A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out and About

Just a little glimpse of our week of out and about...
We went to see some friends on their little homestead about 25 minutes away.  It amazes me that we can live so close to each other and go far to long without getting together more often than we do.  There is a bit of an age difference with the kids but they don't seem to mind.  Molly built a little village near their wood pile while Corey happily chased chickens and enjoyed his own little catch and release program.
Oh yes, the chickens came into the house..
 We went to the museum of art at Bowdoin College. 

We goofed around a bit getting some errands done

There was much digging for fossils and precious jems.

And finally a little hunkering down as we get ready for yet another snow storm...
Hoping now to get a little cleaning up done so I can justify starting in on a few new craft ideas that are brewing in my mind...
What have you been up to?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Day to Day...

Sometimes I am completely amazed at how quickly our days go by even when it seems we don't have that much planned.  I remember a time when I had two busy toddlers running around and my days were filled with breastfeeding, cloth diapers, more breastfeeding and more cloth diapers.  "It will be so much easier when they are bigger" I thought.  
afternoon nap fall 03???

Molly staying cool July 03

Not that I didn't enjoy every minute, but chasing little people around can be exhausting for sure.  Now here we are, they are "bigger", they are independent and wonderful and curious and exhausting!  Some days I think "please just give me the simplicity of a breastfeeding toddler"...how our perspective changes.  In some ways I suppose it is easier (whatever it is).  When Corey wants an egg sandwich he can make it, Molly makes muffins all the time, when prompted they put away their own laundry (I repeat...when prompted) and they quietly reading for their own enjoyment. 
Yet day to day life at times seems so chaotic that I struggle to find the time to get said laundry folded, plan our meals, vacuum and walk the dogs, let alone find time to create (my meditation of sorts), or write a blog post.  There are so many things to do with these older children...Molly goes to gymnastics practice 3 times a week.  Basketball has just ended so that; though sad for the boy is a little bit of a relief for me.  Of course he will start his cross country running group soon and he'll be just as busy but for now there is a bit of breathing room. 
The Odyssey of the Mind state tournament was Saturday so that part of our life will be a little lighter (until next year).  Leading up to this event has been busy for sure, lots of extra practices for both Molly and Corey's teams, last minute prop making at our house Friday, getting up before the sun on Saturday to make the 2 hours trek south all for an 8 minute production.  If you aren't familiar with Odyssey of the Mind  check it out, it really is a great way for kids of all different ages to use their creativity and learn to work together as a team. 
Right here at home there is school work to be done, projects to be planned, pianos and guitars to be played, walls to paint, ceilings to repair...
I could go on and bore you all with the minute to minutes of all that we do but this seems a bit of over-kill to me.  We like most families we know are busy and strive to find a balance within the day-to-day for all that needs to be done.  I'm learning to live with a little bit of a mess, and trying to figure out what really is important.  Nothing is going to change and I wouldn't want it to.  We are musicians, crafters, learners, growers, lovers and friends and have many things to do in this world.  So for today and every day I will find time to nurture myself and my family and trust that all will fall into place.  What else is there to do?  Right now cinnamon swirl bread is in the oven (one for us and one for special friends we are going to visit later), the kids are working on the patio excavation (which for them means digging for treasure) and I got a few minutes to sit and blog before we try to fit a trip to the library in on our way to friends.  What are you doing to make your day-to-day feel a little easier?  I'd love to know.
planning a skirt

the patio project

the excitement of a newly loose tooth!

Friday, March 25, 2011

This Moment

Joining Soulemama again for {this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wee Folks popping up everywhere

It seems that every day there are new little wee folks around here.  I have now received all of my peg dolls from the swap over at we bloom here.  They are all so uniquely different and equally beautiful!
I love them all.
The little family of forest elements came to me all the way from Kaya in Holland.
The sweet little bluebell fairy came from Cheryl at  Time to craft in the UK.
How bout that sweet Red Riding hood, she came from Heather at ozarkmountainmama in AR.
The lovely Japanese girl is "Saki" blossom of hope made by Jennifer in British Columbia.
And finally stitchcraftymama Miriam sent Madeline from Washington state.
I've never done a swap before and I have truly enjoyed it.  The best part honestly has been to see Molly involved!  She has here own little group of 6 children her own age and has received 2 so far:
She is anxiously waiting for 3 more and will display them proudly with these guys!  Her dolls were just darling and she really took time to write a sweet little story about them.
Since this swap little peg folks have been popping up everywhere in our home:
in a bowl of acorn caps
in and around the gnome home

trying to stay warm next to the wood stove
Corey has started a swap here at the house between he, his sister, and myself.  I'm sure they will continue to appear making their way into the gardens as spring shows it's face.  I will embrace and love them all.
Just adding a photo of the dolls Molly made for her swap, they are so cute and should have some spotlight as well.
Molly's doll inspiration came from The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow, they are little forest gnomes and sprites.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What a Difference a Day Makes

