What to Wear for Family Portraits {A Fool Proof Guide}

What to Wear for your Family Portraits - a fool proof guide to styling your family from a former photographer

What to Wear for your Family Portraits - a fool proof guide to styling your family from a former photographerIt’s that time of year again, folks!  As soon as the fall weather rolls in, photographer’s calendars fill quickly with family portraits.  Now, there are plenty of legitimate reasons to put off scheduling a session with your local photog – finding an empty spot on the calendar, getting your kids to cooperate in a way that makes you all look genuinely happy for one millisecond in time, making sure your husband has had a recent haircut… I get it.  However, not knowing what to wear should NOT be one of those reasons! 

I’m gonna let you in on a little secret.  When I was a portrait photographer, this was how I coached all my clients into looking amazingly put together and coordinated, without all wearing white shirts and khakis.

What to Wear for your Family Portraits - a fool proof guide to styling your family from a former photographerThe secret to getting started

It’s easier than you think, I promise.  First, I recommend shopping for your entire family in one store.  Old Navy is perfect for this because they carry items for each department within the same color schemes each season. Not to mention that this entire set of outfits was less than $200!  For a family of five, that’s pretty amazing.

Next – this is the most important step – pick out a plaid shirt.  (Don’t worry –  if plaid isn’t your thing, it doesn’t have to end up in your photos… Just trust me.) Plaid shirts are a ready made color palette.  You’ll use this shirt as a basis to start building the other outfits.  Once you’ve got a solid look going, you can ditch the plaid and replace it with something else if you’d like.

putting it all together

What to Wear for your Family Portraits - a fool proof guide to styling your family from a former photographerEach outfit only needs to coordinate with one color in the plaid.  Feel free to mix it up with prints and solids and layers.  The color palette will keep everything pulled together.  It’s not important that every person in the photo be wearing every color in the palette, you can see here that this dusty pink dress fits in perfectly.  And even without the plaid shirt that I started with, these outfits look great together. 

By shopping in the same store, you’ll save yourself a lot of agony wondering “is that the right shade of green?” or “do these two really go together?”  When in doubt, just pair the item in question with the plaid shirt and ask yourself if they match.  If so, you’re good to go! 

What to Wear for your Family Portraits - a fool proof guide to styling your family from a former photographer

See?  That wasn’t so bad, was it?  So go out there and rock your family portraits this fall! Here’s a quick list of do’s and don’ts to remember…

do shop for everyone in the same store.

Do start by choosing a plaid shirt.

do match each item to one of the colors in the plaid.

don’t be afraid of mixing prints and patterns with solids.

Don’t feel stuck to a color palette that you’re not loving.  Just start over and try again!

don’t rub it in when your portraits turn out way better than all your friends.  Just share this post so they can look awesome next year too.

 

Hey there, friend!   If you liked this post, I bet your friends would too – be sure to click one of the buttons below to share it with them. Thanks a million!

 

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The ULTIMATE List of Pinterest Boredom Busters

50+ Boredom Busters plus the simple shopping list to make sure you have everything you need to do them all! 

Pinterest is FULL of brilliant boredom busters that are super simple to make, but I don’t know how many times I’ve decided to try one and then realized I was missing a key ingredient.  So I created this list of more than 50 amazing boredom busters that can be made with these 8 household items. 

  • Borax
  • White or Clear School Glue
  • Baking Soda
  • White Vinegar
  • Corn Starch
  • Shaving Cream
  • Dish Soap
  • Food Coloring

As long as you keep these items in stock – you’ll always have a project ready to combat boredom at almost any age!

50+ Boredom Busters plus the simple shopping list to make sure you have everything you need to do them all!

