Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31, 2013::a maker

I am beginning to get the picture.
I have on my hands a child who can be classified as a "Maker."

Of course, I have always known that he was driven to make his ideas reality. He researches and thinks and talks about how to make his ideas reality. He sometimes wants to build a copy of something he has seem, but most times, he is more excited about dreaming up his own way to make something happen.

He buys only the Lego pieces he needs for something in his head. Today, he asked for a four pack of play dough when we went to the grocery. He then spent the afternoon building something he had been planning. No snakes and cookie cutters...just a 3D model of something that had been floating around in his head. His spacial perception is quite developed and impressive, though I know I am biased.

Of course, I have read about Maker Faires, but I am just starting to find some very interesting reading on parenting Maker Kids. It fits. I am excited to know that I have resources to help us support his ideas. Makes the future in our little homeschool quite exciting, especially for his Maker Mom. Hope I can keep myself out of his way.

According to Ian Cole of, a Maker is a " 'Garage Inventor' - people who explore the possibilities of what they can dream up and build using their minds and tools, and the minds and tools of their friends..."

That about sums it up...and describes him well.
Make on, my dear.


Thursday, May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013::a charming gardener

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. --Marcel Proust

Enjoyed an evening of flowers with a charming friend tonight. It was good for my soul. 


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

May 28, 2013::summer by the pool

I broke down, today, and bought a family pass to the local water park. Looks like we will be here during the week for at least a month, maybe more. 
We all are eager to get out and move and we are trying to keep spending to a minimum with all the upcoming moving expenses. 

It's an investment up front, but my kids love it. I am not crazy about spending all day in the sun, but with a pass I can justify an hour or two at a time four or five times a week. When we pay per visit, I feel like we have to spend five or six hours to get our money's worth. Todd loves the water and will take them for longer stretches when we are here on weekends.

Bonus: everybody is happy, I get a little time alone on weekends, and maybe I will finish Essays by EB White, which has been on the nightstands for months.


Monday, May 27, 2013

May 27, 2013::self sufficiency

One of my secret goals for the summer is to help the big kids be more self-sufficient. Embree does her own laundry and Reeves can...when he chooses, or is forced, to change clothes. They both can fix themselves simple meals and snacks, and I feel comfortable leaving them for several hours alone.

My goals are a little loftier.

I want them to be able to plan and prepare a meal of whole foods, including some cooking and baking. Doesn't have to be complicated, just nutritious, actually prepared instead of eaten raw from the fridge, and nothing from a box. I want them to learn knife skills and maybe bread making, though that lesson will be for me too.

I am thinking that they need to learn to do some basic sewing tasks, too. Nothing wrong with being able to sew on a button or mend a tear. I have a mending pile that needs some attention. Maybe we'll practice ironing a shirt as well.

I think, too, we will work on keeping a financial log. Even Brice could benefit from keeping track of his pennies now that he wants to spend them all on Legos. We will all benefit from a little more fiscal accountability.

My secret mission was off to a good start this morning. As I was in the kitchen working on preparing a pork loin for the crockpot, Reeves learned to slice a bit into cutlets and fry them in a sauté pan. He learned some knife skills, a bit about charcuterie, seasoning, and testing meat using a thermometer. He made breakfast, including the pork and scrambled eggs, for he and Todd. I had oatmeal, cause that's how I roll in the morning. Maybe his next lesson should be in steel cut oats.

I have homemade pizza crust on my agenda this week. If I can revive my dough tossing skills from my college years, maybe the kids will join me!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

May 26, 2013::summer project

Summer project...two wheels, no trainers. A little every day.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

May 25, 2013:: empty nest

I have a few years before my own chicks fledge, but tonight I feel like my nest is a little emptier. I sure am thankful for the time I have had with the kids of Stage Left. I will miss them, but will carry their accomplishments as cherished memories.

My nest may be feel empty, but my heart is full.


Friday, May 24, 2013

May 24, 2013::summer home

Every summer, the kids and I spend about two months at our family cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. It's a place of ease and little responsibility. Todd usually joins us on the weekends and fir a couple of weeks vacation and we spend hours playing and resting.

With the move and Todd's new job, a now ten hour drive and no accrued vacation, the Farm won't be the same this summer. The kids and I may get a short stay there, but it's iffy for Todd.

I have lamented our loss of farm time as just another frustration to add to this uncertain time. Then, last night I made myself stop and think about what all of this has to teach me, to offer us right now.

This morning, I realized that this is the first time since we moved into our house in Georgetown that we have spent any time here without outside obligation. What we love about the Farm, freedom from work obligations and the ability to just enjoy our time together, is what we have right here, right now. 

