Friday, July 31, 2015

10 Things at the End of July

This morning I have one Little sleeping in, one Little up early choosing and packing beloved toys for a weekend away at Mimmy and Pappy's house, and a hazy sunrise piercing through the trees and across my keyboard.

My coffee's half gone, there are muffins in the oven, and my thoughts are all over the place. So... ten things that have my attention this morning:

1. This book- I read about it in Mother Earth News Magazine and ordered it promptly. I actually had to sign for it when it was delivered, and now a friend of mine thinks I'm on a government watch list or something (ha ha), but so far it's been a mind-blowing read. I'm thinking about donating it to our local library when I'm done, because I think everyone should read it.

2. My fall garden- in the next couple weeks I'll be digging out seeds and reawakening the beds I put to sleep for our no-grow summer season. I'm hoping the heat we're having right now will ramp back down (at least a little!) by the time I get out there so my seed babies won't be roasted in their beds before they germinate!

3. Halloween costumes- OK, so it's not even technically August yet... but I can't help it! Look at some of these!

4. Baking- I'm wondering if, while the oven is still hot, I should make some zucchini cake. It just wouldn't feel like summer without making at least one, right? I owe it to summer. Yes.

5. Wall art! Look at this thing... how cool?! I want to find a small wall-hanging sculpture of some kind to complete a spot near our game table area that needs just a little something. It's been fun looking... and the search continues.

6. This article on 'vintage advertisements.' 

7. Back-to-School stuff. Yes, it's finally time. In fact we'll probably be planning a trip out to get the supplies on Audrey's school list for the first grade some time this coming week. Also thinking about making a new stack of lunchbox notes like I did last year, because now I've created an expectation for them.

8. Date night- with the kids at my parent's house this weekend, the hubs and I are hittin' the town with friends Saturday night! Now I have to decide what to wear, what to do with my hair, and if I'm going to repaint my toes in this free time I'll have this afternoon!

9. Pie. Everyone is making pie right now, because everyone has a surplus of berries right now. Everyone but me. It's kinda sad. I think I may get out tomorrow and see if anyone at the farmers' market has any they'd like to share. I think I want some pie.

10. How I'm going to clean out the blow-up water slide. It's been up 2-3 days at a time almost every weekend since we got it, and when we've deflated it we haven't been able to completely drain it, so it's getting a little gross. I bailed out the extra water this last time, and it's now inflated to enable maximum evaporation... but there's still sand and stuff in it, so maybe next I'll go out and sweep? Where did the care and maintenance manual go...........?

OK, I guess it's time I try and focus on something... like feeding the Littles and getting them out the door to Mimmy's house! Everything else will have it's turn later.

Especially pie.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Library Retreat

It's been hot, y'all. I think they said yesterday was the hottest of the year so far- we reached 102F. When it is that hot it's hard to feel much like doing anything except strategically positioning self under air conditioner vent and lingering... and it sure is easy to stay put like that when you have a basket full of fresh books from the library. So that was our main goal while it was still cool (like before it got out of the 90's): return old library books, play with friends, and pick out new books to take back home for hibernation.

We do this probably once a week right now, and our trips to the library have become a beloved part of our summer routine. Sometimes my kids even look at books while we're there (haha). Anything that keeps us out of that harsh high summer heat! How we love our library retreat!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Right Now :: Looking Back & Looking Forward

In the beginning of July we marked a second year in this 'new' house of ours that's rapidly becoming just plain Home. We didn't really mark the day with anything special like we kinda did last year, but our second housiversary didn't pass unnoticed.

We bought this house knowing there would be a lot of work to put in before it was something that felt like Ours, and in many ways we're coming 'round the bend on much of what we knew we needed to accomplish. However, just like you'd expect home ownership to go, things have come up along the way that have added to the process. Some of what's come up has just been par for the course, and some of it has hovered like a gray cloud over many of our days... but there's always sunshine behind the clouds, and everything we've done so far has been for the better.

