Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday Q and A

I've officially had enough of all the sickness around this house. Just when I think everyone is over it someone else throws up. I tell ya, its been so yucky. Addie, who I thought was over it, threw up again last night and now Emily and I aren't feeling well. We need it to be spring I think. ASAP.

So Q and A friday hasn't really happened like I thought it would, but I've been collecting your questions over the past couple of weeks and I was able to get them answered this week(I hope I got all of them, if not please ask again). Yay! So here it is, Q and A friday....on saturday.

1. Marueen asked, "If you think of it, could you let us all know where you get the adorable flowers for your baby and the babies you photograph? Anywhere we can find them in the States?

I`ve gotten my flowers from a variety of different places actually. A few of them I`ve made, a lot I`ve gotten at a cute local store called Anna Banana (you can also purchase from them online here.) The breebands are what I`ve bought. I recently ordered a couple of these headbands and flowers and I think they`re so sweet. Can`t wait to get them in the mail. I also recently found some adorable flowers by this lady, she doesn`t have the flowers up on her website yet, but the ones I`ve seen were precious and I plan on placing an order with her soon. I`ve also ordered some from etsy here and here for my own girls.

2. The next question I have is from Ulla about Family Home Evening. She asked, "I followed your links in the post you did about it the other day - but I am still in the dark about the contents of these evenings of yours. I would love to hear more, because it sounds like something I would like to do. I also have three kids, and maybe this could be a way to do something together all of us. Is there a specific theme of a family home evening? Do the kids participate actively? How do you make the content kid-friendly? What have been the reaction from the kids? I am really curious.

Well, Ulla, I`ll give you my best answer of what Family Home Evening is all about and any other LDS readers out there, if there is anything I forget or that you could help clarify please post in the comments. We (as in Latter-day Saints or Mormons) are encourage to hold Family Home Evening each monday evening with our families. While we (our family) most certainly can`t claim a 100% Family Home Evening record we really try to do at least something together as a family each monday night.

We start and end the evening with a prayer, we sing songs together, I or my husband will provide a short lesson (topics that we`ve covered vary greatly from honesty and kindness to specific scripture stories) then we do an activity which reinforces the lesson we`ve discussed and then enjoy a small treat together. Now, when I say short lesson, I really do mean short lesson - my kids are young so if we can get them to sit still for any long than 5 minutes I think we`re doing good. I try to keep the lessons fun and involve them as much as possible. Some nights we`ll just watch a movie together, play a board game or go swimming. To me, its mostly about being together as a family. Our kids absolutely love it and I sure hope that continues as they get older.

There are so many resources out there for great Family Home Evening lessons and ideas. I`ve found this manual to be a great help. I also subscribe to LDS Living`s email newsletter and each monday it includes a Family Home Evening lesson. Recently in our ward we organized a Family Home Evening idea swap (it`s just like a cookie exchange except with FHE lessons) and it's awesome! We`ll be getting together every 3 months and swapping between 12 ladies so by the end of the year we`ll have a years worth of FHE lessons.

3. Monica asked, "Do you have any plans in the scrapbooking world where we can see more of your work."

You know what, I haven't really started thinking too much in that direction yet. I've been so preoccupied with life stuff up until recently that I hadn't even given scrapbooking much thought I have to admit. But I feel like life is slowly returning to some sort of normalcy and I've been finding myself sorting through the old scrapbook paper and sketching out a layout idea or two in my daytimer. And, you'll never believe this, I am having a hard time believing it myself, but the other day I actually made a real life scrapbook page! Its for publication so I can't share but watch for it this summer (it'll be in CK.....shhhh don't tell anyone)


So, I have no definitive plans in the industry. My number one focus right now is my family and my health, but when I have the time I'd love to create a page here or there for myself or for print. I feel my mojo coming back but I am very guarded of my time so hesitate to over commit myself to anything. I'll be taking things very slowly, but am feeling ready to take things on again!

4. I've had a couple people asking for links or food storage advice, but feel I MUST say that I am by no means an authority on the subject but what I can do is share with you some resources that have helped me get our food storage started. But first things first, Why do we have food storage in our house? A few of you have been curious and so I'll attempt to answer and again, any LDS reader please feel free to jump in and help me out, just post something in the comments if you have something to add.

