Friday, March 30, 2012

{this moment} - concert

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single double photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yarn Along

Apparently I'm going through one of those knitting periods where I cast on many things and flip-flop between them making no real headway toward finishing anything. I'm still plugging along on the socks I started last week, my sweater from weeks ago just sits in the basket, and now I've started a scarf (a gift for Christmas, so at least I'll be ahead there!)

I'm still reading A Knitter's Home Companion and enjoying it very much. It's a very soothing read for me at the end of the day. And as a bonus, I've been poring over blanket patterns to make a blanket for Finn for Christmas, and I've found one I really like in this book!

What is currently on your needles and nightstand?

Monday, March 26, 2012

the desserts of spring

Oh how I love this time of year, a few weeks earlier than most years, when the warm apple pies and cobblers of winter give way to fresh, ripe berries and fluffy whipped cream.

This evening, upon noticing that my whipping cream was nearing it's date of expiration, I endeavored to use the remains in a delectable way while stretching the scant half cup of cream between the 6 dessert-eaters in our family.

I whipped the cream with about 1/4 cup of sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla, then folding in about 2/3 cup of homemade plain yogurt (that I strained the whey to make thicker). Dessert with extra probiotics is a win-win as far as I'm concerned!

Voila! Instant dip for fruit...instant spring dessert!

Philip was my first taste tester, and he devoured his fruit and dip. Finn was more suspicious, "this does not look like a good kind of food!"

Upon his first taste, he became a convert.

Clearly, he changed his mind about this "kind of food".

We're fortunate to have a local farm that grows greenhouse strawberries which are already available. But I can't wait for strawberry picking season to arrive. I've heard it will be 2 weeks earlier than usual this year. Our last jar of strawberry jam from last year is in the fridge now. Perfect timing!

Sunday, March 25, 2012


The first part of our weekend was lovely, full of roasted veggie dogs and marshmallows (processed fake meat and puffed sugar, a rare treat!) and chasing games (including the favorite chaser, dad!)

The rest of the weekend we've spent dodging the rain, trying to accomplish our garden tasks. During a break between storms, I did manage to get most of the herb pots filled with soil and seeds, while the littles played in the mud hole. I wrote the herb names in permanent marker on light-colored rocks so I could remember which herb was in each pot.

The dirt/compost mixture for our raised beds was finally delivered in the late afternoon, about 45 minutes before the onset of another thunderstorm. Even though I had pizza dough already shaped and rising in the pans, I had to drop what I was doing so that Paul, Paulie and I could shovel and wheel as much dirt as possible before the thunderstorm began washing it away. Paulie was a trooper and hung in there for almost entire 1.5 hours we shoveled, even in the rain. We did send him inside when hail began pouring from the sky. I just kept thinking of Farmer Boy when father woke Almanzo and Royal to have them pour water over the frozen corn to save the crop before the sun hit it. There's quite an adrenaline rush to shoveling compost and dirt in the hail before the rest washes down the storm drains. Here's to an uneventful rest of our weekend, even though the storms are supposed to continue all day today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

{this moment} - yesteryear

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Inspired by Erin's blogpost, a moment from 3 years ago...

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yarn Along

Thanks for all of your encouraging words on my last post. They are greatly appreciated as I make adjustments in my expectations, and we prepare to travel this new path.

I'm finally joining in again for Yarn Along. I've not done as much knitting over the last few weeks, but I think I'm starting to get into the groove again with these socks. Aren't they colorful and fun?! And they are for me! The yarn is Felici in Afternoon, and the colors are just a perfect pick-me-up.

I'm still reading Free Range Learning, off and on, and I just received A Knitter's Home Companion yesterday. The stories are so sweet and I've already found one pattern I really want to knit. A successful book, so far!

Monday, March 19, 2012

on homeschooling...take 9284735

Sometimes I wonder why I speak of things that are real and concrete in my life. (And even more often, I wonder why I don't.) I rarely share my feelings in this space or even share my thoughts outside of food, crafting, and a bit of parenting. And now I see one of the reasons why...there's nothing like having to eat your words. Well, not so much eat my words in this instance as retract my statements (and my plans).

Not so very long ago, I wrote a blogpost about our decision to send Finn to kindergarten next year at the school we've come to love so dearly, and instead homeschool Elizabeth for 6th grade, which is the beginning of middle school in our area. As luck (chance? divine providence?) would have it, her school has been planning to expand into 6th-8th grades for several years and as it turns out that year will be NEXT YEAR. (It's quite a long story; the short of it is that we knew the expansion was happening but it was originally planned to be a year behind Elizabeth.)

So although I am not one to enjoy having my plans upset, even for an opportunity I'm delighted to see appear, Elizabeth will be remaining at her current school, Finn's new school, for 6th grade. I really have struggled internally with coming to terms with the notion after planning for many months to homeschool next year.

