Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Nearly Wordless Wednesday!

Lost River Gorge in North Woodstock, New Hampshire. The kids and grown-ups both loved it!

Monday, June 29, 2009

And 40 More TV-Free Activities for Kids

This rounds out the list of 140 TV-Free Activities for Kids this summer. Please check out the other posts as well: Fifty TV Free Activities for Kids and Fifty MORE TV Free Activities for Kids

And don't miss 83 Things to Do on a Rainy Day!

1. Play mini-golf
2. Put a hammock up in the yard
3. Put the baby pool at the bottom of the slide
4. Recycle bottles and donate the money to a local charity
5. Rent a projector , hang a white sheet in the yard for a "drive-in" movie
6. Run (or walk) a race
7. Run through the sprinklers
8. Set up a lemonade stand
9. Sign up at library for Summer Reading Program
10. Sit under a shady tree
11. Sketch a picture of your house from the outside
12. Sleep on a bed of moss in the forest
13. Slip on the slip & slide
14. Spend time with your grandparents
15. Stargaze and track the moon phases
16. Start a band
17. Start a club with friends
18. Swim, swim, swim
19. Swing on swings
20. Swing on the rope swing
21. Take a big, cold drink right out of the nozzle of your hose
22. Take a ferry ride on Lake Champlain
23. Take a Gondola ride
24. Take a letterboxing hike
25. Take a walk and record the sounds
26. Take an outdoor shower
27. Take photos
28. Take swimming and/or diving lessons
29. Throw a cultural heritage block party
30. Throw rocks in the river
31. Use a compass or GPS to map your neighborhood
32. Visit a farm
33. Visit a local public flower garden
34. Visit a National Park
35. Visit a water park
36. Visit another country
37. Visit the Montshire Museum
38. Visit the ocean for a day or two
39. Wash mommy’s car/daddy’s truck
40. Watch a fireworks display

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I Asked for Quirky

And I got quirky! Having a little creative crisis, so I asked Etsy sellers to show me their stuff. Here are just a few of the lovely, quirky, items suggested to me. Don't worry, more to come!

First up....The Bra Bag from MissKnits. Ever have one of those mornings where you wonder where you left your bra? Well, now you know! That is, if you haven't lost your purse. I LOVE IT! You can check out MissKnits shop in the link above or her blog by visiting here http://missknitsetsy.blogspot.com.

Next we have one representative from a myriad of great characters in RoseLullabyDolls shop. New friends with great names like Candice, Colin, Arthur, Persephone, and this wonderful fellow, Clive. I love the description of Clive....

Clive is only a head and a neck, he lost the rest of him a long while ago. He doesn't really like to talk about the circumstances but he's always happy to talk about anyone else's problems.He's happiest hanging around on the edge of a bookshelf, not because he likes to read but because he's very proud of his tie and doesn't like it getting creased.

Doesn't he seem like a great companion for any studio?

And last but not least is a bag I could not resist. One of my all time favorite commercials (as a kid) is the "How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop?". You know the one, where they ask Mr. Owl and he takes the pop and goes "ah One....ah Two....ah Three (crunch)" and then exclaims "THREE!". I still quote that all the time. That along with the "Thank you Easter Bunny!" from the Cadbury Cream Egg commercial. Glad to know I'm not the only one who remembers this stuff!

Anyway, this lovely little bag of Mr. Owl comes from ArelelDesigns. Click on the link to visit the shop or you can visit her blog at http://areleldesigns.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I'm BACK! And looking for Quirky!

More details to come about my whirlwind weekend away. I drove 11+ hours each way to PA for my great-aunt's 100th birthday party. With two boys in the car! They were wonderful. Then this week I'm helping with Bible camp, so I haven't had a moment to think or create.

So I'll rely on what you have created!

I'm looking for some quirky items to feature in a future blog post! Show me what you have! I can't promise everyone will be featured, but I'll get a few in that's for sure!

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time for a Little Planning & Reflection

About three weeks ago I made this post Thinking Ahead to Summer. In it I outlined some of our family plans for the summer, but also some of my own short-term goals. Sadly, I'm not doing as well at focusing on these things as I'd like, but at least I'm making some progress. Here's an update....

1. Make something totally girly for myself - Hmmm.....well I have a lot of fabric I've purchased and ideas in my head.

2. Have a spa day - Uh, yeah. I've now had to reschedule one planned spa day three times over a three-week span due to general life craziness! Maybe in September when the kids are back in school! Today I think I'll paint my toenails though.....they need some attention.

3. Derive some enjoyment out of cooking again - I'm making an effort in this area. I think the trouble is I'm just not loving my kitchen much these days. I don't have enough storage space and my husband's project of moving the washer & dryer OUT so I could have a pantry has come to a screeching halt. But I have been baking a bit and made a few nice dinners. Not sure I can say I've "enjoyed" it though.......sigh....

4. Paint my toenails - This should be easy right? Last time I did it was Memorial weekend, red, white & blue. That has got to go!

