Friday, December 11, 2015

Pretend Trees and Real Cake!

If I had it my way, we'd totally ignore the Christmas holiday season.  My kids are mostly fine with that, but do like to have *something* to decorate the house and of course like receiving a few thoughtful gifts!  Each year, the tree is a creative problem-solving task.
This year, I found a bunch of felt at the thrift store and the kids got to work!
I cut out a large tree shape and taped it to the wall.  The kids worked probably a solid hour on making ornaments.

Reed made a sweet Pokemon ball:
ZB cut a few large shapes and then cut up little scraps.  Now, these ornaments can be mixed & matched on different days, since nothing is fastened together, besides the magic of felt stickiness.
And in the last couple days since we've made this - ZB has woken up first thing in the morning to re-arrange ornaments or make new ones (or change old ones).

Earlier this week, Reed found a Southern Living 1986 Cookbook at the Goodwill.  He LOVES it! He's been busy making shopping lists, and cooking up a storm.  Today, he made mini pound cakes.  Fortunately, ZB informed us that it's Dolly's birthday today, so the cake would be in honor of her :)  It was delicious!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Rainbow Cape!

We had such a sweet (but too short!) visit with Sissa and Big Pa this weekend.  ZB was just tickled to get to reconnect with her grandparents.  And it starts a month of seeing all the grandparents, actually!  Sissa and ZB got to play dress-up, put on a puppet show and even do each other's hair.
The following day, ZB reminded me I had never made her the rainbow cape she had requested probably a month ago.  Such a slacker am I :)
ZB helped me choose and iron the fabrics.  I cut pieces while she drew shapes on scraps and cut those out.
I told her I would sew it after she went to bed.  She instructed me to wrap it in a piece of silk, tie it with a ribbon and put it in a gift bag, so there could be present-opening in the morning. ha!  This kid cracks me up!
 I think it turned out awfully cute, and ZB is pleased as well!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Homemade Halloween

Clay has decided he is too old for trick or treating.  He's 15, so it's not any great surprise :)  He did walk around to some friends houses who were having Halloween parties.  He and a few of his friends printed off pictures of a singer's face and used them as a mask and that was it for them!

Reed and Blossom, however, got fully in the spirit.  Reed worked for so long on his Link costume (from the Legend of Zelda).  He actually made a wooden shield by himself several months ago.  Then, he designed the costume and meticulously painted the shield just right!
Blossom wanted to be Tiger Lily from Peter Pan.  Every little part had to be just right.  She painted some boots just the right color, even!  The dress was pretty quick to sew and we had a fun time making our first yarn wig.
Reed went trick-or-treating with a group of homeschool boys.  ZB and I went with another group of friends who mostly have younger girls:
Blossom got about 20 pieces of candy and was delighted!  Hope everyone had a fun holiday!

Sunday, October 25, 2015


Halloween is in the air!  We are prepping for the Halloween Festival for the homeschool co-op (which I am helping to organize this year), making costumes and cramming in  few Autumn activities in any spare time!

Yesterday, I took Reed, Blossom and one of her friends to the corn maze.  They LOVED it!  For the first time, Blossom actually did the maze!
First, they practiced in the hay maze.
They entered the maze quite excited, though about 1/2 way through we had to take a little break!

After we found all the stations and hole-punched our map, Taran and Reed did the second, smaller maze.  Blossom was feeling about done with mazes until she found out that one maze was a story maze!  The stations told parts of a story, she loved that!
Next, we checked out the hill slides.  Blossom had forgotten that she came here 2 years ago and did the slides all by herself.  Here's her friend going down the slide, and Blossom sitting reluctantly at the top:
After much coaxing, she finally went down, and had no interest in doing it again.  While the boys slid to their heart's delight, Blossom sat at the bottom making a pile of straw... which then became a pillow for her to rest on!

We all had some fun in the corn box before we had to pack up for the day!
We had other things to do with our day after all!  Like make Halloween costumes!  Reed has actually been working on his for quite some time.  Blossom changed her mind so much about what to wear, that I had to put off making hers until pretty close to the holiday.  She is going to be Tiger Lily from the Peter Pan movie.  The costume still needs some tweaking and final details, but here's what we made so  far:

To end on a totally random note, just for an excuse to include more photos of this sweet girl, these are from dinner last night.  She was cracking us up.  She finished most of her dinner and proceeded to take her fork directly to the saurkraut jar.
I was a little worried about the size of bites she was taking, but she just kept munching away!  The girl loves her kraut!

