Saturday, February 28, 2009

bathroom re-model & seed sowing

We woke up to pouring rain. Tim had been excited about organizing his new shed with his work bench and some tools, but staying dry while going from house to shed (repeatedly) was going to be impossible. So, he decided to re-model our bathroom instead. What an industrious husband I have! He loves projects. The kids were so excited about helping with carpentry, plumbing, and painting. They got on their safety glasses and went to work. We probably won't get the whole thing done this weekend, but they got a good start! Tim also picked up little peat pots at the hardware store, and he let the kids start some seeds this afternoon. So far, we have started two varieties of heirloom roma tomatoes, yellow pear tomatoes (the small ones), hungarian hot wax peppers, and heirloom black krim tomatoes. We have lots and lots and lots of others to start, but it seems like our tomatoes are never tall enough to plant when it is planting time, so we decided to start them in February this year. I'm so excited that Spring is coming!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

craftiness & good bread

We had a nice day at home. Everyone slept in until about 9:00 because it was cloudy, and that was a wonderful treat. We ate breakfast, and the kids played while I did some chores. Our lesson time on Fridays is always pleasant because the kids love anything about science. According to my curriculum, we were supposed to do more in-depth plant studies, but I decided to do a lesson about owls since everyone enjoyed Tanya's owl co-op class. We read the _Owl Babies_ book and did the owl fingerplays during our Circle time. I had pictures and facts about barn owls and barred owls, so we studied both kinds of owls & tried to imitate their sounds. Barn owls shriek and barred owls hoot. The shrieking got a little unbearable. My kids do a nice barn owl imitation. We also got out the measuring tape and looked at how (very) tall owls are, and how very wide their wingspans can be. For fun, I measured the "wingspans" on all of my kids. They loved it! Everyone drew pictures of barn owls and barred owls in their lesson books.
I re-read the _Quiltmaker's Gift_ to everyone, and we decided to make some paper quilts of our own. Everyone helped to cut out squares and rectangles from construction paper. When there were lots of little piles of squares and rectangles, Clover handed out glue sticks and the kids got to work. Nova lost interest after a few minutes, but everyone else worked with dedication for about an hour!

Nova helped with bread-baking while everyone else finished with paper quilt making. We already had beef stew in the crockpot, and it was wonderful to get the bread in the oven before Tim got home from work. Friday dinner always turns out good.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

pottery and birthday party

Clover, Willow, and Indigo started a pottery class at our local community center this morning. It was so strange to have all three of them in a class while Nova and I had time to ourselves. He was delighted to have playground time with me.
I was so impressed with what the kids created in just one hour! They made face jugs. From left to right: Wendy, Peter Pan, and Captain Hook... Nova was really, really happy to see the kids when they got done with class. The boys needed to run around and around the playground as soon as they got out of class, but Clover was flattered by his attention. We went to a double birthday party at the park this afternoon. Our friend Blake is seven now and Lela is four years old. We sang "happy birthday" and ate cake and played. We also had a really nice walk down to the goose pond.

We made wet felted juggling balls for Blake, and Clover made a peacock wand for Lela. Willow decided to give one of his homemade beanbags to Lela, too, because he wanted her to have more than one thing. She is definitely the cutest little four-year-old around!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Indigo and Willow are learning the letter Q this week. I thought that it would be hard to find a story with consistent use of the "q" sound, but then I remembered _The Quiltmaker's Gift_. I absolutely cannot read that book enough. We could read it every single day and not get tired of it. It is so beautiful - the words, the pictures, the moral of the story. I just love it. Wednesday has become bread baking day, and I always encourage the boys to shape whatever letter we are learning about. They both tried, got dis-interested, and eventually made "Quail nests" with "Quail eggs" inside. Very cute.

Clover has been studying the Cherokee Green Corn Festival. We read a story about it, and talked about how the whole tribe worked together to make it happen. Clover wanted to light the smudge stick and pass it around while we talked, so I let her do that. She remembered lighting the smudge last time we talked about Native American people, and the boys were delighted to have something (even slightly) on fire first thing in the morning. We sang a healing chant for all of the friends that we know with chicken pox, the flu, and stomach viruses. It was very sweet. After learning time and lunch, we had several errands to run. By the time we dropped Clover off at art class, the boys were ready to jump through the roof. They needed to get out and run!! It was almost sixty degrees (which I still consider pretty cold), but we decided to visit the playground anyway. I wrapped Nova up, and I tried to keep Indigo & Willow wrapped up but they wanted nothing to do with that. I really like the little playground that we went to. It was very simple with just a few swings, some monkey bars, and slides. There was also a big field to run around in right beside the playground.

A beautiful view of the sky from way up on the monkey bars...

