Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

Holiday Photo Outtakes

The temps have dropped right down to 29 degrees here (F), and we were running out of time to take our Holiday card photo, so what is a rushed Mama to do??

I dragged my family out to the dock near our home, and froze them good, of course. You can see how thrilled they were in that photo above. The sun actually made an appearance, but it was right in our eyes. And that wind was doing terrible things to our hair (those of us with longer hair, that is). Red noses all around. I do question my sanity when doing this every single year.

But in the end, we got a decent photo (2 out of 4 people are not making weird faces).

  Holiday Photo Outtakes

See past years: here, here, here, and here

Happy Holidays!

Happy Halloween: Giant Pumpkin

Happy Halloween!

Every year my husband carves a 300+ pound pumpkin, and this year is no exception!

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

He actually carved two! This giant is the 375 pound pumpkin.

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

and this was the 235 pound pumpkin:

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

He calls this one “Space Cat”.

Halloween Carved Pumpkin

It lights up!

Halloween Bat

 In addition to seeing what he carved, we saw a tiny live bat. I love where he works, especially this time of year.

Halloween Bat

I hope you all have a safe and fun Halloween, whatever you chose to do!

Happy Birthday to my Husband: Birthdayman

We have lots of traditions in our house that center around each of our birthdays. My husband’s birthday was yesterday. He always gets a handmade crown from our youngest, gets a special meal, and poses with our girls in the yard. Every. Year. Very simple in his requests.  He used to even lift them both up (you can see past years : 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011). And have us call him “Birthdayman” all day.

2006 was the first year he started this, and 2015 was the last year for him to be able to lift our oldest, The Bee. She is now almost 17, and taller than I am, so it is for the best…for all involved. I did not fancy a trip to Urgent care on his Birthday.

birthdaymanimage

That is one strong man.

birthdayman6m

Such goofs.

birthdayman2m

He can still lift this one just fine.

birthdaymanm

We still had all of our regular running around activities to do with our girls, in seperate directions, but I didn’t want his birthday to go uncelebrated. We managed to fit all of his favorite things in and even sing “Happy Birthday”.

I promise to share more sewing/ creating projects this week (if I manage to finish The Bee’s costume before Halloween). Make sure you “like” the Falafel and the Bee  FB page, to catch up on the latest story, in the meantime.

Wish me luck!

20 things to do with school-aged kids in a blackout

With the start of “storm season” here in the Pacific Northwest, we often lose power due to high winds. I thought I would make a handy-dandy printable list before it happened, to help when it inevitably does.

20 activities to do with your school- aged kids in blackout

20 things to do with school-aged kids in a blackout

First, please make sure all your basic needs are met, and you are in a safe place. Food, water, and warmth are essential in a autumn/winter storm. This list is all about having things to do, unplugged. Once all the batteries have drained from the electronics, then what do you do with your kids/ teens?

THIS:

  1. Read Books: Remember those? You can each read individually, or take this opportunity to read together aloud as a family. When was the last time you read to your teenager? Give it a try! You may be surprised.
  2. Tell Stories: We have a woodstove that we light when the power goes off. We gather around the warmth, and tell each other stories. Make them up, make up prompts, make it a game. Start a story, then have someone else finish it. Tell stories from your childhood. Tell stories from their childhood. See who can make up the most outrageous story. Really your imagination is the limit.
  3. Board Games/ Card Games: Break out those old board games and play them as a family. We are so busy running around daily, that we rarely get the chance to play. Blackouts are a perfect time to sit down with a warm drink, and get to having some fun. This is one of our favorites.
  4. Shadow Puppets :  Take those flashlights and put them to good use! Get a sheet out or a blank wall, and have someone put on a shadow show. You can get creative with paper puppets, or just use your hands.
  5. Draw: Grab a pencil and paper, and create. You can even draw while someone reads a story aloud, or while you are telling stories.
  6. Beading:  Cathartic and easy while keeping those hands busy. You can even get started on making Holiday gifts.
  7.  Knitting/ Crochetting: Got needles or hooks and some yarn? If you know how to, this is a great activity to do while sitting together. And it is the perfect opportunity to teach someone how.
  8. Play Music: Anyone play an instrument? Or sing? As Pa Ingalls used to, play them a song. There is nothing like music to soothe the savage beast kid.
  9. Handsewing: Get out a needle and thread. You can hem clothes that have been sitting in your mending pile, or start a new project. We recently went to see the Indigo art exhibit, where the art of Japanese Sashiko sewing was displayed. Even my husband is hooked!
  10. Paint: Assuming you have water available (we usually are limited because we are on a well), this is a great option. Last blackout we had, I got out the paints and some large rocks we collected, and we painted rocks! Thankfully, with older kids, this isn’t as messy as it is with littles.
  11. Paint your nails: We get out our piggy paint, and dress up our piggies. Let your kids paint your nails. Mine love it.
  12. Get your do did: Braiding, styling, and just brushing. This is a lot of fun for our tween who likes to brush my hair. Try out new things. It’s dark, so no one will see how *ahem* unconventional your hair looks, anyway.
  13. Snuggle up and sit in silence: Embrace the quiet! Get a large blanket and just sit together. When do we ever get to do just that?
  14. Charades: This is one of those games that requires so little. Just you and your imagination. It has the potential to get very silly.
  15. Write:  A letter, A story, A song. Just write. See where it takes you.
  16. Practice Tying knots: I know you must be thinking “what the heck?” with this one, but seriously. There are books about tying all sorts of knots (like this one), and it is a great  (and practical) way to keep those hands moving.
  17. Look through Old Photos: Assuming you have printed photos, this can be a lot of fun to do with your kids. Go through old albums, and take a visual walk down memory lane with them.
  18. Coloring: Even adults like to color! All you need are crayons or colored pencils. Print out some coloring sheets ahead of time (or buy a book), and keep with your emergency supplies. You will be thankful you did.
  19. Origami: The art of folding paper is a perfect activity for when the lights go out. Create a whole menagerie or maybe 1000 cranes for good luck.
  20. (ironically)20 Questions: You can even make them themed. We often play “20 Questions Animals” or “20 Questions Cities”.

