Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

Chicago, IL

One Chicago Momma, photographing little people, home educating in the Classical Christian theory and editing images into the wee hours of the morning . . . powered by Starbucks & Dr Pepper.


Tiaras & Tantrums focuses on family, travel, photography, education and food. I offer photography sessions product reviews, travel reviews, education reviews and anything else I feel like writing about.

{Editor’s Note: I am VERY interested in doing more travel blogging. If you are putting together a blogger group for a client – I would love to discuss details.}

If you would like more information about Tiaras & Tantrums or are looking to have your product reviewed, please contact me at

Seeing the Good in Everyone #StreamTeam


Treat everyone with love and kindness, even those who are rude to you  . . . this is our family mantra . . . sometimes my kids don't really understand the meaning of this, but I remind them to always be kind to everyone, even if they are not the same to you . . . we do this not because they are nice, but because we are. My kids get that part of it. They don't always remember when dealing with each other after long days, but I can be head saying "love and kindness" in a sing-songy voice at various points in our days.

I want to teach my children, even though they are still very young,  that in our lifetime we will meet numerous people. All of these people are significant. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Everyone deserves our attention and care. Even if the only thing you ever do is smile at that person, they deserve your kindness.

Here is something we could all do one day a month to get in a good habit: Practice speaking in a kind way. FOR ONE DAY: keep every negative thought, frustration or complaint to yourself and only share your positive comments with others. And every time you do have a negative thought, counter it out loud with a positive one. The more you practice this, the better you will feel. After a couple of months, move up to once a week and then one entire week. People will LOVE to be around you!

A little kindness never gets old.

Taking a cue from Derek – star of the Netflix original series. Derek's mantra of acceptance, no matter age or ability, inspired this month's Netflix titles which are a great resource for our children to see the good in everyone.

12 Netflix Titles to Promote Kindness and Acceptance

For your big kids:


1. Rudy
2. Mulan
3. A Mile in His Shoes
4. Radio
5. Good Luck Charlie: Down a Tree
6. Glee

Want even more titles about kindness and acceptance? Our friends at Common Sense Media have shared a list of TV and movie titles that teach empathy - check out the list here.

And your little ones:



1. Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, Vol. 1 Ep. 6: Friends Help Each Other
2. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 3, Ep. 4: One Bad Apple
3. Arthur, Season 15, Ep. 8: Muffy's Classic Classy Club / Best Enemies
4. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
5. Super Why, Season 1, Ep. 61: The Ugly Duckling: Becoming a Swan
6. The Fox and the Hound

Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

August, Already??


It’s August already?  Seriously?  What happened to June and July?  Did everyone else speed through those months, too, or is it just me? This year has really flown by.  Where has this summer gone?  I know that I probably say that every year but  . . . . really . . .  it just doesn’t seem possible to be in the eighth month  . . . already. But the fact of the matter is, it is August and September is just three and half weeks away! I didn't get enough summery activities in. Did you? Pretty soon, the leaves will begin to change beautiful colors, the air will turn brisk and Starbucks will have my favorite coffee (the most important detail you know). But, today I am showing some of my images I took last week of the girls. Always the girls as my son refuses to get in front of the camera now. Happy last few weeks of summer!

August, Already??
Tartini Professional Violin
Tartini Professional Violin
Tartini Professional Violin
Tartini Professional Violin
Tartini Professional Violin
Tartini Professional Violin
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Enjoying the Journey #FamilyForward


“Laughter is the key to happiness…”  


Laughing is good for you and your children. Did you know children laugh about 200 times a day and we {adults} only laugh about 20 times a day. Laughing can help you and your children communicate, get along better and foster important bonds.

Parents it is important to have a good sense of humor for your children. I personally tend to forget to have fun during the day at times. Being a home educating mom of three, my plate is very full and I need to follow my own advise here.

That is why I am so excited our family is soon off an a FUN adventure in Orlando. We will be joining Mom It Forward at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel and many other Family Forward Families on the Orlando Adventure in Orlando, FL.

