REESE'S miniatures peanut butter bites. [recipe]

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #snacktalk #CollectiveBias 

The perfect party food, these REESE'S peanut butter bites are delicious and easy to make. It would make a great party dessert!

If you know me in real life, you would know that I am obsessed with all things REESE'S. There's nothing better than pulling one out of the freezer (because that's the best way to eat them in my opinion) and biting into the perfect mixture of peanut butter and chocolate. I combined my love of REESE'S with a recipe for an easy-to-eat party snack, perfect for all of those basketball parties going on around this time of year.


Warmer weather, happier mommy, happier kids.

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for OshKosh B’Gosh. I received a promotional item to thank me for my participation. #ImagineSpring

Fun & trendy spring styles for kids

The return of spring takes on a whole new meaning when you've got a highly energetic little girl in the house that has been cooped up all winter. There's nothing better than being able to throw on some sandals and walk right out the front door to play without having to pile on snow pants, boots, a huge puffy jacket, you get the picture. Spring is about the return of adventures at the park, Spring Break, and adorable Easter outfits!


Beyonce inspired kids glitter silhouette t-shirt. [tutorial]

Create this easy customized DIY kids t-shirt inspired by this Beyonce quote with just a few supplies. You could create any graphic shirt!

My kid has always had the most epic case of bedhead I have ever seen. As one of my friends, Bethany, says, Mr. Pillows did her hair. And Mr. Pillows seems to be her hairstylist of choice almost every day despite my best intentions, hair products, and endless brushing. I assure you none of these bedheads were emphasized, they're all pure Bean. Much to my dismay the poor kid got my slow hair growth gene which is not helping in this case.

I woke up like this shirt tutorial

It was upon finding Bean one morning with another epic case of bedhead that the idea came to me. If she's going to rock the bedhead look, she's gotta have a shirt with the classic line, "I woke up like this" on it because she literally did wake up like that. I'm sure that's not what Beyonce meant, but it sure fits in this case.


8 clothing hacks I learned while working retail.

The Persil® brand provided me with a sample of Persil® ProClean laundry detergent in exchange for a product review. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own. 

8 clothing hacks that I learned while working retail. I didn't believe that these clothing tricks and laundry hacks really worked until I tried them for myself, and they work wonders!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. OK, more like it was the worst of times and that's it. I worked retail my junior year of high school through the end of my year at beauty school. That was 3 years too many, in my opinion. Can you tell how much I disliked working retail? Despite my disdain for retail, I did pick up a few tips and tricks (or clothing hacks, you could say) that I use to this day.


Hey, I actually want to make this part 2.

We're all guilty of it, pinning project after project and completing almost none of them. Since the last time I compiled a "Hey, I actually want to make this" post I have completed 2 of the 5. Not so bad, but at least the other 3 are still in the forefront of my mind instead of lost in the Pinterest shuffle. Here's to making more awesome things!

I have acquired a small collection of fuzzy blankets. I would have a ridiculous amount if I didn't have an iron-clad willpower. I like to keep them in the living room for easy access, but unfortunately I don't have a spot for them other than draped over the arm of the love seat and recliner. If you've got kids in the house, you know that lasts for about as long as the kids are napping. If I had this blanket ladder, I could keep them tidy, easy to grab, and it would also add to the living room decor.


Easter egg hunt snack pack pudding cups [tutorial]

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SnackPackMixins #CollectiveBias

This super easy to make Easter dessert uses just 4 ingredients! The kids will love to help create these Easter egg hun snack pack pudding cups, the perfect Easter craft.

With the weather finally warming up in Minnesota, I've got spring on the brain. Easter will be here before we know it! To celebrate my 2nd favorite holiday (next to Christmas of course) I came up with this fun and festive, super easy to make dessert. It requires just a few ingredients and a pudding cup. They are so easy that Bean was able to make her very own (with a little help from Mom). She was so proud of herself.


Wind down the right way in 4 easy steps.

Like many Americans, I've got my fair share of stress. From managing this here blog to spending quality time with Bean, running to and from preschool, teaching classes at the dance studio, and maybe having some sort of social interaction with an adult, life is busy. I like it that way.

Have trouble falling asleep at night? I know I do. Find sleeping tips and wind down the right way with these 4 easy steps so you can fall asleep faster!

That doesn't mean that I don't need help in managing my stress. Especially when it comes to powering down for the day, which I have struggled with in the past. It didn't help that I was drinking way too much caffeine way too late into the day. Luckily I have found some techniques and tools that have really helped cure my stress-induced insomnia.


5 reasons why I NEVER shoot in auto mode. [+giveaway]

I was one of "those people". I bought a DSLR in the hopes that it would instantly take my photos to the next level. Yes, it did make my amateur "I took photography in high school so I have an eye for photography" shots look better, but I had no idea how much reviewing of basic photography and learning I had to do to really make use of my new piece of equipment. How naive of me to assume that just because I bought a better camera that my photos would look a hundred times better.

