Tuesday, December 30, 2008


We have been celebrating with each other for several weeks, doing special things each day, going on special adventures, and i have even been finding a little elf (emma) leaving me presents on my pillow! Some of the things we enjoyed together this year in no particular order: going to see the minature display at the train depot with peg and we got to ride the trolley while we were there, building 'cairns' with the kids on the table using the kid's rock collections, we hope to visit a large outdoor cairn one day, anyone know where one is in north america?, the kids all made sun crowns for the bonfire night on solstice, they even made inde one!, with daddy we made and iced GF sugar cookies, made one day, baked one day, iced one day....,we moved all the couches off the windows and sunbathed inside several days wishing this cold away and yet enjoying it's importance, we made a centerpiece on the table and each person brought something to represent themselves, some mornings the kids found a fun activity on the table to do, we made beeswax candles, create your own mugs for our tea times, we made a cedar smudge stick (the precursor to incense) it smelled lovely burning, decorated a tree in the house, strung cranberries, made some sand art and wished for the beach, made pinecones with birdseed and hung them in the trees and the treehouse for the birds, played some new card games, alex and i made some handmade cards one evening, took some naps, went and found a special ornament with gram and gramps, got several new books to read, enjoyed some new wii games, went to see lights at the botanical gardens and the luminaries downtown......celebrated on solstice, had a one for all day on christmas, had yummy soups and company at the elams on christmas eve......it was a wonderful month, see some here! And it contained a surprise, that my sister maggie and michael are going to let us all celebrate for them officially as they are going to get married, will inde be walking by then folks or is this a soon event? :)
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Saturday, December 27, 2008


Had a blast bowling before everyone that was in town for the holidays left town. Here are some highlights here....Again, libby and maggie, i do not appreciate the butt shots.......I will get you back, promise. Alex did really quite well from the last time we bowled, he seemed to enjoy it. It is scary that even when you are bowling with bumpers, you barely are beating the people 25 years younger than you!
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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

We celebrated on Christmas Day this year when our stores were closed and folks were home to visit by doing a "ONE FOR ALL" day in lieu of gifting like we have in years past. Everyone gathered for the day and brought or planned something for us all to do or enjoy together. The only "rules" were that everyone had to enjoy it and it had to all happen by the end of the day. We started off making gingerbread houses with gram at her house, maggie made a brunch for all of us, i took everyone to a movie, kurt made us dinner, peg had an ice cream of our choosing for dessert that night, alex made and flew paper airplanes with everyone, emma had made everyone a candle, owen wanted to play a wii game with everyone, gramps prepared a dancing cd and we all had a dance party, and libby and ben taped the events of the day to give us all a hard copy of the memory. It was a wonderful day together away from the commericalism that loves to creep into the holidays......I really enjoyed the day, the whole month actually was surprisingly stress free for mommy, just full of enjoying and being...........We should have done some of these relaxed ways of celebrating long ago in our lives. Thank you to all for the day and may all the rest of you have a happy holiday this year yourselves! gingerbread houses at the bottom: Photos
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Monday, December 22, 2008


The morning after solstice morning, when i checked we had eggs! They are gorgeous.....each one slightly different. Of course all eight of these were not there on one morning, but they seem to be laying every day or day and a half right off the bat! We were saving the eggs for the first few days to have a batch that was just our chickens eggs. Then when kurt and i weren't home one afternoon and our neighbor that was watching them was over, she cooked alex and owen some eggs. I realized that they cooked the chickens eggs, because when i got home alex kept going on and on about how good the eggs were that emily made, could i find out how she had fixed them? He said all she did was put some water in them before she scrambled them and the water must have made them yummy. I checked the fridge and the brown eggs were missing, so we now have a blind taste challenge a la alex that the chicken eggs are better tasting!
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We decided to greet the sun on the morning after solstice this year. We had a bonfire with some friends last night and then kurt and i stayed up all night together visiting and getting some surprises ready for the kids. It was full to do an "allnighter" again like we used to when we were young and wild! We are going to celebrate with them today to have time for them to enjoy the gift we give them so we can then all enjoy our day visiting with everyone on Christmas Day when we gather with family. Gram, Gramps, and Peg came over this morning to watch the sun come up with us. It was bitterly cold, but we did do some viewing from the treehouse, the kids were awoken at their request and watched from the couch, it was a beautiful sunrise. I think Kurt won the bet on exactly where the first ray was going to break the horizon. We have enjoyed the winter, but are ready to be over the hump and enoy the days getting warmer. Here is us enjoying this day....
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Saturday, December 20, 2008


the kids were taken this year two days on an adventure with my parents to hunt for a special ornament. they went all over town choosing their favorite in each store, taking photos to remember. they then looked all the photos over again and made a choice. gram and gramps are helping them build an ornament collection to have of their own one day...it was a special adventure, in a few years we might have to find something to hand tem on besides the tree---four ornaments times four years gets you to sixteen, see how the math grows?!? thank you for this special time i enjoyed going out for this and i usually hate shopping and stores!
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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Flying Monkey

