{ fill your frame } NAPCP giftaway **CLOSED**

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween is the last day of my last maternity leave but instead of crying, I'm celebrating - with a month of GIFTaways! I'm even kicking things off early...

Remember this photo?
Of course you do cause I use it for EVERYTHING (including my blog button). I've never looked more nurturing and I owe it all to the crazy talent that is Stephanie Buckman of Stephanie Robin Photography.

Miss Stephanie was named 2011 Child Photographer of the Year by the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) and it's not hard to see why. Anyone who can make sleep deprived, make-upless me look that serene deserves more than a billboard in Times Square.
So what does this have to do with today's GIFTaway? 

I'm glad you asked.

The National Association of Professional Child Photographers has selected 35 mom bloggers from across North America to host one AHHH-MAZING giveaway.

Along with gifting one lucky Saige Wisdom follower with a beautiful custom-designed Organic Bloom frame {sold exclusively to professional portrait photographers}...
the winner will ALSO have their name entered in the Grand Prize draw of...

**wait for it**

a photo shoot with NAPCP member Mandy Johnson of Mandy Johnson Photography!!!!
Yup, Mandy & her camera gear will fly to the winner's hometown for a full day of FUN-tography {fun photography}. 

Can you think of anything cooler than having Mandy as a houseguest while she snaps beautiful photos of you & your loved ones? I can't. And one Saige Wisdom fan will have just that, a 1 in 35 chance of making it a reality!

So how do you get in on this Organic Bloom / NAPCP awesomeness?! 

Yet another good question. 

You can earn up to SEVEN entries by following these simple steps:

Keep those fingers triple crossed and GOOD LUCK my friends!

this post is sponsored by:

** if you've never used RAFFLECOPTER before, don't fret {this is my first time too} if you're having issues shoot me an email at OR check out this post on rafflecopter for dummies - we'll get you entered one way or another ;)

{ fill your frame } 10 photography tips.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's no secret that I'm crazy about photography and wish on stars {nightly} that I get better at taking {and editing} photos of my kiddos pronto.

Well... to prepare for tomorrow's BIG giveaway {yup I'm breaking the rules and starting my month of GIFTaways a few days early} I thought I'd share these insider tips the National Association of Professional Photographers (NAPCP) snuck into my inbox. 

If your kids are anything like mine {anti-camera, wiggle worms} getting the perfect any frame-worthy shot can be daunting, exhausting, traumatic and darn right impossible. That's why I leave it to the professionals...

But now that I have a few professional tricks of my own, I may just give photographing my kids another shot {pun intended}:


1. Get on their level: Lay or sit down on the floor to capture the perfect picture. Not only will you be able to see the world from their vantage point, but you’ll also have better perspective and angles when shooting.

2. Lighting is key: Most parents think that having great lighting can be replaced with a camera’s flash, but the flash can actually make children appear washed out. Instead, utilize indirect, natural lighting by shooting near a window in the house or under the shade of a tree.

3. Never stop shooting: For every good shot, there are typically about 8-10 bad ones, but that’s the beauty of having a digital camera! Change the setting to continuous shooting mode to capture lots of shots in the midst of action. Even most standard point-and-shoot cameras have some sort of “sport mode” that can accomplish this task.

4. Get to know your camera: Consult your camera’s manual or look up the settings online so that you can take full advantage of all of its different settings. Three key ones to experiment and get comfortable with are the aperture setting, the shutter speed and the ISO setting.

5. Consider black and white: Black and white photos are not only timeless and classic, but they can also easily cover up the redness and blotchiness on newborns and babies. Adjusting the black and white settings is usually easiest to do after the photo session in photoshop or picasa.

6. Make it fun for them: Kids love to play with their parents, so turn a photo session into play time! Play games, tell jokes and sing songs with them – pretty soon, they’ll forget that you’re taking pictures.

7. Get up close and personal: Get close or zoom in to capture all of the small details that make your child unique.

8. Pay attention to the background: Before you start shooting, make sure that any unwanted or distracting items, like a vacuum cleaner or piles of clothes, are out of the way and out of the shot.

