Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apricot Time

Nate and I have been married for nearly fourteen years and I still find myself trying to impress him with my domesticity.  I don't know what that says about me--possibly some co-dependency, some self esteem issues, or what that says about our relationship--I don't think I'll go there.  But he's a hard guy to impress partly because his mom is hard to compete with.  She did everything.  She sewed, cooked, cleaned, canned, read her scriptures, went to the temple, fixed her girls hair and stretched a teacher's salary across ten people. 

When I try to compare myself with her, I'll always come up short.  But I find my efforts are particularly unnoticed and significantly unimpressive when it comes to apricots.  As long as Nate can remember there has been a large apricot tree, each year loaded with more apricots than most people can use in a season.  But this family wrote the book on preserving apricots and every summer was filled with making sure that very few of these apricots were wasted.  Apricot halves, apricot jam, apricot nectar--all things you'll find in quart jars filled the shelves in Nate's childhood home. 



So, when I excitedly gather up some apricots from my mom's tree or a neighbor's tree and get out my canning supplies, I don't get an equally excited vibe from Nate--not even close.  In fact last year he commented that he didn't even like apricots.  I guess I can understand.  That's a lot of apricots to consume over a lifetime. 

But weather or not I get "domestic points" for canning apricot halves and jam, I'm happy to have it a part of my summer days.  And I'm happy to make apricot time a part of my children's memories.  I like having buckets of apricots sitting around for kids to graze on and apricot pits to crack for the tasty nuts inside.  I'm happy for the canned apricots that my babies love (I don't even mind the orange poop).  I'm happy for the smell of apricots and the sight of quart jars full of beautiful apricots. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recent Finds

I've been lamenting how quickly this summer is flying by.  We've been so busy with company, projects and activities that it hasn't felt like we've had much time to relax.  It's particularly striking when I think of the last free Saturday I had to go yard saleing.  I really can't recall when it was--certainly not the past six Saturdays.  Rubber necking as we pass yard sale after yard sale on our way to some family function doesn't quite satisfy my treasure hunting bug. 

But have busy Saturdays stopped me from finding some really cool treasures here and there--no way.  As luck would have it, two neighbors across the street have had pretty decent yard sales recently and although I haven't been able to go out on my early Saturday morning yard sale quests, I could sneak away from company long enough to cross the street and snag a few neat things.

The bird cage stand was a perfect fit for a bird cage I already had.  I love how it looks in the garden--5$

The shabby wicker bench looks so inviting near the front of the house--2$

Cool old pail for the shed--1$

Super awesome metal rolling cart--5$

Vintage potato chip can--50 cents

Neat old stool--2$

Old vintage, and new hardback children's books--4$ for the lot

I'm glad I was able to get my yard sale fix even in the midst of very busy Saturdays.   

Monday, July 21, 2014

Treehouse Theater Workshop

Oh I love the community that we live in.  I love the proximity to the mountains.  I love the rivers that provide us with recreation and I love the opportunities for my children in the form of museums and programs.  I'm sure there are such museums and programs in every community and I'm sure some are much grander.  But none have their own private Wes.  Wes is the theater guy at the Treehouse Museum (I'm sure he has a more official title) and he is amazing.  During the school year he puts on plays for Children with a small troop (among other thing) and in the summer he runs theater workshops for children at a super reasonable rate. 

Last summer Byrdie participated in her first play.  This year she had one of the larger roles in the play.  It was so much fun to watch her this past week as she worked on her performance.  She learned so much more than memorizing lines.  I watched her grow in character as she negotiated working with others, learning persistence and overcoming fears.  Thanks Wes. 

Friday, July 18, 2014


We took three two year olds, two six year olds and two eight year olds out to lunch.  She commented that even if we had elderly couples on either side of us we wouldn't have gotten a sideways glance.  I was so proud.  I think it should go at the top of my resume. 

