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Summer is here, and your camera is likely as busy as you are. Vacations and family reunions, beach days and hikes, picnics and sunsets – there is always a reason to snap a photo this time of year. If your kids are like mine, they will reach for the camera or phone and ask to take their own shots. For parents of budding photographers, here are nine biographies, how-to guides, and informational books to inspire all summer long. Smile!


 

 

 

Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature

by Cindy Jenson-Elliot, Illustrated by Christy Hale

“Ansel was antsy.” So begins the book about a boy who hated being indoors, and who grew up to be a renowned nature photographer. As a child, Ansel didn’t fit in with the rigid expectations of school, so his father decided Ansel would learn at home. During a trip to Yosemite Valley, Ansel’s parents gave him a camera and his passion was born. He loved taking photos of the American landscape and his photography was sought after by the government and Life magazine. The book discusses Ansel’s life and legacy and shows examples of his photos. Illustrations of dim indoor scenes contrast against spreads of the lively natural landscapes Ansel was drawn to.

The Camera

by Chris Oxlade

From the “Tales of Invention” series, this book is for kids who are dying to know how things work – in this case, the camera. This informative book discusses life before cameras, the first photographs ever taken, how cameras have changed over time, and the impact of cameras on our lives today. Timelines, sidebars, diagrams, photos, and illustrations placed throughout the text beg for a closer look. A glossary at the back defines several camera-related terms and a list of resources is provided for those who want to dig further.

Dorothea’s Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth

by Barb Rosenstock, Illustrated by Gérard DuBois

Dorothea noticed things other people didn’t, observing the world with her heart as well as her eyes. Family issues and the lasting effects of polio made Dorothea a lonely child. She avoided school by wandering the streets observing people. As an adult, her photos of people suffering the Great Depression forced the country to take notice and inspired the government to help people in need. Several of Dorothea’s photos are included in the back matter along with an author’s note and timeline. Muted yet striking acrylic illustrations take us into Dorothea’s world of wonder and compassion.

Go Photo!: An Activity Book for Kids

by Alice Proujansky, Illustrated by Maggie Prendergast

This book is chock full of fun activities for young photographers. Each of the 25 activities is presented with a brief description, checklist of items needed, instructions, and tips. Kids can go on a scavenger hunt, explore with a camera obscura, turn a photograph into a mask, have a selfie fest, go on a treasure hunt, design an action flipbook, make postcards, and lots more. There is even a neat little tip on making a smartphone stand out of cardboard and binder clips. Technical advice is woven throughout the activities but the focus is on exploring and creating.

Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America

by Carole Boston Weatherford, Illustrated by Jamey Christoph

Gordon Parks experienced racism and hardship throughout his youth. When a magazine article inspired him to buy a used camera, his life changed forever. Gordon moved to Washington, D.C. where he decided to document segregation and the struggles of black families with his camera. Back matter provides more details about the events in the book and contains some of Gordon’s photographs. The illustrations pull the reader into Gordon’s world in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, and also portray several of his photographs.

Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys

by Amy Novesky, Illustrated by Lisa Congdon

When Imogen decided she wanted to be a photographer, her father built her a darkroom in their woodshed. After university, she opened a portrait studio, got married, and had three sons. She wanted to continue photography but had too many responsibilities at home. So Imogen built a darkroom and turned the garden into her workshop while the boys played. She photographed her children, animals, and flowers, including magnolia blossoms, her most well-known photographs. The author’s note contains a photograph of Imogen with her sons and more information about her life. Imogen’s story is portrayed in lyrical language and bold and textured illustrations.

National Geographic Kids Guide to Photography: Tips and Tricks on How to Be a Great Photographer from the Pros and Your Pals at My Shot

by Nancy Honovich and Annie Griffiths

Who better to teach children how to take awesome photos than National Geographic Kids? There’s tons to learn about in the pages of this bright, informative guide, including everything from photography equipment and techniques for getting the best shot to concepts such as point of view. This book also breaks down the nuances of photographing different Nat Geo-worthy subjects from animals to people to landscapes. Children are given several “assignments” to try. Tips, definitions, sample photographs, and fun facts are peppered through this information-heavy – but kid friendly – text.

