Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Eve

All week long, people have been asking what we're doing for New Year's. It's a simple enough small talk question mostly, but no one seems to like the honest answer of "not much, really." We're simple, stay-at-home celebrators. We avoid the roads and those who may have imbibed a bit too much at the various parties they visit. We don't drink champagne and stay up 'til midnight (ok, sometimes I do). We will probably play Scrabble or watch a DVD before heading to bed, and that is fine with us. But it doesn't particularly smack of "New Year".

This year, we decided to reflect a bit as a family on 2011. There are some great questions at Simple Mom to get you going. It was a fun exercise, and we enjoyed recording our answers. Our older girl chimed in for several questions, which was fantastic! When we were done, we made up some questions of our own about the coming year:
What do you most look forward to for 2012?
What would you want to do differently than in the past year?
What would you like to do more of?
What would you like to learn?

Happy New Year, everyone! Wishing you a fantastic start to 2012!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Christmas morning in Perth, Australia, looked a bit like this...

And of course this...

We opted to forego the traditional shrimp on the barbie and enjoyed our favorite summertime pasta recipe and a nice Margaret River chardonnay for lunch. The red and green worked with the day nicely!

Wishing you and yours a wonderfully merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to get a new iPhone for Christmas

Starting weeks before the new iPhone is released, casually mention that your 3-year-plus-old original iPhone is trying to die. Be sure to mention this often enough that it isn't ignored but irregularly enough not to look devious.

Appear nonplussed when the new iPhone hits the shops and the masses scramble to buy them.

Occasionally mention that you hope your phone doesn't die completely anytime soon since an international move seems inevitable, meaning a new phone might have to be replaced soon thereafter.

Say you don't want any new electronic items until said move...and mean it.

On a sunny Sunday morning, take your children to the playground.
Duck into the public toilets.
Set your sun hat on the ledge behind a toilet.
Place phone on sun hat.
Arrange for gust of wind to whip through the toilet block, lifting your hat just enough at just the right angle to drop your phone into the toilet.

Voila! New iPhone for Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas countdown

I finally packaged up three of my international gifts and sent them out today.
As I finished the labeling, my big girl was looking over the advent calendar. Suddenly, she screamed with glee and announced there were only 9 days left!

Methinks these gifts will not be on time...

Perfect muffins

My wee girl wanted to bake raspberry muffins today. We've been doing a lot of muffin baking lately, and I admit many efforts have been less than satisfactory. One recipe had too much sugar (a whole cup between 12 muffins), another required too much butter (more than a tablespoon per muffin), others were too dry... It was time for reliability. I turned to Smitten Kitchen and tried out Deb's perfect blueberry muffins, because really, Deb is to be trusted completely in the food department (especially when it comes to treats). She has never let me down. Not once.
These muffins.

I swapped raspberries for blueberries, added white chocolate chunks and omitted the lemon zest. Then, I tasted them to be sure I could write to you with authority. I ate three to be sure (ahem).

I am tempted to make several batches and leave them on the doorsteps of all my neighbors to surprise them on Christmas morning.
Happy Baking to you!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dawn chorus

It's summertime in Australia. The days are long. The sky is well-lit by 5am. But before the sun come the birds. The dawn chorus.
If you happen to wake at 4am (or worse, your small child does), good luck getting back to sleep when the birds are so very clearly awake and ready for the day.

This morning, it was the Australian ravens. I've always had a dread of crows. There is something very Edgar Allen Poe about them (strange harbingers of death), and they make me uncomfortable. But Australian ravens...they are simply harbingers of sloth.

Have you ever heard them? "WAH! WAH! Waaaaaaaaaawwwwwww...."
They remind me of (incredibly loud) toys that mimic the cow noise when you flip them upside down, the long drawn out "waaaaaaawwwwww" fading to nothingness as the air leaks out.
And they were at it in vast numbers outside my window at 4am today.

I'll take another cup of tea, please.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Rewards of raising kids internationally

Over lunch, my 3 year old asked me, "Mama, can we go to the restaurant with the kitties? Because I really love the restaurant with the kitties!"
(me:) Do you remember where that restaurant is? No? Chiang Mai, Thailand.
"Oh yeah! I love Thailand! We can go there and play with the kitties and ride in tuk-tuks. Can't we just go there again?"
At which point my 6 year old chimed in and the enthusiasm was unending.
I couldn't help feeling thrilled.

