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  • How to Create Your Own Cake Smash Photo-Shoot at Home

    How is it that the second child’s first year flies by even faster than the first? I’m over here scratching my head trying to figure out where the time went. It feels as though we were just in the hospital introducing him to big brother and yet here we are, only a few weeks away from his first birthday. (Don’t mind me, I’ll just be over here in my feelings)

    With time having left us little to work with, I decided to set up an in-home cake smash photoshoot for his first birthday so I could have the photos in time for his party. I feared that most professional photographers would be be booked by this point and I wanted to flex some creative muscles as photography is definitely a hobby of mine.

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can only describe the in-home cake smash as a huge success! The photos are priceless. The experience was incredibly fun and it became a family ordeal, as big brother helped draw big smiles (as only a big brother can) and Dad assisted with props.

    The birthday boy normally doesn’t stop moving and can be difficult to capture. However, the cake kept him anchored in place long enough to snap some great photos. Once all was said and done, we had a few bites of what was left of the decimated treat.

    I want to empower other moms to have some fun with their own cake smash photo-shoots because it truly is so easy! Save time and money and capture some memories without having to leave the house. Flex full control over the shots you want to frame and print at your leisure without acquiring extra cost.

    Here is a step-by-step guide explaining how to create your own cake smash photo-shoot at home!

    Step 1.) Find a Location

    The lighting and background of your photo-shoot will play a huge role in the quality of your photos. Select a spot in your home with plenty of natural light. Use the space in front of a big window or sliding glass door. Turn off any overhead lights to prevent orange and brackish coloring in the photos.

    If there isn’t an ideal location inside, outside will work too. Be sure to choose a time of day where the shadows won’t be overpowering your subject.

    The background should be plain and simple. Use a white wall or purchase a backdrop on amazon that can be hung or used as a faux white wood floor. These elements ensure that baby will be the central focus of each capture. I’ve linked one below. A white sheet will work just as well!

    Step 2.) Cake, Props & Clothing

    The cake, props and clothing you choose will help develop the theme of the shoot. For example: because the theme of my son’s first birthday is barnyard animal, I used a simple cake on a rustic wood platter with a few sunflowers, and added suspenders to his shorts for a farm feel. I also used a sign for the pre-cake photos simply to indicate the occasion.

    Tip: Balloons are a cheap and easy prop. Scatter them around and snap photos of baby chasing after them.

    To continue to keep costs low, find a toy or piece of decor around the house to boost the theme of the photos. Bake a cake or grab a cheap one from the supermarket. I purchased the cake featured in my son’s photos at Target for $10. The “One” prop used in the photos below I picked up from a craft store for $5.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Step 3.) Camera

    For this step, the good old iPhone (especially in portrait mode) will do just fine. But for full disclosure purposes, I wanted to note that when capturing these photos I used my Nikon DSLR D3400, linked below.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking: we were supposed to be saving money here and that camera sets me back almost $400. Hear me out: since purchasing that camera when my first child was born, I’ve used it on many occasions that I probably would’ve paid a photographer to capture. Birthdays, holidays, vacations, and everyday moments in between, the Nikon has taken some incredible photos and in the long run has definitely saved us money.

    This my advice: Hire the professional for monumental family moments when mama, you need to be in there too. Invest in the camera for the smaller occasions. Or, if you’re totally cool with the iPhone quality then use the iPhone. I’ve snapped some awesome photos with my iPhone camera as well.

    Step 4.) Take as Many Photos as Possible

    When the shoot is all set up, the props are handy, and baby is happy and ready, start snapping and DON’T STOP! Snag as many shots from as many different angles as possible.

    Focus in on the details of the cake, the messy hands and the cake covered faces. The more photos you have the more likely you are to be happy with the outcome. It’ll also be easier to select the best photos for editing!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We even let big brother get in on the action!

    The Aftermath…

    Step 5.) Culling and Editing

    Now that you have an amazing crop of photos, it’s time to decide which ones to edit. Pick your favorites and make sure there is a solid variety with good resolution and quality lighting. Those will withstand the editing process the best.

    For editing I use the Lightroom app on my phone. It’s free and will provide the best quality photos without having to pay for an expensive editing program.

    Feel free to edit the photos to your liking OR you can do what I do, and use a Lightroom mobile preset to enhance your photos. Below you can see the before preset and after preset photos.

     

    I’ve linked my favorite lightroom presets here but you can always browse Pinterest or Etsy for presets that provide the desired feel. Some are free and others may charge a small fee.

     

     

    LET THERE BE CAKE (smash photo-shoots!) We hope you enjoyed our step-by-step guide on how to create your own cake smash photo-shoot at home and feel inspired to get creative! Please share photos of your DIY shoots!

    Craving more DIY treats? Check out our Homemade Air Fryer Poptarts!

     

     

     

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  • Last Minute Mother’s Day Gifts (that you can get on Amazon Prime)

    Picture of blog image for mothers day gift guide

    Running out of Mother’s Day gift ideas? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! We have compiled a list of our FAVORITE Mother’s Day gifts that are all available on Amazon Prime. See them below!

