Thursday, June 23, 2011

today I am...

...loving how well the kids are playing with each other. Every day is not like this.

...enjoying our first successful batch of homemade ice-cream (peppermint!) in our Goodwill-purchased ice-cream maker.

...thinking that overcast days are much better for outside play, and hoping storms hold off for swim lessons tonight.

...wondering what is slowly decomposing out near our pool area, and why I can't find it to dispose of it. Ugh. It stinks. (so all my thoughts are not rosy-sweet, huh?)

...printing out MommyCoddle's blueberry buckle recipe and trying to figure out when we can get to the store for some blueberries.

...waiting for naptime in just a bit, and hoping to get some sewing on my new blouse done.

...enjoying a (relatively) quiet summer day, with no real agenda, and remembering what a blessing days like this are.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

this extra-ordinary life

There are days when I look at my little suburban life and think it is so very, well, ordinary.  House in a neighborhood with sidewalks, in a pleasant suburb.  Two kids, two cats, one lovable goofy hubby. I look at this ordinary life, and I sometimes find myself wistful for something, something more extraordinary.  I think of family living in exotic locales thanks to the US military, and all they are experiencing on a daily basis. I think of missionary friends who have chosen to live in crazy places and of how they are engaging a culture so different than our own.  I read blogs of wonderful women who are homeschooling, raising chickens, living on large pieces of property in old houses they are slowly re-doing.   And blogs of women who get to do creative things like sewing, quilting, writing books, and so many other things...for their career.  Suddenly I am the one wanting to go abroad, to raise my children on a farm, to write a book, to sew quilts for a living.

And then.  Then I look at my kids, jumping with wild abandon into the backyard pool, splashing with friends. I step back and enjoy our weekly summer trip to the library and the joy of a few new books.  I feel gratitude for my little sewing/craft room, and that I get to work on sewing my new blouse, just for fun. I curl up on the couch during nap-time with a book, because I can, just for me. Sometimes the kids get chicken nuggets for dinner. Sometimes I make them something adventurous to eat, and its anyones guess whether it will succeed (tonight we will try lentils and zucchini). Daily we try to find the little lesson, like seeing how the vegetable garden is growing, Bible verses to teach us how to be a better family together, crafts and trips to parks.

I realize, this ordinary life, this being a suburban mom in a suburban house, really is extra-ordinary. Its the life God has given me, and it is so full of love. So full of His blessings. Full of friends, and laughter, and creativity, and joy.  Full of all the "extras" that make it extraordinary.

Monday, June 20, 2011

garden journal 6.20.11

First garden failure: peas.  Not a total failure, they did grow. 54 of them, to be exact. That is 54 peas, not 54 pea pods. See: 

Thats it. Total harvest. Plants withered up and pulled out yesterday. Hmm.  I guess we'll toss them into a salad or something. At least I have a lot of lettuce!

The lettuce in fact, has been a big success, yummy and plentiful.  And there are about 6 Roma tomatoes growing larger each day, a few cherry tomatoes just bigger than the peas, and blossoms on the zucchini.  There will be produce this summer. But I won't be shelling and freezing peas for next winter!

Here's the latest garden update:

Stuff is growing! Even if there's not much produce (yet), this black-thumbed girl finds so much joy just in seeing it grow. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

summer fun:: watkins park

Our second day of Summer vacation took us to Watkins Park. Two hours later we had conquered the carousel, gone for pony rides, waddled after a goose, and been chased by another goose, wandered around the farm, admired the peacocks, and played on the fabulous playground. There's a miniature train, too, but it wasn't running today...a great reason to go back!

Girl on a "Mer-horse"

Waddling after a goose!
Just before it attacked me!
 You'll notice there is a picture of the boy on a real live horse, but none of him on a carousel horse. Aparantly the live ones are much less scary! He did consent to ride the carousel later, with mom, sitting on one of the bench seats, while his sister rode again, on a deer.
Ladybug girl. Love those bruised up knees!

Monday, June 13, 2011

ideas for summer fun

With one day of school to go, I've been thinking a lot about how to make this summer special and fun for the kids. We've got a couple trips to the Lake planned, and swim lessons, and VBS (Vacation Bible School), but there is a lot of free time in between that I don't want to wonder "what did we do all summer?"

