Friday, September 30, 2011


As we all know, making something forbidden to a child makes it just that much more appealing. Especially if the forbidden person/place/thing is something they see every day. I submit for your consideration: The Rocks.


We have a creek of sorts that runs through our property, existing mainly because we live in a gully, and the water from land and road runoff is channeled right through the thick of our yard. There is a pipe that aids in controlling the direction of the water, but most of the creek has been carved by good ol' Texas rains.

 In the deepest part of the creek, it's probably over five feet... that is, when there's water in it... the depth mostly due to erosion from forceful water pouring from the pipe that directs it our way. When it's dry, it's a shady, weedy, cavernous bowl full of stinging plants and bugs and who-knows-what. Either way, it's a place that toddlers don't belong. Naturally, it's the place in our yard our toddler most dearly wants to explore.
The large rocks around the steepest edge of the opening were placed there when we first moved here, relocated from the front yard (they were in an odd, haphazard Stonehenge kind of formation near the driveway and the front part of this 'creek').
It was easy to see the danger of this water feature (ha ha) once kids became part of this picture, and so a rule had to be made: Don't Go Past The Tree Without Mama. So on mornings when we venture outside, a certain little girl will walk up to the young oak tree that marks the No-Go Zone, stand there wistfully for a moment, then turn back to me and say (quite seriously, I might add), 'Mama, Henny wants to sit on the rocks!'

Occasionally, that might be quite true...


I must admit, I get it... these rocks are pretty cool... they're full of fossils and bits of ancient creatures and things, and the steepness you feel when sitting on their ledges is dangerous and exciting. When there's water in the bowl, there's usually fish and crayfish and frogs and snakes, and right now there are some amazing cattails. I'm sure when this brave girl and her plucky sidekick are bigger, they will spend hours in it's muddy or dry depths, carving out their own Secret Places... but for now, they have to be satisfied with a chaperoned and brief visit, comprised mostly of sitting and peeking. Still, there's something to be said about these Rocks. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

Autumnal decorations

Autumnal onesies

Autumnal weather

This week, we wholeheartedly embrace autumn (and welcome October towards the end... oh my!), and the wonders that come with it. Happy Fall.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

An Autumn Welcome

We've spent the last week and a half or so talking about the way the seasons change, what signs accompany each change, and which season was imminently approaching. We've been talking about holidays, too. One of the things that really sunk in to my Little Sponge was the shapes of cookie cutters that correspond to the seasons and/or holidays. In our discussions about summer and fall, Mama promised that the first day of autumn would bring leaf- and pumpkin-shaped cookies. You know what? That little girl did not forget that promise. So when that first official day rolled around, you better believe we cracked out the butter, butter, sugar, flour, and butter, and we went to town! (we used our favorite sugar cookie recipe, found here)

I wanted to include a picture of her eating one of these colorful confections, but she was gobbling them up too fast to get a clear picture!

We had a good time cutting out acorns, leaves, and pumpkins, and when we were done, this Sister was well on her way to making fall her favorite season... just like her Mama.  

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Good Bye, Summer... Hello, Fall!

On the last official day of summer, you'd think our daily activities would look like this...

...but not on this official last day of summer. Mother Nature seems to be attempting a reconciliation for the terrible summer she put us through with a cool, overcast, windy autumnal day. Like a promise that there's still goodness to be had in outdoor play and open windows, this most welcome change has us believing in seasons again, and has steered our day into activities more like these:

With the first calendar day of autumn not scheduled to arrive until tomorrow, we shrug our shoulders, thank our lucky stars, and turn our air conditioners off. Good bye summer... hello fall!

Join us in celebrating the changing seasons with...

Simple Sweet Potato Pie

2 medium sweet potatoes, baked & pureed
2 eggs
1/2 C half & half or heavy cream
1/2 C brown sugar
pinch o'salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla (+ or -)

Combine all ingredients in large bowl. Add to slightly-baked pie shell of your choosing, and bake in 350-degree oven for 30 minutes or until center is set. Cool to room temp or chill before serving. Serve with whipped cream.

Our Master Pie Crust Recipe
1 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
pinch of salt
5 TBS very cold butter
1/2 C very cold Crisco
ice water

Monday, September 19, 2011

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

Mornings outside

Fresh garden sprouts

Morning Daddy-Henry time

This weekend, we were reminded of our love and commitment to partner, family, and life together. What a beautiful way to stand strong and welcome yet another week. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Living Like It's Autumn

That brief "cold" front we had last week kicked us in the pants, right out the door. After a long summer of hibernating in dark, stale, air-conditioned spaces, we were craving... needing... the space to stretch out and breathe again. Breathe in the fresh air. Breathe in the smell of dry grass, faint smoke, still-hot sunshine, and- dare I say it?- the ever-so-slight hint of autumnal crispness in the breeze.

We need the space we are so cruelly deprived of while we're busy setting those daytime high temperature records. So when our footsteps are drawn out the back door by low to mid-80's (at least until lunchtime), we grab a blanket, something portable for breakfast, and we soak it all up.

As expected, we went right back up into record-breaking heat, but hopefully this time it will be short-lived and we can really settle in to living like it's autumn. It is, after all, my favorite season.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last Year

Last year on this day, I took this picture of our backyard (I can't believe our grass was still that green). It has been so long since I've enjoyed a view like this. What am amazing force nature is, and what beauty there is in all her moods and faces. However, it sure would be nice if she'd lighten up a bit and remind us all of what it's like to wake up on a rainy morning and look out on a peacefully gray autumnal landscape, for a change.

This year, I woke to my crispy grass, tip-toed out to turn on the sprinkler in the garden, and said a silent prayer for rain. Here's hoping, anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2011

This Weekend

This weekend was full. Full in a satisfying, connecting, centering kind of way. Full in a now-I'm-ready-for-the-week kind of way. Full in a great way. This weekend, we...

...celebrated a certain birthday (33!)
...hunted, gathered, created, and made tokens of love for the Birthday Boy
...played in sun, dirt, sand, and grass
...went out!
...ate beautiful food with friends
...came together as a family to teach self-control, compassion, and obedience

We had a full weekend, and we wouldn't have changed a thing. We're ready, mid-September! What do you have in store for us?