Thursday, April 30, 2009

Beauty for Ashes

Project 365 - April 30

Some sweet friends hosted a birthday picnic for me at the capitol parkgrounds today. Not only did Jed and I get to see "old" friends, but we got to make a couple of new ones too.

As part of my ongoing spring purging, earlier this week I went through all the cards I've saved, all the way back to my childhood. It was a precious time of remembering how God has blessed my life with friends.

When my first husband left, I felt so abandoned I could barely function. That was the first time he left. By the third and final time, I was a pro at functioning without him, but my heart was frozen solid. It was years before it thawed out...and loving friends were the instruments God used to bring that healing.

Reading card after card expressing love was healing even now, even after all the intervening years. And the God who gave me those friends is good, a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Psa 18:24)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

King of the Mountain

Project 365 - April 29

Today was quite the day for Mr. Jed.

It started last night, actually, with the decision I made to start having more fun.

It started this morning with a bike ride down our street. There is a slight hill down near the end of the point, and Jed has been nervous about it. I've been holding onto the hood of his jacket to keep him from going too fast, but he navigated it quite well this morning by himself.

So when we got back to our end of the street, instead of walking back down again as we usually do, I got our adult bike out and I RODE IT with him. I haven't ridden a bike in probably 10 years. Boy, did it feel good. Except in the posterior portion.

After our bike ride, we packed a picnic lunch and headed to the beach. It was sunny and breezy today, around 60, and I read while Jed built a river and a dam. One of the benefits of the spring purging I've been doing lately is the discovery of all these great books I had been meaning to read. Most of them I've been passing along on PaperBack Swap, but I couldn't resist actually reading A Place Called Maine. It's a compilation of 24 stories from Maine authors, some natives and others "from away" like us.

I finally managed to drag Jed away from the sand long enough to do some schoolwork before heading off to his first swim lesson as a Ray. We pass a certain playground on the way home from the Y, and it was such a beautiful day, we were reluctant to let it end. We stopped for an hour of running around, sliding, and climbing on rocks.

I was going to take him for another bike ride after supper, but I don't think he's going to last. :) Thank goodness! lol I think I need a lesson in spreading the joy out a bit. But we did have fun!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Popping Out All Over

Project 365 - April 28

Isn't it amazing how quickly spring takes over?

We had a warm, sunny weekend and all of a sudden, overnight it seems, trees are budding and flowers are blooming.

Trees, shrubs- even the littlest plants,
their buds as closed in the winter's cold-
now coerced, uneasy waiting turns to bust...from their molds;
show their colorful blossoms- 'fairer to fairest'!
Like Cinderella before the midnight hour...

-Dimitri Marcellana

Monday, April 27, 2009

Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Annoying Customers...

Project 365 - April 27

This is becoming a regular scene for us.

Since joining the PaperBack Swap group earlier this month, I've mailed 20 books to others members.

I would not be in this group if I had to deal with typical post office employees, but luckily that's not the case for us in East Winthrop. Dave is knowledgable and helpful, and best of all, pleasant.

Case in point: he let me take this picture of him today. (I didn't tell him it was for my blog. :D)

A Little Slice of Heaven on Earth

Project 365 - April 26

We pass a certain convenience store on our way to and from the church we fellowship with.

You wouldn't think a convenience store would be the best place to get a pizza, but you would be wrong. At least in this case.

Honestly, this is the best pizza I've ever had in my life.

I was never a big fan of pizza before, but I could be president of the fan club with this sweet thing sitting in front of me.

Tinkering with the Imagination

Project 365 - April 25

Jed's recently discovered he has a set of Tinker Toys.

He's actually had them for about three years now, but for some reason they didn't interest him before. Since I've always bought the majority of his toys at yard sales and pay next to nothing for them, I don't mind if something doesn't spark his interest right away.

But boy, when it does...does it ever. He can't get enough of the Tinker Toys now. :)

The Best Kids' Game EVER

Project 365 - April 24


This game is awesome.

I LOVE it!

It's great to find a game that a parent actually enjoys playing with their kids.

Doodle Dice is like a child's version of Yahtzee, except instead of trying to get four of a kind, you're trying to match the patterns on cards. The first person to get a card in all six colors wins.

That person is usually me.

I am the Queen of Doodle Dice. Even Tracy says so. Even though it almost kills him. :D

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Easter, Part II

Project 365 - April 23

Jed's Grandpa and Grandma have started a new tradition of sending him treats after holidays.

He loves it because it prolongs the fun. They love it because they get to shop when everything is 50% off. :)

Thus it is that Jed received a package in the mail today full of candy with which to restock the dwindling supplies in his Easter basket.

Things got a little strange when he unpacked the clothes hanger. It belonged to a cute set of pjs, only they were hidden in the bottom of the box, under all the candy. Jed couldn't possibly see them through the sugar haze he was already experiencing from the sight of all that chocolate.

I should be embarrassed to admit he didn't give the clothes hanger much thought, but I remember too well what it was like to be a kid. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Engineer

Project 365 - April 22

Jed rigged up a way to haul up his Easter eggs to the stairway this evening.

