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Aimee’s Posts

Put the Knife Down

5 No-Carve Pumpkin Ideas

Today I’m highlighting 5 of the best no-carve pumpkin ideas I could find.

Truth be told, I have never been good at carving pumpkins. I honestly think I’m intimidated by it and so I start off shaky and I usually end up with a very basic, triangle eyed, jagged grinned, and totally asymmetrical pumpkin.

The great thing is my kids still think it’s the best pumpkin ever — which is all that really matters.

But, this year I decided to get creative and hunt down some no-carve pumpkin ideas that make me feel really good about not having to pick up those carving tools. I hope you enjoy!

Mad for Plaid

I am a sucker for anything that has washi tape, it seems to make everything it sticks to look pretty. Including these plaid pumpkins from Real Simple Magazine. Extra bonus – they are so simple to do.  Click through for instructions. Image via Real Simple.

Polka Dot Pumpkin

This modern, no-carve pumpkin is from Sweet Paul Magazine. I love the look of a white pumpkin and my kids love to paint anything and everything, so they would enjoy this easy paint and stick idea. Click through for instructions. Image via Sweet Paul.

 

Get Glitzy Pumpkin

For anyone that likes a little glitz and glamor on Halloween, this Better Homes and Gardens pumpkin is for you. I know you have rhinestones in your craft basket, but did you ever think to decorate your pumpkin with them? Click through for instructions. Photo via Better Homes and Gardens.

Get Glitzy Pumpkin

The Chalkboard Pumpkin

I had to highlight this no-carve chalkboard pumpkin because the options are endless, but this word find chalkboard pumpkin from Thistlewood Farm is my favorite — it is adorable! Click through for instructions.

 

Jack-o-Totem

What trick or treater would love to see this Jack -o-Totem when them came to your front porch? These quirky guys scream Happy Halloween! Thanks HGTV for the idea. Click through for instructions. Image via Jack-o-Totem.

Happy decorating your no carve pumpkins! 

Your Opinion Earns You Rewards at iPoll

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Paid online surveys

What if I told you there are paid online surveys that could start earning you rewards just by offering your honest opinion ~ sounds like music to your ears, right? 

That’s why I’m so excited to introduce you to iPoll, a genius tool that pays customers to communicate with corporations and market research firms in an easy and modern way.

By joining iPoll you get paid to voice your opinion to the retailers, restaurants and places that you frequent most often!
ipoll mobile 2

What is iPoll?

iPoll is an online and mobile community that rewards customers for their feedback on products and services that they use everyday.

How to Sign Up:

Sign up online for free here and follow the easy instructions on downloading the iPoll app. Yes, it is free to sign up for these paid online surveys.

Once you download iPoll to your phone you can immediately start earning rewards. 

You earn rewards by completing ”missions” (by the way, don’t let the word mission scare you, it might involve a trip to Target!)

All missions are based on information you supply at registration so each survey is tailored to fit your interests and experiences.

Taking the Surveys:

You can choose to take a survey online or one that requires you to visit a local store or restaurant.

The paid online surveys are kept brief, usually between 15 – 20 minutes and you’ll know up front the expected time each survey will take to complete.

It is important to note that your reward compensation will be based on the length and complexity of the survey. Some surveys may involve taking photos, videos etc., which will have a higher reward than those that are short and sweet and require less of your time.

The great thing is - you choose what you can participate in based on how much time you have to devote to the mission.

What can you earn?

iPoll offers a diverse reward program so you can get paid in a variety of ways.

Some that jumped out at me are Amazon gift codes, deposits to your Paypal account and if you’re feeling generous, iPoll can even donate your reward to a wide variety of global charity organizations - I love that!

So, now that you have the skinny on iPoll, go start earning those Amazon gift codes – happy earning! 

 [Disclosure: We're thrilled to announce that iPoll is a new Tiny Oranges sponsor and happy to spread the word about their $$ earning app!]

How to Prepare for a Family Photo Shoot

How to prepare for a family photo shoot

Today we’re offering tips on how to prepare for a family photo shoot and we’ve been lucky enough to get some advice from my good friend and talented photographer Suzi Bowles of Suzi Bowles Photography.

I first met Suzi because our daughters were in the same pre-school class. While chatting in the pick up line, I learned about Suzi’s budding photography business and immediately asked if she’d take some photos of my family of four.

We’ve had family photos done on the beach before, so this time I was hoping to switch it up with a more urban setting. Suzi recommended we head to Los Rios Street in San Juan Capistrano. The setting was absolutely perfect and I was so happy with the results that I vowed to have a real family photo shoot once a year.

I think being able to freeze a moment in time is so precious, especially when your kids are young and changing so quickly from year to year.

Our family photo shoot with Suzi went so smoothly that I asked her to share a few of her tips on how to prepare for a family photos session. Since, as everyone reading this blog knows, a family photo shoot with kids under the age of 8 can be challenging, I think having photographer that is also a mom (especially one who is as patient as Suzi) helps tremendously.

How to Prepare for Your Family Photo Shoot

Choose the Right Time of Day

Choose a session time that works well with your kids regular sleeping and feeding times. No photographer worth their salt will hold a session in direct sunlight in the height of the midday sun, but when choosing a time for your session be mindful of how your kids are usually feeling/acting at that time of day – if it’s in the middle of their witching hour and you don’t have any tried and tested plan to rearrange their day to make it work, it will probably show through in your pictures.

