Category: photos

A few weeks ago, I hired a photographer friend to take headshots for me. Head shots? Oh geez. I know. It sounds a little hoity-toity. But I had a good reason.

For one thing, I’m pretty sure the last time I had  photos taken of myself –just me!– was when I was pregnant with Susannah (and the last time I had professional photos taken of myself was, oh, the tenth of Never).

For another thing, I was in the midst of the blog redesign and knew I wanted to include a new spot on the front page with my smiling face and a little note of welcome to readers. It just seems like the friendly thing to do!

So Christella met me at a nearby park and took a ton of pictures. She’s just such a sweet, kind hearted person. She blogs about her beautiful family, too – check her stories out over here.) We chatted and laughed and had a great time and then a week later she gave me a CD packed with dozens of great photos. How to choose!? Eeeek.

Here are a few (of the many!) that I just loved:

IMG_5289  IMG_5341  IMG_5419 B&W IMG_5384   IMG_5423

It was so much fun (and it totally counted as one of my self-care hours for the week!) and I’m really loving the addition to the front page of the blog.

 

 

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We celebrated Jonas’ 7th birthday on Saturday, 2/2. {Which is also Groundhog’s Day, and the 12th anniversary of our engagement. Fun times.} Nonna and Poppa came up from Cedartown so that the kids’ cousin Ethan could be at the party.
The newest obsession around here is Super Mario, so we had a fun theme for our party! I found a set of wall stickers with all the characters, and of course we had streamers and balloons:

We got a Starman Power pinata (and filled it with chocolate gold coins, gold-wrapped caramels, STARbursts, and “fireball” cinnamon candies).

The Cup Cakery did an amazing job with his two-tiered cake (I bought a set of five little character/block sets; everything else on the cake is edible).

We made a piranha plant centerpiece (painted a clay pot for the pipe; paint + felt + styrofoam ball for the plant’s head; painted a dowel for the stem). Jonas wanted a tray of nuggets, a fruit tray, chips & salsa, and a platter of pickles and olives for his “party food.” That was easy enough!

I bought a jumbo pack of adhesive mustaches so we could all look like Mario and Luigi (but most of the kids shed their ‘staches pretty quickly. I guess the adhesive tickled).

We played Goomba Stomp — brown balloons decorated with Goomba faces — and they had a blast popping them!

Pinata time! One of the kids swung so hard, he broke the foam bat. They took turns punching and kicking it, but we ended up letting them rip into it and then just pouring the candy all over the floor. 

Time to open presents — Jonas was so lucky to get so many wonderful things from his friends! 

Seven candles takes a lot of lung power!
After we ate cake, Chris turned on the Wii and supervised turn-taking while the boys played Super Mario. Some of our guests preferred the new Angry Birds game and Batman toys while they waited for their turn over watching the others.

This was the biggest party Jonas has ever had, and by the end –I don’t know about the birthday boy, but Mama was exhausted! We had a great time, though, and I know he’ll remember this one for YEARS. That makes it all worth it. 😉

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I’ve been dreaming about getting this room redone for over a year. When we moved in, we literally didn’t do a thing to our bedroom. We had a mishmash of furniture in there – a double dresser my parents bought us for our wedding, the chest of drawers Chris had as a kid, a Queen bed we bought in Florida, and a pair of nightstands we assembled ourselves. Nothing fancy, for sure! The bedding was a cute set…. ten years ago.

The walls of the bedroom were gray and the adjoining bath was red when we got here. We had the bathroom repainted blue a few months ago. I love the way it looks with the white tiles and silver fixtures! I wanted to do our bedroom with blue and silvers – not matchy-matchy with the bathroom, but something that would flow well between the two spaces.

