am a photographer. Not only do I love taking pictures, but am also a complete ham in front of the camera. After being a photographer and taking hundreds of family pictures, even I still struggle with picking outfits for my own family.

Last month we had our own family pictures taken and I went through about 3 different outfit variations along the way. I knew I wanted them to be more simple and classic so I decided on pink with white/cream, and have the boys in blue jeans. I had a dress I planned to have my daughter wear and then I bought myself a dress. The colors of our dresses didn’t match at all! I was going for a rose pink and hers had a slight orange tint while mine was a little more purple. Not good. I played with the idea of adding in turquoise as well, but with 4 of us I felt it might get overpowering for the clean and classic look I wanted. Still, I came up with new outfits adding in the additional color. I didn’t like it. I eventually took the dress back and happened to find a perfect one when I stopped by Down East Basics on a whim (I’d already looked and didn’t find anything before)! I was back to my original color scheme of white, pink, and blue jeans. I love how they turned out! I do have certain tips I give to my clients, some of which I didn’t follow…. and reaped the consequences. I hope these help you avoid my faux pas, and take some stress off of your shoulders.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

1. Choose a Location: You want to be sure you will not blend into the background. Pick outfit colors that will stand out! If you want a location that has a lot of trees and green grass, you don’t want to wear green. If you are taking pictures with red brick, you don’t want to wear red. White barn? Don’t wear white. You are paying to have pictures done and to document your family, you want to be able to see everyone. If you have no clue about what location you want, speak with your photographer, or you can search on Shootipedia.

2. Pick a Color Scheme: The time of matchy-matchy outfits (jeans and white shirts anyone?) has gone the way of the dodo. When you are first picking your outfits, its best to pick 2-3 colors and a neutral. If you have a hard time picking colors that go together, I suggest looking at design-seeds.com and finding a pallet of colors you love and match your outfits to that.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

3. Wear Something that you Like:  If you are uncomfortable in your clothes it will show through the pictures. This goes for children too. If you force your child to wear something they hate, it is more likely they will be upset and hard to work with. Also, watch out for accessories that they may like to put in their mouths when you’re not looking, or will be a distraction. I put a bow-tie on my little man because he always pulls off his ties and puts them in his mouth. I knew that I would end up taking it off before pictures were done and I really wanted him to have a little pink to tie our color scheme together.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

4. Pick the Outfit for the Hardest to Dress First: When I started planning my family pictures, I made this mistake. My daughter had tons of cute dresses and I had a couple to pick from and thought it would be easy to find a dress for me. NO! After I scrapped everything twice, I found a dress for myself and suddenly everyone else’s outfits slid into place. Pick the person in your family that will be hardest to find an outfit for and start with them.

5. Add a Pattern: Too many patterns get busy, but having one person in a pattern with one or two of your selected colors looks great! Too many solid colors can become boring, especially if you have a lot of people in your pictures.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

6. You Don’t Have to go Shopping: Many people don’t realize that they already have the perfect outfits already. Before you go shopping at the store, go shopping in your closet! Take the color palette you have chosen and go into everyone’s closets and pull all of the clothing items that fit your vision. Put together as many outfits as you can (or all of them!) before you go to the store. When I spoke with the mother pictured below, she told me how much she hated shopping and I told her to go shopping in her closet before going to the store. They had a lot more than she thought, and they decided to go with shades of blue for their pictures.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!


7. Plan for the Weather: I live in Utah so you never know if it is going to be cold, rainy, sunny, bright, snowy, etc. In fact, you could get all of the above during your session! Crazy Utah weather. If it is below freezing, perhaps find some nice sport coats for boys and pea coats for girls. Just because there is snow, it doesn’t mean you can’t get pictures! Just be sure you know your kids personalities (and husband’s…) well enough that you know they will weather the cold and not be grumpy the whole time. If it is going to be rainy, take some umbrellas and use them as props as well as to keep you dry! Regardless, take the temperature into account and wear the appropriate amount of layers, sleeve length, thickness, etc to give you the most comfort during your shoot.

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

I hope these tips help you to create beautiful family pictures, and take some stress off of your shoulders!

How To Choose Colors for Family Pictures: 7 great tips from a professional to make sure you choose the best colors for your family!

About Kendra: I am a stay-at-home mother of 2 and a huge advocate of sweat pants. Though I adore my two children, I sometimes lock myself in my room with a large glass of chocolate milk and some loud rock music to keep my sanity. I am also the owner of Kendra Leigh Photography and Video which is a boutique photography studio specializing in providing an amazing experience for my clients rather than simply giving a disk or thumb drive.

