Thursday, November 17, 2011

bitting, party of eight | nappanee family photographer

this summer i did a very quick (30 minutes or less) photography session with my brother's family. my sister-in-law needed a few photos for a local magazine article she was writing, and here are some of the shots that we got.

we didn't have much time, but i love the idea of "poses" that bring out the personalities, and even with eight people in one photo, i think this one comes pretty close...

although she didn't get to use her headshot for the article, i have to post it because, as my youngest once said while he watched me editing her photos...

"she has such a cute face!"... and a beautiful smile and heart to go with it.

thanks guys - it's always a pleasure♥

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

christmas organization - getting it together

how are your organization skills? is planning your thing? are you good at it?

me - i'm a planner slash list-maker. i live by the list. in fact, i practically have a list of the lists. problem is, sometimes i'm not so good at it. sometimes i forget the list. or i lose the list. or i have plans for a list, but forget to make the list.

seriously, i'm not so bad at it, but i can tell you this... i don't plan like i used to.
these days i "selectively" plan. (sounds like a sister to selective memory, right?)
i plan what i have to, and hopefully don't miss any of those "have to's" if i'm lucky.

the christmas holiday is one of those things that i normally plan. i've tried different methods... kept lists, filled binders with ideas, made advent calendars... i've just plain filled the family calendar with all sorts of activities and traditions. none of these "methods" has stuck with me for very long.

back in 2006, when my youngest child was a mere 7 years old, he surprised me by giving me a lovely red journal for christmas. the truly wonderful thing about it was, although it wasn't on my christmas list, i really did need a journal to record all of our christmas traditions, activities, and gift giving. a christmas journal... it was perfect!

just last week i was wondering about last christmas, trying to remember the details of what we did, gifts we got our boys... that sort of thing. it also occurred to me that i was frantically searching for the perfect size christmas tins at the last minute. why was i doing that? did i write it down? i may still make my lists and write things on the calendar, but i confirm everything we did in that journal. it's my memory on paper.

so i pulled out my handy, dandy, christmas journal to see just what i'd done last year.

much to my dismay, i DID NOT RECORD CHRISTMAS 2010!
WHAT THE HECK? this just threw me into a tailspin.

HOW am i going to remember what i did last year?
WHAT did i need those tins for?
SURELY i needed them for a good reason - but what was it?
WHATEVER will i do????

{i fully realize the insignificance of the little things i obsess about, but this is how my mind works}

now, to remember all the details from an entire year ago. ouch.

to make things worse, last christmas was weird. i didn't plan anything new and we didn't stick to any of our previous plans. we didn't put up a tree - we were just.that.lazy. we thought that as long as the boys didn't care, we wouldn't even bother with getting it out. what's the likelihood that two people as lazy as us would have kids that weren't just as lazy? yep, we pretty much had that deal sealed from the start.

honestly, that is what happens when i don't plan. if we don't have plans or a schedule to follow, the bare minimum gets done. we would all just be blobs on the sofa or in front of the computer screens. nothing deliberate, nothing intentional.

so right now, i'm getting a leg-up on the plans. i'm not going to over-commit, but i'm going to put in an effort. i've got my christmas to-do list started and already have some plans in the works. i'm even thinking of braving a christmas-gift-list-less year. yep... no christmas lists.

this could be the new me... live dangerously, but with a plan.

*if you're thinking about planning and would benefit from an actual christmas planner, check out these cute diy christmas planners.

Monday, November 14, 2011

19 yrs ago

photo courtesy of the big boy

due to my usual lack of planning, we tore our 15 year old son away from his computer yesterday afternoon, during the crazy-windy, typical november weather to take a few quick snaps of us on the back porch.

not exactly ideal conditions for a proper portrait, but my guy's smiling, so that's good enough for me.

happy anniversary babe♥

Thursday, November 10, 2011

fall art project | nappanee photographer

this year, i'm trying to incorporate art into the 6th grader's schedule on an every-other-week basis. i thought about laying out an entire curriculum plan this summer (like being ready ahead of time... that would be amazing!), but instead, it's a work in progress. i'm trying to work it into his history or science or wherever it might tie into something he's already studying. if that happens, it will probably be a happy accident, but i'm doing my best to stay current. i always feel like if it's not planned ahead of time, it will probably flop.

so far it's worked out and it gives me time to get projects ready on the off weeks and it gives the boy a break. me, i don't need an "art break" but i guess art can be tasking on an almost 12 year old boy.

this summer i found a plethora of art teacher blogs. once you start looking around, you'll find that there are entire communities of blogs dedicated to everything you can think of and art teachers is one of them. i've bookmarked tons and will try to share from them often.

i found this project here where it's entitled layered fall leaves. this project is done using actual leaves to trace shape & veins and then the outlining is done with a black sharpie (or in our case we used an american crafts slick writer permanent marker because they're not as "bleedy" as sharpies) and then the coloring is done with oil pastels.