I think that this quote from the First Presidency of the church explains it best:

"Our Heavenly Father created this beautiful earth, with all its abundance, for our benefit and use. His purpose is to provide for our needs as we walk in faith and obedience. He has lovingly commanded us to “prepare every needful thing” (see D&C 109:8) so that, should adversity come, we can care for ourselves and our neighbors and support bishops as they care for others. We encourage members world-wide to prepare for adversity in life by having a basic supply of food and water and some money in savings. We ask that you be wise as you store food and water and build your savings. Do not go to extremes; it is not prudent, for example, to go into debt to establish your food storage all at once. With careful planning, you can, over time, establish a home storage supply and a financial reserve."

This year I've really felt the urgency to get our food storage established. We've always had a small supply on hand but never anything that was very well organized or that I'd put much thought into. Over the past few months I've set to work determining what types of food our family regularly consumes, what types of food we want to include in our long term (one year) storage and how much we would need of each per family member. It was quite overwhelming at first and has been a lot of work but it has also been very rewarding. Its forced me to get this house organized and brings so much peace of mind knowing that our family would be ok if anything unexpected were to happen.

So first off, here is a list of online resources about emergency preparedness, food storage and cooking with food storage, etc. and then I'll share with you how I tackled this.

This is one of my favorite places to check out often: Everyday Food Storage.

This place is great too:Get Me Ready

Good stuff here! Especially given the rise in food prices.

Great ideas don't you think?

This one is another favorite.

Here's another place worth checking out. I thought this video was a great idea for simplifying your inventory and keeping track of what you have in stock/what you need to purchase.

This website is FULL of great information and for us Canadians, this one is too.

I have also purchased a book called "Practical Preparedness" by Tina Monson and it has been such a great help. With lists and tables to fill out to help determine how much food is needed for your family along with recipes and recommendations it has really helped to simplify things for me. I'd highly recommend it. There are so many great books/resources out there. The trick is taking all the information you read and determining what will work best for your own family and your budget.

The first thing I started with was tracking what foods/meals our family ate on a regular basis. I came up with a 3 month menu of things we liked to eat and then from there a grocery list of all the items that I would need on hand to make those recipes. This really helped me to see what items I needed to have on hand and how many of each. Its also really helped me keep on top of preparing meals and eating better.

Next I started determining what longer term storage items we needed to have on hand and how many pounds of each. Number one being water. We have a huge water tank that we installed in our home before we were finished building so we have that taken care of. Next was wheat, rice, sugar,honey, beans, etc. etc. We've purchased big air tight containers for the things we need the most of (wheat, rice, beans) and the rest we've done in the large #10 cans (these are on the top shelf of our storage room.) These items are for our longer term supply.

The items on the lower shelves are part of our 3 month supply, or essentially what we need rotate and use on a more regular basis. I have my shelves labelled according to what's on them: protien (canned meats and beans), baking supplies (spices, honey, salt, etc.), Dairy (evaporated milk, hot cocoa, cheese whiz), Soups, Grains (cereals, granola bars, white flour), Veggies and Fruits. I don't track my inventory on a regular basis, I probably should. I just shop for sales on items I know we keep in stock and when they go on sale instead of just buying one I'll buy two or more of that item.

A lot of our longer term storage and our storage containers we purchased at In Case Of or we canned it ourselves at the church cannery. I hope this was at least somewhat helpful?? I realize its just a quick overview but its such an indepth subject I could go on and on. Check out some of those blogs and such, you'll find some great information I'm sure.

5. Where did you purchase your kitchen table? I must have that exact one. Or at least close to it, but my I'm hoping its not only available in Canada or something. Oh dear, I'm sorry to tell ya we had our table made by some Hutterites who Randal knows. It is based off a table that I saw in an old potterybarn catalog though? But that is no help either. Sorry.

6. Just love this shots! Do you have some "materiel" for doing this sort of shots? Claire from France Claire, I only have two backdrops. A black one and a white one. The black one I have is from some thick, non wrinkle fabric I purchased at Joanne's and with the white the baby is laying on a white bedsheet and I used my white seamless paper as a backdrop.

