Monday, November 14, 2011

Recap- Party #1

The first party as both hostess and consultant worked out great!  I had an interesting people from all the paths of my life:  friends, neighbors, relatives, and homeschool moms who live nearby.  My best friend Jamie came up from Albany and brought along her sister-in-law.  I think I had ten guests here, but also had several orders from friends at church, neighbors and more moms who couldn't come on a Thursday night.

The biggest hitch to the party was probably that I couldn't find an great place to stand in my living room, because it is long and narrow.  From the best place to be seen by all, I wouldn't have any place to put my materials within easy reach.

The party proceeded through the Five Senses tasting, and then I served the mousse I had made with the Swiss Bittersweet.  It was delicious and so velvety!  Daughter #2 gave us a generous helping of whipped cream with it, and since I had a lot of people, I served it in little cups and got 24 samples out of a recipe that should make 8-10 servings.  Soooo good.   Then we proceeded with the truffle samples, guided by the catalog page.  The most popular truffles that evening were coffee and dark orange.

Because this was my first party, I was both the hostess and the consultant.  I thought it would be double-dipping to take the prizes as the hostess, but my supervisor assured me that the generous rewards were for me!   I got the promised snowman truffles & Lindt Bears, as well as a nice credit and some half-price items that I used to order more supplies for future parties, like more coffee truffles & some dark peppermint!  I am excitedly stalking my order on-line (the label has been printed), and waiting for it to arrive.  My husband is stalking the the leftover samples and complaining about not getting any (because I need them for another party this Friday).

When I began this adventure, I realized I had some serious Fear of Failure issues.  All I wanted was to make back my investment and not crash and burn, having wasted the money.  I am happy to say that I made my money back at my first party!  So from here on, although I have to order supplies and things, I am making a profit.  I have more events booked, and many more leads to follow up on, some sort of surprising!  Now I fear that I won't be able to keep up with it!  I know that business may not always be quite this good~ I am riding a wave of holiday gifting, etc., but I for now, it's going to be great.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

First Chocolate Party

Tomorrow is my first Lindt Chocolate Party.  I have invited friends, family, neighbors and moms from co-op.  I've asked them to bring friends, and I've sent reminders.  I have three orders already!
I picked out a chocolate mousse recipe to serve at the party, and my sweet hubby loaded our digital picture frame with a slide show of pictures of Lindt Chocolate- what better way for a techie to show his support!  He also mopped the kitchen floor.

Tomorrow I will clean some more, cook the mousse first thing in the day, and review all my materials so that I can look and sound like I know what I am doing.  I am very excited about this project; it is a new and different kind of home business/party format- the most common response I get is, "There are chocolate parties?"
I do have another party booked for next week.  Response is positive.  And I have resisted the urge to munch on my samples for an entire week...ok, I did eat one, but that was to find out what it was.  It was research, really.

If you happen to be curious about the catalog or becoming a consultant, there is a link in the right side sidebar to take you to my Lindt site.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

TOG Year 2 Unit 1 Celebration

This week we celebrated the end of Unit 1 of our second year of Tapestry of Grace with a Medieval Feast.  The feast was attended by the queen's mother, a jester, a couple of peasants, and a noble from a neighboring country.  A knight recently returned from the holy land regaled the guests with tales of his travels, and the princesses of the court were basically in charge of the facilities and proceedings.  Somehow, the appearance of the king and queen were not recorded.  
The Royal Menu:  Cider, Mead, Rose Petal Bread, Cabbage Stew, a variety of cheeses and leafy greens, pheasant (fried chicken from the deli at Hannaford) and Boar's head (canned ham).

After the meal, festivities adjourned outdoors for an archery demonstration and a joust.  One of the princesses converted to a Joan of Arc, and the other to a Viking warrior (you may notice it's Astrid from How to Train your Dragon- I found the costume at an Impact Thrift Store on our recent trip to PA and didn't realize what it was.)  It did the job though!  

