When you tell the kids to scream inside of a portrait studio what do you think their first instinct is?
Did you guess scream? Did you guess hesitation? In my boys case it was hesitation. I’ve also had kids turn and look at me or just smile like crazy. Smiling like crazy is always good but in this case we also actually wanted the screaming. It’s so funny when you expect one reaction and get a different one. Kids are the best aren’t they?
What do you get when you add a couple of over dressed boys and a little digital magic?
A whole lotta fun! We live in South Carolina so creating a snow filled winter wonderland is never a promise I can make with Mother Nature in charge. If we get snow it won’t be for a while yet, and it’s never guaranteed. 2016’s big snow was about an inch and really not deep enough for any sledding. My little guy has been talking about when it snows and when the snow comes for months! So I thought why not create a magical winter wonderland portrait of my boys. And guess what they loved it. What do you think? Would your little ones just love seeing themselves in a Winter Wonderland? I’m planning for ours go over the fireplace for the Holiday season and maybe use this as our Holiday card as well.
Would you like to create some Snow Magic for your kids? Contact me and we can have them screaming in no time! Seriously though let’s make some magic for your kids.
704-313-5125 or firstname.lastname@example.org to grab your Snow Magic Appointment before the end of November!
Oh miss N was so smiley this fall afternoon. She is the perfect little model. Could be because we have been getting together for portrait sessions since she was a newborn. Or it could just be because she is a happy go lucky little girl. Nothing gets her upset.
Her dress was handmade by her Grammy! Isn’t it so cute and perfect for a fall portrait session. I just love handmade clothing. They fit so much better than store bought clothes. I wish I had that talent. Maybe when my kids are grown I can learn to make clothes for myself. What about you do you like handmade clothes? Leave little miss N some love.
Found My Village was created as a community resource for all local moms and dads to help them find the resources they need for this journey called Parenthood. Having moved here just two years ago, with my two boys in tow, I found it somewhat hard to find everything I needed for my kids. Partly because we are so close to the state line and Charlotte, I found google searching a bit tedious and once I landed on a site for parks, playgrounds, local doctors they only had bits and pieces of what was actually available in our local area.
My goal with Found My Village .com is to make all those local resources, whether here in SC or just across the state or county lines, easy to find and on one easy to navigate website. Thankfully my handy husband liked my idea and was able to build the website I saw in my head. Thanks Honey!
Parks and Playgrounds
First lets talk about the best feature the parks and playground section. This really is a gold mine for those with little ones with specific needs. Why you ask? Because it has a search feature. Let me give you an example of how this works. Do you have a runner in your family, you know one who won’t stay in the play area ever? Then you need a playground with a fence around it. With Foundmyvillage.com you can search for that. Do you also need a bathroom for your potty training little one? You can search for that. You can also search by multiple criteria. Say you need a soccer field for Johnny to practice but little sister sally wants to swing. You can search for those specifics at the same time as well. As I add to this page more parks and more features this searching ability will only get better.
Second is the resource pages, in these sections you can find everything from a local pediatric dentist to a lactation consultant to a realtor and everything in between. I’m currently adding businesses and categories to the site so please send me a message if you see a need I have missed. This website is for local moms, so please don’t hesitate to send me ideas or suggestions to make it better.
A Found My Village Facebook groups also been created for local moms to share about upcoming events and parenthood tips and tricks. The idea here is to have a positive community to help support the goals of Found My Village .com https://www.facebook.com/groups/1524112771008097/ please join our group we would love to have you.
Can’t wait to hear how you like my new website and how it helps you find what you have been looking for. So head on over to Foundmyvillage.com and try it out today!
Alright I have a new guest on the blog today Breanna Sykes is here with us from Bridge Financial Partners with a few tips to save money as a new mom or dad. Breanna has two small children at home. She enjoys helping clients create a budget so that they can save and grow the money they make.
How to Save Money as a New Parent.
Being a new parent is overwhelming and expensive. You are given advice, whether you asked for it or not, and you are suddenly thrown into this world of expensive baby items. If you’ve found your way to this post then I’m going to assume you are looking for advice on saving money. I have a few suggestions to help.
