Saturday, May 29, 2010

Singing and Dancing Recital

Pilot and Jetta had a wonderful day of performing last weekend in The Art Space spring recital and I had a wonderful day watching them from the wings as I directed the show. I had so many other students that have become like my children up there that I did not picture for their privacy. But I will tell you that their faces bring tears to my eyes. Their beautiful spirits and courage up on that stage and off the stage is remarkable. I feel lucky each day to be able to work with them and learn from them as I teach.
These pictures were taken by my sister in law, Jessica Earle from Essence Photography
Pilot as the Steadfast Tin Soldier
He just breaks my heart.

Jetta Tapping to Hairspray 
Shake it Up Baby Tap Dance

Ballet dance from Rodeo

Singing "Honey Bun" from South Pacific

Pilot and Jetta with me after the show.
After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

-- Aldous Huxley

What if imagination and the arts are not frosting at all, but the fountainhead of human experience?
-- Rollo May

Friday, May 28, 2010

This Moment: Blue Angels

{No words, just a moment from the past week that I want to stop and savor. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama.}
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

First Harvest: radishes

Jetta was so excited about picking the radishes. I think they could have used a few more days in the dirt, but her joy was worth the smaller radish.

There were all kids for funny shapes and sizes, but they tasted nice and spicy. After washing and cutting them up for the salad, Jetta tried one and unfortunately had to spit it out because she said it "spiced her mouth up".

Here she is so proud of her radish that she grew from seed. After she harvested the ones that were done, we put more seeds in their place for a second crop.

We have been so happy with our raised gardens which were inspired by this year. We made 2 gardens in our front yard (because that is where the sun is) and have lettuce, basil, chard, cucumbers, peas, squash, arugula and of course radishes growing.
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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mud Play

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood are ones that involved lots of mud. Even though I grew up with a Mother who still does not like the smallest crumb or speck of dirt on anything, she gave me plenty of opportunities to get my hands dirty. She would hand me a bag of buckets and bowls and I would sit for hours in the big mud hole in our back yard making all sorts of wonderful concoctions. I could make a gourmet dinner or a beautiful muddy chocolate cake. When it was time to come in for the day, I remember my Mother making me strip down on the porch as she would hose me off before entering the clean zone.

You can imagine my sheer delight and surprise when I walked out my front door this week to find my son, completely absorbed in his hard work, in the flow of the moment, and totally covered in mud. He had dug a hole in my front yard and filled it with water. My first thought was, oh no! my grass......what about all the work I have put into my little yard?! Then I remembered that wonderful mud hole I had as a child, and re-framed my thinking. I looked at him playing in all that mud, covered from head to toe and felt a wave of joy come over me.

He loved squishing it in his fingers, feeling the soft silky texture of wet earth on his skin. This is the earth education that can only come from getting your hands in the mud. I want my children to feel the earth they live on. Become connected and make friends with it.

With hand sanitisers becoming a major part of children's lives, I want to suggest that we re-think the value of mud as an important part of growing up. With dirt under their nails and a smile on their faces, I have decided to leave the hole in the front of my house for a while, until I find a better home for it.

This blog entry is a part of the (Moms' 30-Minute Blog Challenge)

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Friday, May 21, 2010

This Moment: above ground pool

{No words, just a moment from the past week that I want to stop and savor. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama.}
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Massachusettes Raw Milk Rally

May 10 - Massachusettes Raw Milk Rally Video
For mor info about where you can get raw milk in you neighborhood visit

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lemon Balm : Happy Tea

My 5 year old daughter and I have been using a book called A Kid's Herb Book for Children of All Ages - Lesley Tierra to learn all about different herbs, their history, what they look like, smell like, taste like, and their healing properties. We really love Lemon Balm Tea (hot or iced) It is a calming, mood lifting, happy herb. We planted some in our herb garden last year and this spring it came back stronger, fuller and happier then ever. Here is a picture of my daughter with a bunch of lemon balm she picked last week ready to be washed and made into Tea, or "Happy Tea" as we like to call it.