 We played some games, the names of which I do not recall, and then came back inside to play Medieval Games on the Wii (it was chilly out after all).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Home Business

I've got a new subject to blog about.  Today, I became a Lindt Chocolate R.S.V.P. Consultant.  I'll be doing home parties etc. like you see with jewelry, dishware, purses, etc.  I have never done anything like this before, but it seems like a good idea.  I've been looking for something "me" to do.  So, if you live nearby and would like to have a fun night sitting with some girlfriends eating chocolate (and really, why wouldn't you?), let's talk.  I should have my starter kit in about a week's time, and now I am busily preparing and watching videos.

I think it will be fun to chronicle my experience here. so this may be the beginning of a series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The View from Buck Mountain

For Todd's birthday we climbed a mountain, something he would like to have done more of during this busy, busy summer.  Sadly, we were a week ahead of getting really prime fall foliage colors.  The weather was nice, warm enough to sweat a little while climbing but not terribly hot.   The walk itself was muddy, since the weather has been so wet this year.  We crossed streams and slimy patches on rocks and wet logs.  When we got near the top, other hikers on their way down congratulated Little Princess for her success.  She definitely started to lose her steam and needed some encouragement right about there!

 Buck Mountain is on the East side of Lake George.  From the top we watched speed boats and sail boats on the Lake and pointed out The Sagamore resort and The Narrows.  It was a hazy day.  The breeze at the top felt chilly!  All told the climb took us about 5 hours, average speed 1 mile per hour.  Some of us have long legs, but one of us doesn't!  We didn't spend too much time at the top, since we didn't get started until after lunch and it would have gotten dark if we had waited much longer.
This was an excellent way to spend a Sunday afternoon in October and we recommend it to all our able-bodied friends!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Baptism

I rarely do anything the usual way.  I guess my parents raised a non-conformist, and if I had to guess I'd say it was on purpose.  (Although I must confess I struggle with this habit all the time.  I don't always want to stand out, but I am who I am.)  I've been told I think differently at Bible study, and that we didn't get called to our ministry overseas in the "right" way. (We got type of ministry first, love for country later.)  So, it should come as no surprise to those who know me that, weeks before my 36th birthday, having considered myself a Christian all my life, I got baptized last week.

I'm no expert on all the traditions of the denominations, but the "usual" ways of baptism might be these:  1. Infant baptism, which was done for me by sprinkling,  2. Teenage baptism, by whatever means but usually when a child is considered old enough for an adult decision (13 or 14?).  3. Adult baptism, by either means, usually when a person has just become a Christian or has experienced a major change in heart and desires a public re-commitment.

I haven't had any major leaps of faith lately.  Certainly, God is at work every day in me, but the basic idea that I am a believer in Christ has not changed. When I was in college I felt like I learned who Jesus actually was for the first time and had to ask myself whether I'd still follow Him under the new definition.  So if I made an adult decision I made it then, but without fanfare.  It was no public event, nor have I a date to cite as some do.

 I knew when my kids were born that I wanted them to have the experience of adult baptism, and they were dedicated as infants instead.  For some of their births we were in a church that practiced dedication, but for the younger ones we were in the same denomination where we were both sprinkled as infants.  At that time we went with the non-conformist route and asked that they be dedicated anyway.  We had accommodating pastors for this.  Two of the kids then decided to ask for baptism when they were 7 or 8, so they were sprinkled.  They were old enough to agree with their dedication then that they wanted to remain in the church, and I didn't want to hold them back from this expression of faith.  I do still hope that they will want an immersion baptism when they are older.

Why, then, decide 18 years later to have an immersion baptism?  In truth I have wanted that for quite some time. In preparation for graduate school I took a theology class and came to understand the nature of the idea and the different understandings of baptism for myself for the first time.  The debate over the idea of Re-baptism (or the Anabaptist movement) was actually a Pretty Big Deal in church history.  I am thankful that we've come to a place in history where we can agree to disagree on these things, and nobody dies.  My personal decision and the one in place for our kids is that Biblical baptism took place when an adult made a decision.  People have set in place other traditions and meanings for this, and these have made sense to them in their time and setting.  But I wanted the experience that most closely resembled the early church.

