I am just starting to figure out my SLR camera and I am wondering about editing software…Photoshop vs. Lightroom…would Photoshop Elements be enough? What do you recommend?

I have both Lightroom and Photoshop on my computer but I use Lightroom pretty much exclusively. The only time I use Photoshop is 1) when I want to make Christmas/holiday cards or collages (so I can use the “layers” option) or 2) when I have an image that needs a little extra work. Photoshop is purely image enhancing and it has all kinds of intricate ways to create special effects and to fix up exposure or even switch heads or open squinty eyes, etc. But I personally love Lightroom (which is also from Adobe) because 1) I manage my photos with it…I can tag them with names or events to easily find them again and 2) it does pretty much everything I need and is much more user-friendly. My processing on almost every photo I take is simply to up the exposure and the “blacks” just a tad and that is so easy with Lightroom. I don’t like to go crazy with post editing.

Click here for an in-depth review of both programs that is very helpful for anyone with more questions. I could go on and on here but that guy explains it much better.

I have never used Photoshop Elements so I’m not much help on that question but click here for a review that may help.

How do I go about learning either of them {Lighroom or Photoshop}? How did you learn?

I am lucky enough to have a brother who is exceptionally good at anything technical or photo oriented and he has taught me pretty much everything I know. I personally think he should start a business of teaching clueless people like me how to use a computer/camera, but alas, he is happy as can be teaching 2nd graders instead 🙂

I would highly recommend taking a class for either of these programs or watching numerous tutorials on the internet to get started off on the right foot.

Where do you buy most of your children’s clothing? Do you use many hand-me down clothes from older siblings or just start from scratch? Do you have a system for buying and/or storing clothing? As I have gone from 1 to 3 children (because of twins) I am learning that clothing your children is a major project–especially with each changing season. Some of my friends by clothes on clearance at the end of the season but then you have to store them. I am storing clothes for now as they get too small, but is it worth? Any tips you have would be very helpful! Especially since your kids have the cutest little outfits. 🙂

Yes, I would definitely agree that clothing children really is a major project! This is what I do:

We do a major closet clean-out/re-organization every Spring and Fall (just finished this last week…wow, that was a lot of work). I say “we” because I make my kids sit there with me individually and try things on as we go through them and help tell me what they love and want to keep and what they are ready to pass down or give away. The clothes we deem ready to leave our home get sorted into piles to go to one of three places:

1) Good Will (the stuff that all my girls have worn and we are just kind of done with)
2) Bear Lake (we take a big pile of things I think cousins may like to be “handed-down” when we go to hang out there with family each summer)
3) buckets in Grace’s closet (she happens to have a big one)…the buckets are labeled with the name of who will be growing into them in the future

This has gotten easier and easier each year because my girls are getting to be so much closer to the same sizes and they hand things down to each other really quickly. Plus we don’t have another baby to store things for so once Claire and Lu are done with them they are gone. Max, of course, just gets his own stuff and passes it down to cousins when he’s done.

When I only had a few children and had more time to shop I totally bought things on clearance at the end of the season and stored them for the next year which worked great, but I just don’t seem to have time for that any more, nor do my kids seem to like the same things the next season. They are old enough to have some serious opinions!

Where do you get your adorable clothes and your kids clothes? I love all their swimsuits! Top 5 favorite stores?

I know this is similar to the last question but I get these ones quite often so I want to make sure I get them answered. First of all, thank you for the nice compliments:) They do make me smile though because maybe I just take photos on good days…we really aren’t style-gurus by any means. We do get some hand-me-downs from a friend who has excellent style and has only one daughter who happens to be built really similar to Elle. We are forever grateful for that! Other than that I just try squeeze in time to take the kids shopping here and there, especially at the beginning of a new season. My kids get more and more particular about what they like and I don’t have time to do returns so I don’t generally shop for them when they’re not with me. I am really not a big shopper, but when we do get out our favorite places are probably Target, Gap, Tilly’s (Max and Elle), and occasionally Nordstrom sales.

You said you like to eat healthy, What kinds of meals do you make and can you share some more recipes?