It's a clever way to handle those midnight snack attacks. :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Don't Try This at Home

Project 365 - April 21

I have a confession to make. I didn't take a single picture today.

So I went back to last week's shots and pulled some out that I had wanted to share and didn't. These were taken on Tuesday, the day Elijah came over for an egg hunt party.

This year's bunny cake wasn't the best, but I've done worse. :D

In this shot, the bunny's nose is in Elijah's mouth and Jed is moving in for the eyes.

Jed now has both the eyes in his mouth. Elijah, meanwhile, seems intent on the whiskers and smile.

I imagine Elijah to be discussing his strategy with Jed as to how best obtain the last bits of candy from the bunny's face. Poor bunny.

Although unrelated, this cake is my absolute favorite of all time. I made it last year for a girl who loves snowmen. The arms are cinnamon sticks and the scarf is a tie-dyed fruit roll-up. I would be ashamed if you knew how many times I've looked at this picture. The things I make don't usually turn out this cute. :D

Monday, April 20, 2009

Oh, My Aching Back

Project 365 - April 20

My artist friend Debbie told me in an e-mail this morning that they're calling for snow tomorrow in Ohio.
I was trembling with excitement as I checked our weather forecast...but alas, the precipitation predicted for Maine will be more of the wet variety. 100% chance.

That's when I swung into high gear.

I hadn't done the spring cleaning in the yard yet, and nothing makes raking even more torturous than it usually is like a good soaking.

Not only did I get all the leaves raked, I also cleaned out three beds, raked up 2 inches of sunflower seed hulls from under the bird feeders, gathered up about three hundred pinecones (with Jed's help), rescued him from the top of the crabapple tree, and installed our window screens.

I'm going to bed.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jedidiah was a Wee Little Boy

Project 365 - April 19

Jed and I got a late start to our bike ride today, and then there was tree climbing that needed to be done afterwards. The boy works from sun to sun.

He is so pleased with himself that he can climb this little apple tree without any help. Feeling a bit cocky, even, not holding on to anything.

We got a late start because I decided to do a job this afternoon that I've been putting off for a while....stripping the needles off our balsam pine tree, which has been drying on our back porch since Christmas.

It's hard work, but harvesting the needles is well worth it, and the sweet pine scent and warm sunshine flooding the porch made for a very pleasant time.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

More Free Stuff

Project 365 - April 18

Spring fever hits me hard every year. One of its symptoms is an overwhelming urge to get rid of stuff.

This year it comes on the heels of recent attempts to simplify my life. I've deleted most of my favorite bookmarks. I cancelled my newspaper subscription. I'm getting rid of books.

Books are among the hardest of things for me to part with. I become very attached to the ones I read, and as for the ones I haven't read yet...I have been known to hold on to them for over 20 years, fully expecting to read them someday.

I've been realizing lately, though, that unread books are a burden. I feel guilty every time I see them on my bookshelf. I despair of ever getting to them, and if I did, it seems unlikely that I would enjoy them, as, at this point, they just seem like another thing to mark off my to-do list.

Enter PaperBackSwap.

As the name implies, this site allows people to swap books, hardcover included. There are no fees except the postage you pay to mail your books to other members, which is recompensed when other members mail you books.

The best part is knowing my beloved books are going to people who really want them. That, and getting books on the reading list for Five in a!

Have I mentioned how much I love free?? :D

Friday, April 17, 2009


Project 365 - April 17

These are the eggs Jed and I dyed a couple of weeks ago. That's my childhood Easter basket they're reclining in. :)

I love dying eggs, especially since I learned how to tie-dye them. For those interested in trying this interesting technique, here it is:

Put one hard-boiled egg in a small colander and splash a little vinegar on it. Drip one or two drops of yellow liquid food coloring onto the egg and roll it around the perimeter of the colander to streak the color.

Let the color set for 30 seconds, then splash another bit of vinegar on the egg and drip one or two drops of another color, following the same procedure. It's best to limit the colors to three at the most, or they start looking muddy.

After the egg is to your liking, let the final color set 30 seconds and then do a quick rinse with water. [This will take some of the vividness of the color away, but not rinsing causes the color to pool on the bottom of the egg, which pretty much ruins that side.] Drain the eggs on a cooling rack with paper towels underneath and let dry.

If you don't like the way an egg turned out and it's relatively light-colored, you can go back and add more color. If the egg is dark, you can warm it up by covering it in yellow. I added a final yellow coating to pretty much every egg in the basket below...I dyed these a few years ago, before Jed had his own opinions about the way Easter eggs should look. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rite of Passage

Project 365 - April 16

We had a gravel driveway in Missouri, so Jed was limited to riding his tricycle in the basement and on the front porch. He loved his trike, and was content with that.

He still loves it, and had a hard time giving it up. Only a Spiderman bike could have pried his sweaty little hands off the tricycle handlebars.

He got the bike of his dreams 6 months ago for his birthday, and hasn't looked back since.

Except when he hears a car coming. :)

We saw the first blooms of spring on our ride today.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It's GO Time

Project 365 - April 15

The community college in the small town I was living in ten years ago wasn't much to brag about. Except for their photography department, which had somehow managed to build a national reputation.

