Old School Blogging: Fall Into Fall

I’m excited to be co-host of Elaine’s Old School Blogging monthly link up. Do you remember when we use to blog just for the sake of sharing our life, photos and stories with others? When statistics, followers, retweets, and pins just didn’t matter? Instead you followed a handful of your favorite bloggers and commented on their posts. The blogging community has grown so much over the past few years. As competitive as it can get, it is also an amazing community. I have made so many online and in real life friends through this space we share.

So let’s share our favorite fall stuff today!

Fall Into Fall Old School Blogging!

1. What Fall traditions do you have?  We go apple picking, carve pumpkins, and go to a pumpkin patch. We also all dress up and go Trick-Or-Treating as a family.

2. What is your favorite fall recipe? Chili for football Sundays

3. What is a favorite Fall photo (or photos) you’ve taken. I have so many but here is a favorite of Noah at the pumpkin patch last year.
noah curls

4. Football – love it or hate it (maybe it steals your hubby away)?

Love it!! We are New England Patriots Fans and Oklahoma Sooners fans.  Love college game day and really miss Oklahoma games.  So much fun!

5. What was your favorite Halloween costume as a kid?  I dressed up as Punky Brewester for at least three Halloweens in a row.  It was simple and inexpensive two during my childhood.  

6. Pumpkins or Ghosts or both?  Both!

7. What’s your favorite fall fashion item (boots? scarves? sweaters?, etc.)  I adore sweaters, especially if they are handknit.  Being a knitter, I absolutely love this time of year.  It always inspires me to pull out my needles. 

8. Is “leaf pile jumping” your thing or not?  My thing!  I use to do it with my dad growing up and it was a blast.  I must do this with the boys this Halloween.  

9. Is “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” a must-watch at your house?  You mean it’s just a Halloween show?  Ha!  My kids like to watch it all year round. 

10. What are you going to be for Halloween this year (or your kids…)  We haven’t figured this out yet.  I have been pondering dressing Ryker up as a minion and going as one of the little girls in the movie.  I’d love to sew him a minion costume, because the in sore ones are pretty cheap quality and not very cute. 

We sure hope you’ll join us for Old School blogging. Don’t forget to tweet with us (@elainea and @simplystavish) and use the hashtag #OSBlog.


The Best Way to Encourage Kids to Help with Chores: Superhero Cleaning Challenge

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Finish dishwasher cleaner. All thoughts, photos and opinions are mine alone. #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias

superhero cleaning challenge #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shop

About a month ago, I shared how we set up a rock chore jar to help encourage Xander to help with chores around the house. From sweeping the floor to loading the dishwasher detergent into the dishwasher, the system worked surprisingly well.  Unfortunately the honeymoon phase wore off after he filled the jar up and received his reward. I’ll admit we weren’t very good with giving him the rocks to put in it as immediate reinforcement either. Instead we would tally his rock totals during the day and then put the rocks in the jar at night. Keeping up with any sort of behavior reinforcement system has never been my strength. I even struggle with any sort of behavior management plan with my students during their speech therapy sessions.   Instead of giving up altogether on increasing Xander’s independence and ownership in household tasks, this weekend I challenged both Xander and Noah to a superhero cleaning challenge.  The three events included:

* Leave nothing behind laundry 

* Vacuum sprints

* Faster than the speed of lighting dishwashing

Setting up the challenge took very little time.  First I put out two laundry baskets and a mixed assortment of laundry.  

laundry basket #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shopThen I set up our vacuum cleaners in the living room.  Lastly, I went to Wal-Mart to take advantage of the Rollback savings they have on the best dishwasher detergent for the job, Finish Powerball all-in-one.     

#SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shop

Finish dish detergent #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shop

When I told the boys about the challenge, their eyes lit up with excitement and they quickly transformed into their favorite characters. They are pretty competitive with each other, so had a ton of fun racing against each other to finish each challenge. Much to my surprise, the boys loved every second of this challenge.   

cleaning challenge #SparklySavings #CollectiveBias #shop

See these super cleaners in action!  

I have never seen them so motivated to participate in chores. Even better, Finish dishwasher cleaner worked well, even though the boys barely rinsed the dishes off (typical!). This was such a fun way to encourage chores at home, that I am already planning our next superhero cleaning challenge. Are your superheroes up for the task?

Take advantage of Wal-mart’s Rollback on Finish dishwasher detergent and combine it with this coupon for double the savings!

Please note, as with any other cleaning products, children should be supervised when handling any Finish products.

What superhero cleaning challenge should the Stavish boys conquer next?

Catch the Moment: Week 36- Travel

This past weekend I traveled to Philadelphia for a conference. One of these times I’m in Philly I will actually have time to sight see! Since I was so busy while in Philly, I had to get creative with photographs. I love the mix of photos for this week!