First, buy used or accept hand me downs. Children are messy and babies grow fast. There is no need to spend hundreds of dollars on clothes when they grow like crazy and stain everything in sight. This also works for baby items like swings, cribs, play mats, rockers and all sorts of expensive gadgets. Even better, borrow these items from a friend or family member first to see if your child even likes it. I once splurged on a very expensive “must have” swing that my child hated. Thankfully I was able to return it. I’ll link a few great consignment shops in the area at the bottom of this post.
Another great way to save money as a new parent is to find the freebies. Most hospitals send you home with supplies like diapers and blankets. There are also sites like pampers that will send you free supplies. Keep an eye out for coupons and sign up for samples. There are tons of ways to get free baby items. The Krazy Coupon Lady put together a list of places to get free items on her page (KrazyCouponLady).
What can you do with the money you saved? Starting a savings plan early gives you the opportunity to contribute what you can when you can. There are different options including your bank’s savings account or an educational savings plan like a 529 plan. Your choice depends on your specific situation so talk to a financial professional to learn more. Here is a link to some more information on 529 plans (Saving for College).
Breanna Sykes, Advisory Representative
*Securities offered through H.D. Vest Investment ServicesSM, Member SIPC
Advisory services offered through H.D. Vest Advisory ServicesSM
Bridge Financial Partners, LLC is not a registered broker dealer or registered investment advisory firm.
Units of the 529 plan investment options are municipal securities and may be subject to market value fluctuation. Before investing in a state specific 529 plan, you should compare your own state’s qualified tuition program and any state tax or other advantages it may provide.
Alright friends new this year I am going to be featuring some guest posters to talk about things I think you all may be curious about. First off we have Marcela Zacharova from Cultural Care Au Pair to tell about What an au pair is and what they do. I personally did not know all the details of an au pair and was curious to know more, so without further ado!
What is an au pair?
An au pair is a young adult from overseas who lives with your family on a legal visa for up to two years to provide childcare in exchange for room and board and an opportunity to become part of an American family. Au pairs can care for your children on a schedule that works for your family’s personal needs, making it a very flexible option. They can also help with household duties related to your children, including laundry, cooking and room pick-up. Au pairs can work up to 45 hours a week, no more than 10 hours per day. The extra set of hands an au pair provides is often just what busy families need to make their lives more manageable- and more fun!
Our program works best for families who like the idea of welcoming someone who becomes an extended family member into their homes and who have a genuine interest in cultural exchange. Your au pair will share her own culture and language with your whole family and will also want to learn more about America. Most host families and au pairs keep in touch beyond their au pair year and often visit each other again in the U.S. or overseas.
Au pair program is regulated by the Department of State and only few agencies can bring au pairs into the US. We handle all of the logistics and paperwork. Many parents are surprised how affordable and flexible au pair childcare is.
If you would like to learn more about hosting an au pair, please fill out this interest form www.culturalcare.com/mzacharova or call/text Marcela 571-296-6910.
Thanks so much Marcela for sharing about au pairs and how they can help your family. I’m more informed and it sounds like a great service for busy moms. Marcela’s website link is here if you would like to learn more.
Park Tour Post Heron Harbor Playground Tega Cay, SC
This little jewel has a special place in my mind since my husband and I joined our community in helping put this park together. If you live in Tega Cay you may or may not know that the city asks the neighbors to help whenever possible. And I know what some of you are thinking, “they let random people build the playground equipment?” Yes, they do but don’t worry we had supervision I promise. The city had 2 employees on hand at all times plus on the day of the build the mayor and the head of Tega Cay parks and recreation came out to help as well. While I know it’s a little thing but it was so much fun to help with the build for the Heron Harbor Playground.
As you might expect the men and women decided it best to divide and conquer by handling different jobs to get the playground all ready. This playground build was unique because there was an existing playground in this spot that greatly needed updating. The city came by before the build and took out the old play equipment so they had a blank slate inside the fence to work with. I’m not mechanically inclined so I helped with the grounds work. We spent almost all day trimming the surrounding bushes, shrubs and trees as well as cleaning up the surrounding space. It was great to see so many neighbors out helming the community.