This morning I woke up thinking about our early days settling in, unpacking, cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, and getting to know our new space. I thought about the things that haven't changed since then, and about all the things that have.

July is almost over, August is coming... school will start back up, summer will finally break (it has to, right?), Brother will keep getting taller, Sister will loose more teeth, we'll cross more off our to-do list and more will make it's way on there. The ins and outs, the ebb and flow of Home. That's what's got my mind this morning. A bittersweet rhythm of comings and goings, happiness and stresses, resolutions and new beginnings.

There are days when I don't necessarily wake up looking forward; some days I can't help but pause and linger in a moment looking back... it seems to help keep me anchored in the important stuff that's flying by in the present. Right now- where all the good stuff happens- that's where I want to be as this last week of July gets off the ground.

May we all remember the past to appreciate the present and prepare for the future. Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Her Very Own Cookbooks

This summer I gave Audrey two of her very own cookbooks. She has always loved helping in the kitchen- cooking, mixing, baking, even cleaning- and that together with the fact that I was kinda searching for something special just she and I could share during her first summer off school made this the perfect thing. 

I got her How to Cook the Perfect Day by Nikki McClure (who's art print I've had in my kitchen since pretty much we moved here), and Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson. She's loving the Pretend Soup cookbook especially, and last night she used the recipe for 'Zucchini Moons' to make our side dish for dinner... completely on her own.

Well, I should say she was completely independent of grown-up help (though I was within a safety reach for the whole process, of course). She did have an eager and willing sous chef who she graciously included with little jobs throughout her process, but all the ingredient-gathering, washing and chopping, measuring and even sauteing she did by her onesie.

When I gave her the books we talked about cooking method: pre-reading the entire recipe before getting started (so important!), making sure you have all the ingredients, washing your hands and getting your hair out of the way... all that stuff that will soon be second nature to her, I'm sure.

What I think she's especially enjoying is having these to herself because she's big enough now. We spend a lot of our family time making sure things are fair (or as much so as possible) between her and Little Brother. This time around, however, we gifted these cookbooks only to her. Little Brother is a little bit jealous, but he's being surprisingly understanding (and he's already talking about cooking from his books when he turns six). Honestly, though, every once-in-a-while there should be a little something special about being the older sib, right?

I have to say my Mama heart done swelled right up when she was given this power; she immediately began including Henry and sharing jobs and tasks throughout the entire cooking process. Not once did she hold her new privileges over his head or brag about what she got to do while cooking. My good, good girl.

And I must say... when she finished her dish and we all sat down to eat, it was the first thing to go on both their plates (mine too, actually) and there were many 'yum's floating around. Funny how a little bit of work investment improves appreciation, huh?

Good thing these cookbooks we chose are a series- I'm thinking this might end up being a 'thing' for us, and there are no complaints about that!

Nom nom nom.........

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Garden in the Morning

These dog days of summer have all but kept me from my most favorite space- but when there's a heat index over 100 degrees and full sun beating down, the garden is not exactly where I want to be. The only time it's tolerable right now is pre-dawn or just before bed time... so that's when you'll find me out there.

I've comfortably slipped back in to my grab-a-coffee-and-the-hose pre-dawn routine, and that's usually how I get my days started now. Standing in my pjs, watering wand in one hand and mug in the other, listening to the birds wake up... Plus there's no better morning smell than wet earth and fresh coffee together. That's the kind of pick-me-up that really gets me going.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Right Now

Right now, I'm realizing this is the only photo I took this weekend! SO this weekend, we...

...borrowed a car, turned in mine (aka Lillard) for some fresh paint on the hood, received a half-bushel of peaches, and went swimming at Mimmy and Pappy's.
...woke up to an emergency toilet paper shortage upstairs, made breakfast among prep work for peach processing, and got the entire box of perfectly ripe beauties preserved for the off-season.
...had some friends over, grilled pizzas amidst wet Littles running wild and enjoying the blow-up water slide, and barely got the kids in bed by 9pm.
...worked in the yard for the first half of Sunday, cleaned up and lounged around for the second half, and then Mama got to make a last-minute trip to help work beehives at the end of the day!

