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Showing posts from June, 2014

June Book Titles

zoomed-in paraglider, around Boundary Bay

Summer is a time where I'm outside more than I'm in, and although I (almost always) have a book in my pack, I find I read less. This month is a bit the same as last. It's a seasonal rhythm I have noticed about myself.

Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg // I have heard of this book, seen snippets, or read quotes from Goldberg's writing companion for years, and was able to grab a free copy from my paperbackswap community. I make myself write for 30 minutes a day, in the morning when I'm fresh, for practice, brain dumps, and discipline to write down my ideas and flesh out children's books and novels, and work on them regardless of how I'm feeling. Having a book about writing that I can go through daily as a motivator, of sorts, has been a really helpful practice.
This was my third full book I have finished as a writing companion book in the past nine months. It generally takes me about 10-12 weeks to finish one …

Birthday Boy's Big Summer Day

Every kid counts down to his birthday. Perhaps not every kid requests he or she can keep the complimentary mailed charity calendar to actually mark off, day by day in red pen, until his or her birthday, but our kid does.  He loves his birthday.

For our children's combined 11 birthdays, we have done a few family-only parties, but mostly we've done a huge day long surprise of fun activities, little to bit, with a few presents thrown in. This year, Lukka requested something new--a few friends to have a party with. Themed, expensive, and loud birthday parties with lots of kids scare me somewhat, so I told him that for one of the longer portions of his birthday surprise, we could take two friends along. He was ecstatic.

The morning started off with a breakfast date with dad-a birthday tradition started by Stefan's father he and his siblings enjoyed while growing up (and into adulthood!). After that, we hitched up the canoe for a little hour-long jaunt around Semiahmoo spit whi…

Miniature Horse Camp

Last week was Lukka's second year of attending an annual Miniature Horse camp out in Ferndale, WA. For less than $100 (that we had paid months ago to reserve our spot!), Lu was treated to his pony Ali for a week, learning about the ponies and how to care for them, and practicing obstacle courses and showmanship skills.

There are only six spots per class and only two or so weeks of camp per summer, so when I saw the ad for it this year, I jumped at the chance because I knew we'd still be in the states during June. Lukka was so excited to do the camp again, even though the basic outline is the same year to year.

The camp focuses on horse care including daily grooming, water and feeding, and mucking, along with learning to show one's horse in 4-H-like competitions. Here is an example of a large mini-hose jumping course. The final day of the camp is competition. The students get 30 minutes to groom and dress up their ponies with ribbons, flowers, etc. in their tails and manes…

Strawberry Pickin' in Whatcom County

An annual activity our family enjoys is strawberry picking. Nebraska strawberries can be a finicky thing, and the last couple of years we were living there a late frost or crazy storms destroyed the crop. We got a few, but not as many as years past. Last year, we came home with so many strawberries from Barbie's Berries out in Lynden, that they lasted until last month in the freezer! For every corn or cattle farm in Nebraska, is a berry farm in Washington. They're everywhere. Strawberries, raspberries, then blueberries, in that order, over the span of about 6 weeks or so. 

We took our opportunity to pick a 10-lb bucket full of strawberries yesterday morning with some friends. They are so ripe, the juice stains the fingers within minutes. Ani, who loves strawberries more than any other fruit, had juice on her hands, shirt, pants, and backside! Every year she manages to get a stomach-ache from her indulgence!

The strawberries were at their peak and probably had *maybe* five day…

Birthday Interview... 7

Last year we started birthday interviews, which is a tradition I love. It's amazing how kids develop, grow, and change their 'favorites' from year to year. Today we're celebrating Lu's 7th birthday (!!) with an all-day extravaganza, and a big first--friends celebrating with us.
I'll be taking pictures throughout the day and sharing here how we celebrated our boy with an all-day-long surprise family date doing things he loves. Towards the afternoon, we'll be picking up some friends to join us. Happy 7th little dude, we love you!

