First, let me say how much I loved reading your comments on what you believe. Some were so beautiful, some memorable and some flat out hilarious. You should take time to read them all! I was tempted to list some of my favorites, but there were too many. Thanks for playing along…we’ll do it again soon. And now….

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Congratulations Abbey…send me an email!

So this is going to be a bit of a random post…do you remember this ADORABLE hat?
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A few nights ago she was sporting her cuteness in it while shopping at Hobby Lobby with me. It started to fall down over her eyes, so I sat it on her lap in the stroller. A couple aisles later I realized it had fallen off her lap. Now it was about 30 minutes before close and there were only a couple other shoppers in the store, so I was confident I’d walk back and find it on the floor…but I didn’t. Now here is the crummy part…in the area I was at was 2 other moms pushing strollers with daughters close to the same age as mine. In a matter of minutes they were gone and the hat was no where to be found. I contacted the manager and in minutes most of the store staff was looking all over for the hat. Most knew what it looked like because they had noted how cute she was in it earlier. When it didn’t turn up I started crying! Can you believe I was crying over a hat in Hobby Lobby! Embarrassing!! I was bummed that we lost my favorite hat from a dear friend, but more than that I was disturbed that someone would basically steal her hat. Who takes a baby’s hat and shoves it in their diaper bag instead of turning it in? Who puts a ‘stolen’ hat on their own innocent baby? I couldn’t help but think about what that mom will be passing on one day to her daughter…I guess a belief that finders are truly keepers.

Well I got home and was obviously upset. I laid in bed that night thinking about it and what I was going to do with this experience…and I remembered the night before Biggest Brother had found a dollar the park. We made him walk around to see if anyone was around that might have dropped it. Since there was no one to be found we told him he could keep it. As a mom I think just about everything in life can be used to teach my kids something – the next morning he and I had a talk about what to do when you find something. He was upset to know someone kept his sister’s hat instead of trying to find her to give it back.

I told him that instead of staying in a place of anger I am choosing to respond in a positive way.  I am choosing to give out of the recognition that God has given me….He has given me SO MUCH. I ordered another hat, but this time I ordered two. So in a couple of weeks when my daughter gets her new hat, so will another little girl. Maybe it will be a blog giveaway or maybe I’ll stalk a mom at Hobby Lobby and gift her with it. Who knows. I also chose to make my girl a new flower for one of her other hats…because making something always makes me feel better! When Chris saw it he said it looked “vintage”…mission accomplished!

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Not only did I make her a new flower for her hat I had an all day craft vacation….getting ready for my seminar at A Christmas Gathering! There are only 1000 tickets for each night. Thursday is sold out, but you can still get a ticket for Friday! Here’s sneak peek on what I have in the works! I’ll be posting tutorials on everything the week of Thanksgiving…so those of you that can’t come in person can still see it all.

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By “craft vacation” I mean the older two kids were gone most of the day, Littlest Brother was gone in the morning and I only had Baby Sister around….so it was a mini-vacation for me. Littlest Brother came home from his nana’s for his naptime. He was supposed to be sleeping (he goes back and forth between his bed and crib depending on how tired I am), but I heard laughter coming from his room. I grabbed my camera (laughter usually indicates a fun picture) and walked to his room. Evidently he thought it was a good idea to pull his curtain down and try to climb out of the crib. I snapped the picture, then headed back to my craft vacation…he eventually fell asleep.

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P.S. The “stolen” hat is pretty unique for around here, so if you are local and you see another baby girl sporting it feel free to tackle her mom and get it back for me. Just kidding…well really I’m not kidding, but it makes me look better if I pretend I am!

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  • Alba - It happened the same to me a year ago with a little toy from my second child, in a beach. It was a gift from my brother, and it was important to me. Anyway, you can be as upset as you want.
    How easy is to run after someone when you see they have forget something on you side? At least for me.
    She looks so cute with her new hat, really 20′ (1920)

  • amanda torres - You are so funny (referring to your last comment)! I am seriously cracking up. So sorry about the hat. I would be just as upset.

