Red Clover

Little Hen picked me a red clover bouquet and slipped it into my knitting basket on our morning walk to the park.   “Weeds” growing wild outside the park made a handsome centerpiece on our dining table.   I love how children find beauty in places we overlook. Where do your children find unexpected beauty?

Lilac Gardens

Pictures from our trip to the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens in Woodland, WA this past weekend with my husband’s mother, sister, and our niece.   If you have never been, we highly recommend the trip – just a short drive North from Portland. I can hardly wait until next year, when our yard will be ready to accept plantings – at the festival, we picked out six or seven lilacs we have to put in along the side of the house – some fragrant, some extravagant, some old-fashioned and just lovely in aroma and blossom (my favorite is a variety called

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Thrift Store Impulse Buy

First off, an apology on this  WordPress Theme – it’s having issues, I don’t like it, and will probably be changing it soon.  I’m in the middle of trying to work up a custom header, as well (that’s tougher than I realized!) so things maybe a bit wonky for a few days. Okay, on to the post – The children and I were out for coffee this morning with friends, and on the way home, we swung by our favorite thrift store. It was a pretty successful outing – especially considering these goodies only set me back $2.25 in total

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Little treasures, guilty pleasures

A few little luxuries of the past week – A thrift store visit yielded a new maple-syrup bottle and copper kettle for the girls’ dolls. A stop by Knittin’ Kitten – recycled silk yarn, rick-rack in lovely spring shades, and some trim for new skirts for Firecracker. Some stickers for the girls, sent by a friend inside a “congrats on buying your first home” card. A rainy-day visit to our friend’s bakery, Saint Cupcake.

Just two, toolin’ around the grocer’s.

Little Hen went to spend the night with Grandma, and the two younger ones had a great time hanging out together (who knew the grocery store could be so much fun?) (A little coffee to keep mama going during an 8 am grocery run.)

Tulip Festival

Since I am frantically trying to paint the new house  and pack at the old house this week, I’ll leave you with some pictures from last weekend’s trip to the to the Tulip Festival in Woodland, WA.  The tulips are a bit late this year, but the weather was near perfect, and we had a very nice time. (I won’t tell you the ridiculous amount I spent on my tulip, iris, crocus, allium, daffodil, hyacinth and muscari order, but I will be looking forward to their arrival in October!)


My favorite vacation desination – the beautiful sandy beaches of Sanibel, FL.  The shelling is the best in the world, and the water is clear and warm.    We spent our time making a “beach fairy sand castle”, collecting sea shells, watching shorebirds.  The girls also went kite flying with their Grandpa.   Wishing you a day just as sun-filled and relaxing.

Six Mile Cypress, Part II

More from our day at the Six Mile Cypress Slough.   I love being able to share my interest in the outdoors and birdwatching with the children.  My mother was excited to share her botanical knowledge and interests with us, too.  Not to mention the perfect sunny day spent exploring out of doors!  The new nature center was a big thrill for the girls – it was really well designed for young children (a rarity in Southern Florida, where children themselves are a rarity, it seems).  We had the place to ourselves, and the volunteers were eager to show the girls around

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Six Mile Cypress

The weather was a little cool for another trip to the beach, so instead we went for a walk in this gorgeous preserve. The entire walk through the slough is on a boardwalk, since the cypress preserve is flooded most of the year.     Last year we saw lots of alligators and a family of otters playing right in front of us.  No such luck this year, but we saw lots of birds (yay!), including green herons (below), white ibis, palm warblers, Carolina wrens, anhingas, great blue herons, great egrets.  Oh, yeah, and some non-avian wildlife - lizards, various turtles, butterflies, beetles.  My mom

