Thursday, July 27, 2017

She Reads

When Audrey gets back to school and has her turn telling her class what she did this summer, I'm afraid all she's going to say is, "I read books." ...because that's seemingly all she does these days (though we've had other stuff going on, I swear!).

Every time I turn around, every time I pass through a room, there's Audrey with her nose in another book. We've been participating in our local library's summer reading challenge this summer, wherein each participant completes 5-hour reading logs to earn an invitation to a water park party, and Audrey has completed four of them thus far. She usually has hers finished in less than 2 days and is stuck waiting for Bubba and Mama to catch up (which doesn't bother her, she just keeps reading while she waits). It's totally her thing right now.

Honestly, I was the exact same way when I was her age, and it makes me so happy to see her get it.

So if anyone asks what Audrey likes to do with her summer down time- she plays with her Bubba, she swims, she snacks, she plays Minecraft... but mostly, she reads!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Little Campers :: Cooking Lesson

Today we all gathered 'round the ol' kitchen island for another fun Little Campers activity- cooking! We decided not to do anything too complex due to the age (and coordination) ranges of our group, but instead went with a timeless standby: granola. We based our activity off this recipe from LuSa Organics' blog, which I've had success with before, and this recipe from Once Upon a Chef, which Keri has tried and tested. Each recipe was loosely followed with a few tweaks here and there to fit our tastes and the supplies we had on hand.

Everyone got a chewy granola bar to taste, their own jar of crunchy granola to add dried fruit to depending on their preferences, and for the conclusion of the session they were all awarded adorable hamburger enamel pins Keri found at the Target dollar spot.

And everyone went nom, nom, nom, all the way home...

Last time: Movie Making Project

Next up: Photography!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Right Now

Right now, I'm...

...looking around at the remnants of play (tumbling pillow forts, piles of Legos, tucked-in babies, books and magazines with various forms of page markers, lots and lots of paper crafts...) with a mixture of twitchy desire to clean up and mushy sentimentality because the summer is starting to draw to a close. It won't be long before my kiddos are back at school during the day and the house will sit for hours undisturbed...
...feeling relieved that today is the last day of swim lessons! My Littles are little fishes... but having to prep, load, drive, and wait through swim lessons every morning has really felt like a handicap in my ability to get things done! We haven't done a proper grocery store run in almost two weeks, y'all.
...eyeballing two five gallon buckets of Asian pears from my mom's that have all hit that perfect state of ripeness all at once. They need to be put up ASAP, but I'm proving to be quite a clumsy pear canner- yesterday I put up seven quarts without adding the acid necessary to keep them safe while sitting at room temperature. So today I'll have to open them all up, add the acid, and re-process them before I can start on the next batch. Plus, I'm the slowest pear peeler ever, so yeah. (I'm using this basic recipe right now)
...roasting all the tomatoes left out in the garden with heads of garlic and packing them in olive oil, because they're coming in pretty beat up due to the heat and bugs working against everything out there, and roasting hides a lot of ugly!
...loving the look of the freshly cut and baled hay field out all the front windows! That grass was waist-high and crazy thick, and our hay guy got 17 bales this time around!

Right now we're caught between the ramping down of summer activities and the ramping up of back-to-school prep, and somewhere in this in-between I'm trying to find that lazy summer vibe we've blown right past thus far.

Is it Thursday already?

Wishing all a little of that lazy summer vibe... happy Thursday!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Little Campers :: Movie Making Project

Our Little Campers meeting this week was all about silly, creative fun- movie making! We talked about scripts, costumes, props, the role of the actor and the role of the director, and then the kids paired up and brainstormed their plots and characters. Finally they each made their own little movie using tablet devices, and that ended up being good practice for sharing and patience, too!

Once each pair had completed their movie, we gathered and watched them together, then talked about different film genres and how some people prefer one type of movie over another, but that doesn't mean one type of movie is right or better (because our group gets a little wrapped up in comparing work sometimes). Art is in the eye of the beholder!

Henry and Spencer's Movie:

Audrey and Piper's Movie:

Their badges for this activity were handmade by Keri:

The boys got a little lost looking for a plot, and some of the girls' dialogue was hard to catch, but everyone was proud of their end product, and we had a lot of fun watching them pull it all together!

Last time: Wild Plants/Foraging

Coming up: Cooking!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Activity, In Photos

 A little peek into what's been filling our daylight hours this summer: a little water, a little sun, some growing things, and lots and lots of Legos. We're enjoying it while it lasts- the first day of school is only 4 weeks away now!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


We're at it again... house project in the works (wiring for a new vent over the oven) and kid projects all around to keep them out from under foot. Happy (busy busy busy, messy messy messy) weekending!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Little Campers :: Wild Plants/Foraging Activity

Today we hit the field for our Little Campers foraging activity, humidity and heat index be damned! The first thing we talked about were plants that poison (we found pokeweed and several unidentified mushrooms), plants that had edible parts but should be left alone by kids (specifically bull nettle) followed by what to do if you're not sure what it is (answer: don't eat it), and lastly we moved on to the fun stuff: the edibles! We walked around the field and found lambs quarters, purslane, oxalis, greenbriar tips and spiderwart, then brought it all back into the air conditioning for a big salad to go with our lunch!

The kiddos got a brass acorn for their badge this round, found at the same local craft shop that provided the wood cutouts for our very first badges.

A lot of the information from our discussion today came from Plants That Poison: An Illustrated Guide for the American Southwest by Ervin M. Schmutz and Lucretia Breazeale Hamilton, Western Edible Wild Plants by H.D. Harrington, and my frequently referenced fav resource, Foraging Texas.

Please note: plants vary greatly from region to region, and there may be poisonous look-alikes in your area that are different from what I've referenced here. Always use caution when foraging for wild edibles, and make sure you know it's edible via your own research before eating what you find!

Up next: Movie Making!

Last time: First Aid Lesson

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Four Years

 Today is our four-year "housiversary." It's been four years since we closed on this place and started the ball rolling to make it our own (take a peek at the last look we took before we left our old house and a little glimpse of the move-in chaos those first few days at our new one).

However today marks the first anniversary in this house that felt peaceful and celebratory. We had such a struggle those first few years working against so much (property boundary issues, well issues, septic issues, neighbor issues, legal issues, renovation issues, mold issues, and the stress of watching the (now ours) front field go up for sale)... what a joy to actually celebrate this fourth year!

A couple flat iron steaks on the grill, some strawberry popcicles in sparkling wine (or ginger ale), and the opportunity to watch a distant thunder storm roll in from the back porch... what a relief it is to be able to focus on just living here now.

Four years down, the rest of our lives to go. Happy housiversary to us!