Through The Generations

It's very difficult in the below pictures to even notice a family resemblance.  {Where is the sarcasm font when I need it}


Ms. E, The Mister, The Mister's Dad, The Mister's Grand Dad

daddy's girl

great grand father

It's easy to see where E gets a few of her features {cough cough ears} from when the generations line up.

I hope everyone is staying cool this weekend.  It's hitting triple digits in NJ today.  I see air conditioning and pool breaks in our schedule.

Creating a Brush Preset for Easy Watermarking - Photo Tips

Today's Photo Tips lesson is going to teach everyone how to create a quick brush preset for easy watermarking.  You should ALWAYS watermark your photos before you stick them on the internet.  This will show you how to make an easy text watermark.

1.  Start by opening Photoshop {I'm using CS, but this is almost identical in Elements}.  Now go ahead and start a new blank file to work with.  {File->New}

Creating a watermark

2.  We need to set the parameters of our new file.  After you select file and new a box will pop up.  For this tutorial I'm setting my parameters to Width: 600; Height: 300; and Resolution: 300 {all values are in pixels}. Make sure the Background Contents is listed as Transparent.   I named the file "Easy Photo Tagging", but that's optional.  When you have everything to the size you require hit OK.

Brush preset

3.  Below is what your screen should look like.  You may not have the two boxes on the right.  Those are my history and layers windows open.  Since we are going to make a simple text preset select the Text icon.  It's the little "T" on the toolbar to the left.

Photoshop elements

4.  Type in whatever you would like to mark your photos with.  It can be your blog name, your tag line, your business name, or anything else that you want.  I choose "Natalie's Blog" for this tutorial.  Make sure the size takes up most if not all of the space in the box.  You can select your font size from the top bar after you select the text icon.  Play around with it until you get something you like.

You can also go to Edit -> Free Transform and this will create a box around your text that you can drag the edges out until it fills the space.

using photoshop to watermark

5.  Now we are going to save our image as a brush preset so that in the future we can put it on any photo with one click!  {Edit -> Define Brush Preset}

brush presets

6.  Give your brush preset a name.  A box will pop up.  I named this one, "Easy Photo Tagging"

new watermark

photoshop tips

Now when you select the brush icon on the left side bar or just hit "B" {that's the hot key to select the brush tool} your preset will show up in the drop down box.  It should be the very last one present.  Select it!  You can also change the size with the slider bar at the top of the brush tool drop down box shown below.

how to watermark

Now here's the fun part and how you make it into a watermark of sorts.  The arrow on the first picture below points to the drop down box where you select the brush we just made.  Remember it should be the last one listed.  The part that is circled allows you to choose the opacity of the brush tool.  The lower the opacity the more that will show of the background picture you are marking.  The second picture below shows you the difference between opacity levels.  {100%, 75%, 50%, 25%}

You can change the color of your watermark brush preset as well.  Select the brush tool either by clicking on the brush circled {second picture below} on the left toolbar or by pushing B.  Then double click on the little black box sitting over top of the white box at the bottom of the left hand tool bar.  A color box will pop up.  Slide the bar around until you get the color you desire.

how to change opacity

photoshop colors

Brush presets can only be one color, but they can be any color.  

To test out your new brush preset as a watermark open up a picture in Photoshop {File ->Open}Select your brush tool {little paint brush on the left or hit "B"}, choose your newly made brush from the drop down at the top.  Choose your color and opacity and then click where ever you want your watermark to appear!  

The photo below is using the plum color from above with an opacity set to 19%.  Happy watermarking!  

beach baby

Next Week - How to create a dotted circle {harder then one would think}


Park Picnics with Mom

Sometimes The Mister has to work late.  So late that he misses E completely.  Usually on those days I'm scrambling to get everything done in time for E to get in the tub.  

Yesterday I decided that all of that could wait.  I stopped and picked us up some food on my way to pick her up so that we could enjoy the evening together.  

I picked up E, we stopped at home quickly for an outfit change for both of us.  We were both in dresses and those really aren't good ground sitting and park playing outfits.

growing baby

We went to the park for a picnic just E and mommy.  I was a little nervous about how this was going to play out.  Would E happily sit on the blanket I brought and have dinner with me?  Or would I be chasing her around with chicken in my hand trying to get her to eat? She knows what "on your bottom" means, but whether or not she would listen was a mystery.  Either way I was going to try.

picnic blanket

Thankfully as soon as I put the blanket down she toddled on to it and when I told her to sit down she did!  No fussing, no fighting, and no trying to get up and run around.  I placed her grilled chicken nuggets in front of her and handed her the applesauce squeeze packet.  {She knew food was coming as soon as I put her bib on, I think that was the main reason she sat down so quickly}  

It was really nice.  I was able to eat too which I was prepared to have to wait until after E was in bed.  It was the perfect evening for a picnic.  It was in the mid 80's with a light cool breeze blowing by.  Great weather we rarely ever have this late in June in NJ.

toddler picnic 

 We dined alfresco at the park together.  We chatted about our days and planned out the weekend.  Also while we were dining a band was doing sound checks for their show later on.  So we even had music in the background.  It was a classy evening.

chik fil a grilled nuggest

After our meal I took her to the toddler play area.  It was the first time I could sit on the bench and she was able to play by herself.  Of course I still played with her, but I had the option.  It was also the first time I realized that she is a little girl.  She is her own person and that we can interact like people.  It was eye opening.  She answers questions, she tries to communicate her needs and wants, she's growing up.  

Now if only we had one of those fabulous spray parks I keep seeing pictures of.  Even without it was a great evening.