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Prairie girls hit the beach

  This is why I love Southern Florida  – beautiful 80 degree days (in January!!) spent relaxing on the beach.  It was a windy day, but the sun was shining, and the girls were very busy searching for shells, splashing in the shallows, and building fairy castles in the sand.  Tum Tum really enjoyed himself, too.  After a brief attempt at eating the sand, he settled for just squishing his fingers and toes in it.   A pair of osprey kept circling overhead (their nest post was directly behind us), and he’d squeal with delight when they flew over. This weekend we’re driving

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Firecracker’s Snow Day

Pictures from earlier in the week, when it was a little warmer and less blustery, and Firecracker thought she might like to go play out in the snow.  She quickly thought better of it, and came in to warm up on the sofa, looking at some Dr. Seuss books with her sister and enjoying the snow from the window.  We are currently pretty much snowed-in and the latest news is that our flight out to my folks’ tomorrow may be canceled as the snowstorm turns into an icestorm.  So, since I have some time on my hands, I think may have

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Creamy Polenta Dinner

We finished this book, but the girls’ interest in all things relating to “life on the prairie” has yet to wane.  Firecracker had been asking all through the book, “What does salt pork taste like?”, so when we were in the area, we decided to visit the butcher at our local New Seasons to find some. He didn’t exactly have salt pork, but recommended some locally made bacon that was very salty, not sweet, and contained no nitrites or dyes.  He said it tasted very different from packaged bacon – much more like salt pork.  We ended up buying the bacon ends,

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Children’s Christmas Market

Our table at the Portland Homeschool Children’s Holiday Market, where our family sold homemade gift tags, peppermint bark, and marshmallows.  It was a wonderful venue for the girls to show off their projects, to raise money for various charities, and to network with other Portland homeschoolers.    We raised $28 dollars for charity and sold nearly everything we brought (prices were kept low, so all children could participate in the buying as well as the selling –  $1 each, or 3 for $2).  We met lots of other great homeschooling/unschooling families.  The girls came home with tummies full of brownies and a bag full of homecrafted goodies

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L’Arche Christmas Tree

Well, now that we’re living back in the city, there is no longer a farm down the road where we cut our tree.  So, instead we drove down the street to the grocery store parking lot, and picked up a little Oregon-grown table-top tree from L’Arche – a wonderful organization that provides community for the developmentally disabled. (Anyone else out there a Henri Nouwen admirer?)  We always do a table-top tree, because we have few ornaments, it’s easier with little grabby-hands babies around, and we go to Grandma’s house for Christmas, where she has a HUGE glittering tree.  (I couldn’t get my oldest to stop eating her

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We’re in love with OMSI!!

Last week, the girls took a chemistry class for primary-age homeschoolers at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  We came early, and spent much of our time in the Science Playground (a free-exploration area for those 5 and under.)  We haven’t had such a fun outing since our trip to Hood River.  The girls keep talking about what a great day it was. I couldn’t go into the chemistry class with them, since Tum Tum wouldn’t keep his safety goggles on (yup, even 5 month-olds have to wear safety goggles in the chemistry workshop!), so we chatted with the other

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Prairie Girls at the Farmers Market

The prairie girls make another appearance – at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market.  This time, they went for a more bohemian look, and were determined to sling their babies in some Indian scarves.  We grow most of our own veggies, especially fall ones (kale, beets, broccoli, chard, rutabega, peas, potatoes, turnips, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, cauliflower, cabbage, carrots…you get the picture), but we do run to the farmer’s market for fruit and things I haven’t managed to put in the garden.  This trip was for butternut and acorn squash, and the last of the peaches for the year. 

Orchard Country

This past weekend we took our annual day trip to Hood River, OR with my sister.  Reading Grace and Denise and Abby and Blue Yonder had me eagerly anticipating this trip.  The day met and surpassed all my expectations.    Above – Little Hen, Auntie, Firecracker, Me holding Tum Tum We were blessed with warm, sunny weather, pears to pick, apples to eat, alpacas to pet and fiber to purchase.   Now to the pear butter, apple butter, apple sauce, apple pies, spinning, and knitting that are waiting to be created!

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