We do try to eat really healthy at our house. We weren’t as into that before Lucy and her diagnosis, but we have to be SO careful what we bring into our house with her around. Since Lucy makes us so much more aware I cannot believe what we used to eat and how much processed food is part of our culture. We are not perfect by any means, and Dave and I are constantly trying to figure out new things to make that will add more protein and less additives to our meals (if anyone has great suggestions I’d love to hear them).

I feel bad for all our kids’ friends who come to our house and find our pantry filled with oatmeal and flax-seed rather than fruit snacks and goldfish crackers but I do try to make them cookies instead… I know cookies aren’t great either but you have to have some leeway here and there!

Some day I will start a recipe blog with some of our family favorites. I’ve been meaning to do that for a long time, but I just can’t seem snatch enough time to sit down and do it! Maybe this summer but until then I do have a few recipes on this blog. You can find them by clicking on this link (or on the “recipe” label on the side-bar).

Similar Posts


  1. Shawni, I love your Q&A sessions 🙂 We are very focussed on eating healthily here too and a great 'treat' for when the kids have friends over is air-popped corn with a little olive oil and salt. Keep well, Amelia.

  2. I don't know what food complications come with Lucy's diagnosis (if any, other than the tendency towards easy weight gain) but if nuts aren't a problem, these cookies (Nikki's Healthy Cookies) are awesome and my kids love them. We make them in a bar form (because I am cookie challenged and find this dough easier to press than drop) and with chocolate chunks.


    And the next recipe we're trying here is Easy Cheesy Crackers to try to move on from goldfish! I'm with you on the truly stunning prevalence of processed foods and trying to shift the eating. I just found this blog recently but love what she says about keeping a pantry her kids can go nosh from anytime…


  3. I've been sick my whole life with MANY food sensitivities. I actually just started following the Green Smoothie Girl 12 steps to whole foods diet and I can't believe how much better I feel. I can eat foods that I haven't been able to eat for years. Like a banana. I haven't had a banana since I was 15 (so 16 years!) and I can now take bites. I have yet to try a whole one but I'm working up to it. Anyway my point in mentioning this is because she has a lot of ideas about using whole foods and less then 5% meat in the diet. And she has lots of good kid snack ideas. If you go to youtube and search 'green smoothie girl' she has a ton of videos. Sorry for the long post. It's just changing my life. 🙂

  4. oh and when I said less than 5% meat I meant less than 5% animal products…so that's dairy too which dairy I don't do well with at all. And she talks a lot about gluten free grains too. Okay I'm done now LOL!

  5. I really enjoy your Q&A sessions on a Friday. I have a few for you:

    Do you find it hard to find church-standard clothes for your children & are they ok about wearing them? (I have a friend with an 11 year old daughter & finds this really hard.)

    What do you do after church on a sunday?

    How do you cope with your children's friends if you're all doing something?

    How do you keep in touch with your Mum, Dad & brothers & sisters? Do you all send a joint e-mail?

    Are most of your neighbours LDS?

    Hope these questions are ok.

    Thanks for a great blog, you do a great job:) (That rhymes!!!)

  6. I discovered livethelifefitness (dot)com for menu ideas. It's not a diet plan, but a change in eating and more of a balance of protiens and carbs. If you are looking for more ideas, they would be a great start. They have enough for 52 weeks. All of their meals can be easily adjusted for gluten-free and other allergies. (their blog kristiapproved(dot)blogspot(dot)com has a bunch of recipes on it, too)

  7. Hi Shawni! I love your Q&As! I have four children, ages 5, 3 year-old twins and a 20 month-old. My question is, did you have a routine when your kids were young? I feel like we're just getting out of the craziness that came with having the twins and our little one so close together and am struggling to find some sort of balance for our days at home. I know your kids aren't all that far apart and just wonder if you had any ideas on how to make our time at home productive, but relaxed and definitely fun. Thanks so much for all you share and how you mentor complete strangers like me through this blog! 🙂

  8. Hi Shawni!

    I've enjoyed so much your blog and your sister's blog, Power of Moms.
    My husband and I are huge advocates for deliberate parenting and want to empower others about it through writing and public speaking someday. I truly want to be just like your mom when I grow up! 🙂

    Three healthy recipe blogs I love are greenereating.com, simplehealthytasty.com, and nourishingfamilies.blogspot.com

    Or check out my Gratitude blog for a quick happy thought each day. 🙂

    lots of love,
    Catherine Reed

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *