Posts by aimee:

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.



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! 

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!


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

Suzi Bowles Photography

Phone: 949 940 5385



[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? 

The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center

Butterfly House at ENC

I can’t believe it’s already the middle of July, I feel like summer is flying by!

Last weekend, in an effort to get out and enjoy things I can only do in the summer, I took the kids to The Butterfly House at The Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach.

The Butterfly House is only open from May – September and although I had been to the ENC before, I’ve never been during these months.

It was such an easy and fun outing. We printed out the butterfly guide from the organization’s website and I asked each of my kids to try and find certain butterflies once we go there. This made them EXTRA excited; I swear there’s something about going on a hunt that gets them really fired up.

Once we arrived a super helpful guide gave us some guidelines to follow (no, you can’t actually catch the butterflies) and some fun facts about what we were going to see; Monarch Butterflies are abundant this year.

With summer flying by, taking a trip to the Butterfly House is a must. If I had more time I would have planned a picnic at the Environmental Nature Center for afterwards since the grounds are really fun to explore. In my opinion, the entire center is one of Newport Beach’s hidden gems.

Do you have any special summer outings planned to take advantage of the season? If you have school aged kids, is summer flying or creeping along? I have definitely had a few days that creeped, but overall the time is going fast.

Kid Approved Fourth of July Dessert: Brownie and Fruit Kabobs

Today I’m sharing a Fourth of July dessert idea for kids that every guest is sure to love: brownie and fruit kabobs drizzled with hot fudge because every birthday celebration deserves a fabulous dessert and America’s birthday is no exception!

Start with a batch of cooled brownies and then gather some “kabob worthy” goodies.

I picked strawberries, blueberries, and marshmallows.

I decided to use mini skewers because I found these festive ones at Target, but large BBQ skewers work just as well (and will save guests from having to go back for seconds!)

Enlist the help of family to skewer the brownies, fruit and marshmallows in whatever colorful design they choose and then drizzle with hot fudge.

  Be creative, remember you’re making brownie kabobs so really the sky is the limit.

My kids had so much fun assembling these brownie and fruit kabobs that I have a feeling we’ll be making them again throughout the year.

I hope you have liked this fourth of July dessert idea for kids (and adults too!)

Wishing you all a happy and sweet Fourth of July!

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