10 Awesome Photo Editing Apps

BestPhotoEditApps

My Instagram feed is such a diverse group of people. I follow some of my Twitter friends, blogger friends, comedians, food bloggers, actresses, photographers, Real Housewives, musicians, models, and many, many more. I love to follow people who lead interesting lives and go interesting places. Being an avid Instagram user, I of course, love to post photos as well. Instagram recently updated their photo editing abilities (a huge improvement) but I still love to us other photo editing apps to improve the quality of my pictures. Today I am going to share with you 10 of my favorite photo editing apps. I hope you find them useful!

Links provided will take you to the iTunes store. Sorry Droid users :(

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Dropbox Dropbox is a total lifesaver! Have a photo on your phone, but need it on your computer? Just save the picture in your Dropbox and you can access it on all devices connected to the account. The best part is, it’s totally free. The basic free account holds up to 2GB. You can purchase additional storage if needed. My dropbox is connected to my iPhone, iPad, and computer (about 40 items) which is about 29.3 MB of 2.2 GB.

Wordswag Wordswag is one my new favorite apps. Add words to your photos or the backdrops provided. It is 2.99 which is well worth it. It’s great for creating quick headers for blog posts and for my Sunday Saying.

Instasize This is one of my favs!! You can post your entire photo to Instagram without any of it being cropped out. Plus it’s FREE!

VSCOcam I love the photo editing abilities on this app. It has numerous filters and other photo fixes. It is super easy to navigate and fine tune your images. This one is also free.

Diptic Photo collages are a fun way to post on social media and diptic makes it so simple. It has plenty of different collage styles available as well as photo editing features. This app costs $0.99, but is well worth it.

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A Beautiful Mess The bloggers of A Beautiful Mess created this photo editing app with the ability to create different frames and add doodles and text. So much fun and it’s only $0.99!

Rhonna Designs For $1.99, you can create endless designs with this photo app. It has countless font and design packs to keep your photos fresh and stylish. Plus you can fine tune your images with it’s editing features.

Snapseed This free app is great for doing detailed editing of photos on the go!

Repix I haven’t used this app a whole lot but it has worked wonders for what I needed. If you ever need to blur or pixilate anything in your photos, this app is quick and easy. Plus, it’s free!

Afterlight Afterlight costs $0.99 but it another absolute steal. You have your basic photo editing options, plus filters and photo affects, and tons of frames! It’s a fun app to enhance your photos with.

There ya have it! My 10 favorite apps. What are some of your favorite photo apps? How do you like to edit your photos?

Social media is such a great way to promote your blog and interact with people who share the same interests as you. My goal is to post to Instagram everyday. I enjoy sharing pieces of my life, and it’s good branding. People aren’t going to follow you if you rarely post. I have done monthly photo “challenges” in the past. They are a lot of fun. You connect with other users and you get out of normal photography rut. I have come up with a photo a day challenge for the month of August. I would love for all of you to join me! Remember it’s supposed to be fun, not a chore. Every day, every other day, once week, whatever you please!! Hashtag your images #AugustPhotoFun. Good day or bad, messy house or clean, post something each day! There is a list of prompts to inspire you. I hope you join me!! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @TheSurlyHousewife and hashtag your photos with #AugustPhotoFun and the prompt of the day to see what others are posting!

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40 Books by 40 – A Clash of Kings: Book 2 of a Song of Fire and Ice

I have become a lazy reader in recent years. In order to get back into a reading routine and make myself more accountable, I challenged myself to read 40 books by the time I am 40. I am, ahem, 32 years old which only means about 5 books a year so it will probably be more, but 40 by 40 has a nice ring to it so I’m leaving it :)

Happy Monday people! I hope you had a nice weekend. Summer weekends are amazing. The warm air, the sunshine, the green grass. It really is incredible. One of my favorite things about summer is sitting outside with a good book. My summer has been spent reading George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Fire and Ice” series. It’s more commonly known from the HBO show as Game of Thrones. I am currently on book number 2 “A Clash of Kings.”

I am not going to pretend to be an expert on this series whatsoever. I watched the tv show so I wanted to read the books. “A Clash of Kings” follows the tv series, or vise versa I should say, pretty closely. So honestly, I skimmed a lot of this book. That makes me a little bit lame, I know. However, I’m not a huge fan of drawn out books. Martin is what you call long-winded. So if you have seen the tv series you can skip a few pages on the description of Wildfire.

