The playing we usually don’t do

IMG_0670 While in Idaho last month we went to this place.  Grandma took us a few years ago, and now it’s the thing we do when we are there.

IMG_0558 Yes, allowed the Unlimited Fun.  Yes, it is fun, but a different fun that I (we) are used to. It is a lot more busy and crazy that my normal day, and not sure I could do it more often.  It is the special thing we do when we go.

IMG_0556 We went straight to the go carts.  Seriously?  Is this allowed for kids younger than driving age?  It’s the same thing than driving! No helmets? What?

IMG_0557 Everyone was excited.  Until after a turn, we’ve realized that the sun in March, in Idaho… doesn’t warm very much.  It was cold.

IMG_0559 But anyways.  We had to go drive around.  No matter that the next day we were driving for 9 hours back home.  Way different driving, I know.  Of course.


Yes, Hi Mama, I am buckled, don’t worry.  Which one is the break and which one is the gas? 

IMG_0565 IMG_0561IMG_0571 And went went.

IMG_0579 Never mind I am taking pictures while I’m flying on this curvy road!

IMG_0600 IMG_0574 Yes, another round of driving. This time with a jacket, hats and gloves.

IMG_0605 Are they going to drive like this when they get their driver’s license?

IMG_0619 Now to inside a little to warm up and some loud noises….

IMG_0629 Basketballing.

IMG_0622 Hitting those rats but not the cat…

IMG_0632 Please do not climb or sit on railing.  Oops… need to read the signs I guess.

IMG_0636 IMG_0649 OK, a few more rides.

IMG_0653 Mark and Lucas got warned and pulled over for bumping on the curve… oh those boys…

IMG_0656 Siena and I passed them.  An easy one at least this time.  And well, the last time.  We didn’t want to watch them get pulled over again and get kicked out.

IMG_0661IMG_0663 So onto the batting cages it was.

IMG_0672And yes, of course.  The choosing of the prizes.

The sling shots


Two Christmases ago, the kids received a sling shot each, made especially for them by our friend.  She remembered how she made them when she was growing up, and told us the stories of how her and her brothers made them, and how her mom used to get mad at them for cutting the tongue of their leather shoes, so they could make these.  She has 6 siblings, so I bet their mom did get upset!  (I wonder if they each cut the tongue of their own shoe, ruining 7 pairs, or if they cut both tongues of a pair, and so ruining just 3 pairs?  I wonder…)

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Anyway.  She made Lucas and Siena a sling shot each, and apologize in advance for any damage they might cause.  We loved all of it, and will take the consequences, I guess (I hope my kids are not reading this one.)  This time she cut leather from a glove she had.  For the elastic part, she couldn’t find a good rubber even after going to the bike shop to get a popped tired.  She says the tires are not elastic enough these days, different from heydays growing up.  So she had to get surgical tubing.  And it works perfectly!


We liked when she told us about her stories from growing up, as much as her stories on how she was trying to make them this time, and her thinking of all the possibilities they could use these now…. here in the city, as oppose to the farm she grew up at.

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The kids took their sling shot when we went for a hike here and there, but it was way more fun in Idaho.  DSC_0038 DSC_0039

They of course, were not throwing at anything to injure.  They were rocks, rabbit and deer poop sent to the air, or to touch the water, or reach the other side of the pond.  Real testing of what it could do.

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I remember I used to have one too growing up.  I wonder how many of us used to play with one, and how many kids today have one.  It was fun to see the kids play with it and not having to worry to damage anything or anyone was a big bonus!  Our friend knows us well, I guess.   Thank you Linda!

surgery day

Thank goodness it’s not for anyone we know, not even a real person actually.

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Siena came home the other day with her friend’s doll, because he had both legs broken in his knee sockets.  I’ve never  seen these dolls, but her friend has them.  She came home and said “I have to do some surgery.” 

She came out of the art studio and said “OK, I’m done.”  And this is what she did.

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First of all, she made him a gown.  He was naked before that.

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She hot glue gun his knee sockets in place, and put splints and crutches, for the mean time.

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She sent him home with extra splints, tape, and directions to lay low for a while.  Keep the splints for a week.  Walk with crutches for 3 weeks.  Change gauze if bleeding.

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Not sure how or where she comes up with these ideas, but her creativity and the way she can make 3D things, amazes me.  Every.  Single.  Time.  She’s always been like this, since she was little.  Making boxes of any shape out of paper or card stock for something special, with no dimensions, no patterns, just out of her head.  Sculptures, houses.  Crutches with pink soft parts, splints? I love all of her creativity.


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And this time?  Let’s see how quickly he heels.  I’m sure he’ll be ready to play soon.