*Where do you live? Blaine
*What is your favorite food? Thanksgiving dinner
*What is your favorite drink? pop
*What is your favorite color? red
*What is your favorite animal? dog
*What is your favorite book? Sonic
*What is your favorite toy? my cell phone (yes, it's a toy!)
*What is your favorite song? Jesus Loves Me
*What is your favorite thing to do inside? play on my tablet or make a fort
*What is your favorite thing to do ou…

29 Before 30

Every year I make a list of fun/silly/simple/complex/random things I want to do, learn, or try in the upcoming year. Usually most get done, not always. I do this because there are crafts, foods, and activities I want to do, but if I don't plan intentionally, they just won't happen. Life will get in the way and I will regret not spending my time more wisely. 
These lists help inspire me when I'm bored (I can't remember the last time I was) or just restless for a new activity and help us plan our weekends as a family, too. I don't put any pressure on myself to complete all of these in a year, but of the ones I do finish, I have great memories and I'm glad I had the experience and learned something new!
29 Before 30
*Knit a Katniss Cowl *Read a Malcolm Gladwell book *organize my cooking binder (um, more of a chore that's been put off for YEARS!) *visit the Bellingham Farmer's Market *Go Strawberry picking *Try snowshoeing with the family *take kids on a m…

Let's be Equal Opportunity Celebrators

sticking our toes in the fountain at Western University 
I've been chewing on a thought for a couple of weeks now, and it struck me earlier in the week that maybe I should just share it, because if I need mental reinforcements, someone else probably does, too. 
I've been thinking a lot about how we celebrate other people: their opportunities, their successes, their achieved goals, a life-changing pivot point like a marriage or a baby's birth, or even something simple--like a great-looking haircut. 
I know some people who can't be on facebook much because of the un-ending comparisons they will make between themselves and everybody else; choose a category in life. I know others who hate pinterest because they will inevitably feel like failures if they don't do All the Crafts or have The Perfect Eternally Clean House.  
Me? One of the things I get down in the dumps about is when I feel trapped in one place, unable to travel and see things outside my little pinhole cam…

Presenting...The Well-Read Sleepyhead children's literature review blog!

My love of children's literature started a lot earlier than my actual graduation to motherhood. I worked at a Barnes and Noble bookstore starting when I was 17; first in the cafe where I met a friend who would become a college room-mate, future play date partner, and one of my favorite book sharers. My friend Maria and I have been buying and saving children's literature from our days at Barnes, which was many years before we both became moms.

It was only natural, then, that when I moved away a year and a half ago, that we found a need for a children's literature review blog. The Well-Ready Sleepyhead was born out of the many facebook messages we'd send back and forth, like, "Have you read this?" or, "You have to get this at the library", or our favorite, "I LOVE these illustrations...."

We've had this blog for a number of months but are now ready to go public. Our author bios are up, and there are many posts to peek through. What are …

Tony's Chicken with Grilled Onions + Pico

not shown: grilled onions

Stefan is the master meat-chef in our house. There is no hiding that I hate holding raw meat, and although I'll do it, I much prefer to pass that job off to him. Aside from bacon frying in a skillet, he makes the most tender, juicy meat dishes. I'll stay humbly at the table, doing the side dish.
It's no secret, also, that our family loves Chipotle. When I say love, I mean "luuuuuuurrrvvvve" Chipotle. Like, love as in we asked about opening up a restaurant, until we found out they don't franchise. 
Now that we live in an area where the closest Chipotle is an hour away (gasp! They are putting one near us in Bellingham, WA, of course right after we move), we have tried to recreate our beloved chicken burritos, rice bowls, and pico de gallo from the restaurant. What we've come up with is something with the basic building blocks of the healthy meal we enjoyed weekly, but with an entirely unique and amazing flavor, also with different …

A Day in the Life of Our Homeschool...

The shop is open

As this school year is wrapping up for kids all over the States, I thought it would be fun to do a day in the life of our homeschool post, mostly because I don't think I've talked much about homeschooling here in awhile (a year?) other than snippets of projects or artwork the kids have done.
Homeschooling looks different from household to household because they're made up of completely different personalities and priorities.
We've found a pretty great routine, and we school year round (which basically means we keep up with most subjects even in the summer so we can take days off whenever--and however long--we want to when we need it). We also only 'do school' (formal work) Mondays thru Thursdays.

6:00AM Stefan gets ready to leave for work, wakes me up.

6:00AM-8:00AM I read, write, do bible study, check email and read blogs, pay bills online, etc. The kids are required to stay in their rooms until 8:00AM, but if they wake up they just read, or pla…