Wednesday, November 5, 2008

As an American, as a Christian, as a Mom, I have a heavy heart this morning. As I see the crowds rejoicing, I am deeply affected. The choice that people have made, a choice of evil over good, will effect "change" - unfortunately.  I truly believe that we had an opportunity to choose a patriot, a man who loved country over self; a woman with conviction and a love of life and family. John McCain's concession speech speaks for itself about what kind of man he is. 

But now I have a choice. Will I put my "hope" in a man, as so many are, or will I put it in the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. Will I trust that what the devil has meant for evil, God means for good? Will I pray fervently that our nation will see revival and turn from its wicked ways? The answer, on all counts, is yes. 

So today will not be a day of gloom and doom. I choose to look ahead and to pray for God's providence and protection. Much like our forefathers did over 200 years ago. 

I'm not usually such as serious blogger, but some things are not to be taken lightly. I hope those around me will keep the faith. God bless America. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Knights

Peter and Edmund hailing from Narnia. AKA Caedmon and Ansel. Their costumes are a combination of long johns and slippers, purchased helmets, shields and a sword made by Joel (Caedmon already had a sword from last Christmas, so he copied it), finished with leather and a lion crest by me (which you can't see here - sorry. I downloaded the lion from a Narnia website and then reverse stenciled it). The tunics I cut from red velvet salvaged from a thrift store. All in all, I'd say they look pretty darn cute. And they had a blast at the harvest party we went to. Plus, they are sleeping in the long johns right now. And they can wear the costumes over and over - although at the moment the swords have been confiscated - we're not really trying to kill each other, after all. They'll get them back in a few days and hopefully engage in kinder, gentler sword play. Ha ha ha. 

Monday, October 13, 2008

10 Things

OK, so I'm not keeping up with the list making. At this rate, I'm actually flunking. But with my foggish brain up and running on about three swallows of coffee, I think I'll give it a whirl before I start the rest of my day. P.S. the photo is another rip off, I think from an etsy seller, that I thought I could copy someday. I really should keep track of where these pictures come from so I can at least give the poor girl some credit. Sorry about that. 

1. I'm not really a social person. I have to make myself talk to people in big groups, etc. This surprises some people.
2. I love our dog Olaf, and I feel bad that he doesn't get to go swimming more often. 
3. I HATE paperwork, but who doesn't? 
4. Sometimes I forget to wear deodorant, but luckily I don't have smelly issues, so I can get away with it. I also don't shower daily. I used to but I think it dries me out too much. 
5. I used to work out, but now I don't. Long walks with the kids is about it. I have no marathon aspirations. And I don't watch sports. I have never been to a football game.
6. My coffee mug says "happy" and then has a picture of a camper. It belongs to Joel. 
7. I have developed a lot of allergies. Animals, dust, pollen. A few years ago my eyes swelled nearly shut after I held a fawn. I hate medication, so I take nothing for my allergies. 
8. I find that it is hard to live simply in our society, which bums me out. 
9. Related to number 8, I am considering buying a portable dvd player for our long car rides. Which makes me feel like a hypocrite. It's laughable, I know, because most families bought those 5 years ago. We're not into spending on electronic stuff - but two other items on my wish list would be an ipod and a wii. We played one for the first time a couple weeks ago, and even though I'm kind of anti-video game stuff, I have to admit that it was fantastic! 
10. I would love to make  a crazy quilt. And if you're smiling to yourself, thinking, "that's because she's crazy," let me tell you, I was thinking the same thing, except in first person, not third, because that really would be crazy. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

10 Things

I skipped Sunday, because I was gone all day, but I'm back in the game. 

