Challenging Co-workers

My co-worker (E) didn’t care for the color of her work materials so she stormed off to the job. Meanwhile my other co-worker (J) complained about E’s inability to be a team player for the project and suggested that we just continue without her. More complaints continued until we decided it was time to cave in an eat some carbs for comfort. How are things going with your new co-workers?

Yes, Ellie really did have a meltdown about the color of paint she received. Somehow, in that moment all of the information from the baby prep classes came back to me. When you’re overwhelmed by the screaming, it’s okay to walk away or even step outside for 5 minutes.

Now for the fun that kept us too busy to remember what we were missing.

Activity 1: Bow-tie Butterflies

  1. Put regular uncooked now-tie noodles in a bag with a squirt of paint.
  2. Move the noodles around until they are completely covered.
  3. Dump the noodles out on wax paper, separate and allow them to dry.
  4. Glue noodles on paper -hot glue is great, but be sure to help kids with it. The noodles are heavy so card stock is recommended.
  5. Draw antennae on the butterflies and movement lines with a sharpie.

Activity 2: Baking Banana Bread

Read a baking related book. I recommend Amelia Bedelia Bakes Off by: Herman Parish. Amelia Bedelia is known for mixing things up, so I played the character of Amelia while we baked. Jake read the instructions to me, while Ellie made sure I did them correctly. The recipe called for two eggs. I acted like I was going to toss in two whole eggs (shell and all), but Ellie stopped me and explained the recipe meant without the egg shells. Why was this important? Jake had more practice reading, not just words, but fractions too. Ellie showed her comprehension of the story by applying the concepts to our situation.

Activity 3: Classroom Set-up

Classroom teachers will be sending home materials for distance learning, but there are little things kids will be missing out on. I decided the routine of a calendar, practicing place value and counting coins would be things bit harder to learn without hands-on materials.

I do have a distinct advantage since I have my teaching supplies and just picked a few things to transform our basement into our new classroom. If you have a regular wall calendar that would work nicely, but you can even use your phone. Talk about the numbers and how they go up by 1 each day and document the weather to notice trends. We started counting our days of “Apocalypse Academy.” Each day we will place a straw in the ones place until it gets to ten and then we’ll bundle them and move them to the tens place. At home you could do this using legos and a plastic bag for grouping them. Identifying/counting coins is another great skill for kids 5-8. I recommend first identifying coins and their value. My students really enjoyed these poems. From there start with counting small groups of pennies, then add nickels and so on.

As always if you need any tips for educating your child, please reach out to me.

Remember “A day without laughter is a day wasted.” -Charlie Chaplin

Somewhere Over the Rainbow…

Life as we know it has changed and let’s be honest, it’s tough! I could easily go through and list all the things that are bumming me out, but what good would that really do? Rather than venturing down that rabbit hole, I’m going to push my disappointment aside. Right now it’s time to focus on getting to the other side of the rainbow “where trouble melts like lemon drops.” My first attempt to look past the uncertainty of our daily lives was creating rainbows with a pot of gold at the end. The images below are proof of the joy this project brought to our lives. While we were busy painting, we talked about how to hold a paintbrush, mixing new colors and even plotted against a sneaky leprechaun. COVID-19 was not mentioned once.

This type of lighthearted fun is exactly what I recommend for you and your kids while school is out. As a licensed elementary teacher, I know the education materials your teacher is providing are valuable, but taking take of your child’s mental health during this scary time is even more important. Kids are like sponges, they take in everything that is going on around them. Let’s filter out some of the fear with good old fashioned fun and help everyone get past the clouds, to the place where dreams really do come true.

Activity 1:

Rainbow with pot of gold. Paint palm black and each finger a color of the rainbow. Place hand a piece of paper. Wash the painted hand. Paint the lines for the rainbow. Let is dry for a bit. Paint gold in the pot. Ta-da! Your project is done! We used our leftover paint to free paint pictures for grandparents.