Dish Soap Silly Putty with corn starch and dish soap

DIY Window Clings with glue, dish soap, and food coloring

Homemade Finger Paint with cornstarch, food coloring, dish soap (and sugar)

Magic Milk Painting with food coloring, dish soap (and milk)

Marbled Paper with food coloring, dish soap (and milk)

Launching Cork Rockets with baking soda and vinegar

Bubble Snakes with dish soap and water

More Advanced Rockets with baking soda and vinegar

Lego Volcanoes with baking soda, vinegar, and dish soap

Make Foam Paint with shaving cream, glue, and food coloring

Shaving Cream Painting & Marbling with shaving cream & food coloring

Make it rain with shaving cream clouds and food coloring

Make Fizzing Cloud Foam with baking soda, shaving cream, and vinegar

Try some glue resist art with glue and food coloring (or watercolors)

Make stained glass with glue and food coloring

Try painting with glue and salt for fun effects

Here’s another fun way to paint with glue and salt

DIY Puffy Paint with glue, shaving cream, and food coloring

Tons of fun ideas for your DIY puffy paint

Make glue people!

50+ Boredom Busters plus the simple shopping list to make sure you have everything you need to do them all!

DIY Gak with borax, food coloring, and glue

Make Gak Bubbles!

Painting on wet glue with food coloring

Melting, fizzing dough with corn starch, baking soda, food coloring and vinegar

Make fizzy mud with baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar

Erupting Paint with baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar

Make a baking soda/vinegar powered boat

Make a tornado in a jar with dish soap and vinegar

Give your toy cars an exploding car wash!

Hatching Dinosaur eggs with baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring

Rainbow Oobleck with corn starch and food coloring

Make your Oobleck dance!

Fizzy Rainbow Slush with corn starch, baking soda, food coloring, and vinegar

How to get the BEST baking soda and vinegar reactions with dish soap

Shaving Cream Writing Practice is a blast for littles learning letters

Make Bath Paints with shaving cream and food coloring

Break Open Fizzing Treasure Chests with baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring

DIY Sidewalk Chalk Paint with cornstarch and food coloring

Make your own Bouncy Balls with borax, glue, corn starch, and food coloring

Beautiful pressed flower ornaments with baking soda, corn starch, and glue

50+ Boredom Busters plus the simple shopping list to make sure you have everything you need to do them all!

Cloud Dough with corn starch and shaving cream

DIY Edible Finger Paints with cornstarch, food coloring (and sugar)

Exploding Sidewalk Chalk Bags with cornstarch, food coloring, baking soda, and vinegar

Dreamy Fairy Dough with corn starch, food coloring (and hair conditioner)

Soapy Sea Foam with dish soap, corn starch, and food coloring

Cornstarch Ornaments with corn starch and baking soda

Modeling Clay with baking soda and corn starch

Frozen Popsicle Chalk with cornstarch and food coloring

Sludge made with corn starch, dish soap, and food coloring

Make pretend melting ice cream with cornstarch

Make clay with glue and cornstarch

 

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How To Make 20 Busy Bags For Only $5

Moms of toddlers, I feel your pain.  Sometimes you just need your kid to be occupied for 5 minutes so you can brush your teeth/make a phone call/toast a pop-tart/whatever.  My twins were 2 1/2 when my 3rd was born, so we took on the toddler game full force.  Busy bags were always a great way to perk up a kid who was sick of their toys or bored in the checkout line at Target. 

And I have the master plan that you need!  I was able to purchase ALL of these items at Dollar Tree, our local (giant) dollar store, where everything truly is only a dollar.

go buy this stuff!

-colored popsicle sticks

-pom poms

-pipecleaners

-clothes pins

-hook and loop fasteners (aka Velcro)

That’s it.  Five items, $5.  And here are all the links you need to make it happen…

Matching Colored Popsicle Sticks to Clothespins Game

How To Make a Popsicle Stick Puzzle

More Cute Popsicle Puzzles

Alphabet Pom Pom Printables

More Alphabet Pom Pom Printables

Numbers Pom Pom Printables

Counting Pom Pom Printables

Pom Pom Push Bin

Pom Pom Picture Printables

Pom Pom Color Drop

Counting Caterpillar Printable

Making Shapes Activity

Velcro Popsicle Sticks

Clothes Pin Pom Pom Drop

Clothes Pin Counting Printable

More Clothes Pin Counting

Pom Pom Counting Sticks

Velcro Shape Matching Game

Velcro Mr. Potato Head

Pom Pom Tic Tac Toe

And don’t forget to get my very own popsicle puzzles!!! Pinned over 50,000 times!Free Printable Popsicle Puzzles - pineed over 50,000 times!!!