The expat lifestyle is not an easy road. It brings a host of extra challenges to parenting, on top of all the typical challenges of parenting. Different cultures, different languages, different faces, far from family...but so much benefit. Sometimes, I even get to see it in unexpected places, like at the lunch table.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Today: the good, the bad and the ugly

Great way to spend a Sunday
...go out for brunch at the river a movie at home
...relax on the couch and play with the kidlets
...late afternoon trip to the beach with lots of swimming
...evening cuppa from Mama's advent calendar

Such a Sunday would be even better if preceding these wonderful moments is not the horror of maggots falling from a light fixture in the dining room ceiling.
Countless maggots.
Meaning the source, when found, will be far worse (and it was).

Silver lining?
At least this isn't what we awoke to find (it only started around 9).
At least we were well and done with our early breakfast.
And at least is wasn't on a weekday morning. Then I would have had to deal with said source myself instead of praising the heroism of my hubby.

We still enjoyed a wonderful family weekend, and I hope you did too!
(Certainly hoping your Sunday start was/is more ideal!)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

You tell me

Do you think the ban in that headline refers to the pants?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vintage nana apron

Check out what I found for 50 cents at the op-shop:

I feel like it was my grandma's. It must have been someone's grandma's. It is just right for even the most reluctant of housekeepers (me), keeping that environmentally-friendly but quite-white-and-smeary baking soda off my front when I'm giving the bath a scrub. The pockets are such a simple way to cart about a dust cloth or clothespins or little bits one so often finds scattered throughout the house. Yes, it's a bit worn out; I prefer to call that "pre-loved." The enjoyment and functionality I get from it far outweigh the investment.
For 50 cents, it's hard to go wrong.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1st

Being a Northern Hemisphere person living a Southern Hemisphere life, I struggle with feeling Christmas-y when the temperatures climb towards summer. My girls, however, do not have this problem. They were up bright and early, decorating the tree in their pajamas before we could even persuade them to eat breakfast.

My mom selected the perfect advent calendar for our family, which arrived in the post just in time (yesterday afternoon!) not to miss a single day of advent fun.

And then my so-very-thoughtful friend turned up at our door last night with a gift in hand: a daily tea advent calendar just for me!

This Christmas season is off to a beautiful start!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Swaddle blanket

Our dear friends, Andrea and Fiammetta, welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Camilla Eva Grace, last Thursday. Born in Geneva, she'll need to keep extra cozy warm through the winter months ahead. I hope this swaddle blanket will be a good start.

One side is voile; the other is flannel. Both fabrics are by Anna Maria Horner, who also provided inspiration for the blanket here. Simply cut both fabrics at the same time to make sure they are the same size. I put a dinner plate on the corners and cut around it with my rotary cutter for nice curves. I basted the whole thing, wrong sides together. Then, I sewed on some pre-made linen bias-binding, because making my own felt so daunting and this colour was perfect anyway. No, the stitching isn't perfect like Anna Maria's, but I think that just means that it is handmade with love, not store-bought.

Of course, thinking about this sweet baby girl makes me think she also needs a cozy warm baby sweater. Christmas is just around the corner and I have mailing times to contend with when it comes to getting gifts to friends and family on time. I really need to focus on that first, but what I did instead this morning was wind a ball of this...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lessons from NaBloPoMo

For the month of November, I posted on this blog nearly every day for National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). I viewed it as an experiment. I wasn't sure what I wanted from this blog. I had been using it mainly as a record of projects and a little space to share whatever, whenever I was so inclined. I wasn't communicating much of importance. I've often toyed with the idea of a regular blog on a specific topic (I even bought a domain name but haven't posted there yet). I wanted to see how I felt about posting every day. Here is what I've realized:

  • I enjoy writing.
  • I enjoy communicating.
  • I'd like to make a personal commitment to explore other formats to see where that takes me. I used to journal almost daily but I haven't done much at all in recent years. Maybe a month of journaling every day?
  • Blogging everyday as a communication medium made me aware of other communications in my life that are lacking. Being an expat with a 12+ hour time difference between me and friends and family means communication has dwindled over recent years. I miss quality communication with people I know (or knew) well. Maybe a month of letter writing every day (or every other day)?
  • I still feel restrained as I approach the blog. As a friend pointed out, writing a blog is almost like entering politics. You are a private person in a public forum, and you open yourself to all kinds of feedback and criticism. I think I would feel more quality communication with some give-and-take, but I hold so much of myself back for privacy concerns that the quality of communication is affected. Perhaps a more focused topic (like my specific but as-yet-unspecified domain-name-idea) would give me flow?
  • And what about attempting that age-old paper format, book writing? Hmmm...
So, where does this leave us?

