Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey Fun

In spite of the rain, the fried turkey came out perfectly and was devoured.
I changed ol' Henry and Bean into play clothes and the rain did not seem to interfere overmuch with their outdoor play.
It was a fun time.
I do a lot of great art with my students and my gramerlings (with some amazing help from a couple of retired teacher friends). From time to time though I will purchase kits from Oriental Trading Company for a fast and easy project. Anytime I get one of those e-mails for ten bucks off and free shipping, I go merrily through the clearance section and load up on some extra cheapy fun doo-dahs. My last adventure allowed me to get this little cardboard nativity for free.
I have ever been smitten by the whole nativity picture. The extremes we go to at hospitals to have everything completely overseen and hygienic is crazy (you know to just get mersa or c-diff, or whatever they are called). Trying to put myself in a stable for that event stretches my imagination to the limit.
There is an Over the Rhine song that says, " I want to speak with the angel who said to not be afraid, I want to kneel where the oxen knelt, where the little child was laid." I love that lullabyish tune, and it reminds me that I too would like to have seen that wee babe. So I have ummm, quite a few nativity sets of all makes and models. But I did not have this one where you can just plunk your ownest self right in the middle of the scene. I actually bought it to use at school. I thought the kiddos would think it fun to have their picture in a nativity, but the urge to bring it out at Thanksgiving was too strong. Let's just say the day ended quite joyfully!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

We shared this prayer at a recent faculty meeting. I love it, and so I share it with you along with all good wishes for a blessed day!

A Prayer for Autumn Days
God of the seasons, there is a time for everything,
There is a time for dying and a time for rising,
We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been.
We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk.
Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground,
our lives have their own patterns.
As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always a dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives.
We always need to recognize your power-filled presence.
May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain,
Many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender,
We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.
Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season,
your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future,
We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers, touched with frost and windows wearing white designs,
May your love keep our hearts growing in the empty seasons.

God of life,
You believe in us,
You enrich us,
You entrust us with the freedom to choose life.
For all this, we are grateful.

God of love, you enter into our autumn seasons, into our deepest places of inner dwelling, into the heart of our transformation. You give us a glimpses of the truth. May we allow our experience of autumn to speak to us of necessary change and growth. May we accept the invitation to reflect upon our own death. Grant us an openness to the continous process of letting go and moving on that is part of the human condition. We are grateful that you are a faithful companion on this journey. In Jesus name, Amen
Author unknown

And, speaking of prayers, a dear friend was called out of town last night because her sister is in intensive care, in a coma. I know the family would appreciate prayers for this dear loved one. Her name is LaGayle.

Back to the kitchen for me.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gift Writing

There are only three short weeks of school after Thanksgiving and before Christmas break. Since I teach in a private school, I'm blessed to be expected to do lots of Christmas activities-as in Christ in Christmas, praise be. Anyway, I have my kidlets do gift writing as their language arts in December. They have to pick six folks to give a gift of writing to. I encourage them to use all the great adjectives they want, but their writing must reflect why the person is a gift to them. They must write one acrostic poem, one haiku, one free verse and the other three are letters. Usually, I write when I ask them to write. Writing is not really my thing, which hopefully shows them about effort, when giftedness is missing.

If you've never done any gift writing, I'd encourage you to add that to your Christmas list. So often the love and appreciation we have for others goes unspoken. Aren't we always believing there will be another day?

These little written gifts will go in the journals I keep for the gramerlings.

Free Verse

I know a boy who steals my heart

With blue eyes, brown curls and a fine mind

Who loves to listen and learn

Who seeks adventure and knowledge

Who is still tender and sweet enough for a swing and a song

My beautiful firstborn grandboy!


Little Missy Bugg






Never a dull moment!

A Buttercup Haiku

Swinging and Schikies

Popsicles, Cheese and Crackers

Dancing Eyes of Blue

A Letter

Dear Blue Boy,

You are my brand new gramerling and already you have stolen my heart. Mischief is already prancing in your huge, beautiful, bluest eyes. When you chortle right out loud at your Pappy, I can't help but join in the joy and chuckle myself. I feel content about the way you are growing, yet at the same time, I am amazed that you could be so big already.

A part of me thinks ahead to adventuresome play. Will you love the creek like your cousin Bean? Will swinging and singing and storytelling be your favorite pasttime? Will you love Popsicles and chickie girls as much as your sister? Until then, I will wallow in your baby softness, and smell

I feel so very blessed for the opportunity to grandparent such a wonderful bit of a boy.



Go ahead, try writing a gift.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Wednesday Story

We've finally had some rain here in the southern Indiana, and much more seasonable temperatures. Still, I was happy that Mr. Sun returned this afternoon for a gramerling evening. Swinging was the first order of business. Bean got to swing first and immediately ordered a story. I don't consider myself much of a story creator, but Bean is an amazing listener, and doesn't require much more than a bear or a wolf and a hero. He always tells me the character names, often chosen from the chapter books we've read to him. Today's characters were Huck and Lindy. Miss Bugg wanted to be included in the tale, but big brother said, "NO!"
I told her not to fear, her time was coming, and she could choose the characters for her swing time tale. Huck, as you might imagine, saved Lindy from the big bear and Bean was satisfied with his story.