  • sheridan - Oh that gets me HOT! YOu can bet if I see that hat on another baby I’ll be sure to hound her mama w/ questions as to where did she EVER found it. I’ll kill her w/ kindness and compliments on her style and choice of hat. So sorry this happened but thankful you are a mommy who looks to goodness and blessing out of a bad experience. I’m super excited to see what you come up with for the Christmas Gathering! Be sure to give Carrie a shout out from the stage she’ll love it and feel like a rock star.

  • Michele V. - I had a girls weekend this past weekend with some cousins and
    aunts and mom and sisters. We found a woman’s wedding band and a bracelet left in the room we were staying. We couldn’t imagine what the owner of it had felt like when she realized she lost it and probably didn’t know where. Apparently the last group to stay there were military wives. We turned the ring into the office hoping they could track down who it belonged
    to. The day we left there I realized I did not have
    my anniversary ring on and must have lost it there. Of course we were already an hour and a half away coming home when I realized it. It made me think about us doing the right thing and when I got home I found my ring in the top of my suitcase.
    Whoever found your little girl’s hat will reap what they sow. It’s just sad some people don’t understand that.

  • ashlee - lol…i would so call her out if i saw your hat!! i love love the flower, it is so elegant! so do you live in an old house with fabulous moldings (in little brothers room) or did you add it? i love the turquoise trim! is it on the base boards and crown as well? Im excited to get to take your class! i cant wait to see your projects…enough rambling for now:)

  • Trinity - When I was reading the story, I really thought it was going to end by you getting home and finding that you put it in your bag or something….that sounds like something I would do. I admire the fact that you can turn your frustration to something positive. I also admire the fact that you don’t hide things from your kids. I think it is good that they see our frustrations and they see us angry, then what we do with it. I think it helps them learn how to get through life.

  • bopha - I’ve got your back, or at least Breese’s cute little bald head. You might check but I heard they added more tickets for Thurs night.

  • Holly - I’m so sorry! That just plain sucks! Just think about the karma, and maybe that will make you feel a bit better!

  • Mara - What a bummer about the hat. I have been known to go back and look for the smallest little hair clip. I just can’t stand to leave anything behind. I am very inspired by the lesson you took from the experience. Thank you so much for sharing the story and I really CAN”T wait for the tutorials and pictures to come. I just love your blog!

  • Liz - I’m so sorry that happened! I love the new flower for her hat that you made. Would you share how you did that? I have bee wanted to make some for the girls but wasn’t quite sure what kind of flowers to use.

  • Jill J - The person who stole the hat needs Jesus. (I’m not saying this in a sarcastic way either.) I try to talk to my boys about things just like this. I talk about praying for people who steel and to think that they probably need the stolen object more than we do anyway. I’m sorry this happened to you, but I really appreciate your attitude about it! And I love that you turned it into a lesson for your kids about being kind and considerate. I am convinced that those lessons stick with them!

    p.s. I live in CO but I am totally going to come out and take a class from you… when I get a better camera. Maybe I’ll steel it. Kidding! :)

  • Meagan - Oh, that is just awful! I would have cried too. It was such a cute hat…

    Hey, I think all of us Ashley blog followers should get together at the Christmas Gathering! That would be fun to meet each other in person!

  • Jeannette Swan - I had been wondering if you found the hat…guess not, but, I’m glad you have another one coming!

  • AshleyAnn - Ashlee…nope the house is only about 5 years old…but was built like an old farmhouse. We added the trim in his room, just around the windows and up high. Eventually we’ll add crown molding I hope.

    Lisa, yes I’ll post a tutorial on her bow. I might try to do that next week.

  • Melissa - I am totally cracking up right now, because I would so have felt the same way, down to the very last “PS” comment you made. :)

  • rachel denbow - No fun. Thanks for sharing how you are working through it in a positive way, though. It’s so easy to forget how our children pick up on those things and how we can use similar experiences with them to shape their character. GREAT REMINDER!

    Sebastian saw Breese’s pic and said, “What a cute little baby!”

    I’d say gorgeous!

  • christina larsen - Sorry about the hat. If I see it; I’ll get it back for you.

  • abbey - HI! I am so excited to have won the necklace! Thanks so much. I am sad about the hat as it was adorable, but so glad you found the good in it both in your craft afternoon and buying a gift hat. Thanks for happy thoughts and pretty pictures. (Oh and the lovely necklace!)