Having decided that so long ago, I have attended several baptism services where I wished I could participate.  It seemed wrong to agree in principle with it, yet to never have done it.  Sometimes, I had missed the opportunity to prepare for it (a required class or interview), or was a guest at the church where it was happening.  Basically, I hadn't pursued it because I was waiting for Todd to agree with me and join me.  He had basically the same experience as I did with infant baptism and adult decision.  For a variety of reasons that are his own, he wasn't ready to join the Anabaptist movement until the opportunity presented itself again two weeks ago.  We got the call on a Thursday, confirmed that we wanted to do it on Friday, and were baptized on Sunday.
I know that this ritual only confirms something that took place in my heart, and works no magic of itself.  Christ regenerated me, not the bath.  But it feels good to bring my experience in line with my beliefs.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Washington County Fair 2011

One Friday morning, as I was getting dressed, I heard a knock on my bedroom door.  "Mommy, can you wear tie-dye?  Please?"

With a little borrowing and trading, we all loaded into the car, properly attired, and headed for Greenwich, NY- to the Washington County Fair. Washington County happens to be very agricultural, and as a result, this fair is one of the best.  Anywhere.  Todd and I learned firsthand how sad a County fair can be when we were living in Wheaton, Il, and attended an itty-bitty one. A midway, a flea market and a couple of food stands.  Very disappointing!

The Washington County Fair also happens to be the site of one of the worst e. coli outbreaks in American History, which is why you see lots of these:

But don't worry, I believe it's now the cleanest, safest Fair in History as well. 

We didn't go to the Fair for the rides.  Too expensive!  Each kid got one, because we are misers.  They are 4 tickets each, and tickets are $1.00!  Are you kidding me!  We could have gone on a Ride-all-day-for-$20 Day, but it still would have run us $100 before food to do that.  We decided the kids were content to enjoy the rest of it and skipped the midway for the most part.

First, we attended the tractor pull, but that was mostly just so that we could say we did.  No one seemed to "get" it.  Besides, at 10am those bleachers were right in the hot sun. Moving on, we saw some pig races and wiener dog races.  of course there was also a "magic" show to watch, which was more song and dance.  We visited the barns and milked a phony cow. We also got some chocolate milk from the Creamery table and some cheese samples.  We are all about the free food.

I personally like the barn full of poultry and bunnies.  There were some unusual animals in there!  I couldn't help but take pictures. 
This bunny thinks he is a Siamese cat.
Some kind of rooster.  Very special.

Pheasant?  Quail?  can't remember.

I took this picture because The Little Princess said these were her favorite.  Different barn, of course.
We also visited the local sheriff's office, where the kids got little picture ID's made.  Complete with fingerprints. 

Our fair food choices were maple cotton candy, lemonade, cheese's one of those times when you just don't think about the fat content. 

Towards the end of our time we discovered the 4H youth scavenger hunt.  Some of the items on it we had already seen, but we had to finish it so that led us to find the draft animals barn, which we wouldn't have seen otherwise. 
At the petting zoo, The Giant and The Girl held baby chicks and killed them.  (They say they just went to sleep, but I am not sure.)  

Then for a finale, we got our free ice cream from Stewarts (full size cones!) and went to watch the acrobats. 

This woman was performing above nothing but concrete and it scared me.  Also, I strongly wish she had more clothes on.  I mean, is that really necessary?  Is it impossible to do a circus act with you bum covered?

By then, it was 5:30 and we had spent more than 6 hours at the fair.  People started pouring in the gates for the evening.  We were glad it was time to go.  That was enough fair for one year.

Friday, September 2, 2011

No Longer Gluten-free

When The Mayor had a birthday back in June, I allowed him and the Princess to go off of their gluten free diets.  We to this occasionally to see what happens.  Since we don't have a diagnosis of genetic celiac disease, the hope has always been that they would grow out of it.  I was allergic to wheat as a kid, but I started being able to tolerate it about the time I started kindergarten.  So, we had reason to hope that things would go the same way for him, and then, both of them. 

But the age of 5 came and went with no change in The Mayor.  Last spring when we tried it, he said that he felt fine, but I could tell that he was bloated, his eyes looked puffy, and, well, his bathroom habits changed.  If this seems like too much information, I'm sorry, but I am writing it to help others who might be struggling with the same thing.  It started to look like he was not going to be OK, so back on the diet they went.  it was even more obvious with The Princess, who wasn't using the bathroom alone yet.