Photo Adventures for Kids: Solving the Mysteries of Taking Great Photos

by Anne-Laure Jacquart, Illustrated by Thomas Tessier

Photo detectives everywhere will love solving the mystery of how to take good pictures through framing and composition. Investigations, games, picture quests, and briefing papers will spur the detectives on their mission. Each successive activity builds on the previous one, so kids are advised to go through this book in order. A viewfinder at the back of the book helps kids frame different shots. The conversational tone is helped along by illustrated narrators chiming in through speech bubbles. A brief note for adults explains how to best support their children on their photo adventures.

Seeing Things: A Kid’s Guide to Looking at Photographs

by Joel Meyerowitz

The aim of this book is to help children look at and understand photographs, and in turn, look at and understand the world in a new way. In each of the 30 spreads presented in this book, one side contains a photograph and the other breaks down the image for young viewers, describing what is special about the shot and some of the photographer’s techniques and motives. The selected images include landscapes, people, animals, and still lifes. This book is best savored one photo at a time, over several viewings.

 

 

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Breakfast is often said to be the most important meal of the day, but in many households, it's also the most hectic. Many parents rely on pre-prepared items to cut down on breakfast prep time, and if Jimmy Dean Heat 'n Serve Original Sausage Links are a breakfast hack in your home, you should check your bag.

More than 14 tons of the frozen sausage links are being recalled after consumers found bits of metal in their meat.

The United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced the recall of 23.4-oz. pouches of Jimmy Dean HEAT 'n SERVE Original SAUSAGE LINKS Made with Pork & Turkey with a 'Use By' date of January 31, 2019.

"The product bears case code A6382168, with a time stamp range of 11:58 through 01:49," the FSIS notes.

In a statement posted on its website, Jimmy Dean says "a few consumers contacted the company to say they had found small, string-like fragments of metal in the product. Though the fragments have been found in a very limited number of packages, out of an abundance of caution, CTI is recalling 29,028 pounds of product. Jimmy Dean is closely monitoring this recall and working with CTI to assure proper coordination with the USDA. No injuries have been reported with this recall."

Consumers should check their packages for "the establishment code M19085 or P19085, a 'use by' date of January 31, 2019 and a UPC number of '0-77900-36519-5'," the company says.

According to the FSIS, there have been five consumer complaints of metal pieces in the sausage links, and recalled packages should be thrown away.

If you purchased the recalled sausages and have questions you can call the Jimmy Dean customer service line at (855) 382-3101.

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Flying with a 2-year-old and a 5-year-old isn't easy under optimal conditions, and when the kids are tired and cranky, things become even harder.

Many parents are anxious when flying with kids for exactly this reason: If the kids get upset, we worry our fellow passengers will become upset with us, but mom of two Becca Kinsey has a story that proves there are more compassionate people out there than we might think.

In a Facebook post that has now gone viral, Kinsey explains how she was waiting for her flight back from Disney World with her two boys, Wyatt, 2, and James, 5, when things started to go wrong, and the first of three kind women committed an act of kindness that meant so much.

After having to run all over the airport because she'd lost her ID, Kinsey and her boys were in line for security and she was "on the verge of tears because Wyatt was screaming and James was exhausted. Out of the blue, one mom stops the line for security and says 'here, jump in front of me! I know how it is!'" Kinsey wrote in her Facebook post.

Within minutes, 2-year-old Wyatt was asleep on the airport floor. Kinsey was wondering how she would carry him and all the carry-ons when "another mom jumps out of her place in line and says 'hand me everything, I've got it.'"

When Kinsey thanked the second woman and the first who had given up her place in line they told her not to worry, that they were going to make sure she got on her flight.

"The second woman takes evvvverything and helps me get it through security and, on top of all that, she grabs all of it and walks us to the gate to make sure we get on the flight," Kinsey wrote.

Kinsey and her boys boarded, but the journey was hardly over. Wyatt wolk up and started "to scream" at take off, before finally falling back asleep. Kinsey was stressed out and needed a moment to breathe, but she couldn't put Wyatt down.