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Friends arriving by bike.  Walking. Running.  Meeting them at the park.  At a class. Playing basketball. Baseball.  Soccer.  Board games.  Frisbee.  Hula hooping.  Legos.  Scooting around.  Going to the community center.  Lake Swimming, anywhere anytime goes.  Pool swimming.  Anything goes.  DSC_0050 copyAnd movie nights outside.  Walk-In style.  I think we can still have few more.  We’ll see what the weather brings us.

rediscovering hula hooping

I don’t know about you, but it seems like we’ve always had hula hoops around the house.  For one reason or another and being used in different ways.  They’ve been places to jump on, as a way to form an island and see how many people would fit in, as rings, let’s see if it stays round if we pull on it, you name it, they’ve been used for that.

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And there’s been some used for what they are meant to do.  Hula hooping.

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As of lately and probably because we have new round hula hoops, they’ve been re-discovered.  Maybe because they are finally not too big for them, and still heavy enough that they actually work pretty good.

DSC_0118 copy DSC_0121 copyThey are quickly learning to do tricks.

DSC_0107 copyAlways something new to do with them.

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It always puts a smile in our faces.

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It never fails.

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one last swim and jump

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We headed to the lake one more time few weeks ago, when the temperature still said 80’s.  DSC_0035 copy

A beautiful sunny day.  No wet suits needed this time.

DSC_0133 copyA little hike to see the  other side of the lake, and a favorite spot for the kids.

DSC_0132 copyA mushroom sight on the way.

DSC_0036 copy DSC_0037 copy DSC_0038 copy DSC_0039 copyAnd then to the spot.

DSC_0042 copy DSC_0043 copy DSC_0044 copy DSC_0045 copy DSC_0046 copy DSC_0077 copy DSC_0079 copy DSC_0083 copyThey spent hours. 

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Laughs.  Real laughs. The ones you can hear from the other side of the lake.

DSC_0097 copyMemories.  Beautiful memories.

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Stories.  Lots of stories we heard on the ride home.  And the day after.

DSC_0102 copySummer memories.

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Friendships strengthen by these moments spent together. 

DSC_0106 copy DSC_0109 copyOne more time. 

DSC_0110 copyBecause we can. 

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Yes, laughs and smiles and memories.

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‘Til next time.

how to jump off a rope swing

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Find a safe rope tied to a tree, over a lake that is deep.  A spot where you can’t touch the bottom when you jump in.  No rocks or branches sticking out anywhere from the tree or the lake.  A place, completely safe is a good thing.  The rope, tied tight by someone who knows how.

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Or find one that is tied safely, by someone nice who left it for everyone to use up at the lake. Get the rope (with a paddle maybe.)  Hold on tight.  Smile.

DSC_0057 copyLet yourself go.  Smile.

DSC_0058 copy DSC_0059 copyLet go of the rope.  Smile.  

DSC_0048 copyCatch your breath.

DSC_0060 copyGet wet.  Enjoy.

DSC_0049 copyHold on.

DSC_0050 copyLet go.

DSC_0052 copyHold on. Straight legs.

DSC_0055 copyLet go. Curvy legs.

DSC_0067 copyLet go.  Curvy legs.

DSC_0075 copyLet go. Criss cross.

DSC_0047 copyLet go.  Anyways you want.

DSC_0081 copyLet go.

DSC_0082 copyLet go.

DSC_0061 copyRepeat. 

DSC_0071 copy DSC_0072 copy DSC_0073 copy DSC_0074 copy  And let go. Enjoy.

at the lake

We are trying to get as much swimming as possible before summer passes.

DSC_0018 copyLuckily some friends had suits for them to wear while playing in the rather cooler water.

DSC_0054 copy DSC_0019 copy DSC_0024 copy DSC_0020 copyIt let them play for hours in there.  Just what we wanted.  Just one more time.

DSC_0033 copy DSC_0026 copy DSC_0016 copyWe sat, talked, read, talked, knitted, had warm tea…

DSC_0043 copyThe kids jumped from the rope on the other side of the lake.   We swam around the lake, a little more than once.   Oh… it makes you feel so good and fresh.  I won’t trade a swim in the lake for anything.  No.  It is my most favorite thing of all.

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What a sight.  I love this lake.

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DSC_0051 copyAnd at this time, a week day, most schools having started and us… just a few of us on a rather chilly day at the lake.  But what is it 50F when leaving the house to a cloudy early morning?

DSC_0047 copy DSC_0049 copyStill fun.  Lots of fun!

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DSC_0069 copyNothing than a hot chocolate and hot tea can’t help.

DSC_0074 copyAnd well…. hot soup too.

DSC_0066 copyStill beauty all around. Peaceful. Calm. Quiet. Nature. Nurture. Deep breathes. Memories.

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Clouds. Sweaters. Hot tea. Soups.  Sunshine.

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I’m almost ready to say goodbye to our summer.  But not just yet.  Hang on.

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This was a perfect late-summer lake swim.  Ohhhhh so very good.  I feel so lucky.

the craft fair

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Two weeks ago we went to the first of two craft fairs we’ll attend with a table of our handmade goods, this year.   We love to make things.  We like to craft, try new things, learn something new.  We are always looking in books, magazines, online for new ideas.  We talk, we share, we try, we learn.