Monday, February 23, 2009

co-op Monday

Nova and I were up at 7:30 making carrot cranberry muffins. I always forget that we are not allowed to have peanut butter at the facility where we have co-op. On Monday mornings, I want to pack peanut butter and honey sandwiches because they are quick and easy, but I inevitably end up making muffins or some other such thing because I don't like to bring mayonnaise-y or meat-y stuff for our snacks. I should just get a little cooler, and make my life easier. It can be fun to make early morning muffins though.

Despite my unplanned baking project, we made it to co-op right on time. The kids were really happy to see everyone, and they immediately began to run around wrestling and being loud. They calmed down to hear about Tanya's class topic - owls. My kids love owls so much. They loved the story that Tanya read, _Owl Moon_, about a child going out into the Winter night to look for owls with his father. We also did some owl fingerplays and pretended to be owls flying around looking for supper (delicious mice!).

The craft for today was really fun. The kids glued O-shaped cereal on for eyes, a yellow triangle for the nose, instant oatmeal for belly feathers, and pieces of pinecone for the wing feathers. When we got home, everyone wanted to make a big branch for the owls to sit on. I sketched a branch with some twigs onto newsprint, and the kids colored it with brown crayons. We cut it out and taped it to the wall. Indigo, Willow, and Nova were feeling so proud of that branch! I taped their owls onto it one by one as they told me the names of the owls and little stories about each one. Nova named his Stellubu, Indigo's owl is Cheerio, Willow's is Violet, and Clover's is Lichen. I love it when crafts turn into stories and games.
And I love Monday co-op!!!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Today, we woke up to what looked like more (blue sky) weather for playing outdoors, but an icy wind was blowing and it didn't seem to stop for much more than a couple of seconds all day long. The plum blossoms were flying past like snow! So, we had mostly an indoors day with some short bundled-up outside play/work sprinkled in there. Clover finally got a new "wand" for her loom, and was working on a project that had been abandoned for a couple of months. When Willow showed interest in the loom, Clover made one for him out of cardboard and embroidery thread. He caught on quickly and made a beautiful green coaster for me.

Sewing was the other main project of the day. Nova started on an orange bean bag. He loves to sew even though I need to do the majority of the work. He really enjoys pulling the needle and thread, and watching the little stitches appear. Willow worked on a green pillow for the doll that I am supposed to be making for him. (Indigo & Nova want one, too.) And Clover's dear doll got a brand new dress. It has an embroidered pocket and a button in the back. Clover always amazes me with her ability to envision a project and then just make it right there on the spot. She definitely takes that skill after her Daddy.
While everyone else was inside weaving and sewing and cleaning house, Indigo was outside (bundled up in layers) helping Tim with the bus. We decided to put a more sensible door on it since we are Spring through Fall campers, and it can be pretty chilly in early Spring and late Fall. They worked for a few hours on it, and the door turned out beautifully. Willow joined in towards the end of the project...

Sundays at home are wonderful. I always wish that Tim could still be here on Monday, but I love the slow pace of projects, visitors (like PawPaw!), baking, and planning for the week ahead. Sundays get me through the rest of the week happily.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

landscaping and cooking

We had a beautiful Saturday. The kids woke up early, and were so happy to see blue sky. They ran around outside for most of the day. Helping Tim work on the bus is always a popular weekend project, but the kids are ready to garden. They wanted a gardening project really, really bad. So, I gave them permission to dig the ugly (mostly dead) boxwoods out of our front yard. They were so dedicated to the project. Most of the boxwoods are lying in a heap in the front yard. Hurray! We are planning to plant lots of flowers out there as soon as the chance of frost passes.
When digging up boxwoods no longer held appeal, Clover came inside and helped me start a batch of kombucha. She loves to use the ladle. The boys were on their way to do a little more seed-shopping and bus supply shopping with Tim, so Clover and I had some time together. We finished up starting the kombucha, and went grocery shopping for a few dinner ingredients.
Aunt Katie and Uncle Neil were in town, and we were all so excited to have them over for dinner. As usual, I had lots of little kitchen helpers. Nova and Willow helped with making the pound cake.

I put the cakes in the oven with the baked beans, and started on the potato salad. Nova had lost interest in being a kitchen helper by that point, but Willow hung around for the thrill of chopping pickles and celery with a sharp knife. We made some really good potato salad. Willow kept tasting it and saying that he couldn't wait to dip his barbecue chicken in potato salad!
We had such a nice meal. The kids did not like my baked beans, but they ate pretty well otherwise. The big treat came afterwards. Pound cake was cooling on the counter while Clover made some maple cinnamon whipped cream and the boys chopped strawberries. We have done really well at eating seasonally for about the past year, but when I saw those strawberries at the grocery store I just could not resist. And it was worth every single bite.