Phew!  You made it!  That was a lot of links… I hope this helps you keep your toddler busy and gives you a few more minutes to come back and check out the rest of my blog. 😉  Now go get busy!

Disclaimer: you may not have enough of one particular item to make ALL the activities including that item at one time, but you can either rotate those activities or if they’re a really huge hit, just go spend another dollar and double your stash.

Before you go, if you liked this post – you’d love my monthly newsletter!  It’s crammed full of tips and freebies.  And just for signing up, you’ll get my 6 free ebooks for early readers which you can load on your iphone for those times when a busy bag is out of reach. 😉

Please provide your name and email address for your free download.

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How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods

Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, red cabbage, bell peppers, edamame… these are just a few of the things that my kids not only like, but LOVE these days.  And trust me, it wasn’t always that way.

One day, when my kids were about 5 and 3 years old, it occurred to me that their diet of preference had become rather monochromatic.  Mac and cheese, cheese pizza, chicken nuggets, french fries, plain pasta – are you sensing a theme?  Each time I set a plate down in front of them, it always seemed to feature the same bland, beige color palette.

After enough rejection, I’d slowly just given up on serving the healthy kinds of foods I knew I wanted my kids to be eating.  As a tired mama of three, I justified that it wasn’t worth the energy to fix something that I knew was probably going to end up in the trash.  As a result, I had created some seriously picky eaters.

We needed to make a change.  While the journey wasn’t perfect or easy, implementing these five tactics had an immediate impact on our families eating habits and preferences.  So if you’re struggling with a picky eater, read on!  There is hope!  Without further ado…

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods We implemented this rule with a lot of supportive strategy.  At the very beginning, I made meals that I knew everyone would like but added one new (or previously rejected) side dish.  I added very small servings to everyone’s plate and explained happily “You don’t have to like it, but you do have to taste it.”  Then dropped the issue until later in the meal.  If they asked for second helpings of anything, they were only granted them after having tasted everything on the plate at least once.  Also, when they tried something new and decided they didn’t like it, I would thank them for trying it and I’d casually talk about how it’s good to keep trying things because as you grow up, your tastes can change… “so even if you don’t like it now, you might like it someday!”  The most helpful thing here is trying to approach everything casually and happily and then to drop it once you’ve said your piece.

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods As you can imagine, when all of these (initially) unwelcome foods began to make a regular appearance, they were accompanied by a chorus of complaints.  I would emerge from the kitchen with a lovingly prepared dinner and before I was even able to sit in my seat I would hear “I don’t like (insert undesired vegetable here)!”  At first, I was totally exasperated and to be perfectly honest – I was angry!  Dinner comes at the end of a long day for a homeschooling mother of three and to have my efforts met with disgust instead of gratefulness… well, it stung a little… or a lot.  After a few misguided attempts at curbing this behavior, I realized we simply needed to implement a new habit that would be helpful, not just in our own home, but when we are guests as well.  As soon as the food is served, you should thank the person who made it for you.  Next, you should look for something that looks really delicious and compliment it!  Last, if you see something you think you don’t like, you don’t need to say anything about it at all.  It only took a few gentle reminders for our kids to catch on and after a few nights, they loved taking turns “complimenting the chef”!

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods Persistence is key here, folks.  There are all kinds of statistics out there about how many times a food must be introduced to a kid before they’ll accept it.  I’m not saying you have to serve the same foods over and over again until your child submits to liking it, but I am urging you to keep presenting new foods, even if they’re all just getting shut down.  Make smaller portions so you don’t get frustrated with wasted food.  And when life gets crazy and you go into whatever your “survival mode” looks like for you for a few days (ordering pizza, making plain pasta, pb&j, whatever easy food that gets you through), cut yourself some slack and then get back to it!  You haven’t ruined your efforts if you’ve skipped a couple of days, but you will ruin them if you don’t keep at it on a “more often than not” basis. I have to say that #3, combined with #2 and #1 produced a dramatic change in the way my kids approached new foods.  Once they’d learn to taste foods at least once, stop verbally complaining about them, and grew accustomed to seeing new things on a regular basis – our dinner table became a much more pleasant place to be together.  And instead of cooking meals that were 90% things I knew everyone like with a 10% addition of something questionable, I started to be able to cook meals that were almost entirely new, without feeling like I had to add a “filler” (like rice or pasta) just in case they wouldn’t eat it.  On the night that I served chicken with roasted cauliflower and asparagus and everyone happily ate and complimented and asked for seconds and thirds of the vegetables – I knew we were doing something right!

