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Taking pictures captures more than just memories, mama

Time is short so take pictures to slow down and pay attention

Taking pictures captures more than just memories, mama

As a photographer and our family’s designated memory keeper, photos play an important role in our everyday story. I’ve been seeing my life through the lens for the past 14 years, and the perspective it’s given me has been invaluable.


Through photography, I’ve learned to appreciate my life as it is right now instead of wishing for better days ahead.

Sandwiched between the tedium of everyday living, I find a million joyful moments—if I’m looking for them.

I’m so thankful for the way my camera offers me gentle reminders to have patience, slow down, and enjoy life’s simple moments as they happen.

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Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or you’re capturing your life story using your phone camera, there is so much to be gained from taking the time to capture the moments that matter most.

Capture moments that matter

Here are five benefits of capturing moments through photography, which have allowed me to spend precious moments with my family, and also focus on the important things in life:

1) It allows me to focus on the good

Photography heightens my awareness of the good things in my life. Big or small, taking a photo helps me see the bright spots in my day and allows me to hold onto them.

It truly is about perspective. Something about seeing life through my camera lens or my phone viewfinder helps me see things more clearly, and allows me to focus (literally!) on the positive things in my life.

2) I’m able to let go of perfection

Taking photos of our everyday life helps me embrace imperfection—to see the magic in the messes, joy in the mundane, and humor in the hard things.

In photos, the beautiful, messy, imperfect details are what shine.

Years from now, it will not be the brand of camera or the settings I chose that will matter to me—it will be the tiny, imperfect details that mean the most. A moment captured is worth so much more than a moment forgotten. No matter how imperfect.

3) I get to savor the little moments

As I look back on photos I took only a few months ago, I can see so many changes in my life. Changes that can be hard to recognize in the bustle of day-to-day living. Through photography, I learn to appreciate my life as it is right now.

Every stage of life with kids, in a new home, a new job, with family and friends—they’re fleeting.

Not only does photography help me savor these moments, it allows me to hold on to them for a lifetime.

4) I can slow down and take notice

If you want to be more aware, more conscious of the blessings in your life, commit to photographing them. I promise it will help you slow down and take notice of things that are so easy to miss.

The way my daughter’s brow furrows with concentration as she reads, the way my husband slathers his toast with peanut butter and a dash of honey, the tireless hummingbird that visits the tree off my bedroom window—all of it.

If you’re not into photography, maybe video is your thing. I’ve started a little project this year that has already brought me so much joy. 1-Second Everyday is an app that allows you to capture 1-second video snippets throughout the year and compile them into a fun video. I already know what a treasure this video will be. This project has been a great way to help me slow down and make me more aware of the little things.

5) I’m able to share the goodness I find

When I first began dabbling in photography after having my first child, I quickly discovered the joy of making magic out of everyday moments. At the same time, in between afternoon naps and midnight feedings, I longed for a way to connect with others outside of my own home.

I started a blog, Simple as That, as a way of building friendships with other women and documenting my progress in my new hobby.

Since that time, my site has grown into a gathering where others come to find inspiration and photo tips. It’s been a place where I can put good out into the world. This small corner of the internet has been a great source of joy for me and has provided many opportunities for me to build connections.

Too many of us hesitate to take photos because we don’t we have the fancy camera, the natural talent, or the studied know-how. I want to alleviate the idea that you need an expensive camera to take a beautiful photo. So many of my favorite moments have been captured with nothing more than my phone.

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Time-saving formula tips our editors swear by

Less time making bottles, more time snuggling.

As a new parent, it can feel like feeding your baby is a full-time job—with a very demanding nightshift. Add in the additional steps it takes to prepare a bottle of formula and, well… we don't blame you if you're eager to save some time when you can. After all, that means more time for snuggling your baby or practicing your own well-deserved self-care.

Here's the upside: Many, many formula-feeding mamas before you have experienced the same thing, and they've developed some excellent tricks that can help you mix up a bottle in record time. Here are the best time-saving formula tips from editors here at Motherly.

1. Use room temperature water

The top suggestion that came up time and time again was to introduce bottles with room temperature water from the beginning. That way, you can make a bottle whenever you need it without worrying about warming up water—which is a total lifesaver when you have to make a bottle on the go or in the middle of the night.

2. Buy online to save shopping time

You'll need a lot of formula throughout the first year and beyond—so finding a brand like Comforts, which offers high-quality infant formula at lower prices, will help you save a substantial amount of money. Not to mention, you can order online or find the formula on shelves during your standard shopping trip—and that'll save you so much time and effort as well.

3. Pre-measure nighttime bottles

The middle of the night is the last time you'll want to spend precious minutes mixing up a bottle. Instead, our editors suggest measuring out the correct amount of powder formula into a bottle and putting the necessary portion of water on your bedside table. That way, all you have to do is roll over and combine the water and formula in the bottle before feeding your baby. Sounds so much better than hiking all the way to the kitchen and back at 3 am, right?

4. Divide serving sizes for outings

Before leaving the house with your baby, divvy up any portions of formula and water that you may need during your outing. Then, when your baby is hungry, just combine the pre-measured water and powder serving in the bottle. Our editors confirm this is much easier than trying to portion out the right amount of water or formula while riding in the car.

5. Memorize the mental math

Soon enough, you'll be able to prepare a bottle in your sleep. But, especially in the beginning or when increasing your baby's serving, the mental math can take a bit of time. If #mombrain makes it tough to commit the measurements to memory, write up a cheat sheet for yourself or anyone else who will prepare your baby's bottle.

6. Warm up chilled formula with water

If you're the savvy kind of mom who prepares and refrigerates bottles for the day in advance, you'll probably want to bring it up to room temperature before serving. Rather than purchase a bottle warmer, our editors say the old-fashioned method works incredibly well: Just plunge the sealed bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes and—voila!—it's ready to serve.



Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on Comfortsforbaby.com to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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