I so wanted to take classes there, but as a struggling single parent, it was so out of the question.

That dream has been on the back burner ever since.

I can't tell you how excited I was the day I realized we could get a good camera with our credit card rewards points. (Did I ever mention how much I love free??)

Okay, so this is a birthday present and this is the last I will see of it for another week. In the meantime, I'm going to see if my husband will let me start working on the instruction manual, and I'm going to be asking the LORD to make me smarter than I am.* :)

*Beth Moore-ism

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ice Out

Project 365 - April 14

The ice is gone.

It's official.

Spring has come to Maine.

Jed's friend Elijah came over this afternoon for an Easter egg hunt, games, crafts, cake and a romp on the beach. It was so pleasant sitting in the sun, watching them play in the sand.

Lori, Elijah wanted you to see the river he made. :)

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Servant's Heart

Project 365 - April 13

Jed asked me last night not to get up before him this morning. It was hard, but being the good mother that I am, I complied with his request.

I heard him running around this morning while I was luxuriating. I thought he was hiding Easter eggs, and I was looking forward to his delight as I searched the house and found them.

I was not prepared for what he was really up to.

He said he got the idea to make me breakfast in bed when he saw me cleaning the tray recently. I don't usually eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast, but I have to say, it was the sweetest one I've ever had.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He's Not Here!

Project 365 - April 12

"He's not here, Mama! Where is He??"

"Where do you think He is?"

"I know - up in heaven!"

"He is now, but where was He the morning He arose?"

"In the garden. Waiting for Mary."

"And now He's waiting for us."

Even so, come Lord Jesus!


Project 365 - April 11

We just discovered there's a miniature golf place less than 2 miles from our house. Jed has never been, so we went this afternoon and played a couple of games.

Jed improved 8 points between games. He asked us to stop calling him "Jed" and instead call him "The Best Golf Player in the World."

Oh man, is this boy a chip off his daddy's block. :)

This evening, we continued our Easter traditions by making Easter story cookies, and re-enacting the burial of Christ. For this, we use one of Jed's hats as the tomb, and he solemnly wraps his Woody figure in a paper towel and places him in the tomb. Mr. Potato Head (minus any accoutrements) stands in as the stone sealing the tomb, and two Buzz Lightyears stand guard at the entrance.

Tune in tomorrow to find out how the story ends.

Smooth Sailing

Project 365 - April 10

It was a mild day, at least by Maine spring standards.

When Tracy got home from work we walked down to the lake behind the house to check out the condition of the ice and were surprised to see that quite a bit has melted. Looks like we're a little ahead of where we were by this time last spring.

On a whim we decided to break out the kayaks for the first time this year and do a little ice breaking.

The first shot looks like smooth sailing, alright. From this angle you can barely see the ice in the far distance of the water. However, once you turn a little to the right, you start getting into the fringes of the ice.

Further right still, and you're in the middle of tiny icebergs.

They make the strangest sound when disturbed, almost like waves but much eerier. We kept trying to hush Jedidiah up so we could hear it better. For those of you who know him, you know what a losing battle that was. :)

Fortunately for me, he wasn't in my kayak, so I kept paddling away a distance to listen. It felt like I was surrounded by something magical.

Swim Like a Fish

Project 365 - April 9

Jed has been taking swim lessons for a year and a half now, and has progressed from Pike, to Eel, to (just this week) the new level of Ray.

My little boy can swim like a sting ray!

Could a mother be any prouder? :D

Here, Jed with his swim lesson teacher, Allie.

And now, Jed engaging in his various sting ray activities.

Fizzy Foamy Science and the Resurrection

Project 365 - April 8

Lori and I have been talking about doing some homeschool lessons together for a while now.

We started today with a science lesson that had something to do with chemical reactions and carbon dioxide bubbles. :) Thankfully it was fun for all of us and the kids didn't seem to notice that I was reading from a booklet as we were doing the experiments.

I'm beginning to understand how much prep work is involved in teaching. Looks like Jed won't be the only one doing some studying.

After science class, Lori used a set of Resurrection Eggs from Family Life Today to talk to the boys about the events leading up to Christ's death, burial and resurrection. Each egg holds a child-sized replica of a part of this precious story. There's nothing quite like holding a crown of thorns in your hands to bring the story to life a little better in a child's mind.

Building Character

Project 365 - April 7

It's funny how different kids' timetables can be.

Grandma and Grandpa got Jed a set of Lincoln Logs for Christmas a couple of years ago, and just recently they've become his new best friends.

Using the instructions that came with the set, Jed built the Lincoln Logs tower all by himself.

I can't tell if he's trying to look humble or grown-up in the picture. :)

Hard at Work

Project 365 - April 6

We've been hitting the books hard lately.

Since we knew Jedidiah wouldn't be scheduled to start kindergarten till this fall if he was going to public school, our homeschooling year has been pretty laid-back, a combination of preschool and kindergarten.
I figured we could both use a year to get acclimated to a new schedule and new responsibilities.

However, about a month ago I decided to accelerate things a bit to see if we can get him ready for first grade by this fall.

I'll let you know how that turns out. :)