  • Michelle - I would love to know where you ordered the hat from? That is the prettiest hat I have see for a baby. Thank you!

  • AshleyAnn - You can get the hat here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/zjohnson

  • Tess S - I love your kids rooms. My husband and I are building a home and are currently living in his parent’s basement until it’s finished. I’ve been scouring the net for ideas for their rooms. I’ve decided to make your “pallet” bed as a reading nook in the new playroom. I’d love to get more inspiration from you. Would you be willing to post some shots of your kids rooms?

  • Valerie - Woot! I am excited because I have a ticket for the Thursday night Christmas Gathering!

  • Alicia - Where did you get her cream colored hat?

I’ve really enjoyed reading all your comments on yesterday’s post. The contest ends at noon today…so if you didn’t comment yesterday do it before it is over. Winner to be announced tomorrow.

Here’s a little mini photography tutorial. I took all of these with my P&S (point and shoot camera). It use my dslr 99% of the time but I know most of you that read this may not have a dslr. So…I created this little post to hopefully help you a bit with the camera you have. I took the first shots on automatic to show what your camera will want to do, then I took a second shot to show you ways to change it. The first thing I’ll touch on is your ISO. I am not going to get into what all this means, but just a few blind tips to help. If you look on your camera you will either see the letters ISO on the back or you might find it in your menu.

The picture below is taken fully automatic…which meant my flash came on. You can see my brother-in-law Eric and the SYTYCD stage…but not so much the crowd.1109autosettings-01

By turning my ISO to HIGH, you can tell the crowd is more visible, but the picture is also more grainy. It makes for a fun shot though. If you don’t want to use your flash in dark settings, you can play with making the ISO number higher.1109autosettings-02

My daughter sleeping near a window…on fully automatic the camera forced on the flash.1109autosettings-03

Again, I increased my ISO number to HIGH and the flash didn’t come on. She is near a window for lighting.1109autosettings-04

Now I’ll touch on “Digital Macro”. Most cameras come with this as a setting. Again there is a window behind me for some light.

I was trying to take a picture of the Lego Man below on automatic, but my camera wouldn’t focus on the man no matter what I tried.1109autosettings-05

By switching to the Digital Macro mode, I was able to focus on the Lego Man…and the bite marks covering his body.1109autosettings-06

Again this is on the fully automatic mode. I was trying to capture the row of Lego shirts. The camera kept forcing on my flash at this angle.1109autosettings-07

And another one using the Digital Macro mode…much better.1109autosettings-08

Sometimes I think people assume photography is based on how great your camera is.

Though camera quality is a factor…understanding how to use your camera is the greater factor.

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  • Rebecca - I loved this post and here is why.

    I am not a professional photographer but so many people think I ought to become one because of the photos I take. I only post “good” photos to my blog and so I get discouraged by the many “BAD” shots that fill up Picasa-the ones that I see. This post is heartening that I am not a total loser and that real photographers have some trash shots too. YAY!

    Thank you for showing your “less than ideals”…not many people do and I was beginning to get a complex! :-)

  • Alba - thanks for the tips. I always wonder what was ISO about, but “obviously” never touched the manual ;-)

  • Carrie - Very helpful!!!!!

  • Meagan - This is a really helpful post, Ashley! Thank you!

  • Susan - I love ANY & ALL photo tips! Thanks.

  • Ashley Cangelosi - Thank you! I plan to give ths a try today!!!

  • robyn - Great tips… I should probably read my manual. I tried your tips and saw IMMEDIATE results. Now, I need to practice so I can make quick decisions, so as not to miss that “kodak moment”
    Thanks!!!

  • becky - Thank you! Good tips until I can get my own dslr

  • Georgia Davis - Thanks for the tip. I need all the help I can get.

  • PamperingBeki - I love this! You are so right.

    And can I just say that I love that you, as a photographer, posted that horrible flashed out “snapshot” of the baby sleeping. Haha! Adjusting the ISO is such a simple tip that can make a difference in everyday photos, with or without a “nice” camera.

    Great tip, Ashley!

  • trish - AMEN!!!! to your last comment. big step that most people miss. i will be reposting this awesome quote by AAP if you don’t mind ;)

  • Melissa - These are great, Ashley! Thank you so much! But what is Digital Macro? Is that a little picture on my dial on top of my camera? Like the little profile face or the flower?