7. Just looking through all your 365 photos, and wondering what lens do you use for all the indoor shots? And the setting? I love how all your photos look. And do you take that same lens and camera to the pool? Leanne Most all of the photos I've taken for the 365 blog have been with my 50mm 1.4 lens. Mostly because I love it so and partly because I'm too lazy to switch it. If I want to do a wider angle shot I've used my 28-135mm IS lens. My settings vary but most have been at higher ISO's because there's not a lot of light around these parts in the winter. And I usually have my aperture around 2.5 or so.

8. How do you store greeting cards you want to save? Not necessarily photo Christmas cards, but cards you received when your kids were born, when you got married, birthday cards, etc. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!! Susan Oh goodness Susan, mine are all in a box. I have yet to sort through them all. I have written the date on them all as we've gotten them but thats about as far as I've got. You've inspired me to tackle that project though and come up with a fun solution. It will most likely involve purging my collection though and keeping only a couple really special ones from each occasion.

9. I've never had these. How do you get your background to be blurry - it makes the candy bar look so clear? Susan

Well, I personally feel that it is my duty to spread to the world the wonderful chocolate-minty goodness that is a mint aero we're just going to have to have three winners from todays comments, one of ya'll simply must try one of these chocolate bars!! And that background blur comes when you are using a wide aperture (the lower the number the wider the aperture). This look can be achieved by setting the aperture yourself in AV mode (remember the smaller the number the wider the aperture) or by selecting portrait mode and focusing on your subject, in this case, the chocolate bar.

10. I particularly love your building blocks segment in the book and in SS do you have any other great ideas/starters following that format? So happy you are back. CARRIE H. I really should come up with some more of these Carrie! I will put that on my list of future post because I really loved those too!

Well, thats it for now. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Rebecca Cooper

Rebecca is a mom of four. She enjoys crafting with her kiddos, taking photos, and afternoon naps. Rebecca is a professional photographer and author. Connect with Rebecca on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Google+. Sign up via email for the latest updates from Simple As That.


  1. Thanks, Rebecca, for your answer to the "baby flowers" question :)

    My next question is regarding your photography. You do such a beautiful job and I was wondering if you have any formal training/classes or if you are self-taught. I am thinking about purchasing the Canon Rebel and trying to teach myself.

    Thanks for your time!

  2. I would love to win either the hair stuff or the mint Aero bar. I remember studying in London and LOVED those Aero bars--but I've never tried the mint. (Actually, I brought an ENTIRE carry-on bag full of British candy home with me to share...we Americans are truly missing out! ;)

    Thanks for all the food storage links--that was super helpful!

  3. Laurie in Michigan3:14 PM

    Rebecca, this is so interesting to me. Thanks for posting all the food storage ideas and sources for information. My family teases me that I have so much in storage, but it makes sense to me - in fact organizing it better is on this week's agenda while we're off school for break!

    I would love an Aero bar - that looks awesome!

    I, too, am so glad you are back and blogging again. I enjoy your writings! Thank you!

    Laurie from Michigan

  4. i LOVE reading your blog!!
    we recently found out were pregnant again.. Id LOOOVEE those bows.. incase we have a little girl!!
    and oh man do i need that chocolate bar! haha
    i really admire how you talk about being LDS.. i know some people are afraid to talk about it.. but i think its awesome your open about it! :)

  5. also.. heres a great website for people who are looking for more info on food storage!

  6. Rebecca - You are awesome! Thank you SO much for answering all of our questions - you answered TWO of mine, and I am so grateful. I, too, have gone through our cards (10 years worth) and purged quite a few of them! I organized the kids' cards according to year and put each year's cards in an individual bag and then put all the bags in a decorative box. The kids love looking at the cards (especially the Hallmark ones that play music). Thanks for all the food storage ideas!! Feel better!

    Susan in NJ

  7. Sherri P eh5:09 PM

    Love your post! Love all of your posts Rebecca, and thank you for taking the time -- life gets busy!
    I love that you plan to share the joy that is mint aero, but you can't let me win! I'm a Winnipeg girl living in Pennsylvania, so I have my Aero/Caramilk/Macintosh Toffee/Crunchies/Dad's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies replenished fairly regularly. We stock up when we visit, and anyone who comes to visit knows to bring some. Also Bisto and CloverLeaf Sockeye Salmon. Just a few of the many things you can't get here in the good old US of A. Of course do bring lots of Target and Trader Joe's purchases back up to friends and family in the Great White North, so it's a trade off! Thanks again and I hope you and your family have a great Valentine weekend!

