Wednesday, October 1, 2014

"What's in the Woods?"

"What's in the Woods?" The title of our very favorite place for preschool story hour, at Laudholm Farm. A historic farm by the ocean (that our neighbor used to hay when he was a teen), talking about some of our favorite stuff (nature!), with an awesome childhood educator (Miss Suzanne, thank you!). What's not to love?  These story times don't happen often, when they do we always try to go. My kids remember things they learn when they go and talk about it weeks/months later. "Remember the salamander, mama?" "We use magnifying glasses here." "I remember going on a chimpmunk walk here."  It's hard to leave the camera home when we go, it's one of my very favorite places to take their pictures.

I hope you enjoy coming along to story time with us.


 I can't think of a better way to learn. Thank you Miss Suzanne and Laudholm Farm.
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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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 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?
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Monday, September 29, 2014

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. 

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

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.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014


May your weekend be filled with all your favorite things.

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