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Chicago, IL

Teresa is a family lifestyle photographer in the suburbs of Chicago who is happy home educating her three children in the Christian classical education theory.


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

Spring PhotographyTips and Ideas


As winter melts into spring . . . a bit late here in the midwest . . . nature will soon begin to bloom again and I can't wait to rush out and capture it.  I love to take advantage of the natural light and colors that appear in spring for unique photos.

Flowers are one of the first photographs I take in the spring. They seem to let us all know that life is about again. Flowers give me beautiful colors to capture. Here are some of my favorite tips to take great photos of flowers:

  • I use natural light only and never use my flash. I try to get my new flowers i full sunlight as well, which can be challenging here in the midwest.
  • I like to capture a fabulous depth of field. Be sure to use a use a large aperture on your camera to get a beautiful depth of field.
  • Get your lens in as close as you can on your flowers. If you are using a large aperture, our background will be beautifully blurred, leaving the flowers in focus.
  • Look at your flowers everyday and take the flowers that have not yet bloomed as well. Look for flowers that haven't bloomed yet. Capture your flowers in transition to a full bloom.

Naturally, I love to get my girls in the spring. We get outdoors in the cool weather for some portrait shots. The spring weather makes for some beautiful portraits because the light is has a wonderful hue. Because the light during early spring is a cooler color, I try to dress my girls is some lighter colors as well.

I am still waiting for some buds to appear on trees and some of the greyish brown to turn a bit of a green, but I simply couldn't wait to get the girls out the other day.  I will get them out each weekend over the next couple of weeks to capture our natural surroundings. I want to see the green buds popping out of the trees. Once the leaves are fully in, the colors will be completely different.

To avoid the harsh light of the day, get out early. I never want my girls to have harsh light shining on their sweet faces. Early in the morning guarantees the soft warm sun will shining. The sun will give such a lovely bokeh. A location with an open field is always a lovely spot to capture photos as well. An open field in the background of your children is always very pretty and in the early morning there will be amazing soft light.

Another great idea I always use with my kiddos is to add some fun for them. I create a list of items for my children to scavenger for. It creates an adventure and challenge for them and photo opportunities for me.

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

Spotlight: Tania McCartney


Sometimes all it takes is a bit of sunshine and a rare sense of humor to turn my day around.  A bit of art can also make me sit and enjoy a cup of tea for a few moments. That is why I have been a long time fan of Australian author, Tania McCartney.  Recently she has been illustrating and reminding me that creativity does not have to stop at one favorite past time.

In addition to her successful career as an author and personal website, Tania is now illustrating and hosting an online 52-week illustrating challenge. To learn more about this amazing challenge, take a look at the facebook group.

I hope that Tania's illustrations will motivate you to create in a way that speaks to you and helps you navigate the world around you. To live beautifully is to stay true to yourself! This is something Tania has discovered and passes along to those see meets!

Building Women of Integrity


This year I registered my girls for a girl's group and I signed up as a leader for this group {as well} of young gals. American Heritage Girls is a Christ-centered scouting organization for girls of all ages. And frankly, a great fit for our family.

American Heritage Girls or AHG offers a dynamic, Christ-centered scouting program for girls ages 5 to 18. AHG is dedicated to building women of integrity through service to God, family, country and community. AHG is unique in the scouting world because of its faithful adherence to Christian principles. Girls are enriched physically, mentally and spiritually through a diverse range of activities, community service projects, camping and much more.

American Heritage is a natural fit for my girls who are home educated. The service aspect and the badges simply enrich our home school experience. A number of the badges can easily be incorporated into our daily schooling and curriculum.

We have been fully packed in our schedules this year and I felt that something needed to go next fall as I simply can not find the time to fit everything in. Sadly, I had selected AHG to go from our schedules as the group we are in is quite a distance from our home. Music seems to be taking a precedence over all other activities of late. 

This past weekend, the girls and I went on a camping trip to Camp Awana in the neighboring state of Wisconsin with our AHG troop. My girls were beside themselves with excitement and counting down the days. Sleeping in a cabin, camping and all the camp had to offer was pretty much the highlight of the entire AHG year for my girls.

We had an amazing weekend! I was so sick the day before we left that I seriously didn't think I would even be able to take the girls. But, I mustered up the strength, packed loads of cold medicine and three boxes of tissues! Off we went! Fun ensued every moment we were there!

apologies for the images - taken with my Droid
Camp Awana cabins
American Heritage Girls Camp Awana
American Heritage Girls archery

American Heritage Girls' Oath:

I promise to love God,
Cherish my family,
Honor my country,
and Serve in my community.

American Heritage Girls' Creed:

As an American Heritage Girl, I promise to be:

My girls have informed me that there is no way they are giving up AHG next year. More camping trips and more fun for us in the future! I guess AHG is the last thing I can drop from our schedules!

American Heritage Girls complete all the amazing service and badge work plus lifts up God! There are more than 14,000 girls across the United States who wear the AHG uniform, say the pledge and collect badges! Want to know more? Ask your mom to see if there's a troop where you live!

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

Camp Awana crafts

One Spring Day


Monday morning I take my two oldest children to academy  and then the little one and I pop home for a morning of school and an afternoon of fun. I let her select what she wants to do on Mondays and she feels so special. I love the one on one time with her and she simply can't contain herself with joy. It is her favorite day after all.

I decided to add some fun to the day for her and some fun to the day for me. Naturally that meant a mini photo op for me. I was so excited because I had not had an opportunity to use my new lens yet. The sun was shining (sort of) and little girl had selected a park and a nature walk.

I decided to give her a few items to scavenger to make the afternoon a bit more fun for her. I created a list of items she would search for on our nature walk to fulfill and afternoon of adventure.


Apple Chips {recipe}


These apple chips are super easy to make and so healthy! Which makes it an even better choice. I really can't keep these apple chips in the house long enough. As soon as they are out of the oven and cool enough to eat, my kiddos gobble them up! Even my husband adores apple chips! These apple chips work best with a sweeter apple. My kids love the Gala apple chips best and I would have to agree with them.

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