One Bean out of the old dolphin swing, immediately replaced by a Bugg, anxious for her story.
She giggled as she told me the tale should include Huck, Bean, Lindy, Bugg and Snow White.

So I began the tale of a tiny cabin in the deep dark woods that housed Huck and Bean, the hunters, and Bugg and Lindy, the gatherers of berries and nuts and mushrooms, living together happily. As I related that Huck and Bean were hunting a moose, while Bugg and Lindy were preparing the above mentioned berries, there came a frantic knock on the little cabin door. Bean stops what he's doing and begins to listen to Bugg's tale. The adventure continues with Snow White begging to be hidden from the wicked step-mother, the girls sending smoke signals to alert the guys of danger, a visit from the witchy woman and the boys going after her in the woods, when Bean yells, "Stop, I need my gun." So I stop the story for him to get his water pistol to role play his part in stopping the evil one from harming Snow White. At this point Bugg insists that Gramerly and Pap need to be included in my tall tale. So Gramerly, bless her heart, administers a potion to the menfolk to protect them from the step-mother, and allows them to dissolve her badness, saving the sweet princess.
Bean is past six, with little experience with toys like video games. I have so appreciated his joy in listening to a good story ( or a lousy one, told well), and his endless desire for another and another. I haven't been able to push the swing and tell another tale long enough for him to ask me to stop. Don't you think it delightful for a child to find such joy in something that costs nothing, wastes nothing, and doesn't require batteries? He listens to stories on tape or CD just as well. Though Bugg was not as easily entertained with listening as her brother, she's come a long way and has begun to enjoy the stories as well. Perhaps it's the teacher in me, but little could please me more.
After stories and swings, we moved into the house for a little autumn crafting.

I had hoped Buttercup would join us, but she wasn't feeling well this evening, so I sent her crafts home with her Daddy. Blue Boy did come and it seems like he's grown a foot since I last saw him.

Tonight, he was completely smitten with his Pappy and laughed and laughed at him. Three month old laughter is the best sound in all the world.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Much Ado about Not Much

I am beginning to feel like I'll never get through all the cleaning left from redoing the living room floor. Yesterday, I tackled the playroom and then cleaned up all the yard toys, and put them away for winter. Bean and Bugg were spending the night. I'm not sure they were too happy about it. I'm not quite as much fun by Friday's end and when there's much work to do. I knew it was likely to be my last warm day outside and I was woefully behind getting the yard toys cleaned and bleached and put away. The kids are so accustomed to their time here being all about them. They are a little shocked and not too happy to find "no" in Gramerly's vocabulary, but it happens. Finally, they got into cleaning my car and rinsing the toys while I did the bleach water part of the toys. All's well that ends well when Pappy gets on the roof to get leaves out of the gutter and lets you play on the flat tin roof-good times.
Speaking of going through and cleaning and pitching, I recently inherited the little bunny tea set pictured above from another friend's cleaning craze. I let Buttercup use it for a tea (milk) party. She had a big time with Pappy helping to pour and Raggedy Ann looking on.
In addition to some pumpkin volunteers, I planted a Japanese squash, Futsu and Queenland's Blue. Supposedly, when chickens eat the seeds, it prevents worms. The Japanese one is so orange, it's almost red. The orange eaters around here love it grilled (blek). I haven't tried cooking the other two, as I primarily grew them for the girls to have a fresh snack throughout the winter.
The area where I planted the Futsu received the most chicken poo compost and produced, by far, the most fruit. This was the first haul, and last week, after frost killed the vine, I harvested 22 more. They are stored in the back of the palace for winter munching. This was from my only two little seeds that sprouted. Guess it's good all ten didn't take, or someone would've had to hack us out of here like Sleeping Beauty.
I took the Futsu and Queensland Blue to Bean's first grade and did a compare/contrast with a pumpkin. Then we made our own little squash patches with cookies and icing, and candy.
Do you know what this is? My mom tried to grow them when I was little because her granny always grew them. I've tried several times, but this year finally got a little crop of them. I think they were successful because it was so hot and dry.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Like one more attempt to get the last bit of the toothpaste, I've tried to squeeze the last of summer from these chilly autumn days.
The past two weekends I've entertained family and a few friends with the last of my garden. Pesto and fried green tomatoes are a burst of sunshine, through trees nearly bare, that feel summerly and so deliciously green on my tongue. Oh, basil and tomatoes, I will miss you so!

The time swings itself back, leaving us little time for outdoor play after this week, so the gramerlings and I packed a quick picnic and headed to a park that still has those terribly dangerous devices known as swings. I pushed and pushed until the sun began to set and chilled us all the way through. I'm afraid it is time to bid farewell to summer.

Last evening I had the privilege of attending an author talk at the library. Greg Mortensen, of Three Cups of Tea fame just impresses my socks off every time I see him or read about him. It simply amazes me what he has been able to accomplish.

Poor Pap's girl finally gave it up. We miss her littlest sweet self.

A few more pictures of the last warm playdate.
A troll? Sea monster?
Pods and seeds are endlessly fascinating.