    Our Favorite Mother’s Day Gifts
    from Amazon Prime

    Air Fryer

    If you’ve frequented our blog, then you know Rock It Mama loves the air fryer. The air fryer can grill, fry, bake and roast in a less amount of time and without using fattening oils. This is an appliance every home needs to have.

    AeroGarden System

    This is the “extraordinary soil-free indoor garden that grows plants 5x faster than soil…” Not only does it bring decorative greenery into your home, but it provides all the herbs you need to garnish those amazing dishes in the kitchen without having to build out a huge garden space outside.

     

    Essential Oil Diffuser

    Create a relaxing atmosphere and maximize the benefits of aromatherapy with this essential oil diffuser. With just a few drops, it’ll leave a space smelling better for up to 6 hours.

     

    Charcuterie Board

    The charcuterie board is perfect Mother’s Day gift for the mom who loves to host!

     

    Body Polish Sugar Scrub

    Who doesn’t love to get pampered, especially on Mother’s Day? This exfoliating body polish is a tad on the high end price-wise, but for good reason. This is paraben-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free and has been reviewed as one of the best body scrubs on Amazon.

     

    Wife Mom Boss T-Shirt

    Every mama needs a shirt to lift her up. Give her this stylish t-shirt to remind her of what a boss-mom-wife she is!

    The Happy Planner

    Mama’s do it all – so maybe they’ll enjoy this a planner to help organize the chaos. This Happy Planner is completely customizable and comes with beautiful images and inspirational sayings.

     

    Cravings Hungry for More Cookbook

    If you follow Chrissy Teigen on Instagram, then you probably see her whipping up amazing dishes in the kitchen every day. This cookbook is filled with her favorite family dishes, and some recipes passed down from her mother!

     

    Garden Tool Set

    With spring in full bloom and summer right around the corner, perhaps your mom is due for a new gardening set. Complete with a travel bag, shears, spray bottle and other gardening necessities, this is the perfect gift for moms with a green thumb!

    Wine Glass Tumbler

    What mom doesn’t love wine? Whether its used for red, white or a sparkling variety – just fill it up. Made of insulated stainless steel, this is the perfect travel tumbler.

    Shiatsu Massager

    An Amazon #1 Best Seller – this Shiatsu Massager from Zyllion, Inc. can be used on necks, backs, calves, feet and more. Its also travel friendly, so your mom can enjoy this on the road or in the office!

     

    Homebody: A Guide to Creating Spaces You Never Want to Leave

    Does your mom love home design? If so, she would certainly enjoy this inspirational book from Fixer Upper’s Joanna Gaines. Readers can learn about blending styles, tackling common design problems and how to nail the famous farmhouse-inspired style that Gaines has so famously been known for.

     

    Enjoy this gift guide? Check out this post on Gift Ideas Under $10.

     

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  • Get Kids Excited about Eating Breakfast with Homemade Air Fryer Pop Tarts

    It should come as no surprise that my three year old doesn’t come sprinting down the stairs for breakfast each morning since I often skip the entire meal myself and settle for coffee (I’m working on that!)

    One way to encourage breakfast eating (or any meal for that matter) is to have kids help prepare dishes and perhaps even come up with their own recipes, under the supervision of adults, of course! It also helps when the meal is easy to make and absolutely delicious, and BONUS I get to munch on them too.

    This recipe is an easy spin on an old classic – the pop tart! Thanks to the invention of the air fryer, its possible to create this delicious morning treat in a matter of minutes. My son and I had the best time decorating and getting creative with the icing and toppings.

    Note that the icing does dry fast so keep adding more in order for the toppings to stick. The extra layer of sweetness yields even tastier pop tart. We used Nutella and strawberry preserves for our fillings but feel free to experiment with other fillers such as marsh mellow, chocolate, banana, etc. Have some fun with it!

    The principle ingredient in the icing is Greek yogurt to cut down on sugar bright and early. It is not quite guilt free but certainly healthier than the store bought version.

    Let us help with the stress of skipping “the most important meal of the day” and get kids excited about eating breakfast with homemade air fryer pop tarts!

    Homemade Air Fryer Pop Tarts
    Prep Time
    20 mins
    Cook Time
    5 mins
    Total Time
    25 mins
     
    Ingredients
    • 1 Refrigerated or homemade pie crust
    • 1/2 cup Strawberry preserves or Nutella
    • 1/3 cup Cream cheese for icing
    • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt for icing
    • 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract for icing
    • 4 tbsp Powdered sugar for icing
    Instructions
    1. Roll pie crust onto floured surface and cut into rectangles.

    2. Spread strawberry preserves or nutella onto rectangle pie crust. Leave half an inch from edge for seal. Place another rectangle pie crust on top.

