Monday, August 31, 2009

frogs and a glorious nap

On the first day of our little vacation I hadn't gotten any sleep the previous night and I was one groggy mama. My lovely lovely husband - ( see I told you he's super-dad) stopped at a lake and took the kids to play so I could nap for an hour in the camper....

Let me tell you it was pure bliss. It's a rare occasion that I get to sleep without anyone else in the bed- most nights there are four of us to be exact ;)

While I was napping........

Much fun was being had :)

And of course there were frogs ;)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book Sharing Monday :)

I got the timing right! Woo hoo! Monday it most certainly is ;) - ok it will be in 30 minutes and that's just perfect timing. So there.

This is another treasure of a book by Ethel Cook Eliot.

I don't know what to say about this book - except that I'm fairly certain I've never read a book to my children that I adore more than this one. It's not like any book I've ever read - very much like "Wind Boy"in it's unique-ness. I can't imagine anyone not loving this book. I actually felt grateful to have the opportunity to read it to my kids. Cal me cheesy if you will - I'm really quite serious! It's really that special.

I can't give the blurb from the back, as there doesn't appear to be one :( - so I'll just say this:

Read it!

I know - I know I won't be finding work writing book reviews any time soon - I'm ok with that tho ;)

the stretching

It's amazing just how much being a mama (or a papa of course) forces you to stretch and grow. Some days, weeks *years* much more so than others. I've been a mama now for 15 years (really? That long? The time really has flown by *fast* ) and I'm continuously amazed all over again to find myself yet again stretching through the difficult times with a strength I never knew I had.

It's so easy to get lost in it all - it can be such a struggle at times and yet the struggle is really what it's all about right? I mean that is really where the growth comes from. Those are the times that really stretch you and force you to seek new limits breaking through inner barriers and somehow finding peace in it all. The time in between when things are flowing and harmonious? - well those times leave me feeling like it's all worth while and I realize that those times stretch us too. They stretch our capacity to love and be loved. To love even more than we ever thought we could.

It's amazing isn't it? Even when I'm tearing my hair out in frustration I still know that there's no place I'd rather be. And in those moments of frustration - if I can - I try to remember to feel grateful for that daily stretch that my children give me. Sometimes it really hurts! Somehow tho it's a worthwhile sort of pain - one that enables us to experience greater depths of joy.

What an amazing journey this is.


We're back from a short holiday and you can expect photos tomorrow - once my tired camera battery has had a chance to recharge ;) And maybe a little recharging for the mama would be in order too ;)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


About a month before father's day my husband jokingly requested a super-dad t-shirt for his gift. Then he promptly forgot all about it.

I didn't tho ;)

I thought he quite deserved such a title actually ;)

He truly is super-dad.

I couldn't think of a better way to express my appreciation to him.

The perfect excuse to try freezer paper stencils ;)

Unfortunately as you can see in the picture above - the shirt didn't like the dryer so much - definitely a good idea to turn it inside out for washing.

The actual stencil part was easy peasy tho. I'm not going to try to explain it all here - there's a ton of tutorials online if you google "freezer paper stencil"

I will give one hint tho ;) If you want to use a darker colored shirt like I did above the color comes out really dark - think green instead of yellow. After oh about 6 coats (likely the reason it didn't fair so well in the dryer) it occurred to me to do a couple coats of white first. That was the ticket. Beautiful bright color was a snap after that.

I have a policy that I try to stick to - that I either buy used, or if I must buy new then I try to find an environmentally friendly option such as organic clothing. It's cheaper to buy plain unadorned organic shirts than to try to find boy pleasing pictures, so I started getting a few organic shirts and then we decorate them ourself :) Freezer paper stenciling is an excellent option for this - so many possibilities for creative expression. I'm sure there will be more showing up here in the near future :)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Book sharing Monday - Technically speaking ;)

Yes I know it's Tuesday now, but I swear when I wrote it it was still Monday ;) One of these days I'll get the hang of thinking of these things a little earlier ;)

The Wind Boy, By Ethel Cook Eliot.

This book is one of my all time favorite chapter books for little ones. I love books that were written long ago. People relate to each other differently - and kids are kids. Kids grow up way too fast these days many times seeming just like little adults. One of my biggest goals as a parent is to preserve their childhoods for as long as possible. Let them play!

It's ever so magical and unlike any book I've ever read. And there are fairies -who doesn't like fairies?!

Here's the blurb from the back:

The Wind Boy is a delightful story of two refugee children, Gentian and Kay, ages eight and nine, and their artist mother Detra, who have been separated from their father by war. When Nan, a girl from the mountains answers Detra's ad for household help, Kay and Gentian find a wise and guiding friend. With Nan's arrival, wonderful experiences soon unfold. They encounter the Clear Land and befriend the Wind Boy, discovering that they share a troublesome problem.