Read these photography tips for beginners on why you never want to shoot in AUTO mode with your DSLR camera. I wish I had learned this before I starting shooting with my Nikon!

ISO, aperture, shutter speed, oh my! After much trial and error (I'm talking too many missed opportunities for incredible photos to count) I finally feel like I'm starting to settle in to how to use this incredible piece of equipment that I invested in. At first, it is a lot to think about. How much light do you have? Are you using natural or artificial light? Is the subject moving or still? How much of the background do you want in focus? Where do you want the focal point to be? It's enough to make the average person want to say, "Screw it, I'm shooting in Auto." I'm here to say, WAIT! STOP!

Even though it might seem overwhelming at first shooting in manual is the way to go, no doubt about it. Shooting in manual gives me total control over the shot. The more control over the shot that I have, the less post-editing that I have to do. The less post-editing that I have to do, the less time I have to spend on my photos for my blog. And, the more control I have over the shot the less post-shot regret I have. I could talk about photography for hours but for today, I'm going to sum up what I love most about shooting in manual mode in a few short sentences. Big thanks to the cast of "Yo Gabba Gabba" for helping me out with the example shots.

*all of the below photos are SOOC with no editing

Auto vs Manual mode photography

No more blurry faces

I know that when taking a group shot, everyone's face will be in focus. I've taken a gamble before when having someone else use my camera to take a group shot and left it on AUTO for simplicity's sake. After half of the group who didn't happen to be on the same plane had blurry faces, I'll never make that mistake again. You can see that the flash popped up for the AUTO shot, and Plex and Toodee are still slightly blurry compared to the others. I shot the MANUAL photo at f/5.

Auto vs Manual mode photography

A nice, blurry, bokeh background

I know that when taking a portrait, the background will have a nice bokeh affect bringing attention to the subject. I am a sucker for blur and bokeh. I will admit, it's probably the biggest reason why I bought a DSLR and a spendy lens. If you don't tell your camera how much to put into focus, it's going to do whatever it wants. And, most times, the flash is going to pop up and everything will be in focus with a bunch of harsh shadows. The light in my house was pretty good so the flash didn't pop up, but you can see in the AUTO shot that it picked the house to focus on instead of Brobee like I had intended.

Auto vs Manual mode photography

Crisp, bright white backgrounds

If I'm shooting on a white background for DIY tutorials, I can make sure it's bright. I recently started shooting my tutorials with a white background. I couldn't figure out why, even though I was metering at zero, my background still looked gray. I tried using several different white balance settings, and still gray. Then, I adjusted my meter to slightly overexpose, and tah-dah, no more gray.

Auto vs Manual mode photography

Defined and in-focus shots

That's easily one of the worst photos I have EVER taken, from back in the early days of my DSLR (shudder). If I'm taking photos of Bean in action, I can make sure she's not blurry with a fast shutter speed. I once heard that when shooting kids in natural light, your shutter speed should be no slower than 1/250. I keep that in mind and try to aim for that and adjust my aperture as needed.

Auto vs Manual mode photography

No need for flash in low-light

Brobee and I headed to the place where light goes to die in my house, the bathroom! If I'm taking photos in low light I can crank up the ISO as high as I need/want to. Granted, the higher the ISO the more noise or graininess, but if you're in a spot where lighting is minimal you can still get a good shot without using a flash if your ISO is high enough. If I was more serious about the above photo, I would have also done a tad bit more with the white balance to get rid of the golden color that the bathroom lights cast.

I've finally fallen into my photography rhythm through 3 years of trial and error. I could have saved myself so many disappointing shots if I had known about Clickin Moms. I'm learning so much that I never knew before about reading histograms, how to properly compose a portrait, metering modes. I'm learning that it's not just about ISO, aperture, and shutter speed if you really want a good photo.
Plus, Clickin Moms has a forum where you can get feedback on your photos, learn valuable tips and tricks, take photo quizzes, and so much more.

Clickin Moms is a members-only community of over 16,000 photographers who are passionate about capturing their lives, their clients, their families, and their worlds more beautifully. For many members, Clickin Moms is an online home for business networking and development, artistic growth, technical knowledge and support, and deeply held friendships. Clickin Moms strives to empower photographers of all levels to capture life beautifully in both their personal and professional endeavors, to make flexible, quality photography education and mentoring accessible, and to maintain a supportive community for continuous learning, sharing, and growth. Clickin Moms offers a 30 day refund guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

Clickin Moms is generously giving away a year-long membership! You can also get 20% off an annual membership with the code BrePea20 until March 13th, 2015. 

Open to anyone 18+
Ends at 11:59pm CST on Friday, March 20th 2015

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a complimentary one-year Clickin Moms membership in exchange for this post. All opinions expressed are my own.