Two weeks ago I shared some simple photography tips for kids on the blog. It was a two part post. Part one was the tips. Part two is an art project using the photos your kids take.

Here are links to both posts (click on the titles):

Part One: Photography Fun for Kids – photo tips

Part Two: Photography Fun for Kids – art project

These two are two years apart….and looking more and more alike each day, especially with their summer haircuts.5.14mpix2-25.14mpix2-35.14mpix2-4

This was his face when I told him his artwork would be featured on a big photography company blog.5.14mpix2-5

And then his face turned into a big smile.

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  • Wendy - Oh, I LOVE this idea! I’ve had the kids do this with pictures I’ve cut out from magazines, but never thought to do it with pictures! This is definitely on our summer “to do” list.

  • Jody - Love love this. Thanks for sharing!!

    More art/photography ideas for our kids please!!!!!!!

  • Seamingly Sarah - Oh my gosh! I’ve never really looked at them side by side like that. It looks like one of them is a time traveler who came to visit himself in the future. It’s amazing to see all of the possibilities that exist within each child.

  • Tonya - That face he is making in the last picture….cracked me up!

  • Southern Gal - I missed the second part on Mpix. I love that face!

  • Taylor - haha! I love that last picture! Kids are seriously too funny!


  • RaD - Mmmm…. I still think your youngest son and oldest daughter look the most alike. :0)

  • Elisha Wolter - Hi Ashley! This is such a great idea for kids to do! I think I’m going to give it a try with my kids, they will really enjoy it! I’m going to go and read the first post now, thanks for sharing!

  • Irene Wiranata - Thanks for the great idea for the projects (for future kids!) :D By the way, I am just wondering what are your kids’ rules on using technology and do you give them limit on how much they can use in a day etc.. (ipad,iphone,tv etc)

    Have a fabulous weekend! :))

Disclaimer: there were no crustaceans, felines, boys or girls harmed in the making of this post

If it rains, we are guaranteed to find our yard full of crawdads. Evidently, we must have a river running under our property. If anyone wants to come drill a well for us – the invitation is open. We know after a good rain, we can take a few steps outside and find a dozen crawdads crawling around the grass. We’re slowly becoming crawdad experts, spotting their holes from a great distance away. My eight year old naturalist examines each one and studies how they interact with different things. In other words, he tries to get them to grab various items, just not his fingers.

*the aperture setting for all of these was f/2.8, I was using my 50mm lens


(don’t worry there was a little boy right behind the crawdad in case it decided to jump, which I am pretty sure it can’t)5.14crawdad-45.14crawdad-55.14crawdad-65.14crawdad-75.14crawdad-8

The crawdad won.

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  • Bonnie - Oh, I love the cat pictures! It’s like the cat is saying, “Whatever, dude. You’re not worth my time.” Haha!

  • Tiffany - Thank you for the giggles this morning. Too funny.

  • stephany - I love this.
    One of our favorite things to do as a family is to go down to the river near our house and fish for crayfish…thats what we call them.
    We caught 3 on Monday!

  • Alice H - those things creep me out! Great shots though.

  • Tonya - I had a rather unpleasant experience with one of those things when I was a teenager. It involved washing my hair in a creek bed (we were camping) and a crawdad getting stuck in my hair. The pictures made me laugh!

  • danielle - Those are great! We have a dry creek bed that overflows when it rains but no crawdads! Now I want to find a crawdad!

  • Jenn - growing up a cajun girl we boiled those up by the pounds and ate them with potatoes, corn and sausage. not sure what your naturalist boy would think about that but they are pretty yummy. they are frequently called mud bugs, we call them crawfish but lots call them crawdads too. my kids won’t get close to them. my son ate some as an 18month old but now calls them red bugs and says he doesn’t want to eat those red bugs.
    in fact we just ate some this past weekend. i was planning on posted them on my blog later this week. glad your kiddos had fun with them. love the disclaimer you made. i’m sure your brave boys were ready to grab up that crawfish from little one.

  • Christy - That’s crazy. I didn’t know the left the water long enough to just go walking around. We have an Australian Blue Crayfish as a pet. He lives in an aquarium, I don’t know how he would feel about walking around in the backyard!

  • Kellilu - What fun! The photo of Little One and the crawdad is marvelous.

  • Michelle Hill - I can’t help but get the heebie jeebies thinking about a back yard crawling with crawdads…gahhhh! Especially thinking about that picture you posted a while back with a pregnant crawdad…double gahhhhh!!
    the pictures are beautiful, however :)

  • Shevaun - We call them Yabbies in Australia. :)
    So did you eat them?

  • heather - Thank you for making me laugh out loud today. Those pictures are fantastic!

  • Susanna - These pictures totally made my morning! What great stories you tell with your camera.

  • Anna @ A Good Home - These are definitely some of my favorite pictures you’ve ever posted! I just love them!

  • Amanda - All I could think was collect them and boil them. Yum!! Where I’m from a crawfish boil with friends is a favorite way to spend an afternoon.

  • Amy Cornwell - I love the curiosity of the cat! So cute!

