How to Get Great Photos of Your Kids

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Note: This post is a little something different than the usual what-are-Max-and-Elly-up-to posts. I’ve been wanting to expand my blogging focus and try to add a little value to what you read here.

Something I am often complimented on and asked questions about is my photography, especially related to photos of Max and Elly (see, this post isn’t totally void of references to them). I’ve loved photography for a long time, studied it in college and even used my skills consistently in my communications career. It’s something I still enjoy and find fun and challenging in documenting life here in Tanzania.

So today I wanted to share one of my most-relied-upon photography fundamentals that helps me get great photos. This is something you can apply to the photos you take whether you’re using a DSLR, point-and-shoot or even your phone camera because it’s about how you compose your image, not the equipment you use to capture it. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Flat Stanley Visits Tanzania

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The second grade class at Cambridge Elementary School in Cambridge, Illinois, is reading the book Flat Stanley. Do you know that story? Stanley is a boy who is flattened when a bulletin board falls on him, and his flatness allows him to travel the world by mail. So the second graders at Cambridge Elementary made their own Flat Stanleys and sent them to friends and family to take him on adventures and then write back to their class about it.

I am friends with one of the second graders’ moms and she asked me if her little boy Ashtin could send me a Flat Stanley to show him around Tanzania. It took Flat Stanley almost two weeks to arrive but once he was here he had a pretty good time, I think. For today’s 5 Photo Friday (six if you’re counting), here are the photos and letter that he sent back to the second graders at Cambridge Elementary: Continue reading

Posted in Crafts, Family Time, Photography, Tanzanian Culture, Twin Fun, Urban Homesteading | 1 Comment

How We Ended Up on House Hunters International

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

It all started with this blog. Last year a casting producer for House Hunters International contacted me through my About page. If you aren’t familiar with the House Hunters International you are apparently in the minority because I’ve been told it’s one of the most watched shows on cable television.

The producer asked if I would be interested in doing an episode about my move to Tanzania and our process for finding a house. (They were interested in featuring someone who worked with animals–I guess owning a safari company qualifies for that.) I initially dismissed the idea because, having not actually seen the show, I assumed that it only featured people living in huge, expensive expat-style houses. But a friend encouraged me to just check it out more. So I replied to the producer, we exchanged a few emails, talked a few times by phone and I filled out a lengthy questionnaire about my move and how we found a house to live in.

And then it was time to submit a casting video.

We decided to film it while Kakasii and I were on a safari touring several lodges and safari camps to use for our safari clients. Kakasii was such a good sport about the whole thing even though I know he absolutely had no clue what any of this was about. It’s hard to explain American reality TV to a Tanzanian.

After several more emails we got the nod from the powers that be at the production company: we were going to be featured on House Hunters International.

If you’ve seen the show you know there’s usually a back story that explains where the featured person came from. We were able to film that part of the show while I was back in Baltimore last August for a friend’s wedding. One of the scenes we shot was a “girlfriends’ lunch” with some of the women I used to work with at Lutheran World Relief.

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For the Tanzania part of our episode, we filmed here for five very long days! But the crew was so great–David, the producer; Mike, the cameraman; and Joe, the sound guy. They were so patient and encouraging through the whole filming, even when the rest of us got really tired.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

We filmed some safari scenes inside Arusha National Park, with the beautiful Mount Meru as our backdrop.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

And we filmed at a Maasai village.

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And we filmed scenes of what life is like in Arusha, including how we buy charcoal for cooking from a Maasai lady that delivers it to our house on the back of a donkey.

tanzania safari company on house hunters international

If you want to see the finished show, our episode of House Hunters International will air on Monday April 13 on HGTV at 10:30 pm Eastern and again at 1:30 am Eastern. The network does sometimes end up changing air dates so you can check here for times.

We won’t actually get to see the episode ourselves for three or four weeks after it airs when they send a DVD to us here in Tanzania. So please come back and comment on how it was so we know what to expect!

Posted in Family Time, Our Community, Tanzanian Culture, Twin Fun | 15 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Food

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It’s 5 Photo Friday and today we’re talking about food! Here are five types of food that you might encounter should you visit us here in Tanzania (and we hope you will!):

Continue reading

Posted in In Our Kitchen, Tanzanian Culture | Leave a comment

Crafting with Max and Elly: Toilet Paper Roll Butterflies

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With a family of seven there’s no shortage of empty toilet paper rolls in our house. So I had been contemplating for a while what sort of craft project Max and Elly could do with them. Grandma and Aunt Carla brought a boat load of craft supplies when they visited us last spring and we had barely scratched the surface on using any of them for projects. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: School Uniforms

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Max and Elly have been attending The Tanganyika School for seven weeks now and they are loving it. They are showing progress in counting, the alphabet and colors. And lately I’ve overheard Max singing the Tanzanian national anthem to himself and they both have an entire new repertoire of songs to sing in the bathtub.

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5 Photo Friday: Happy Birthday, Brenda!

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Wednesday was Brenda’s 20th birthday! Our home is officially free of teenagers! (At least for another 9 years.)

For this week’s 5 Photo Friday, I’m sharing a few highlights of our family’s celebration of Brenda’s milestone birthday. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Education

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Earlier this month Max and Elly started preschool so in honor of that important milestone, this week’s 5 Photo Friday theme is education. Continue reading

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5 Photo Friday: Welcome 2015!

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Happy New Year! After enjoying Christmas in Arusha we went to the village for a few days to ring in the New Year.

While we were there Max and Elly put on some of their new Christmas clothes and we did an impromptu photo shoot under our big mango tree. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Holidays, Little House on Kilimanjaro, Photography, Twin Fun | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

ELIMAA School: Supporting Education in Our Community

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For a few months now, Kakasii and I have been working on a project that is something we are supporting personally as well as part of the Social and Environmental Care projects we are supporting through Tanzania Choice Safaris. Continue reading

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