A & E sold some ornaments today at the flying monkey art center at lowe mill, they had a day that kid's could sell their wares. E also sold some of her window art as well as some origami snack cups with either raisins or trail mix. The kids made the ornaments out of ornaments and some lovely yarn emma found in the laundry room. We enjoyed being at the monkey for the day and seeing the other artists wares, the most creative were some of the jewelry made out of dominos......Creating is infectious!
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Walking the lights

we went and walked the lights at the botanical garden tonight, had faces painted, drank hot chocolate, braved the cold. itis nice to enjoy lights not inside the car. we also went this year and drove around twickinham with the luminaries. the doorways are my favorite with the greenery and especially the ones that put fruit over the doorways....yummy to look at!
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Thursday, November 27, 2008


celebrated a lovely meal with all my family and all michael's family, it was nice and fun to all get ready for this day together, the tables, the food......delicious turkey by kurt from mountain fork farms, i recommend brining a turkey it makes an amazing difference and i am so happy we have some for the freezer! We read again the book 1628 about the real story of Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for, even that alex got sick today, we can find thankfulness in that, that we are here to comfort him, that his body has an immune system to make him better. Mostly i am thankful right now for TIME, and for the knowledge that it is a gift and I am thankful to know that in my heart and try to live every moment for we never know how many moments we have left....if you are reading this, you have touched my life and i am thankful for you! Happy Thanksgiving......KT
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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last Leaf Pile

Wow! we got a family photo! Here is the last leaf pile of the year. It was massive in the backyard. The kids have been jumping in it with goggles on, to "see" through the leaves. Luckily it has been dry so it has stayed playable a while. Jumping in leaf piles is one of those visceral memories from childhood, i can remember the smell, the air, exactly what it felt like to be small enough to land cushioned on the leaves, what it felt like to hide inside that tiny outdoor space.....
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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Space Station Sighting

We got to see the space station "pass" over our house this evening. It moved very fast through the sky, just looked like a faraway plane. It came towards us from the western horizon, near the moon and the planets that you can see there this time of year, went over the house and then kind of faded suddenly into the eastern horizon as the atmosphere got too thick to see the light from it. Here is emma laying in the front yard watching it, it was COLD! We were kind of glad that it only lasted about 30 seconds!
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Wake Now Discover Park Day

a friend started a yahoo group for local unschoolers and we have had several get togethers, maybe more when it gets warmer. Today we went to have a park day and it was warmish. Alex enjoyed flying his kite in the field by the park. Here is the group if anyone is interested!
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Vision Boards

I finished a & e's vision boards today. This was a fun idea coming from several places at the live and learn conference. To have each family member have a board that is their vision board for their life. It is kind of anything goes, something you want to see, something you want to do, something you want to experience or feel, something you want to accomplish or make or get, etc. Owen wrote his name solo for the first time on his, Emma put a drawing she made of her riding a horse on hers, and Alex has yellowstone and the great planes r/c software on his. I can't wait to put my vision board up and work toward what I want to add to my life in the future. I don't have a picture on here of the actual "boards" but we sewed them, one side fabric and the other side chalkboard fabric. They have names and kites and animals sewn on the border. Hopefully i will finish owen's one day when he starts showing an interest in adding to it.
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I Spy a Helicopter

If you look real close you can see Alex landing his orange helicopter on top of the landing area built on top of the fort they created this morning. This helicopter is quite fun to fly and is giving our r/c flyer some experience and joy flying while he can't outside and while he is wishing for that amazing software that he hopes to have someday soon to learn to fly larger r/c planes.
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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Thankful Turkey

Emma helped me make a leftover, but non-edible pumpkin into a centerpiece for our table for a Thanksgiving dinner that we are having everyone over for. The feather are all either cut out paper or drawn feathers. We plan to write on the pumpkin body things that we are thankful for and let others do the same.
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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Leftover Candy

If you have a bunch of leftover m&m candy and you just can't eat it anymore, make pancakes out of it! This is what Kurt created for us today, they have been requested many days after. He could market them in the frozen section, I think. The m&m gives it just enough sweetness that they are perfect on the go pancakes, and they happen to be GF! I can hand one to the kids if we are in the car one morning and have yummy breakfast on the go!
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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Costco Carriage

Inde is so patient with all this discovery she has created. She is amiable to any carry, activity around her, etc. AMAZING! Here she is in the "Costco Carriage" Emma and Owen made for her. They pulled her around the house for quite some time. Emma is doing well with her broken arm. She fell out of a dogwood tree when the branch she grabbed broke at my parents house two weeks after inde was born. Has to have it casted about 6 weeks--we are glad summer and most of our 'water' time is over. She is missing doing a lot of her drawing, and would LOVE a bath, but seems still able to create with paints and window art without to much trouble. We are glad she wasn't hurt more and know in a few weeks she will hardly remember it.
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Late Leaf Hike