So, I threw the windows open and declared this our summer home for this year. The only thing I have on my list to do before the house sells is clean out the attic and finalize the kids report cards. When Todd comes home on weekends, he is four hours from work. This can be our retreat. We might even find the time to truly enjoy and appreciate this grand old house where we have spent the last six busy years.

Here's to summer. Here's to finding it wherever you are. 


Thursday, May 23, 2013

May 23, 2013::life boat

A full lifeboat. Brice builds all his Titanics with enough lifeboats for all souls aboard.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013::parks and recreation

For the past few weeks, I have been obsessively watching all of the previous seasons of Parks and Recreations. I can't believe I never watched it during it's run. It's good funny and the characters are so endearing. I love Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson, though he is a libertarian. :)

It is made better at this time in my life because it is set in the small town of Pawnee, Indiana. It could be Kokomo. We've been impressed with the parks here. They've been on our daily agenda, maybe because I can imagine Leslie Knope fighting to make them so hospitable.

Today we visited the Kirkendall Nature Center in Jackson Morrow Park. It's about the most kid friendly nature center we've visited. Perhaps because we were the only visitors at the time, but Ms Linda was the most patient and welcoming host. She let the boys help her bathe the turtles and introduced them to the rabbits and snakes and toads. She spent at least half an hour suggesting outings for us, as well as sharing upcoming P&R happenings for the summer. She even spent a few focused moments discussing the Titanic with Brice.

I was impressed with the facility and Ms Linda. Can't wait to take Embree back. I will happily arrange for us to spend some volunteer time there in the future.

Kokomo is growing on me and the Raccoons that raid our trash every night remind me of Pawnee. How can that be bad?


Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013::mom's kitchen

Our lives are upside down right now in so many ways. It seems we are in limbo with so much. Sometimes I just long for a reminder that we will be settled again.

Today, in my wanderings, the wall stencil pictured here caught my eye. Nothing fancy, but it brought back memories of my mom's kitchen, one of her kitchens. We moved quite a bit and she was always undertaking a new decorating project. She has always been a creative diy-er.

The kitchen I remembered today was the one in our little house in Jackson, KY. She papered the eat-in kitchen in tiny little strawberries and strawberry blossoms. We had a picnic table with long benches and she made a table cloth and bench pads stenciled with strawberries similar to these. We lived there just over two years, but my mom's kitchen capers were glorious there.

She always cooked family meals from scratch. There wasn't much to do in Jackson, so she walked to the little grocery a couple of blocks away every day or two and bought ingredients for some new recipe. She even bought the ingredients and stood back to watch me try my hand at Coq au Vin for my French class. What a disaster, but she was there to cheer me on.

She hosted many of our friends and my dad's coworkers. She once produced a buffet for 150 people from the college where my dad worked. It rivaled any I ever seen in the pages of Southern Living.

She developed hypoglycemia and took her healthcare into her own hands in this kitchen. I remember a number of trips to Lexington to stock up on raw almonds, and buckwheat groats, and steel cut oats. Those stock up trips out of town were always an event and highly anticipated by my sisters and me.

So, today, when I needed just a little comfort, I happened to notice these strawberries and think of Mom. No matter how long we were ever in a place, Mom worked to make it seem like home. No matter what was happening in our lives, she worked to make home feel like our safe haven. Somehow, today, it helped to remember that. I can work to make wherever we are today home. Thanks, Mom.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

May 18, 2013::farm stand

Today, we drove 18 miles to the town of Tipton, IN to look at a house and check out the small town. It is a lovely little community, much more similar to the small towns where we have always lived. We are adjusting to the size of Kokomo and finding niches here and there that are starting to feel familiar. Today, though, we wanted to get a feel for the commute if we decided that a smaller town was for us. No verdict yet, though we are pretty sure it's further than ideal.

On the way home, we went a little further south to visit Wilson's Farm Stand. We are huge fans of roadside produce venders and like to chooses a few to frequent wherever we are. We have been ro the Kokoko Farmer's Market, and look forward to shopping there, but we like to give them all a try! Farm stands are great places to get a feel for real local food culture.

There were piles and piles of freshly foraged morel mushrooms at $47 a pound. I have never tried a morel, and didn't buy any this time because I don't yet have a good place to do any real cooking. Next year though, we've decided to splurge once and taste for ourselves.

The deli case was full of homemade salads one might find at the Sunday church potluck, including eggs picked with beets (which I make sometimes) and eggs picked in mustard, which are new to us.

There were freezers full of hormone free meats, and pies, fresh bread and granola, Amish cheese and a huge barrel full pickles that made Reeves swoon. My favorite find was a huge bag of frozen sour cherries that Todd and I have been eating like ice cream.

We are agri-tourists for sure. This will be a regular outing, I think. So, when you, dear reader, come up 31 to Kokomo, make plans to stop at Wilson's. It is big fun!