We named our youngest daughter after one of the fairies in this book :)

Lovely lovely book - absolutely full of magic :)

Sunday, August 23, 2009

when the wind blows

Life is good - really good in so many ways we are so very blessed. Now and then tho life gets a little windier than usual and it can feel challenging to maintain our calm in the storm. Thankfully - while the current storm is throwing us a little - well it's still just a little storm , and for that I am truly grateful. We're still still blowing around a little, but trying hard to remember that it's going to pass soon enough which in itself is enough to anchor us.
Today we caught the last few minutes of sun at the beach. It was a blustery day, but it was refreshing to see my life somewhat reflected in my surroundings. As the sun was disappearing behind the mountain signaling an end to this day I was reminded that another is always waiting for us.

And at the end of the day good old home made ice cream with hinkle-berries (of course) does much to soothe the soul.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

hinkle-berries for Big Miss A and Little Miss A

Big Miss A has re-named huckleberries - first Hinkleberries - and then hunkleberries :)
She's getting closer, but we're all a little attached to hinkleberries ;)

Miss Big A brought along her small tin pail and her

mother brought along her large tin pail to put berries in.

Miss Big A picked three berries and dropped them into her little tin pail.....kuplink, kuplank, kuplunk!

"Now little run along and pick your own huckleberries....mother wants to take her berries home and can them for next winter....."

Little Mr S. , because his feet were tired of standing and walking , sat down in the middle of a large clump of bushes and picked huckleberries.

"now Mr.S " said big brother K (who can sometimes be a wee bit bossy)
"you should really be eating less and put way more of those berries into the pail, so we have lots to take home." (for the record they both did an equally fabulous job of picking)

The entire family had loads of fun. We didn't get tangled up with any bears, no one got lost.

Everyone had a hard time moving on (except the wee ones who were tuckered out) and we could have picked for hours - just a few more...

Eventually tho we drove back down the mountain with food to can for next winter - a whole pail of hinkle-berries..... and another half besides.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Work in progress Wednesday (technically again)

Well here I am again close to midnight and since it's technically still Wednesday and I didn't have my camera all day, so there's not much to show you..........Work in Progress Wednesday it is!

This is the first sweater I've ever made for myself. In fact it's the only thing I've ever made for myself. With 5 kids all wanting me to knit for them - and the draw of sweet *little* things - things that don't take as much time to knit as an adult sized sweater .... well yeah - it took me a while to treat myself :)

It's almost done! I'm about half way thru the last sleeve- and it's knit in the round- all in one piece. It's the Garter Yoke Cardigan - the pattern is easy to find on Ravelry.

The wool is Peace Fleece -
the color muldova burgundy

I think it's more of a plum than a burgundy, but I still like it ;)

Peace fleece is a unique type of wool in that it feels just terrible while you are knitting it - so scratchy and you really have to talk yourself into believing it will be nice. Then you wash it tho - and it fluffs up and gets soft and this lovely sheen. It's actually quite a treat to have that added bit of pleasure to look forward to at the end. By the 3rd wash (and yes I pretty much just wash and dry and wash and dry until I can get it to that 3rd one) it's reached its softest and is ready for my wool sensitive skin.

I haven't been working on it much - I don't feel so drawn to knitting in the summer months. I do however have a strong need to knit in the car ;) Something to show for the many hours just sitting there ;) (and no I'm not the one driving in case anyone is in a panic at the thought of me knitting and driving at the same time ;) )

I am getting close to that point I eventually get to in every knitting project where I'll feel close enough that I will just *have* to finish it - like yesterday :) I may just have to watch a movie soon and get it done :) - yeah watching movies is the other time I knit in the summer months.

And of course the first thing I'll do when it's done is take photos and blog about it :)

And I have to say that all this talking about it is getting me all fired up and wanting it done right now!

I'm thinking it will be soon....

And the basket? It's lovely isn't it? A birthday gift gift from my sweet husband - heavy hinting was the ticket with this one ;)
(he likes heavy hinting btw - he has a terrible time thinking of gifts.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


It's starting..........
I'll be canning tomatoes as they ripen over the next month.

A memory of our summer gardening that will (hopefully) last all year long.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Book sharing Monday - Technically speaking ;)

It is *technically* still Monday, so there ;) it's 11:50 pm :)

I'm not just sharing the book either - I'm showing off my very first zipper *and machine quilted patchwork* all in one project :)

"Patchwork Style - 35 Simple Projects For a Simple and Colorful Life" by Suzuko Koseki
This is such a fun book -
very inspiring and not at all daunting as I imagine quilting/patchwork to be. I don't have huge amounts of time, so I want things to come together quickly and this project at least was quite simple - with gorgeous results IMHO - and sewed up really fast - just 2 short bursts over 2 evenings - and it was late too, so some of that time was spent ripping things out due to silly mistakes made only because I was tired. Lately tho I can't get myself off to bed until I've had at least a little time spent crafting :) That time makes me feel so alive - and whole - and me. It's worth losing a little sleep - which is saying a lot considering how many years it's been since I had a good night's sleep ;)

This is one of those books that gets you so inspired and wanting to get started immediately.

This looks trickier than it is - there wasn't any measuring going on - it's all approximate for the quilting part. You just create a log cabin square, cut it to the correct size and then machine quilt it with a liner fabric, and then batting sandwiched inside. I really like the effect of the lines of quilting.