If something left an impression on you this week, feel free to share it here.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Pinewood Speedway Party

I had honestly expected that by twelve years old, Oliver's birthday celebrations would be tapering off to a couple of good friends over for a movie or a hike.  I hadn't thought that the older he got the grander the parties he'd plan.  But I'm a softie for sure and when my little/big guy has been talking of a pine wood derby party for 364 days, it's hard for me not to figure out a way to make it possible. 

It ended up being a lot less work than I had imagined.  This past spring while waiting for me to run into a grocery store, Oliver and Nate stumbled upon an appliance store/indoor pinewood derby speedway.  Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.  Washing machine and dryers on one half, huge race track with a jumbo screen to post times and places in a fancy digital format. 

But before we could even get to that point, Oliver delivered each friend an invitation in the form of a roughly precut pinewood derby car.  Along with the invitation to the party came an invitation to the pre-party--a car workshop in our yard complete with cutting, sanding, painting and weighing stations.  I felt a bit obligated to provide a time and place to work on these cars so as not to just add a project for some already busy parents.  As far as Oliver was concerned, this to part party was just another reason to hand out with friends.  He loved it. 

The racing was great.  The venue was nice.  All of the kids had plenty of opportunities to race their cars.  Oliver's car came in third place out of sixteen--kind of nice for the birthday boy.  I must admit, I think it was a really fun idea for a party.  I enjoyed watching a group of 11 and 12 year old boys work on their cars, talk about designs and names and race these cars in a fun friendly competition.  What a great age.  I think I'll always be happy to celebrate another year of life with Oliver--however he chooses to do that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pond Hike--Yes!

I find it hard to believe that it's mid July and this is our first (well, my first) hike to the pond.  Louisa went with her uncle and cousin two time previously in the week.  Our sweet little hiking club has been having some consistency issues this year.  It looks like it's all a great coincidence that someone's out of town on Friday, or there's a wedding or there's a big huge yard sale--oops, false alarm--but always something getting in the way of our outing.  And I really do hope that's the case, that it's just this year that isn't working so well for our group.  In my heart I fear that kids getting bigger equals kids getting busier and as a side effect our schedules aren't as open as they once were to weekly hikes with friends.  I really pray I'm mistaken and next year our hikes will resume full force with few interruptions. 
But before I begin to plan for the future demise of our hiking club, I ought to take time to appreciate the here and now and the beautiful day we spent hiking to my favorite pond.  As I gathered baby carriers, water bottles and snack packs at the car, Georgia walked on toward the trail ahead of me.  And in a perfectly clear, sweet two year old voice called out, "Mom, I'm waiting."  She knows a good thing when she sees it.  It was a lovely overcast day.  The mint was fragrant, the babies full of excitement at the prospect of getting wet, and the snacks and conversation shared were equally filling.  Nope, I don't ever want to be too busy for a day like this.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Skit Night

For a while now I've been wanting to organize a skit night for the kids.  I vividly  remember as a child attending a few such skit nights at a neighbor's house and they always seemed like such magical events.  The time finally seemed right, my children old enough to come up with skits on their own or at least perform something on a stage in front of an audience.  So we planned an evening when lots of cousins and aunts and uncles could both participate in the skits as well as take seats in the audience.

I was careful not to call it a talent show as I wanted to make certain the performances were strictly fun and amature friendly.  As a result, there was lots of laughter, lots of impromptu, spontaneous "acts" and no high expectations whatsoever.  Although I was pleasantly surprised when my three older children, with no hesitation or shyness, got up on stage and performed three numbers in a row--none of which I had taught them or had them rehearse.  They were silly songs and poems that Oliver learned who knows where and taught to his younger sisters complete with actions.  It was really quite adorable and this mama's heart was bursting with pride--not for their talents at acting/performing, but for this "magic" act of working together, playing together at something that was worth sharing with others. 

And since our opening skit night went so well, I think we're ready to open up the auditions to anyone else who would care to join us for another go of it.  Although really, no audition is necessary, come and give us a laugh.  There's plenty of seating and we'll pop some more pop corn.