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods We’d been working on #1, #2, and #3 (but weren’t quite to the glorious night of cauliflower/asparagus success) when I heard about this book called French Kids Eat Everything
.  It chronicles a Canadian family and the year they spent in France.  The mother realized that the French approach food (especially as regards their children) completely differently than Americans.  Namely, that they didn’t approach food for children differently than they did for adults!  I found this book to be a fascinating read and highly recommend it.  This point and the next one are tips I picked up in the course of reading it.  “Hunger is the best seasoning.” Simple.  The more hungry my kids are, the more willing they are to try something new.  So I planned our days accordingly.  Afternoon snacks became more limited and light.  And if I knew a particularly “adventurous” food was on the evening’s menu, then I’d actually watch the clock and not allow any snacks for at least two hours or so before dinner.  This was profoundly successful. Profoundly.  In the book, she even met her children’s grumpy “I’m hungry!” complaints with a cheerful “Oh good!  Food always tastes best when you’re hungry, I bet you’ll really enjoy dinner tonight.” (Or something along those lines.) Granted, this line wasn’t as helpful for my children as it was for me.  It kept me from caving and giving snacks just to get a moment’s peace.

How I Got My Picky Eaters To Fall In Love With Brussels Sprouts - 5 tips for getting even the pickiest kids to try (and like!) new foods I feel like there’s a better way to word that, but I can’t think of one, so there.  When you feed kids, you have an opportunity to teach them about nutrition, how our bodies work, how food affects us, where our food comes from, and on and on!  It’s totally commonplace now for the topic of conversation at our table to be about how our food is traveling down our esophagus and into our stomachs then our intestines and how it will be turned into energy and the rest will become poop.  (I know – lovely, right?)  Or whether what we’re eating is a healthy food or it’s something to just have as a treat every once in a while.  Or whether the fruits and vegetables we’re eating grew on a vine or underground or in a tree.  As homeschoolers, I honestly feel like this has become part of our “curriculum” even though there are no formal lesson plans.  And though we’ll formally study all of those things at some point along the way, thinking of it this way holds me accountable to teaching nutrition as a life skill and not just an academic idea.  If we hadn’t started making changes, teaching nutrition would have been pretty hilarious.  “Mom, if fruits and vegetables are so important to be healthy, we do we eat plain pasta or cheese pizza for dinner so often?” Yikes!  Plus, kids are just plain curious!  Letting them learn crazy stuff about what they’re eating or what happens to it inside them just might get them excited enough to forget why they didn’t want to try it.

Now, this is a pretty short summary and it doesn’t include the many total failures along the way.  It wasn’t a totally smooth journey and we’ve still got a little way to go, but we’ve certainly made progress!  So press on, keep trying, don’t give up!  (And order a pizza now and then when you really need to.)

***Sidenote*** I felt like it was worth mentioning that we never tried any “gimmicks” to get our kids to eat new things.  I didn’t hide pureed veggies in brownies or mac and cheese.  I didn’t dye anything or carve intricate woodland creatures.  I just made food.  Pan seared asparagus, steamed broccoli, roasted cauliflower – just food.  The only thing I really have against the gimmicky stuff is that it just seemed like so much extra work!  So, if the gimmicks work for you or if you just have a passion for creating “mashed potato” snowmen with pureed cauliflower – then by all means, go right ahead.  But if you’re prone to being tired/cranky/overwhelmed and need to get dinner on the table in 15 minutes or less (like me) – don’t worry, there’s hope for you too. 🙂

Hey there, friend!   If you liked this post, I bet your friends would too – be sure to click one of the buttons below to share it with them. Thanks a million!

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