I am glad I have seen the show first. I have faces I can put to names. It helps keep the 7000 names, many of them similar sounding, straight. With Martin writing the books in such great detail, with so much back story, and so many overlaps it can get overwhelming, but it is also gives the book it’s great depth and brings the fantasy world to life.

Book number 2 starts a bit slow. New characters, new setting, and it takes awhile to get back to the story line of the first book. It begins after the death of Robert Baratheon and 6 “Kings” are clamoring for the Iron Throne: Robert’s “son” Joffrey Baratheon, Renly Baratheon, Stannis Baratheon (Robert’s brothers), the exiled Daenerys Targaryen, Robb Stark of the North, and Balon Greyjoy of the North. Along with the clash of kings, if you will, the book follows Ned Stark’s daughters Arya and Sansa and bastard son Jon Snow. Arya is fleeing to the north disguised as a boy after the execution of her father. Sansa is being held captive by the Lannisters in King’s Landing. Jon continues his service to the Night’s Watch as they fight against aggressors beyond the wall.

The series is written in the third person, which means in each chapter we see things only from one character’s point of view. The nine characters followed in Clash of Kings are: Catelyn Stark (Ned’s widow), Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Jon Snow, Bran Stark (Another son of Ned), Daenerys Targaryen, Theon Greyjoy (Balon’s only son) Tyrion Lannister (Joffrey’s imp uncle), and Davos Seaworth (Knight of Stannis Baratheon). The book jumps around between each of the characters. A lot of the time I would forget what they were up to in the previous chapter! I finally just started jotting down notes. It was much easier to glance at my notes than flip back through the book.

You find yourself loving and hating this book. One minute you are fascinated and can’t wait to see what happens on the next page!! Then the next minute you are screaming in your head “GET TO THE POINT!!” Ahem. He gets a teeny, tiny bit long winded is all I mean. If you are a fan of the tv series and like fantasy novels, read this book. It doesn’t disappoint. I may challenge your reading ability, memory, and sanity but it is well worth it.

What have you been reading this summer? What’s on your summer reading list?

Book Total
Book One – Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Book 2 – Blindsighted by Karin Slaughter
Book 3 – God, If You’re Up There, I’m F*cked by Darrell Hammond
Book 4 – Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Book 5 – Life After Death By Damian Echols
Book 6 – Catering to Nobody by Diane Mott Davidson
Book 7 – Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice Book 1) by George R. R. Martin
Book 8 – Burglars Can’t be Choosers
Book 9 – The Last Jew of Treblenka by Chil Rajchman
Book 10 – Theodore Boone: The Abduction by John Grisham
Book 11- Kisscut by Karin Slaughter

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment …

{this moment}

“A Friday (or Monday) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.”

ThisMoment21

Letter of the Week – Letter M

Every Thursday, I share a little bit about our homeschool life. Interested in why we are homeschooling? Click here. Want to know about our home preschool curriculum? Click here. Any other questions? Ask away. I would love to hear from you :)

LetterM

Happy Thursday people!! I haven’t posted a letter of the week post in awhile so this work is actually from a few months ago. Ssssht! Don’t tell anyone. Letter M is the highlight today. I had so many options of what to do but marshmallows and moose were the name of the game!

These were some of my favorite pictures from the week :) Nothing fancy. Just my sweet little girls hard at work.

Moose Antlers

My kids love the book “If you give a moose a muffin,” so I knew they would love making some moose antlers. I found the template here and printed it off.

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The girls simply painted them brown, and I did the rest by cutting them out and stapling them to brown cardstock. They turned out pretty cute!

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Marshmallow Rainbow

While searching for M activities, I found this marshmallow activity on the No Time for Flash Cards blog. It couldn’t be simpler. I roughly drew a rainbow and marked the respective colors for each kind of marshmallow: pink, orange, yellow, and green.

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Armed with a bowlful of multi-colored marshmallows, the girls glued the matching marshmallows onto the rainbow. Not without a few thousand “I wish I could each these marshmallows.” Sigh.

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Marshmallow Sensory Play

This fun activity came from the blog Fantastic Fun and Learning. I set the girls up with one bin of marshmallows, one bin of cold water, and one bin of hot water.

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The girls dove right in. Moving the marshmallows back and forth, squeezing the water out of the them, and eventually adding other toys to the party.

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That wraps up some of work for the letter M. For more letter of the week work, click here! What are some of your favorite activities for the letter M? Let me know in the comments. I would love to hear them.

Thanks for stopping by!

