Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sometimes I Remember To Blog Summer Recap

Having just wrapped up one of the busiest summers of my life, it occurs to me: that was nutsssssss. Also: super fun, a bit of a whirlwind and, most definitely, blog worthy.

Early in the summer, on a whim, I submitted one of my soap designs to a soap swirling contest and won! My winning design was my tie-dye soap onesie, a great seller and one I'm particularly fond of.

Contest winning soap design... hellz yahhhhhhh
I was super honored to win this contest, especially since brambleberry is, well, kind of a big deal in the soap making community. So, yah: cool!

In Rancheroo news, we hosted out-of-town visitors galore (one of our most favorite things to do) including lots of lovely friends and family, our usual end-of-sumer Burning Man contingent, and an awesome family of fellow unschoolers.

A gaggle of free range kids, roaming the woods
Speaking of Burning Man: we busted ass all summer long, prepping to haul the whole family out that way (something that has been in the works for almost a year). In typical crazy-burner-family-with-a-strong-touch-of-geek fashion, we built a geodesic dome from scratch. Fabulously nerdy family fun! And then, sadly, two weeks before our departure date,  I fractured the sesamoid bone in my foot.

Ouch. And crap. And oh well, next year. The upside, of course, being that we now have this super cute 15 foot geodesic. We're in the process of painting it rainbow.

As yet to be rainbowed geodecic
With no more Burning Man prep to do its all consuming vortex thing, I then spent a month straight canning fruit. Now I know that sounds very domestic, but it's actually totally bad ass. Because, in the case of the apocalypse, we're totally set (assuming the zombies don't get us, and I can find a way to synthesize cortisol).  I've discovered I especially enjoy canning goods that you will in no way ever find at a grocery (star crimsom pear cardamom jam and peach ginger honey come to mind). I also discovered that as much as I enjoy an afternoon alone in the kitchen canning, it's even more fun to do it with friends.

My girls, S & M, working their way through 70 plus pounds of peaches
To support my canning addiction I acquired a fruit picking one. To the local farmers I've become known as That Chick Who Will Come To The Farm And Pick More Fruit Than We Even Knew We Had (Yup, that's me. I just really like to pick fruit) And Whose Children Sometimes Pick Enthusiasticly Alongside Her While At Others Hang Out In The Car Playing Video Games Rolling Their Eyes About How They've Already Picked Enough Fruit This Season To Feed A Small Country Well A Small Country Of Fruit Loving Zombies, Hahaha! Hahaha! (Yup, that's my kids).

MiniM, showing off his blueberry harvest

We did have our own garden which, sadly, fizzled out due to a combination of a month straight of 95 plus degree heat and a gardener with a fractured sesame seed. We didn't harvest much but it was lovely to look at.

Other summer odds and ends: as summer progressed, our local deer population could increasingly be found lounging about outside our garden fence making longing faces. Wild turkeys were everywhere all the time causing a ruckus and raising their ridiculously cute turkey babies (at least we didn't have one try to mate with my dad's car this year... true story). We enjoyed numerous family bike rides, read the Harry Potter series from start to finish, and the chiddlers and I decided to forgo our weekly trip to the pool in favor of weekly trips to the river and creek. It was spectacular.

Favorite swimming hole: Evans Creek
To boot, D started a hackerspace, won the obfuscated c coding contest for the 5th time, and got an awesome new programming gig.

Now, it's almost fall and I'm still spending altogether too much time in the kitchen, most recently filling cute lil' jars with various pear concoctions. But, like I said. it's fall. And I think we should celebrate. Maybe we'll set up our rainbow geodesic and deck it out and and throw party and eat canned goods. Wanna come?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

In bloom at the Rancheroo

Meet the newest addition to The Rancheroo, our spring tree! The chiddlers and I constructed this baby last week, entirely from paper and (copious amounts of) scotch tape. Each flower contains a list item to be accomplished this spring. Anytime between spring equinox and summer solstice goes, with a few post-spring days tacked on for the procrastinators among us... Ahem.

The inspiration came from a favorite homeschooling blog. They made a similar tree last fall (except -- of course -- with falls leaves instead of spring flowers).