1. boots - the boy (Ansel) and to wear. Preferably with tights. 
2. muffins - cranberry orange is my favorite.
3. being organized. I used to think I liked label makers but I don't. 
4. eating at home - I'm not a restaurant person. I don't like people I don't know preparing my food in a room that I can't see. Plus, they cost too much. 
5. tea. warm and not too strong. herbal; unsweetened. 
6. Caedmon's obsessions. Too cute for words. And gosh, is his brain amazing.
7. I like grammar, but I also like messing with it. I admire e.e. cummings. I do hate it when a whopping grammar mistake pops out of my mouth. mortification.  
8. involving my kids in helping others. I was just thinking about getting our shoe boxes ready for Operation Christmas Child. 
9. Jennifer Knapp's voice. 
10. My guitar, which I will someday learn to play. Yes, I'm a Jennifer Knapp wannabe. 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

10 Things

Today's 10 things:

1. The Red Balloon. A really lovely film. 

2. Flour Sack towels in the kitchen.

3. Rain. Preferably the kind I can dance in.

4. Warm socks.

5. Magazines, lip balm and water bottles. 

6. Shintzi Katoh.

7. My dream perfume would have patchouli, amber, black pepper, tobacco, geranium, vanilla and honey. I think. It sounds good in writing. Now if I could just concoct and smell. . . 

8. Talking to God throughout the day. 

9. Packing Caedmon's lunches. 

10. Cacti & Succulents. The only house plants that thrive under my (lack of) care. Plus I like the way they look. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Day

Back to blogging again. Typing as quickly as I can without a left middle finger, because I seriously sliced it open with a bread knife today.  Which leaves Joel in the kitchen doing dishes by himself while I type. 

Tonight we're engaging in a little movie time. I promised Caedmon a viewing of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, because we have been listening to an audio recording, and reading a chapter every night. I thought it might be too intense, but he enjoyed it. I recently read a recipe for Turkish Delight, which I wanted to make tonight, but we're still working on my gigantic chocolate birthday cake, and since sugar coma and cavities aren't on our wish list, I'll put the TD off for a bit. 

We also might watch a second movie tonight - Ansel & I checked out a few from the library today - since my recently appendix free sister Bekah, is staying on our couch recovering. So, we might as well make the best of it and totally bomb our brains with screen time. 

Perhaps soon I'll be back to the fun activity type postings - an art playgroup for Ansel and friends is in the works, which will give me some material. Also, my camera is down. Bekah is being kind and letting me borrow hers, but I can't believe how annoying it is to be sans camera. Crippling actually (ok that might be exaggeratory, but ya know. . .) Hence the dvd pic via Amazon. Lousy, I know. 

Also, Ansel and I went to a book sale today and scored some books at 25 cents a piece. I can't resist books at that price. We also went to Ansel's first swim lesson for the season. And he loved it! I have to say that spending alone time with him has been a blessing. But I still am not thrilled with Caedmon being at school so much. But before I go into a ten page rant about that I will quit. Officially. Right now. Good bye. 

10 Things

Enjoyed my list making so much that I think I'll do 10 things for ten days and that'll make 100 (yes, my math skills are stunning, I know). 

1. Love this bike thingy for the tots. So cozy and wonderful. I can't remember where I swiped this photo from, but it's a pic from Copenhagen, where they have very cool bike stuff. I love bikes - someday I hope to have a really swell one, maybe Dutch. 

2. When my kids spontaneously embrace each other. I'm always reminding them that they are best friends forever. Perhaps they should get the necklaces with the bff broken hearts, the eighties is back, or is that WAY too girly? Yes. 

3. Scarves. 

4. Walks or rides, in the woods. I call it green therapy.

5. Reading my Bible before the boys wake up. Confession: it doesn't always happen. 

6. Daydreaming. 

7. Singing. Sometimes I walk around the house singing instead of talking, like I'm on Broadway or something. I used to do it when I was a kid too. I think it's fun, but I'm not sure my family enjoys it as much as I do. I'm comfortable singing in front of people, but uncomfortable with compliments. Someday I want to walk down the street singing at the top of my lungs. I often sing quietly in stores and notice people looking at me. I wish I could naturally harmonize. 

8. My husband: he's a doll and he puts up with a lot.

9. A clean house. If my house is a mess it is very hard for me to be happy. But even if I could afford it, I would never hire anyone to clean my house. I'd much rather do it myself. 