Laughing relieves stress

Laughing soothes tension and relaxes muscles

Laughing gets blood to your heart and lungs, boosting energy and making you feel better instantly.

Laughing triggers your brain to feel pleasure and you want to have that same feeling again.

Parents must model humor. Make jokes, tell stories, laugh out loud.

Parents should encourage children to be silly and funny.

Parents should fill your home with FUN.


Laughing is key to parenting and helps your family have fun, grow closer and make happy memories. Best of all - - it's free! I can't wait for my family to have meaningful experiences, brainstorm brilliant ideas, and develop new skills to embrace bonding AND LAUGHING in this digital age through workshops on our Orlando Adventure centered on various topics like charity, communication, creativity, team building, and trust. Laughing together will be a MUST-DO!

“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Achieving Happiness


I have so much to get done before school begins and I am not quite sure I will be capable of getting it all done. I have made a significant dent in my to-do list but it seems to just keep growing anyway. School curriculum in place, school books ordered (and most delivered), school supplies purchased, uniforms purchased, hair cuts, etc etc etc . . . the list just keeps growing. The list consists of  just "things" I have to do. This doesn't even include all the little projects and "things" that I want to do. I get a bit overwhelmed when I think of all the good ideas I have that I have to put aside for all the "things" that I have to do. I think that's the only part of being overwhelmed that really bothers me - having to put aside great inspiration in favor of checking thinks off the to-do lists that are scattered about my home.

Tiaras & Tantrums Photography
Tiaras & Tantrums Photography
Tiaras & Tantrums Photography
Tiaras & Tantrums Photography

But sometimes, I just toss the to-do lists aside and follow my burst of inspiration right down the path of happiness.  I find solace behind my camera. I've learned to not be afraid to go out and do what makes me uniquely and truly happy! 

Little Things Thursday Give Me your Best Shot 1440 Friday Photo Journal Friday Finds   Weekly Top Shot 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Get Ready for Back to School #MasterBackToSchool


At the moment I'm trying to figure out what happened to our summer break . . . AND at the same time it is hard to believe that my son will be entering junior high school! What? Wait? Really? How did that happen? How can I have a 7th grader already? It's awesome to watch my son grow up and develop, but bittersweet as well.

My son will begin 7th grade this year, not at home, but at a private school that we all chose for him to attend. He has been home with me for the past four years, home educating, thriving and letting me love on him all day long. However, he is older now and wants to be around his peers all day long and not just once a week at the academy we attend. I get it, I was young once as well and loved going to school everyday.

It is almost August and that means back to school shopping, a favorite activity for my kiddos and back to school preparations for me (I am mostly looking forward to the return to routine).  We finished our back to school shopping the other day along with nearly one third of our nation and have piles of supplies to go through and sort. My son will be using a locker for the first time this year and is quite excited. We were so fortunate to have received a couple of products for back to school from Master Lock to practice on since my son has never used a locker or a padlock before as he did not have the need as a homeschooler.

Get Ready for Back to School #MasterBackToSchool

My son quicly set to work on the Master Lock 1500eDBX dialSpeed and the Master Lock 1535DWD Set-Your-Own Combination Lock. He read the instructions and set up the combinations all by himself. I asked if he would like some direction or guidance and he happily told me he had both combinations set. He handed them over to me with a satisfied look and asked me to break them open . .  if I could. A challenge I was up for.

I want my son's valuable to be safe in his locker, especially since I read that nearly half of this nation's  parents admitted that their child has had an item stolen from their lockers at school. I also don't want my son to lug around a heavy backpack all day long laden with all of his belongings for fear of his supplies and valuables being stolen from his locker. 