*this is my 2nd time using oil pastels and i am not impressed. i'd frankly rather use crayons. maybe the brand i'm using is just cruddy. someone tell me if they have good experiences with oil pastels so i can see what i'm missing.

i think the boy did a great job; he's very creative. he came up with his own way of blending all by himself & it looks nothing like the sample on the blogsite i got the project from, so i'm impressed.

now i'm off to search through another blog community that i'm SO excited about {enter sarcasm here}: math.... proofs for geometry, to be exact.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

how i spent my summer and didn't blog about it

oh my goodness.
i haven't been on the blog since july. JULY.
this summer came and it went... soon we'll be getting ready for thanksgiving.

where has this year gone?

and i know very well that i'm far too old to be writing anything entitled
how i spent my summer, yet here i am.

honestly, i don't really want to talk about my summer.

but if i did, i could tell you about how we stayed home. a lot.
and that we only went swimming twice. all. summer. long.
i could tell you how our garden really stunk and the canning was almost nill.

i could also say that i spent nearly every waking moment researching for this school year, and making sure i was ready to officially home school a high school student. my brain literally hurt at the end of each day, but it was exciting.

i might also tell you that we saw all the big super hero/action movies (thor, green lantern, captain america, pirates of the caribbean, cowboys & aliens), but that might be a little too much insight into the real priorities in my life.

all i know is that i was busy and i did not blog.
and i really didn't miss it. {insert cringe here}

so, i've been thinking about blogging and about not blogging.
i think i'd really like to get back to it. i think i've got some things to say and maybe some resources that others might find useful.

i've got lots of ideas for posts ranging anywhere from that i'm loving, to teaching my guys greek & latin roots, to an art curriculum i'm designing, to why i tried the no-shampoo method of washing my hair this year.
(yes... yes i did & i know you can't wait to hear about it)

now, i know that all sounds just awesome, yet i find myself struggling just to keep the toilets clean these days!
just keepin it real, peeps.

so how am i going to fit blogging in there? i don't know.
and now i'm having a conversation with myself.

so, give me a shout out. tell me how you do it all, if you do it all,
and what the heck... even if you don't.

throw some encouragement my way!

i could use it right about now.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

love her | nappanee photographer

this girl rocks my world.
she is magical, i tell you - in the very best way possible!

it's like having one great big piece of eye dessert, getting to spend a little camera time with her.

this girl does not disappoint, not for one moment. i can barely keep up with her!

i love her new haircut - it so fits her. she's a no-nonsense, roll-with-the-flow girl & i love that about her.

she's a breath of fresh air, this one.
gonna breathe in as much as i can get

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

my garden boys | nappanee photographer

how has your summer gone so far?

it's been kind of different for me.
i would really like to chat about why, but that will be a near-future post.

a normal summer break starts something like this:

clothes on the lines - check.
basketball camp for the over 6' crowd - check.
swim lessons - no more. (in the books as of last year)
summer camp - check.
mowing, and more mowing - check.
garden - check... err, kind of.

my flower garden is a disaster.
take-over of an ivy kind literally strangled out several of my perennials.
in my old age, i'm giving this up as "lesson learned".

our vegetable garden is mostly per the usual, except that my participation has been next to nill.

i went along to purchase seeds & plants as is the tradition, but i've done very little else.

post gardening rest...

did you know that a hoe can double as a light-saber or some other sort of weapon...?

although i had good intentions, the new strawberry patch was planted by the big guy alone.
i'm wondering about those new plants... i never really discussed the "proper way to plant strawberry starts" with him.
somehow i just don't have it in me to verify these facts.

so, i've been busy inside and my guys are doing all the gardening themselves.