 Grab your FREE PDF printable list here.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on them and then buy, I earn a few pennies, from the company, too. All opinions are mine mine mine.

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What do YOU do with your kids when the power is out?

Another Senior Photo and then some

I had the absolute pleasure of photographing more lovely people. This time I took another senior photo (like this one, this one, and this one), along with photos of her beautiful family. You can see how very different each Senior is from one another (click on the links to compare). This talented young lady is unique because she led the whole session. From poses to location. She had a vision and I was lucky to be along for the ride. Truthfully, I couldn’t have directed her better.

Senior Portrait

Senior Portrait

Senior Portrait

Senior Portrait

Afterward, we had a little fun with the rest of the crew.

Family Portrait

Senior Portrait

Family portait

Oh my goodness how I love this family. My oldest and their middle child have been close friends for years, and I am so thankful they are.

I enjoy portrait photography all the more when I genuinely care about my subjects!

Thank you, friends, for allowing me to be part of this. I am honored to have captured your incredible family, this moment in time.

Photographing a family of strong women

Yesterday, I had the chance to stray from taking Senior Portraits (like here, here, and here), and instead photographing a  family of strong young women and their strong Mom.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

It was so much fun.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

I have said it before, but I really do enjoy uncovering each person’s unique personality and beauty. I give very little direction, and if I do, it is for silly poses to loosen everyone up. Sometimes I use them, but more often than not, they are a tool. It is hard work to be in front of the camera.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

We only spend a very short amount of time together, but it is enough to get a glimpse into who they are. During one session, I can clearly see who is comfortable in the spotlight, and who would rather not be noticed. Who needs to move around, and who can hold the same face for 30 minutes. And you know what? They are all beautiful in very different ways. Even if they happen to be related to each other.

Holiday Family Photos and getting to know your subjects through a lens

Thank you, strong ladies. It was truly a pleasure.

*****

How do you photograph other people?

Senior Photos: Uncovering Personalities

I had the privilege of taking the senior photos for another one of our friends who we have known since she was 2.

Cheese Louise, people! Where does the time go?!

Senior Photo Session

When I take senior photos, I like to chat. A lot. I am goofy, and ask them questions, and it always seems to work at putting everyone at ease. It totally works for adults, too. It is awkward, for most people, to be the main focus of attention. I think it may be especially true when you are a teen. This helps them to relax, and act as natural as they can for the camera.

  Senior Photo Session

We had a great time chatting and laughing.

Senior Photo Session

I still get glimpses of that toddler from so long ago, through this delightful young lady. She is as strong and confident and good natured, as she always was.

Senior Photo Session

It is fun to see what each person comes up with, and what poses they are most comfortable with.

Senior Photo Session

Every single one of the people I photograph is different from one another, and they are all beautiful. It is my pleasure to uncover their unique personalities and help them shine. That is my favorite part.