Friday, May 17, 2013

May 17, 2013 :: building supplies

Brice has been building and rebuilding a new Lego Titanic everyday for three weeks or more. He has a small box of Legos he carries on our travels. As he rebuilds, the designs are growing in complexity. Lately, he has been formulating a list of specifically sized bricks and plates he needs to complete a grand design.

Lucky for us, there is a Lego store in a mall on the north side of Indianapolis. Brice has seen Lego sets in Walmart, and has shopped his brother's jumbled collection, but I knew the pick-your-own bins at the store would be a treat.

We chose a small cup, and he picked the few pieces he had in mind. The cup was the same price with six pieces or full, so we picked more. I wish he could have purchased the six he went for, instead of being encouraged to take more than he needed, but that's a whole new conversation.

He was very judicious. If he thought he needed only two of a certain piece, that's all he took. He tried a few shapes he hasn't used before, and got a few extra 1x1 bricks that are easily lost. Over all, though, he was quite reserved and contemplative.

Needless to say, he has been hard at work since we got back to Kokomo. Glad he's happy.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

May 16, 2013 :: race

Today's up and down the sledding hill at Jackson Morrow Park, Kokomo.

I have never lived in a place where they have to manufacture sledding hills. :)


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

May 14, 2013 :: long day

It is a long way from my parent's house in Johnson City, TN to Kokomo, IN. 8.5 hours apart, and they will be our closest family.

The kids and I made the trip today. Georgetown is smack dab in middle. That will be just enough excuse to stop off and see friends once the move is complete.

If you follow this blog regularly, I bet you are tired of hearing about the upcoming move and wonder when it will take place. That's a good question! We are living part time in Kokomo, part in Georgetown, and, since Mom's surgery, part in Johnson City. We are vagabonds, living out of suitcases. Maybe we need to just buy an Airstream and pull home behind us!

After a long day in the car, I am enjoying my Mother's Day gift to myself, and dreaming of an urban farm. Guess it would be hard to keep chickens in an Airstream!


Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013 :: reason #432

Reason #432 why I love homeschooling...reading lessons in Poppy's patio garden.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

May 12, 2013::mother's day

A sweet Mother's Day spent in Tennessee with my little loves, my parents, and my sister and her kids. The kids went shopping on their own yesterday for a few special tokens and were so proud to share them. It was a nice day, though we missed Daddy.

I was lucky enough to spend a couple of hours alone cruising the local book store, filling my reading list, and that of the kids, with ideas for summer reading. I came home with several homesteading magazines to fill my head with wishful thoughts of a garden, chickens, bees, and herbal remedies. I feel a real surge of homesteading welling up for our future in Kokomo. I am beginning to look forward to the new start.

Some of my quiet afternoon was spent playing with a new iPad app called ColorSnap Studio. My favorite feature is the photo color palette. Take a photo of a favorite color and it will match it to a Sherwin Williams paint color. Choose a favorite photo and pull a palette of colors.

My favorite lilac tree in Georgetown is now a possible set of colors for our new home in Kokomo. A lovely remembrance.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11, 2013::shameless plug

Please indulge me. I would like to live in the same state with my husband soon.
Serious buyers are welcome during this realtor open house.

Now back to regular posts.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10, 2013::haircut

Today, I decided to become a dog groomer. It is a good thing I have other skills. Poor Vegas.

Embree and I worked four hours on her haircut, the first two on getting the mats out. After three passes with the clippers, she is now cooler and mat free, but a little mangy looking.

We bathed both Vegas and Patty and clipped some nails. Then, Vegas and I collapsed for a nap.

Annual dog grooming - check!

To do: hire a dog groomer or buy sheep shears for next year.


May 9, 2013::rest

Took a break from the blog yesterday.
Today's post should appear as scheduled.

Namaste until then...

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013::learning

This quote has been in my mind a lot lately.

What do I have to learn? What am I missing?


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

May 7, 2013::these hands

These hands have touched so much history. They were born during the industrial revolution and have worked through war times, over and over.

They have mothered babies, grand babies, great grand babies, and great great grand babies.

They have
held the reins of a horse and cart,

rolled bandages,

straightened the seam in silk stockings,

canned green beans,

knitted baby doll clothes,

made quilts,

decorated birthday cakes,

dried tears,

swatted bottoms,

pruned a seven sisters rose,

held the hand of a dying spouse,

and so much more.

They have never been still for long. They have held so much of our family together through the last 107 years.

I got to hold them today.

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013 :: a date

Saturday morning, Todd and I visited the Kokomo Farmer's Market, then had breakfast alone at the Main Street Cafe. It was a nice moment together. We hope to make Saturday morning dates a tradition. Maybe this will be our spot.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

May 5, 2013 :: family band

If we had a family band, this would be the album cover.