Thursday, August 17, 2017

Little Campers :: Wrap-Up Party

Kids these days... you just can't conclude anything without a party marking The End, right? Or is it just me? OK, maybe it is just me... after all, it was the grown-ups who planned this whole thing...


On Tuesday we had our Little Campers conclusion/wrap-up party (sorry about the late share, back-to-school and all that, ya know). They had their last session last week, and it was kinda heartwarming to see how sad they seemed to be that it was all over... maybe we did do a good job pulling off this homemade summer camp, after all!

So to give 'em all just one more Little Campers day, we came together (sporting heavy, loaded sashes) for a little party and closing ceremony (of sorts):

We even awarded them little plaques with their pictures and a 'Little Campers' less-is-more logo, and got one last group photo...

...and thus concluded our homemade summer camp!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

1st and 3rd

 First Grade. Third Grade. They're off, y'all... and I'm back at the house... by myself... in the quiet...

...but I'm feeling OK this morning, because they were so happy to go back. What can I say? My kiddos love school, they love learning, they love their teachers and they love being around their friends. I am so proud of them.

It's  going to be a great year.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017


We've gotten the backpacks packed, the first-day "homework" ready, the outfits laid out, and a very special bath (with a big lavender bath bomb) has been taken (fingers and toes were thoroughly prunified, and sister's hair was lovingly done and redone). We've got a good high-protein dinner at the ready, several chapters of our story-time book (Chronicles of Narnia at the moment) on the evening agenda, and early bedtimes planned for all.

First day of school, here we come!

They are so ready.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Two pullet eggs this weekend, y'all! The best belated birthday present a chicken keeper could ask for.

Hoping everyone else is finding something magical in their weekend, too! Happy weekending!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Little Campers :: Photography Lesson

Today marks the last proper "session" of our homemade summer camp, Little Campers (we took last week off to register our babies- all of them- for school). All four of our kiddos have some version or generation of these kid-friendly cameras, and they're all really in to them at the moment, so what better way to conclude all our projects than with a lesson in photography?

We talked about portraits vs. candid shots, making sure someone is OK with their picture being taken before taking their picture, composition, lighting, and thinking about what you want to shoot before snapping the picture. We also took a little walk around Keri's neighborhood to practice looking for interesting things to shoot. We even got to practice sharing, taking turns, and patience (all of us)... again.

While walking, we encountered a neighbor who generously invited us to come visit- and photograph- her pet tortoise "Bolt Tortuga." He won the day.

Some highlights of the kiddos' photo shoots:

At the end of our lesson, each kiddo received a camera pin of their choosing from a variety Keri picked up at one of her crafty haunts, then they posed for a portrait wearing his or her full sash (to be used later in something they'll be receiving at our little closing ceremony).

Last time: Cooking Lesson

Next time: Closing Ceremony!

Sunday, August 6, 2017


The panoramic effect made my kiddos look oddly-shaped...

"My: Shipe Henwii"

We're weekending hard over here... house projects, errands, a trip to the farmer's market, a trip to the water park, late breakfasts, late bedtimes... and what messes we've made! But mostly, what fun we've had!

Wishing all a full weekend in the best sort of way... Happy weekending!

Friday, August 4, 2017

Mid-Summer Garden Clean-Up

My garden this year has been a rockstar. It had a rocky start and has had to tolerate several gardener-related missteps, but it's pulled through and really surprised us all.

But predictably, the heat and bugs have brought it down, and even though several things out there are still going strong (yay zinnias and melons!), it was in desperate need of a good mid-summer clean-up.


Our main to-do goals were to dead-head/gather seed heads from the zinnias, clean up the dried up and finished cukes and mini-pumpkin, tie up the monster tomatoes sprawled everywhere, weed the paths, and re-mulch where needed. I'm proud to say my kiddos were big helpers (especially Henry, who stuck with me until the whole job was done and it was lunch time).

Both kiddos gathered a brown lunch bag full of zinnea seed heads and made runs to the chicken coop with veggies we found past their prime, and Henry helped pick "bad bugs" off the plants, gather cucumbers, and he even helped distribute mulch.


These 'after' photos have me laughing because we spent over two hours out there sweating and working and it doesn't actually look like that much got done! But truly, it is much better out there now, and it feels like the things that are holding on through the heat and infestations might stand a better chance now that we cleaned up a little!

Plus- it won't be long before those re-mulched, tidied up and newly vacated beds get another round of our attention for fall seed planting!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Visiting :: Rough Creek Lodge '17

This summer we didn't originally have any plans for a vacation (after our gifted cruise, it didn't feel like a priority). But when our friends- and usual summer travel buddies- moved away at the beginning of July, we decided we did in fact need to plan something, even if it was just a four-day weekend something, before the summer was completely gone.

So we decided to meet at Rough Creek Lodge.

We got there in the late afternoon on Friday, and were immediately greeted by Angel and Cowboy, the grounds' free-roaming (retired) ponies. Henry ended up forming a special bond with the smaller one, Cowboy, which even impressed the staff, but more on that later... Our first day was mainly getting settled, trying out the pool, and having our first fancy dinner, then watching the sun set while making s'mores and hanging out on the back patio.

On the second day, right after breakfast, we figured out there was a falconry demonstration scheduled for that morning. It wasn't hard to get everyone in our group on board for that one, so we all played yard games until the birds came out and then headed down to the lake to see a Harris hawk and a Peregrine falcon do their thing. After that we did a little fishing, then spent the rest of the day at the pool, followed by our second fancy dinner (the kids ate at the Kid's Club party every night).

On our third day, the adults who woke up early took the kids who woke up early down to the dock to fish while the sleepers "slept in." We were fishing with tiny micro-hooks and little pieces of hot dog, mainly trying to catch bluegill... but Austen caught a bass! We were as surprised as he was. Once we were joined by the rest of our crew, the kiddos got to take turns having a boat ride around the lake, then we went back to the pool for the afternoon. Remember how I said Henry bonded with little Cowboy? That little pony followed him right up to our room door and would not leave. He would jiggle the doorknob with his mouth, and actually tried to follow him inside at one point. We had to leave for dinner out the back door, and that little guy stayed right in front of the front door with his face about two inches away, waiting for Henry to come back out.

After dinner we did our third round of s'mores and lawn games.

On our last day, we rented trail wagons and toured the 4-mile-long nature trail around part of the grounds, ending at Gunn Mountain for the panoramic photos I was coveting. While we were waiting for the trail wagons to be readied, the outdoor sport staff commented on Henry's friendship with Cowboy (who had found him again), adding that no one is usually able to get near him or touch him. Henry would practically hang on him, and that little horse loved him for it.

We drove around the grounds, did a little fossil hunting, and after everyone got their amazing-view-photos, we packed up and checked out.

We parted ways vowing that we'd maintain our summer trips together, even though the distance between our families has exponentially increased... because after all, when you can find common ground like this, what's a little driving between friends?