A little info on Lemon Balm: According to Jase Donaldson , it is a member of the mint family and has been traditionally referred to as the “calming herb”. The plant is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, growing to 70-150 cm tall. The leaves have a slight lemon scent, (which make them a favorite for tasting as you garden) related to mint. Small white flowers appear near summer’s end, attracting bees. In mild temperate zones, the stems of the plant die off at the beginning of winter, but appear again in spring. Lemon Balm's Common Uses:Nervous agitation, tension, occasional anxiety, overactive behavior, mild mood swings, attention, memory, restlessness, and sleep difficulty.

Traditionally, decoctions made from the lemon balm have always been used to lift up the spirits and perk up morale. The herb is believed to induce longevity when it is taken on a regular basis.

How to make Lemon Balm Tea: "Happy Tea"
Wash a large handfull of lemon balm from your garden after taking all the leaves off. Fill a pot with filtered water and put your leaves in. Bring to a boil, then turn to a low simmer for 15 minutes, covered. Strain the leaves out of the tea into a pitcher. Add honey to taste. Drink hot or put on refrigerator and drink as and iced tea. I love it and the kids love it too.

Other uses: Tea is not the only thing lemon balm can be used for. It can be used in place of lemon peel in recipes. Add it to your favorite herbal vinegars that can be used in seafood marinades or salad dressings. There are also many other traditional uses of the herb, such as in the healing of wounds wounds, to relax the heart, to treating toothaches and other dental problems as well.

Lemon balm is so easy for you and your children to grow, it is the perfect herb to add to your garden. You can enjoy it all season long and if you harvest some of it and hang it to dry, you can have it around all year. I think I am going upstairs to enjoy a cup of "Happy Tea" right now.
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Friday, May 14, 2010

This Moment: Soft touch

No words, just a moment from the past week that I want to stop and savor. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Library Day : Daddy's Birthday

We just spent our morning at the library and then out to lunch for Daddies birthday. Every Thursday morning we go to the library together and each person gets to check out 2 new books of their choice. We also leave enough time for reading other books, drawing pictures and many times the kids are lucky to have Grandma Boppy come and read to them. This "library day" is a welcome weekly outing that is we all can enjoy. There are many new stories to read, fascinating bugs to learn about and also those wonderful familiar stories that we have read and re-read so many times.
This week we are reading:
1. It's Not the Stork!: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends
2. The Secret Garden
3.Honey, I Love
4. The Complete Just So Stories
5. What Bit Me?
6. Insects in the Garden

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Chicken Farm Field Trip

Warning: This post is not for the squeamish. The following may contain pictures that may be disturbing to some people.

Yesterday we spent the afternoon with chickens at my friends farm home about 40 min. from here. The kids got to hold the new baby chickens only a week old and try and catch the older chickens holding their wings down so that they would stay calm in their arms.

They got to see some of the chickens that were nesting on their eggs and feel how warm the eggs were with little chicks growing inside.

This was a beautiful chicken with a lace like pattern in black and white. 

We found one egg that had been cracked in the nest and was not going to make it. The little chick inside was still alive, but not for long. Even though it seemed sad to see the little chicken dieing before our eyes, it was also a wonderful lesson in nature and the cycles of life. 

Here is the poor little chicken still in the yolk sack. We could even see a slight movement in his little legs for a few minutes. The kids were mesmerized by it, but didn't seem to be disturbed. We learned that this is a very common occurrence with chickens and I was glad that the kids got to witness it. We also learned, which I didn't know, that the yolk is actually what the chickens eat in the egg until they hatch. We usually get our eggs from a farm so we sometimes see a little red dot in the egg when we crack it. We found out that this little red dot is the beginnings of a chicken. Those eggs are fertilized when you see that dot. All this time of eating eggs in my life, I never knew that. 

Then we took a walk around the farm. It was so relaxing and made me feel so connected to the earth. 