Right now, I'm loving the slow, hot, in-and-out rhythm of high summer... though right about now I would love some of that crazy May rain we had too much of!

Stay cool... and happy Monady!

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Big Baby Party

Yesterday morning after the Littles woke up, they pow-wowed and figured out five of their stuffed animals and babies were having a birthday on the same day. They came down for breakfast talking about the party they were going to have, and went straight back to their rooms after eating where they remained all morning long, I kid you not. They gave me almost three hours of playing quietly- without fighting- contentedly making birthday cards and party invitations.

At lunch we all decided that there really should be a celebration (though I was more in the mood to celebrate how sweet they were being), and so we made a birthday cake for all the honorees that was enthusiastically decorated by the party throwers...

...and after dinner we sang the birthday song and they each blew out a candle for their own babies (by dinner there were six babies needing a birthday party).

Let me see if I can remember... Snoopy turned 1 1/2, Delmo is now 11, and Henry's Parrot Pirate is 3 1/2. Audrey's Darlene Baby is now 6, Ellie Baby is 4, and Abby Baby turned 2. Whew!

Last night was fun. We ate cake, I teared up, and I tried to hold on to the innocence that brought the six-baby birthday party reprieve to our evening routine. Time flies, y'all.

Also yes, the cake was totally rainbowlicious.

Remember the last time we did a baby birthday party? Seriously I'm tellin' ya, time flies! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...on quite a cinnamon kick! In the last few days we've had cinnamon swirl bread which became cinnamon french toast, then there were cinnamon rolls, and then a very cinnamony pumpkin pie... and I'm not burned out on it yet.
...watching two cardinals chase each other in and out of our burn pile, and realizing we're way past due for a fire... that pile is getting to be an eyesore.
...wondering what crock pot, salad, and one-pot meals I can find for our weekly menu so I don't have to turn on the oven- we're going to hit the century mark at least three out of seven days this week, or so they say.
...thinking I'd better dig out the mister for the chickies this morning. Poor girls. Also, I guess I'd better plan on Leeloo being in the laundry room in the afternoons now... so that probably means we need to give her another bath. Summer's heeeeeeere!
...realizing I need to make time to start watering again.
...listening to the kids begin to stir; despite the non-stop water play this weekend they have not slept in even once (booooo).
...looking forward to my next beekeepers' meeting tonight!

Right now I'm gearing up for a hot, hot week with kiddos inside and doubled efforts toward keeping plants and animals watered and alive. I really hate this part of summer, but thankfully it's a small piece of the big picture. So here we go, it's gonna be a scorcher!

Stay cool, and happy Monday!

Sunday, July 12, 2015


The lakes and rivers around us are still (mostly) flooded and closed, there's no beach within a reasonable driving distance, and at the rate we're going with business and such we're not going on vacation this year, so we found this... and this is all they've been doing this weekend. Period.

It's been so quiet in the house... aaaaaaahhh.

Happy weekending!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

To Be Outside

Our summer days have been so full lately- full of visits, appointments, lessons, and errands, oh my! It was beginning to feel like summer was going to slip on by without us having a chance to even say hello! This week though, for some magical reason, our days opened right on up. We've actually had the chance to wake up in the morning without an agenda and decide over breakfast what we're going to spend the day doing. It's been fun for me to watch what the Littles think up when their wheels start turning- and it's been a pleasure to end up outside more than half the time once the day's activities are set.

There is a much welcome breeze accompanied by some sun-shading cloud cover this morning, and methinks we'll be right back out there again after our eggs and bacon. There's always so much to do around the yard and garden! But what's work for me is fun and adventure to them, and who can blame them? After all, this is supposed to be the season when everyone wants to be outside, yes?