When was the last time you had a picnic? When did you realize that your baby was no longer a baby and turned into a little person?


Puppy Popsicles with Moo Moo

When ever E sees a dog she almost always says, "Moo Moo!!!"  No she isn't making cow sounds at dogs.  You see her Mom-mom and Grampy have a chocolate lab named; Mousse.  She can't say Mousse but she has no issues at all saying, Moo Moo.

She will request to go see Moo Moo at random times.  She'll look at us and say, "Moo Moo" with this happy expectant look on her face.   

Sometimes when you visit your grandparents they give you a popsicle
 dog popsicle

But be careful with your popsicle!
carter's outfit 

Because the Popsicle Puppy will swoop in! 
baby and lab 

baby and dog together 

laughing toddler

yogurt popsicle

toddler outdoor fun

sharing with a dog 

OK Moo Moo you have a lick
toddler summer treat

toddler and dog safety

My turn now

blue cotton candy popsicle

cloth diaper
Add caption

summer toddler

YUM!  Dog slobber and all
summer toddler fun 


Jelly Bag Sensory Activity - 12 to 24 months

E and I get back to the house after I pick her up from daycare anywhere from 4:45 to 5:15 PM.  Traffic is a fickle beast.  The Mister doesn't get home until around 6 PM {give or take ten minutes}.  

When we get home I give E a snack {usually poofs, teddy grahams, or Cheerios}.  Whatever her request of the day is.  Lately it's been all poofs all the time.  Snack will usually occupy her for about ten minutes and then it's hit or miss whether she'll want my undivided attention or will play by herself.

Yesterday was a day that she wanted a bit more attention.  Unfortunately she also wanted dinner at 6 PM sharp.  Until they figure out cloning I just can't be in two places at once.  Luckily I have a couple of activities for her on these occasions.

 I give you Jelly Bag!

toddler activity

Needed Items
  • Ziploc Bags {already had them in the house}
  • Hair Gel {purchased at Target}
  • Misc. bits and pieces to stick in the gel
  • Cute toddler
I used two different sized bags.  The "big" bag was a mix of half hair gel and half water.  The "little" bag was all hair gel.  I cut up some straws and put them in both bags, I also tossed in some cheerios in the little bag.  Squeeze the air out and zip shut.  I would suggest duct taping the top if your bag doesn't have a good seal.  I attempted to tape them up to the glass door {they look really cool with the light coming through them}.  
Cost:  $1.82 
{Hair gel from Target, but I had a gift card so technically free.  You could try the dollar store for cheap gel} 

Jelly bag 

E likes to hang out by the front door or at least do front door checks until Daddy gets home.  So her jelly bags started out taped to that door.  She enjoyed poking the bags for awhile until she figured out how to get them down.  Then they traveled the house with her.

free thigns to do with your toddler

hair gel bag for toddlers 

She enjoyed poking the straws and moving them around.  I wanted to put googly eyes in the bags, but I couldn't find mine.  {I did locate them AFTER I sealed up the bags}

I won't lie these things were cool.  I even enjoyed squishing them around.

sensory activity 12-24 months

toddler sea activity

The jelly bags started at the front door, moved to the sliding glass deck door, then to her table, and eventually she tried to bring them both upstairs to the tub.

ikea table for toddlers
TV is lame, jelly bags are AWESOME!

jelly bag travel
Mom I'm taking this bag and going upstairs!

What type of activities do you use when you need an extra ten to twenty minutes?


Gas is no joking matter

Gas is no joking matter.  Last night E was exhausted.  She had spent the entire day at her Mom-Mom and Grampy’s house swimming in the pool, playing, and stuffing herself with blueberries and grapes.  {She learned a new word yesterday as well, “pool”}  She had very little desire to get out of the pool. 

daddy and baby swim
This is the greatest thing ever!

She did comply with sitting in the foot bath when we weren’t in the pool.  So when we left around six the little lady was TIRED.  Usually she doesn’t go in the tub until seven, but yesterday we made an exception.  {Mainly because she climbed upstairs and went into the bathroom saying, “tub”}  So we started her bedtime routine earlier then usual.

She was down and in her crib a little bit before seven.  She rolled right over to her belly and appeared from my monitor’s stand point to be out by 7:10 PM.

Then she woke up and not very happy I might add around 7:50 PM.  I had no idea what was wrong.  I decided to let her fuss a little to see if she would soothe herself back to sleep.  She’s an excellent self soother. 

peaceful baby
I just need a little nap

She rolled around, but kept crying.  I sent The Mister in with some milk.  She drank some milk, but as soon as we put her back in her crib laying down she was a beast again.  It made no sense.  Upright and sitting with us sleepy and content, laying on her back or belly a crying mess.  My original thought was teething or an over tired baby.

After letting her fuss a little after The Mister left I went in.  I couldn’t resist because she was saying, “Ma Ma”.  I went in, held her belly to belly in the glider, and started patting her back as she rested her head on my should.  She seemed content.

Gas baby
Indigestion is no joke!

Then she let out the loudest burp EVER.  I looked at her and she had this look of amazement and relief on her face.  She said “ma ma” all excited like.  I kept patting her back just in case there were anymore devil gas bubbles lurking in there.  Two more little burps later she looked at me with a big smile on her face.  I asked if she wanted to go to sleep and she to her bed and said, “slee”.

I put her down and within seconds she was out for the count. 

Gas can be one fickle bitch. 

Have you fought the gas bubble beast?  What about the over tired I don’t want to go to sleep baby?

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