Sunday, June 24, 2012

When Screens are Shut Off

I often ponder the technology in our house [which consists of one - yes, one - TV, computers (3 of those)  and a Wii console.]  When I ponder these things, I wonder how much do we really need them.  A few years back, I put a block on the Disney Channel because I did not want my kids to start talking to me the way Hannah Montanna talked to her dad.  Many people laughed when they heard this, but we held tight to the ban on Disney. 
Recently, I started reading a book by Jen Hatmaker called "7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess".  Wonderful, thought-provoking book.  We have so much in this country that we take for granted.  I daresay, we have too much.  Much of what we have distracts us from the important stuff. 
Although I limit "Screens" at our house, I have taken a stronger approach since the weather warmed up.  It's fun to see what the kids will get into when they are not allowed to veg out in front of a screen.

Big sister cutting little brother's hair.

Cooling off with the garden hose.

Today, DS8 prepared a stir fry for me.  Can you guess the ingredients?  Let me help....
Cucumber, celery, and romaine lettuce

He also added some spices to it.  (We wouldn't want a bland stir fry, would we?)
He said he chose spices that looked like they went on steak. 
Red pepper, pepper, parsley flakes.
I ate the whole thing with an appreciation that only a mother can have and gave some constructive criticism by letting him know that the next time he didn't have to use so much red pepper.  It's an hour later and my mouth is still on fire!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Finding Time

There is a delicate balance between activity and busy-ness.  As things are clearing from my calendar, I am slowly finding the time to do the things I love to do.  I love to be with my kids and experience them.  The time they are in my life is so temporary.  I love to take walks, read, quilt, browse blogs and Pinterest, and cook.  It's amazing that I am finding the time to do those things again.  I started on a quilt that was to be given to my daughter for Christmas 2010 and finally finished it last week.  That should not be.  She should be the priority and that quilt should have been done long before this.  I'm beginning a new quilt for my second daughter.  I am planning to make it a priority and get it done before her birthday in October.  I have another quilt project that I have been working on for years.  That is for my bed and can wait.
The beautiful part is that DD13 loves to sit with me while I am engaging in handicrafts.  She will often help or come along beside me with her own project.  I love that time I get with her.

 This is the quilt I finished last week.  Even though it has a Christmas theme to it, DD14 says she loves it.

Below are fabrics I have chosen for my next project.  It will be a rainbow quilt and I'm hoping to find yellow brick road fabric to use for the trim.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Time for Tea

This past week has been crazy.  I've heard that from just about everyone I have come into contact with this week.  For some reason, everything is falling on this second full week of June.  For us, it was a dance recital, karate camp, my son's 8th birthday and a class on tea.  For now, I will focus on the tea class and maybe I'll come back to the other stuff later. 
Tea has always been a time to slow down for me and after such a busy week, this was the perfect ending.  My girls, ages 13 and 14, had the opportunity to take a tea class with a friend who we met through homeschooling.  She knows so much about tea and I felt it was such a wonderful opportunity for us that she was offering this class through 4-H.  The girls attended 2 classes prior to this week where they learned about tea - what it is, where it comes from, some cultural traditions, etc.  Then this week, they went on a field trip to Georgetown, Va to visit a Chinese tea room.  They got together one more time to prepare foods for the tea we enjoyed this evening.  All of the families came to this perfect outdoor setting with perfect weather and it was the perfect ending to our week. 

They made their own tea blends, including Chai, Chocolate Vanilla Mint, Rose Mint, Tarragon Sage with Mint. Also, Ancient Forrest and Darjeeling.

The girls are getting ready to serve tea.

DD13 serving the younger siblings.  All of the children waited so patiently.

DD13 gave a quick speech about the field trip to the Chinese tea room.  She spoke about the tea she tried, how it was prepared and the food she had.  Her tea came as a little ball that was put in a glass pot where it "bloomed". 

DD14 gave a quick speech about the Chinese tea room. 

All of the food was made from scratch by the girls and their moms.  Fruit salads, cucumber sandwiches, russian tea cakes and marbled eggs were just a few of the delicacies served.

Teacher of the class and hostess of the tea this evening. She provided such an amazing experience for these girls that I think they will remember for a very long time. Thank you, Maureen.