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For the Love of Bokeh

For the Love of Bokeh - Bokeh City Lights in Pittsburgh PA by Lane Ramage Photogrist on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.comIt’s been a minute since I did a photography inspiration post on the blog. I came across this photo (featured above) on my photography inspiration board again the other day and couldn’t believe all of the fantastic “more like this” photos that showed up with it on Pinterest. So I put together a little bokeh feature for your viewing pleasure. Of course, there are so many ways to create amazing bokeh. I went for a darker urban vibe for this post to fit with my original inspiration image. Have a great weekend!

For the Love of Bokeh - New York NY constantism on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - Rush Hour by Lin Zee | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - juliayusupov bokeh dreams | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - Steve Zeinner via Photogrist | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - San Francisco Andre Dal Corso on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - A Park in Chicago by Brennan Anderson on Flickr | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - Streets of Seattle Corinna Marie nosleep.marie on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - Los Angeles Rey Canlas Jr reycanlasjr on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.comFor the Love of Bokeh - New York City Marvin Malone kaleido_scopics on Instagram | http://www.roseclearfield.com1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 // 9 // 10

More photography features:

Photography Inspiration - Brooklyn Bridge New York City via Babble | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Photography Inspiration

Spring Inspiration | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Mid-Spring Inspiration

May Spring Inspiration via 100 Layer Cake | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Spring Inspiration

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Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I’m way overdue to post my pictures from Art in Bloom 2018, which I attended with Tommy over a month ago. Jake and I have been Milwaukee Art Museum members for nearly seven years, but this year was just my second time attending Art in Bloom. It’s such a neat event that I’ve now made it a priority to attend every year.

Art in Bloom is an annual event at a number of art museums around the country, including the Milwaukee Art Museum. Local florists create floral installations inspired by various artworks in the museum. The term installations really doesn’t do justice to their stunning creations, all of which are so creative. There is such a range in the displays. Some are very literal while others are much more abstract interpretations.

Over the four-day event, the Milwaukee Art Museum hosts local vendor and artisan booths, a fashion show, a silent auction, kid-friendly activities, food, and much more. You’ll easily be able to spend an entire afternoon, if not an entire day, at the museum for Art in Bloom.

One of my favorite aspects of Art in Bloom is that it gets people talking about artworks all over the museum. I’ve never had so many discussions with random art museum goers about the artwork as I have during Art in Bloom. Not surprisingly, the event attracts a lot of photographers as well, and it’s fun getting to talk to them, too.

I’ve narrowed down a handful of my favorite floral installations from the 2018 Art in Bloom at the Milwaukee Art Museum to share here. It’s so tough to pick which installations to feature. There isn’t one installation that isn’t worth seeing.

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom 2018 at the Milwaukee Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Art in Bloom is always held in Milwaukee during late March or early April. Make sure to save the date for next year’s event! Visit the museum’s website for information about upcoming events, including the Lakefront Festival of Art. I’m so excited for LFOA!

[Disclaimer: The Milwaukee Art Museum did not sponsor me to write this post. I’m simply a resident of southeast WI who loves attending, photographing, and sharing varying events in the area.]

More Milwaukee events:

Railroad to Wonderland Garden Train Show at the Domes | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Railroad to Wonderland Garden Train Show at the Domes

PEEPS Art Exhibition at the Racine Art Museum | http://www.roseclearfield.com

PEEPS Art Exhibition at the Racine Art Museum

Bristol Renaissance Faire, Summer 2017 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Bristol Renaissance Faire 2017

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What to Include in Monthly Updates for Birth Families | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Most domestic infant adoptions today involve some level of openness. An open adoption is an adoption in which both families agree to open contact with each other. In most instances, the families will meet, get to know each other a bit, and exchange contact information right before or right after the baby’s birth. As part of their ongoing relationship, the adoptive family often send monthly updates about the child to the birth family.

Writing a monthly update sounds simple enough. While it’s not a complicated task, at first it’s overwhelming for many adoptive parents, especially those who don’t consider themselves to be writers. As someone who does consider herself to be a good writer (not trying to brag), it’s still tough to know where to start, what to include/not include, etc.

I’m still relatively new to the world of adoption and certainly not an expert on any aspect of adoption, including monthly updates to birth families. However, I’m nearly a year into writing updates and have received a lot of positive feedback about my updates from both Tommy’s birth family and my own family. I’m sharing an overview of what to include in monthly updates for birth families to make the process as straightforward as possible for adoptive families.

Tommy 9 Months | http://www.roseclearfield.com

What to include in monthly updates for birth families

Monthly stats

I start each monthly update with Tommy’s height and weight. If we had a doctor’s appointment that month, I also include the height and weight percentiles and his head circumference. Additionally, in the update, I cover his current diaper and clothing sizes and any notable updates to his eating routine and sleep schedule. After the first couple of years, most likely you won’t include these type of monthly stats, instead just mentioning any significant changes, such as a major growth spurt.