Back to this year.  A few weeks after they went on a regular  (but vegetarian), diet, The Princess was obviously uncomfortable again so we took away her gluten.  I reported all this to the NP we see for their physicals and told her that I was ready to pursue testing with an endoscopy of necessary to find out for sure that they were, or were not, going to be gluten free forever.  As it turns out, you have to see a pediatric GI specialist to get an endoscopy, and they don't have those at our local hospitals, so I took them to Dr. Betzhold.  The office was kind enough to get them back to back starter appointments.

They ran bloodwork on The Mayor that day, because he had been eating a normal diet.  The plan was that if it showed any immune response to that diet, the decision might be made to do the endoscopy.  If he had a very strong reaction, an endoscopy wouldn't be necessary, and if he had no reaction, he would be cleared.  No endoscopy, no celiac, no diet.  to be specific, this bloodwork was for immunology, not genetic evidence.  he had genetic workup done when he was about 4 years old, but it showed he carried one gene and not the other, which is inconclusive.  That was why I thought we needed an endoscopy for a definitive diagnosis. 
We don't need one though, because they called a week after the initial appointment to say that his labs showed no response to the gluten.  He feels fine, so he is fine!  We can chalk up his earlier problems to am immature digestive tract.  They want to do labs again in six months to confirm.

The Princess couldn't be tested that day because she had been on a gluten-free diet.   Dr. Betzhold advised her to eat a (gluten) cookie a day for six weeks, and then come back for a blood test, rather than eat a full regular diet and feel very sick.  She has been very careful to make sure she gets her cookie every day!  Unfortunately, I can tell she's been eating cookies because she clearly doesn't feel well.  I don't know if her current spate of the crankies is related to it, but the um...other evidence, is present.  She'll get her bloodwork in late September.

I'm glad to have one less child on a special diet.  There are a great many gluten-free products on the market, and they taste pretty good, a huge improvement over the late 1970's options according to my mother.   I remember crumbly rice flour cakes laced with coconut to moisten them.  I'm still not a fan of coconut...  But these miracle foods are expensive, and most vegetarian meat substitutes contain gluten, which limits the options.  And boy can that boy put it away!  So, I'm happy for him and for me!  For a long time we had this issue on our prayer cards, so I want to thank everyone who was faithful in praying for The Mayor's tummy to heal!  Please, keep it up for the Princess!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


There are many reasons for me to be thankful about living where I am; I am pondering a top ten list with photos some time.  But for now, I just want to mention how happy I am to be gardening this year.

When we owned our little house, I had a garden.  I didn't take good care of it.  I got tomatoes with black spots on them, and weird little curled up cucumbers.  I was told the latter was from not watering evenly, which is exactly what I did.  We had sandy soil and I would get bored with the garden by mid summer, go on vacation, and forget all about it.  Lame, I know.  It would just get away from me.  I didn't weed it enough.

One fall, I raked all the leaves from our one-acre plot onto the garden.  This is really saying something; only raked the front half of the yard, but we had a lot of leafy trees and dragged tarp-load after tarp-load onto the tarp-sized garden.  Then, on a poorly chosen day, I got bored and dropped a match on it.  Since the leaves were too many to be tilled under, I thought I'd hasten their decay with fire.  Did I mention we lived in a no-open burning Town?  Or that it was a very windy day?
I didn't burn the house down, cause a wildfire or get a ticket.  But I'd get a driveway from the fire department, after the wind picked up the think smoke of damp leaves and carried it across the road at the front of our house.  Hi,guys.  Thanks for swinging by.  Nothing to see here.  I've got my garden hose and it's all under control.  

The last four years we've been in such a state of flux that planting a garden was out of the question.  We weren't staying anywhere long enough to see it through, or weren't in the same place in the spring that we would be in the summer.  There are garden spaces on the campus where we stayed last summer, but we weren't there in spring and didn't know how long we'd stay.  I thought about it several times and would have liked to have a plot, but it just wasn't an option.