(Click photos to enlarge.)
Furniture: Cinnamon Hill by Thomasville
Lamps: Teal Honeycomb at Pier 1
Artwork over headboard: by me!
Bedding: Ophelia by Waverly (duvet, Euro shams, king shams, long teal velvet pillow)
Teal Floral Ruffle Euro Pillow: Pier 1
Curtains: Pier 1 (two panels are “oval carafe”, center panel is “indigo tile)
Top left portrait is Jonas kissing 6-week-old Susannah’s head
Top right portrait is 16-month-old Susannah nursing by @MudGoddessPhotography
Bottom left portrait is Chris & Michelle
“love” mirrored script: Hobby Lobby
Picture frames on the high chest are a mixture of Pier 1 (with teal accents) and silver frames we already owned.
“Love” print: Pier 1
Wall sconces: Hobby Lobby (need candles!)

Torchiere lamp: already owned

Silver serving tray & votives: Target
The reaction shot: “Wow, Mama, it’s like a HOTEL in here!”
I’m so pleased with how it has turned out! I completely forgot about styling the open bottom shelf of our nightstands when I was shopping. I think I may be able to pull together something (hardcover books in shades of blues and grays? silver bowl?) from stuff I already own. We’ll see.

I wanted to get a tassle for our ceiling fan but couldn’t find the right shade of peacock/teal, so that’s still on my to-do list. Also would love to add a rug on Chris’ side of the bed (between the bed and the double doors to our bathroom).

I didn’t take pictures of the bathroom today, but plan to add them! I absolutely love that space – it feels so crisp and pretty (plus both my DIY projects in there turned out beautifully, if I do say so mahself). I’m still hunting for a silver and/or glass and/or mirrored shelf to add in the little nook for our towels and things. There are a few I’ve found (*cough*restorationhardware*cough*expensive!*cough*) but I’d really love to find something truly vintage. 

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We had a short week, since we spent Friday traveling to South Carolina for my dad’s wedding. But even with just four days, we were able to read several resources about ancient Egypt.

Funniest line of the week: I was reading aloud about daily life, including what people would have had available to eat and drink. They grew a lot of wheat & barley, so there was plenty of bread and beer. Even the children drank beer. Jonas got bug-eyed. “The kids could drink the beer?! Man… I wish I was an Egyptian!”

Projects: We had a lot of geography to work on this week – a world map with labels for the continents and oceans… a fold-out flip book of geography terms, definitions, and pictoral examples…  and a salt map of Egypt!

It turns out that salt maps take a l-o-o-o-n-g time to dry, so we’ll finish the salt map with paint and labels next week.

We also made an Egyptian paddle doll. Children in Egypt would have fashioned these out of wood… ahh, how cuddly. Ours is cardboard, and our beads are plastic while children long ago would have used clay or wood beads.

We didn’t plan to take Labor Day off (especially since we took Friday the 31st off) but when Mama wakes up with laryngitis, school plans go a bit off the rails. We muddled through math and called it a day. The rest of this week will be chock-full… Stay tuned. 😉

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The last two weeks of homeschool have been awesome. In fact, in Jonas’ words, “it was the bomb!” (I think he picked up that phrase from a movie, haha.) Our second week of school covered the events of the Tower of Babel and we became familiar with the geography of ancient Mesopotamia.
The kids each made a model ziggurat. After a first layer of brown paint, we mixed salt into a second batch of paint and coated the ziggurats with that mixture to add “realistic” texture.
I read a great tip about map work with kids this age – especially boys. Often, their handwriting is still on the large-and-laborious side at this age, so using preprinted sticky labels is a great way to allow them to demonstrate that they know the locations of the map features without becoming frustrated at trying to print all those words in those small spaces.

In our research of the ancient Sumerians, we learned about cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals. We made our own “cylinder seals” out of cardboard tubes and yarn. Once they were dry, we dipped them in paint and rolled them down a long sheet of paper. Jonas was SO EXCITED to see that “it worked!” — the images we’d formed from yard really imprinted!

Susannah was home with us on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and she participated in making the ziggurats and cylinder seals. I also had some “new to her” activities, like printing letters in our cornmeal box. She was in tactile child heaven! I am consistently impressed by how much Susannah already knows about letters and numbers. She has absorbed so much information just through play and by being nearby her older brother’s work. 

