Thursday, July 31, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Farewell Hot, Muggy July

1. "Summer is like childhood. It's full of warm memories and gone too soon." Kellie Elmore  Agree or disagree? Share something you loved about the summers of your childhood.
Definitely gone too soon! We only have about 4 more weeks of summer vacation before school and scheduled extra-curriculars begin again. I'm not ready! Er. I haven't even ordered our homeschooling curriculum for September 2nd...or did last year's portfolio reviews yet.
But what I love about summers past and present (and hopefully future) is "lazy days", ones unscheduled, un-hurried and simple with lots of days around and in water, ocean or lake.

2. Are you a fan of auto racing-NASCAR, Indy, Stock, Grand Prix? Ever been to a race in person? Any desire to do this? Do you know a lot about cars? Do you notice particular makes and models when you're out and about?
I used to live 18 blocks from the Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. Race weekends were filled with lots of loud people crowding roads and making it impossible to get to work or even to grocery shop. (One super hot day, and a few months pregnant, I couldn't even return home due to traffic heading to the speedway!) Those turned into mini vacation weekends! ::wink::

3. What's something you think is too serious to be joked about? Or is anything and everything fair game?
Any joshin' meant to hurt someone or poke fun at an imperfection. We all have imperfections and under some circumstances it's OK to joke about them, but it should be initiated by the person with it.

4. July 29th is National Lasagna Day. Are you a fan? Do you have a great recipe, and if so where did it come from? If given a choice would you choose a plate of lasagna or a plate of spaghetti?
I didn't know! We had lasagna just a few days ago. Yummy! Our recipe is tweaked from the back of the Prince lasagna box. I'd pick it over spaghetti any day, but not pizza.
Lasagna Soup (Recipe)
5. What's a simple pleasure you'd miss if it were not a regular part of your life?
A quiet, comfortable bedroom. Some days, when the kids are challenging and bickering with one another, it's my haven.

6. If you could be the CEO of any company, which would you choose?
Well, my van was in the garage yet again. It's been in so many times this year that the guy manning the phones didn't even have to ask for make and model! Perhaps if I was CEO of a great garage I could have repair "perks".
7. August is just around the farewell to July in exactly seven words.

Farewell hot, muggy July; Welcome awesome August!
8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Random 5 Ramblings

The Pebble Pond

1. I am amazed that in 5 short weeks my oldest son will be heading off to his 2nd year of charter school, and the rest of us will begin our 11th year of homeschooling. With all the changes in our lives over the last 18 months, I wasn't sure we would still be homeschooling this fall (and sometimes still aren't), but I am dedicated to figuring out a way to keep this amazing constant in my kids' lives. I'm not sure I'm ready for summer to end though.

2. My bedroom carpet needs vacuuming. Again. Am I the only one that needs to vacuum every single day to stay on top of it?

3. We are excited about joining Grandpa and Nannie Lobster and cousin Noodle for a trip to an amusement and water park next week. My kids have been asking and asking about going on the water slides! And I am looking forward to a mini staycation with my companion in a couple of weeks. We have wonderful plans to see some beautiful natural sites in our state, kayak (if my poor tendonitis-effected wrists can handle it) and simply enjoy each other's company.

4. In another week or so we will be over run with pole beans. Any one want some? I am crossing my fingers that I am over run with pumpkins, zucchini and potatoes in September. I have plans for those!

5. Well, laundry isn't going to get itself done...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Get Your Happy On


1. When I look at the sky I feel...

...just how small, minuscule really, we are, and marvel at all the sky offers; seasons, weather, air.

2. If you had to run for political office, which one would you run for? Do you have any real desire to actually do this?

Ha! Ha! Never, ever.

3. What scent makes you think of home?

As soon as I drive over the bridge to the island (where I grew up) and smell the pungent odor of briny "mud flats" at low tide I think, "I'm hoommme!"

4. How often do you take a step back to think about where you're headed in life? Do you need more or less self-reflection?

Over the last 18 months, more than I have wanted. My sudden, unexpected divorce really threw me for a loop and I spent a lot of time in self-reflection. The good news? I'm in a MUCH happier place now!

5. July is National Ice Cream Month...besides a cone, what's your favorite food item to top with ice cream?

More ice cream!

6. What might your autobiography be called?

A Great Balancing Act? Triumph Over Trials?