First and foremost, thank you for visiting this space! With the thousands of blogs out there, I know you have other places you could be and I appreciate your stopping by! Please leave a note and say hi!

I'm going to keep blogging here, though perhaps not every day.
I do actually enjoy the record-keeping purpose for all my creating. I'm relatively new to sewing and knitting, and I have loved cooking and photography for many years already. Those adventures are nice to share and record, even if I do it just for me. If someone else enjoys it too, fantastic! I have learned so much from other creative blogs that if I can give a little of that back, I'm happy!
As for those other project ideas, I'll keep you posted. I think I need to get through the Christmas season before I try to commit to another daily to-do.

In addition to NaBloPoMo...
I uploaded photos and 30-word-or-less captions for habit. I was so tickled each time they selected my photos out of the flickr pool to share on the blog that I'm wondering if I should develop my photography again. It has been a dormant passion for a while now, so it feels great to have that enthusiasm reignited. I'm not sure where that will take me, but another experiment is in order. Tempted to try a calendar sale before the end of the year, but would anyone be interested? I have tulips in Holland, European cities, small moments with children... There are some gorgeous images in my 10,000+ photo library. But calendars can be so personal. Perhaps photo stationery (postcards, notecards)?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Giveaway winners

While the giveaway post attracted many visitors, only Aussie Mum and Monica commented to why choose? You both win a copy of fragrant rice by Janet De Neefe! Please contact me with your details (blitzpampers at gmail dot com) and your new book will be on its way. Thank you for checking in here and visiting with me. Enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving or Me oh my, I love pie!

Today is Thanksgiving in our house! I made the cranberry sauce* a couple of days ago, I farmed out the side dishes, ordered the turkey from the fancy-pants grocery store, so all I had to do today (other than tidy, ahem) is bake PIE!

On the menu is sweet potato buttermilk pie and chocolate pecan pie. Yes, with homemade crusts. A small amount of nail-biting might have been involved during pre-baking. It's been a while since I've made pie. But oh! Me oh my, I love pie!

My house smells heavenly. The sweet potato pie baked first, and it is cooling as I type. The pecan pie is in the oven. I followed Emeril's recipe because I'm missing New Orleans, but I omitted the bourbon because we're not actually in New Orleans and kids will be eating this. I'm particularly excited about the layer of ganache that will be spread on top. I may or may not have dipped a spoon (or three) into the chocolate sauce that is waiting. One must be sure it will taste delicious, not so?

Yesterday, I stocked up on wine for the dinner. I didn't really know what kind of wine to buy. Turkey isn't very commonly eaten here, so suggestions were minimal. Ultimately, I bought four bottles each of riesling, sav blanc and chardonnay. I may have gone slightly overboard...

*In case you think cranberry sauce is only available as a scary, gelatinous substance from a can, I'm here to tell you that real cranberry sauce is not only amazingly delicious but also easy to make! The basic recipe on the back of the Ocean Spray cranberries bag is a winner, but you can find some reliable variations here. This year, mine is more of an elegant cranberry sauce reduction since I accidentally left it simmering away while I put the girls to bed and fell asleep myself (oops), but Hubby enthusiastically assures me that it tastes fabulous anyway.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Heartache so early this morning. I didn't know how I was going to push past it to get our day going, and then I saw habit selected one of my photos again. An unexpected lift. I feel ready now. Thank you.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today was one of those days I was tempted to wallow. I woke with a pinched nerve in my neck that progressed over the day to pain up my neck and down my back and right shoulder. Uncharacteristically, the girls squabbled and screamed at me and each other all morning. I missed yoga yet again because little one had such extreme meltdowns at schooltime that I thought she might be sick (she wasn't). That heat wave brings all kinds of suffering with it.

But then...I remembered it was Thanksgiving, a day for purposefully counting one's blessings.

I had pain, yes, but really, it was discomfort. I am healthy and strong, and the discomfort/pain I felt was so noticeable because it was unusual. All of us are healthy and strong. A couple of picky eaters, yes, but they have enough and I never have to worry about that. True blessings.

My wee one might have pushed all the right buttons to stay home and disrupt my plans, but at least I can be home for her when she needs me. So many parents cannot do this, even if they want to be home.