Feel free to contact me via email with any questions or to set up an appointment at kendra@klphotographyandvideo.com.

Guest Post: Smart Credit University: How to Create a Monthly Budget

I’m so excited to introduce the guest poster for today’s blog post!  Kevin and I met almost 9 years ago, when we lived in the same apartment complex while I was going to college at BYU.  We didn’t interact too much until I started dating one of his best friends.  Even after that relationship ended, Kevin and I still stayed friends and have kept in touch over the years since graduating, getting married and starting our families.  Kevin is truly one of the most honest and genuine people I know.  You can count on him to follow through and he really cares about people.

When Kevin contacted me about doing a blog post for Sunshine and Munchkins, I was thrilled because I love having people share their knowledge on subjects they are passionate about.  Today, Kevin is sharing some tips for how to create a monthly budget.  Check it out below!

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How to Create A Monthly Budget--5 tips on how to create a budget that works for you

With all the demands of running a family, we sometimes push aside the task of creating a monthly budget – especially when we feel that not looking at our financial situation removes the fears of having the tough conversation of where we stand financially. Creating a budget can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you have never created one, or you are a bit rusty due to pushing it off for so long.

When my wife and I were first getting out of debt, I was terrible at including her in the process of creating our budget. I would sometimes lose my cool when I would see that she spent some money that I had allocated for something else. But how did she know? I didn’t even tell her where the money was supposed to go. Once we were out of debt and I had repaired my credit, my wife took over doing the budget. Unfortunately, the tables only turned as she prepared the budget and I would blow it.

It isn’t uncommon for every couple to experience the same thing we had. But in most situations, the budget just doesn’t get created in the first place. You may see that you haven’t created a budget and think “We’re doing fine” without one. But in the long run, if you don’t tell your money what to do, you won’t ever know where your money went. I know that creating a budget can sometimes be frustrating, especially if you working with a spouse or partner to create one. So to help you get started, here are a few things you can do to make the process simpler.

5 Basic Tips to Create Your Budget

Choose Your Budget Style Are you going to use paper or software?  Using a pen and paper can be just as effective as using an electronic budgeting solution.  Of course, a financial software makes the job easier and can reduce errors.

Don’t Wait Until the Month Has Started  Pick a time towards the end of the month to set up your budget.  If you have a spouse or partner, be sure to include them in the process.  If both parties aren’t on board, it is likely your budget will fail.  Try setting up a date night, have some treats and prepare the budget together.

Shine Some Light On Your Spending Habits  The best way to start making a budget is to determine what you and your family spend your money on.  Start with setting up your categories, regular necessities (rent, food, utilities, etc.), bills and loans (credit cards, mortgages, cars, student loans), long-term savings (savings, emergency funds, investments) and fun/recreation (date nights, holidays, vacations, fun money).  Take your income and subtract the expenses. Don’t worry if you get a negative number, this is why you are making a budget.

How to Create A Monthly Budget--5 tips on how to create a budget that works for you

Record Every Single Dollar and How It Will Be Used  When I first started setting up a budget, I wasn’t exactly sure how much money I was taking home after taxes.  If this is you, grab your pay stubs and write down next month’s income into your budget worksheet or software.  Be sure to include all income that comes into your pocket.  If you donate plasma, do side jobs, get a bonus or make extra commissions, include it all.  This will show you how much money you have to spend on bills, clothes, entertainment and how much money will be put into savings.

Having categories set up allows you to determine how much money you will be spending in each category.  Make sure that every dollar is spent in each of your categories.  If you have some extra money left when you have allocated money for each category, you shouldn’t think this is extra money to go and spend and not have to account for it.  If you want to blow it, then create a category for blowing it.  At least things way, you are accountable for where the money went.

Track Your Expenses to Know Where Your Money Went  Just because it is called a monthly budget doesn’t mean that you should only review it once a month.  Keep tabs on your spending so you know how you are doing.  If you had to spend $150 extra on car maintenance, call an emergency budget meeting and discuss where that $150 is going to come from.  Remember the coined phrase “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”?  That is exactly what needs to be done.

One of the most important things to do is be honest with yourself when it comes to your finances. Don’t pretend that everything is OK if it isn’t. A little secret to keep in mind; for the first couple of months you’re going to be off on your budget. It is OK. Don’t lose it and say I am done with this. The more often you sit down and work on your budget together as a family, the easier it will become and you will nail it going forward.