  • anastasia curtin - Super funny :) my daughter always chases sand crabs on the beach, no luck catching one yet though :)

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - LOL – the cats and crawdads crack me up!

  • Taylor - I seriously love those last pictures with the cat. That interaction is hilarious!


  • Bri Schaaf - Oh my goodness..Cracking up! That poor kitty! What fun!

  • Julie - Love the curiosity of the kids and the cat! We went camping in Oklahoma over the weekend and saw quite a few crawdads in the creeks where we were.

  • Meg - Oh my gosh! These are so funny! What is that crawdad thinking? Apparently he was thinking right to make the cat leave!

  • Jo Moseley - Okay, this made me laugh out loud, too! I think the photo of your Baby Girl & the crawdad looking at each other, is The Best!
    Thanks, for making my day!
    Hugs, Jo

  • Jenny B. - Love it! My 9-year-old son was looking over my shoulder, and thought the first picture was of himself. He said, “I held THAT!?” Hahaha. My kids are the opposite of naturalists. :) So glad you’re having fun with your big camera! I am sooooo wanting to get a new one. :)

  • jay - Wow that’s thin DOF at 2.8….!!

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Such fun!

  • Kates - How fun for your kids to have these little creatures to enjoy! I’m sure they aren’t too upset when it rains!

  • Christine - Such a cute story through your images!

  • Elisha Wolter - This gave me a giggle! I like their ‘studying faces’! I love that your kids have such individual interests. I remember the post where you showed the handsome little man above’s bedroom with his nature pics on his wall. I was inspired by that as I have an ‘animal lover’ here too! Although, he likes snakes … eeewww! but,there are snakes on his wall! Among other animals! I love how you capture the big and little moments of life. You’re a real blessing!

  • kirsten - this series of shots is AWESOME. tells such a wonderful story, and i love the angle/DOF. thanks so much for sharing!

  • debbie Schaefer - Brilliant capture… the wonder, the awe, the personality of these critters and your adorable children. When I schooled and arrived at the image of the cat… OH my, just brilliant! I love your shares on what happens in your yard! I bet you could write a post on mosquitos and I would be in awe!

  • holly - fantastic photos!

When I shoot the garden from this angle, it looks like lush green vegetation growing….dinner every night from our backyard.

The truth is I have 4 buckets with lettuce, spinach and onions and one big bed of strawberries. The rest of the garden – all those raised beds – sunflowers and zinnias. We have a lot of travel plans coming up and the garden just isn’t happening. Soon though I’ll have “Mammoth” sunflowers and zinnias  – it will be pretty and I guess technically it will be edible. Sunflower seeds don’t go far in feeding a family though. In other news, when we do planet food in our garden again it will grow great from all that chicken compost!garden-2

We have had a total of 22 chickens now. We lost 4…and not “lost” like we can’t find them. So far we’ve yet to have a single rooster. I’ve been convinced before that we have had a rooster and then the rooster started laying eggs. I am convinced again that the gray chicken above is a guy not a girl. There are no spurs and no cock-a-doodle-dooing, but it just looks like a rooster. Right? Compared to others its age of the same breed, the comb and wattle are so much bigger.  I examine the feathers daily, but I’ve been wrong many times before. What do you chicken experts think? Do I have a rooster? He/she is about 12 weeks old, blue copper

We are still really enjoy our chickens. Whenever friends come over there is one random fact that always surprises people – our eggs will never turn into chickens since we don’t have a rooster. For some of you that is common knowledge – for others of you, there is your farming science lesson for the day. Your hen can lay eggs, but if there isn’t a rooster those eggs won’t turn into baby chicks.

Yesterday a deep, heartfelt post. Today roosters and eggs. Keeping you on your toes around here:)

Happy Friday!

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  • Brandi - We ended up with a rooster in our first batch of chicks. I believe he started with the crowing at about 16 weeks. Unfortunately, he also started going after our kids…and so was the end of Romeo. :( I wish there was a way to tell sooner so we could have maybe handled him more as a chick? But, no such luck. We have our second batch of chicks right now, hoping for all girls or at least mild manners… It is such a learning experience! Just like the garden…I never knew how broccoli grew until I was in my late 30s. Kinda sad!

  • Jenni - Really?! Now that is interesting!! I love this blog:). It’s good for my soul and for just plain interesting facts!!:)

  • Sarah Pratt - We have quite a few chickens ourselves. Yours are beautiful. As far as your maran goes, it is a she. Some breeds just have bigger combs and mature faster than others. If it were a he, you’d be hearing it crowing and it would have beautiful long tail feathers.

  • Allison - I’m not sure about the gray one, but the one in the front of the picture that has the red neck and bluish/black bottom half looks like my Rhode Island Red rooster. Sadly, we don’t think he will be with us much longer….he attacked me and is hard on the hens. We have plenty of eggs with our 7 hens, but they are fun to watch and the eggs are delicious and fun to share with others.

  • Heather - If it’s a rooster, it should be crowing already. We have three massive roosters…and got VERY tired of them harassing the hens, so we put all three “men” in their own pen thinking they’d peck each other to death and we’d be done. NO! They get along famously without a single posturing fight. They crow all day, but not incessantly.

