Saturday, August 27, 2011

Patriotic Art

We were supposed to be camping on Friday, but since we weren't, I felt like we should do some school work, but I just didn't have the heart to say, "Hey boys, guess what, since we're not camping right now, we get to do school instead! Yea!"

So we did PE: we biked the long, long route to the park (The regular route is straight down Main Street and across the train tracks at the pedestrian crossing. The long is route is down the highway to the railroad crossing on the west end of town. The long, long route is the other direction to the crossing on the east end of town).

And we did science: the boys love our Zoology 3: Land Animals of the Sixth Day textbook so much that's it's not even like "doing school."

And we did art: Voila!

Our basement wall now sports this very patriotic mural.

It's fun, it's one-of-a-kind, it's huge, and it's someday going to be covered up when (if) we ever finish the basement.

As I stood back and admired the boys' work of art, it occurred to me that the red we used is really quite a bit deeper than normal flag red, but hey, it's what we had on hand (no pun intended). It's actually more crimson than red. It would make a perfect "blood" red, should we ever want to paint something bloody.

And the way it drips down the wall is very, um, dramatic. One without such a pure and untainted mind might think it looks like a thousand bloody handprints covering the wall. Not that I would ever think that about my kiddo's art work.

Okay, so maybe the thought would cross my mind. And maybe, just for a minute the whole thing might look really creepy. And maybe I'd feel the need to touch it up a little by painting over the places where red lines ran down the white handprints, even though modifying one's children's artwork is expressly prohibited in the Good Mother's Handbook.

But afterwards, when it no longer looks creepy, such a mother probably would feel a lot better about having it in her basement. And after all, she probably just wanted to have a hand in it herself! (pun very much intended)

No, the handprint in the last picture is not my own. It's E's. Ain't it cute?

PS - the stripes are supposed to be "blood red," so says Woodrow Wilson.

"When I think of the flag.... I see alternate strips of parchment upon which are written the rights of liberty and justice, and stripes of blood to vindicate those rights, and then, in the corner, a prediction of the blue serene into which every nation may swim which stands for these great things."

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Legs of Steel

Levi held this position for eight minutes before his calves gave out. Ouch!

What's he doing now? Timing how long he can hang from the balcony.

That's Levi.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Warring Fancies

I love the idea of living simply, frugally and healthfully. But as I've wrestled with incorporating more of these aspirations into my home, I've come to realize they are, at least to some degree, mutually exclusive. Food is one area where the battle is particularly fierce. Here is a an excerpt of a conversation between warring fancies in my mind.

Simplicity: There's enough busyness in your life, Kerri, why don't you just buy some nice, easy, convenient foods for this week's dinners and simplify your life.

Frugality: No way! You know those pre-cut carrots cost twice what the whole ones do!

Healthfulness: You know, you really should plant your own carrots. Not only is it more economical, you can avoid all those nasty chemicals and live more healthily.

Frugality: Amen! Seeds are cheap!

Healthfulness: And while we're talking about good health, you should really buy all organic fruits and vegetables, whole wheat grains, cereals and breads, and low-fat low-sodium snacks.

Frugality: Whoa, just a minute now. Don't get carried away. Have you seen the sticker difference between the organically grown bananas and the regulars?

Healthfulness: There is no cost too great for the health of your family!

Simplicity: Just get what you like and can prepare easily. There is no cost too great for having more time to spend with your family by keeping meals quick and easy!

Frugality: As long as they are quick and easy and inexpensive! Because when you get your next credit card bill you'll know exactly the cost of all those convenience foods!

Healthfulness: What is convenience if you're not healthy enough to enjoy it? Buy the health food!

Frugality: No, grow the health food if you must have it! Ten bucks on seeds packets and you'll eat all summer long!

Simplicity: So I can spend all my long and healthy life slaving away in the garden and in the kitchen?

Alas, the warring factions cannot all be appeased. However, those who know me well know that simplicity lost the battle long ago, at least in the gardening arena. It exerts its sway in other areas, sort of. Okay, not really, but I like the idea of simplicity, so maybe someday it will have influence. Healthfulness and frugality can both win in the summer when we dine well out of the garden, but come the first frost of fall, it'll back to mentally grappling over groceries.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Traveling Scrapbook

A couple years ago I read through the complete Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series and loved it (except for book four, they grew up too much at the end). The reading generated a severe case of nostalgia which lead to me send sentimental e-mails to several of my closest friends. And Becky, who is brilliant, by the way, came up with the idea of creating a traveling scrapbook. See, I told you she's a bright one. It was decided that six of us should share and contribute to the book, and thus The Traveling Scrapbook was born in the summer of 2009.

Becky picked up the actual book, collected old pictures and put together a "back when" section. Then she added her own "now" page and passed the book on to me.

The idea is to add a "now" page every time each of us get the book, and any older photos we may want to mix in. There are also pages for journaling and writing notes. Each of our weddings has a page, too.

It takes about a year to make a full round, and it's a treat to see what's been added since the last visit.

It has its own traveling box, though its getting a little travel-torn.

It's getting pretty full at this point -- over 40 pages, and it has traveled over 12,000 miles bouncing between Washington, North Dakota, Illinois, New Mexico and Montana.

And I'm the lucky one currently in possession of this capsule of happiness and reminiscence. Yea! It makes me happy.