Get Ready for Back to School #MasterBackToSchool

I first attempted several times to open the Master Lock 1500eDBX dialSpeed and failed. This lock is unlike any I have ever seen before, it has an electronic light-up keypad with a directional interface front, is quite sleek in style and I only needed one hand to attempt to open it. I tried up, up, down, left, right  . . . because the 1500eDBX dialSpeed opens on directional movements (up, down, left, right) instead of the traditional rotary dial. I was basically pushing any combination of moves I could think of and I could not break the code my son had set and he loved it. He was watching me and laughing at me and finally rescued me. He told me he set up a master code for himself and one for me and one for my husband and one for his sisters.

My son explained to me that if any of us forgot the combinations he had set up for us, we simply had to visit to retrieve our permanent backup master code. If my son can forgets his combination, hopefully he does not,  Master Lock has ensured that won't happen for long. This is a wonderful aspect of the Master Lock 1500eDBX dialSpeed.

Now that I am sending my son off to the hallowed halls of learning fully prepared with Master Lock, I can rest easy that all his belongs are well protected in his locker at school. I feel fully prepared for school to begin in a couple of weeks and Master Lock has some fun for the remaining weeks of summer.

Get Ready for Back to School #MasterBackToSchool

Master Lock Photo Hunt Challenge

Now through September 7, participants can go  to www(DOT)MasterLockPhotoHunt(DOT)com for a chance to win back-to-school products AND have the opportunity to create a wish list. Whilst playing, one can add any item seen to their wish list AND email the list to whomever they chose. To play the game, simply select the differences in the images shown before the timer ends. An extra entry can be gained by sharing the images on twitter. There are 65 opportunities to WIN!

Master Lock #MasterBackToSchool Twitter Party

Master Lock is hosting a twitter party with @ResourcefulMom on August 5th at 8 PM EST.  Simply RSVP here, and use the hashtag #MasterBackToSchool for an opportunity to win prizes!

Now, does Master Lock have a lock for my heart to not be so broken now that my son is growing up?

Get Ready for Back to School #MasterBackToSchool

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post brought to you by Global Influence and its advertiser.  #MasterBackToSchool

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Equipped For Summer


When I was young girl growing up in rural Iowa, summers seemed to take forrrrever to arrive and once they did they felt like years. It was amazing! From the crack of dawn to well past dusk I would ride my bike all around the neighborhood and town for that matter(it was completely safe 40 years ago), jump on the trampoline, swim, dig holes, ride my pony, chase chickens, pester my little brothers, climb my grandmother's mulberry tree and eat them right from the tree  . . . while my feet turned purple, and the list goes on and on. I have a catalog in my brain of all these invaluable memories of the smells, tastes, sights and delicious memories of the summers of my childhood. What I wouldn’t give to have just one more of those days.

My kids and I have been creating our own favorite summer memories over the years. Bike rides, camping, visiting family in Iowa, swimming, splash parks, parks, climbing trees, and loads of grilling. Have you seen my Summer Check List? What is on your summer check list?

Little Things Thursday Give Me your Best Shot 1440 Friday Photo Journal Friday Finds   Weekly Top Shot 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

We Are Imperfectly Perfect


As I reflect on the past year I can smile and be proud of my little family . . . we have had a wonderful, amazing year  . . . since last summer . . . our school year went rather smoothly . . . my children grew inches that surpass my wildest dreams . . . my children matured faster than my heart can keep up . . . we lost more teeth that I think is possible . . . we've had braces removed  and retainers lost . . . . tears shed . . . belly laughs have flowed . . .giggles are everywhere . . . smiles are always present . . . and through it all . . . our little family has remained positive . .  together . . . strong . .  unmarred by chaos . .  by nonsense . . . by drama . .  I no longer has to be afraid to say because my words may be twisted to another meaning  . . . I don't have to warn my children to not say a word for fear of repercussion . . . there are no more whispers . . .  no more demanding phone calls . . . there has been less drama . . . less nonsense . . .  . . . but some people live their lives moving from one crisis to another . . . they seek out the chaos . . . I watch these people and wonder how they keep up with themselves . . .  and they try very hard to draw you into all this unrelenting stress . . . we refuse to be drawn into this nonsense any longer . . .  we've let go of people and instead of saying I hate you, we now embrace the saying "We Love Ourselves" . . . we've said enough is enough . . . we've moved on . . . happily . . . we are not dwelling on the past . . . we're not dwelling on the hurt that others have caused us . . . we've let go . . . we're achieving our goals . . . we're enjoying each day . .  together . . . we are living our lives and our future is better and brighter for all this . . . we are imperfectly perfect!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Summer Family Fun with Netflix #StreamTeam


While our children are taking a break this summer and not attending summer school, we still want to inspire our children’s learning throughout the summer months.