The struggle keeps being verbalized as "but I've already made plans and bought books and a small amount of curriculum pieces" but I know the largest issue is just that I planned to have a year with my daughter. A year to get to know her emerging, growing identity, her tween self, and a year to bond, travel, and explore with her.

I know I may get that time somewhere else down the road, but I was looking forward to next year. I've made mental lists of classic books, interesting topics, off-the-beaten-track art museums. And now I have to release those lists to allow her to follow what I know will be an amazing path, but a path that I won't be able to walk so closely beside her as she travels.

And so I find myself distracted. Finn is still schooling in his precocious 5-year-old way. We're crafting. I'm knitting, baking and growing my various kitchen brews. I'm even still reading, distractedly, the latest book I purchased to hold my hand down the homeschooling lane.

Someone asked me the other day, "aren't you glad you don't have to homeschool now?" I caught my breath, laughed nervously and fumbled for an answer. I'm grateful and appreciative that we have multiple choices that we are able to embrace for Elizabeth's education next year, but no, I'm not glad. I still self-identify as a homeschooling mom, and I wonder how to be that mom when I don't have any homeschoolers here with me.

And so, for the moment, I'm throwing myself into the planning, volunteering, meeting attending and anything the school needs a parent to be present for (and sometimes even if they don't). Which means I'm in this space a little less than I used to be, and my posts are probably a little less meaningful. Still trying to figure out where all of these pieces fit.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Finn is having a breakfast of rainbow fruit kabobs,

while searching for lucky pennies that the leprechaun left behind.

Did the leprechaun play any tricks or leave any treats at your house this morning?

Friday, March 16, 2012

{this moment} - quilt design

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. See Soulemama to play along.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

::right now::

::enjoying the spring colors now decorating our home::

::answering a million questions about Charles Dickens::

::finding wild onion braids all over the house::

::watching his latest obsession::

::changing winter into spring::

::laughing at his need to closely monitor the weather "where the food grows"::

::staring out the window regularly::

::examining the beginning of spring::

Spring has sprung. Maybe not according to the calendar, but if the weather is any indication, spring has arrived. The windows are flung, and the peepers are peeping. I'm taking their word for it.

When Finn saw me inspecting the emerging blackberry leaves, he came bolting out to the vines, "Are those berries here yet?!" "Not yet. It will be summer before there are ripe berries." "Summer?! That's SO long. I'm ready to chomp them down right now." Maybe he knows better than I. Maybe an early spring will bring early berries. Finn hopes so.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

the weather...and other homeschooling

This week, Finn and I started a weather unit that I intend to last for at least a month, maybe longer depending on how interested he remains and how much we cover during that time. We started by printing out weather cards and laminating them. We attach them each day (or more frequently depending on weather changes) with velcro.

I also found this sweet weather set on etsy several weeks ago. And if you hurry, you might be able to get this set at a giveaway over at Natural Suburbia! This set is great for reading stories or books about weather and play acting the reading as you go along.

We also found this set of cloud cards. Right now we are just working with the control chart and comparing our clouds to the ones we see in the sky.

Eventually we might print out the cards with the matching names if Finn is interested in learning the cloud names.

We have a few great weather books that have been assisting us in our weather journey. Down Comes the Rain is an excellent book for explaining the rain cycle. Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today? is a typical Cat in the Hat learning book full of fun rhymes about various weather events. The DK Weather book has mostly served as a discussion point about many of the pictures. (There's nothing like driving out the desire to learn about a subject by reading a book many years ahead of it's appropriateness.)

Finn noticed in one of the weather books it mentioned that pinecones would close up in the rain. We checked some pinecones in our yard this morning after an overnight shower, and they were still open. We must have not gotten much rain though because the pinecones were almost completely dry.

So we decided to pick a couple of our pinecones and place them in a container of water to see if they would close when wetter. Sure enough, when we checked on them an hour later they were completely closed!

Finn put together this small weather station that I found on sale last year. We positioned it so that the arrows were pointing in the right direction and discovered that our light breeze this morning was blowing toward the south. We also checked the temperature several times to see how it rose from around 50 early this morning to 65 at lunchtime.

In addition to learning about weather, Finn found this book of lessons on drawing cars at our local used bookstore. He's mostly tracing at this point, but I think the pencil control is probably good for him. He's drawn a dozen cars just in the last two days.

Finn has also recently realized that he can follow a Lego instruction booklet to complete a set on his own. (This was first achieved when he was rummaging in the Lego table after waking up at 5 am one morning a few weeks ago and being told to go "find something quiet to do!")

He's been saving birthday and other holiday money for Legos, and we finally made a trip to buy some.

He was so proud to build the car and firetruck in his set all by himself! An even greater accomplishment, I think, was that he didn't get frustrated when figuring out that he'd put a piece in the wrong place at the beginning of the fire truck instructions requiring him to take it all apart about halfway through the process. He just did it. My big boy!