7. Your least favorite mode of transportation? Why?

Airplanes! Crowded seats, recirculated air, cramped bathrooms and limited movement aren't my idea of relaxed travel. I much prefer our own vehicle. We can spread out, bring entertainment and snacks, stop when we need to stretch, and travel on our own time frame (usually).

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Friends + Wildlife = Fun

Many of the animals at the Maine Wildlife Park were brought here because they were injured or orphaned, or because they were human dependent - raised, sometimes illegally, in captivity. The Park serves as a permanent home for wildlife that cannot survive in the Wild. All kinds of animals are here for their protection and healing. And they're here for you to enjoy and learn more about. Maine Wildlife Park

My kids and I spent a wonderful afternoon at the park with another family. The park is perfect for a nice, meandering walk to enjoy special friends and interesting native wildlife. We didn't let a few sprinkles slow us down!

Our young navigators' poured over their maps and came up with a plan on what direction we should meander through the park. (Sam knew not to trust MY directional abilities...) Eventually both gave up on the map reading for animal viewing and an occasional game of tag.

I know that porcupine's aren't the cutest, sweetest things around, but how can you not just love this little guy "standing up" and looking at us through the wire? He had a strange gait so perhaps it's healing from leg injuries.

We saw lots of different bird species including owls, falcons, vultures, quail, and even eagles, but peacocks have to be the most beautiful...with some of the LOUDEST, most ANNOYING calls ever. Have you ever heard them?

The kids especially seemed to enjoy the bears. There were two of these - one smaller, black and anther larger, brown, both shedding out their coats and a bit shaggy looking. It was interesting to see a lone chipmunk snagging some of the vending feed visitors can toss into the bear enclosure. It looked WELL fed!

And just past the coyotes, behind the "not on exhibit" mountain lion, and the lynx and bobcats enclosures are the moose. We couldn't miss the moose!

But look! We found some "monkeys" in a tree near the parking lot after our visit ended. (Why yes, that kid is mine!)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Blissful Lakeside Lunch

What better way to spend a perfect summer day than a lunch on the lake with my favorite 9-year-old. (Would you believe that my older two decided to stay home, eat leftovers and wash dishes!) Only a few miles from our home is a short causeway near a large lake. There's a beautiful walk along the street, under a small bridge, and down the other side of the road.  It's often quite busy this time of year as you can imagine, but we snagged one of the last parking spaces and most people were at the eateries along the other side of the road.

Just look at our view from our bench: a wide span of wavy blue water, fluffy clouds and the mountains in the distance. A blissful view for a relaxed lunch!

I brought along my LL Bean canvas tote with our books. The plan was to have our lunch, watch the boats and read, but there was so much to look at, enjoy, talk about.

You can imagine how excited Sam was to watch a plane descend and land on the lake! Although this isn't the first time we've see it land, it's not often we time it just right to do so.

And then we had to watch the ducks swim along the edge of the walk. We didn't see any loons this time, but the lake was busy with boaters.

But eventually it was time to pack up the remains of our lunch, grab our bag and head to the grocery store for a few things before heading home. Until next time...

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Roaming and Random

1. The month of July was named for Roman Emperor Julius Caesar.  He's quoted as saying, 'Experience is the teacher of all things.' So, what has experience taught you lately?

How do I answer this one? Experience is how I ponder the past, live in the present and wonder about the future. It's a guiding force in all decisions.  And it shapes who I am and will be as a person, Mom, friend, and companion.

2. Where did you last 'roam'?

Does visiting my family on a Maine island count? It does feel like a LONG trip sometimes to drive there...My last "roam" was a wonderful trip to Seattle, Washington and Alaska with my kids and their grandparents almost a year ago now.

3. Speaking of 'Rome', pasta, can only pick one, which would you choose?

Pizza, of course!

4. 'Rome wasn't built in a day', 'All roads lead to Rome', 'When in Rome...' which 'Roman' idiom have you most recently encountered? Explain.

Oh. I don't think any of these sayings recently! (At least I don't remember any!)

5. What's a movie you've seen or book you've read, that makes you want to book a trip to Italy?

See 4.  LOL

6. Walt's original Disneyland opened almost sixty years ago this week, on July 17, 1955.  Have you ever been to the California park? How about any of the other Disney parks around the world? What's your favorite amusement park ride or attraction?

