Friday, July 31, 2009

Ani and Chocolate Pudding Popsicles

How does the world spin with me in it?

Sissy love and chocolate makes me and my world spin around...

1 block of firm tofu
1 package Mori-Nu pudding mix, preferably chocolate
4 TBS water
blend until smooth, then fill your holders within 1/2 of the end
freeze for four agonizing hours

*or do what we did and save a little to eat as pudding so the wait isn't quite so excruciating.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

'Tis the Season...for Plant Presses

There are many fine posts and tutorials about how to make these simple plant presses - try here, here or for a little more hi-tech, here - so I'll just show ours being put to good use...

P.S. - they're easy to make and use - cardboard, newspaper, rubberbands - add some embellishments and contact paper if you like (Eliza's is a bit fancier than this one).

Two in a Canoe

After a frustrating morning of trying to mend the relationship between my computer (Mac) and Snapfish, in a rush to upload photos of the year for an end-of-year homeschool portfolio (more on that later), I had to take a break for a date with my husband. Darn. It looked something like this:
Dreamy, isn't it? We'd never gone out on the lake in a canoe before - it's not a grand lake, but we were alone, save for one fisherman, some turtles, large jumping fish, and a magical swan that we thought was a boat from a distance, it was so big.
We stopped to picnic at a little point under a tree (cheddar, spinach, mustard, homemade pickle sandwiches), and while Dan fished, I wandered a bit, finding black raspberries, a beautiful spider (which I couldn't get my camera to focus on) intent on wrapping up his own lunch, and these sweet little mushrooms keeping company with the lichen.

The only thing that could make the day better? Yes, a box turtle. He was running across the road as we headed home, and Dan screeched to a stop so I could jump out. It is amazing at how tightly he (she?) could close up.
It finally feels like summer around here, with time to spend together, time to play games, have meandering conversations...I'm planning on a few more of these dates before summer is through.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Making memories

My mom often talks about our visits together with my sister and my niece as "making memories". My sister sent us these photos that she took last week while they were with us, and I melt thinking of the moments, smiles, giggles these girls are weaving into their memories...
Hula and Ukele, anyone?

Ani and Mormor, Farmer's Market joy




Bedtime sweetness


Loving the rain!

Sharing freshly-picked tomatoes

Thank you for coming, Mormor, Antissy and Lucy! Thank you for sharing these with us!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Treasures of the Day

My day started earlier than I wished - about 2 hours earlier, if anyone is keeping track - but after a couple of hours of listening to the sweet chatter of a happy four-year-old I was able to take a walk, alone, down the bikepath. Such silence there is in the world. And then such noise! The birds, the crickets, the wind, the sounds of the world. This is when the treasures of the day began to pour in...
An indigo bunting flying across my path
Black raspberries peeking out from the bergamot and
joe pye weed
Hours with Ani while Dan and Eliza were at Oliver
(one more weekend to go!); hours of card games, painting,
talking, making and taking food to a friend...
Fresh Spring Rolls and Sun Gold Tomatoes

Leftover and torn rice wrappers - why not try watercolors?

...and reading - "Mama, I'm gonna read two of my books to you now" -
which thrills me probably more than it should...
Ani drew Trixie
During dinner (together!) we spotted our first hummingbird visiting our brand-new feeder! We had to call Mormor right away to tell her.
Joe Pye Weed

I know I always go back to food, but we had so much
local goodness today: the sungolds, the eggs, milk,
spinach, basil, the peaches...
And then there were these jewels: the droplets of evening dew perfectly poised along the edges of the jewelweed at the lake. Have you ever seen anything quite so elegant? (I wish my camera could do it justice! It took me forever to get it to focus this well - so frustrating! I might have to keep trying and torture you all with post after post of these droplets...)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Weaving the Grasses and Flowers of Summer

I've been wanting to make nature weavings for a while now - I remember seeing the activity in the inspiring Earthways book, and was reminded of it again last fall, with this picture from the Crafty Crow. My blogger friend, Lisa, from 5 Orange Potatoes has some lovely pictures of a day spent making these with her kids, and we finally found the time and the inspiration to do this ourselves.
Here are our merry weavers, pausing at our favorite neighborhood tree (my girls, and their beloved cousin, Lucy) as we head out to collect our bits of nature.
Collecting in a light drizzle was definitely the highlight of the process. Rain did not deter these girls one bit: "I don't like rain....I LOVE rain!!" We talked about what we were finding, what we thought might last for a while, drying nicely in the weaving, and what we couldn't resist (chicory), but might wilt and rot after a while.
It was such a nice opportunity to look at all the different grasses growing in our area (ok, not ALL of them, but quite a few!) - the seeds are gorgeous right now, some dark red, some a light brown, and everything in between.
We found some Y-shaped sticks in the backyard, and later in the day we gathered to make our "looms" with some yarn.
Eliza, choosing some wide leaves to weave into her loom, next to the beautiful Queen Anne's Lace. It was not too difficult for little fingers, though I think I would string them a little differently, as our yarn tended to be too loose and slipped easily.
Here is one of the 5 weavings we made (somehow my sister and niece got away with their pieces, without me getting a final picture of them all together). I think it looks like a snowshoe! The girls have theirs hanging in the bedroom, where the lighting is not so good for a picture, but trust me, they are really beautiful.

I think this is a project we will return to, to mark the changes in the seasons or to commemorate a special event or visit. When I was describing the project to the girls earlier in the week, Lucy said that she thought it would be a really nice reminder of her days with us here in Ohio...we'll all think of the happily drizzly day we spent gathering some of the beauty around us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lake Hope

Searching for fossils at the nature center
Hiking through a gorge
Gorgeous millipede
Waiting for hummingbirds...patiently for half of an hour...
only a couple ever came, and not to us...
People held up whatever red bits and bobs they had with them,
in hopes of attracting the hummingbirds!

"Why are you wearing your clothes in the water?"