9. Bring your camera everywhere: You never know when inspiration will strike. Camera phones make it easier to capture the everyday moments with your children – they can take decent pictures, but don’t always print well because of their low resolution.

10. Show off their personality: Standard portrait photos are parent favorites, but don’t hesitate to shoot pictures of them in their natural settings and behaviors. Their quirky and adorable habits today can usually create the best photos that you’ll treasure years later.

I'm super guilty of not following through with #9 {hence all my lame iPhone photos with instagram filters}. 

Using a comprehensive directory, the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) connects parents searching for child photographers with professional members in their area. It's the NAPCP's mission to promote and support the artistry and integrity of their industry - kinda like a Better Business Bureau for professional child photographers ONLY BETTER.
For more information check out their website or visit them on Twitter and Facebook.

photo dumpage.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pinky promise I'm still alive. Just making the most of my last few days of freedom - or is it house arrest? - whatever it is, it's coming to an end so we've been keeping busy...
1. Clark Kent made his costume party debut
2. Saige had a MAJOR growth spurt and now we're scrambling to replace her wardrobe
3. Her passport mugshot a la 2010 slays me everytime
4. Waldo was found (terribly hungover *ouch*)
5. Playing dress-up has become part of our daily routine
6. The photo that accidentally inspired Gabe's roadkill costume
7. Someone finally mastered her "G"
8. Someone got pinspired
9. Saturday mornings = skating lessons + Timmy's
10. a pre-school first for the cousins: field trip to the pumpkin patch {on the big yellow school bus I might add}
11. Saige's piggy got replaced with her very own 'savings account' (she ended up depositing $388!!!)
12. Costume thief

and let's not forget our annual frolic in Autumn leaves...

Once I install Lightroom {and learn how to use it} I'll be back with some REAL photos *gasp* and my first of six now 7 back-to-work GIFTaways!!

cue mad fist pump age!

a bittersweet ending.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I have something to confess and it simply cannot wait until my next 'confessions' post {or 'obsessions' post for that matter}; I, Sara Knol, love winning. Call me competitive - you wouldn't be the first - but if the "winner" title is up for grabs, I wanna be the grabber. There's something super exhilarating about taking the first place finish; who's with me?

I especially love winning FREE stuff. This probably doesn't come as too big a surprise considering how many contests I've entered this year (and how many I've won, BOO-YA!). 

Perhaps the only thing better than winning giveaways, is hosting them #truth and that my friends is what I plan to do the entire month of November.

As you know my babymoon is coming to a bittersweet end and to celebrate/commiserate I've got six super sweet giveaways lined up...
It's no secret that I spend an undisclosed amount of time online shopping {a nap-time hobby that will quickly be coming to an end}.  Every so often I'll hit the 'check out' button and on even fewer occasions I've even dropped the "I'm a blogger" bomb in hopes of scoring a discount or some free swag for my faithful followers (being YOU).

Why am I telling you all this? Because I'm all about full monty disclosure. It's important to me that you know how these giveaways end up on my blog and ultimately in your lucky hands.

One of the perks of being on the Top 25 Canadian Mom Blogs list - thanks again for voting! - is getting emails from various PR companies asking if I'm interested in 'partnering' on features, giveaways, product reviews, telephone interviews, etc. 

I especially love the emails that spell my name wrong or want to know if I have any parenting questions for Chelsea from MTV's "Teen Mom" {this 100% happened, just ask Sarah}.

Aside from a really awesome photography related opportunity {coming soon to a post near you} and the Dairyland feature, I've yet to come across any offer good enough for my savvy 'Saige Wisdom' fans. So guess what? I took matters into my own hands and started making the offers instead. 

I still can't believe all the ahhh-mazing swag I scored for my month of giftaways! All the stores are truly awesome and I've either purchased something from them or plan to. Are you excited? cause I sure AM!!! Be prepared to have your mind blown - you'll be a Saige Wisdom winner yet ;)

How do I feel about going back to work? ready, nervous, sad, conflicted, relieved, excited, all of the above. 

aww shucks, oh shoot, all of the above.