We went on a late afternoon hike to enjoy the final leaves. They seem to be really late completing their fall this year. This was behind the house, so we all went, even Major whose hiking is limited by his legs these days. Found some gorgeous reds and oranges, you could smell the chill of winter coming in the air. The kids enjoyed climbing fallen trees and the cliff area.
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Sunday, November 9, 2008

Snacking on Eyeballs

From this book we have, titled something like gross things to make eat and do, the kids decided to make eyeball drinks this evening. They really did look like bloody eyeballs floating in battery acid, get your selves some marshmallows, some toothpicks to hold them up, some tootsie roll pieces for eye centers, and some red food coloring for vein lines, YUM! Emma widened her eyes each time she took sip, we told her to be careful she might lose an eyeball if she opened those eyes any wider!
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Saturday, November 8, 2008

From High Green to Blue

Alex and Kurt both tested for their blue belts today, kurt in TKD and Yong Moo Do, alex just in TKD. I finally got a pretty good action shot of the board break. Each test has board breaks that they have to do in different ways. I enjoyed seeing Kurt do the Yong Moo Do test, the running rolls are spectacular. Afterwards we celebrated at Red Robin with lunch. Emma had tried TKD for a couple of weeks, and then decided she didn't want to continue, Owen is still on the fence. It is fun to watch them each experiment with things and find the things they love and the things they just want to try on for size.
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Thursday, November 6, 2008

One of last Bonfires

This is one of our last bonfires of the year, it is just getting too cold! Owen is adept enough now to do the sticks in the fire and smoke them around the yard like he has been watching alex and emma do for years. I loved how he watched and tended the fire tonight. He kept roasting others of us marshmallows, "just like you like it momma..."


This is a gift Alex got from a friend that the kids experimented with today. It is hard to tell from the photo, but the "balloon" is about ten or more feet long. It is very light and sensitive to the warmth of the sun. As the kids had it in the sun it rose like a blimp, as it would hit a shady spot it sank. They enjoyed experimenting with it around the yard, and Alex kept it out of the trees, amazingly, he has a running joke about getting everything he flies either in a tree or in a body of water!
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Thursday, October 30, 2008


Look at these magnificent pumkins that we worked on all day today with Gram. The kids and I roasted the seeds later in the week and they were delicious! Emma wanted to make a moth pumpkin, Alex a haunted house and Owen a happy face. These are the pumpkins that they picked out at Tate Farms two days before Inde was born. We had a fun warmish night trick-or-treating in the trailer pulled by the truck on the mountain with friends.
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Sunday, October 26, 2008

How to Go Into Labor

Mom, I think I might have found a more sure fire way than spaghetti dinners, chocolate cake and a movie with a toddler on your lap that has to potty to get a labor going. Although by all accounts not as relaxing or delicious as your method, this one apparently works within a day or so. Proceed thus: Find a warm day, take three children (your own or someone else's) to a pumpkin picking farm. Make sure you walk in the hay maze, supervise all the corn bin jumping and go on the hayride--did i mention this has to be very bumpy, as in every rut you expect your water to break--out to get your pumpkins from the field. Yes, you will get asked a sickening amount of times, if you "are stealing a pumpkin under that shirt, ma'am?" smile or offend the commentator, your choice....Make sure each of the three children picks the largest pumpkin they can feasibly carry or not carry as the case may be. Head back to play and eat pinto bean soup around the barnyard. Right as you are planning to leave have the eldest child with the largest pumpkin careen out of the hay loft to hurt their tummy to where they not only can't carry their pumpkin to the car, they can hardly walk. Exit the pumpkin patch with pumpkins in wheelbarrow, child crawling, and waddle to your car. If you are smart you will realize that while the wheelbarrow was a great savior to get those pumpkins out the door, the wheelbarrow does not lift the pumpkins into your car. Find a friendly soul wandering the parking lot to lift those pumpkins for you. Knowing in hindsight how quickly Inde was born, I am oh so thankful she didn't decide to join us at tate farms, I guess she didn't want to be Inde Tate Bothwell, she was waiting for just the right moment to fall into our lives......in the rain...
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Muscadine Jelly

We received some muscadines that we couldn't eat all of, so we decided to try and make muscadine jelly.........I had high hopes of giving some jelly away as gifts, we made mint jelly last year and it was delicious. The jelly went fine until we added the optional part of the recipe of pureeing some of the skins and adding them. As it hardened it just got TOO thick. Trying to get it out of the jar was like some sort of edible spackle that had hardened. It was the consistency of slightly melted jolly ranchers! Fun nonetheless, and now we know not to add the skins, except in extreme moderation. The muscadine innards are such a lovely color green....
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