27 June 2008

When the Mice are Away, The Cat Will...

Our latest round of SoulPerSuit (going through the book of Colossians) had an intriguing challenge for one of its Shuffle the Deck activities.

Daily Digital 1. With your digital camera or camera phone, take a picture of the EXACT same object everyday in the exact same place around the exact same time. It is best if the object is organic or in an organic setting and something you can take a picture of EVERYDAY: a tree in your yard or other piece of landscaping, your face or the face of a family member, your breakfast meal, the surface in your house that collects all the mail, lunch bags, and keys, etc.

My digital camera broke recently though, so I adapted this Shuffle to fit my present circumstances.

This week was the first week in 9 years that I have been without ALL of my children for a part of my regular daily routine. I signed them up for a summer gymnastics camp. So while they are off for three hours, blossoming into Shannon Miller and Kerri Strugg, I've had the same three hours every morning to use as I will.
Here is a "snapshot" of how I spent my time.

Sweet Dreams
- Stuck around the gym to make sure the littlest one transitioned to her class well. (What was I concerned about? She chatted the teacher's ear off and bopped all over the trampoline like she was made of rubber. No socialization problems for that kid!)
- Went grocery shopping
- Arrived at the gym early to watch my kids in action (because even though I pine to have some time away from them, it kills me to know they're learning and developing in new ways that I'm not there to enjoy as their mom.)

- Watered the garden.
- Started a load of laundry.
- Secreted away some doll furniture that my girls no longer play with but insist on keeping set up in their room. I'm done stubbing my toes. And I hope they don't read what I just wrote. Otherwise I will be forced at screech-point to take the doll stuff back out of the closet. Let's see how long it takes the kids to realize that a giant chunk of floor space is now available for cartwheels and handstands.
- Dropped books off at the library and got some books for ME off of the shelves. The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, and Edible Wild Plants and Useful Herbs. Both to live happily on my extendo-bedside table for a few weeks. :)
- Visited the newest independent coffee shop in Frederick, La Dolce Vita, and sampled their Ghirardeli Chocolate Mocha. Sat out in the sunshine with its yumminess and worked on a SoulPerSuit card that is confounding me. (The drink and sun were delightful, the card still eludes me.)

- Tried to tackle that SoulPerSuit card. Made some headway. Now I know what WON'T work.
- Worked out another Colossians question I'm wrestling with. (Well, I'm still wrestling so I guess it's not exact to say it's worked out. Let's call it "deepening my conversation with the Lord." This conversation has been going on for a long time. And will continue until the day I'm buried. There's always a conversation running in the background.)
- Popped into Home Depot to get three quarts of paint mixed for my test patch in the living room. Moss Landing, Scotland Isle, and Asparagus. Someday... that living room is going to be great... someday...
-Popped into Target (right next to H.D.) and picked out a couple of new summer tops. Man, I hate shopping. Even if it's just me shopping for me. Get me outta there, quick! (I couldn't help thinking about the free time I was wasting standing there looking at the racks of clothing. But it needed to be done, and doing it solo was preferable to dragging the gymnastics team with me. I like the tops I picked. I don't even have to return them. (Double bonus!))

-Went to Wild Bird Garden to try to get some replacement tubes for our hummingbird feeders. They don't sell them anymore. Seems that no one does. :( So I bought a new (less artsy-looking) feeder to tide over the little guys until we can figure out a way to repair the glass orb feeders that I really like. Also bought a garden gift.
- Grocery shopping again. It's almost a luxury to do it by myself. Although... didn't I just say I hate to shop?? Cold watermelon sounded so good though.
- Came home and read blogs. Wrote a few E-mails. Read a few more.
- Wrapped up a gift for a friend.
- Ran the dishwasher.
-Wrote a blog entry. (What, publish it? No, no. (Because then you might think I was up to something.))
- Made my bed. Because I am a civilized being.
- Watered the garden.

- Met hubby at the gym so he could witness the agility and strength of our children. Once he walked in, the littlest one began flapping like a bird and no longer listened to her teacher. DADDY was there! :)
- Cleaned a bathroom in 10 minutes flat! Yeehaw!
- Vacuum the someday-to-be-verdant-green living room.
- Fix tuna salad for the gymnasts' protein lunch.
- Started the dishwasher.
-Hand washed the over flow dishes.
- Hung up the new hummingbird feeder.
- Made my bed. Because I am a civilized being.
- Composed a blog entry in my brain.
- Challenge myself to type this blog entry in 30 mins. (I'm 2 minutes over already. Drat!)

For someone who has often entertained dreams of what my life might be like if my kids went off to school, this week has been a good experiment.
Because even though I pine to have some time away from them, it kills me to know they're learning and developing in new ways that I'm not there to enjoy as their mom.
I don't think I could live this way permanently.


09 June 2008

How to Recycle a FreeCycle

About two years ago, our family scored a wooden play set via our local FreeCycle* group. After careful examination though, we decided that the 20-year old play set was not in the kind of shape we trusted for our kids' safety for the next 5-10 years.

I'd been wanting to start composting kitchen scraps for some time too, so my super-smart husband and father came up with a plan to turn the play set into a giant compost bin for me.

This is the clubhouse and sandbox portion of the play set...

... being remade into an air-circulating compost container.

Leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, dead headed flowers, coffee grounds, veggies overlooked in the garden and left on the vine too long... it all goes into a lovely pile of decomposing goodness.

That spring I was excited to plant a few things and began lasagna gardening in cardboard boxes. (You know what happens to cardboard when it gets wet and rained on?)
So with the leftover swing and support beams from the FreeCycled play set, hubby built frames for my vegetable garden. This is about halfway through the build process.

Laying out the square divisions.
Yay for no more soggy box gardens!
(I will have to snap a few photos of these things this year, because it looks really different and much nicer, now that everything has had a while to settle in.)

I use these gardening and naturalist books a lot.

And if you wonder lately where Erin has gone to...
look no further.

*Not familiar with FreeCycle? I'm
about to sound like a paid advertisement.
It's a great way to become a better steward of your possessions, finances and the environment.
Basic principle: Do you have something, anything, you want to get rid of? Post it on your local FreeCycle Yahoo group and see if there is anyone in your area who could use it.
Looking for something that someone else might have and not want anymore? Post a request on your local FreeCycle group and see if someone can meet your need.
FreeCycle helps to keep perfectly good items out of the landfills by connecting people who want to get rid of things to people who actually need/want/can use those very same things. Bricks, cars, makeup, household goods, clothing, roosters, kittens, windows, books, furniture, video games, sports equipment, plants, appliances, moving boxes, holiday decorations... there are very few things I
haven't seen on my FreeCycle board.
Search the Yahoo Groups directory to see if there's a FreeCycle group in your area.

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06 June 2008

When Your Juices Run Low

Feeling a bit scant in the creativity department lately?

The South West Creative Growers' Association is a family run operation that produces and harvets a wide variety of creative juices for folks like you and me.

Click below to take a video tour of their farm, it's quite a fascinating process.


04 June 2008

My Favorite Ellie in the Whole Wide World

is having a birthday!
8 years of living life loud.