10. Goat's Milk: had it for the first time last week and I told Joel that I would like a goat for Christmas. I am smitten with the milk and I've always wanted to have a few  chickens and a goat. 

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A List

I'm a list person. I have way too many and can never seem to finish any of the ones with "to do" written across the top, but I love making them and changing them and working on them. . . it drives Joel, a very non list person, a little batty. 

I love:

Autumn. The leaves crunching as I push the stroller down the sidewalk. Stopping to pick up the most beautiful leaves. Brewing tea to warm up a bit. Raking. Piling. Jumping. Raking.

Strong Coffee. Black. 

Dark chocolate, but I have to be in the mood. And I only like a little at a time.

Homemade/handmade things. Food. Clothing. Toys. Etsy.

Making things for my family. This year I want to make presents for everyone. And I've been baking all of our bread. And making yogurt. It's very satisfying to me. I'd like to do more.

Books. Bookstores. Libraries. I never have time, it seems, to read much alone anymore. But thankfully I LOVE children's books, so I can read with my kids.

Snuggling in bed. I like sleeping with my kids. In fact, I can't imagine putting them in their own bedrooms. 

Simple things. Little things can make me very happy. A barrette, a pretty piece of paper, a picture, things like that. 

Feeling like I made someone's day better. 

Kissing baby hair.

Monday, August 18, 2008

ShavingCream Prints

When the boys don't want to take a bath/shower, a little trick is to ask them, "would you like to paint with shaving cream?" (This is not a bribe. Because I never bribe. Just want to make that clear :) Recently, I saw in mommy BlogLand ideas for mixing paint with shaving cream, so we had a little clean fun recently:

1. First, I sprinkled dry watercolors of their choice on top of a mound of shaving cream (on cookie sheets). 
2. They mixed the colors. This is always a favorite part. 
3. They created pictures with their fingers. (I've also used shaving cream for writing practice, but the paint takes it up a notch in the fun category.)
4. We placed watercolor paper on top and pressed gently, creating a print. 
5. Let them dry and hang them up. 
6. Repeat, unless you're running low on supplies, in which case you might want to conserve, as I know skipping shaving is not an option on my part, unless I want to resemble a gorilla. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Birthday Camp

This is Part 2 of Caedmon's Birthday Extravaganza (OK that might be a slight exaggeration, but it sounds sooo cool). Camping. Which went really well. Until I woke up to thunder and lightning and realized I had left many things out in the elements. But it dries, right? And the sun came out eventually. We got to try out the kayak, go fishing, throw sticks to Olaf, play ball with the neighbors, cook over the fire, make ice cream in a ball, and pretty much just ask ourselves why we don't do things like this more often. Oh yeah, cause it takes tons of time to pack and unpack. . . but really, it is worth it :-) What a great birthday. And what a great boy!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Birthday Boy!

Caedmon is 5! Tell the world, because he wants EVERYONE to know! And, ahhh, I just realized I forgot to tell the world via ohdeedoh, so that must be done also. Stay tuned for that. 

So, here are some photos from the tree house picnic we hosted. The cupcakes were an idea from, of course, an old issue of Martha Stewart Kids. I decorated them with fondant and candies. The boys helped me create the forest with mint and thyme from our yard. While they ate the cupcakes, I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, one of my favorites, and appropriate for the occasion. We also gave the birds a treat, by using pinecones from our yard as feeders. We just smothered them in peanut butter and rolled in birdseed. I used raffia as a hanger, which I figured was a more eco/bird friendly material than the fishing line that was suggested when I was scouting for ideas. Joel saw a squirrel trying to steal one the feeders yesterday; I like the squirrels, they are very entertaining and I think they get a bad rap. :-) 

I'll post more about birthday festivities later; camping!!! 

Saturday, August 2, 2008

2nd Rant

O.K. One more thing. Some people laugh at me, but I have real concerns about this school thing. The exposure to things I don't agree with - I mean, five year olds are impressionable and I want to be the one making the impressions. I am not a control freak, although I do write in capital letters, which my husband once heard was the sign of a control freak. But I have standards and it's really hard for me to send my kid off to someone who maybe doesn't share those standards. 

