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Showing posts from May, 2013

Collage Friday : Our Start To Summer

Center Picture: I was able to try out my super-duper beach chair and found it quite to my liking!  Thankfully friends of ours that live close by were free for a spontaneous trip to the beach where our girls laughed and splashed and cartwheeled.  It was a much needed time for my friend and I to connect uninterrupted and catch up on what is going on in our lives.
Top Left, Clockwise
Board Books - I have been posting what the girls and I are up to on Instagram.  I love Instagram.  It gives Greg a glimpse into what his girls are up to day by day making him feel more connected while at work.  When he gets home, he does not have to ask, “what did you do today?”, he can ask specific questions about what we did do during the day.  I also learn something every day from the people I follow on Instagram so I try to pay it forward by sharing what we like, what we learn, and how we learn.  
These board books are being turned into art journals.  I have an art journaling “class” beginning next week wit…

10 Things...

Ten things that make me happy 
When my own personal cleaning fairy pays me a visit.  Sometimes when I am very very lucky I go to bed with a dirty house and wake up to a sparkling clean one.  This is usually when Greg has something on his mind that he needs to work out and his way of working it out is to clean.  I wish this was may way is to avoid cleaning and to write.  I will never ever forget the day when Greg thought it was a wise decision to drink coffee on the train home from Manhattan and was up until 2:00am cleaning our apartment in Fairfield.  I know I have it good and I love him so much for this little bit of magic he possesses.  He must have a wand hidden somewhere.
Coffee in the morning, my laptop, and the view out my window.  I never enjoyed the view out my window.  I have written several posts about the possibility of moving to improve the view out my window.  Turns out I just needed to change the window!  Rather than enjoying my alone time in the front of my hou…

Art Journaling: Words Matter

This week Grace discovered an old journal I bought for her three years ago at a library book sale.  She poured through her old entries which brought her back in time to when she first began homeschooling.  Back then she was more of a list maker and she detailed her day from morning though night.  I encouraged her to pick up that journal again and jump right in now, three years later.  The person she is now is so different than that ten year old girl.  How she has grown.  How her life has changed.    Imagine the rediscovery of yourself at 10, 13, 15, 18, etc.....

I shared this story with the girls and I encouraged, but did not require, our art journaling group to write.  Write about what they are feeling, thinking, wondering, questioning, wanting, reading, playing, visiting, learning.  Set a timer if it helps keep the pen moving across the paper and move those thoughts from the inside of your soul to the outside.

I think that is where some children get caught up in the act of writing.  I…

LCC: Prospect House

Years ago when my girls were little I volunteered for a year at a local homeless shelter.  There were many times I was moved to tears by the stories of the residents.  Most of the men were Veterans.  Most of the woman simply made poor choices in life.  While I was there I held babies, comforted elderly, completed in-takes and told countless people that the shelter was full and offered alternative shelters to call.  That year taught me more than I could ever learn from a book or movie.  Like how to truly appreciate the opportunities I had growing up from a mother who devoted her life to her children and a father who worked multiple jobs and countless hours to provide us with what we had.  I grew to appreciate what it took for my parents to offer us a stable home, nutritious food, and clothing that fit and kept us warm.  
Working at the shelter make me realize that my children have the same opportunities I had as a child and possibly more.  We live in Fairfield County, a region of the co…

Love and Gratitude

Do you ever consciously stop and let the realization that life is good wash over you?  
Don’t get me wrong, there are moments of life that suck.Like when I was driving on I95 Friday night trying to get to Greg who was stuck in Stamford due to a trail derailment and crash.As I drove and emergency vehicles streamed by me and families of commuters clogged the already very crowded expressway, I realized how fortunate I was that I was not driving to the hospital to meet either my mother, or my husband, or my two brother in laws, just to name of few of the people I know and love who rely on the trains to bring them safely to and from Manhattan.

Thank you to each and every friend who called, emailed, texted and Instagramed their concern for Greg's well-being.  Knowing that we were in your thoughts touched us both deeply.
I loved my man extra hard this weekend.  I am utterly fantastically in love with him, and after sixteen years our love keeps growing.  For years Greg has been the gardener…

Wonder and Growth

Spring is the time of year when kids in public schools have the opportunity to demonstrate their accomplishments for the year.  There are concerts, award ceremonies, banquets, diplomas issued and report cards shared.  
My family is loaded with high achieving kids.  I have a niece at Yale, another on a full scholarship to UCONN, another with a sports scholarship to a prestigious boarding school, nephews who excel in lacrosse and football and soccer.  I have attended their events and cheer and clap like the proud Aunt that I am.
This time of year is a bit different for my girls.  They have had their piano recital, but that is all.  No report cards, no banquets or award ceremonies.  No NCAA titles, no first, second or third place trophies.  They are doing what they do from week to week.....learning and living and loving and achieving.  
They rarely get asked what they are studying or enjoying or accomplishing.  If there is no award, title or money attached to their accomplishments they seem…

Art Journaling: A shift in perspective

Art journaling has been on hiatus for 2 months due to our friends travel to Mexico.  After taking this much time off, I was curious if we would pick up where we left off, or if I should go back to having a model to follow.
I decided to see where the group wanted to go and offered the suggestion that we journal about our pets, and of course, the girls focused in on rabbits and guinea pigs!  
Each girl took their own unique approach.  Lilah and her friend pulled out manga books and created a manga unicorn and a manga rabbit.  Grace and her friend took out the colored pencils and combined their drawings with collage.  Two other friends ripped pages out of a dictionary and drew rabbits in Sharpie marker and colored them in with brightly pigmented Sharpies and sealed the page with Modge Podge.