Getting away before school begins: A Lummi Island vacation story

 Our family wanted to have a relaxing mini vacation before the rigorous school schedule starts up again this week. I say “wanted”, but I think we all really needed it. Our Summer has been full of running around and activity. While that is fun, I felt like we needed to recharge our collective batteries, and get out of dodge for a few days. What better place than Lummi island?

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We left on Sunday for the beloved Island. As we were packing up, I told our youngest to go out to the car wih her bag. A minute later she darted inside screaming and crying. Through the sobs, I decifered the words “Mama Mouse” and “Babies“. I ran out to take a look, and there were brand new pink mouse babies and a whole lot of stuffing in the rail of the sliding door of our van.

OK.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We stopped what we were doing to think about what to do next, and spotted the Mama carrying her little ones further into our car. *sigh* We haven’t even gotten on the road, and we now had three more passengers signed up for the trip, whether they knew it or not.

Since we could not see where they went, we decided to continue on.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

Let me pause here to let you know about our 10 year old daughter, Falafel. She has a knack, let’s say, for being the one to find nature in crisis, and the one to be moved to tears by it. Always. She is the one who found the abandoned nest in our yard, even though my husband had mowed the day before, and the yard is an acre. Last month, she was standing beneath a tree in our front yard, when suddenly, a young bird plummeted to the ground next to her feet to it’s ultimate demise. Only after, mind you, a few hours of our girl trying to give it water and bring it back to health, amidst lots of sobbing.

lummi5m

Now there are newborn mice to fret about, and they are somewhere in our car.

So we take two ferries and drive a few hours to get to our home away from home (for a few days). It is beautiful. The home has been remodeled, it has brand new appliances, and the view is spectacular. And then we go into the master bedroom, and it smells like sweaty man pits. Serious body odor, and I cannot find where it is.

I sometimes feel like we are living in a Seinfeld episode.

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

I proceed to wipe every surface (including the door frame because that is where it was the strongest), and I STILL CAN’T GET RID OF IT. We ended up spending the night in there with a fan running, but because I am a “super smeller” according to my husband (and I have to agree. I really am- I can smell obnoxious odors from a block away if the wind is blowing right), I buried my face in a pillowcase that I brought from home, the entire night because I just could not un-smell it. The next day, we stripped the bed and washed the sheets, and I located another strong smelling spot which was on the pillow shams. I can only guess that a smelly guy rested after being at the beach on top of the bed, and the odor stuck. The odd thing is, it was only in that one room.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

The next morning, I took the girls down to the beach, which is full of barnacle covered rocks (I am sure you know where this is going). It was so peaceful and beautiful and quiet, until Falafel slips on some seaweed, and falls onto the barnacles. I sent her back to Jim at the house, crying and bleeding, and turn around only to see The Bee do the exact same thing.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

I kid you not.

  A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We all got in lots of relaxing after that, which is what the whole point of the trip was.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We even hiked two of the three nature preserves on the island.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

Mostly, though, we just sat and looked and listened.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

There is a peace and stillness on this island like no other.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

We have only stayed on the opposite side of the island (here and here).

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

It was nice to have a different experience this time.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

The second night, we go into the room, and it still smells. Jim and I give up at this point. Luckily, there is a pull-out couch in the livingroom (with a gorgeous view of the water), so we bunk there. The Bee, evidently is nose-deaf, so she took that room, and our Falafel had the whole downstairs to herself. Everyone was happy.

Lummi Island, WA vacation story

It felt good to read a whole book in a few days (which usually takes me weeks or months to do). And I brought a craft to try out (which I will share with you later this week).

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

I pre-cooked all of our meals before we left, so all we had to do was heat things up. That right there was brilliant, if I do say so myself. Not having to actually think about meals was heavenly.

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

Our girls both were excited about making smores (GF and EF, of course). Sadly, there was a burn ban, so no fires allowed. We made them in the oven, anyway.

lummibeem

We realized that our girls need nothing more than a beach to explore to keep them happy every day. They looked at every rock there was to look at, and had a blast doing it.

lummim

There was plenty to keep them entertained for the entire trip. It was lovely.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

 We have enough rocks and seaglass to start our own beach, now.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

There were moments when they couldn’t comb the beach, but the high tide didn’t stop our 10 year old. She insisted on playing on that rock, singing, happy as could be, in the cold (I was wearing a fleece sweatshirt) for an hour and a half (and would have stayed longer if it weren’t for me).

Lummi Island, WA Vacation story

Overall, we had a wonderful mini vacation. None of us wanted to leave, which is always a sign of a successful time away.

A Lummi Island, WA vacation story

This week, we journey into a new school year, with fond memories of our time on Lummi.

Where have you recharged, lately?