Monday, October 22, 2012

For the record I was totally ill prepared for Courtney's blog shout out this morning. While beyond flattered {got that Katy Perry song stuck in my head now, "I kissed a girl..."} I feel like a deer in headlights.
* your welcome for this last minute (and totally awesome) costume idea *

Clearly anyone who follows 'a little glass box' has come to expect amazing posts, stunning photography and pin-worthy projects. Well folks you won't be finding any of that over here, but had I known you'd be dropping by I could have pretended for a post or two.

Over here I do things lazy. Ever since the iPhone came into my life, my posts are basically recycled Instagram pics like these...
Yes we do random really well in these parts and hopefully you do too. I'm also hoping that you'll stick around long enough to take advantage of the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, SIX!!! truly awesome giftaways taking place in November. It's going to be epic, amazeballs, oh em gee terrific {I can't believe I just typed amazeballs... ew}.

P.S. - who's going to be my 100th Facebook friend? big milestone people.

thus far {pt. 2}.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The weekend warriors have been making great progress on the new "wing" {I feel so fancy calling it that}, but with snow in the forecast and some heavy trusses to heave, we've recruited 2 new soldiers to help with our Saturday/Sunday renovations. BIG shout out to Byron & Sean for being all around awesome {and strong}.

I'll be posting a tour of our extended main level real soon, but here's a little reminder of where things were at back in August...
you can see the full post here

And this is how far we've come...
The boys are in the process of sheeting the new roof while I figure out what to make 4 cold & hungry men for lunch... maybe a Wendy's run? ;)

All I can say is thank G-O-D for Instagram otherwise I'd have zero photos of the progress or our sweet little helpers...
Aside from a torrential downpour (or two), gale force winds and an injured baby toe, it's been smooth sailing so far - knock on wood. 

I feel a bit like a widow with Trev-bob working 'round the clock, but we'll have plenty of time to cuddle once that master bedroom is complete. Have I mentioned lately that I'm so over room sharing with Sir Screech-A-Lot? {also known as Gabriel Arthur}. I'm going to shamefully admit that our 1 year old is still not sleeping through the night and with me going back to work soon this is no bueno. 

Now all you parents with good babies, here's your chance to brag. Go ahead and tell me that your 3 month old has given you 12 straight hours of sleep since birth. I'm so happy for you, truly I am {insert eye daggers}.

Plan "B" - aviation pioneer

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

If you follow me on Instagram {@saigewisdom} you may have seen a peek at Plan "B".  
I was a wee bit panicked this a.m. when I picked up the much anticipated pilot costume only to discover that while it's super cute, it's definitely not quality. We're talking paper thin people with a super slim fit; I'm afraid our little fighter pilot won't make it 3 houses before complaining of hypothermia :( I should have ordered the next size up to account for all the warm fall layers she's gonna need trick-or-treating & firework watching. Rookie mistake.

So... instead of a fighter pilot:

Miss Saigerella will be - toasty warm - doing her candy rounds as:

I actually like this costume idea even more than the Top Gun idea #girlpower! Let's just hope the bomber jacket arrives before the pumpkins get lit.

halloween costume reveal...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Any excuse to play dress up...
and I'm in.

Seriously - unless your name is Lady Gaga - you can't possibly love a costume party more than this redhead and if you do... well then we must team up and co-host the most epic October 31st bash imaginable. One that'll put Mrs. Limestone to shame {what I wouldn't give to be invited to her annual Halloween extravaganza}.

Like any good costume lover, I'm a BIG fan of Hallow's Eve... PG-13 style that is - you know the non-scary, non-slutty version.

Aside from a pumpkin belly, paper bag princess and ladybug tutu, I've yet to make any of our family's Halloween costumes and I'm not about to start.
So this year us Knol's are going as...

The above trick-or-treating attire had some pretty stiff 2012 competition. Below are the costume ideas that didn't quite make the cut...
Maybe next year.

Our mini-Superman will spend a few moments in the pumpkin suit for a front porch photo opp circa Saige 2009 {see above}. Gabriel's other costume options included:
a) TinTin
b) an Oompa Loompa
c) a vagabond

Unlike his super awesome wife *blush*, Mr. Knol isn't too big on dressing up. I think either of these tees would act as a suitable compromise:
d) hello my name is... the guy who hates Halloween costumes
e) I'm okay. *I'm thinking Trev-bob may have to wear this to the one & only costume party we've been invited to this year - Sproulefest!!