    3. Seal the pie crusts with water around the edges and use fork to mold both rectangles together. 

    4. Coat Air Fryer with cooking spray. Place pop tarts in fryer. Heat at 350 degrees and let cook for 5 minutes.

    5. Mix all of the icing ingredients in a bowl. Once Pop Tarts are done, remove from fryer and ice. Add sprinkles or other toppings.

     

    Picture of knife cutting rectangle into pie crust to make homemade air fryer pop tart.

    Picture of Knife spreading strawberry preserves on rectangle pie crust to make homemade air fryer pop tart.

    Picture of fork molding rectangle pie crust together to make homemade air fryer pop tart.

    Caught mid-bite eating his
    air fryer pop tarts!

    We hope those early mornings are now a little sweeter! If you’re looking for more air fryer recipes to jump out of bed for, check out our Air Fryer Donuts

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  • Happy Earth Children’s PRINTABLE Earth Day Activity

    As a self-proclaimed tree hugger it’s important to me that my kids understand the importance of Earth Day and why it’s vital to the future of our planet to set aside time to care for it. This activity is a simple and effective way to have that teachable moment on what keeps Earth healthy and thus, happy. On the opposite side, it highlights the actions that impact our environment in a negative way.

    Watch as they sort & learn the small ways we can reduce and reuse to protect our precious planet. We’ve included the FREE Happy Earth Children’s Earth Day Activity printable. It’s available for download at the bottom of this post. Happy Earth Day!

    Picture of Happy Earth Printable activity for Earth Day learning and creating.

    You will need:

    • Scissors
    • Glue
    • Blue or green construction paper
    • The Rock It Mama Earth Day printable (Two-page download at the bottom of post)

    Directions

    Glue the sorting chart page on either the green or blue construction paper for aesthetic purposes. Next, cut the two earths first and have your child distinguish between the happy earth vs. the sad earth. Glue both earths on the top of each side of the T chart.

    As each graphic is cut out, have a conversation about the picture and what is taking place. Explain why each picture either makes the Earth happy or sad based on what is occurring. Lastly, have them glue the graphic on the correct side of the T chart.

    Cutting Happy Earth printable for Earth Day learning activity.

    Just look at that focus! (Insert heart eyes)

    He’s well on his way to becoming a passionate environmentalist. Need more fun ideas for appreciating nature and the world around us? Add these 7 Nature and Exploration Ideas for Kids to your list!



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  • The Best Baby & Kids Pajamas Under $20 on AMAZON

    I am that extra mom that coordinates my kid’s pajamas with holidays, books, hobbies, you name it. And because they’re always growing out of their jammies (and we wear them a lot in this household) I’m constantly checking around for good deals on quality sleepwear. Furthermore, Amazon offers some great brands for super cheap and admittedly I LOVE the convenience. Below I’ve listed my favorite brands and what I have found to be the best baby & kids pajamas under $20 on Amazon! Happy shopping (and hopefully sleeping!)

     

     

    Picture of the best children's pajamas under $20 on Amazon

    This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

    I can’t get enough of these puppy PJs from Spotted Zebra and I just ordered them for my son! Bonus buy – these are less than $10 and come with the short sleeve option which I love.

       

    How cute are these Bunny sets for Spring? Order now in time for the Easter holiday and have the kiddos open their baskets in style, or have the bunny bring them on Easter morning.

       

    We are a books-to-bed family and nothing gets my oldest pumped for reading like pajamas that match the book we snuggle up to at night. Purchase the books along with the PJ set and it serves as an awesome gift as well. Click here for Llama Llama Red Pajama and here for Brown Bear Brown Bear.

      

    Leveret is one of my FAVORITE brands because of the adorable patterns and the no slip footies. My youngest son is beginning to pull up on everything and the extra grip is a safety plus. I’ve ordered several pairs, and in fact have a matching pair for myself! They also come tag-less for littles with sensitive skin. I have featured the mermaid pattern here but be sure to look at the other patterns available.

    Burts Bees – not just the creamy chapstick in your purse! These are 100% organic cotton and also have the no slip footies. More patterns available for this one as well.

       

    These Avauma sets are the most expensive on the list but I love how cozy and simple they are. These thermal pajamas will stay warm on cold nights and hold their structure well through many rounds in the washing machine.

       

    We hope you found some new Pajamas to lay the kids down in at night! Be sure to check out our 10 Easy Easter Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers

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  • Spring Cleaning Checklist – Free Printables Included

    Picture of Rock It Mama ultimate spring cleaning checklistThere are few rites of passage as we move into spring, and for me – one of them is spring cleaning! As a family who has had our fair share of winter sicknesses, I am ready to get my spring cleaning on and eliminate all lingering germs. And if you are too – I have made this handy spring deep cleaning checklist for you, along with a customizable weekly cleaning schedule you can fill out on your own!

    See below to download your FREE spring cleaning printables!

    Picture of Rock It Mama ultimate spring cleaning checklist

    This checklist is a great reminder to tackle all those essential, but easily forgettable tasks. And these downloads are a great addition to your Family Home Binder printables available in my post here.

    Are you a fan of spring cleaning? What are some items on your list that you think I should add to mine?



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