So this year I've got the space that was my father-in-law's garden.  Since, you know, we're living in their house, and they are not here.  So I get to have a garden again.  I'm still not very good at it, but I'm doing two things differently.  One, I caved and used the black plastic layer over the dirt, so there'a whole lot less weeding to think about.  This always struck me as a lazy way to garden, but this year I've come to terms with the fact that I am lazy!  At least on hot, sunny summer days.  So, black plastic garden it is!  Caution:  hot on bare feet, but so is the sand under it so that's no difference.  The second thing that's different is that I can see the garden from the house!  Makes a huge difference, no kidding!  From my spot at this desk I can see whether the garden is wilting in the heat, and needs the sprinkler turned on.  From upstairs, I can look out in the morning and see all the blossoms opened up to the sun.  Some of them are huge!  And it's just a nice feeling to see that there, it makes we want to keep it happy.

When I planted the garden, I didn't keep a good track of what I put in.  Yup, still lazy.  Also, it poured buckets the next day and I think some of the seeds just plain got washed away.   So the spinach, lettuce and pepper plants from seed didn't turn up.  Peas that my husband insisted on having did.  But, they came up a bit close to the zucchini & squash, so now they're all tangled up.  Still getting some peas, though.  I see no sign of the green beans.  And the onions got overwhelmed (covered up) by the loose plastic, so I don't think they are doing anything either.
So, what've I got in that garden?  Cucumbers.  And they were even growing straight up until a couple of says ago.  We've got mounds of them!  I have long ones that are from plants I got from a nursery down the road, and in the spots where I planted from seed I've got stubby, fat and prickly ones that look like they want to be huge pickles.  I didn't think the plants were big enough to have fruit yet but I went out one day and there were 5 huge cucumbers!  They must be loving the very rainy month of June and early July we had.  I'm still deciding whether to try pickling, as the stove here is glass top and you're not supposed to use a canning contraption on it.  I have zucchini, and as much as I swore I was only growing a few because I didn't want to be inundated with them, here we are buried under gigantic zukes that become gargantuan overnight when you didn't even know they were there!  Zucchini bread, anyone? 

I also have a variety of peppers that we got from down the road- they were payment for some work hubby did - Bulgarian carrot chiles, purple jalapenos,banana peppers.  No regular green or red peppers.  Not sure what to do with these yet besides make chili- but I will probably make poppers at some point.  We've also got medium sized tomatoes that don't want to get red, and totmatillos- had to google to find out how to know when they are ripe.  Right now they are just big green empty skins.  We may get to make salsa. I have pumpkins that were supposed to be pie pumpkins but appear way too big to be pie pumpkins already, something that might be a watermelon, and a huge vine that's a member of the squash family and it going right over the outside edge of the garden and up the fence, but has no fruit on it yet.  As I said, I don't remember what I put where, so the jury is out on what that is.  Oh, and I am pretty sure I have an acorn squash, too. 

The Mayor wanted corn so there's a couple short rows of that, and in between them I planted garlic.  (I planted the corn twice because the first batch didn't do anything.) I know you're supposed to plant garlic in the fall, but they come in huge quantities, so I saved some for later but I tried some for now, too.  I hope to replant with spinach and lettuce crops for the fall weather, so I'll do more garlic then.  If there's one food item you go through a lot of cooking vegetarian cuisine, it's onions and garlic.  And really, the garden should be a kitchen garden, stuff that I will use, shouldn't it?

I enjoyed making pie from fresh pumpkins last fall, so it looks like I'll be doing a bunch more of that. Sign up now for your thanksgiving dessert!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Lost and Found

A few months ago, it came to my attention that The Girl was storing quite a lot of stuff in my purse.  I have always resisted the "mom is a pack mule" mindset- not that I don't carry a large bag, but I don't need everyone trying to hand me their bulletins after church, or their various and sundry articles.  No.  What I've got in there is MINE, unless you're an infant in diapers.

So I told The Girl I thought it was about time she got her own purse.  "Really!"  SQueeee!  Who knew that this observation would cause so much glee!  She didn't just pull out a kid's purse from under the bed.  We went shopping.  Carefully.  At great length, we found the purse at Penney's on sale for only $12.00!  It was a nice size, tan corduroy, with a couple nice pockets for Ipods and such.  She  took it to Nana who personalized it with some nicely placed butterflies.