Next Halloween I'm going to beg & plead with our little unibrow to go as:
g) Frida Kahlo or
h) Salma Hayek acting as 'Frida Kahlo' 

Waldo was the clear winner for me - an opportunity to dress up AND wear stripes - SOLD... but I did get a good chuckle from these Pinterest pins:
f) old skool school photos
i) crazy cat lady - although it's not really that funny anymore seeing how the crazy cat lady across the street has stolen our cat and turned him against us with her Fancy Feast dinners. Come home Hobbes, we miss you.

Speaking of cats what are you & your cute little kittens going as this year?


I've been a Dell girl all my adult life so when I came home with a new MacBook and iPad for Trev I surprised even myself. We totally geeked out that night;  side-by-side on the couch with our new toys doing his & her "research". Over the glow of my new keyboard - such a great feature by the way - I could see Trev looking at excavators and me?

Well I was bookmarking sparkly things that made my magpie heart go pitter patter...

1  //  2  //  3  //  4 //  5  //  6  //  7  //  8  //  9  //  10  //  11

1. I promised myself - and Miss Duckworth - that when the renovation dust settles, I'll be commissioning my very own ADOP original. Not only do I L-O-V-E Adriane's abstracts, but she lets me call her a friend and I can't think of anything cooler than having custom piece from my BFF hanging on my new wall. P.S. my favourite TV series - aside from 'Dexter' - will be using 2 of her painting on their set of... MAD MEN! see here.

2.  this blog is no stranger to {me}longings studio which first debuted in this post; the even better news? For spotting Chanee's sham in the November issue of Better Homes & Gardens, I got to pick the pillow cover of MY choice from her ahhh-mazing Etsy shop. After much agony I finally decided on her Karnataka design. I'm gonna feel so grown up having a handprinted pillow in da house.

3.  I pinned this grouping of stumps awhile ago thinking I could easily replicate their awesomeness with a chainsaw and permission to cut down a poplar(?) or two. You'd think growing up in Northern BC - surrounded by forests & saw mills - I'd know my coniferous trees by now. Heck I was even a short-lived tree planter for awhile ;)

4. Somewhere in between Saige's birth & Gabe's, I lost my beloved SARA necklace {cue pangs of sadness}. Since then my decoutage has been nakey :( I love accessories - pin them all the time - I just don't like them on me which is why I keep my jewelry to a min.i.mum: wedding ring - check, pearl earrings - check, new sideways cross necklace that makes me look oh so Taylor Jacobson - CHECK! I seriously couldn't love my new neck candy more - love it so much I gave my new favourite Etsy seller, Beazuness a spot on my sidebar, right under my other favourite Etsy seller, UrbanWalls... I should probably get ADOP's button up there too.

5. Faux antlers for hooks? heck to the yes.

6. This playful stag head is as good as mine. You're seriously not going to believe the price; like I'll probably get arrested when I place my order cause it's that much of a steal. Being the compulsive shopper that I am, I took a boo at the rest of Red House Supplies and should probably slap their Etsy shop on my sidebar as well - paper straws, washi tape, crackle paint, modge podge... be still my crafting soul.

7. I've been stalking omiyage via all forms of social media for awhile now; they have the cutest packaging for sale and a great selection of decorative tape. Ever since I saw Christine's diy washi tape magnets, I've been itching to DIY my own...

8. where have you been all my life?! this is EXACTLY what I've been dreaming up for our gold inspired living/playroom. Call me crazy, but I'm not a fan of hard surface coffee tables, especially with youngins running around; since we already have a chocolate leather ottoman in the family room, I wanted something a bit different but equally awesome. In walks lovintage finds with their extra large pouff made of... wait for it... removable/washable burlap!! oh my gawd I love burlap.

9. our covered patio is nowhere near completion, but when it is, by golly I'm getting me some of these and I'm getting them from this site... why has no one told me about! I thought we were friends people.

10. amazing right? imagine owning a piece of jewelry stamped with your loved ones handwriting. I saw something similar done with tattoos, but this seems less... painful and has the ability to be handed down from generation to generation.