Here's some of my ideas, so far, gathered from near and far, blogs and magazines, books, and my very own little head.
  1. Glue batiks, see That artist woman's tutorial
  2. Tie Die t-shirts
  3. Nature journals...written and illustrated for the girlie, and perhaps dictated by the 3-year old?
  4. Fish prints
  5. Freezer-paper stencils
  6. Beach treasure bags, as found in Amanda Soule's book, Handmade Home  (p.125)
  7. Cooking with the kids, things like homemade pizzas, salsa from our garden, bread, etc.
  8. Embroidery hoop sewing for the girlie
  9. Home-made popsicles
  10. Sun prints
And then there are the "places to go":
  1. Farmers markets
  2. A water park that we've never been to (Chesapeake Beach)
  3. A pirate adventure (like this one)
  4. The beach. Of course!
  5. A hike to a waterfall
  6. Weekly trips to the Library 
  7. Exploring museums at the Smithsonian that we've not been to before
  8. Finding new and fabulous playgrounds and parks
Not a bad start. This week will be swim lessons (week 2 of 4), a library trip, a swimming play-date (already scheduled),  and perhaps a new playground (when we visit Grandma and Grandpa on Saturday). Wonder if I can squeeze a craft in there somewhere?

It's going to be a good summer. I can't wait.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2011

    growing up

    My little ones are still little. Three, and "not-quite-six", so I know that there is plenty of growing yet to do. Plenty of loving. Plenty of training and teaching. Today I see each one growing, stretching their wings in new ways.

    My little buddy is having a "three-year-old day". Which is one of those days when I remember that being a mama to a boy of 3 is much harder than the so-called "terrible twos".  (It was the same when the girlie was three, and I wondered what I had gotten myself into...).  A day when he wants so badly to be the boss of his little life, to direct not only himself but also his mama at every twist and turn.  A day when tears come frequently and in torrents (his, not mine, so far).  A day when I ask him something simple, and he says "No!", and then throws himself into hysterics when he changes his mind, and I won't let him. A day when crying heading off to his nap trickles down to quiet tears as we remind each other that snuggles really do make it better, and that there is still plenty of love.  Growing a three year old boy is exhausting, but so worth it. Boy, do I love him.

    And in the same breath, loving my girl, enough to let her take some baby-steps of independence.  I can't believe it but tomorrow she is heading out with her kindergarten for an over-night (!) trip to the school system's nature center.  God bless those teachers and chaperones--three classes of kindergartners, on an overnight trip.  I made an intentional decision to not go on this one. I have been there beside her for so much of the way, I decided that perhaps this would give her some self-confidence in doing it all by herself (ok, with 50-some of her closest kindergarten friends). Now with less than 24 hours till departure, I am wishing I was going, and yet knowing (hoping!) that I made the right choice for her.  I love seeing her maturing, taking these little flights.  As she grows and the flights get longer and further, I pray that I can love her and teach her well, and send her to her own future with confidence.  In the meantime, I may cry a tear as the bus leaves tomorrow.

    So we are growing. My big Boy. My lovely Girl. And mama too.  Growing and learning from each other, pushing and pushing back, stretching wings and making first flights.  For I've never been mama to a three year old boy and five year old girl before, either. Together, we are all growing.

    Sunday, June 5, 2011

    create:: picnic blanket, and some miscellaneous other thoughts

    Finally. Finally had time to put together the idea that was in my head. Finally got to see it turn out, yes, pretty much as I had imagined! I wanted to make a lightweight picnic blanket that would be water-resistant mud-resistant and yet comfy and pretty, for trips to the park this summer.  I had an idea to use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth as the backing, and then made the top with a twin-sized sheet (cotton poly to make it easy care).  Thanks to Dollar General and the local Wal-Mart, total project cost was $9.50.  Not bad!  I sewed them together, inside out, then top-stitched around the edge. No need to even quilt the middle. The applique is based on the style of  Kajsa Wikman, who wrote  Scandinavian Stitches, and her blog, Syko. I love the raw edge with black outlining (yes, hard to see in the photo). Without further to-do, here it is!

    As for the various miscellany mentioned in the title. The boy got a short haircut for the summer! Here's the before and after, what a difference! I'm getting used to it, and am pretty sure I love it. (It was my idea more than anyone else's.)


    We've had a fun and busy weekend, with the girlie going on her very first sleep-over, a backyard campout with her Daisy scout troop...a great success other than producing one very tired little girl! She took an hour nap this morning and is quiet up in her room right now...resting or napping.

    The rest of us spent a lovely evening with neighbors celebrating their little guy's 5th birthday. Burgers, cake, a fire-pit with marshmallows to roast. Relaxing and wonderful.

    Lastly, we had a salad from our very own garden lettuce! Yum. I can't wait to harvest the next batch. 
    Hope you are having a fabulous weekend, too!