Then there is the food - I'll pack his lunch, but there are snacks and treats. And we all know how I feel about that stuff. And the germs. I've been in classrooms. I should say GERMS. And the coloring in the lines,  as I like to call it. The lack of creativity. And the reward systems. And the competition. This is my glass half empty scenario. So to balance that. . .

The friendship. The independence. The community. The exposure to things that are worthwhile, that I never think about. The benchmark standards (I'm only kidding; for Caedmon, this year, I don't give a hoot). The books and games and fun. Circle time. This is the glass half full. 

So, I'll send him off with a kiss and a prayer (and lots more prayers during the day). And a healthy lunch, and a bottle of alcohol free hand sanitizer and really cute shoes (they're important too!). . . and to this rant, I say: THE END. 

Home Schooling

In my head there has begun a countdown until I send my little guy off to school. And you know what I wish for? Home Schooling. Unschooling. Mama schooling. But we'll give it  a year. This is what will be good for him, I tell myself. A year in a room with other kids, another teacher, rules and structure. And then Poland, which will be the ultimate schooling.

P.S. This is  a quiet mama rant, please disregard, and accept my apologies, if you were hoping for something slightly more fun :-) There, a smiley face is fun. 

Painting Rocks

Painting rocks. An old time tradition. Somehow always a hit. Somewhere, in the recesses of a box, there lies a rock that I painted in fourth grade, dubbed my "brain" and sat on the corner of my desk, for quite a while. Perhaps the whole year, I really can't remember. 

The boys and I are preparing some simple arts and crafts for a camp we'll be helping out at soon, for people with disabilities. I'm so glad that they have this opportunity to feel involved and to contribute. We've gathered supplies from our house and they have made examples to share of several of the projects. Here, we painted the rocks with q-tips. It originally was supposed to look like aboriginal art, made with dots of paint. Caedmon painted a very small deer and a pond. Ansel dipped the q-tips in the wrong colors, mixing them, which I think became a game. Really good fun. 

Notes: The rocks are red because we painted them with the intention of creating ladybugs. . . we put them up to let the red dry and forgot all about them, so they never got their wings, so to speak (or spots). So we used those. Also, I took the caps off the paint and put a q-tip in each. It was a perfect amount, so the boys couldn't dunk them in a big tub of paint and make a mess (I know, art is messy, but it doesn't have to always be :-) The first rock is Caedmon's, drying on an open catalog from the recycling bin (that's where I always grab stuff to paint on) and the second is Ansel's, which he is proudly showing me. I think it looks like a fantastic fireworks display!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

BooBoo Basket

I know, I know. . . I never post anymore. Well, it's summer and  busy times. Here is something we have been using this summer - an idea I got from Mitten Strings for God. This is our booboo basket, where I store all of the little things we need to make daily booboos better. Curious George BandAids and bug bite balm and nasal spray and such. It's a really sweet little thing that the boys are now accustomed to requesting. "MaMa, get the booboo basket." You gotta love tending to their little aches and pains. I think it's good for their hearts too. 

Here's Ansel with the Burt's Bees bug bite stick - applying liberally to one of many skeeter bites. It really works!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

fun challenge

Here is a challenge that Meg, a Montessori teacher who lives in Mexico, has issued on her blog: She has asked parents to share the ways that their children have fun for nothin'. In this crazy consumer culture, kids often have the most fun with things that are free. I know my boys love sticks and pine cones and dirt and  feathers :) There are very few toys that they could not do without. So, I think this is a great thing to share. Meg has created a Flickr group where parents can share photos of their kids having fun for nothin'. 