11. I'm still hooked on the indoor swing idea. It's happening, Trev just doesn't know it yet. 

* if it's not raining tomorrow I promise to show you the progress on our house.

** I may have a few giveaways up my sleeve {maybe even stuff from this post} so don't touch that dial ;)



Friday, October 12, 2012

I've been procrastinating writing this post (hence the midweek confessions going live on a Friday). I gotta tell ya this week's bullet points make me sound legitimately crazy - cray cray if you will. Anyways I've decided to just bite the bullet {pun intended, if that's even a pun?} and publish my woes as there's already a healthy line up of even more humiliating tales waiting in the wings. 

- I find it both hysterical & sad that my confessions posts here are consistently my most viewed entries by like 100+ page views. Are my daily misfortunes really that entertaining? I'll take your spike in readership as my answer. To be honest I myself am a HUGE fan of un-sugarcoated honesty and many of my favourite blogs - Hope Squared, E, Myself & I, Hell on Heels - are the perfect combination of raw & real {and ha-larious}. Something about vulnerability is SO beautiful, I call it vulnerabeauty.

- Speaking of beauty, this is what I look like 6 days/week (pursed lips and all). I'm thinking of doing my own reality version of Instagram's #ootd {outfit of the day}.

- I dressed Gabe like my favourite homosexual sidekick and then showed the photos to the famous HGTV designer himself. Backstory: at Blend in Vancouver, I had shown Tommy a photo of Gabriel sporting his 'nerd party' glasses & bow tie and his exact words were, "you know you have to post that on my Facebook page right?" Umm your wish is my command Tommykins {see here}, only I took it one step further and Tommy provided the caption...

- Now that Tommy Smythe {and Heather Ross} think Saige is my moniker, I'm tempted to change my name. Had I (a) known anything about blogging when I first started this little venture; (b) believed that I would add a second baby to the mix or (c) dreamed Saige Wisdom the blog would be what she is today, I probably would've chosen something that didn't confuse me with my much-cooler-than-me daughter.

- Being a red head isn't as bad as my last post would make you believe.

- When Gabriel was 3 months old and I was holding his inconsolable tiny'ness in my arms at 2 o'clock in the morning, Trev & I made a 'NO more Knol babies' pact. The conversation went a bit like this:
me: "don't let me talk you into us having a third ok?"
Trev: "no arguments here."
So with that - and Trev's permission {as weak of a nod as it was} - I scheduled him a consultation with the penis doctor. I figure I had 2 v-backs, it's only fair that Mr. Knol get a v-sect. I was 100% onboard with this plan; up until the 'procedure' was penned into my day planner. The appointment is today folks and I'm... well... conflicted. Holy crap, I know. Rational Me is saying, "Sara you will not survive another baby, your marriage will not survive, the baby itself may not survive" but Irrational Me {which makes up for 80% of my personality} is saying, "why is your uterus so eager to put up the neon 'no vacancy' sign?"
I will never again experience the flutter of a first kick or  have the honour of naming our newest Knol; I'll never fall asleep with my infant sighing on my chest or witness the miracle of first steps. These realizations make me a bit - okay a lot - sad, but despite my last minute turmoil, I'm still encouraging Trev to go ahead with the day's snippage. I'm going to let him make good on his above promise, but if I happen to get preggers by a rogue sperm, then I guess it was meant to be...
I miss my baby belly.

- I've never watched an episode of "Modern Family"... or "Downtown Abbey" for that matter.

- the extent of my exercise regime lately is lifting Gabe and walking alongside Saige on her Strider bike {sometimes briskly, more often not}. I let my gym membership lapse. I don't care what you running enthusiasts and personal trainer wannabe's say, there's simply not enough time in the day to do everything I need/want to do - care for the kids, cook, clean, renovate, craft, blog, shop, read, sleep, eat, have friends, watch reality tv, etc. - clearly something had to give and getting fit was the first on my list.