Share information with your photographer in advance of the shoot

Share as much information as you can with your photographer before the shoot. Tell them what your children are interested in, what makes them laugh as well as any issues that could bring the session to a grinding halt of they were to come up in conversation. If there are any must-have shots, share them ahead of time too.

Choose a Photographer You Trust

Choose a photographer you trust and then let them work with your kids to get the smiles and interactions that make a fantastic picture – if you’re constantly telling your kids to smile and say cheese they will have fake smiles that you will see in the end results, take a step back and trust your photographer to build the rapport they need to get the shots. If you’re in the frame focus on your own interaction with the camera so that the moment your kids are participating, the photographer can capture the moment.

Choose outfits that complement, but are not too matchy-matchy

What to wear is definitely a question I get asked a lot! Family outfits are a personal choice, but I always recommend that you choose a style that suits your family and the setting – if you’re a beach loving family who are having their session on the sand, formal wear may look and feel a little out of place – wear clothes that you are comfortable with and feel great in. Stick to 3 or 4 colors and don’t have too many different patterns going on, although a couple of patterns can add to the overall effect. Avoid text and cartoon characters that can distract from the scene and will also date your artwork very quickly.

Have Fun!

Have a plan, but keep it flexible – especially with young kids, be ready to go with the flow. The best pictures are usually the ones that show a family having fun and interacting with each other. If the session becomes strained, it’s always a good idea to take a break and re-group.

*all photos see here are reproduced with the permission of Suzi Bowles Photography

Special Offer For Tiny Oranges Readers

Now for the best part! Suzi is offering Tiny Oranges readers a $50 credit towards prints with a booked photo session. To receive the credit, your session needs to be booked in August and take place before the end of September.

Perfect for all those Holiday photos that we need to get done!

Holiday-Shot

 Please email or call Suzi and mention Tiny Oranges when booking.

Suzi Bowles Photography

Phone: 949 940 5385

email: suzi@suzibowles.com

website: http://www.suzibowles.com

[Disclosure: Suzi provided us with a complimentary session of which I am so grateful.]

7 fun, creative backpacks for kids

fun backpacks for kids

Inspired by Jen’s trip to Old Navy for Back to School clothes, I thought I’d share some fun backpacks for kids, an essential back to school piece!

Choose from classic and customized to crazy and adorably cute (did you see that bunny?!?), these seven fun, creative backpacks that will sure to have the kids on the playground stopping in their tracks.

Fun Backpacks for Kids!

Bunny Backpack from Little Circus, $45

Cupcake Backpack from Psycho Baby, $40

Personalized Shark Backpack from Pottery Barn Kids, $34

Pony-up Backpack from Garnet Hill Kids, $34.50

Fairies and Berries Backpack from Posy Jane $17.60

MadPax Backpack from Amazon, $48

Monsters Inc. Backpack from JC Penny, $14.99

What is your favorite backpack for kids? 

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival at The Great Park

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013

The Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013 at The Orange County Great Park in Irvine just announced their free concert line up and it looks amazing! We are thrilled to be working with the Great Park as a Tiny Oranges sponsor because they have so much to offer Orange County families.

One of my favorite things about summer is being able to take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight and spend the evenings outdoors. And, since summer seems to be flying by, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate its last month than by catching a free concert in the park with friends and family.

The Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013 kicks off this Saturday, August 10 and runs every Saturday evening on the Terraced Lawn.

The Flights & Sounds line up includes eight diverse and talented musical artists and promises to engage music lovers of all ages.

Flights & Sounds Summer Festival 2013

Schedule & Featured Musicians

Saturday, August 10

Opening musician (7 p.m.): Chase Brokaw of Simple Green ­ Lead singer and guitarist of roots reggae sensation Simple Green

Headliner (8 p.m.): The Aggrolites ­ Los Angeles-based band will perform their signature “dirty reggae” representing a fusion of reggae, soul, grit and rhythm. The Aggrolites have shared the stage with such notables as Social Distortion and 311 and have released six full-length albums to their credit.

Saturday, August 17
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Alice Wallace ­ Local singer and songwriter that is undeniably folk at heart with dips into blues and rock

Headliner (8 p.m.): The White Buffalo ­ Delivers an authentic homage to southern-style indie rock and storytelling. The White Buffalo is releasing a new record “Shadows, Greys, and Evil Ways” on September 10.

Saturday, August 24
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Stacy Clark ­ Southern California Indie pop darling, singer and musician

Headliner (8 p.m.): Casey Abrams ­ American Idol finalist and a pop-influenced singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist; Casey recently released his self-titled debut album on Concord Records  

Saturday, August 31
Opening musician (7 p.m.): Colin Giles ­ Indie reggae “rocksteady” folk soul with a touch of acoustic

Headliner (8 p.m.): Western Standard Time ­ The world’s premier ska supergroup, Western Standard Time brings together the best of West Coast ska, reggae and jazz from the past 20 years with a big band tribute to The Skatalites.

These fun summer concerts are free, but you will need to pay $10 for parking. If you don’t have time to pack a picnic you’ll be able to order food from local gourmet food trucks starting at 6PM. All live music starts at 7PM.  Don’t forget to bring chairs and a blanket!

The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and can easily be reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.

For more information, please visit www.ocgp.org or call 866-829-3829.

[Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Post to help spread the word about the Flights & Sounds Summer Festival and we are happy to share with you!]