My disrupted plans were frustrating to me, but all of the items on my list were luxuries. Most of the little errands were related to our delayed Thanksgiving we'll host on Saturday. How blessed are we that we can not only afford to enjoy a lavish meal but we can also share that meal with our friends.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, the beautifully long list of reasons to be thankful.
Whether or not this is a holiday you celebrate, I wish a Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

End on a high note

Gathering up whatever food I could quickly grab and heading for an impromptu picnic at the river was the perfect cure for a hot, frustrated afternoon. Peanut butter & jelly, some fruit and pretzels, a muffin or two, some salad remnants for Mama and Papa, sparkling water...and a jumprope. Life is good.


For the past two days, my photos have been selected out of the flickr pool to appear on the habit blog. I'm kind of ridiculously tickled about it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Frozen yogurt banana pops

With temperatures soaring to 35C in the shade (from 15C at daybreak), I needed a nourishing, cooling snack for those pesky after school hours. These banana pops were just the ticket! They are bananas dipped in Greek yogurt with a touch of honey, rolled in sprinkles and frozen as popsicles. I had made these with peanut butter and/or chocolate before, but not the yogurt. Delicious!

I wish I could take the credit for the idea, but I can't. Thanks to Jean at Artful Parent for sharing this treat with us!

Before, during and after

I should have photos, but I don't.

Somewhere in the middle of my caffeine-induced insomnia, I decided to give up on trying to sleep (which was getting really frustrating anyway) and address maybe one or two little (big) things that needed doing but I never seemed to make the time to do. As I lay in the dark, I thought of the mountains of stuff on my children's desks, so much stuff that they could not actually use their desks. They could never find things on their desks. They didn't know what they had. My mind wandered across the room to my own desk, which has been covered in a mountain of stuff for so long that I cannot use the desk, I don't know what's there anymore...oh my. It was time to act.
So, that was "before".

The "during" took much longer than I'd anticipated. There was so much on their desks that it hadn't really occurred to me that there would be stuff in them, too. Each drawer and compartment was full to the brim. Heaps were added to the recycle bin, as I busily (quietly) buried scribbles and torn bits beneath old newspapers so my treachery will not be detected in the morning. I sifted through it all, bit by bit...and beneath the mess, I unearthed gorgeous mountains of treasure, boundless proof of creativity beyond my recognition. I hadn't seen some of these drawings, these colourings, these stories, these creations. They were made and squirrelled and hidden from view in the mass.

And the "after"? I never got to my desk. My heart is so moved by my girls. Each day, they become more and more their own little people. This has been true since they were babies, and it will continue to be true. The big difference now is I won't always see it, unless I look. I need to remember to look every day, to watch every day, to really listen and see them every day.

I always aim to be a mindful parent, but in the daily bustle and busy...I so often fall short. I make it through the manic, and sometimes at the end of the day, I think all I've really minded is the unending to-do list, the clock, and the more urgent-sounding outbursts. I can do better.

I know tomorrow I will regret these lost hours of sleep, but right now, in the middle of the night, I have found treasure that (almost) makes the insomnia worth it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Later this morning...
Yet another beautiful thing about the clean desks was the new creativity they inspired. As soon as both girls saw there was space to work, they set right to it.

Note to self

Dear Self,

That double-shot affogato that tasted so lovely at 12:45pm today isn't doing you any favours three hours after your normal bedtime.
You cannot tolerate that much caffeine.
Get the message! Thank you.


Monday, November 21, 2011

Balinese dancers and a give-away!

Can you take one more Bali post?
Last one, all right?

The main reason we wanted to get back to Bali was our older girl's yearning to watch the Balinese dancers. The last time we were there, none of us could stay awake beyond sunset. She asked every day to see the dancers at night, and every day we all fell asleep before they took the stage. We didn't make it happen. It saddened her and she brought it up often after we returned home, and I regretted that we hadn't tried. We had this opportunity to return, and we snatched it up! And don't you know, we went to see the dancers the very first (and again on the last) night!

The night was very dark and the spotlights were very bright, so it was hard to take good photos on my little point-and-shoot camera. This night, Wednesday, was the Spirit of the Women dancers at the Water Palace in Ubud. Women play the musical instruments as well as dancing most of the parts. The elaborate dance told a long, intricate story of a princess. These dancers are incredible artists with great skill. Balinese dance may be difficult for a Westerner to understand, but it is really something to watch.

We wish we had been able to see the children perform, but alas, there was no children's performance we could attend during our visit. There were three children in the roles of golden deer in this night's performance, and our girls were very excited to see them.

