My trees


I admit, I'm a broken record talking about my trees.  Our full sun backyard is hot in the summer. I yearned for some shade trees 8 summers ago. I located some volunteer seedlings, tended them, gave them manure, kept the weeds down. Now I have these two awesome shade trees in our backyard. One for hammocks, one for the swingset. Everytime I look at them, I think "They look like this because I put in the effort."  I love them so.


Anna-Kate picked out quarter hats x3.  

Plus we got these laminated placemats (which we use for play doh mats, a couple of treasures for Anna-Kate with her birthday money, home alone and books. Always books. $5. 
And my more 'expensive' lot: Simplicity Parenting, a needlework, bee boots, cowboy book, the movie Christy and some bird documentaries.  $11. 

My little reader

 How many pictures of my little reader would be too much?  I don't really care, I'll keep on snapping those photos.  (The computer ones are library story hours)

My girl

My girl, who loves a good historical costume, is exploring a new one now.  She's been making all sorts of dyes and teas. Feathers everywhere.  She's been draping cloths and pinning feathers to dress Anna-Kate up and she even got Adrian to dress up (inspired by this book).  Adrian is someone who is shy about dressing up, but somehow he was wearing just a loin cloth, lots of feathers and some animal skins running around here. He did not want his picture taken, but I will enjoy that memory forever.  Love my history lovers.

Homeschool mornings


I am realizing that I document our homeschool journey so little, which is odd because it not only takes the most time out of all that I do, but I also spend a significant amount of brain power learning, planning, deciding and executing.  I am not someone who follows a boxed curriculum, so my mental energy is often in homeschool mode figuring out the who, what, when, where, why and hows about things. For our family, I believe homeschooling is a lifestyle, so we homeschool year round, each season having a different pattern, rhythm, purpose and plan.

We've been enjoying our slow starts to these spring days with read alouds with simultaneous painting/drawing and then planting/gardening the rest of the day. Adrian said:  "This is just the relaxing morning that I was hoping. I can't think of anything more perfect than listening to books while painting and then doing a little big of gardening."

I love his thoughts and I also love his truck paintings and drawings (drawing/painting trucks is his favorite hobby).

I just invested in these watercolors, which I highly recommend. 

We just finished this book, which I highly recommend too. It's basically a nature journal/nature diary of an owl and the man who worked to rehabilitate him set between Maine and Vermont. It was written for 9-12 year olds, we read it as a family read aloud. I was as excited as the kids to get back to find out what happened.

We've all kept nature journals for years.  These are different faces from Owls inspired by book, drawn by Audra. 

I cannot pretend the rest of our day is successful and smooth (although I wish it was so), but our mornings have at least been off to a good start with our spring morning rhythm. I don't know if my readers out there are interested in our homeschool journey, but perhaps I should document our homeschool days a wee bit more. There's good, bad and ugly to our days, I can't pretend it's all roses.  But, we keep moving forward, trying to find the joy as much as possible. 

Maine Wildlife Park

We celebrated our last day of our homeschool co-op at Maine Wildlife Park.

My little beauty wearing the woodland dress I made her.
Didn't get my camera out enough, but what better way to celebrate being a Mainer than with a moose? 

Add a peacock, just because.  

Happy (what would have been ) my mom's birthday

 Happy (what would have been) my mom's 70th birthday. We celebrated with ice cream. She'd pick a hot fudge sundae, with extra fudge, yes on the nuts, cherry unnecessary, with a side of iced water. 

We are released from our 10 days stay at home and each had our ice cream our own way and consumed it at a spot I know she'd enjoy.

Kids asked if I was sad. I told them I'm more thankful than sad.  I never felt unloved. I was always cared for. I had a great example of a good mother, a Christian woman, a person who sacrifices herself for others.  I am thankful I had 15 years with her.  She would have had a ball with her grandkids. 

Stay at Home

The kids are rounding out their 10 day quarantine tomorrow. We're all 100% healthy, thankfully. I worked hard to make the kids' stay at home time fun. Apparently I succeeded, as Adrian asked if we could do another 10 days of quarantine. 

What did I do?  Well, we set up a fire pit with a free standing chimney stove thingy from a friend (thank you Crystal!). I set it up between two maples that I have been fertilizing and caring for, hoping they'd grow enough for shade in our all sun backyard. One is a source of shade, finally (hallelujah) and the other is on its way. We ate outside for just about every meal these last 10 days.  Plus I bought stuff for ice cream sundaes and stuff for s'mores. Lilacs are in full bloom and our secret garden (which was garden for decades and is so overgrown) is gradually having the layers peeled back (will I ever get it back to a non overgrown state?!).  The kids pretty much spent a heck of a lot of time outside the last 10 days. I dare say we have an amazing place to quarantine. 

Can you see the maple on the left of the picture below?  That was a random seedling when we moved and I said, "Please grow and provide shade for us, have heaps of manure to help." Look at the picture above on the right.  That's the next tree I'm giving growing pep talks to. 


I've been remiss in mentioning our hiking adventures.  Most often we do one or two hikes together on the weekends (I've been leading our outdoor learning hikes for our homeschool co-op this semester). My husband usually brings the kids for Friday hikes while I'm at work.  I often will bring them on another hike throughout the week. We are all weather outsiders, all days of the week.  Unfortunately, I rarely think to bring my real camera on hikes and I do not have a cell phone (gasp).  My husband took a few with his phone recently. I'll try to remember my camera more often, we have been to some beautiful places. 



 Just a little plug for rescuing animals. 

Copper (above) is from Mississippi.  Holly below is from Arkansas. Our late dog Kammie (not pictured) was from Alabama. (Side note, both girls are in mama mades. <3 ) 
Zippy is a stray who found us. The late Harley, Dusty and Zoom were all shelter cats. 
I cannot imagine us adopting a pet other than through a rescue.  So many animals need homes.  Do you have a rescued pet?

No Trespassing!

We have a problem with this man who walks the railroad tracks and thinks he can hunt in our backyard. When we try to confront him, he runs away. Adrian was and is livid about the situation. He fashioned a whole pile of "No Trespassing" signs and rode his bike to the property line with his hammer and nails. He came back with no signs left, confident his efforts will deter the fool. 



The delightful folks we bought our baby chicks from spent well over an hour answering all my kids' questions.  If you have met my kids, you know how they can rapidfire those questions.  


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