Wednesday, September 26, 2012

home with heART

"Gold Day" at the museum

We're changing gears here, switching over from "summer" to "fall."  Because we take our time with most everything, it's a gradual process.  In the transition, I'm thinking about how we spent the summer.  And, you know, it was really, really lovely.  I think I always have a vision of what I want from summer.  I don't know that a lot of the pieces of that vision generally come to pass.  And -- that's really okay.  Each summer has a different flavor with different highlights.  But this year, I guess the stars were just aligned.  It was slow-paced (which I craved), but we did some things that were, well, just what our souls needed.  Book-ended by special trips, with camping in the middle, and all that glorious summer-themed reading I mentioned -- we also got art-y!

Our local museum threw open it's doors to families -- with a fascinating variety of entertainment, art & play activities, and featured art to make exploring the galleries just the right size for us.  It became our cherished weekly ritual.  And though I hadn't intended it, it gave our summer routine its' shape.

And, it made me more mindful to pull out (& keep out) art supplies again.  When Sela was small, there was a permanent art & writing area set up.  But as she grew, she outgrew this specific arrangement and things got put away -- because she would just get things out when she wanted them & we'd put them back into baskets, drawers, counters and cupboards when she was done.  And, for the materials that stayed out, it got to be that the legs of her tables and desks grew taller and taller (like the little table in Alice in Wonderland!).  Suddenly I realized that everything was up too high for Little Linus.

So, I'm trying to notice where I can shrink the legs on things again. And create these same fruitful areas for exploration for him -- so they're ready and waiting whenever it strikes him to draw or write or paint or cut or glue or squish or sticker or ...

Q-tips ("tiptoes," he calls them -- I love that he doesn't pause when he can't remember a word exactly, he just lets the closest thing he's heard come out and moves on) are very fun for little ones to paint with.  What else do I have lying around that we can use?  Marbles, toy car wheels, vegetables, packing bubbles, foam trays, the ends of cardboard tubes...

One project led to another -- all summer long.  We were inspired by Art & Max (if you haven't read, you really must), and we made string art one morning, using embroidery floss and a plate of glue.  Splatter painting was the follow-up request...

Sela and I participated in a local art center's community project.  We did our painting together, which was so much fun for me to share with her.  Our panel went up with over one hundred others to complete one large installation.

The kids picked up free canvases from our art store and the returned art was displayed in the store window.  We went by to check out our resident artist's "show" -- what a thrill!  (Linus decided to "only hang [his] at home.")

Do you have a local art scene?  I loved connecting with ours this summer!

This was our art haul from any given Friday,
from car to kitchen.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Today I wanted to sew.  I wanted to get my hands on the stacks (& stacks) of homeschooling books, guides & resources lining the buffet.  I wanted to pack up our nature journaling supplies and go to the local nature preserve.  I wanted to blog about something fun we've been doing.

It wasn't the day for any of those creative ventures.  Sigh.

But -- we did need to eat.  So, at the end of the day, the garden acted as the canvas I had craved.  And tomorrow I will wake to another day of possibilities...

Happy Weekending to you all!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nature Journaling

Even as I let summer be summer, ideas for fall percolated lazily behind the scenes.  How to strike a balance between time at home and time out doing activities and classes?  How to arrange our homeschooling so that there is balance between what each child needs?  What I need?  How to make sure there is plenty of time to just "be"?  What projects can we create to support learning?  What are my goals?  What are we not great at getting to & how can I make adjustments to this?
I live in a community of creative and engaged parents. I am so fortunate.  Over the years I've had the supreme pleasure of coordinating and joining rich learning groups.  This summer, I talked casually with a friend about writing.  What will writing look like this year?  What is each child ready for?  How would it work to put the children together to write?  We loved the idea of combining our shared interests.  She offered to organize nature journaling. 
It's been a huge success.  Sela is loving it.  She's worked on it every day since she started it.  She asked me it if would be all right for her to fill three journals this year, instead of one.  Yes, indeed -- that would be all right.  She's full of ideas and questions and plans.

We bought a spiral-bound notebook at an art store and customized! We outfitted it with a ribbon for tying up, covered it with a bird-patterned paper, and on the inside, we added a vellum envelope for specimen collection.  (I knew those salvaged envelopes would be great for the right project!)  She LOVES it.  And I love to see her loving it.
We bought an inexpensive notepad for Linus & covered it. We added a vellum envelope and a rubberband closure -- just right for his little hands. He's enjoying the process, too. Here he had the idea to trace a branch he found!   

Journals, pencils, colored pencils, pastels, crayons, tape & sharpener in handy bags...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In the Kitchen

Time to harvest the kohlrabi!
The kids went off to do their own thing together, quietly, happily & I chose to have my alone time in the kitchen.  (There are SO many ways to have alone time- don't let anyone tell you it must involve oodles of time, or leaving the house, or paying money for something.  It can.  But it doesn't have to.)
Quietly, happily I washed the kohlrabi.  Sam told me you peel it.

Really?  It didn't really look like it had a peel.  But I believed her, so I did it.  Oh - I began to get a feel for kohlrabi.  The outside is sort of waxy, the inside reminded me a little of the inside of broccoli stem.  Or a potato.  It smelled like raw broccoli.  I do like doing new things, learning new things.
The recipe I found sent me out to my garden again -- for parsley and chives.
This made me very happy.

I'd like to say I loved the recipe.  I didn't.  But it was okay!  And I loved all that went into the dish.
I tidied up and went down the hall to invite the kids to lunch.
Or rather, invite them to help make lunch with me.
We made a nice lunch together, with both kids doing what they could & learning a few new things, too.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Lessons from My Garden: Defeat


"I'm popping out to the garden to grab some things for dinner!"   I heard my own words as I, well, popped out the kitchen door three steps to pick some things for dinner.  It had been a good day, and, this felt like the icing on the cake.  I felt a simulateous giddiness & peace as I filled my bowl.  I really can't describe all that I get from having a little garden.  So,  I give up.  Maybe it's just a feeling -- a lot of feelings -- that just can't be put into the right words, by me anyway!

I will say this -- do yourself a favor and plant something. Anything. If you have the right weather for it, I'd suggest two tomato plants. I love Sungold and Cherry. I say two, not because you should have "more," but so that you can be really lazy about it and you still have two chances at success! Just stick them in a spot where they'll get lots of sun and water them.  Oh, and put a sturdy cage up at the same time.  That's it.  You can get as fancy as you want to with a garden, but, really, you can do very little and still reap the rewards.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012


One little boy running up & down the hall with a flashlight.
One big girl laying on her belly on the couch reading.
Sun shining, doors open, birds pecking around for treats turned over in my work outside.
Just like our board, we might be a little worn, a little crooked -- but we are Happy.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Home Again

If vacation must end, then I will, at least, take some vacation home with me...

milo's dutch babie
2 Tbsp butter
1 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
dash of vanilla

melt butter in pie dish in 375 degree oven.  blend all other ingredients for 1 1/2 minutes at medium-high speed.  pour into pie dish & bake for 25 minutes.  sprinkle with powdered sugar & cinnamon.