Netflix Titles for a Summer Brain-Power Boost is one way to strengthen and retain our children’s knowledge base. Keep in mind that summer is the perfect time to introduce hands-on learning activities that go along with these wonderful documentaries to our children and keep summer boredom at bay.

10 Netflix Titles for a Summer Brain-Power Boost


For your big kids:

1. Lewis & Clark: The Journey Out West
2. Walking with Dinosaurs
3. Secret Yellowstone
4. The Blue Planet
5. When We Left Earth: The NASA Missions


And your little ones:

1. The Great Mouse Detective
2. Busytown Mysteries
3. LeapFrog: Math Adventures to the Moon
4. Turtle: The Incredible Journey
5. The Magic School Bus

Want even more brain-boosting titles? Our friends at Common Sense Media shared 12 age-appropriate documentaries that encourage kids to explore worlds they may not normally encounter, all currently streaming on Netflix, they are as follows:

Wings of Life, ages 6+
Little kids are fascinated by the natural world, and this Disney movie taps into their curiosity by celebrating the earth's unsung heroes. Vibrant footage shows how interconnected the earth's greatest pollinators -- bees, bats, birds, and butterflies -- really are.
What to talk about: Discuss flowers and how your family can help pollinators in your own backyard or a community garden. What can you do to keep the cycle of pollination going strong?
A Place at the Table, ages 9+
In the urban streets of Philadelphia, the rural towns of Colorado, and the hamlets of Mississippi, kids are going hungry. Both experts and real families discuss the pervasive problem of food insecurity in this affecting documentary that'll make your kids grateful for what they have -- and possibly inspire them to help.
What to talk about: Discuss what your family can do. Can you join a local food bank through your community or house of worship? Can you write a letter as a family to your elected officials?
Walking with Dinosaurs, ages 9+
Got a budding paleontologist on your hands? This ambitious production unfolds like a documentary but with a twist: digital technology that recreates the 155-million-year reign of the dinosaurs. Paleontological discoveries from fossil remains and preserved footprint groupings provide the framework; the rest is best-guess speculation and a lot of imagination.
What to talk about: What sorts of things did the filmmakers have to guess about to create this film? Do we really know what color dinosaurs were? Do you think this was exactly the way they walked? Sounded? Cared for their young? Fought one another?
The Dream Is Now, ages 12+
If you want to get kids interested in world affairs, movies featuring real kids discussing their daily challenges are guaranteed to get their attention. The issue in this movie is immigration reform -- and, although it has a definite point of view, it illustrates how political hot potatoes affect all kinds of lives.
What to talk about: Some media, such as news stories and documentaries, often are expected to be objective in the way they present issues. Do you think it's OK for a documentary to take a position? Why, or why not?
Blackfish, ages 13+
Is it OK to hold killer whales -- known to be emotional and intelligent -- in captivity and train them to perform? That's the question this heartbreaking documentary explores in sometimes shocking footage. The movie unfolds like a psychological thriller, making its point with beautiful -- and brutal -- imagery. 
What to talk about: Does this movie make a good argument for closing sea parks for good? What could be an argument for keeping them open?

