Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Traditions: Strawberry Picking

Ah, yesterday. Yesterday apologized for a rainy, soggy Monday with bright sunshine and warm breezes. As soon as we saw the skies, we loaded up our baskets and headed northeast to our local u-pick strawberry farm. The same accomplices joined us last year, and I sense this becoming a tradition my boys will remember for years to come. This time, little b was old enough to carry his own basket, into which he pilfered many of his older brothers red, shiny jewels.
Pick a a few.Our bounty was a plentiful repeat of last year's: thirteen pounds of plump, ripe strawberries. This year, we picked later in the season, just two days before our annual departure to Georgia for Easter. To preserve our treasures and make gifts for our family, we decided to embark on our first jam session.I had been warned by several about the precise timing of making jam. Those words of caution also came with the suggestion to wait until little b retired for the evening to begin. This turned out to be critically necessary advice. Even with my full attention on the process, there are no photographs of the stirring and pouring, because it took all three of us (Papa, Mama and Big B) in a harried and hot assembly line to finish the job. But when we did finish, our hard work was rewarded within minutes by the pop-pop-pop of the jars sealing. What a gratifying sound!Now we have a dozen beauties in their basket, ready to travel north and brighten the bread of our family. The ability to pick strawberries in the morning and can them the same night infused instant gratitude through my hands and into my heart.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Shape Walk :: Circles

We are soooo enjoying Spring Break over here. The slow and easy "what-do-you-want-to-do-today" pace of things is just what we needed. On Friday we decided to replace our routine library trip with an impromptu exploratory mission, complete with backpacks and special gear. Big B asked if we could take a color walk or letter walk. We wanted to include little b, so we decided to invent a new quest appropriate for his skill set: shape walks. Our first hunt was for circles. I love the way our collection looks!

Friday, March 26, 2010

(this moment)

I caved...after seeing the sweet shots from my friends Mama Bird and Rose, I decided to take part in this darling new tradition. Thank you, Amanda.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Goodwill Score: Kismet

This morning was just one of those mornings. And I mean that in the best possible way. Tomorrow begins a ten day Spring Break for Big B, so today feels very much like a Friday. Little b and I decided to get our usual Friday chores done today, and that included picking up Papa's drycleaning, which--oh, darn--happens to be adjacent to the very best Goodwill in all the land.

I haven't been shopping at Goodwill since before the holidays, and was amazed at how beautifully the shelves have restocked in those three short months. I scored two adorable pillowcases to add to my growing stack, ready to be converted to aprons:
...this simple vintage box o' party games, complete with pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey:
...a bright and cheerful piece of fabric with a bold linear print, perfect for the tablecloth I've been dreaming of making for spring:
...a gallon ziploc bag full of miniature baskets, just in time for a sweet Easter project:...and call it fate, call it serendipity, call it kismet, but when I woke up this morning, I was internally scheduling my day, and visualized setting out large wooden beads and pipe cleaners as an after-school activity for the boys. On my way out of Goodwill, I found a gallon ziploc bag full of large wooden beads and pipe cleaners. I love days like this.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Treats for them, Treats for me

Yesterday, little b and I scooped up Big B from school and zoomed over to the County Fair to meet Noni for an afternoon of fun. Among all of the horribly bad things available for human consumption, the boys chose the fairly innocent cotton candy to share as their treat. Their sticky fingers and faces were pricelessly happy.
We struck a deal: they get a treat, then Mama gets a treat. My treat was ambling blissfully through the handcrafts exhibit. The hand quilting and embroidery was spectacular!
This was just the experience I was looking for as I embark on my first weekend back at the sewing machine. SEW many unfinished projects are waiting for my attention! I will take my time and enjoy each stitch, as I feel certain these craftspeople did with their creations.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Forward!

Spring has officially sprung. We set the clocks forward last night, the pileated woodpeckers are back on our telephone pole, and the blue jays are trying to make nests with the streamers on our tricycles. We've resurrected the bubble machine and have been outside all weekend. Yesterday Mimi came in town for a visit, and we went out exploring, seeking the jewels of the season.

After finding a flea market and admiring its treasures,
...we headed to our favorite nursery, where spring's real treasures are beginning to shine.We bought two varieties each of peppers and tomatoes for our Earth Box, and several kinds of herbs and flowers to create a mini-garden in an old Radio Flyer wagon that's been rusting in our backyard.
These little signs of spring are refreshing and invigorating, and each glimpse of growth will be a reminder to nurture the beauty within each living thing.
"All through the long winter, I dream of my garden.
On the first day of spring,
I dig my fingers deep into the soft earth.

I can feel its energy, and my spirits soar."
--Helen Hayes

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Day in the Life of a Tiger

This is Freeze. His real name is Freeze For Cats, but Big B calls him Freeze for short. This morning, Big B had the somewhat sneaky notion (that I didn't discourage) to tiger-nap Freeze and carry him to school in his backpack. We were almost to his kindergarten door when Big B realized Freeze never made it out of the house. Tears were shed at the thwarting of this brilliant master plan. I promised Big B that little b and Mama would take good care of Freeze, and that he would go wherever we went for the whole day.

And here is Freeze's day.

When little b and I picked up Big B, there Freeze was, safely buckled in his car seat. Big B smiled, then I saw a hint of sadness creep in as he remembered that things didn't go as he'd hoped...and then I handed him the camera. His face absolutely lit up at seeing our day from the perspective of his special friend. A happy reunion, indeed.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Climbing Trees in the Afternoon

I'm so grateful that we have a climbing tree in our front yard. It is virtually impossible to park the car, remove Big B and little b and usher them into the house without a stop at this special tree. They have both created a home away from home in its branches, something I feel confident they'll carry with them in their memories long after they leave this house.