Springtime FAMILY Photographs the “Frugal” Way – A How To

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Spring is the perfect time to plan taking family photographs.  The weather is warmer (but not too hot) and everything is beautiful, green and blooming!  But you don’t have to spend a small fortune on a professional photographer when you can “do it yourself”!

First things first – outfits for your family…. you want to make sure that your families’ clothing doesn’t “blend in” with the landscape.  This is a great time to chose more solid color clothing that is simple and basic.  As an example, you would want to wear a big, bright floral shirt while you take your photos with a backdrop of big pink azaleas.  So think of the photo, the subjects, the surroundings, and the background.   The object of the photograph is your family – so highlight the people, not the place.  Another tip for clothing – make sure that everyone’s clothing will go well together and will not clash.

Chose a place that is natural with lots of greens (grass), browns (trees) and is colorful (flowers).  It is spring :-)

Think about the poses.  Not all photographs need to be of your family standing side by side.  Think about mixing things up a bit!  Take photos of family members sitting on the ground or a bench or leaning up against a tree.  Use the available landscape in your photographs.   Get a few “head shots” with someone standing behind a grouping of flowers or peeking out from behind a tree.

Take several photos of each pose.  Just ‘click, click, click’ – and you’ll have a better chance of getting everyone with their eyes open and smiling.
Take candid shots when the family isn’t looking or they think you aren’t taking photos.  You’ll find that they are some of the best!  Catching your family members in a more natural state, not posed, can actually highlight them better than a more formal “stand straight and tall” photograph.

Action shots can really highlight each family members’ character and personality!  And some of the photos are just amazing.  So don’t be afraid to step up and snap some photos of your family just having fun!

Not all photos are of peoples’ faces – be creative with your environment and snap some photos of family members walking away, holding hands, or looking at something.  These photos can be iconic!

Bring a tripod so that you can be in the photos too!
Get photos of just two or three family members together.

And the last tip is for you to just relax – enjoy this time with your family and make this a fun and event every year that everyone will look forward to.


Saving $$$ on Bottled Water for Your Family

Filed under :MISC
In an effort to improve our family’s health, we’ve started drinking bottled water in place of soft drinks, juices full of sugar or other “canned” or pre-packaged beverages.  But, what we’ve found is that sometimes bottled water is more expensive than soda!
First, let’s look at the WHYs of canned soda and pre-packaged beverages – including water.

Convenience — I would say that this is the reason that we purchase items like sodas.  It is just too darn easy to grab a “Coke” from a dispensing machine or when we go thru a drive-thru or fast food.   It’s quick, easy, cold and refreshing without much hassle.  There are “bottles” and “cans”… sometimes there are pouches (like Capri Suns).Bottled water, Coke, Sprite, Diet Code

1 to 2 Serving Size — Usually there are 1 to 2 servings per can or bottle.  So, it’s the perfect size or amount.  You usually have enough time to finish drinking the beverage while it is still cold.

Reseal-able –  If you purchase the “bottled” beverage, you can drink from it and then put the top back on to prevent spilling.

Now, I’ve just listed all of the reasons that these bottled and canned beverages are so convenient and attractive for busy people to purchase and consume.  But let’s take a closer look at the price and the labels:

Canned 12 oz Coke LabelThis is a 12 oz can of “Coke”.  There are 140 calories per serving and the serving size of this can is “1″.  But let’s also look at the Sodium content — 45 mg and the Sugars — 39 grams!  This is not healthy – there is basically no nutritional value at all and the drink is loaded with sodium and sugar.   Think about drinking several Cokes a day and how after a period of time it will impact your health.

The cost – a canned “Coke” out of a vending machine is usually around $1 each.   The price for a 24 pack at Walmart is $6.98 (or about 29 cents each).

Let’s compare that to bottled water – cost from a vending machine is usually around $1 each.  The price for a 24 pack of Nestle PureLife at Walmart is $13.47 or about $0.56 per bottle per 16.8 oz bottle.NestlePureLifeWater

So what can we do as a family to be more frugal with our money and healthy?  Let’s look at a possible solution that will still give us the convenience that we want, the water that we need to drink, and save us money at the same time.

First, for frugal minded individuals, the tap is the cheapest source of water.  So let’s look at a filter that works right at the source.  It’s the Brita On Tap Water Filter.

With this filter, you have a choice of filtering the water or not filtering the water — it’s just a quick twist of a lever on the unit.  The cost (as of this writing) is $21.49 at Walmart or on Amazon (available on Prime).  The unit also includes a filter that is good for 100 gallons of filtered water.  That’s only $0.21 per gallon.   The filter is replaceable at a cost of $12.77 (about $0.13 per gallon).

So in just buying the On Tap unit with the filter, here’s a cost comparison:

On Tap – 16.9 oz of filtered water = $0.028 VERSUS $0.56 for 16.9 oz bottle of Nestle Pure Life at Walmart

In our home, we use the Brita On Tap filter to fill our Rubbermaid 1 gallon pitcher.  We place this pitcher in our refrigerator where it is convenient for our family to use.  It keeps the water cold and ready to drink.

For convenience, as well as durability and keeping our water cold when we take it with us, we use the Yeti 30 oz tumblers.  These tumblers are like taking our cold water with us in an ice chest.  And they last forever.