*oh, hey... i did spread hair around the jalepeno plants, and well... that's a whole nother ball of wax.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

nothing like a good book | nappanee photographer

one thing that i am a strong believer in is kids & books.

we started reading to ours when they were babies & we have never looked back.
my boys both loved being read to & became big readers as soon as they could read for themselves.

so, we appreciate a book lover here at our house & could just eat this one up when she pulls out the books....

completely enthralled.... absolutely precious.

love her ♥

Thursday, June 9, 2011

happy | nappanee photographer

random happiness captured.
circa 2006 with my trusty, now dusty, fuji finepix

love that guy ♥

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

i ♥ faces "from a distance" | nappanee photographer

this week's theme at i ♥ faces is "from a distance".

if you read my last post, you know i love the close-up, so distance shots are not exactly my forte. normally this type of shot doesn't stick out in my memory.

buuuut.... it just so happens that i'm still in the midst of the world's longest archiving event over here, so i actually had a few shots to choose from!

i decided on this one because it's from a beloved vacation.... awhile ago.

can't wait till we get to go again, but with temps like the 99 degrees here today, i'd rather imagine this vacation in the fall

Monday, May 23, 2011

can't get close enough | nappanee photographer

one of my favorite quotes regarding photography is:

if your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough.
-robert capa

so it makes it very convenient that i love a good close-up! i actually have to think outside my own little personal "box" to back up and take something other than a close-up.

i generally shoot with a prime lens, so there's no zooming for me.

at first it might seem weird getting so close, but soon it becomes second nature. i've always got about 3 feet to work with, so i'm not exactly on top of my subject.... but i am pretty snug...

(yes, there was a moment i thought this one might take a bite out of my camera...)

i nearly always frame my shots in camera. i rarely plan to "crop creatively" in post processing. so if this is what i want, i get in there....

i've just come to love getting really close. there's something about framing a face & gobbling up those eyes...

and that nose and those lips...

so if you want your photos to capture the heart & soul of your subject, get in there! get close, forget about those background distractions and fill up your frame with those wonderful faces!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

good times | nappanee photographer

have i told you that i'm diving into the archives and sorting, organizing, and - gasp! deleting (oh, how i love deleting!) many of my photo files?

it's a task that begs doing... especially since the hard drive and the external hard drive are nearing the red line, so to speak.

tonight i found this moment below.
instantly, i remember exactly what was going on here.

people are uncooperative.
mother is getting irritated.

the neighbors are wondering just how is it that this woman can possibly take other people's photos when her own family doesn't listen to a word she says.

while i'm pleading for just one decent photo of the three of them, the father of my children is giving out these instructions...

"on the count of three... we'll all turn around and moon her!"

real nice... very mature dad

makes for a good story though, doesn't it?

Monday, March 21, 2011

i'm motivated | nappanee photographer

as the sun tries to pull itself out from under another dreary indiana winter, i find myself motivated to do many things.

my house is unusually clean right now.
i am so thinking spring clean... my walls are yearning to be dust mopped

my hard drive is almost full... again.
there's going to be a lot of sorting, deleting, and then deleting some more.
it must be done!

picture frames, oh... they are calling my name.
i feel a project coming on & it involves spray paint.
i'm just itching to get started.

and... i can safely say the most exciting purchase i made last week was a package of new clothes pins & a clothes pin bag to hang on the line.

i am sooo ready!

being that this is a relatively new year, i'm still trying to figure out my goals, but i think it's all just sort of falling in line.

{well, some of it anyways}

the whole meal planning thing... grrrr!
i was so organized last year, but i've let it slide.
i'm being lazy and it's not flowing very smoothly these days, but i'm about to wrangle it up.

and i'm still searching for a nutritious hot cereal option that #4 can stomach.

recently we tried a new recipe. maybe someone at your house will love it.
it's a rice pudding of sorts.

check out the recipe here.

so, are you motivated?
do you have some goals in the works?
what are your success stories?

i love a good list.
a list of goals is even better.
and achieving those goals... now that's the best.

i love being able to look back & know that there is proof - i've lived some of my life with intention.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

psalms & skies | nappanee photographer

sunset, march 14, 2011 7:10 pm

your love, o lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
o lord, you preserve both man and beast.
how priceless is your unfailing love!
both high and low among men find refuge in the shadow of your wings.

