5 Photo Friday: Max and Elly’s Birthday Party


Max and Elly turned 4 years old on Sunday so on Monday they got to have a birthday party with their classmates at school. What better way to kick off the week than to pump a bunch of preschoolers full of sugar! Continue reading

Posted in Holidays, Photography, Tanzanian Culture | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Birth Day

5photofriday_birthdayOn July 4, 2011, I had lunch with my friend Rebecca. It was a welcome diversion because I was on Day 3 of a long holiday weekend feeling bored and borderline miserable. My growing belly was almost too much to bear, and I had been spending the last few weeks working from home to spare me the waddle from my car to the office and back each day. I was getting tired of only myself for company.

As we said our goodbyes after lunch Rebecca said, “I bet the next time I see you, you’ll be a mom!” I blew off her prediction, reminding her that I still had about five weeks to go. My due date wasn’t until August 9.

I returned home, did a few chores, watched several more hours of Netflix and went to bed.

At 1 a.m. my water broke. At 2 a.m. the contractions started. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Photography, Twin Fun | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Our 3rd ‘Tanziversary’


Yesterday was our third “Tanziversary”–the anniversary of our arrival in Tanzania. It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already, but these three years have been packed full of lots of fun adventures, new challenges and great memories as a family!

To make the trip with two not-yet one-year-olds, I enlisted the help of my mom and sister Carla (and most of this 5 Photo Friday’s photos were taken by her).

Even with the help of mom and Carla, I was still a bit frazzled when we arrived at Kilimanjaro International Airport at about 9 pm after a good 30 hours of air travel. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Twin Fun | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Photo Friday: Celebrating 5 Years


Today is our 5th wedding anniversary. We got married in Nebraska, in Sonshine Chapel at Carol Joy Holling Camp, the church camp where I worked several summers during college and for five years as Communications Manager after I graduated.

We were surrounded by family and friends. It was a perfect day, except maybe for the 50 mph winds that were nearly blowing us over. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Photography, Tanzanian Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Get Great Photos of Your Kids


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

Posted in Photography | Tagged , | 4 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Flat Stanley Visits Tanzania


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. Continue reading

Posted in Family Time, Our Community, Tanzanian Culture, Twin Fun | 16 Comments

5 Photo Friday: Food


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 | 2 Comments

Crafting with Max and Elly: Toilet Paper Roll Butterflies


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

Posted in Crafts, Family Time, Twin Fun | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

5 Photo Friday: School Uniforms


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.

Continue reading

Posted in Photography, Twin Fun | Tagged | 6 Comments