Free to Be | Houston Portrait Photographer for Babies, Kids, & Families

Have you ever heard of the “Montessori Method”? Part of the Montessori Method states that “We must teach our children to be free so that they may live in a free society,” or something along those lines (I’m paraphrasing here). I’ve just ordered my first book on how to incorporate this Method into our home life, so I should be able to share more once I’ve delved into it. For now, I’m starting with this simple concept. I’m trying to create “smaller” spaces in the home, scaled to Baby O. For instance, we’ve just started feeding her at a tiny table, with a pint-sized chair, giving her her own utensils and dishes.

She has the ability to get up and walk around if she wants, before coming back for another bite. Some people might say that teaches bad manners, but I think it must be empowering for her to have the freedom to choose.

For a toddler who hasn’t been eating a lot the first 1.5 years of life, I’ve already noticed that she ends up eating much more, and trying more of my healthy foods, than she did before (she is quite possibly the pickiest eater EVER).She has the freedom to stand in her chair…

…and wander around…

 …But she’s certainly eating well, and I’m happy!

In our ongoing effort to make the house toddler-friendly, we painted our wooden fridge doors with a layer of magnetic paint, followed by chalkboard paint. It’s super rough and grainy (unfortunately…my fault for not truly mixing the magnetic paint for ten full minutes!), but I’m so happy that this is another pint-sized feature for her use. She seems to enjoy scribbling, sometimes while eating, sometimes after…

For all the parents of toddlers out there…I would love to hear other ideas you might have for making a happy home life for Baby. Seriously, I would LOVE more ideas.

If you subscribe by email, you may have noticed my absence this past week…Oops! We had some sick days here in the Foster Household, and between that and photo editing, I decided I’d better stay focused on those tasks first. But, I sure do love this blog and am happy to be back!

Check out last week’s post to enter in a drawing for a Stella & Dot Jewelry Giftcard (perfect for Mother’s Day)!

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Debbie BishopApril 18, 2012 - 12:52 pm

I love Baby O’s little space! So cute! Baby T loved it today too! When I observed a Montessori school recently, I saw tots working on things like “planting” plastic flowers in little pots with coffee beans for soil. They were using tot-sized gardening tools, which are always cute! Also washing dishes in small sinks (maybe a large bucket on the ground – outside! – would work). Big Brother W always loved washing dishes!

adminApril 18, 2012 - 3:40 pm

Oh my goodness, that’s a good idea…I would love to have her “help” wash dishes! She always wants my yellow cleaning gloves. Maybe they make a kid version for pretend-play.

MarcyApril 18, 2012 - 6:36 pm

Funny, we were just having a discussion about Montessori over dinner.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas | Houston Portrait Photographer for Babies, Kids, & Families

Mother’s Day is a month away! For all you Moms out there (or loving Husbands, perhaps?), let me give you ample notice of our May Stella & Dot Giveaway! My sister is offering a $25 credit to one reader, chosen at random (i.e. Baby O will probably draw your name out of a hat personally).

For a Mom’s Day gift, I would recommend the Birthstone Charms for your child(ren)’s birth month(s). I have one and I treasure it. They come in gold or silver and are $19 each. They pair well with the “Mom” charm ($34) or “Initial” charms ($29 each). There are some great chains available too. (The bottom-left image in this collage is an example of pairing birthstones with other charms.)


Interested in entering? It’s pretty simple and hassle-free..

Check out the Stella and Dot website, here.

Leave a comment here on this blog post, mentioning one of your favorite pieces of jewelry from Stella & Dot.

Email Independent Stylist, Carolyn Holden (Email:, to sign up for her mailing list…You will then get information about ongoing sales and so forth….You can of course unsubscribe at any time.

 (Note: If you’re already on her mailing list, just mention that in your comment here on the blog. You can certainly still enter.)


Hope that’s fairly straight-forward and fun. You can certainly enter again, even if you participated or won a Giveaway in the past…So, check it out if you have a moment! The winner will be announced a week before Mother’s Day and I’ll have periodic updates/reminders about it before then.

Thank you so much for reading!

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Debbie BishopApril 11, 2012 - 7:11 am

I have several great S&D pieces, but my newest one, the coral necklace shown above, is a favorite! It just arrived, so I can stop borrowing Carolyn’s! I already subscribe to her newsletter. Love you girls!

adminApril 11, 2012 - 10:01 am

Awesome!! I know, I love that coral necklace on you. Thanks for entering!

[…] out last week’s post to enter in a drawing for a Stella & Dot Jewelry Giftcard (perfect for Mother’s […]

[…] of Carolyn, check out her Stella & Dot Jewelry Giveaway, if you haven’t already. And have an awesome week. Thanks for […]

Diana HoldenApril 23, 2012 - 11:22 am

I also love the coral necklace. I really like the way you can attach a brooch if you like. I also like Renegade for those days when you can wear gold. The Jezebel and hematite link necklaces are wonderful with all colors, they seem to go with everything! I am happy with all of my S & D purchases!

adminApril 24, 2012 - 6:45 pm

Oh, great comments! I too love that white flower brooch on the coral necklace. So cute & versatile!