Activity 2:

Bake something -we made muffins from a box! Let the kids help out by getting out/adding ingredients, reading directions and of course stirring. It doesn’t have to turn out great as long as the experience is fun!

Activity 3:

Reading! Read a book to your kids and give each character a silly voice. My son even decided to read and copy the voices I used. Need some time to yourself? That’s okay! Have your kids read a book to a pet or a stuffed animal. Not quite reading yet? Have your kiddo look at the pictures and make up a story to go along with them. These are all great activities for beginning readers! Need more tips, feel free to reach out and I would gladly help.

Looking for more ideas? Come back and see what we’re up to. We’re going to see this time together as a blessing and will be making as many memories as possible.

Pregnant and Waiting

People say there’s no greater joy than being pregnant, but I would say they’re wrong. They have the right idea, but it needs a bit of tweaking.  I prefer to think of pregnancy as the happiest reason ever for feeling like crap. It’s no secret that being pregnant presents it’s challenges, but the reward definitely offsets everything a mother has to endure.

Newlyweds Jon and Teresa are expecting their first child, a boy in December. This means Teresa is several months pregnant and dealing with the not so enjoyable aches and pains that accompany this exciting time. An outsider looking at these images, only sees the look of complete happiness on the faces of Jon and Teresa. While I was talking with Jon and Teresa about their little man, Jon’s mom kept piping in and calling him “Baby JJ.” Her level of excitement was apparent as she affectionately referred to her grandson as “Baby JJ.” A silly nickname for the baby is one of those pains no one warns new mothers about, but Teresa took it in stride. All joking aside, welcoming a new baby is a family affair and these two are very lucky their little boy has an amazing extended family that can’t wait for his arrival.

Maternity portraits are a special way to decorate your nursery and can easily have a newborn session added on. To book a session with me, I am always available over email or on the phone.

Nicki Joachim Photography serves Owatonna, Waseca, Faribault, Dodge Center, Blooming Prairie, Austin, Albert Lea and other southern Minnesota cities.

Portrait Session for a Sitter

This portrait session has to be one of the most amazing sessions that I have had the pleasure of taking! Each time I look at these photos, I am taken back to this session and it brings a huge smile to my face. This little sweetheart was just a few days away from celebrating her first birthday. She had eyes only for her mama the entire time and was trying to crawl to her. At one point, she grabbed my fingers to stand up. I slowly let go of them and she took a few steps in my direction. Instantly mom was clapping and cheering for her little’s girls first steps! From that moment on, there was no more sitting. She was always up and, on the go, pushing a chair around my studio determined to walk unassisted again.

Details Behind a Successful Sitter Portrait Session

Prior to any portrait session, all of the details are planned out. We discuss everything that makes their child happy, pick out a few outfits and accessories to wear, and plan where their artwork will hang in their home, everything is done with intention at Nicki Joachim Photography.

During a sitter session such as this one, I like to give the kids freedom to explore. While I’m busy behind the camera, they are playing with their favorite stuffed animal and listening to songs that make them smile. This allows me to capture their genuine smiles and reactions to games such as peek-a-boo.

A special thank you to Cotton Baby Bonnets for creating this beautiful romper to be used in this session. More of their work can be viewed here:

These portrait sessions are absolutely gorgeous to decorate your home with. To book a session with me, I am always available over email or on the phone.

Nicki Joachim Photography serves Owatonna, Waseca, Faribault, Dodge Center, Blooming Prairie, Austin, Albert Lea and other southern Minnesota cities.

Senior Portraits ~ Owatonna Senior Photographer

Now is the time to start planning your senior portrait session! I am on the hunt for 2020 seniors that are interested in having a fun photo session. Students that are chosen will have the opportunity to be a featured senior for the upcoming school year. Only a limited number of seniors will be accepted from each school.

Please contact me at to check on the availability for your high school.