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We started selling our handmade goods a while ago.  We’ve always been making things.  We like making our gifts.  We think of who is receiving it and create something for them, and sometimes we share what we like at the moment.

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So when some friends convinced us to sell our things at a Winter Faire about 4 years ago, we got hooked.  Siena really liked the idea of selling and being part of a fair.  She’s always been the one wanting to have a lemonade stand, or come early spring or late summer, she’d have a hot chocolate stand instead.   She has also convinced me to have garage sales, so she can organize things, set them out (like a store), out price stickers, and sell them.  And a big bonus is that she is so organized, that she loves cleaning her room, and Lucas’s room too.  She likes going through the drawer and shelves throughout the house and asking me what are the things I don’t use or things she thinks we don’t need.  I love it.  She is my decluttering force.

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Siena was 7 and Lucas was 4 years old when we went our first craft fair to sell.   They made the crafts they could, helped me put sets and kits together.  I made few things I had made for us, for the house, for them to play with, and we were ready to go.  I remember being so nervous.  Nervous to the unknown.  To what people would say about our goods.  Nervous that we wouldn’t make enough to play the table fee.  Because the cost of the materials wasn’t much, since they were almost seen as craft supplies for our homeschooling.  Not that it mattered to anyone but me, in my worries about budgeting.

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And that first year, we made so much more than the table fee, that I was surprised we had pulled it off.  I never thought we had that much worth in goods.  I guess, we hadn’t counted how much inventory we had.  But most importantly, was what we experience personally, each one of us, that day, standing by our table and by our handmade goods.  Siena hearing the comments from the passersby, or directly to her.  A little 7 year old girl, making all sorts of presents for friends and selling them now, at the same time learning to sew and learn to talk to people who would ask how she made things and just strike a conversation with so many people.  She’s good at that.  She always has been.

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That first year also, she had learned to twist balloons.  She’s always been in love with balloons and didn’t surprise me when she asked to watch videos on youtube, and get books at the library to learn to make a flower and a dog.  She twisted balloons at that first fair too.  Her fingers wore blisters by the end of the day, and she was exhausted, but her little person was filled.  Filled with wonderful comments I hope she’ll never forget.  She does remember the one bigger kid (teenager) who approached her to ask for a balloon and as she watched Siena make it, she told her “I am much older than you and I can’t even make that! You are amazing!”  Siena repeated that story for many weeks afterwards that year.  We still bring it up, because it meant so much to her.  To all of us.  Because she made us proud.  She always does.

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The second year came, we did another fair.  The following year Siena convinced me to go to a second fair too since we had already made things for the one.  So we did.  And have been doing two fairs a year, for the holidays, the last three years.

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Lucas likes to make things too, but different things than Siena.  He likes to work with wood, and has painted things, and created other projects that he enjoys.  We all help him.  We all help each other when we need support.

We talk about the fair and what we’d like to make new each year.  What things we’d like to change or make more of.  No one expects to push anybody in making anything.  It’s all about what we each want to make.  It’s about enjoying what we are doing.  It’s about having fun.  Having fun while making and creating because we like it.  Getting that cash for selling our handmade things is a bonus.  A fun one for sure.

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We just had our first fair of the season last week.  It was just the three of us for setting up. Mark was at work.  Lucas and Siena helped unload the car, and carry the boxes of goods in to our spot.  Siena had practiced setting up and the arrangement of things how we wanted them, the previous days.  While Lucas and I went home to get the last few things, moved the car and parked it in the right spot, Siena arranged our spot mostly all by herself.  It looked beautiful.  She really did a great job. We were there for two days, and we had a lot of fun.

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This year, as with every passing year, they have both changed how much they are involved in the fairs, and in the making.  Siena this year wanted to change few things, she wanted to make new things, and has been part of the whole process, more than before.  And it gave her a different perspective of what it takes to make it work.  She was aware of the fees we had to pay.  The cost of the supplies.  The way we buy the supplies, where, when and how.  The cost of the shipping, and how to make it work in a timely manner.

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It wasn’t only about how much money we had made at the end of the weekend.  This time she was interested in knowing when and how much did we earn after paying for the table fee and the supplies.  Not a bad thing at all.

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Then, we were ready to deposit the money in the travel account.  For all of us we felt that all of our efforts had paid off.  Each one of us, was happy with what we had made and what we had brought home.  A great lesson and a great homeschool unit in sewing, woodworking (and other craft skills), math, reading, life skills, and entrepreneurial ideas.  All in one, without even knowing it.

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And most importantly remembering even in the midst of crazy set ups and carrying heavy boxes, figuring out the new folding table, attending and talking to people for many hours at a time (etc…) that it’s all for fun. Having fun together throughout the whole process, throughout the year.  As we think in months in advance of the new projects and new ideas to create, making them work, and making them look pretty.  For us, it’s all about having fun.  About learning something new each year, but most importantly just having fun together.  And this first one was indeed fun.  Now to restock and create more and maybe new things for the next one coming up.