Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Thrifted Wonders

Have you read this?!?!  I think it is fantastic and have recommitted to focusing on fostering an open-minded, global perspective within our family.  I love recommitting to things…efforts get stale sometimes and a new push is always nice! 

I have been thinking more and more about the big homeschool questions lately.  Have I talked to you about this yet?  Well…as it happened we moved after the cutoff date for getting our daughter into a preschool program so have had this years decision made for us.  It has kind of turned out to be a blessing as it has really let me see what joy it is to homeschool. 

I have been doing quite a bit of research and discovering resources on the subject.  I was very excited to find this.  I love love love  Maria Montessori and am convinced we would have been best friends!!!  I have a lot of best friends that I have never actually met!!!  My wallet however is not on such friendly terms with her schools however…so I am always on the lookout for resources that will help me incorporate her principles in our lives.  

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Sooo….I have been keeping my eyes open for launching points lately.  Questions, interests, etc., that will help us launch into learning and researching adventures.  They are everywhere  especially with a child that asks as many questions as mine does.  Sometimes I know the answer but work with her to find out on her own…sometimes I am totally stumped…like “how do bees and wasps make their nests….and how do bees make honey”….really no idea!!!!   But soon I will know…!  Maybe I’ll even share it here!!!  In the spirit of launch points and fostering a global perspective we happened upon a true treasure while thrifting for the Vintage Swap the other day. 

Hannah 012  Hannah 015Hannah 011  Hannah 014Aren’t they magnificent!!!  Sorry Kristen…but these aren’t going to be swapped!  They beg to be asked about, touched, wondered about, and discovered.  They were handmade by another talented artist all the way around the world.  They were used by people living such a different life than our own.  They represent a completely different culture.  In a small way they bring a bit of global perspective into our lives every time they are looked at, handled, and tried on.  What a treasure. 

Now… I have a child that asks questions from the instant that she wakes up until she falls asleep at night.  This is not an exaggeration!!   And while it is completely exhausting at times…and sometimes even makes me dizzy…it is the key to a child’s love of learning.  A child must ask questions, and they must be made to feel that their questions are worth answering.  The rewards of wondering, questioning, and discovering answers are timeless and limitless.  It is childhood…and it is wonderful.  It opens up such a beautiful world of discovery!!


While thrifting we also found these….which miraculously I left there!  As adorable as they were I couldn’t (oh..and I tried) find a legitimate need (or space) for them…!!  But to tell you the truth…I might go back today and see if they still want to come home with me!!!105_2347

This piece of work made me chuckle…some vintage things should stay in the past!!! 105_2350 105_2351

And two darling skirts of delicious fabrics that beg to inspire!!!



It was a very happy thrifting day!!!  And a wonderful launching point!!

Happy questioning!!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Castle Playground

We love libraries and playgrounds!  They both offer infinite sources of creativity, imagination, delight, play, learning…and so much more.  In fact…I am willing to travel a reasonable distance for a quality library or playground.  Well….while with “the uncles” we have discovered a fabulous playground.  My husband played on it growing up and they called it the castle playground…which suited our little fairy just fine.  It has been a huge hit for mom and kidlings alike.  So much scope for the imagination!!! 




Even the rocks were enjoyed. 

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More often than not he knocked her over on the back-swing!  It was very entertaining (just a bit of silly fun)…and she felt very big for being able to push and help him…so very almost four!!!


Not quite in tune…even for my very untrained ears…but beautiful music was made nonetheless!!!


He followed her up and down and around all over the park…completely wearing through a pair of knees.  Oh well…one less thing to wash!!!

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We played and played.  Then sat in the “dungeon” (every castle must have a dungeon after all) and looked for shapes in the playground…wondered about the different types of trees we could see…asked questions about all the colors and textures around us…and truly discovered our castle park!!!!


We even go to see something go by on the train tracks!!! 

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Monday, September 28, 2009

A Smattering of Thoughts

I don’t know if it's allergies, or a serious case of Monday morning…but I can’t seem to organize my thoughts into one concise blog post. So indulge me in a random collection of thoughts!!!


First…have you noticed all the gorgeous fall colors!! So inspiring. I wanted to share these with you. I know…yellow and purple are not the normal fall colors but these wildflowers lined every country road I drove over the weekend begging to be photographed.


Second…my husband is part of a very large family. A very large family with lots of boys. This has created an abundance of uncles for my little ones. Which we love. The three youngest uncles are very close in age and have been called “the little boys” for their whole lives. They still are actually…which is a bit silly as they are all very much not little anymore. Now all the little ones call them “the uncles”, which is darling!!!, and adds a bit of sweetness to their very cool teenage selves!!! I mentioned in my last post about being in a new place for a bit. My in-laws are in Italy for two weeks (I know…!!!) leaving behind “the uncles”. We have come to be taxi, cook, and gamekeeper!!! 105_2364

Yikes…what an eye opener! I have always been a big believer in food storage but now I have a whole new purpose…we need to start saving food for the scary reality of feeding a teenage boy!!!!


