5 Tips for Making Amazing Stop Motion Animation at Home

 Stop motion animation is a fun way to engage your children in creativity and learning.  My kids really enjoy making stop motion animation at home and are sharing their five best tips for creating fun videos with you today!

5 Tips for Making Amazing Stop Motion Animation at Home

The struggle to limit time on electronics is real. But sometimes, we can find great ways to incorporate electronics into learning and family fun. One way to do that is to create stop motion animation with your children. I don’t mind my kids using electronics as much if they are engaged in learning and so we’ve had a lot of fun this last week working on stop motion animation videos. Here are a few tips to help you make your own amazing stop motion animation videos at home too!

5 Tips for Amazing Stop Motion Animation

stop motion animation - simple backdrop

Gather props and make a backdrop

Stop motion animation usually uses small items. Little animals, figurines, doll house accessories, and other small props you may have around your house make great props. We made several different backdrops using string, construction paper, tissue paper, sticks, and yarn. Gather what works for you and make something pretty!

Stop Motion Animation made on iphone

Come up with a story line

This is where your imagination comes into play. We came up with a lot of different angles – Goldfish crackers making a snowman. Goldfish crackers being eating by a dinosaur. Goldfish crackers racing in toy cars. We finally settled on Goldfish crackers racing themselves around a track made out of yarn. Get creative and have fun!

Download helpful apps

There are many helpful apps that make the stop motion animation process pretty easy.  Goldfish Smiles lists several apps you can choose from as well as sources for free sound clips. We used Stop Motion Studio which is a free download. We did pay $4.99 to unlock the bonus features like sound clips, though. The kids had a great time playing with the sound and adding it to the video (I did too!).

One problem we had with the app was that we couldn’t tell what part of the video would be cut off in the final version. As we were making the videos and reviewing them on the app, everything looked fine. But when we created the final video and shared it, we realized that part of the video was cut off – the left side. We made our videos using an iphone and I think perhaps we would have seen more detail had we used a bigger screen, like an ipad.  This is just a practical tip we learned that may help you.

stop motion animation - stabilize the camera

Find a way to stabilize your camera and take lots of pictures

Stabilizing the camera is tricky but oh so important as the camera needs to stay in the same spot or the video ends up distorted. We used a bendy tripod to attach my iphone to the large tripod. But honestly, my big iphone is too heavy for the bendy tripod and we had a lot of trouble keeping it still. We took almost 200 pictures to make our video, so this part requires some persistence and patience…   {I’m in the market for a new table top tripod for my plus sized iphone if anyone has any recommendations. }

Another thing Anna did as she created this video was to make it in reverse. She wrote out the words GO! with Pepperidge Farm Goldfish and started the video at the end. Then, we filmed the Goldfish crackers racing around the track backwards. After that she made the words disappear by removing one row of crackers at a time. And finally, we reversed the order of the pictures so it looks like we filmed the words appearing first. For tips about how to make your props move fast or slow, head over to the Goldfish Smiles website. They have so many helpful videos with useful tips and tricks.

Have fun! 

This is where you need to step back, mom, and let the kids work together. AHHH – I struggle so much with this because I want to take control. In my experience, my kids do better and fight less when I step back and let them take charge. They always have fun making stop motion animation videos but they really enjoyed making these because they also got a little snack in the process. Pepperidge Farm Goldfish are baked without artificial flavors or preservatives, using colors sourced from plants.

Goldfish Tales Stop Motion Animation Contest

Enter your video to win $5000!

Once you have created your video, head over to Goldfish Tales Animation Experience and enter it to win! Twelve films will be nominated across four categories and the best in each category will win a $5000 grand prize. Judging begins on February 28 and the winners will be announced on April 21.

What are you waiting for? Head over to GoldfishSmiles and learn how to create your own stop motion animation movie with your kids!

Stop motion animation is a fun way to engage children in creativity and learning. Check out these 5 best tips for creating awesome videos with your kids!