psalm 36:5-7 (niv)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

musical men part 2 : the composer | nappanee photographer

my youngest child is a composer. in my head, i always think of him as "the maestro".

he just loves to make music.

and i think it's especially delightful that he goes at it, all decked out in his red, plushy, "like rich people wear" robe.

somehow, it just works for him.

at any given time, he can be found at the piano, experimenting, putting new tunes together.

and when he gets really serious, out comes the staff paper

i'm glad that he enjoys this part of music. while i have never even considered writing music, it just streams out of some people naturally... what a blessing that must be!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

musical men part 1 : the guitarist | nappanee photographer

my house is full of musical men... uh... boys.

both of the guys are in their 4th year of piano lessons & this winter we got the big boy a guitar for christmas.

now, he didn't particularly want a guitar for christmas, but sometimes mom has a vision and children need a little fire lit beneath them.

the guitar is totally new territory for me.

i can safely say i know nothing about guitar.

so i called up uncle brad (who's been playing "for forty years") and asked if he could help get the boy going.

i had no idea how different guitar would be from other musical instruments (my experience being with the piano & clarinet).

i had no idea that pain & calluses were involved!

but i think it's safe to say that the boy is enjoying his lessons & getting to know a lot about his uncle brad all at the same time

so now we have a guitarist in the house & i can't wait to see where he goes with it!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

cinnamon rolls | nappanee photographer

i ask you this: can one exist on cinnamon rolls alone?
this is something i've been pondering lately.
not really, of course☺

before christmas, i started experimenting with cinnamon rolls.
i've been baking practically all my life, but i've never come across a cinnamon roll recipe that i though was awesome enough to jot down in "the book". (my favorites gathered over the years)

so i picked a random recipe and tried it out.

my apologies to those who endured that first batch.

they were dull.
they were dry.
not to mention overcooked.
and their filling was crystalized in the bottom of the pan.

i do not do flops well. at all.
so i was on a mission... the search was on for a good cinnamon roll recipe.

i found this one.
and i scanned through the reviews for those secret tips that make all the difference.

i made several dozen of these for christmas gifts.
last week i made some more.

fresh out of the oven... come to mama...

the frosting is not perfect yet... i like carmel, but i 'm still working on getting the consistency right...

i'll admit i had a bite before realizing that i needed one more photo...

my frosting recipe:

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. brown sugar
1/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

combine butter, brown sugar & milk in small saucepan, heat to boiling for 1 minute stirring constantly, add powdered sugar & vanilla to consistency. pour/spread on rolls while warm.

things i've learned from baking cinnamon rolls:

1. even though this recipe calls for it, you don't need a bread maker. i have one but i'm too lazy to get it out and i like my bread better when it's made the old fashioned way. just mix your ingredients like any other bread recipe, then knead the dough with mixer & dough hook as instructed or knead by hand for several minutes.

2. use bread flour instead of regular all purpose. it will make a difference & you won't look back.

3. i use white sugar instead of brown sugar in my filling. it seems to make a difference in what happens after cooking. it doesn't run down into the bottom of the pan, and the rolls come out of the pan perfectly.

4. don't skimp on the filling ingredients. pour that stuff on and when it looks like you've probably put on a little too much, sprinkle on a little more. you will not regret it.

5. if you can't raise them and bake them right away, raise your dough, roll it out, add the filling, cut out the rolls, put them in the pans and put them in the fridge overnight. all you need to do in the morning is put them in a cold oven and bake. you may raise them a bit before chilling but it's not necessary. they'll be fine☺

6. don't over-bake. my oven tends to get the corners a little toastier than anywere else. that irritates me. and my jpegs above are a little bit warmer here than the real thing was, so don't let them fool you. if the centers of the rolls are a little soft, they're probably just right.

so... if you're looking for something to do... try your hand at cinnamon rolls. and enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

i ♥ faces challenge "innocent wonder" | nappanee photographer

trying to pull myself out of a non-blogging, non-photographing slump, i opened my emails today and saw that
the i ♥ faces photography challenge this week is "innocent wonder". i immediately knew where the perfect photo was.

little miss girl was here several days ago & i snapped a few quick photos. she likes to go up to my table with the photo frames and check out the familiar faces, pointing out who's who, naming them all.

i love how she rests her little 2 year old chin over the top of the table.

and... i'm especially a sucker for a profile & the added bonus of a her sweet reflection

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