"After about 45 min, this angel comes to the back and says 'you look like you need a break' and holds Wyatt for the rest of the flight AND walks him all the way to baggage claim, hands him to [Kinsey's husband], hugs me and says "Merry Christmas!!" Kinsey wrote.

👏👏👏

It's a beautiful story about women helping women, and it gets even better because when Kinsey's Facebook post started to go viral she updated it in the hopes of helping other parents take their kids to Disney and experience another form of stress-relief.

"What if everyone that shared the story went to Kidd's Kids and made a $5 donation?! Kidd's Kids take children with life-threatening and life-altering conditions on a 5 day trip to Disney World so they can have a chance to forget at least some of the day to day stressors and get to experience a little magic!!"

As of this writing, Kinsey has raised more than $2,000 for Kidd's Kids and has probably inspired a few people to be kind the next time they see a parent struggling in public.

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Ah, the holidays—full of festive cheer, parties, mistletoe... and complete and utter confusion about how much to tip whom.

Remember: Tipping and giving gifts to the people that help you throughout the year is a great way to show your appreciation, but it's never required. Ultimately, listen to your heart (and your budget) and decide what's right for your family.

Here is our etiquette guide to tipping and gifting everyone on your list.

Teachers

You can decide if you'd like to do a class gift.

  • Ask people to contribute what they can, if they'd like to
  • Sign the gift from the entire class—don't single out the people that weren't able to contribute
  • Idea: a small gift and then a gift card bought with the rest of the money, and a card signed by all the children

...or a personal gift.

  • Amount/value is very up to you—you may factor in how many days/week your child is in school and how much you pay for tuition.
  • Anywhere from $5-$150 has been done.
  • Idea: a personalized tote bag and gift card, with a picture drawn by your child

Babysitters, nannies + au pairs

  • Up to one night's pay for a babysitter
  • Up to one week's pay for a nanny or au pair.
  • Homemade gift from the child

Daycare teachers

  • $25-70/teacher and a card from your child

School bus driver

  • A non-monetary gift of $10-$20 (i.e. a gift card)

Ballet teacher/soccer coach

  • Consider a group gift or personal gift (see teacher gift above)
  • Up to $20 value if doing a personal gift

Mail carrier

  • A gift up to a $20 value, but they are not allowed to receive cash or a gift card that can be exchanged for cash.

UPS/Fed Ex

  • A gift up to a $20 value, depending on the number of packages you get. Avoid cash if possible.

Sanitation workers

  • $10-30 each
  • Make sure you find out if the same people pick up the recycling and the trash—there may be two different teams to think about.

Cleaning person

  • Up to one week's pay

Hair stylist

  • Up to the cost of one haircut/style

Dog walker

  • Up to one week's pay

Doorman

  • $15-80 each depending on number of doormen

Boss/Co-workers

  • You are not required to give your boss a gift. In some instances, it may be inappropriate to do so—so you'll have to think about what seems right for you
  • Never give cash
  • Consider giving an office gift—bring coffee or donuts to the office for everyone, buy an assortment of teas for the staff lounge, replace the microwave that everyone hates, etc
  • Organize an office Secret Santa—it's a great way to boost morale and have fun, without needing to decide who to buy for. (Hint: We love Elftser for easy Secret Santa organizing!)

Neighbors

Hey mama,

It's the time of year again.

You know what I'm talking about. From Halloween to New Years Eve, where all the sweets and treats come out in full force, and it seems like the universe is plotting to take you down.

You may feel overwhelmed by the weight of it all. After all, history has taught you that you can't make it through the holiday season successfully.

Maybe you can't get by without eating all the holiday treats and feeling like a failure. Maybe you end the holidays vowing to be a better person and start the New Year on the latest detox diet. You are all too familiar with the guilt and shame that comes with holiday eating cycle and how this robs you of joy of the season.

You may have managed to contain some element of self-control over the year. Maybe you carefully avoid those treats that you know you can't simply eat one of, or maybe you've skipped dessert and stayed clear from all the sweets. Maybe you've felt like you're doing well on your latest diet and are worried about how this incoming holiday treat wave will sabotage your success.