What Makes Me Smile

Rainbow

The life I share on the blog will probably seem angelic and blissful but I am actually a pretty negative person in real life. I choose to showcase the positive aspects of my life, because I come across as pretty brash when I am negative. Picture more profanities and A LOT OF SHOUTING!! I do most of my venting to my husband and keep my blog clear of the negative energy. Not that there is anything wrong with venting posts or blogs about the crappy side of parenthood. I just can’t write that way.

Where I was going with this is, since I tend to be a Negative Nelly at times, I was thrilled to come across another blogger, Alison from Under the Big Oak Tree, who started a series called “What Makes Me Smile.” She “journals some things that make me smile each week. Hoping that when I look back, I’ll see just how many things I have to be grateful for and smile about in my life.” I adore this idea. So I have decided to share 5 things that make me smile. Enjoy!

1. Ewan McGregor singing. Like every other parent in American, my kids are obsessed with the movie “Frozen” as well as the soundtrack. Naturally we have a “Let it Go” station on Pandora. Sigh. It gets old. But I always perk up when a Moulin Rouge song comes on. It’s a wonderful change of pace, and Ewan’s voice is so dreamy :)

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2. Comedians in the bathroom taking selfies I love laughter. I love comedians. I love the camaraderie comedians have. So it only makes sense I would love a picture of some of my favorite funny guys taking a picture in the can. For those who want to know, the comics on the photo, starting with the fat bald moron (that’s a total complement. Imagine if I was being mean) Bob Kelly, Opie Hughes, Ricky Gervais, Jim Norton, and Rich Vos.

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3. Daryl Dixon This may be a bit personal but there are few things in life that I want more than a tied up Daryl Dixon. Ahem. Sorry for the overshare.

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4. Bagels I have been baking our bread for a while now to cut back on expenses, so we have cut out buying bagels. My husband surprised me by bringing some home!

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5. My husband Awake or asleep, this man always makes me smile. Especially on those days I need it the most.

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How about you? What makes you smile?

Thanks for reading!!

This Moment

I have been inspired by SouleMama to take a moment …

{this moment}

“A Friday (or Monday) ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.”

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What do you want to be when you grow up?

Every Thursday, I share a little bit about our homeschool life. Interested in why we are homeschooling? Click here. Want to know about our home preschool curriculum? Click here. Any other questions? Ask away. I would love to hear from you :)

confucius

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up Maryann?

Fo: A cooker. (A chef)

Jason: That’s an awesome thing to be! To be a chef you have to learn about all different kinds of food. What kind of food do you want to learn how to cook?

Fo: I wanna learn all of mama and papa’s recipes.

Me: That’s so sweet. Thank you, but we don’t know how to cook a lot of different cuisines. What else would you like to learn to cook?

Fo: Chinese food. And Margie’s recipes!

Me: That’s awesome! I bet Margie would love to teach you some of her Mexican recipes.

Jason: If you are going to work in a restaurant, you have to work really hard. You start out washing dishes and work your way up. Where would you like to work?

Fo: Frostie Freeze.

Me: That’s an awesome place to start learning about restaurants.

Fo: I’m gonna have my own restaurant and I’m gonna call it Frostie Breeeeze.

Jason: What are you gonna make?

Fo: Ice cream of course.

Me: Are you gonna have seats inside or outside?

Fo: Only outside. With 100′s of picnic tables!!

Me: What do you want to be when you grow up Lilly?

Bear: A baby nurse.

Fo: Lilly, when we grow up, you can be a baby nurse. We could live next door to each other and visit everyday. And you could come to my store everyday and have ice cream. That would be SO AWESOME!!

sisters

This story of Fofo telling me what she wanted to be when she grows up really warmed my heart. The enthusiasm and passion she showed for her dreams of opening an ice cream shop was, in Fofo’s words, SO AWESOME! Our main goal in homeschooling was to help our kids find, pursue, and cultivate their passion in life. We don’t want them to just have a job when they grow up, we want them to love what they do. Feel they have a purpose in what they do.

I was talking with a fellow homeschool mom last week about our reasons for homeschooling. She had a great take on why former teachers (or education major like myself) would lean towards homeschooling. We want to cultivate their learning and education. We want to take what we have learned and see our kids grow-up. Not put it in the hands of others. We have the tools to teach our kids. Our purpose, time, and energy is best served teaching them.

What are your reasons for homeschooling? What do your kids want to be when they grow up?

