Wednesday, May 30, 2012

drop spindles and backyard tea

Thanks to MJ over at Wander Wonder Discover we are the happy owners of a new drop spindle and a lovely basket of wool roving.  I won her blog giveaway earlier this month!
It soon became clear that if I wanted to try my hand at spinning wool we would need more spindles.  Papa whipped up a drop spindle (two, actually) from a dowel, a hook, and a sanded disc of wood.  Simple and effective.  Camille was soon out-spinning me in both quality and quantity :)

 Today, besides reading Peter and the Starcatchers and Winnie the Pooh, making raw nut and veggie pate, playing Neopets Puzzle Adventure and JumpStart Pet Rescue on the Wii, and working a bit in the garden, Sylvia and I made backyard sun tea while Camille twisted wool into yarn.

 Sylvia gathered clover, pineapple weed, wild mint, and spearmint, raspberry leaves, nettle leaves and rose petals.

 We left it in the (occasional) sun for awhile, it steeped without much heat, but was delicious, floral, and refreshing to me and Camille.  Sylvia loved making it, but spit her sip out immediately.  Oh, well.
 Camille was then ready to ply her strands of twisted wool, unrolling the length and folding it in the middle to twist back on itself so that it won't unravel, and the colors blended beautifully as she had spun two different and varied colors of roving.

 It's a beautiful start.  She wants to knit it into the beginnings of a  'fashion scarf'.
 And so goes another day in our lives .... and now I'm off to read Tiggers Don't Climb Trees.  Good night and sweet dreams.

*  I linked up this week over at The Magic Onion's Friday's Nature Table, and Natural Suburbia's Creative Friday.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

flower eaters

One of our everyday activities lately is checking on these baby robins under our deck.  We can't get enough. Camille thinks they look like they have mohawks and should be in a chick band :).

Our day was fairly straight forward, a trip to the library and grocery market, followed by play rehearsal for Camille in the early evening.  Sometimes, on days like this I can't help going down dead end roads and handing my 8-year-old the camera.  The next three pics are by Camille.  We always bring along snacks for impromptu picnics, and such...

In between outings, I snuck in some gardening time while Ayla napped in the car nearby and Camille and Sylvia played together sweetly.  Love it when that happens!

 While Camille had her first play rehearsal (and loved it), the rest of us discovered a new park and whiled away the hours...

Back at home, we walked around the untamed places and admired the wild and volunteer roses...

 "For some reason, I just want to take a bite out of this...."
Go ahead.  Roses are edible.  Yup, my girls are flower eaters, daylilies, creeping charlie flowers, violets, snapdragons, pansies, nasturtium, clover, columbine, the occasional dandelion, roses, and more....  They often eat weeds, too, and are very careful to only eat things that they are sure of.

Tomorrow, I think we'll make some backyard sun tea.  Off hand, I can think of several possible ingredients, wild mint, spearmint, nettles, purple clovers, rose petals, creeping charlie (ground ivy), pineapple weed, raspberry leaves....

I like this life.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

intensity and balance

Our days around here have been calm and exciting, peaceful and dramatic (sensitive-girl-style) in turns.  Our family's sense of  balance tends toward pendulum swings and cycles, rather than a right-in-the-middle kind of balance.
 robin hatchlings

 Ayla reading with Gigi (my mom)

mmmmm, organic watermelon
One of my daughters can be very...sensitive, intense, explosive.  If she feels that things are unfair or overwhelming, out of control, or Just Too Much, she's likely to scream, run, slam doors, etc.  She is also very creative, loving, intelligent, and thoughtful, and she doesn't WANT to act like a maniac, hurt other people's feelings, or embarrass herself.  So, my biggest challenges as her mother are how to best support her through these intense emotional reactions, soothe others' hurt feelings (including her siblings) , and NOT take it personally.

Firstly, I try to avoid situations that I know are likely to agitate her.  I can not control her feelings or her reactions, but I can find ways to bring goodness, fun, and learning into her life without putting her in situations that I know to be uncomfortably demanding on her nature.

I don't always get it right.  I don't always stay calm, and find the magic solution to smooth out a bumpy situation, but she knows that I'm trying my best, and I know that she's trying her best.  I don't attempt to shame or discipline these behaviors out of her, because not only would that not work anyway, but it would erode the relationship that we have, and make it that much harder for her to trust that we can work things out, and Breathe in the process.  I do coach her on how to make better decisions, take deep breaths, and we talk about how her reactions affect her and other people (in the calm moments we talk, not the explosive ones).  She may not be able to shut down her intensity in these moments, but I ask her to make the best decision that she is able to make in the moment.  Yelling is better than hitting and moving away from an irritating situation is better than trying to forcefully change it.  I trust that her decisions will get better and better as she matures and learns what works for her.

Respectfully parenting an emotional, powerful, intense daughter can be such a challenge, but I love who she is, and I find that I have been challenged in ways that have made me a better person.
sisters at play

 lettuces, mulched, backyard garden
staking out front yard garden (corn, beans, and squash, soon to be planted here)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

just life as usual ....

I'm still not feel very wordy around here....
 under the deck

in the yard

 in the brooder


bramble blossoms

 park day

playin' blocks with Grandma

caught a snake in the kitchen! (a baby Eastern milk snake)

helpful country girls

Monday, May 14, 2012

spring is in swing

 I don't have any fancy knowledge of photography, but I love that a little shift in perspective can really change  the whole feel of a composition.

I feel like this blog can sometimes change my perspective on my life in a similar way.  The ordinary moments string together no differently because I blog, but my notice of them has changed, because I share them here with you (whoever you may be :).
 I love that my girls are no longer surprised when I screech to a halt half a mile from home to take a picture of wildflowers (wild lupine and columbine).  In fact it's the perfect chance for them to grab a handful of columbine blossoms to suck the nectar from....
 So, our day was spent at the beach and then planting in the garden....
 I love that Camille took a picture of me digging holes to plant potatoes in, and that I look like such a Wild Woman here.  I don't always look quite like that.
 I love that I have at least one daughter who is just as happy as I am to put seeds into the soil.
 I love that Sylvia can joyfully share the facepaint art that she created while being quiet in the bathroom for nearly an hour.  (It is seldom quiet here when this girl is awake.)
 I love that these two littlest girls can dig in wet sand everyday and it doesn't lose it's charm.
As much as I love visiting this space and sharing our lives, and I do really enjoy it, I think I'll take a bit of a break, just because spring is in swing.

(And I don't know how many pictures of my girls half-clothed, digging in the dirt anyone wants to see :)

It might not be long at all, but I'll be back when I'm re-inspired, until then I'll still be popping by other blogs to visit and see what y'all are up to :).