 

Beef with Rigatoni – Hearty & Delicious Instant Pot Meal

Looking for hearty Instant Pot recipes to add to your dinner line-up? This Beef with Rigatoni is sure to be a keeper! Easy to make and impressive, it’s a crowd pleaser for all ages. And an active prep time of only 20 minutes gets you in and out of the kitchen in a jiffy!

beef-with-rigatoni. Delicious Instant Pot Meal - sure to be a family favorite

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Beef with Rigatoni – Hearty & Delicious Instant Pot Meal

I just jumped on the Instant Pot bandwagon and I’m hooked! I have to admit, this is the first meal I made in my Instant Pot and I was a little worried. But let me tell you, if you can make Beef with Rigatoni and it turns out like this, anything’s possible in the Instant Pot. I am so excited to keep playing with this machine!
beef-with-rigatoni-instant-pot-meal
Winter is on the way! In my rural area, the corn has fired and the beans are changing colors. The weather is getting a little cooler, and the gardening is slowing down. I’m looking forward to hearty, filling, and warm dishes: meals that look like they took forever to prepare, but didn’t really. This recipe is one such meal. And even better, when you make it in an Instant Pot, you can do everything in this one machine. From sauteing, to searing, to pressure cooking the whole shebang! Since you dirty fewer pots and pans, that means quick clean up for you!

Let’s get started!

The inspiration for this recipe came from Ragu’s recipe collection. They have a very similar version made in the slow cooker. Since I just got my Instant Pot, I wanted to see if I could use that! Turns out, I did! And you will love it.

To make this recipe, first prep all the veggies and slice your pot roast into four chucks. Saute the onions and garlic right in the Instant Pot – using the Saute feature. You may want to punch up the heat a little to get the temperature up to a high enough heat. Saute the onions and garlic in avocado oil just until their juices release and they are nice and flavorful, then remove to a bowl.

sear-the-beef-in-the-instant-pot

Now, add a little more avocado oil  (it has a high smoke point and is perfect for searing and sauting – DON’T use olive oil which has a low smoke point) to the Instant Pot. Season the meat with salt, pepper, and dried oregano, and then sear quickly on all sides. You may need to do this in batches as you don’t want to crowd the meat. Remove the meat to a bowl and turn off the Instant Pot.

add-sauce-wine-and-water

Now you’re ready to put everything back in the Instant Pot and turn on the pressure cooker! Add the carrots and celery, onions and garlic, and top with meat. Pour on the wine, water, and Ragu. Add a 1/2 – 1 tsp salt, depending on your tastes.

seal-the-instant-pot-and-turn-it-on-manual-for-40-minutes

Put the lid on the Instant Pot, make sure the steam release handle on the top of the lid points to SEALING and the lid is locked in place. You could probably use the MEAT/STEW function to cook this recipe, but I chose to use MANUAL and cook for 40 minutes. It was the perfect time! The meat shredded very easily and everything was beautifully cooked.

If you’ve never used an Instant Pot before, you should know that the machine does take some time to come to pressure. During that time you’ll hear little pops and an occasional whistle. Also, the machine will say ON. When it reaches the appropriate pressure, which can take at least TEN MINUTES, the countdown will start and you will know how much time the dish has left to cook. When the time is up, the Instant Pot will switch to warm mode. I let mine site for a few  minutes and then released the pressure by turning the steam release handle to VENTING. Once all of the steam is released, you can unlock the lid and behold your beautiful meal!

remove-the-beef-and-shred-it-using-two-forks

The last thing you need to do is remove the meat from the pot and shred it with two forks. Then return the meat to the sauce, give it a good stir, and serve it on rigatoni that you cooked separately.

beef-with-rigatoni-with-ragu-homestyle-sauce

Don’t have an Instant Pot?

You can find a very similar recipe adapted for the slow cooker on the Ragu website! Head over here and grab it. By the way, Ragu’s website is really nice and full of simple yet delicious recipes that will be on your table in a jiffy! I really recommend heading over there to check out all of the deliciousness and quick meal ideas!

Delicious Beef with Rigatoni, on your plate in a jiffy if you use an Instant Pot!

beef-with-rigatoni-hearty-delicious-instant-pot-meal

One thing I really love about this recipe, besides the fact that it’s delicious and quick to prep, is that my kids love it! It’s always nice to find recipes that the whole family likes. I get really tired of hearing my kids moan and groan about my cooking.  If I hear “When are you going to make something we actually like?” one more time, I might go off the deep end. Well, probably not, but I do like serving healthy meals that are please the minions. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Beef with Rigatoni

Yields 8

Beef with Rigatoni - Hearty & Delicious Instant Pot Meal

Hearty and filling meal with a quick prep time.