Likes/dislikes

I try not to make likes/dislikes a laundry list but instead discuss a few key things Tommy is loving the past month and anything he’s really not loving. If there’s anything new of note that he’s really liking, such as a toy or food, I make sure to talk about it. As children are old enough to communicate their likes and dislikes verbally, you may want to get their input for this section of the update.

Milestones/accomplishments

Milestones or accomplishments are always worth including in monthly updates. During the first couple years of a child’s life, there will be major milestones and accomplishments every single month. As a child grows older, the nature of the milestones and accomplishments will change. Instead of talking about crawling and first words, you may be talking about number of hits in a baseball game or an A on a big project at school.

Holidays and family gatherings

When the past month includes a holdiay or other family gathering (i.e. birthday party, wedding, graduation), I always mention it in the monthly update. For holidays or gatherings with lots of pictures, sometimes I’ll create a separate post or photo gallery, which is completely optional.

Outings and other social events

Those of you who read my blog regularly know that most months, Tommy and I take at least one or two outings, such as to the art museum or conservatory. I try to snap at least one picture of him during an outing, so I can include it in the monthly update. An outing doesn’t have to be a major excursion to be worth a mention in a monthly update. Talking about how you’ve been enjoying the beautiful weather and going to your favorite local park every day is a perfect piece of information to include in an update.

Upcoming plans

I try to keep my monthly updates focused on what actually happened over the past four weeks and not talk too much about what we’re looking forward to over the coming months. I feel like it’s way too easy to get into the “I can’t wait until my kid is old enough to [fill in the blank]” mentality, which isn’t helpful for anyone. However, sometimes it’s nice to mention briefly that you’re looking forward to anything from a class field trip to starting piano lessons to a week-long vacation.

Tommy 2.22.18 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

A few general tips

Include pictures and videos

I think that it goes without saying but birth families LOVE to see pictures and videos. Writing monthly updates keeps me conscious about taking new pictures and videos every single month and then getting them posted in a timely fashion, which is a good thing. I pick about half a dozen pictures for the update post and upload the rest of my monthly photos to a private photo account for people to view as they like. It’s rare I have more than half a dozen videos worth sharing from a single month. I upload them to YouTube (unlisted) and link them with brief captions at the end of each update.

Personally, I feel strongly about sharing appropriate photos of kids, adopted or otherwise, even in private blog posts or photo albums. I don’t think it’s okay to share pictures of kids naked, throwing tantrums, in embarrassing, uncomfortable, or private situations (i.e. at the doctor), etc. under any circumstances. Your pictures don’t all have to be perfect staged shots. Families love to see candid phone captures of silly moments. I just urge anyone writing monthly updates to choose the photos they share carefully.

Don’t feel like you can only share the good stuff

As a parent, you want to put your best foot forward and share your child in the best light that you can. Monthly updates should be an honest portrayal of your child’s life, not just a highlight reel of the Instagram-worthly moments. No one is going to judge your parenting skills because you talk about an injury, an ongoing behavior issue, or a tough doctor’s appointment.

Keep the update focused on the child

The whole point of the monthly update is to share info about your kid. It’s not to write commentary about yourself in this stage of life. I read a lot of monthly updates from both biological and adoptive parents that have as much of their own commentary as they do real updates about their kids.

Let me be clear that there is nothing wrong with writing general parenting commentary. However, it’s not really the point of a monthly update, especially in this situation. For example, I could write a whole post about my own feelings about Tommy’s helmet therapy. How initially I was worried we were spending a lot of money and it wouldn’t work, how I miss close face snuggles so much, how I hate hiding his cute little face behind a helmet most of the day, etc. These feelings are 100% valid. They have nothing to do with how Tommy is doing with the helmet and the progress he’s making with it.

Write in full sentences

I think that a monthly update reads better when the majority of the post is written in full sentences. Filling in numbers or listing off statistics survey-style makes it look like you’re just filling out a form. It works, but it’s a bit boring and doesn’t read very well. Flesh out each section into full sentences for a more well-developed, engaging update.

Finally, I post all of my monthly updates for Tommy in the Family section of my blog. Reading real updates will give you even more insight into what to include in monthly updates for birth families and how to structure your posts.

Do you have any additional tips for what to include in monthly updates for birth families?

Adoptive moms and dads, I’d love to hear your perspective on this topic!

More adoption resources:

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption | http://www.roseclearfield.com

10 Things No One Tells You About Adoption

Building a Birth Family Relationship | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Building a Birth Family Relationship

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10 Months of Tommy

Tommy at the Beach may 2018 | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Tommy turns 10 months old today, May 11, 2018. His at-home weight and height came in at 19 pounds and 3 ounces and 28¼ inches long. He’ll go back to the doctor for his one-year birthday.

[click to continue…]

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Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Today I’m sharing blueberry peach cobbler bars with you. Aka the only dessert recipe you need this summer for all of the fresh blueberries and peaches. I’m also talking to you all about The Pretty Dish, aka the only cookbook you need on your shelf. Ever. The blueberry peach cobbler bars are from Jessica of How Sweet Eats‘ new cookbook, The Pretty Dish, and it’s changing my life. Not an exaggeration.