  8. I love mint aero's too! yum. I am totally feeling the urge to get my food storage set this year too. seeing your big room really inspires me to get my little room packed full! thanks for all the links for help! those flower clippies are adorable.

  9. I'm so glad that you are back to blogging! I love your stuff and think you are great!

  10. I'm so glad your back and love reading your blog. Thanks for all of the great food storage blogs! I go in waves with food storage, and am wanting to jump back in! Would love to try an Aero bar!

  11. Thanks for answering my question about the family evenings. You have really inspired me. And thanks for this post in general. It is really interesting, candid and in-deapth. It is especially interesting for me to have a peek inside your religious world. I don't have any religious friends (I live in Scandinavia) so your perspective on life is new and thought provoking to me. Thanks Rebecca.
    ..oh and hope your spring is just around the corner, bringing better health for all of you. We have also had months of winter here (again: Scandinavia) and sick kids (I have three), and I am SO looking forward to warmer weather.

  12. I am excited to read up on all the links for food storage. I have also felt an urgency about food storage, but unfortunately, I haven't been as diligent as you have about acting on my feeling. Aeros are one of my very favorite chocolates. My mother-in-law always brings me some when she visits us in the states. I haven't had a mint one yet, but I will now have to have my brother-in-law bring me a few when he visits next month. I would love to win some cute hair accessories. What girl doesn't need hair accessories? Hope you're all feeling better soon.

  13. Susan L.3:37 AM

    I am so glad you are back in the blogging world! Thanks for the chance to win.

  14. Thanks for sharing so much great information. Food storage has really been pressing on my mind lately. I love your 365 project and keep wondering if I should jump in late or wait 'till 2010. Keep taking good care of yourself and adorable family.

  15. I think it is wonderful that your blog is a missionary tool!! Great job on the family home evening things and the food storage!! ;-)

    So having three girls (and one boy-age 6) who are 4, 3 and just about 2, I can also say that one cannot have enough girly accessories!! I would love to win something for them!! ;-)

    I would also love to pick your brain about shooting newborns. I have been getting asked to do them lately and I really don't know how!! YIKES!! What surface to you lay them on when they are on their tummies to get them so prefectly posed? What heigth (sp) do you shoot them at for that pose? I wish you could do a step by step photo shoot for us. You are so good!!!

    Anyway, I know it is time consuming to blog, to be a wife and mom, to take pics, etc. but keep up the great work! I really look up to you!

    Columbus, Ohio

  16. What an awesome Q&A. Thanks for all the info and giveaways. I have two little girls myself and we're always on the lookout for cute hairbows.

    I would just add how much our little family loves Family Home Evening. Families are just so busy these days and having FHE (and making it a priority) means that at least once a week we all sit down together, have fun, and teach our kids what we most want them to learn. My kids love it and it really helps us feel closer as a family.

  17. Rebecca, you are amazing! I wish I had your drive! I would love to be in the drawing if it is open to Americans. (Canadians living in the US, I mean:) How I miss Aero bars...I am off to finish reading all of the great links you posted!

  18. Thank you for blogging about my website for Hair Accessories! I also LOVE Mint Aero bars and I would love to win one (the only place I've been able to buy them is in the UK.) I would love to set up a giveaway on your site if you think your readers would like that! You can contact me at
    Cherry Blossoms

  19. Chocolate and mint= motivation to click over from google reader;-)

    Glad you are well and blogging again. Love the generous peek you have given us into how you do it all, and if you feel comfortable with it, I'd love you to share your 3-month meal list. I'm always looking for ideas because we seem stuck on the same 1 week list.

  20. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Thanks for your food storage info!! Looking into working on that myself!

    I have a question about your office--I noticed that you have a wonderful almost island looking thing with Stainless Steel Top--I was wondering were you were able to find that??? It would be so helpful in my craft room!

  21. Just discovered your blog and am enjoying it! You are a woman of many talents!

    Hope you and your family feel better soon!

  22. All Right!

    So much useful and fun information!

    That really satisfied by thirst for all things Cooper-Style!

    We have missed you and we are so glad that you (and your kids) are better, well almost.

    Thanks for the post. I'll be sending the link to some friends.


  23. Chocolate and mint? I'm in! :)

  24. I would love to win anything chocolate (I like dark chocolate mint 3muskateers here) or hair bows/flowers. If you check out my blog post from Jan. 24 you can see why (I have a daughter a few months younger than Addie, however she has way less hair!).