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hrTotal Time

Save Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tbs avocado oil (or other oil with a high smoke point)
  • 2 pound boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin, cut into 4 large pieces
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 jar RAGÚ® Homestyle Thick & Hearty Roasted Garlic Sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup dry red wine (or beef broth if desired)
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh Italian parsley

Instructions

  1. Using your Instant Pot, or other electronic pressure cooker, heat 1 tbs avocado oil and saute the onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes (using the saute function on the Instant Pot), until they release juices and turn fragrant.
  2. Remove onions and garlic from Instant Pot, and add 1 more tbs avocado oil.
  3. Season beef chunks with salt, pepper, and oregano and sear it in batches. Remove beef from Instant Pot.
  4. Now put all veggies in the Instant Pot and top with beef. Pour the water, wine (or beef broth if you prefer), and the Ragu Sauce over the meat. Add more salt to taste (1/2 -1 tsp).
  5. Seal the Instant Pot. Make sure the steam release handle is pointed to sealing, select the Manual function key, and punch in 40 minutes.
  6. Note: it can take 10 or more minutes for the Instant Pot to come up to correct pressure, so be patient. When it's at the right pressure, the display will start counting down and you can track how long the food has to cook.
  7. When the pressure cooking time is finished, let the machine sit for a few minutes, then release the pressure by turning the steam release handle on the lid to venting and wait for all steam to release.
  8. Once the steam is finished, open the lid, and remove the meat.
  9. Shred meat with two forks and return to pot. Give the sauce a good stir.
  10. Serve over cooked noodles and enjoy!
Recipe Type: Main Dish
7.5
197
http://www.simplifylivelove.com/beef-with-rigatoni/

How about a Giveaway!

Enter via the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon giftcard! You can use this money to buy your favorite RAGÚ Homestyle Pasta Sauce or toward an Instant Pot if you don’t already have one! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

beef-with-rigatoni. Delicious Instant Pot Meal - sure to be a family favorite

What’s your favorite thing to make in your Instant Pot? I’d love to hear!

Kid Approved Italian Stuffed Peppers in 5 Easy Steps

Make these kid approved Italian Stuffed Peppers in only 5 easy steps! They’re healthy, delicious, easy to make and they freeze well too! Made with fresh sweet peppers, orzo, and Ragu’s Homestyle Sauce, these stuffed peppers are sure to be a hit for your next family dinner.

Italian Stuffed Peppers with Orzo and Ragu Homestyle Sauce

I’ve spent many years living and traveling overseas – over nine total years in Germany as a child and college student and another three in Japan as an adult. Travel within Europe is so easy and everything is relatively close so you can image that we didn’t just stay put in Germany {or Japan for that matter}. Although I loved visiting every place I’ve been in Europe and Asia, Italy holds a special place in my heart.

When I was only eight or nine years old, my family drove our brown and white VW bus to Italy with my grandparents and my Great Uncle Edgar. While I don’t have too many vivid memories of that trip, I do remember bits and pieces and I have a couple of fun pictures to share with you from that great Italian vacation, like this one of us in a gondola in Venice. I’m the blondie with the bangs and the big cheeks sitting on my grandma’s lap, and I’m half hidden behind my Great Uncle Edgar. My dad’s got the killer mustache, and my red-headed sister Amy is sitting on my mom’s lap. 😀


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Easy Lasagna Soup – Quick and Delicious One Pot Meal!

This hearty lasagna soup is a delicious one pot meal – on the table in about 20 minutes.  It’s quick. It’s easy. It’s delicious. Make it for dinner tonight!

Hearty Lasagna Soup. A delicious one pot meal that's on the table in 20 minutes. from SimplifyLiveLove.com

I’m excited to share a delicious soup recipe with you today. Soup enjoys a special place in my heart, not only because it’s easy to make, frugal, and delicious, but also becauase of the family memories it evokes.

Grandma

Every time my family traveled to my grandparents’ house when I was younger, we were always greeted with a delicious pot of soup. Normally it was bean soup that I wasn’t overly excited about when I was younger, but I came to love that soup as I got older. My grandma grew up dirt poor and she knew how to make do with very little – hence the bean soup. My grandma died a couple of years ago, but her soup legacy will also live on through her kids and grandkids.

Lasagna Soup - easy one pot meal from SimplifyLiveLove.com

While I still love a great pot of brean soup, I have moved beyond it somewhat as my kids turn up their noses at the bean soup the same way I used to. This Lasagna Soup recipe that I’m sharing with you today is one of our family favorites. I hope you like it too!

Easy Lasagna Soup – Quick and Delicious One Pot Meal!

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