Whatever you're worried about, the fear is real and paralyzing, taking up that precious mental space as your thoughts are consumed about food and your body.

It may be hard to think about anything else when you mind is controlled by the rules that dictate what you should and shouldn't be eating. Maybe seeing your spouse or kids eat those holiday treats creates more anxiety for you and sends you on the brink of losing your mind as these food issues become all consuming.

But have you ever stopped to ask yourself, where is this fear coming from and why is it controlling your life?

Do you ever feel like a failure at eating because you inhaled that bag of fun-sized candy bars or scarfed through a dessert faster than anyone could say, "Trick or Treat?"

Are you embarrassed that something as normal as food feels like such a struggle?

Does overeating or an emotional eating episode send you on a downward tailspin in self-loathing?

How many times have you stepped on the scale, only to feel miserable about yourself for the rest of the day?

I want to let you in on a secret.

You are not failing, mama.

That desire to eat all the holiday foods or binge on sweets doesn't mean that you've screwed up or that you have no self-control.

You're not a failure for wanting to eat all the things you don't normally let yourself eat or for breaking all the food rules you've set in place to give you more "control."

You don't need more willpower, another diet or more ways to become disciplined.

What you need, sweet mama, is permission.

Permission to eat those foods that you crave every year, like a slice of your Grandmother's special holiday dish or the piece of pumpkin cheesecake everyone's eating at your office party.

Permission to decorate holiday cookies with your kids and actually enjoy eating one too, not pretend like you don't want one, only to eat a plateful once they've gone to bed.

Permission to actually keep food in its proper place, so it's not stealing your joy, energy and mental space.

And you know what?

When you've given yourself permission to eat, including all those sweets and treats that are normally off-limits, they suddenly lose their power over you. And when food doesn't have power over you, you will have freedom to live a life that isn't bound by what you can and cannot eat.

Let me tell you something else: feeling like a failure around food is NOT your fault. It doesn't mean you don't have enough self-control or will power. There is nothing wrong with you.

What's to blame are the abundance of food rules: unrealistic food rules that make you feel unnecessarily guilty for eating or shameful in your body. (i.e: "Don't eat sugar", "Don't eat carbohydrates", "That's not allowed on the diet", "Don't eat anything too high in fat", "Don't eat after 6pm", "Don't eat all day if you're having a big meal at night").

You are not the problem.

Food rules, diets, etc. THAT is what is wrong.

You weren't made to live or thrive under a list of rules of what you should or shouldn't eat. It's not an issue of self-control.

The truth is that trying to follow a diet or a rigid set of food rules is like trying to negotiate with your toddler—you just can't win. And it's not for lack of trying, it's that the rules of the game are created for you to fail. So why try to play a game where the odds are against you?

You can opt-out of diet culture NOW to enjoy a truly peaceful holiday season that doesn't end with self-loathing or a New Year's resolution to diet and start the cycle all over again. Because the truth is, there are no good and bad foods or rules you are have to follow. When you can let go of all those judgments and emotional hang-ups that you've attached to eating, you learn to trust yourself to make your own choices and view food for what is really is - just food.

So choose being present over being perfect with the way you eat (because no such thing exists anyway). Calm the food chaos by giving yourself permission to eat, taste, and celebrate.

Enjoy the treats, if that is what your body is craving. Take back for yourself what all the obscure food rules and dieting have taken away from you all these years. Take in the memories, the flavors of the season - because you deserve it.

This holiday season, commit to putting yourself on a new path, one that doesn't end in self-destruction.

Give yourself permission, not only to eat, but to embrace a new way of living that isn't defined by your body size or what you can or cannot eat.

You can choose food freedom over food rules, and by doing so, you are choosing to live. You are choosing to be present for your children and experience the moments and memories that might otherwise be missed when your mind is imprisoned by food rules.

It's never too late, mama. The time to start is now.

Remember—you are not failing. Start by giving yourself permission today.

Originally posted on Crystal Karges.

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