Kevin is the creator behind Smart Credit University, where he coaches individuals and families on how they can repair their financial past and take control of their financial future. Kevin is the husband to a beautiful wife, and father to two girls and is expecting his first son. You can read more about Kevin and what he is doing at his blog Smart Credit University.

Guest Post: The Hungry Mom: Crock Pot Breakfast Casserole

**UPDATE: 12/20/16**  The Hungry Mom blog is no longer an active site.  All links to the site have been removed as per the owner’s request.
 

Hello! My name is Lindsay and I’m the author of The Hungry Mom blog. I have known Shani since I had the good fortune of being in the same 5th Grade class as her almost 2 decades ago. We quickly became best friends. She moved away before the school year was over, but we kept in touch by being great pen pals (I still have all her letters. She was a great writer even then). Luckily she was still in the same state, so we still were able to get together from time to time. She would spend a few days at my house every now and then and I would have a sleepover at her house.  We would also go on vacations with each other’s families. Shani moved back home when we were in high school and we were able to share an English class together and bond over our shared dislike of our teacher ;).  Here we are almost 20 years after we first met and still friends. Both of us with two adorable kids close in age. Its been a friendship that has endured through the ages!

I started my blog, The Hungry Mom, because I have recently become a self-published author and it was recommended you have one. I decided to utilize this blog to share almost everything in my life! I have lots of yummy recipes, my personal mommyhood advice and lots of other topics on my blog including fitness, depression, and more. It has become a wonderful outlet for me and a great way to share my story with “the world”.
Now to the Hungry Mom Breakfast Casserole Recipe:

I received a fabulous new Crock Pot Casserole Slow Cooker for Christmas! It’s neat because it is in the shape of a casserole dish and it is oven safe! I can’t wait to try lasagna in here. I looked through what seemed like THOUSANDS of recipes and decided which ones sounded the tastiest to this hungry mom :). This recipe I came up with is a hybrid of a recipe I found in my 12 Days of Christmas Six Sister Stuff cookbook and another one I found for Casserole Crock Pot Recipes along with a few twists of my own. It turned out really tasty!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 cups of croutons 
  • 1/4 cup of melted butter
  • 8 oz. of cream cheese cubed
  • 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese (I used a mixture of sharp and a colby jack blend)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup of whole milk
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 of an onion diced
  • 1/4 cup of diced green onions (optional, I threw them in last minute, You could also do some sliced grape tomatoes)
  • 1 Tb. of Mustard
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon

Oven Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 325* F. Coat a 9 x 13 dish with nonstick cooking spray.

2.  Heat a skillet to medium high and coat with olive oil. Saute bell peppers and onions until golden.

3.  Spread the croutons evenly on the bottom of the prepared dish and drizzle the melted butter over them evenly. Place cubes of cream cheese throughout the croutons. Top with cheddar cheese.

4.  In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, green peppers, onions, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour egg mixture over cheese in baking dish and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Bake 40 minutes. Make sure eggs are set and cheese is all melted through.

Crockpot Directions:

1.  Spray Crockpot or Casserole crock Pot dish with nonstick spray.

2.  Evenly spread the croutons on the bottom, drizzling the melted butter over the top. Next spread cubes of cream cheese throughout and then top with shredded cheese.

3.  In a medium skillet saute peppers and diced onions (not the green onions) over medium high heat until golden.

4.  Whisk together eggs, milk, green pepper and onions, green onions, mustard, salt, and pepper until combined. Pour egg mixture over the cheese and sprinkle with crumbled bacon.

5.  Cook on high for about 2 and 1/2 hours until eggs are set and cheese is melted.The cream cheese may not be melted, but will be soft and warm and delicious :).

I brought this dish to my niece’s homecoming brunch. I was able to cook it at home before we left and then I stopped at my sister’s house to plug it in before going to church to hear her talk. It was nice to plug it in and set it to warm! When all the guests went to my sister’s house after, it was ready to eat and it was eaten extremely quickly! I think that makes it a winner!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you’ll stop by my blog sometime: thehungrymom.com. You can also follow me on Instagram by searching for thehungrym0m (that’s a zero for the o) or by liking and following my facebook page https://www.facebook.com/hungrymom/

If you missed hearing from Shani today, she posted on my blog today with some amazing ways for your kids to play with paint!