15 Sensory Activities for Rainy Days

SensoryRoundup

Summertime is a busy time as families are out enjoying all the opportunities only summer can provide. If your family is anything like mine, the kids expect something new and exciting every day. Even on rainy days. Or those days that I just want to stay home and catch up on House of Cards. Ahem. I don’t do that. Annnnyway, sensory activities are a perfect way to keep your kids occupied on those less-than-stellar weather days or those days you just need a break!

1.Sensory tubs or table My kids love to play in rice and beans. I have been planning on using noodles also, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

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2. Shaving cream Try this shaving cream cookie activity or let the kids loose in the bathtub with a little container of shaving cream.

3. Clay. Modeling clay is a great sensory/art activity for little hands.

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4. Play-Doh. Clay can be a real pain to clean up. I speak from personal experience. Play-doh works just as well!

5. Shaving Cream Fireworks. Another fun and messy activity with shaving cream.

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6. Oobleck. My kids ask to repeat this activity all the time!

7. Baking. Who is this handsome guy?!

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8. Water and ice.

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9. Snow. This is obviously a wintertime activity but this is another activity my kids wanted to do over and over and over again.

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10. Jello. This is a cool multi-sense experience. First the jello is liquid, then semi-solid, and then frozen so it’s totally solid. Super fun.

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11. Kool-Aid. Painting with Kool-aid was a fun twist on an old stand-by activity.

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12. Lavendar. We did a lavendar water sensory bin that was a big hit with the girls.

13. Marshmallows. You can get marshmallows for dirt cheap in the summer. Avoid stuffing them all into your face by setting up a sensory bin for your kids. Dry or with some water so see how the texture of the marshmallows change in the water.

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14. Jewelry. My kids a fun time making necklaces with some of the 12,000 beads we have lying around.

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15. Opposites. I haven’t had a to try this one out yet, but it is on tap for our O Letter of the week. Round-up all the opposites you can think of in your house. If your house is anything like mine, it shouldn’t take long.

What is your favorite way to spend a rainy day? What sensory activities does your family enjoy?

Thanks for stopping by!

Linking up with Weird Unsocialized Homeschoolers for List-it Tuesdays

Dating Your Spouse

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Taking Care of Me means Taking Care of My Marriage. Plain and simple. My husband is my best friend, confidante, and biggest supporter. I go to him for advice, motivation, and the all important rant session. And vice versa. Our relationship is the foundation of our family and we work hard to keep the foundation strong. For our family and our sanity.

Comedian Patton Oswalt does a great bit about birthdays. His theory is you should only celebrate about 20 birthdays during the course of your lifetime. All the others “You are just wasting cake and paper!” I think this could also be applied to wedding anniversaries. I love my husband, I love being married to him, I love our life together. That’s what our marriage is. Living our day-to-day life. The “I Love Yous,” the reassurance on the tough days, holding hands in the car, nights by the campfire, and the elusive date night.

There isn’t anything wrong with celebrating anniversaries of course, we just don’t make a big deal out of it. It’s just another day in our partnership. As Patton says, “I’m 12! Good for you kid. Go to school.” What defines our marriage is more than a wedding date. It’s the small moments we make all year long. We cherish these memories and love to make new ones together. Enter date night!

Busy parents are hardly able to get a night away, and we are no exception. My husband works 50-60 hours a week, and as a one income family we don’t have much extra money for going out. But we still carve out time to spend together during the week. We have date nights at home: pizza and comedy night. One night during the week we have a half-hour comedy we enjoy watching together. Louie, Drunk History, Modern Family, Inside Amy Schumer are just a few of our favorites.

After the kids are in bed and my husband is on his way home, I make pizza for our date night. Jason gets home. We have a little bit of small talk, and then settle in for a night of food and laughs, usually with a beer or cocktail in hand.

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It may be late at night, and we may be sacrificing sleep, but it is important that we spend that quality time together. Do we want to go out on actual dates? Of course, but that isn’t always possible. Is pizza and tv a particularly exciting date night? Not especially. But we have a lot of laughs and we are together.

A lot of moms ask for ideas for date night and what can they do as something special for their spouse. It’s as simple as dinner and a movie. In fact, there are a ton of small things you can do to create special moments with you and your spouse in a series I like to call “Dating your Spouse.” This idea is inspired by blogger Sandy aka “Reluctant Entertainer” and her series called “Still Dating.” As part of Taking Care of Me Monday, I will be sharing some simple, fun, and inexpensive ways you can date your spouse and continue to make meaning memories together.

How do you date your spouse? Do you have a regular date night?

Thanks for stopping by!