5. Pet my cat more -- CHECK!

6. Get my but out of bed for an early morning walk - Um.....what am I thinking? When is my 4yo going to finally sleep through the night consistently? When will I stop being such a night owl. I am working on this....truly I am.

7. Listen to more music at home -- CHECK! No TV on makes this much easier. Pandora I LUVS YOU!

8. Enjoy the moments of peace and quiet more - CHECK! Ahhh...no TV on. Even my kiddos are playing better together. Who knew?!?

9. Surprise one of my friends with something completely unexpected. - must.do.soon...must.do.soon

10. Lose five pounds (isn't this always on my list?) - Well, since Monday I've been eating better. Except for that strawberry rhubarb pie I made for my husband's birthday yesterday.

I'll keep on, keeping on!

Do you have any short-term goals you want to share?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Game of Pounce Featuring New Etsy Sellers!

Before I get started I just wanted to thank all of you who helped me with my quilt quandry, and for your kind comments about my lily-of-the-valley watercolors. I so appreciate the kind words!

I like to poke around on the 'pounce' feature on Etsy. Today here are a few new Etsyians I came across and loved their work! Since I've been in the wrong place at the wrong time on snagging a treasury lately I decided to do a blog feature on some of them. So, here goes!

These lovely little guys are from Il Grande Albero. This bunny really spoke to me. I hope he finds someone to play some ball with him! He looks like such a friendly fellow. I'm assuming he's a he, at least he looks like a he to me. If he was my bunny I think I'd name him Charles or Winston, as he has an aire of distinction about him. I have to admit, I'm concerned about our little friend because later we find Sir Charles/Winston in this predicament. What did he do? Did his ball blow out to sea and he went in after it? Did he leave his boat at home and had to sail back home and this was the best method? Little bunny, I want to know what happened!

But seriously, artist Sara Cancian has some cute stuff that deserves some attention, so please check out her shop when you have a moment! Il Grande Albero

I'm not usually a big purse/bag kind of girl, but this "Sweet Summer Dreams" clutch from EightSeasons grabbed my eye. They have a few of this type of bag, but in different colors and designs. I like what the artist has on her shop description....

"If you like feminine touch, luxury,
exuberance and bold style, you are in the right place!"
Can't we all use a little more exuberance? Check out their shop!
Our next shop feature falls in an area I've rarely roamed....miniatures! I am totally fascinated by artists who work in small mediums. For some reason even the most mundane article of everyday life becomes quirky and darling when it is teensy. Fittingly enough since it is a miniature, the photo is small. This actually reminds me of a wonderful vacation I took to Spain years ago. The Spanish certainly do love their ham and all things porcine. So, if you are setting up your very own teeny-tiny Casa del Jamón you must visit this great Etsy shop, Annie's Miniatures. Oh, and Annie has lots of cool other things, like itsy-bitsy bowls of fruit salad, for the good Irish customers, miniscule black pudding rings, and even petite cucumber sandwiches.

I'll end my post sort of where I started, with bunnies. No, I really don't have a thing for rabbits. OK, maybe tonight I do! But I just liked the look of this print. Maybe it's because she has redhair (like me), maybe I envy her cute short cut. But I think it's because she looks like a fun chick.....after all, she's wearing bunny ears. She and some of her friends reside at a lovely little shop called The Art of Emma. Please stop by and say hello to her and her pals. Maybe they'll invite you to their party.

Please check out all these new shops if you have some time! These favorites are also posted (among others) at the very bottom of my blog page. Go take a looksee!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Basking in Batiks

Before I launch into my quandry I have to share a few thoughts about my morning before they slip out of my head. First, for the billionth time I asked myself "How did I get so lucky?". I hope you have these moments too. This morning what brought it on was my younger son asking me to snuggle. So as we cuddled up on the couch, me kissing his head and smelling his freshly washed hair I asked him "Will you still snuggle with me when you are 16?" and he said "Yes, Momma". Then I asked him if I could have that in writing.

Now for my blast of color. Some very great friends of ours are expecting their first baby in July. They are expats, living in Chile now and I think appreciate the unconvential and funky. I'm a batik FAH-REAK. I just love the vibrancy of the fabrics. So I decided to make them a batik baby quilt. Enough with this wishy-washy pastels or cutesy prints. Let the baby bask in some color!

But now I'm second guessing myself. I put together a bit of the quilt (a tossed nine-patch pattern) and I'm worried they are going to get this and think "this is the ugliest baby quilt I've ever seen!"......sigh.....

Is it too "out there" for a baby quilt? I look at it and love it and then look at it again and question if they will love it. So it goes with anything creative, right? Please keep in mind I am not a professional quilter. I've made a couple of small quilts in the past but it's not my area of expertise. I still like doing it though!

Thoughts? Please be honest.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fifty MORE TV-Free Activities for the Kids This Summer!

Here is a continuation of my list of fun things you can do that are all TV FREE!. My kids gave me lots of ideas, I searched the web, asked friend, and also a big THANK YOU to Gina from Unpink Life for her awesome list from last summer, as you can see many ideas came from her. I'm the compiler here, hoping this will help other parents.If you haven't already seen it, please check out my list of Eighty-Three Things To Do on a Rainy Day.There are more ideas coming, stay tuned! Some of the ideas are specific to my area, but you get the idea!