Here are our spring to-dos, courtesy of The Tree:
  • dance
  • go to scienceworks
  • hike
  • make chai soap
  • geocache
  • make egg croissants
  • bead
  • eat leftovers
  • see a glacier
  • learn 10 new words in french
  • try 3 new classes
  • get voodoo donuts
  • visit Eamon in Portland
  • plant an epic flower garden
  • whale watching cruise in Alaska
  • make wooden toys
  • finish Magic Tree House series
  • bake oatmeal cookies
  • play Minecraft
  • solve puzzles
  • Lego
  • bake bread
  • make a Minecraft mod
  • host a science party
  • swing
  • party it up for Eli's 8th bday
  • stargaze
  • make a spring tree (check!)
  • movie at the theater
  • make 2 new types of soap
  • bike ride
  • go to kidtime
  • attend Life Is Good unschooling conference
  • check out a new playground
  • grow 2 new types of veggies
  • yoga
  • read so many books
  • clear rancheroo hiking trails with a chainsaw
  • go to kidzone
  • Micah & Sarah go on a special date for a whole day
  • visit 3 farms
  • bonfire
  • go swimming with Sarah
  • stomp in puddles
  • visit 3 libraries
  • visit The Hannas
  • make donuts
  • dig
  • go to Griffin's bday party
  • have an Easter egg hunt
  • read the entire magic school bus series
It was particularly lovely and amusing to see what the kids came up with. Micah's first idea, and the one he was most excited about (aside from all Minecraft related items) was: "eat leftovers!" Practical kid! We included plenty of things we'd have done regardless, but also used the opportunity to challenge ourselves, try new things, expand our horizons.

We've already accomplished an item or ten: puzzles have been solved, Minecraft has been played, wooden toys have been made, dozens of french words have been assimilated into our brains; lego, dancing, yoga, scienceworks, soap, Griffin's birthday party, swinging... and we've stomped in enough puddles to water 100 spring trees. Next week, Eli and I will knock off all Alaska related items: glaciers, whale watching, Hannas, oh my!

This spring tree feels a whole lot like a tradition in the making, a feeling I suspect other parents can relate to. It's a good one.

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Bacon's Already Home

The chiddlers, as usual and like kids everywhere, spent the year saying hilarious shit. Yep, it's that time again; my 3rd annual shit my kids said!

(Each paragraph is a stand alone quote or conversation.)

Eli, getting himself dressed and ready for bed: "I need help getting this on!!!" David, in response: "No, you don't need to wear a spider man mask to bed."

Micah, after being asked by a stranger if he'd been a good boy and expected Santa to pay a him visit yaddda yadda yadda: "Haha! Are you joking? Santa's not real!" Stranger, aghast: "Of course Santa's real!" Micah: "No, he's not! David told me he's not!" Stranger, now addressing Eli: "You told your brother that Santa wasn't real?!" Eli and Micah, in unison: "No! David is our dad!"

Micah, in an attempt to bribe David: "If you have a glow-in-the-dark dance party with me tonight, I'll give you one orange m&m."

Me, to Micah, in a crowded restaurant: "Pleeeeeease hurry up and finish your lunch; I reeeeeeeally need to go to the bathroom." Micah, in response, at the top of his lungs: "WHY? DO YOU HAVE DIARRHEA?"

Micah, explaining what he and Eli were up to: "Well, we're shark hunters and we're really rich because everyone loves our delicious shark meat and the government has decided to print an a million dollar bill for us and they're even thinking about printing an infinity dollar bill!!!"

Eli, raving about his breakfast: "This is the best egg I've ever tasted! If I were at a restaurant, I'd totally pay, like, 40 dollars for it... or if it only cost 8 dollars, I'd give a 10 dollar tip." Well, shucks :)

Micah: "I'm growing my hair long so I can have a curly ball on the back of my head just like Sarah does!"

Eli, to me, on our descent from Table Rock: "You know what I think would be an awesome adaptation to protect us from predators?" Me: "No... what?" Him: "If we could run at the speed of light." Yup. That would do it.

My brother, Joe, to Eli during a discussion about Eli's future career as time machine inventor and operator: "Do you think you might travel back to the time of the big bang?" Eli: "I wouldn''t need to; I would just build a telescope big enough to see the big bang." Joe: "Oh really?" Eli: "Yeah, because looking up into the sky is really like looking back in time." Joe: "..."

Micah, after gushing about how much he missed me while I was away: "Wait... what does it even mean to miss someone." Me: "It's when you're sad that someone is away and you wish they were with you." Micah: "Ohhh! Well, then I didn't actually miss you at all!"

Eli, singing: "Damn!" Micah: "Are you singing Last Friday Night?" Eli, in the condescending tone he reserves just for Micah: "You know, Micah, Last Friday Night isn't the only song with the word damn in it." Micah: "Well, are you?" Eli, sheepishly: "... yeah."

Micah, reading the title of a book: "Night of the Nin...ja...s. Wait! Why does it say ninja instead of ninja?!?" Me, confused: "Er... cuz ninjas is what they're called?" Micah, laughing his ass off: "I always though they were called MINjas... hahahaha!"

And, last but not least, the quote in which Micah coins my current favorite phrase (which I now use surprisingly often): the bacon's already home. Micah, grumpily: "Why does David have to go to work!!??" Me: "To bring home the bacon." Micah, confused: "What?!? But the bacon's already home! There's some in the fridge right now!"

And with that I bring you, the chiddlers. As photographed by each other during a leisurely drive to town.