24 little hours.  After this fabulous taste of spring we have had for the last few days Mrs Thaw decided she needed a bit of a rest...
this is the same mud filled sled I posted yesterday about 2 hours after my post!  It slowly got colder throughout the day and snowed.   All day and night.  Not that we have all that much new snow, but it's new snow.  My husband just laughed and said "this would be great if it was November".  It's not unusual to have snow in Maine in early spring, I even remember a snow on my birthday in April once when I was a kid.  But none the less, I am just a little sad.  I'm ready to plant in the garden, lose the jackets and hats, and let the fire go out.  I know this will happen so for now instead of building forts in the spring air the kids are working on peg dolls (a constant around here lately) in front of the wood stove.

yesterday's fort building spot

Happy Spring!  I know it will show it's face again soon...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Thoughts on Homeschooling

We are still and may always be navigating this sea of homeschooling life.  It has only been a few months and I as much as the children (if not more) am still learning.  After much research throughout the fall I knew that one curriculum wasn't the way to go for us, after all each child is his own person and deserves the right to express that.  Not to mentions that I found different ideas from different schools of thought interesting and/or helpful.  I also knew that I didn't want "school at home".  By this I mean I didn't want to ring a bell in the morning, pledge allegiance to the flag, and do the same subjects in the same order for the same amount of time every day.  After all that is what they were doing in school, and this is home.  Beyond that though I wasn't so sure where homeschooling would take us,  I got some workbooks, talked to everyone I knew that was already homeschooling and tried to learn as much as I could.
I would like them to be learning every day (which they do whether I'm involved or not).   I do think that things like math are important, and while we do incorporate it into real life easily enough through cooking, sewing, and such,  we do some strait up math work.  It's boring, but we get it done.
I also studied both the state and national expectations for kids their age as far as public education was concerned so I could have some idea of where they were at and where they should be. 
But this morning I guess I had a bit of an epiphany of sorts.
I had written down some assignments for them on our chalkboard wall, math, grammar, nature study and geography today.  However, the boy wanted to go outside first and play.  I almost said "no, finish your work and then go outside".  Luckily a little voice inside me said "Are you crazy woman!  Let those children be out in nature, school's not going anywhere".  Fortunately for everyone sake I listened to that little voice.
So off they went in their puddle boots and a few less layers to "play".   When I went outside to see what they were up to I realized "hey, they ARE learning"!  To those of you who have been at this for a while I'm sure your thinking "well, yeah".  But I guess I just haven't thought about it in these terms before.  But there they were, working together to build a structure of sorts.  Learning to work as a team, learning about physics (Corey was all wound up about kinetic energy and what would and wouldn't hold the big heavy branches up). They put their heads together and got what they needed, it was brilliant. 
When I first walked out the front door I found this:
for anyone confused this is indeed a sled full of mud on my front walk.  My mouth was open I was ready to say "get rid of this mess", but instead I took a deep breath and simply thought "let them be, it's only mud".  I'm so thrilled with the day of learning they are having right now. 

 I learned a valuable lesson today, let go and let them follow their interests and passions. The learning will be there with them in all that they do, this is how they are wired!  I am happy with the path that we are on.  I realize there will still be bumps and unexpected turns, but I will try as I did today to see these situations as opportunities to explore, learn and grow.

Friday, March 18, 2011

This Moment

Joining Soulemama again for {this moment} A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring in Maine

This time of year here in Maine when we wake in the morning frost in on the ground, it's cold in our old house and nothing seems better than cozying up next to the wood stove.  Maybe baking some bread or other cold weather doings.
I've been tweaking this oat bread recipe this week, I'm trying desperately to master a good sandwich loaf.  Today I may have done it!  Grilled cheese for lunch was great.  Even better was the warmth of the sun.  By noon all the frost was long gone and it was 50 degrees!  If you live in the north-east, that's down right balmy! And balmy means heading down to the riverbank to watch the tide go out...
The kids were so excited!  The warmer weather meant no jackets and all the icebergs  that the tide had left on the rivers edge were just begging to be climbed on, stomped on and used as a diving board for our crazy dog Tucker!