Day 246- September 3, 2014

These beetles really love our sunflowers. I really love how sunflowers look just before they open.
Project 365-Day 246

Day 247- September 4, 2014

My first ever Pumpkin Spiced Latte- gasp! I know, right? Where have you been all my life? Yummmm!!! Except at $5.00 + I’ll need to refrain from indulging too often.
Project 365-Day 247

Day 248- September 5, 2014

City of Brotherly love and cheesesteaks (which I did not have while there).
Project 365-Day 248

Day 248- September 5, 2014

I met the owner of the Mirrasou Winery in California and enjoyed this delicious Moscato wine at the conference reception.
Project 365-Day 249

Day 249- September 6, 2014

Sunday I met Adrian and the boys in Baltimore and we enjoyed the Baltimore ComicCon. It was my first comic book convention and the people watching was fantastic! Funny enough this was the very first shot I took in the parking garage.  I love everything about this photo- the framing , colors, how the flag is blowing in the wind, and the reflection in the building.   More importantly I love that it’s an unscripted moment.    
Project 365-Day 250

Day 250- September 7, 2014

My spaghetti monster!
Project 365-Day 252

Day 251- September 8, 2014

I slipped on my resolution to take a photo of myself with at least one of my boys each week all year long. It’s time to get back on that!
Project 365-Day 253

How was your week in photos?!

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Behind the Moment: Photographer Stories- Candice

I’m so excited for Candice to take over my blog today. She has been a blogging friend of mine for several years now and someday we will meet in real life! We have so much in common, including being working moms with little adorable boys. Here is her photography story!


In January 2012 I set out to complete a photo-a-day project. I made it to April before I started missing days and getting behind.  By May 2012, I had quit completely with the intention to start back up sometime soon.  2013 came and went. Towards the end of the year, Mindi mentioned to me that she was going to co-host a weekly photo-a-day linkup called Catch the Moment 365 and asked me to participate.  I agreed without hesitation, ready to face the challenge once again. To my surprise, it hasn’t seemed like much of a task at all.  Of course there are days when I am scrambling at 11pm to find something to photograph and week-long spurts in time when I am not feeling inspired.  But overall, it has been a breeze. Here are 5 things I’ve done differently that have contributed to my success so far in 2014:


  1. Participating in a group of people who are doing the same thing – by joining the link-ups and interacting with other people doing Catch the Moment365 on Facebook, I feel some accountability that I didn’t have when I was trying to do it on my own. I want to be reliable. I want to finish. I want to show myself and everyone that I can do it!
  2. Taking a greater interest in general photography – I took a couple of free classes this year at my local library and have also used information from online tutorials to grow my photography knowledge. It’s a bit soon to say that I’ve also increased my “skill,” but I have a feeling that my pictures from January will look different as a whole from the ones in December.  I got a new lens (50mm/1.8f) in May so this has helped as well. Along with this, I’ve found that ~gasp~ I enjoy taking pictures of subjects other than my children. Blasphemy! I really enjoy photographing natural landscapes and the simple beauty of a rural scene.  Suns rising and setting behind old barns in cornfields never get old, right?
  3. In correlation with number 2, I also decided to try to shoot in manual and only manual. There might be a handful (and I do mean 5 or less) photos so far that were shot in auto that I have featured in my weekly posts.  This has forced me to learn, practice, and improve.
  4. Organization – oh my goodness, this has to be right up there with number 1. In 2012, there was no rhyme or reason and no limit to how many pics I would post at a time. It was just whenever I had time to organize, edit, and post.  Now I organize and edit more often. I delete photos from my memory card to minimize duplicates, then I transfer them to the computer. I narrow it down again until I am just choosing between a couple or a few favorite shots. Then I edit and save them to a folder that I’ve created just for Catch the Moment.  The CTM folder is broken down into months.  I never have select and/or edit more than 7 photos at a time because I’ve made it a priority to have this completed every Thursday night before the linky goes live on Fridays. 
  5. End in sight – I have an end goal.  A finished product. My plan is to create a cool little photo book at the end of the year with a glimpse into every single day of our year. It’s September- I can’t stop now!


  So there you have it, the (not-so-secret) secrets to my success.  Did I miss anything?  What has helped you stay on track with your personal goals, photography-related or not?

Catch the Moment 365: Week 35

I had every intention of doing another theme week and even challenged myself to a week of self portraits. A day into the challenge though, I realized I just didn’t have the creativity in with all that was going on. I’m going to save a week of self portraits for an upcoming week real soon though.

Day 239- August 27, 2014

The peaches from our CSA have just been amazing this summer!
Project 365-Day 239

Day 240- August 28, 2014

Two wet boys and a little one on the move after Xander talked me into doing the ice bucket challenge with him.
Project 365-Day 240

Day 241- August 29, 2014

Ryker demanded he sit at the small table instead of in his booster for breakfast- he obviously won me over with his stubborn cuteness.
Project 365-Day 241

Day 242- August 30, 2014

My favorite flowers have bloomed in our side garden. They always look so magical in the evening light.
Project 365-Day 242

Day 243- August 31, 2014

This was one of those “it’s late and I didn’t take a photo picture.”
Project 365-Day 243

Day 244- September 1, 2014

Annual labor day lobster dinner..yummmm.
Project 365-Day 244

Day 245- September 2, 2014

Xander tested for his white belt on Tuesday night. I’m so proud of how hard he worked. He earned all A’s on his grading and earned his belt. He really is loving it. He makes my heart swell with pride when I watch him kick.
Project 365-Day 245

Link up your week with us each and every Friday!

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