  • amanda torres - Thank you so much. I am still not ready to invest in a dslr (or whatever it’s called) camera. LOVE to know how to use my point and shoot. Simply because that’s all I have done…point and shoot…and hope for the best. You rock!

  • Jill J - I’d really like to know WHEN to use the flash. Every time I turn it on the pictures turn out terrible!

  • Megan Taylor - Oh wow, Ashley. I have to admit I rush home in an attempt to catch it on Wednesday nights (sometimes to no avail), but Sean isn’t a huge fan. I didn’t start watching until the tail end of last season. Hope you enjoyed it!

  • Mrs. Dunbar - These are really great tips. What type of point and shoot camera do you have? I am in the market for a new one… my car went through the car wash a few weeks ago and when it came out, the P&S camera that I normally kept in my diaper bag was gone, but the case was still there. I know how you feel about your lil’ girl’s hat.

I did not intend to post any costume pictures from the weekend because:
1. I had 45 minutes to come up with 4 costumes and the end result was a bit hideous

2. I saw too many cute costumes like these…and these…and all of Martha Stewart’s

3. There is a false assumption that I would be totally into coming up with unique and cute costumes. The reality is I have no time for that…and I am too cheap to spend much money on it either.

4. I feel very sorry for my daughter…she looked the worse of them all….

However, there are some aunts and grandmas that wanted to see pictures. So here you go. Like I said I had about 45 minutes to come up with something. Chris was gone so that meant I had to find stuff around the house – instead of carting all the kids to the store. Well surprisingly we had all we needed for our very own 80s Punk Rock Band: a little bleach for holey jeans, hair dye and authentic 80s iron on t-shirt transfers….1009rockers-1

Our church invited kids to wear the costumes on the Sunday prior to Halloween. I added tulle to Sister’s bow to make it bigger and more 80s. After about 5 minutes in the church several people asked me where I bought the bow and commented on how they had never seen her so dressed up for church. It was then I realized they didn’t know she was in a costume…they thought that was how I dressed her! Did they not see the clashing puff paint cactus and flipflop 80s onesie? Quickly the bow was removed, the tutu taken off and I carried her in a blanket!:)

These are their “rocker” faces:1009rockers-2

On Halloween Biggest Brother said real rockers have beards…so he asked me to paint some on them.

They had wanted to be Lego Men and were already bummed I said “no” to that…so painted beards they got.1009rockers-31009rockers-4

Really….this does look like a costume doesn’t it? Granted the tutu is cute, but paired with everything else…not so much.1009rockers-5

Because this is how I actually dress her….much more toned down!1009rockers-6

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  • Aunt Sandy - I love the hair on the boys, way cool dude. Poor little Breese, she looked like she could care less and she looked so cute. Love the pic of the boys and you, and as usual, Hudson steals the show. lol

  • Jaimie - As long as the boys liked it! And it looks like they did!
    Your kids are so precious- how old are they?

  • Alba - they look really 80′ and your daughter looks better in her normal dress, well, I like it better.

  • christina larsen - You wouldn’t feel so bad if you saw what my daughter wore for her costume. About 2 hours before trick-or-treating she asked if she could paint the word ‘costume’ on one of my shirts. I said, “NO”. So I compromised and went to our fabric stash and cut out the letters and safety pinned them on a shirt. Granted she is 11 years old, but it was a crazy, low-maintenance halloween. I was going to get creative with my son’s but at the last minute he decided he would wear a costume he already had.

  • Sarah - Everything is better with face paint!! LOL They looked great!!

  • Shannon Phillips - Too cute! I think that they all look pretty RAD!

  • ashlee - that is hilarious!! i LOVE the painted on beards…too cute. i say you did pretty good for 45 minutes!

  • Meagan - Um, they could not be “hideous” if they tried! This post did give me a good laugh, though! So cute! Love the new Lou and Lee headband! Jealous!

  • the inadvertent farmer - I think they are all darling…way better than those scary costumes I see all over. The baby looks precious! Kim

  • Casey - they look adorable and they would look adorable no matter what they wore! And I agree I love those costumes more than the scary ones!