[…] also has a sudden case of Baby Fever? Thank you for reading this week! Please do check out the Stella & Dot Giveaway…We only have two entrants so far, and would love some more…What a fun Mother’s […]

[…] Birthstone & Chain are from Stella & Dot. (Note: Enter our quick May Giveaway for a chance to easily win $25 credit toward Stella & Dot jewelry. The drawing is next […]

[…] you had a great weekend. Check out the Stella & Dot Giveaway…Last week to enter & great odds of […]

[…] month I’m using a Random Number Generator to determine the Stella & Dot Giveaway Winner (since I didn’t get O to pull names out of a hat in time)…The winner is (seriously, it […]

mary joMay 15, 2012 - 1:04 pm

The la coco rope necklace is stunning!

[…] Check out the Stella & Dot Giveaway if you haven’t […]

Family, Friends, & Warm Bread | Houston Portrait Photographer

Super short post today, as we’ve just gotten back in town from a wonderful long weekend with Family. (Well, okay, I actually stayed behind for a friend’s Wedding Reception, and then joined them Sunday morning.) My family celebrates Easter and, as part of the tradition, my Mom always bakes this amazing Easter Bread. As we’ve gotten older, and branched off into families of our own, she often has to double the recipe just to have enough to send some home with each of us. A slice of warm Easter bread with a little melted butter is Ah…Maze…Ing! Perhaps the fact that we only have it once a year makes it all the more special…

If you’d like this recipe, let me know and I’ll ask if I can post it here for all to enjoy. I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend…Have a great Monday! XOXO

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Play Day | Houston Portrait Photographer for Babies, Kids, & Families

I have some adorable nephews…I’ve gotta say! This is O’s Little Cousin, Baby T. He is eating one of the deeelicious oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies my sister brought over. Mmmm…

…I ate several of them too and I laughed and patted my tummy and said, “Mmmm, cookie monster!”. To which O’s Big Cousin said, “Cookie Monster? We have a cookie monster at our house too!”. I thought he might be referring to my fellow sweet-tooth sister, his Mom. But, apparently he meant they really do have a stuffed animal cookie monster. Well, here in my house, I eat more than my share of fresh-baked cookies…I am the resident “cookie monster”!

The kids were being so cute together – I just grabbed my camera to take a few photos, sort of snap-shot style, of them in action. While taking these two (above), Big Cousin very politely reminded me that he doesn’t like having his picture taken. I have to say, it is really sweet the way he says it. You feel like he is really grown up, maybe because it’s usually us grown-ups who are camera shy.

Hehe, this next photo just makes me laugh because Baby T has a big ‘ole piece of cookie in his mouth…happy as can be…

And then he decided to put the cookie in the toy (it’s a toy that bounces light-weight toy balls in the air, so he was probably wondering if it could do the same with his half-eaten cookie)…

Fun day! After the boys left, I plopped Baby O on the floor of the kitchen with some giant paper and art supplies. To my surprise, she actually did a little doodling while I tidied up…

Well, that’s all for today…Just a rather random little snippet of daily life on this end. We’re getting ready for a busy & fun weekend with the family! Hope you have a great one too!

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DebbieApril 6, 2012 - 9:37 am

Yeah! Those must be the three cutest kids in the world!!! We had such a fun time and can’t wait for our next playdate… oh wait, we don’t have to! See Baby O in a few hours!

Let’s get crafty | Houston Portrait Photographer

My amazing neighbor throws this incredible Easter party every year in the neighborhood park. Seriously, it is all-out – gorgeously decorated, so fun for the kids, and there is even a surprise appearance by the Easter Bunny himself. It is remarkable.

She asks that guests bring a gift donation for children at Star of Hope. Since I have been on a craft-supply binge lately, I thought I’d put together a few little craft-packages. I think something like this would also be a nice care package for children in a hospital, or even for guests at a kids’ party. Each just contains a coloring book, a rub-away drawing tablet, and a box of crayons. Nothing fancy. I later thought I could have added stickers for a nice touch. I really liked this donation/cause because it got me thinking of other kids in need, and contemplating other ways to help.

Last week I asked if anyone had any safe craft ideas for young toddlers and I got some great feedback! I ran out and got several of the “My First Crayola” products, sidewalk chalk, etc. However, I think Baby O isn’t quite ready for crafts…She still wants to eat all of the crayons and markers! My Mother-in-Law had the great idea of having her “paint” with icing…So, we tried that out and she was quite enthralled…

This craft project was a success! And the finished product is going in her Daddy’s lunch tomorrow…what a surprise! Hope you’re having a great week & thank you for reading!

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DebbieApril 4, 2012 - 6:49 am

So cute, Jane! I love it!

Renee FosterApril 4, 2012 - 8:33 am

Haha! Who would have known you’d try that? She looks like she is having fun and her dad will be so excited to get her work of art. Maybe you should color mashed potatoes sometime and let her play with that?