This little neighborhood playground has two slides, a unique climbing feature between the two platforms, a bench for the parents and is fenced in. Heron Harbor Playground also has a small gravel parking lot.
We have big, big plans for late 2017 including adding more content here for Moms like regular park tour posts. We are also working on a whole new website for local area Moms. The new website is still under construction but we promise to give you more information about that really soon. Right now we want to talk about the Park Tours and why we want to add them here. We moved to the Fort Mill area just about a year and a half ago with our two boys, who are now three and six. So of course the first thing we did was check out the parks close by. It took quite a little internet surfing to find the best options for my aged children at the time. So while we work on the new webpage (hint we will be making your internet surfing much easier). Lets start our first ever Park Tour Post.
Trailhead Park, Tega Cay, SC
Oh Trailhead Park, how we love you. This is the park everyone sees going into Tega Cay and the first park we took the kids to when we made an offer on our house. Trailhead Park is one of the biggest playgrounds in the area. Lets talk about all the pros/cons this playground has to offer. First pros, it has a real bathroom and water fountain! For all my moms to be and, moms of potty training toddlers, this is a bonus. Trailhead Park has a sandbox. Usually a few random toys are in the box, still we would suggest bringing sand toys (just in case) and the baby powder too. Speaking of, baby powder and sand, does everyone know about the baby powder trick? If not follow this link. Trailhead has swings, two for babies and two for big kid, slides, monkey bars and several other fun climbing features. For the older kids there is a basketball court behind the playground equipment. There are benches for parents to sit on. Picnic tables are available for an outdoor lunch. Trailhead Park is a good starting or ending point for a walk on the town trails. This playground is across the street from the Living Memorial Garden in Tega Cay. If your kids like flowers and short walks it’s worth the trip.
A few Cons there is no fence. If you have a runner or worse, multiple runners, this may not be the spot for you. Second parts of this playground are not an ideal for just learned to walk little ones especially the daredevils.
The Pros definitely out weight the Cons at this local park. If you haven’t been to Trailhead with the kids, you should drive, bike, skateboard or even walk on over.
When I first found out this gorgeous family was moving away I was sad and very surprised. They had a sweet baby boy and they were moving so far away. You know I get kind of attached to my tiny babies. Something about holding a newborn when they are only a few days old makes you want to protect them and watch them grow. Then when I found out he was having a little sister so very far away I was down right depressed. Momma was a stunner with her first pregnancy. Fast forward a short time and I get a phone call out of the blue. This beautiful family is moving back. And the first thing mom did after landing back in the area was call me for a family portrait session.
I am honored and humbled to be the first call and to be chosen as their family photographer! I was so excited to catch up with them and meet their sweet baby girl. And that precious baby boy has grown into a handsome little guy who loves cars, tractors, throwing rocks and playing bashful.
We had a great outdoor portrait session.
Below are a few ideas for wall collections I created for their inspiration gallery. The family image in that simple cream frame is just classic. “Your family is a work of art. Frame it!” Which option from these genuine family portraits speaks to you?
I met the sweet G family after they entered and won our silent auction raffle for a family session from their son’s school fundraiser. I love to do school fundraisers for two reasons. The number one reason I love school fundraisers is education, education, and of course education. Growing up in North Carolina I know how hard our teachers worked to stretch every penny. Our hard working teachers always appreciate any extra income for our public schools. The second reason I love school fundraisers is because it gives me the chance to meet new families I might not ordinarily meet. I love to meet new people and hear their stories.
Turns out both the G family and our family are fairly new to the Fort Mill, SC area. We also both have boys in kindergarten. It was great connecting with another family going through similar experiences as we are now.
The G family tries to have fall family portraits taken every year. I was really excited to show them all South Carolina has to offer in outdoor fall backdrops. We chose to meet at Windjammer Park in Tega Cay, SC for our fall family portrait session. This location gives the opportunity to use the lake, the sandy beach, the wooded areas with gorgeous fall leaves and beautiful rolling grassy hills. Windjammer was the perfect location to show off South Carolina to the G family. Here are just a few of my favorite images from this session. We got some great fall family portraits for their walls don’t you think? I can’t wait to work with the sweet G family again next fall.