 Tucker loves to swim and often would wade through the ice in the dead of winter.  Today though he was in the water for quite a while, the only thing that could have possibly made him happier would have been a tennis ball to fetch (silly me I left it at home).
 Sweet Molly was dressed entirely in mama made clothing today!  I'm pretty sure it was just to butter me up to make her more clothing.  We have the Molly peasant dress from Sis Boom and she has 5 or 6 variations that she would like me to get started on before out trip to St Simons Island in May.
The boy of course was just thrilled to explore and hunt for fossils.  I think he may need to start taking a wheel barrow on our walks as the rocks he tends to find and want to bring home can get pretty big!

I couldn't get a good picture, but there was a good sized flock of Canadian Geese that the we were all watching, another sign of spring at our house.  The geese were so loud the other night when Greg and I were in the yard we were sure they must be on the front porch!
Tomorrow is supposed to be even warmer and I must admit I am full of excitement!  I'm ready to work the soil, see the forsythia bloom and sit on the porch swing while I knit!
Hope that you found time to enjoy this beautiful day wherever you are!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yarn along

So a couple of my favorite blogs to read do this yarn along over at small things and today I thought I'd try joining in.
As is very typical for me  I have far to many things "on the needles" at once.  However, I am trying very hard to get this Tiny Tea Leaves done for a special little friend that just turned 5.  I'm knitting in Maine wool from Romney Ridge Farm.  I'm so lucky to have this place not far up the road from me!  This is the first time I've knit this pattern, I've seen it around in blogland for a while and finally decided I should give it a try.  I must say it's a sweet and pretty quick little knit and I plan on making one for Molly in a spring green.
As far as reading goes, I've always got several books that I'm reading and looking through at once, I guess my nature is to have far to many things going on.  I've pulled out The Woodchucks Guide to Gardening again as I'm thinking a lot about my spring garden plans. This book is a fantastic gardening guide as well as a guide to the natural world around us.  I've been leafing through School as a Journey a bit lately.  I got this book years ago when our kids were attending a  Waldorf preschool, now I wondered if it would at all be relevant to my homeschooling journey.  There's a Porcupine in my Outhouse has short little chapters that I can read for a laugh.  It's the misadventures of a "city boy"  moving to the north woods of Vermont.  And lastly I am slowly making my way through Life, Keith Richards autobiography.  What more can I say!  I am a huge Rolling Stones fan and have a good time reading about the crazy life this man has led.  It was a different time in music for sure. 
well, thanks to Ginny for hosting this yarn along!  I hope that you all have a great day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


It seems that over the last couple of weeks we haven't had as much of a rhythm as I would like.  Not that things have been bad, on the contrary things have been great.  However,  Today it does feel that after yet another crazy fun-filled weekend we need to slow down and find our rhythm again.  Maybe it's that our rhythm is changing or maybe it's just a sign that we need a new rhythm, time will tell I guess.
The kids are happy.  Corey informed me today that the best thing about homeschooling is that you learn something every day!  That tells me that something is working around here.
So what is our rhythm?  That is the real question here, and I'm not sure I have an answer.  I love what we do and don't want much to change.  The kids have been so creative lately. Molly wanted some forsythia for her room and took the time to make a plain ball jar very pretty by wrapping it with yarn.  I thought this was lovely and so imaginative of her.
 She also made this sweet owl yesterday to feed her ever-growing owl obsession.  It amazes me how independent the two of them have become with some of the crafting we do around here.  Molly needed no help what so ever with this owl and he's perfect!  Her embroidery detail is beautiful.
We got a new supply of peg dolls, so Corey has been adding to his Lord of the Rings collection:
My favorite is Legolas, notice the teeny tiny bow he's carrying.
This morning I came down and tried to get into things right away; I started laundry (never ending), I've got some bread dough on it's first rise:
I'm desperately trying to master a good basic sandwich loaf of bread...this one is an oatmeal bread that I have high hopes for.  I also managed to get some blueberry oat muffins in the oven before Molly came down and started in on some workbook work.
These kids do love going to school in their pjs!  The slower morning pace is a good thing around here.  We are quite busy most evening between my teaching, Greg's gigs, the kids basketball and gymnastics, this is often the only time we have to move a little slower.  They get their schoolwork done and read, or play, or build...taking their time.
I also took a picture of the first peg dolls we got in the mail yesterday from our peg doll exchange.  They are a sweet little family based on the natural elements, these of course being the green woods and forests. 
Ours have gone off in the post and we look forward to seeing what else comes over the next couple of weeks.  This little exchange has been much fun and a great way to connect with folks all over the world.  I hope to be involved in more things like this.
There was frost all over this morning, but the sun is shining down and warming the earth.  The puddle boots are ready to enjoy melting snow and greet spring.
So for today...I guess this is our rhythm, tomorrow it will change, and somewhere we will find what makes sense for us.
What sort of rhythms work for other folks?  I'd love to hear.