She eyed him, just out of his reach, a mischievous grin underneath the sweetest black rimmed glasses that you have ever seen.  He reached out and scooped her up, giggling and squirming. The kind of play that she will remember when she is 20.  They literally played this way through the entire session.  I don't think that I have smiled or laughed so much during a family session in a long time.  It definitely reminded me why I love photographing families so much.  These are literally the moments that they will love for years to come.  Don't we all wish life were still that simple. To play, to laugh and to love, easy peasy.  We complicate life with #allthethings.  We have to make decisions, plans and schedules. What if we could just dance in the rain, have a tickle fight just for fun and stomp through the woods with the most important people in our lives?  Wouldn't that be better?  So here is to playing more and planning less. 

Rock You,

Amanda Star 

Using Snack Crate as a Geography curriculum - putting the cool back in school!

If you have been around me for any length of time, you will know that I don't like boring. I don't like doing the same thing all day, everyday.  That proved to be a challenge when we started homeschooling. You have to be very consistent in your studies, curriculum and schedule. At first, I tried being the strict to a schedule kind of girl - ya, that isn't me! After YEARS of schooling my children at home, I think I have found a nice balance between schedule & spontaneity.  One of the ways that I have found to keep school fun & fresh is to add in amazing resources for my kids. One of those is Snack Crate!  We love studying about other countries and even when they were all little we would sit down with our missionaries information cards and look up the countries they were in, so that we could better understand where they were serving and how we could serve them.  Then, we would tape them to a large map so we wouldn't forget them.  The kids walked by that map every day and I know it helped them to really appreciate the world, the people in it and the differences in culture. 

 This year we found a super fun way to eat our way through the different countries.  We purchased the 26.00 box and have it set to come once a month.  The kids open the box and that determines the area we study that month.  This month is the Philippines, which the kids are super excited about, some of our friends are from the Philippines. You can check out my FB page, Raising Chaos for an unboxing to get an idea of what is in the box. We open the box and investigate the contents, they get to try one thing and read through the insert.  We then move forward studying and learning.  They have to complete different tasks in order to eat more of the box.  This month we are trying out a questionnaire that I made up to help give us some better direction and consistency in learning.  We add in books from the library, watch videos online and reach out to any friends that we may have that speak the language of that country.  Enjoy the FREE printable below and feel free to take the time to have some fun with your kids today - they will change and grow before you know it! 

Don't have Snack Crate, but know you want it - You can grab your very own Snack Crate here - http://snck.us/amanda64411 - 

I would love to hear how you enjoy yours - have fun!


Amanda Star


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Amanda Star is back in action... well, blogging :)

    "Back in action", makes me sound like I am a super hero!  LOL Trust me - no super hero here. Just a mom with a blog! So much has happened since my blog was accidentally deleted last year. After I got over the initial shock and then sadness I decided to redesign and relaunch. My first post is just a little snap shot of what to expect from ASP.  I am not photographing as much, only when I want and how I want, which is super fun by the way. I get to be creative and artsy and photograph for people that I love.  Things have been so crazy ya'll.  One of the  biggest changes has been essential oils, which you will be seeing and hearing a lot of here on my blog.  They have totally changed our lives and in the craziest way!  I have always thought people who liked and used oils were hippies and honestly, a little nuts. Turns out they aren't either - (well, sometimes they are hippies and yes, I have met a few crazies) but, they are just people like you and me that have found something that works for their family.  Something that doesn't have a billion side effects, something that actually makes your life just a little easier.  I get to share our story with you and I hope it inspires you!   

    Then there is our adoption.  Man, when we started in 2016 we knew it was going to be hard, we knew it was going to break our hearts into a billion pieces and then put us back together even better than before.  We have had three matches this year that all failed. Well, it is weird to say failed. Can you say that when a birth mom decided she simply cannot place her baby for adoption is a fail?  He/she is her child and I can't blame her a bit.  Our first match almost broke us.  The birth mom ultimately made the decision to let her baby go into the state system. That is a fail, that I cannot fathom.  Watching your kids break, watching them put their heart and soul into adoption and then to have it fall to pieces in front of you is insanely hard.  We made the decision early on that we would include our children in our journey, that we would not hide anything from them.  I don't regret that, but I wish I could take a little of their pain away.  I wish I could make it better.  As we share our story, I hope that it will inspire someone to put their hearts on the line for a child. That even though it is really hard and really scary - you can still do it. People tell us we are strong, that we are brave. I don't think we are. If anything, I think we are broken and weak.  But God!  Through this whole journey, through every move, every decision, we have felt God walk us through this. I have watched as my kids went from broken to whole because of His love and His strength. Isn't that amazing, as young as my kids are, they get to see God's love and that in all things, He is good.  

    I look forward to sharing our story here and some of my new work as we build our new blog!  

                                                                                        Dream Big, Live Big

                                                                                                Amanda Star