I am deprived. I have never been to ANY Disney theme park. Ever. So, if anyone would like a travel companion...and they're paying, let me know! :wink:

7. It's that time of year...when were you last bitten or stung?

I was chewed up by those little ultra-annoying black flies that Maine has in June while sitting around the fire pit one evening. I think I had 30 bites on my lower legs where my cropped pants didn't cover.  Buggers!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Slice of Wonderful

The Atlantic is never far away when you live on a Maine island, but sometimes you can find a simply perfect secluded spot that is just WONDEFUL for exploring...or relaxing to the sound of gently crashing waves upon the shore. My sister is fortunate to have this "slice of Heaven" walking distance from her house. We, with Nannie Lobster, gathered up beach supplies and 5 exuberant kids and spent a glorious afternoon cove-side.

There was diving into the cool, briny water, tossing of brown and bumpy seaweed, gathering of sand, rocks and a lone white jellyfish.

Nugget didn't know what to think of her first feel of sand between her toes while sitting with her sister Sole. Noodle danced amongst the waves with her purple floaties.

Talk about a fun place to explore! My kids couldn't wait to do some "boulder jumping" and see what they could find on this line of granite covered with seaweed.

When the wind picked up, Noodle made a "rock bed" with her towels and warmed herself in the sun. It wasn't long before she was up again, dancing with Sole. Sam kicked around a beach ball.

There were lots of giggles and smiles at the end of the afternoon. Until our next visit...


Saturday, July 5, 2014

As the Garden Grows: Growing like Weeds

With the our inability to keep up with the big garden last year, the kids and I decided to focus on our 12x6 raised Square Foot Garden this season. It's much more manageable for us, but with the rewards of growing fresh veggies. (Our big garden is productively growing weeds on its own...)

What's Square Foot Gardening? Here's the creator, Mel Bartholomew, explaining SFG in a You Tube video:

We decided to grow:
Boston Pickling Cucumbers
Fortex Pole Beans
Sugar Pumpkins
Tom Thumb Peas
Bloomsdale Long Standing Spinach
Red and Blue Adirondack Potatoes

Our seeds and potato starts were purchased from Pinetree Garden Seeds & Accessories, a local Maine company that has non-GMO and heirlooms. We think it's pretty neat to get seeds from plants that originated in the late 1800s or early 1900s. (History lesson there!)

Our potatoes are growing abundantly in wire growing "cages". I saw this idea on Pinterest here and decided to try it out. We have LOTS of chicken wire of course so assembly was super easy with a pair of wire clippers and a couple young gardeners.

I'm excited that the sugar pumpkins are off to a GREAT start. I hope it means pumpkins to roast and puree in the fall for breads, muffins, and pancakes! It didn't take us long to go through the baggies of puree from the freezer last fall.

The pole beans are growing wild and crazy.

Unfortunately the spinach and cucumbers seedlings are few and far between. I replanted the spinach with more peas, because you can't have too many of those, but the additional cucumber seeds did not germinate. Too cold? Too much rain? But the beans are taking over when the cucumbers have failed.

Did you plant a patch this season?

Friday, July 4, 2014

Ocean Waves: Maine Island Adventures

Dark green, briny-smelling waves crash against the rocky granite coast. Brown seaweed dries in the sun along the pebbly beaches. Seagulls screech overhead and lobster boat engines grumble in the distance. There's something special about a quaint village on a Maine island. For me, it's home, and I love being able to share that with my own children.

The Island Village - Photo Credit

We enjoyed a sunny, warm day shore-side, jumping chilly waves, searching for sea glass, especially the special rare blue pieces, filling a sand pail with snails, collecting periwinkle shells, and climbing seaweed-encrusted boulders.

There was a family BBQ to celebrate a year of birthdays.

We enjoyed Nannie Lobster's flowers. Lupines are my favorite!

Coming to the island is always "down time" for me, a time to read and knit. (If you are a knitter and don't know about Ravelry you should click over. Lots of free projects!) I started my newest project, a reusable mesh bag, in denim blue cotton yarn, and my finished my first "beach book" of the season, The Silent Wife.

But, now we are back to our woods, enjoying our lakes and bursting garden, content to return
As always, special thanks to these weekly wrap-ups:
 photo 337a3ef2-b881-48f4-8a2c-9c69e457cb5b_zps8b6152cf.pngHomegrown LearnersManaging Your BlessingsHip Homeschool Moms