A fabulous way to use up all those pretty scraps you can't bare to throw out.

Silly me tho - I used a nice shiny satiny -and very slippery fabric for the lining. I ignored the little voice in my head that told me I would regret it - and i did - it was finicky- and the bag ended up a little smaller for it ;) But it all worked out in the end.

I love the zipper - it's a lovely old metal one :) Scored at the Sally-Ann - a whole bag of them for 50cents. A new zipper at my fabric store is around $7-8 dollars! I can't bring myself to pay that much - and they aren't even nice quality ones. I love old things - made in a time when quality was just a given. I get so frustrated with the absolutely intentional lack of quality and planned obsolescence these days - little things like this where I can by-pass that whole game - makes me quite giddy :) Yes - I get pleasure from really odd things ;)

I'm guessing there will be a lot more projects showing up here from this book - tho as of today it's in direct competition with Soulemama's new book - " A Handmade Home " It's really wonderful - even better than I'd imagined it would be! I can't wait to dive in and start one of the many projects - the hard part will be deciding which one to try first!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

a drinking straw oboe

My boy has been really really into the science experiment books lately. He pulls them out and pours over them, often just figuring out from the picture what he's meant to do and finding the things he needs. I help when asked, but I don't generally explain much - other than to answer any questions in a way that is appropriate for a child his age. We homeschool following the waldorf way as much as I can, but in this area we stray somewhat. Science experiments aren't meant for the younger children (he's just turned 7 years old). He's so very driven tho - and it's all his own motivation, so I go with it and he does the experiments and draws his own conclusions most of the time.

The latest one was as you can see in the picture above an "oboe" made of a drinking straw. It took him a while to get the hang of it, but eventually he got it. Mama figured it out a bit sooner with the help of a vague memory of playing the oboe for a year way way back when. It was really fun tho! I found that I could actually play a scale - a wavering one, but a scale none the less.

It was very simple to do. Just take the straw and squish the end flat and trim the end into a curve using a knife, or exacto knife, or even just s small pair of scissors. Then if you want to play different notes just flatten the straw in the other direction and cut little half circles out which once it is unflattened will be the holes you place your fingers on. I made them a bit more like triangle notches into the straw and it worked just fine. I spaced them about an inch apart.

Now getting a sound is a bit tricky - you purse your lips almost as if you just finished sucking a lemon ;) and blow with your lips tight, but not too tight. It takes some fiddling - and might be best if the parent tries it out first so the child can hear what it's meant to sound like. That seemed to really help Sascha figure it out.

He's still young enough that I am not looking to fill his head with facts about how this or that works, to me it's much more important that he just experience things and draw his own conclusions - for now - there is plenty of time as he grows older to take this amazing curiosity he has about science and take it to another level with more structured experiments and an understanding of what is happening and why - just not yet. I consider these experiments to be play as they are completely driven by him and are more about satisfying his curiousity about what will happen then about finding out all the scientific facts. These are the years for playing - there are so few years spent as children - I want my kids to get as much playing in as possible :)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

my frog lovin boy......

My boy has always adored frogs. We have a ton of photos of him with frogs - these next 2 from around 5 years old.....

Kissing frogs - cute :)

And here he is at almost 9 years old :)
Still loving frogs - he likes to find them homes in the greenhouse.

Lately there has been much talk about the possibility of him having a pet frog in an aquarium as if we need another one of those - last count we were at 7 aquariums, but they all have fish ;)

There's much to discuss from how he plans to pay for it, to how much it will cost. What sort of care they need. He's drawn pictures of how he wants the tank to look and spent some time googling to find out about care - which in itself is a treat as their screen time is very limited.

It's an interesting process to watch- one I don't want to rush as I can see all sorts of benefit and learning in taking our time with it.

I don't imagine it will be long until he gets it all figured out tho - he even called the pet store to ask questions! At my suggestion he balked and said he was far too shy to call, but as I was conveniently busy and he didn't want to wait.....well eventually he took that leap :)

I love that we live somewhere that has frogs just outside the back door - so much life right at their fingertips.

and on to the couch....

I did say I wanted to be surrounded by Anna Maria Horner fabric remember? ;)
I was quite serious!

Our couch was looking pretty bad - we use a regular fitted sheet and it was just boring and stained - either pale blue, or pale yellow. Boring. This is much better :)

So I found these pretty green sheets - organic even. Ok I didn't "find them" I bought them - but for a good price at least ;) I used the pillow cases for the backing of these pillow covers. I'll use the flat sheet for other projects - it's quite a nice fabric actually. It's quite thick compared to other sheets we have, but in a nice way. The brand is "Under the Canopy " I've bought from them before and they are very good quality for a great price - durable *and* pretty :)

The fabric is of course by Anna Maria Horner - except for the blue - it's Amy Butler. I love the pink with the blue!

Of course 2 pillows isn't nearly enough - there will most definitely be more to come ;)

Oh and the pillows I got at a garage sale for $1 - tossed the very ugly fuzzy blue covers - they were hideous. My husband says they reminded him of Grover ;) I just figured the pattern out myself as I went. It was quick and fun - instant gratification ;)