Here is a very nice photo by one of our workshop attendees, Michael Huckfield.
To create a photo with a blurred background like this one is quite simple, with these 5 steps:
1. Set your camera to aperture priority.
2. Choose the largest aperture you can (the smallest f number).
3. Set your lens to its longest zoom length.
4. Ensure there is distance between your subject and the background, the further the better.
5. Get relatively close to your subject, focus, shoot.
These are the basics, and there are many variables to experiment with for yourself.