Friday, October 9, 2015


ZB's little Waldorf preschool celebrated Michaelmas which is an old European holiday marking the beginning of Fall.  It was such lovely weather and was great to gather with the other school families.
There was a cape ceremony when each child received a silk cape they had dyed themselves with goldenrod flowers.  Miss Becca had out her apple press, and the kids could crank out organic apple cider!
After all the children had helped press apples, we had a picnic lunch with the fresh-pressed cider!  We're so glad for a break from the seemingly non-stop rain we've had the past couple weeks.  This was a sweet way to celebrate that Fall time has finally arrived!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Long Road Home (aka Magnaball Trip Part 5)

Monday morning.  Rumors of morning rain were circulating the campground, which gave a hurried attitude to lots of campers.  Some people had already packed up and left on Sunday night.  I was in no hurry to go anywhere.  We did slowly pack everything in the van, but we lingered, taking plenty of time to hang out with our campground friends for the last time and saying goodbyes (which, honestly were sometimes tearful ones).

With the car all packed up, I loaded Blossom into the wagon once again and walked up to the festival field, checked lost & found for some missing items, looked for ground-scores on the field (and found a few good ones!), walked to another campsite in search of other friends for goodbyes, said lots of goodbyes to people waiting in lines of cars, and finally meandered back to our van.

Only a couple miles from the raceway where the festival was held is Watkins Glen State Park.
Over thousands of years, the weak rock in this mountain has eroded away under the force of this river to create a most magnificent gorge with lots of waterfalls and small pools.
When planning this trip, I had planned to stop here on our way out of Watkins Glen.  But, like the many of Phish fans there, we should have planned it prior to the festival.  We were beat.  The scene looked like half tourists and half dirty festival goers resembling zombies.
So many stairs to climb!  We did a very short part of the trail, since we were all so worn out.  Thankfully, there were plenty of resting spots along the way.

We loaded back in the car and made the four hour drive south to Hershey, Pennsylvania to relax in a hotel room!
The following morning, we chose one last adventure which was very sweet!  We toured Chocolate World in Hershey.  It had a little ride (It's a Small World style) that showed the process of making chocolate through singing animatronic cows and lots of factory machinery.  We then headed into the Chocolate Lab.
Through computers, we designed our own chocolate bars and watched them be made on the assembly line.
This was a winner for both kids, of course, and we left with delicious chocolate bars!
A sweet ending to a long trip!

I had another stop in mind on our way home after Hershey, but at this point in the trip, my funds were depleted, so about 9 hours later, we were back in Asheville!  We had such a great trip, everyone got along and had a great time (minus a couple to-be-expected 4 year old meltdowns).  We saw new places, made great new friends, and have loads of fun memories!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Party Time! (aka Magnaball Trip Part 4)

Van is packed up with freshly laundered clothes, plenty of food and well rested family.  We head southeast through the Finger Lakes to the town of Watkin's Glen and check in to Phish's 10th Festival, Magnaball!
First order of business is setting up camp ... but oh it's so rainy and windy and dreary!
We were in Family Camping, and there was plenty of camaraderie as parents helped each other stake things against the wind and set up the essentials.  Once the basics were out, everyone pretty much hid out in their cars.  ZB played Cinderella as we waiting for the bad weather to blow over.
And by the next morning, it was dry and sunny and stayed that way the whole weekend!  It was so fun to see how the Phish festivals have evolved with the crowd.  I have been seeing this band for 20 years now.  I have been to one other festival, 17 years ago in Maine.  It was NOT kid-friendly.  It was a huge crowd of 20-ish-year olds having a blast, for sure.  But now, so many of us have grown up and started families, and LOTS of folks are bringing their kids to shows, so there are lots of community-made activities and support for the youngins.

On Friday morning, we trekked to another campground where a fairy-wing vendor was hosting a Fairy Tea Party for the kids.  So sweet!
We met lots of other little girls, who all became fast friends, sipped on pink lemonade and had animal crackers together.
We met up with some of our best friends from Asheville and their 12yo son.  The boys were immediately in search of, and found, a Phish-themed Rubik's cube that kept them occupied a good part of the weekend.
And the music, oh the music!  There were two sets on Friday night, one set on Saturday afternoon, two that night, and a "secret set" late night, then another 2 sets on Sunday night, followed by an amazing fireworks show!  ZB slept through a lot of the music, as she generally goes to bed when it gets dark, and that was fine.  It's certainly easier for me to not have to constantly look out for a wandering a 4 year old.  She did have a blast at the Saturday afternoon set where she could dance and play for the whole thing.
The Secret Set was not formally announced, but was heavily rumored among fans.  There was a big screen on one side of the field that had spacey images on it, and around 1:00 am, the band hid behind the screen and played a fully improvised hour of music.
The fun kid stuff lasted the whole weekend.  There was a promotion from a guy who makes Phish and Grateful Dead band members from Lego minifigures.  He was giving away some of them to kids that made lego signs and walked to the vendor tent where we was set up. 
Phish not only delivered with fantastic music all weekend, they made a genuinely fun festival field.  There was a science laboratory, a marching band that would make sporadic appearance, stilt walkers, a mirror maze, lots of creative art installations, and of course the ferris wheel that goes to all their festivals.
We had SO much fun!  ZB and I shed a few tears when it was time to leave.  I still don't have the heart to take off my wristband!  As Phish sings, "This has all been wonderful, but now I'm on my way..."

to be continued ...

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