Bully, ages 13+
Though it's not easy to watch -- and in fact originally received an R rating -- Bully provides an intimate portrayal of the daily lives of bullying victims. The movie's producers launched a national campaign to end bullying called The Bully Project, in which kids can get involved.
What to talk about: What is an individual's responsibility to stand up, not stand by? Is that easy to do? How do you think people can really make a difference against bullies?
Chasing Ice, ages 13+
Global warming is a hot topic, and it's hard to argue with this movie's time-lapse evidence of glacial retreat by National Geographic photographer James Balog. Whatever your opinion, Chasing Ice provides many opportunities for discussion.
What to talk about: What small changes can your family make to be more environmentally conscious? What kind of an impact would your community have if it got on board? Is ecological responsibility something the government should mandate?
Food Inc., ages 13+
For an exposé on the so-called "industrial food complex," this documentary offers a surprisingly simple and hopeful message: Putting your money where your mouth is -- on informed food purchases -- really matters. The movie's website TakePart offers several ways families can get involved.
What to talk about: Does this movie make you think twice about asking for chicken fingers? What about junk food in general?
Hoop Dreams, ages 13+
Mad skills on the basketball court aren't a guarantee of the good life -- you have to be lucky, too. Problems, pitfalls, and poverty lurk around every corner in this documentary about two young basketball stars competing for college scholarships.
What to talk about: Discuss the experiences of William Gates and Arthur Agee both on and off the high school basketball court. How do their family environments help and hurt them? Why do other young people -- particularly young black men -- find themselves in similar situations? What do you think about the boys' long-term goals? What would you have done differently? How are their predicaments similar to and different from those of other children in inner cities across the United States?
Miss Representation, ages 13+
For girls -- and boys -- interested in gender equality, Miss Representation isn't only a movie -- it's a movement. Using advertising images, interviews, and movie clips, this documentary invites viewers to challenge how women are portrayed in the media -- and to actually do something about it.
What to talk about: Discuss how the media shapes our views of women. What messages do you see on TV, in movies, and on the Web? How would you get other people to recognize when women and girls are portrayed negatively and as stereotypes?
Waste Land, ages 14+
"Trash talk" takes on an entirely new meaning in this documentary about the people who work in a landfill outside Rio de Janeiro. Incredibly poor -- but incredibly resilient -- these folks get viewers to see the dignity of people living in poverty.
What to talk about: What is the ability of one man -- in this case, Vik Muniz -- to make a difference in the world? What elements were included in the movie to make Muniz appear like a hero? What do you think was left out? Are there opportunities in your community to "give something back"?
The Square, ages 15+
This Oscar-nominated movie about the Arab Spring prominently features the modern communication tools teens love so much: YouTube, camera-phone videos, and social-media posts. It's raw, but it authentically chronicles events in real time, showing the power of people to affect change.

What to talk about: How were social-networking sites and camera phones used in both the documentation of this movie and the revolution itself? How would this revolt have been different -- in Egypt and on the international stage -- without access to this technology?
The Great Mouse Detective

One popular summer activity is nature studies. Your children can pretend to be Great Detectives on an adventure. I give my kids some jars and set them free outside to catch a few bugs, tadpoles, frogs and snakes. They bring them all home and we have various "homes" for their new treasured pets. We learn what they need to eat to survive and care for them for a few days and then the children set them all free and we begin again!

If you are not that into bugs and critters, you can simply explore without bringing the new pets home. Look on plants, flowers and under rocks. Your children will be amazed with what they find!

My artistic daughters have sketch books and they draw what they see. Sometimes we even look up what they found to create a mini study session. The best part is, they don't even realize they are learning because they are having SO MUCH FUN! Kids always want to know: Who, What, Where, Why and How. Netflix Titles for a Summer Brain-Power Boost has all the answers!

Lewis and Clark

Disclosure: This post is part of my involvement as a Netflix #StreamTeam Member. All opinions are my own. #NetflixKids

Walking with Dinosaurs
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Packable Snackables with SNICKERS #Refuel2Go


I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #Refuel2Go #CollectiveBias

Trail Mix with SNICKERS® 2-to-go bars and Dr Pepper TEN.

