Poor Penny. She's been pushed aside again. I've been hustling to get a bunch of work done before camp-a-palooza 2010, and this little blog has suffered as a result.
I do have a bit of stuff to say, though, so please accept this random wrap up of thoughts and experiences. There's no theme here, unless you care to find one?
1. First, congratulations to Spokane seamstress and Etsy seller Cherie Killilea, who recently landed a licensing deal with Simplicity patterns. Simplicity will begin selling her patterns for duffel bags (remember mine?), clutches and luggage tags next year under the name Studio Cherie. What a thrill, huh? You can read my blog post about it (including some comments from the designer at Simplicity who discovered Cherie) over on Dwell Well.
2. Also on Dwell Well, I posted a roundup today of links to several eco crafts for kids. I'm gearing up for this year's make-and-take craft booth at the North Idaho Fair, which you might remember from last year. There are some neat projects there from Kayte Terry, Maya Made and others. Check it out if you're looking for something fun to do with the kids.
And by calling them "eco crafts," I'm generally talking about projects you can make from stuff around your house or stuff headed for the trash bin. In other words, they're the best, most creative kinds of crafts.
3. Speaking of all things eco, have you seen this video yet? It's excellent. It's 20 minutes long, so grab a cup of coffee, and the start is a little slow, so hang in there.
4. We are going on four different camping trips this summer, one of which involves visiting three different campgrounds within one week. In other words, we will be living out my mother's worst nightmare.
A few weeks ago, in a moment of irritation, Bo turned to her little sister and snapped, "Get out of my campsite!" instead of "Get out of my sight!" Hilarious.
A big part of planning a camping trip is preparing the menu. I'm sure I'll post photos of our camp-food successes and failures when that time comes, but putting all this thought into meal planning has reminded me that I never wrote about some of the wonderful meals we ate this spring.
For the last few months, we've been spending two weeks with a particular cookbook (like Almost Meatless), a stack of magazines (like Sunset) or a blog (like my friend Sarah's, called In Praise of Leftovers). We pick two weeks' worth of meals from each, grocery shop for the main ingredients on one day and leave a few last-minute items on the calendar so we can pick them up fresh, as needed. The system has worked beautifully, and here's a sampling of what we've been enjoying:
Some of our other favorite dishes were:
Bruschetta Steak Salad (uh-mazin')
Almond Gnocchi with Lamb Ragu (although I must admit we used plain, store-bought gnocchi instead of making it from scratch, which--when you have two young "helpers"--can get quite messy)
5. Besides love, family, children and sex, running is the key to happiness. You don't have to go fast. Just go.
6. I turned 36.
My plan was to do 36 random acts of kindness, like Robyn of Mix Mingle and Glow did on her birthday. I even had appointments scheduled at the blood bank and a nursing home (we were going to help with an ice cream social). But Magpie woke up sick, so I only got to squeeze in a few things, like buying coffee for the person behind me and bringing grocery carts inside from a parking lot.
My wonderful friends on Facebook picked up the slack, though, and completed their own acts of kindness as a birthday gift to me. It was so fun to read throughout the day about the things they did, like my friend JoNelle, who was buying a candy bar for her son and decided to buy one for the cashier, too, because the woman mentioned it was her favorite treat.
Facebook gets a bad reputation as a time waster and all, but how else could I spend my day at home with a sick kid and see friends I've known since grade school and friends I've made just recently spreading joy to other people in my honor?
7. Like any family, we get caught up in the go-go-go-ness of life. Rush to preschool so we can rush to work so we can rush back to preschool and rush to get dinner on the table. Every once in a while, we have a day that stops me in my tracks and reminds me of who I am and what is important to me.
It's never any big, major deal. Tonight, for example, we decided to go out for ice cream. As we passed the market near our house, we realized they were hosting one of their outdoor music nights. Very low key--just a bunch of neighbors sitting in the parking lot drinking beer and eating cookies.
There, we ran into the parent of one of J's former students. She (the parent) is running for office, so we got to catch up with her and talk about that.
Then, we saw a teacher J knows and his wife, who just had a baby. Had a wonderful conversation with them as the girls ran around in circles to the music.
By that time it was 8:30--way past bedtime for us, but J decided pizza sounded good, so we drove to another neighborhood we love and ate a pie on the patio, struck up a conversation with the sweetest 4-year-old boy you can imagine, and then got to talking with his parents, who we hope to bump into again.
Yes, the girls were tired, but happy, like us. They won't remember this night, but maybe somewhere deep down they'll make a connection. Meeting new people + building relationships with neighbors and old friends = happiness + love.
8. Thunder and lightning out my window right now. Life is good.