Might I interest you in a little treat?
I hope you've enjoyed these little peeks into Bali. If you'd like a bit more, I'll pass you along to an expert. I would like to give away a copy of the book "fragrant rice", written by an Australian woman married to a Balinese man and raising their children in the Balinese tradition in Ubud. She and her husband have owned a few highly successful restaurants (in one of which I purchased the book) and operate a highly-regarded cooking school, so the book is peppered with delicious recipes along with her stories. I will happily ship this book anywhere in the world, as a special treat for you before Christmas. Just leave a comment on this post (extra entries for sharing the posts with a friend) and I'll choose a winner on Saturday, when my family will celebrate Thanksgiving. Warmest wishes to you!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Home again

My sweet girls were desperate to wear the traditional dress like the Balinese children on Saraswati Day. On this day, all schoolchildren dress up and make offerings and prayers to the god of education. It was beautiful to watch them embrace at least a part of a culture not their own.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Balinese traditional dress

Visiting Bali during the festival of Galungan is a feast for the eyes. Elaborate offerings adorn every temple, large and small. Beautifully decorated bamboo poles grace the entrance of each family compound. And, of course, the people are wearing traditional ceremonial dress. The men typically wear crisp white, button-down, short-sleeved shirts with sarong and scarf around the waist, and they have a special cloth tied on their heads. The women wear their hair in a ponytail and over the sarong, they wear a lace shirt called the kebaya.

We learned that the central government in Indonesia, which is Muslim (while Bali is mostly Hindu or animist), has declared that the traditional Balinese lace shirts are against sharia law because you can see through them to the women's bodies and undergarments. They are no longer allowed, though people who cannot afford the new fabric shirts can still wear the lace.

This is not the first change to Balinese traditional dress. First, men and women only wore sarongs. Men wore animal motifs, and women wore vine or flower motifs. There was no shame about exposed breasts. All members of the community bathed openly. There was (is) a common belief that multi-gender, multi-generation body is beautiful, and there were no crimes between men and women. The government declared this indecent, and women were required to wrap or cover their breasts with cloth though men were allowed to continue only wearing the sarong. Then, the lace shirts on temple days became the norm, with men and women both required to wear shirts all the time.

While the Balinese may not be happy with these changes being enforced from a far away place whose culture is not their own, they accept that change will come and do not resist it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Ducks in the rice fields

Harvested rice fields are often full of ducks. They are not for eating and not for eggs. Rather, they are a very environmentally-friendly solution to field maintenance. The ducks eat up the bugs and clean up the paddy after the harvest, leaving fertilizer in their wake. As Dewa told us,
"Ducks are vacuum cleaner for the country."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A little anecdote in Bali

As we drove to visit a temple with Dewa, he explained to us about eating chicken versus pork, particularly during the feast of Galungan. He explained that chicken embodies greed: looking all day for food, never has enough, never stops pecking; pig embodies laziness: asks for food, eats, sleeps again once food is eaten.

"Today is good day for Balinese people, but not so good day for chicken and pig."

Later, we slowed through a village as some chickens ran across the road.

"If your car hits a chicken, we think it is a lucky day."
We asked why, and he replied, "Crispy, flat chicken for dinner!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Staying near Ubud

When we first visited Bali in 2009, our girls were four and one. We stayed in a fantastic hotel in the small village of Keliki near Ubud in Central Bali. Most Australian tourists stick to Seminyak or Kuta on the coast, but we have beautiful beaches here in Perth; when we travel, we want something different. Ubud is the artistic and cultural center of Bali, so it was the clear choice for us.

Our stay at Alam Sari was absolutely perfect. It is completely ideal for young families who want to be out of the bustle of Ubud. The staff were incredibly, genuinely warm and welcoming, loving to our children and indulgent in our whims. The restaurant on site is open from 7am to 10pm without closing, meaning our kids could eat waffles for dinner at 4pm if they so desired (and often did) and Hubby and I could indulge in a multi-course Indonesian dinner in our open-air lounge after the girls were asleep. Most of the ingredients come from their organic vegetable garden. The family villa is fantastic.

They gave us the villa up the hill, away from the rest of the hotel, so our baby's nap time would not be disturbed. The rest of the villas surround the lovely pool.

From the hotel, you can easily walk to and through the rice fields or wander through the village.