  25. Would love to win chocolate or bows:) My daughter Gracyn is a 10-10-07 baby too and the poor, deprived girl only has the cheap-o barretts!

    Thanks for all the "funness" you post in your blog!


  26. Would love to have a use for the bows, but my daughter is almost 12 and turns her nose up at bows now, and then the next 3 are boys! But I would take anything mint chocolate.
    You gave me some great ideas toward our food storage, and the FHE binder. I have one that we use every week, but its not cute! Tomorrow it will be getting a makeover!

  27. Hope you all are feling better soon. Thanks for all the great ideas you post!

  28. i love your food storage! wow!

  29. Hi Rebecca,

    Just found you blog and love all the photo, craft, and storage inspiration. I love reading about all the things you do with your kids as I have kids all the same ages. My oldest daughter is almost 6, my son is 3 1/2 and my youngest daughter is 1 1/2. It's great to find a blog of someone living in Canada as well ( I'm from northern B.C.) and finding tips about where to find stuff in our country too.
    Thanks again!!

  30. Wow, that post was worth waiting for. Nice work Rebecca. Lots of great tips and ideas. So lucky to have friends like you!!!!!!

    I'm feeling the urge to visit the Cannery now!!!!!!!

  31. Anonymous4:08 PM

    Thanks for the insight! Looking forward to visiting some of the websites, and maybe an aero bar??

  32. Jill W.5:44 AM

    Wow! What a lot of useful info on this post! (Plus a bonus to win those cute little flower bows and candy!)

  33. Rachel B6:53 AM

    I love your stuff Rebecca! My 2 girls would love the flower hair goodies!! Here's hoping with you for an early Spring... :)

  34. Your food storage room has me drooling. You are awesome! I LOVE anything minty or chocolately, but the two together? Again...drooling. Must you make that photo SO tempting?? Great post!

  35. Mine got earsed I guess so here is my entry hope you guys are feeling better! ttys { love your q and a post on fridays!}

  36. Anonymous11:48 AM

    hope your family is on the mend. thanks for the great info on food storage. looking forward to creating a 3 month supply to start.

  37. yummy, I would be afraid to try it if I couldn't buy it at the store in the US! It looks delicious. And now I am thinking about what would happen if we had an emergency? We wouldn't survive long at all. I must start being more prepared!

  38. don't pick me for the prizes, but I wanted to share some sites I use for quick little kiddo FHE's.

    You are a wonderful missionary. Such a great example.

    And nice work on that AWESOME looking food storage. I bought that book too. And as soon as we are done school I am starting on that as we have nothing in that department as of yet.

  39. I love your Q & A! But you didn't answer my question and I was really hoping you would. I want to know-- Is your blog is a template or did you create it yourself? I don't like my blog layout, but I don't know enough to make it look the way I'd like. Any suggestions?

  40. WOW! You guys sure have the flu bug at your house. I sure hope you all get better really SOON and Spring comes early too. : D

  41. I am also glad that you are back although I know that family and taking care of yourself comes first. My sons are now adults and my husband and I fought about religion, money, parenting, etc... He's a good man so I'm not knocking him. What I want to share is my regret that I didn't become a Morman at 19 when I was searching and was found by two awesome elders who really helped me so much. When they talked about Family Home Evening and seemed to answer questions that I always found disconcerting about the church I attended growing up. I wondered why God never sent Christ to North America to the natives living there, etc. They told me about the book of Mormon. Since I became addicted to scrapbooking and crafting I can tell that a large percent of the industry and blogs are written by Mormons and I truly see that a shared belief, a shared plan for life, FHE, Food Storage and the care, kindness and generosity you learn, teach and live is so wonderful and leads to happier more well adjusted families. Thank you for answering the questions because so many families and individuals are looking to quench a spiritual thirst and there were always many misconceptions about Mormons. Your lives make me and probably others like me the desire to have the strong family ties, support systems and inner peace that we can sense when reading your blog and many others. Thank you. Hope you are all feeling well soon. We really do need Spring asap!

  42. I LOVE your storage room! It looks so pretty with all your #10 cans! I've kept mine in their boxes, but it looks prettier having them out!

  43. Love reading all your posts Rebecca!


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