So imagine our dismay when she came to me and confessed that the purse was lost.  It had sat forlornly in the upstairs hallway for quite a while, but she couldn't say just when it had gone missing.  To compound the problem, we'd been to Philly for a long weekend.  And to the 30-hour famine overnight at a strange church.  And about a million other possible places.  And the box that it sat next to in the hall had been taken to the Clothing Closet at church.

As time passed, I found out about a half dozen other items that were IN the purse and therefore, also lost.  The Pandora-type bracelet she got for her birthday.  My earbud headphones that stay in while I am jogging (not really).  The peace-sign wallet the "tooth fairy" brought when she got her molar pulled in Feb.  We were both becoming terribly sad about it.  I emailed people in Philly.  I called churches and libraries, pestered grandparents and aunts.   She cried.  I went to bed one night and prayed about it.  I know some people are programmed to do this for lost items all the time, but I'm not really.  I let the tempter convince me that God doesn't care about this, even though I have had the experience before of seeing in my mind's eye where I should look.

But I woke up the next morning convinced that the purse was in this house.  Moreover, I thought that it was in the little kids' room and that The Princess has stashed it with her toys.  We gave the room a half-hearted once over, mostly looking in toy boxes, and didn't find it.  I still thought it was in the house somewhere, but we had no place else to look.

Yesterday, I dragged The Mayor's suitcase out of the closet to pack him for camp.  This morning, I started digging through the closet to clean it out now that the big obstacle was gone.  (There are about 10 clothing items hanging in this closet.  We're pretty minimalist around here since our last home was a 30' travel trailer and we have one foot on an airplane most of the time.)  In the bottom of the closet there is some old blue luggage and a bag of clothes that don't quite fit The Princess yet.  And under that, voila!  The purse!!  The Girl wasn't here this morning, and I couldn't wait to show it to her when I went to pick her up.  We have been ever so happy since then.  Thanks for sharing in our joy!  Next time, I will listen to God and look a little harder when I have a revelation.  Now, if we could find the keyring The Giant lost...

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mr. Mayor!

 Eight years ago, The Mayor was born by Caesarean section.  An ultrasound predicted a weight of 11 lbs. 10 oz., so I was not given the option of waiting for a natural delivery!  Imagine my disappointment when he was "only" 9 lbs. 7.5 oz.!   As Mrs. Cosby used to say on The Cosby Show, 9 pounds of it was head!

Although he spent some time in the Special Care Nursery with high blood sugar common to big babies, he came home at the normal time.  And we went straight to the beach for our annual 4th of July picnic with the grandparents and cousins. 

He was welcomed into the family by two adoring older sisters...
who have since become the bane of his existence.

Even though I dropped him on his nose when he was 4 months old, he has turned out alright.
 At three, he climbed the lowest of the Adirondack high peaks, Cascade, without a complaint or a carry (except when we wanted to carry him in a certain place).  We were impressed.
 At four, he became a big brother.  Usually, he loves to play with and take care of The Princess.

The Mayor earned his nickname at Easter a year ago, when we went our to dinner with Grandma, Grandpa and Great-Grandma.  We walked into the restaurant and he took over, telling the hostess exactly what we needed and where to seat us.  He was very charming about it.  He is, like his sisters, very friendly and talkative, and has never met a stranger.  So the nickname fits because he is always willing to have a dish of conversation with someone and tell them how it's going to be.

he attended public school kindergarten for about half a year, and has been home-schooled ever since.  We started homeschool because we were moving around a lot, but I think it's really beneficial for him because he can move at his own pace, which is fast!  He took of reading very quickly, and now read, spells and does math way above grade level.  I think if he were at school, he would do his work quickly and then talk to other students, which is what happened in kindergarten.

One thing homeschooling has done for him is to ignite a love for birdwatching.  Once while bike riding near Philadelphia I told him I thought I saw an oriole and he told me what sound it would make if there was one; something we had learned months before, but he remembered.  Moments later, we heard it call and his eyes lit up!

Today he is packing to go off to Pirate Camp on Sunday, where no doubt he will charm everyone again.  It's exciting because this is his first year to stay a whole week instead of half! He was ready to stay longer before, but camp wasn't ready for him!

Things sure will be quiet around here while he's gone, and I predict the Princess won't know what to do with herself without her big brother. 