Often, as was in the case this week, the art takes over our time.  The girls spent about 2 hours working on their drawings.  By the time they finished, there was not much time or energy left for writing…

The naming of Gilgamesh

When Lilah takes my phone, I know that good things will be waiting for me on my camera roll.

I am not sure if I mentioned that I thought it would be a brilliant idea to research the word poop in different languages to find him the perfect name.

Dutch: achterdek
Turkish: yormak Italian: stancare German: Fekalie Finnish: Ahteri
The girls did not find this activity amusing, so we went with historical figures and came up with the name Gilgamesh, from Story of the World Book 1 and one of our favorite songs, Mesopotamians by They Might Be Giants.  Just because his name is not Fekalie or Ahteri, you can't discount the true reason I was intrigued with having a backyard bunny....his poop.  

In a week he almost filled a bucket with his poo.  It was enough for me to spread evenly over my three 4’x8’ beds.  The bottom of the bucket was already broken down into what resembled dirt and mixed in nicely with the soil as I cultivated the beds.  

I am hoping to share this fertilizer with friends.  It is mos…

Notebook Girlz: Time

I recently read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.  I inhaled this book like I do the scent of the lilacs blooming on my favorite tree.  My book is now highlighted, marked up with notes in the margins, and dog earned with the many writing exercises I want to try with my group of girls.
This week I pulled out my poetry books.  I skipped over my Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein books and took out my favorite anthologies and my Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes books.  
I asked the girls to select a book and gave them 20 seconds to find a poem.  They wrote the first line or phrase in their notebook and then wrote freely from that sentence for ten minutes.  If they got stuck I told them not to dwell on it, but to keep their pen moving, rewrite the first sentence again so it becomes a repeating line.
This was a great warm up.  Some of the girls are not used to this type of challenge and it was a challenge depending on the poem they chose.  Others found it fun and asked when we co…

A Good Kind of Busy

Our days have taken a turn...not for the better or for the worse, just a turn.  Our mornings have a different feel.  This is partially due to the amazing spring weather we have been experiencing in the North East and it is partly because we are drawn outside for different reasons.

Every morning I begin my day as usual with my cup of coffee and my blog time.  I catch up on my email, read the daily blog updates of my blogging friends, check local news and scan world news.  It takes about an hour, but I am up before 6:30 and I am finished around 7:30am.  
Then I head outside to my growing garden.  It is growing in both size and in greenery.  I check for weeds, look for new sprouts, and give the beds a hearty dose of water.   The sun is just creeping over the trees and the school buses are rolling by.  Dog walkers are out.  Joggers give a wave.  The neighborhood is coming alive and I am watching it happen.  

The girls have been up early too.  We cancelled our cable subscription.  It seemed p…


The girls fell in love with rabbits ever since this picture was taken by Lilah, the day they met baby bunnies at my friend’s farm. 

There is nothing cuter than baby bunnies.But like all animals, those cute babies grow up and once the novelty wears off, they are something that must be cared for on a daily basis for years. Still, the girls persisted that they would love to care for a backyard rabbit and since rabbit poop is an excellent fertilizer, I considered it.
The girls each had to research the care and keeping of rabbits.  They took two very different approaches to this task.  Lilah chose to do an oral presentation.  Her information was written on large sheets of paper organized by topic.  One evening, she gathered us together in the living room and presented her research to us.  
Grace decided to do a formal research report.  She included emails that she sent to our expert friends and their response to her questions.  She detailed the research she did on rabbit feed and possible hut…

Worm Tower

A few years ago I had success with vermiculture, or worm composting.  I loved having a handy composting method.  As much as I would love a rotating composter, they are expensive and take up valuable space in the yard.  I would also love a true compost pile but it would be close to the house and would attract all kinds of pests from skunks to raccoons.  Worm composting allowed us to reduce our kitchen waste and the result was lovely compost to add to our garden in the spring.  

Keeping worms indoors can pose problems.  I did battle with fruit flies.  Bowls of vinegar in the container kept it under control, along with a thick layer of newspaper over the food scraps.  As soon as the weather warmed, they were moved to the garage for the remainder of the season.
I am trying something new.  Worm towers.   Rather than keep worms in a Rubber Maid container, the worms are housed in a tower in the garden.  

I used a 4” PVC pipe.About 15 3/4” holes were drilled in the bottom half of the pipe.
A hole…