Packable Snackables with SNICKERS #Refuel2Go #cbias

I have never met a child who didn’t like to snack!  Who can blame them?  Snacking is fun! Snacks are an important part of a child’s day. My children are growing so fast and need frequent refueling. The task of feeding them is never ending, isn’t it?

How many times a day do you hear, “Mom, I’m hungry"?  Over and over and over, probably, just like in my house.

I diligently plan our healthy meals, but I do not always plan for snack time. I seem to just throw something together whenever my kids are hungry.  But this is not working so well for me now that my kids are older and hungrier and busier.  My brain simply can not keep up with my children's hunger pains!

While I do not need to plan each and every snack, I do need to plan ahead for the times we are out running from one music lesson to another. We have many music lessons during the week and my children need to keep their inspiration and energy levels high. I am able to prepare some snacks ahead of time that I can keep bring with us. When hunger strikes, I will be prepared and my children can refuel.

We are constantly refueling on the go and I need to ensure my children are consuming food at the right time and in the right quantities. My children need nutrients and energy to perform optimally at all their musical lessons, orchestra practices and numerous recitals. Remember, refueling is not a normal meal, it is simply refueling the body for future activity.

#Refuel2Go SNICKERS 2 Go

I find it easy to prepare snacks while we are at home. But it has been a bit of a challenge to come up with snacks that travel well. I like something that is transportable, can be eaten in the car, doesn't need a spoon and will not make a huge mess. I came up with the idea of "Packable Snackables"!

Trail Mix with SNICKERS® 2-to-go bars can be enjoyed at home, but it is the perfect snack for taking on the go to refuel. The snack urge can really hit us at any time. Thankfully, my local Walmart is super close and I can pop right in to gather all my ingredients for my SNICKERS® trail mix and grab Dr Pepper TEN for myself right at the check out aisle!

A great trail mix is always a fabulous combination of crunchy, sweet and salty. My children need the protein and healthy fat, so I add nuts and seeds. I also add dried fruit and coconut flakes for the sweetness. I always give a bonus and add SNICKERS® pieces as well.

This trail mix with SNICKERS® satisfies all the snack urges. While my children are refueling on the go with SNICKERS®; this busy home educating mom of three, who drives many hours a day, from one music lesson to another, is refueling with Dr Pepper TEN.

#Refuel2 Go SNICKERS #Cbias #shop

What you need

  • 3 cups nuts (I used peanuts, almonds, and cashews)
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup coconut flakes
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • SNICKERS® 2-to-go-bar (cut up in bite size pieces)
  • Dr Pepper TEN

How to make it

  1. Mix together the nuts, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes, raisins, dried cranberries and SNICKERS® pieces.

  2. Pack in individual containers for the perfect packable snackable to take on the go to refuel.

Refuel and Win with SNICKERS

Coupon Offer: Purchase (2) SNICKERS® 2-to-go bars and (2) 20 oz Dr Pepper bottles to receive $1.00 off.

SNICKERS® Dr Pepper Refuel Sweepstakes: Purchase (2) SNICKERS® 2-to-go and (2) 20 oz Dr Pepper bottles, then text or email your receipt to and be entered for a chance to win 1 of 250 available Walmart Gas/gift cards .

I’m always looking for more ideas!  What are your favorite on-the-go healthy snacks for refueling?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Summer Checklist


We have been in summer for a few weeks now and I hope everyone is enjoying the lovely weather and getting outdoors and soaking up the sunshine. There are so many activities to do in and around all your hometown and large cities, remember to take full advantage of all the fun offerings. We have been enjoying our city and other cities as well already this summer. I just wanted to make a summer checklist to remind myself to engage in some of our other favorite activities as well. I hope you are all enjoying the longer days and the warmer temperatures. take a peek at my Summer Checklist to see if you need to check something off as well!

Summer Checklist

Which activity are you going to check off first? I've decided since we have been so busy and already been in 5 different states in the past month that I am going to enjoy a summer book!

Here are some FREE summer activities to enjoy as well! Be sure to check out the FREE Summer Reading Programs available as well!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...