After camp's over, we're going to see a Pediatric GI doctor to find out once and for sure whether he has celiac disease or not; he's been on a gluten-free diet since he was about a year old.  We were hoping that he would grow out of his sensitivity, as I did, and genetic testing was inconclusive regarding celiac.  He's been on a "wheat test" all this week and so far, I have not seen any reaction which is great.  He is not even cranky.  But I am not sure he would tell me if he did have a tummy-ache, because he likes eating the wheat.  So we'll leave that up to the medical professionals. I would love to see his "special tummy" go away!

What other special events await an 8-year-old boy?  Can't wait to find out.  I've never had an 8 year old boy before!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Trying to Stay Busy

Todd has been overseas for more than a week (see link in sidebar).
I used to put off doing fun things while he was away because 1.) I felt outnumbered and 2.) I didn't want him to miss out on things.  Then I realized, *he's* overseas.  We are the ones missing out!  So, I should go ahead and do fun things. So this year my goal is to keep everyone as busy as possible.
Here's a sampling of what we've been up to:
17th: Airport. On the way home, stop at Borders to get free books. Old Navy, Wal-mart, AC Moore.  Exhausted.
18th:  Homeschool Co-op Year-end picnic, even though we didn't go to co-op this year.  We will go next year.  Good chance to make friends.
19th: Father's Day picnic at my sister's, since we already celebrated Father's Day and birthday with the other Grandpa on the 15th.
20th:  We went to the beach with some friends in the afternoon.
21st:  Stayed home to get some housework and paid work done.  Should have waited a day... Soccer in evening.
22nd:  Intended to go strawberry picking, rained out.
23rd Rained out.  Orthodontist, Library.  Went to soccer anyway!
24th Rained out.  The Mayor went to a birthday movie with Grandpa. 
25th Rained out.
26th:  Birthday party for the Princess and the Mayor, NOT rained out despite ominous clouds.  Thank you GOD!
This week:  Rec basketball, Extra Tae Kwon Do, Library Summer Reading Kick-off party, physicals for 2, Overnight with friends for 2, Soccer, church.  Week after:  Mayor goes to camp, family picnic at Schroon (at least I think we are still on for this, even though B-I-L has a broken leg).  The girls will start volunteering at the library, have volleyball camp, go to the ballet...and at the end of the week, The Girl has her Green Belt I test at Tae Kwon Do.  Daddy comes home on a Monday.

Yep, I think I have succeeded in keeping us all busy for these three and a half weeks!  It doesn't actually end there: we will have a very busy summer lined up with more weeks of camp, summer enrichment classes, and the math lessons that I have not let them stop doing.  I finally stopped saying "we'd better not sign up for stuff because we don't know if we will be here..." Now I say, "If we leave, we leave, it's not that great of a loss to have spent $35 on rec programs."  I'm letting myself and our kids invest in life here like we live here and are not just passing through.  I hope I'm wrong.  But for now, it's okay.  Good, even. 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Rose Garden- The Yaddo

 I'm happy that I remembered to go to The Yaddo this year before the short season of blooming had passed.  We were here two years ago on the Giant's birthday, so now I have a mental peg to hang it on, that helps me remember when to go. Even though Todd was getting ready to leave the country the next day, we took a couple hours last Tuesday to visit this peaceful, free retreat.

The Yaddo was the home of Spencer and Katrina Trask, and after Katrina's death it became a retreat for artists.  Only the gardens are open to the public, but there is a mansion where writers, choreographers, filmmakers, sculptors and others come to work.

I don't have much to say about the visit, I just wanted to share the pictures.  I will tell you that we didn't pick the flowers that you see us holding or wearing; we learned last year that you can find the spot where they dump the clippings and get some nice flowers or petals from it, so that's what we did.

If ever you find yourself in the Saratoga Springs, NY area in mid-June, I hope you will put this spot on your list of places to visit.  Unlike a botanical garden, nothing here is labeled- so a visit is not primarily an educational event, although one could make it so.  It's an opportunity to enjoy the scenery, it's romantic, and it's quiet.  No responsibilities.  In fact it's enjoyable when the flowers are out of season, as well as for picnics, the koi pond, and the water feature (although that's awaiting repairs at the moment).