1. Have an ice cream sundae party
2. Help an elderly person with house or yard work
3. Hike at night
4. Hike up a mountain and let kids take pix
5. Host a teddy bear or favorite stuffed toy themed picnic
6. Host a yard sale
7. Join the library reading program
8. Jump on a trampoline
9. Keep a summer journal of places visited
10. Lay on a blanket and watch the clouds out
11. Lay out at night and watch stars
12. Learn or teach a new sport with someone
13. Learn some new outdoor games
14. Light a sparkler
15. Make a campfire in the back yard
16. Make a dam in the brook behind the house
17. Make a movie
18. Make a new kind of sandwich
19. Make a popsicle stand
20. Make a scrapbook of everything you do this summer
21. Make a teepee out of big sticks
22. Make an obstacle course in your back yard
23. Make chalk paint
24. Make clover or daisy chains
25. Make dinner for your family
26. Make fairy houses
27. Make homemade ice cream
28. Make homemade yogurt pops
29. Make juicy ices (with paper cups and sticks)
30. Make lemonade from lemons
31. Make s'mores
32. Make snow cones
33. Make some new window boxes for mom and plant with flowers
34. Make stepping stones for your garden or yard- or to give as gifts
35. Make your own letterbox
36. Make your own soccer camp
37. Make/work on outdoor play fort
38. Organize a scavenger hunt
39. Pick blueberries
40. Pick strawberries
41. Pitch a tent in the backyard and have a "camp out"
42. Plan a tricked out staycation for the kids
43. Plant a garden
44. Plant a tree in your child's name
45. Play badmitton
46. Play Frisbee
47. Play hopscotch
48. Play in the sand
49. Play kickball at the playground
50. Play Marco Polo

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Few Morning Sketches

Today is one of those magical days where my boys are playing together so nicely, not pestering to "go do something" or wanting to watch TV. I've probably jinxed myself by saying this. But at least this morning allowed me to do a couple of sketches. These are watercolor paint and pencil. It's still very much spring here in Vermont.

Lily of the Valley is one of my favorite flowers. I wish I had more of them in my yard. They are just so dainty and fragile looking. But who am I kidding, I've rarely met a flower I didn't love.

It seems my scanner is acting a bit wonky. The images came out much more faded than they actually are. But since I'm not completely done with them yet, I'm not going to worry about that.

I haven't done much watercolor painting in the past. Usually I work in acrylics and mixed media or jewlery. But it's fun to try it out. I love the simplicity of watercolor. It's nice to know that I can easily take my watercolors along with me on an upcoming camping trip. I'd never think of dragging acrylics along.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by. What are you working on this weekend? Yesterday my son had his class picnic at a friends home who has a spectacular garden, yard and view of the mountain. I took a few photos while I was there, as well as some others from driving around the roads of Vermont over this week. I'm anxious to get started on paintings from the photos I took.

Uh oh, see I jinxed myself. The natives are getting restless! I guess I had better gear us up for some type of saturday adventure. Somehow they don't think sitting in the yard and painting is as much fun as I do. Happy weekend all!

Monday, June 1, 2009

A Work/Cultural Exchange Program

I have a new bee in my bonnet. In my recent restlessness my husband and I have been toying with a way we can live somewhere else, yet not completely give up our lives where we are. Aside from the fact that my husband has a good job, he also runs his own small vermicomposting business. So, life is busy. But we both have the desire to travel and experience another culture without really being on vacation (know what I mean?). Rather than being somewhat removed as a tourist, to really get to know people in some other area, even if it is just in the good ol' U.S.A.

So the other day my husband emailed me with this link - http://www.helpx.net/index.asp. Here's a description from their website.

HelpX is provided primarily as a cultural exchange for working holiday makers who would like the opportunity during their travels abroad, to stay with local people and gain practical experience. In the typical arrangement, the helper works an average of 4 hours per day and receives free accommodation and meals for their efforts. This time range can vary considerably depending on the tasks at hand and the host’s preferences. Some hosts may require just 2 hours per day for accommodation only, and ask you to provide and cook your own food. Others may expect 6 hours per day in return for meals, your own room and sometimes other benefits such as free Internet use, horse riding, kayaking, bikes, local sight-seeing trips, yoga or English lessons, etc. Some will give weekends off, while others might allow you to put in 8 hours one day and later take a full day off. Helpers often live with the host family and are expected to join in and offer a helping hand with day-to-day activities.

This really sounds like it could be a fantastic adventure for our little family to go on. My husband thinks if he puts all his leave together he could squeek out a month. If we stay state-side he may even be able to roll in some telecommuting and/or work site visits so he wouldn't be so disconnected from his job. Personally, I'd rather go abroad, but maybe something on the other side of the U.S. might be a good introduction to the program for us.

Have you ever done something like this? If so, I'd love to hear your stories!