Tuesday, July 26, 2011

science museum.

There are a few museums that we visit once or twice and the boys have it down and just are not interested in visiting again. And then there are a few museums that they find endlessly interesting no matter how many times we go. As they get older they read more of the displays, do more of the activities, and spend more time just digging into the details. The science museum in Milwaukee is like that for them - and they always want to go again every few months.

Although we have been many times they always find new things. A brand new exhibit - with a cool periodic table interactive display. Checking out new mine production maps for the globe (gold, diamonds, coal, oil, copper, etc....interesting!). Virtual welding.

This time they didn't just look at the fish but read all of the interactive screens about what the fish actually are called, where they live, and their ideal environment.

They hunted down every single hidden exhibit type of camera and made silly faces and (not surprisingly) wiggled booties at every one.

They stayed in the submarine lab area looking at equipment, exploring tanks and checking out the cameras.

They interacted with a diver in one of the fish tanks. And they visited the design lab to build a laser cut house and make a funky windsock.

Of course no trip is complete without the favorites too.

Lying on the floor in front of the huge aquarium glass. Touching rays and sturgeon.

Repeat turns on the bed of nails. Exploring the ship. Working levers and bevels. Seeing a worm farm.

Making music. Virtually flying and landing an airplane. Checking out engines and robots and hybrid cars and seeing if they could run fast enough on the giant wheel to pump water and light the light bulbs.

And hanging out by the lake for a few to watch people, boats, birds, and skyline.

It was so nice to have a normal family museum trip day after the past few hectic months. Just what we needed.

Monday, July 25, 2011

super fast.

This weekend the boys had a visit from their Uncle Sven - he is moving to Colorado and drove up from Chicago for a visit before his move. He brought with him an RC car that he built himself a few years back. A really fast not just a toy one. Very cool.

The boys were super excited, and drove it up and down the alley, attracting kids from just about every house along the way. When Uncle Sven left, he left his RC car with us. Needless to say, my guys drove it a lot all weekend. Of course my husband Brice found that there is a special RC dirt track only 12 miles from our house, so they will be testing it there soon.

And last night Brice strapped his iPhone to the body casing and ran speed tests down the alley (attracting dads from the houses down the alley). The result? It recorded a speed of 22.4 miles per hour. Super fast.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

jungle time.

It is that time of year. The jungle time! The garden is so thick and green it is hard to get in there to reach things and forget about even finding weeds. It is thick and lush and things are finally growing and ripening and vining. This week we are in the midst of a big heat wave though, so I don't expect full jungle to last long.

A lot of the greens which have lasted so long this summer will surely be done with all of these ridiculously high temperatures. But of course the tomatoes, cucumbers and squash will be happy as long as I can keep them watered. It is HOT!

While the strawberries are long gone the golden raspberries are still going strong, the red raspberries are turning pink, the blackberries are close, and I have been cutting huge bowls full of white currants.

Right now I'm making a white currant~lavender syrup for home made sodas. Oh yeah.

With the sun exposure (or lack thereof) in our yard our tomatoes usually ripen later than elsewhere. We won't be eating tomatoes from the garden for a few more weeks - but when we do it looks like we will have a LOT this year. I can't wait to try the candy cane cherry tomatoes.

I am just starting to pick the tiny cucumbers for cornichons, and will let some grow bigger for pickle slices.

There is so much kale it is actually kind of over the top. It usually doesn't do so well, but the crazy spring/summer weather so far seems to have been perfect for nothing but ... KALE! But of course we are cranking out the kale chips and I have one very very happy angora rabbit.

Some things are going to seed - and I am drying and saving seeds for next year. The dehydrator is working full time, drying fruit, herbs, vegetables and seed heads.

And I am continuing my love affair for these guys. Every time I have a problem pest before I can research the organic solutions they seem to eat them all. There are so many and they fly around me as I work in the garden, but I have not had one sting. They drink from the plants as I water. They eat the bad guys. And they pollinate everything else. My heroes.

How is your garden growing? What do you have so far? :)

Oh, in case you didn't know, I also have a food blog, cook.eat.think. It is busy over there this time of year with all of the fresh seasonal goodness going on!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


I love parks with the boys. They are getting bigger, so we often do other things. But sometimes they remember a park with a certain something (zip line!) or want to get out in the SHADE during the hot summer days, and so we go.

I think when they are playing together this way is the only time I can really take relaxed photos of them anymore. They are of the age of making faces and holding silly poses (trying to get booties in every photo).

But when they are just happily playing together they don't care or notice if I have a camera.

And when they do notice me it is in a moment, a spin, a giggle. Just what I like.

So while I do enjoy taking pictures of nature,

I really like this better:

Happy boys playing on a beautiful summer day in a park in the woods.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

summer evening.

While I am known to not be a big fan of summer heat, I do have an ongoing love affair with (bug less) summer evenings. The light changes, the breezes shift, the air smells of earth and plants and water, and things just feel different.

I love taking the boys out for summer evenings...ice cream or popsicles, walks, parks, beaches.

It is quiet. Not many people are out. And it seems we all just sink in and just talk and enjoy each others company.

It may be simple, but I love it. We all love it. Even in this unschooling life full of time to be together, there are moments that are a little *more* because we consciously create them, knowing we are in the moment together.

Just us. On a beautiful summer night. And life is good.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

in the garden...

I'm so behind on a garden update! The weather has been hot and humid, which has gotten everything finally growing. We haven't had much rain - the rain barrel has been dry more often than I remember from past years. But as the garden is sheltered it seems to hold onto the moisture pretty well. That shelter also means that the greens are still happy, even with the heat wave. I flood them with cool water when they are on the shady side and they keep right on growing without bolting (so far).

We had such a slow/late start with the cold spring, so things are not as far along as usual...but that they are growing at all after all that makes me very happy.

Right now we are still picking big bowls of lettuces and greens daily - chard, kale, mesclun mix, head lettuce, and more. Our cauliflower, carrots and broccoli which were stunted for so long in the cold are still growing and finally starting to look like something and managing hot quite well.

We are reaping a lot of herbs - dill, cilantro, basil (tons of pesto - yum!), shisho, fennel, spring onions, lovage, and the edible flowers are also all starting to come in.

The medicinals are slow growers generally, so they are happy but small.

We are starting to (!in July!) pick a lot of peas while the beans, melons and cucumbers look like they will need a LONG stretch of heat in order to kick start growing...they are way behind.

We have beets and chives and teeny tiny (tiny!) summer squash.

The strawberries are just about done, while the golden raspberries are being picked by the cupful for the past few days. Blackberries are just starting to color. Currants are getting plump. Red raspberries are just now flowering.

The tomatoes are getting slowly but surely bigger!

We have pots of all kinds of things growing happily and comfy spots to sit on cooler mornings or beautiful evenings.

I'm sure there are many things I am not remembering from inside my house at midnight. But it is good when the list of what is growing is long! I can't believe it feels like we are just starting the main summer fruit and veggies, but we are. Of course I hope that means we will have a long beautiful fall.

How is your garden growing?