Fairy Houses

One of the fanatic moms I am fortunate to know put together a fairy house workshop. Right next to our secret garden, a most perfect place to have it.
 Look at the beauty!

My kids worked together to make this one:

Six families (one or both parents and their kid(s)) collaborated to make these. I just love the individuality and the creativity.
 The same awesome mama who put this fun activity together entered these fairy houses in the Portsmouth Strawberry Banke Fairy Festival.  HUGE event, lots of fairy houses entered. 

We had already had a big weekend, the show was about 40 minutes from our house. I hate city driving. It was too hot that day. I had to find parking. My husband was working, so I had to go by myself. There would be too many people. I wouldn't get anything done around the house/farm. It would be a cranky no nap day. Let me tell you, this country girl can make a hundred excuses to stay away from crowds, stoplights, crosswalks and congestion. But, I decided to bring them anyway. One on my back.
 One on foot.
There were people, many people....
 But not too crowded.

 And we found ours straight away.  There was a steady parade of onlookers. Children crouched on their knees, looking at our detail. Adults taking pictures.  We just watched for a while as others looked at our work, waiting our turn.  We really only had a brief shot because others were waiting.
 It was so neat...how the creation we made in our backyard with friends turned out to be a part of this marvelous festival.
 All four of our houses received steady traffic.  I really appreciated the effort this mama made, and am glad I brought my kids. It was so neat for them to see that something small that we do in our backyard can be a part of something so much bigger.  That working to make something we enjoy can be enjoyed by others.  That lots of little fairy houses together can be gathered for a grand festival.  A little bit of effort from few can be put together with many to create something even more marvelous. Oh, participating in this festival was good on so many levels.  (Thank you Jen!)
And after, we spent our time meandering the various gardens, looking for the little hidden treasure houses, with intricate detail, tucked away for all to enjoy.
 Really, this festival celebrated lots of things that are near and dear to my heart.
 Might just as well celebrate all such good things together, yes?

Mama Made: Tent

So, I had all the stuff to make this since the spring (Thrift store fabric for $8.00!...and I have more to spare.).  A great summer play tent to pitch outside as a barrier from the sun.

Or a fall tent to play in just for fun.  Oh well.

It's inside or outside (I should have pitched it outside to get better pics, but alas, I didn't. Oh well.). It's a great place to read, play, hide, pretend. 

Or a perfect house for a cat is what Zoom likes to think. 

Elderberry Syrup

From this:

To this:
 To this:
With all this overgrown brush, I didn't realize on year one that we had elderberries. Year two (this year), I was determined to use them.  But then I didn't realize how many elderberries there are!  We are so fortunate!

So, elderberry syrup.  I mean they charge a couple dollars an ounce (yes ounce!) for this syrupy stuff...what is it anyway?! 

I'm learning too.  Apparently it has all sorts of great vitamins and germ fighting parts and has been used medicinally for hundreds of years.  It's is supposed to help with keeping healthy immune systems, shortening the duration of flu symptoms, helping respiratory health and allergies. Adults can take a tablespoon a day and kids a teaspoon a day.   Both parties can take more if sick.

Can't hurt, we have this stuff for free, so figured I'd give it a whirl. Verdict? My kids love it. They ask for it everyday. They remind me if I forget.  We shall see how healthy it keeps us this year. 

So, the recipe. I read a dozen online and got overwhelmed. Decided I'd head to the kitchen and do what feels and tastes right. So, I did.  Because I always write my recipes on small pieces of scrap paper and lose them (a terrible habit to have), I'm writing what I did here. 

Elderberry Syrup

1 Cup Elderberries (no stems)
2 cups water
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
3/4 cup honey

1) Place elderberries, water, ginger, cinnamon and cloves in saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
2) Drain (keep liquid!). Strain as much juice out as possible, squeezing the berries. Compost what's left, reserve the juice.
3) Cool until just warm, stir in honey.
4) Process in water bath canner 10 min for pints, 15 for qts.

Store opened in the refrigerator.

Childhood smiles

So, this part of the story is not good.  Miss Audra sometimes sneaks out of the house. We do not like her doing that one bit. We will let her go out, provided she asks, but sometimes she thinks she's an adult and can do what she pleases. However, where she ends up does make me smile. 

I thought she was playing in our mudroom the other day while I was cleaning up dinner. Then I looked out the window. There she was.
She should have been in trouble, but I snuck outside with the camera first. She didn't notice. So I kept watching, camera in hand.
 She did this 3 or 4 times before she noticed me. Once she did, I of course had to speak to her about sneaking out. I should have sent her back in the house, but I just couldn't do it. It was a perfect evening to be outside.  We put on her boots, penned her where she likes to be and I went back inside to clean up.
I cannot think of a better way to spend these childhood days. Outside, the animals, not having a time schedule.  A mama cannot help but to smile.


All Changed Up: Our Play Room

A bit ago, I decided that I wanted to continue to take pictures of our space as it changes. 

This is our zone a bit ago:

And when we first moved in.

Lately? Well, too much has migrated in there. I moved the play kitchen into the real kitchen, but didn't stop there. I took just about everything out, leaving very little.  And you know?  The kids are playing different things, they're playing better together and they are enjoying the space to spread out. A good decision, offering less.  The excess is put away and will be new and exciting when it comes out next.

Our new space:

 They have been loving it.

 And that kitchen playset?
 Now that it's in our kitchen, it's finally getting used again.
Sometimes a bit less and changing things up is best kind of 'new' we can give our kids.


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