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Modern Handprints

Here's a little something we did a couple weeks ago. I got the idea from Cookie. Here's the step by step:

1. I bought canvases. 
2. The boys chose colors (they picked their favorites - Caedmon has always loved green and Ansel now loves orange).  
3. We took off most of their clothing.
4. I squirted paint on plates.
5. They smeared paint all over the canvas with their hands. 
6. They smeared paint on their bodies and any clothing that was not removed, as well as on the driveway, where we were painting. 
7. I wiped their hands and placed them firmly in the paint on the canvas. 
8. Repeated steps 1-6 and then placed feet on the canvas. 
9. Put the paintings inside so that they could dry in peace. 
10. Now I need to hang them up. Which is the hard part, because I'm not so good at committing to holes in the wall. It has to be the PERFECT place :) 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Feather Finds

Here is a little post about one of Caedmon's current past times: collecting feathers. He's always noticing them on the ground and bringing them to me (I then put them in the freezer, which makes me believe that the germs have been thoroughly annihilated - even if they haven't, it makes me feel better). I really didn't know how to display them, but recalled seeing a magazine photo one time, where they were displayed in a wicker ball. Having had a previous life as a Pier 1 employee, I knew where to find such a ball. For $1.50 I had a great way to display his treasures. Now he likes to take them all out and sort them by type and height, and then rearrange them in the ball. I like that it looks fabulous in our living room, and is something that he enjoys and is proud of. Now if I could just figure out all those bird calls. It seems I never know who is serenading us as we walk through the woods (or perhaps more precisely, hollering at us for disturbing their peace). 

Weekend Photos

Well, yes, it has been a ridiculously long time since an update. But we've been busy livin' baby, not writing about it :) Seriously, I have a hard time sitting at a computer when it is nice outside. But, here are a couple photos of what we've been up to:

1. Strawberry Picking. And eating. (I froze berries for fall/winter smoothies.)

2. Fireworks. Where both boys fell asleep. The fireworks were so loud you couldn't hear yourself talk. But they fell asleep. Cracked us up.

3. Playing Kickball after Church.  Caedmon's first time and it was very cute. Here he is at a base (I'm not sure which one because he switched frequently). Ansel and I also got in on the action (for about 5 minutes). 

These are the simple summer memories that I hope my kids always enjoy. We're not theme park, flashy, sorts of people and I hope that helps them enjoy the simple things. I'm cherishing this time when they're still sort of sheltered from the outside world. It makes it a whole lot easier not to give in to the mainstream. We've declared July to be a no movie month. We already don't have TV, which works really well for us. We do enjoy a good movie; I have this dream of having a projector and a  white sheet and inviting all the neighborhood kids over for a flick in the backyard. But then I realized that the projector is $700. So, it remains a dream :)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Garden Photos

A baby grackle hiding in the hostas. And a couple pictures of things we are growing. Parsley, Basil, Oregano and a random Geranium in a pot. (I have herbs spread here and there in pots and in the ground). And our peas coming up. Our little garden is also boasting radishes, zucchini, carrots, lemon cucumbers, five varieties of pumpkins (Caedmon's particular request was to have a pumpkin patch), various herbs, patio tomatoes, spinach and romaine planted in our window boxes, and a chocolate pepper plant.  Hopefully we get some sunshine pretty soon so all of it can grow! 

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

First S'mores

Last Friday (family night, remember?). First bonfire. First S'mores. No, Olaf didn't get any. 

P.S. Can you tell I'm trying to catch up this morning. I wish I could actually post these things on the day they happen. But they linger on my camera too long :) 

Carrot Seed

Here's a fun activity to do with the book The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss. I found it in Games with Books by Peggy Kaye (which I picked up a while back for about $3.00 and am just now using - silly me). After reading the book (which is perfect for Ansel - he has it memorized), each of us laid on the ground (we took turns) and the others drew a line next to our body with chalk. Then we guessed how many carrots would fit on the line. We then "measured" how many carrots tall we were. By the way, we got to count by twos: Ansel was 4 carrots, Caedmon was 6 carrots and I was 8 carrots. And as you can see, Ansel decided to take a break and have a snack (the particular carrot he is enjoying is out of the bag, but he did try to eat them off of the driveway too. Ugghhh!).

Hair Cuts

I finally took the boys to see Joel's mom for haircuts. Look at how beautiful those eyes are (we can actually see them now)! Of course I photographed them this morning with bed head. But that's the way it goes.