The Pretty Dish by Jessica Merchant - How Sweet Eats | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Like many 20- and 30-somethings, I get a lot of recipe inspiration online. Most of the recipes that I make on a regular basis are recipes I got online. I own a handful of cookbooks but don’t cook out of any of them on a regular basis. The Pretty Dish is the exception to this rule. I keep it out on my countertop I use it so much, which is unheard of for me.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

In the less than two months I’ve owned this cookbook, I’ve made 11 recipes from it. ELEVEN. Ridiculous, right? Again, I’m not exaggerating. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that this is not an exaggeration because you’ve seen me post a ton of snaps in my stories and a few pics in my regular feed as well. The recipes range from butternut squash queso to to coconut carrot soup to Koren beef bowls to tiramisu bread pudding. And there are at least half a dozen more recipes that I want to make in the near future.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I’ve been a fan of Jessica’s blog for years. I think I started reading regularly around 2011. Her recipes have always been fabulous. Her slow cooker chicken and dumplings (which is from 2012) is in our monthly rotation. Needless to say, I had high hopes for her brand new cookbook, especially because all of her sneak peeks were unreal. The Pretty Dish is really something else. Jessica has put 110% into every aspect of it. Not only have I tried nearly a dozen recipes from it already, but I want to make most of them again already. Basically I won’t run out of breakfast or lunch ideas or have any shortage of fun appetizers and desserts to bring to social gatherings ever again.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Blueberry peach cobbler bars are the perfect dessert to get excited about this time of year with fresh fruit season right around the corner. When you live in the Midwest, anyway, the fresh fruit rotation is pretty limited in the winter. It’s so inspiring to see new fruit in the grocery store again as the weather gets warmer. Blueberry peach cobbler bars are right up my alley because I’m a huge fan of peach cobbler, and I love making bars. It’s pretty hard to screw up a bar recipe, and people are always just as impressed with bars as they are with cookies or pie.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

I also love the classic cranberry-orange crumb bars. Blueberry peach cobbler bars have the best elements of that classic recipe with tart fruit layered between sweet crust and topping for just the right flavor balance. Of course, this recipe concept works with lots of fruit combinations. I like the blueberry and peach pairing because it’s unexpected. As I said before, I love peach cobbler and would not be disappointed to find this on my plate as peach cobbler bars. But the blueberries add a nice flavor element, as well as color and texture.

The Pretty Dish by Jessica Merchant - How Sweet Eats | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Finally, I can’t talk about The Pretty Dish without mentioning The Pretty Dish Book Club on Facebook. I know, I know, no one wants another thing to do on Facebook, myself included. But this group is so much fun. No drama, no overload of blurry kid pictures, no competition, no major time commitment. Just sharing, liking, and commenting on delicious recipes from The Pretty Dish. Jessica provides suggested recipes to make each month, but you can make and share anything from the cookbook at any time. I love scrolling through the new posts each day to see what people have been making. It’s inspired me to try a handful of recipes that weren’t on the top of my list but turned out to be great.

Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

People offer a ton of great feedback about the recipes – what they didn’t and didn’t like, would do differently next time, modifications they made to make the recipe Whole 30, etc. If you ever have a question or aren’t sure about a potential modification, ask the group! Jessica is very active in the The Pretty Dish Book Club. She provides feedback and answers a ton of questions personally. Jessica also does exclusive giveaways and other fun stuff (recipe inspiration, polls, etc.) for group members.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars Yum
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Course Desserts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
16 bars
Ingredients
Crust and Topping
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Filling
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches chopped
Course Desserts
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
16 bars
Ingredients
Crust and Topping
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter melted
Filling
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1 cup brown sugar firmly packed
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup fresh peaches chopped
Votes: 0
Rating: 0
You:
Rate this recipe!
Instructions
Prep
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13" x 9" baking dish with cooking spray.
To Make the Crust and Topping
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, granulated sugar, and salt. Add the butter and stir until a shortbread-like dough comes together. Press half of the dough into the bottom of the baking dish.
To Make the Filling
  1. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, cornstarch, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Gently fold in the blueberries and peaches. Pour the mixture over the crust and spread evenly. Crumble the rest of the dough over the blueberry mixture. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the bars are set and no longer jiggly. Cool completely before slicing into squares.
Recipe Notes

The blueberry peach cobbler bars are from Jessica Merchant's The Pretty Dish. Jessica retains all rights to the recipe. The photos in this post are my own.

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Blueberry Peach Cobbler Bars from The Pretty Dish | http://www.roseclearfield.com

[Disclaimer: I was not sponsored to write this post or to promote the cookbook or Faceboook group. I do receive a small commission if you purchase The Pretty Dish using any of my affiliate links. Thanks for your support!]

Did you make the blueberry peach cobbler bars?

Tag your recipe #ThePrettyDish on Instagram! The hashtag for this cookbook is insane.

More dessert recipes:

Bailey's Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches Cake | http://www.roseclearfield.com

Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice Tres Leches Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies | http://www.roseclearfield.com

No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

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