I am so glad to be his momma.

The evenings are finally cooling off.  How wonderful!  So, here’s a fun activity to do outside with your kids after the sun goes down… painting with light!

Grab a flashlight or laser pointer. Put your camera on a tripod or set it on a table top outside. Set your camera to “M” which means “Manual”. Dial in these settings… if it doesn’t look right, you may need to make the exposure time longer or shorter:

Manual mode: f/8 for 30 seconds (not 1/30th of a second, but 30 full seconds).

ISO: 1250

You will probably have to manually focus on someone holding on a flashlight before you press the shutter. Once focused, press the shutter and you have 30 full seconds to “paint” with the flashlight. Twirl it around, write words, draw photos, or hold it up to your face and move around. Play with turning on and off the flashlight to separate out the letters, or to make the eyes on a happy face.

Have fun! AND send us your best shot to contact@shannonho.com-we want to see your beautiful light paintings!

enjoy the day with a good book… this collection is something fun for your little kiddos.

This is so yummy that I am also posting the recipe. See below for deliciousness!  Let me know how it works out for you!

Warm Chocolate Soufflé Cake

14 oz. bittersweet chocolate  (Swiss or Semi-Sweet Belgian)

6T heavy cream

6 T unsalted butter + some to butter rings

5 large eggs separated and room temperature

½ tsp. vanilla

10 T sugar

¾ c. finely ground almonds

Powdered sugar to dust

  1. To make Ganache: Chop 2oz. of chocolate into small pieces.  Place in small bowl.  Pour cream into small saucepan and heat until bubbles form on edges.  Pour hot cream over chocolate, let stand several minutes, and then stir until smooth.  Pour into 6 squares of a plastic ice cube tray and freeze until solid. (Hint: Clear a spot in freezer that will hold a cookie sheet with all 6 rings on it.  This is easier to do before the soufflés are actually in the rings)
  2. Butter 6 3-inch metal baking rings and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Set aside.
  3. Melt butter and remaining 6 oz. of chocolate in bowl over simmering water.  Stir until smooth, let cool slightly.
  4. Combine egg yolks, 6 T. sugar, and vanilla in large bowl.  Beat with electric mixer until thick and pale yellow, approx. 5-8 minutes.  Add chocolate butter mixture and thoroughly combine.  Fold in ground almonds.
  5. Beat remaining 4T sugar with the egg whites in smaller bowl until stiff (whites must be at room temperature). Fold into egg yolk chocolate mixture.  Spoon 3T mixture of batter into each buttered ring.  Remove ganache cubes from the freezer and place one cube of frozen chocolate into the center of the ring.  Spoon remaining batter between the rings and allow approximately ½ inch to the top of the ring.  Be careful to keep the frozen cube in the center or the ring and completely covered.  Freeze molds until solid for at least two hours.
  6. Heat oven to 375 and take baking sheet from freezer to oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  7. To unmold, cover one hand with a clean dishtowel, pick up a spatula and lightly press the top of the cake through the ring.  Place cake on plate and dust with powdered sugar.
  8. These cakes can be frozen up to two months.  Wrap well.  You can bake them as you need them!

It’s almost here… sad to say goodbye to the long summer days but excited that my little guy will be headed into Kindergarten with some amazing classmates.

I must admit, I am in love with paper, journals, colored Gelly Roll pens, etc…  So, when the lovely Whitney English came up with this brilliant “Day Designer” I was bubbling with excitement.

A perfect aid in “designing an intentional, balanced, well-lived life”. I love hearing her heart about this new creation.  Can’t wait to order mine…

Photos from:  http://blog.whitneyenglish.com/announcing-the-day-designer/

Life is also like a box of chocolates-don’t forget that one either!  Enjoy.

Creating beautiful photos inside your home:

  1. Instead of upgrading to a better camera, upgrade to a better lens.  For around-the-house shooting, a good, inexpensive lens is a 50mm f/1.8 (around $100 for Canon and Nikon versions).
  2. Try to use as much natural light as possible.  Turn off your flash and set your camera to use the widest aperture (the lowest f/stop number your lens will allow).
  3. Begin to notice the lighting in your home at different times of the day.
    – side light is beautiful, so set your kid(s) or subject next to a window
    ….make sure you see the light reflected in both eyes (i.e. a “catch  light”).
    – don’t put your subjects in “full sun” but instead find those spots where the sun bounces off of a wall or cabinet door.
  4. Setting up blocks, puzzles, or a reading picnic near a window will ensure happy kids and beautiful light for your photos. Also, if they need a little distracting you can always give them a lollipop.
  5. Don’t wear your kids out on photos.  Just take a couple of shots, then engage with them.  When they say “no more!” honor their request.

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