If there was anywhere we wanted to go, they organized someone to take us in the van and they provided excellent guides full of all the cultural knowledge we could devour (especially valuable to us since we were there during the festival of Galungan). We loved it there, but we aren't the only ones who know about this place. In truth, we've never been able to get back. It's always booked out!

If you like to travel a bit off the beaten path but still be sure it is safe and sound for your family, we could not recommend this stay more highly.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What I haven't said is...

Tomorrow morning, we're headed off to Bali on holiday! Hip hip hooray!

Perth is the most isolated capital city in the world. Try getting out of here during school holidays or summers, and you're pretty much guaranteed to find at least half of the local population trying to do the exact same thing at the exact same time. Summer holidays are creeping up quickly, so we're going to sneak away now before the rush and stick close to home while the crowds move out for Christmas. It takes nearly five hours on a plane to get to Sydney, but it's only 3.5 hours to Bali! You do the math. Going to Bali is simple logic, right? Off we go!

I've been really good about sticking to my posting each day here for NaBloPoMo and the daily photos at habit. With that in mind, I thought I might just take the laptop with me to Ubud and upload from any one of their zillion internet-connected cafes. Then, I realized I do not want to be one of those people. I'll be in Bali! Computers are against the whole point! While I may sneak into an internet cafe for a few minutes each day to upload to habit (it is a habit, after all), I'm going to cheat a bit here and write some posts in advance. They will be about Bali...just from our previous visits. I hope you will enjoy them! Maybe I'll have a little treat to give away when I return...

Stay tuned and enjoy the rest of your week!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Need a minute or five?

If you have littles in your house, you know the value of distraction. Even better is the value of all out absorption in something (anything!) for just five little minutes so you can finishcookingsettingthetableextracttrashfrombaby'smouthblockjuniorfromdrawingonwallgetdinneronthetable or maybe just wind them down a bit before bedtime. For this, I highly recommend the free Sesame Street podcast on iTunes. These are short little video podcasts--a new one each week--centered on one topic, usually a vocabulary word (some greats include habitat, metamorphosis, incognito, octagon, fragile and engineer). They typically feature American television celebrities introducing the word, giving the definition and demonstrating it with one of the Sesame Street characters as well as lots of little skits with some old school characters and kids on the street. We have been watching these podcasts consistently for oh, four years now. My girls love them. Secretly, Hubby and I do too. They are short, sweet and free.

You'll thank me later.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The bees' knees

Late this afternoon, my big girl came running into the kitchen and begged us to follow her to the front yard: "Mama! Papa! Come quick! Come! I've got to show you! There are, like, hundreds of bees on the green stool thing in our yard!"
Given that she tends to exaggerate and to call any winged insect (including tiny nits) bees and we couldn't visualize any green stool thing that might be in our yard, we were skeptical. But she was right!

Completely covering one side of the green electrical box on the edge of the yard is an entire colony of bees. They are several bees deep, and there appears to be a hole they are using towards the bottom of the pile. We think they must have found a way into the box at that point and the bees we see are the ones that don't fit inside. Fascinating to watch, and excuse me when I add they are bee-you-tiful! (I had to. Sorry.)

We can't bear the idea of someone spraying or even harassing them, so we're going to call the honey man from our farmer's market tomorrow. Hopefully, he will be able to point us towards some safe and friendly bee relocation consultants. In the meantime, I find myself drawn to them. Hubby has always wanted to keep bees, and I'm feeling the pull now myself. Amazing creatures!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Whimsy for your weekend

This makes me so happy that I get a little teary. I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I do!

Happy Weekend to you!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Making a habit of it

I've been participating in the open month over at habit, and I'm delighting in the ritual. Participating has made me take the time each day to capture small moments on camera and in words. With a single image and 30 words or less, I am required to make just a few minutes each day to pause, reflect and record. A beautiful habit indeed.

This week:

7 November

7 November

I woke to the sound of something shattering. A sad accident. Wildness that would not cease...until it did. They colored and sang together, and the day was renewed.

8 November

8 November
They say it is the worst allergy season on record. It must be a banner year for Kleenex.

9 November

9 November
Too cautious to join in, too enraptured to sit down.

10 November

10 November
Not much about this day worked out the way I planned, but it was a good day nonetheless.

11 November

11 November
We decided to turn Pupil Free Day into our own personal holiday.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cirrus altocumular glory

Okay, so I made up the word "altocumular" (from the real cloud formation "altocumulus"--close!), but the clouds were really talking to me today.

I so enjoyed what they had to say.