  • angie - Looks like a girl to me. Love all the different breeds in your flock. Beautiful!

  • Jennifer - No idea about the rooster. But I was really hoping this was a pregnancy announcement post…

  • Meredith N - Looks like a hen to me. I had chickens growing up and the roosters were not friendly (as some of the other comments suggest). We ended up with two and one of them attacked me. Might be better if you don’t have one!

  • Jayme - We are new chicken owners this year and starting out with 6 hens. I must say that I enjoy watching them, and your random fact…I’ve been sharing that interesting tidbit myself since most people aren’t aware of it. Granted, I just learned it myself when I started reading up on chickens :)

  • Meryl - Maybe it’s just seeing him next to the other birds, but I think you have a roo there. Will be interesting to see!

  • Taylor - Gorgeous pictures! I wish I knew how to tell a chicken and rooster apart at a young age, but alas, I have no experience (yet!). I hope for the best!!


  • Birdy - You just have to make a game out of it. I really think you can learn so much from animals. See how they life live, eat, sleep… maybe the kids can find out differences..

    It looks definitely as your kids would love to have them around. What a wonderful opportunity for the kids to grow up with them together!

    have a wonderful weekend

    Love from Germany and the -fatcatconnection-

  • Kimberly Oyler - the title of this post made me think I had missed a big announcement. keeping me on my toes for sure.

  • RaD - My guess would still be hen, but I’m no expert so don’t quote me. ;0)

    My reason for this is because even though the comb is larger the waddle is still relatively small. We had hens whose comb and waddle seemed larger than others but were still indeed hens. Also, I believe the tail feathers would already be getting much longer. Typically roosters have large fan like tails.

    See this pic of our school/church mascot rooster:

    He has no comb and no waddle because I’m told he is a fighting cock and they are bred to have smaller ones so they are less prone to injury. However, the crowing and the fan tail definitely give him away. He also used to have very long spurs, but upon his disappearance someone must have cut them off.

    A word of caution though… Roosters can be aggressive, so if indeed your dear chicken turns out to be a rooster, watch him carefully around your kids. If he is handled often by you and the children I don’t believe you’ll have an issue as ours were mostly friendly. However, sometimes they will still be aggressive, in which case you may not want to have one. If he starts flying at you with legs in the air (spurs up, once they get long enough) it’s time to say good bye or you could have some kids who need stitches in their face.

    Also mating between a rooster and a hen can look very aggressive. Be prepared to have “a talk” with your children.

  • TheDenverPack - We had 4 chicks and 1 ended up being a rooster. We could tell by 12 weeks. He started crowing early one Sunday morning and I bolted across the house and out to get him (we live in a suburb and are allowed 4 hens but no roosters). Thankfully we found him a nice home on a farm.

  • Ellen - Over a year and a half ago, we had this ugly, homely bird come to our house–and it turned out to be a chicken – we just couldn’t figure out its gender. I was convinced it was a rooster for a bit. However, we weren’t fully convinced as to what it was until one day we found some eggs! She does make some rooster calls sometimes, strangely enough, but is overall a sweet hen. Oh yeah – and we call her Kevin…Kevvie for short… because Kevin IS a girl. (for all those Up-lovers) =)

    But I think this one is probably a hen. Definitely a hen. Just wait for the eggs–they’ll come.

  • Ashley - SO glad I’m not the only who didn’t know that at one point! Bought a book on chickens last year and talk about informative! Who would’ve thought you’d need a Rooster ;) Makes sense though!

  • Fiona Mae Alvero - I learned about the hen eggs not hatching chicks without roosters from the movie Flipped! :) Have you seen that movie? One of my faves. :)

  • jodi - We currently have 6 hens and 1 rooster…and now 12 chicks and another hen is setting, so maybe more chicks soon?!? It is going to be so interesting to see how many roosters/hens we end up with in this batch. It was the most amazing thing to look out one day and see these little fuzzy chicks scurrying around their mama!

    It is amazing you guys haven’t had a rooster yet…we had 3 for awhile, and the incessant crowing drove us crazy, so we had to pare down :) Evidently they were competing with each other, so now even with 1 there is much, much less noise!

  • Katie S - I learned the whole chicken and egg thing from my father-in-law (a farmer). Before that I never really knew or thought about why some become chickens and some are just eggs. He gave me the very real example of –”well you “lay” an egg every month too–and it’s not always a baby” :} Fertilization…um duh!

  • Danna Pettit - Hi! So I’m sorry for the super random comment, but I wasn’t sure how else to get a hold of you. I came across your airplane room that you did for your boys several years back and I fell in love with it. I want to try to replicate parts of it and I was wondering if you could tell me how exactly you hung a globe of the world from the ceiling. Was it a real globe or was it a ball or what was it exactly? And where did you find it? Thanks for your time and I love your work!


  • Barny - I have vegan friends who would consider eating unfertilized homegrown eggs :D

    I wish we had chickens!

    Barnicles xx