- I seriously have like 10 more bullet points to share, but in the interest of full disclosure, all I want to do is snuggle up with Trev-bob and watch another 40 minutes of Dexter: Season 6 {did you catch my clever bolding?}

TGIF peeps! gonna link this bad boy up...
The Juice is Worth the Squeeze


Monday, October 8, 2012

First things first, can you pleeeease pop over and quickly give myself {Saige Wisdom}, Harvesting Kale, Flutter Flutter & Sleeping is for Losers your very important VOTE? Go on ahead, I'll wait...

Love you forever, especially if you do it every day for the next 3 days {from multiple computers & cell phones}.

Okay now that that's out of the way, I'll continue... As a kid I recall being mildly annoyed by all the people - namely old older women - who would rave about my red hair. I remember thinking, "is there nothing about me - other than my hair colour - worth complimenting?". I realize this makes me sound a bit spoiled and ungrateful {which I kinda was}, but being a ginger comes with a laundry list of pros & cons...
For the past 29 years I've had a love/hate relationship with my hair. It wasn't until I had a little carrot top of my own that I really started embracing my red roots. Gabriel's hair is shockingly orange {not even the darkest of instagram filters can tone it down} and his noises are ridiculously high pitched {ear piercing really}; as you can imagine this attention seeking combo garners A LOT of public interest, so much that I've recently gotten my black belt in fending off red head related questions & compliments...

"yes he was born with that colour"
"yes the apple didn't fall far"
"yes he has the temper to go with it"
"yes he's pretty fair skinned"
"yes I'm sure the freckles are on their way"
"oh that's sweet of you"
"Gabriel can you say 'thank you'?" 
*smile & nod*
"he sure is a monkey"
"there's a red head in your family/social circle/church? neato"
"sure you can pet my kid"
"well we better get going..."
"Gabriel can you say 'bu-bye"?"

Maybe I'm exaggerating a tiny bit, but it seems like day after day I'm having the same conversations with complete strangers about what it's like have to have - and spawn - red hair. I once saw a mother of twins toting around this bag:
I'm in the market for something similar only related to ginger babies  - maybe I'll have my Etsy shop yet - and this observation got me a thinking...

I'm not going to do a link up or anything, but I'd love to hear from you.

Here I'll go first.

1. "is that your natural hair colour?" which is usually followed by "it's beautiful", "I always wanted red hair" or "my _______ is/was a red head".

2. "I don't know how you do it." I usually get this - or some variation {ie. "I couldn't do what you do"} - after telling people what I do for a living. Truth: being a child protection social worker ain't always easy, but certain moments of it can be terribly rewarding. I'm in the business of saving and changing lives, it's not supposed to be easy.

3. "what's a blog?" this question makes me cringe for the following reasons (a) I dread having to use words like blog, blogger & blogging, they sound silly coming out of my mouth; (b) how does one describe what a blog is without sounding like a narcissistic attention whore? and (c) as  much as I love my blog friends - and I DO! - I find my online presence embarrassing when I discuss it in my everyday life. People who have blogs, read blogs, etc. get me and people who need me to explain what this internet community is all about, don't

I'm going to steal snippets from Erika's recent post '500 Stories Later' which resonated with me. I HIGHLY encourage you to read her entire entry on Something Beautiful... it had me in tears.
To say that blogging has more often than not been the thing holding me afloat as I've navigated the storms of infertility motherhood these last 4 3 years would be an understatement. The ability to selfishly pour out my guts here and receive nothing but support and acceptance, love and encouragement, friends old and new willing to battle in the trenches with me...those things have saved me. 

Bearing my soul in "real life" is intimidating and exhausting to me. Bearing my soul here feels like coming home.

So while I may have embarked on this bloggy journey thinking only of sharing tidbits and anecdotes about our lives and family, it's ended up being something much bigger (and more therapeutic).

The connections I've made with other women traveling this road have been unbelievable to me. Yall started coming out of the woodwork during this last year, sending me the sweetest and most vulnerable emails. Some of you didn't know anyone in real life that you felt like you could talk to, but that for some reason you found me here and felt like you could connect. And then you didn't feel so alone anymore.  

Being part of a community-- even if it isn't in a physical sense-- where you feel like you belong, where you can share openly...dude, you can't put a price tag on that.

Not wanting to end things on a sappy note, I'll leave you with these...
Cartman's rant on redheads
Dexter sportin' a reddish beard, holla!
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