And here is the rooster that was not so happy with us being near the chickens. He was afraid that we were trying to mate with them.  Ha! He wanted them all to himself. I have to say that this was such an inspiring trip for all of us. We learned so much about where our food comes from and felt a definite connection and gratitude for all the chickens of the world. These were surely some happy ones. This was another great homeschooling day.
 I just hope more people and farms will get on board with this type free rage chicken raising. When you see for yourself how happy chickens can be, you want that for all chickens. They give so much to us, it is only right that we give them a life worth living. I get my eggs from a local farmer, and I am sure you can find a local farmer that you can support by purchasing your eggs and chicken from them. You are not only helping the chickens, but you are nourishing yourself and your family in the best way possible.
Check out the Weston A Price Foundation for some local resources.
I encourage everyone to go visit a local farm raising chickens in this way, of get your own chickens in you backyard. If you have the space, why not? Think all of the fresh eggs you'll have.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

We took my Mom out for lunch today for Mother's Day at P.F Changs (her favorite). We ate more then could fit on the table and loved every bite. I was so happy that we were able to go out and have a great time with her, my husband and kids. I feel so blessed to have her living so close to us now so we can see each other every day.

My husband helped make this Mother's Day so special for me. He appreciates what I do for the family and lets me know it all the time. He is such a wonderful life partner and father to our children. We spent most of the day just being together and relaxing feeling grateful for our blessings.
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Friday, May 07, 2010

This Moment: A New Beach Friend

No words, just a moment from the past week that I want to stop and savor. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama.
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Thursday, May 06, 2010

The Power of Less: Simplifying our family's life

When your kids have too  many choices, too many things, and too much over-stimulation, what do you get? One tiered Mommy and 2 unhappy kids. 

For the Past few years I have tried to implement the idea of no TV and fewer, more naturally made toys, but it never seems to work. I always go back to just one show in the morning, then maybe two. Then suddenly the kids would be gifted with a box of plastic Barbies or other plastic crap items and all the good intentions I had  be thrown out the window.  For the past year now, I have to say, we have come far with our cutting back efforts. The kids have donated about 3/4 of their toys and we have focused our days (homeschooling) towards art and nature. But it still didn't seem like enough.
It wasn't until about 2 weeks ago that I read  this book called "Simplicity Parenting" that I felt that our life really came together at home in the peaceful rhythm that I was always searching for. With lots of breathing space.  After reading the book we made some drastic changes in our home.

Some major changes we have made in the past couple of weeks:
1. Canceled cable and removed the TV from the living room. 
2. Cut back dolls and stuffed animals to 5 per child.
3. Put children's books in our basement library where the kids can go if they want to trade one in for another. We left only 12 books on their shelf in their bedroom.   
4. We are creating lot of time in our day for the ordinary. Nothing to do, nowhere to be. 
5. We have removed  all toys that only have one purpose. We are now using more open ended toys. (such as: shells from the beach, pine cones, sticks, natural wood blocks, play scarves......)
6. We are consciously taking a more relaxed pace to all we do, leaving time and space for lots of detours. 

What we have noticed:
1. Our children are happier
2. They are not bored
3. Less wining and complaining and begging
4. My husband and I have felt more relaxed and less irritated
5. The biggest shock is that the kids have not missed any of their things or the TV at all. 
6. They are engaged and busy all day with their ideas and protects. One after the other. 
7. They work well together and are so kind to each other. 

We thought these changes would be a little hard to make for all of us, but they were not hard at all. We have more time for each other and we are happier when we are together. I only wish I we had done it sooner.

I highly recommend this book for everyone!


Simplicity Parenting

Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier 

and More Secure Kids

"If you are raising children in these anxious times, you need this book. It will inspire you, reassure you, and most important of all, it will remind you: that less is more, that simplicity trumps complication, that rhythm and routine bring peace to the soul. In this profound and practical guide, Kim Payne offers parents a do-able, step-by-step approach to simplifying everyday family life, from the toy box to the dinner table. In the process, he reveals to us the rewards to be found in slowing down, savoring our children's childhoods, and more fully enjoying our own adult lives."