  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, she was off to “Parents’ Day Out” at Settle. Once again this year, she loves it! On Friday, she picked a couple of dandelions from our yard to take to her teacher. It was so cute; brought back memories of many a sweaty fistful of weeds flowers I received in my school-teaching days.

On Tuesday the 21st, we had our first get-together for a new “preschool & primary playgroup” for our homeschool group. It started out really well, with seven families coming to Chautauqua Park to play and fellowship. It ended early for us, when Susannah slipped away and crossed a very busy street by herself. I managed not to have a heart attack or a panic attack, and we made it home safely.

Week 3 covered the lives of the Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. We traced the travels of these men and their families from Ur in Mesopotamia, to the Promised Land, and then into Egypt.

Project-wise, we made another map and a family tree; inserts for our lapbook; added to our timeline; played a card game about ancient Middle Eastern hospitality customs; watched a VeggieTale take on the story of Abraham (“Abe and the Amazing Promise”) and the DreamWorks animated story of Joseph, and shopped for ingredients to make a meal fit for a Patriarch!

Thanks to an awesome Pampered Chef chopper that Mimi gave me for Christmas, the kids were able to safely chop the onions and garlic for our stew:

         

I cooked the onions and garlic in olive oil under careful supervision. Then we added 4 cups of beef stock, 3/4 c of washed lentils, and 3/4 c of rice. After it came to a boil, we put a lid on the stockpot and let it simmer until the lentils and rice were soft.

While our meal cooked, we donned our costumes. (There are suggestions in our curriculum for making tunics and whatnot, but my sewing machine is broken. This is a make-do costume: a Daddy t-shirt for a tunic, playsilk for a belt, scrap fabric for a head covering, and Mama’s elastic hairband to hold the head covering in place.) Susannah briefly wore the head covering Jonas picked out for her (pink fabric with a purple elastic) but wouldn’t hold still for a picture. And I had a “head covering” from the scarf my sister-in-law brought me from India with a blue elastic.

 
To go with our lentil stew (which, Jonas remarked, “even looks old!”) we had goat cheese and crackers, and dried figs. When I posted this on Facebook, Jonas’ grandmother asked if he really ate that. And actually, all three kids ate every bit of it. The excitement of having shopped for the ingredients and helped with the cooking probably helped – but it really was tasty. They cleaned their plates and went back for more.

Over dinner, we talked a bit about the lives of the Patriarchs and the example of faith they set for us. We also talked about some of the practical parts of life in the Old Testament – like the fact that they probably scooped up their stew with hunks of bread. At that point, Jonas abandoned his spoon and ate the rest of his dinner with his crackers.

When Chris got home Friday night, he asked Jonas how school had gone. “OH,” he raved, “school was just awesome.” I can’t help but smile when I hear that! Now that the children of Israel are in Egypt, over the next three weeks our studies will turn to the Nile, pyramids, Pharoahs, mummies, and eventually to the coming of Moses and the Hebrews’ exodus from slavery. As Jonas puts it: “WOOHOO!”

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Okay, not really. The presses weren’t actually running while we were visiting the newspaper building.

Six families from our homeschool group attended the tour. We saw cubicles where the advertising department and reporters work; we met one the photographers and a few of the people who are responsible for the paper’s layout. We learned about how the editors meet each day to decide what stories and photos need to go into the next morning’s edition.

The paper uses an offset press. The paper is (burned? set? I forget the exact term they used) onto aluminum lithograph plates. Then the plates go onto huge rollers, transferring the words and images; the rollers transfer the image onto the newsprint.
From the lithograph area, we headed across to the distribution area where the papers are cut, folded, stacked, and readied for delivery.

Then it was down a narrow flight of stairs into the basement of the Messenger-Inquirer building where they store these enormous rolls of newsprint which weigh 500 pounds each!

When we were done, Mr. Rocco from the Newspapers In Education department handed out a “Messenger-Inquirer” coloring book to each student. It was a really fun field trip!

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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