Author Archive | Cali

Neighborhood Thankful Tree

Last year we did a fun thankful activity that lasted for all of November (and into December!)  Instead of doing it just as a family, we invited our family, friends, and neighbors to all join in.  All month long we worked together on our neighborhood thankful tree.   Here is how we did it.ThankfulTreeWe have a big entry way wall with nothing on it, so my husband helped me draw up a big tree out of butcher paper…. and my idea was that everyone who comes over would put a leaf on the tree. It has been so fun!
Here are my kids the first night we put it up, they were so excited!
 Holly and I went and used a die cut machine at a local store, and it was only $2 to cut as many as you wanted. We made a lot!
Here’s our tree now– we have loved having it up so much, we plan to leave it up until Christmas and hope it gets more and more leaves on it.  What a fun way to remember all the things we are thankful for and for including those around you to do the same!  We loved this project and can’t wait to do it again!
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake Recipe


I am a runner and am always looking for great breakfast options that are fast and healthy, and this shake is my go-to breakfast lately.

And my kids love it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

1 cup Milk

1 banana

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 big scoop peanut butter

1 large handful of spinach (the banana covers it right up!)

I mix all the above ingredients and then add ice to the right consistency.


*My husband and I have found protein powder to be so helpful in staying full from breakfast to lunch. He hasn’t been running and he still drinks it every morning to be more productive at work. My kids like it and will drink it as well. Check it out! We bought our big bag at Costco and love it.


Photography Tips By Cali: Shutter Speed Part 3

It’s time for more photography tips by Cali from Cali Stoddard Photography.  This time we are talking about shutter speed.


Make sure you’ve read part 1 about EXPOSURE and part 2 about APERTURE!



SHUTTER SPEED:  The length of time the camera’s shutter is open. (Measured usually in fractions of seconds)

The shutter is what “clicks” when you take the photo, and the length of the shutter is what determines how much light enters your camera.

The LONGER the shutter stays open: the MORE LIGHT enters the camera

The SHORTER the shutter is open: the LESS LIGHT enters into the camera

Just like the purpose of Aperture is to determine how much of the photo is in focus, The purpose of shutter speed is to capture motion.

Slow shutter speeds capture motion:



Fast shutter speeds freeze motion:


Make sure and practice with various shutter speeds! When I am taking pictures of my kids, I never go slower than 1/80– because if you do, the picture is sure to be blurry. Keep your shutter speeds as fast as possible to freeze kid motion. If there’s not enough light when you are already at 1/80, lower the aperture as much as possible.. and if there’s still not enough light… hike up that ISO! (which we’ll talk about next time!)

Photography Tips:  Lesson 1 – Exposure

Photography Tips:  Lesson 2 – Aperture

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