Third…I made delicious (and quite pretty) popovers for Sunday dinner and wanted to share the recipe. They are a great “kid” food…as they are hollow on the inside leaving room for wild imaginings about caves and tunnels and jammy, buttery, cinnamon sugary adventures!!!


2 Eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon oil

Mix well in the blender. Let the batter sit for 10’.

Grease muffin tins. (Don’t use papers).

Pour batter into pans filling each spot 1/3 of the way.

Bake at 425 degrees for 20’ the 350 for 15’

Remove from pans immediately. Very best when served warm.


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Last…have you seen the signs??? The signs of the season??? The signs that one of the best parts of fall is just around the corner. We have seen lots of signs…signs of … Apple Season. Countless bins full of red, green, and yellow crispness. Juicy bits of fall freshness packed with every picnic lunch. Perfect roundy bits of yummy baked into so many delights. Oh…we love apple season.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Hannah 279 We have been enjoying these glorious early fall days immensely.  They may be the very best days of the year…besides the early days of spring, and the beautiful green summer days, and the fresh fallen snow days of winter….oh we love the changes of the earth!!!  What wonder!! 

These days have been spent at a different home than usual.  We have been with “the uncles”!!!  (More adventures to come!!)  A new place offers new delights, new wonders, new challenges of course, but still the glorious new fall days!!!!


Our days have been filled trying to jump to the clouds…Hannah 265 Hannah 266 

Looking for fairies in the “jungle”…Hannah 269 Hannah 273

And catching up with old friends before they leave for the winter…!Hannah 275

Among many many other things!!!

What has been filling your newly fall days???

Friday, September 25, 2009

A New Camera Bag

Many of the things that I make arise from an effort to meet a need or solve a problem in our home and daily lives.  It is so fulfilling to find a way to meet that need using natural materials, repurposed objects, and especially my own hands.  Seeing my creations used in a way that benefits my dear family is…wonderful.  It strengthens family and home life as the center of our minds, efforts, and hearts.  Which is exactly where it should be.  Right in the center. 

Recently I met a need for myself which was fantastic…and I am loving using my little creation.  You see…my camera did not come with a case, which made it an even better deal, but made things a bit tricky finding it a home.  I had been using a larger camera bag which worked well except that it couldn’t be easily tossed into my diaper bag….which is a huge  necessity.  So I found some perfect fabric from my stash and made a new one!! Hannah 216

This fabric is left over from making a diaper bag for a dear friend and her darling little twin girls.  I love using fabric that has a story… now the camera bag always makes me think of her!  Which is wonderful!!!

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I traced the camera onto graph paper and made a pattern that gave room for foam padding and included a pocket for and extra battery/charger.  But nothing else…we were going for a barebones bag! 

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I was bushwacking through making such a small bag with foam padding…so I am not going to show you that mess!  But it pulled together nicely…phew!!!

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That button is my absolute favorite part of this bag.  It’s not functional…I used a big strip of velcro as a fastener…but I couldn’t resist adding this fantastic button!!!

Hannah 256  Now my precious little camera happily resides in a delightful bag which is easily thrown into my diaper bag, purse, stroller, etc., so it is always nearby to catch glimpses of our handmade childhood to share with you!!  

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Colors of the Past

Have you ever heard of a Vintage Swap?   Maybe it’s old  news to you and maybe you’ve participated before!  I never have.  I actually had never heard of one until I happened upon Heather’s a few weeks ago.  I am enormously excited about it!!!  I have met so many interesting and like-minded ladies already!  Wonderful!!  Basically (though I’ve never done it before)  I’ll be paired up with another vintage junkie and we’ll “swap” a few bits of vintage heaven!!!  Well….that calls for a bit of treasure hunting!!!  I plan on digging through my stash…but I’ve had to go on a few hunts…I’ve had to!!!  

You never know when you’ll find something amazing, so we stop in some of our favorite thrifting spots quite regularly, and try new ones too.  You just never know! My children are becoming quite good little thrifters.  In her words… “Ooooh  are we going in one of those stores that’s not like a store and has lots and lots and lots of interesting things?!?!” 

Last weekend we checked out a big Flea Market/Swap Meet at the 4-H fairgrounds.  It turned out to be mostly vintage cars, tools, and “garagey” things.  Not a linen or stitch of fabric anywhere.  I did pick up something fantastic for my brother for Christmas…and we found plenty of things to wonder at…ask questions about…and be inspired by…even if just by the colors.

Hannah 246Hannah 240 Hannah 243  Hannah 252

 Hannah 237 Hannah 244 Hannah 247 Hannah 248 Hannah 249

I didn’t find anything perfect for the swap…guess I’ll have to keep looking!!!!