Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Artist(s) in Residence

As much as I loved the idea of a detached garage at our old house (you know, that whole out-in-the-country multiple building thing) opening to the alley, I didn't like the idea of schelpping all the way out there to do fix-it projects. Bonus points to our new house for having an attached garage! The problem? We can't get a car in there without a) blocking the second fridge, washer/dryer, and workbench or b) being blocked in by the car sitting out in the driveway.
So in the meantime, I've gotten busy with a number of furniture repainting projects (yay, utility sink!), and with Munch's cousin here for a sleepover this weekend, pulled out the easels so they could have some art time. Each of the girls got to choose a canvas and set up a paper plate palette of paints (say THAT three times, quickly!). I also gave them a jarful of assorted brushes, with the reminder to switch brushes when they wanted a new color so that their paint wouldn't get runny, from rinsing, or muddy.

Both girls started out with bright paintings of rainbows. As I dug through my various supplies, I also found palette knives, sponges, paper towel tubes, and other odds and ends which cousin D. eventually experimented with. She blotted paint to create a soft, smudgy effect, dipped the tube into paint to print designs over the painting, and played with scraping away paint with the palette knife. Now that the paint is dry, I think I'll give the girls additional art materials so that they can try adding collage elements or drawn elements to their paintings, followed by another round of painting. It will be interesting to see how their artwork evolves.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


After an early dismissal from an all-day teachers' workshop at a local university, I swung by my sister-in-law's to pick up Munch. It was a beautiful, warm day and since I'd be heading out to volunteer at the high school later (and missing family dinner and bedtime), I thought that maybe we'd grab a cool treat on the way home. When I arrived to pick her up, Munch was quiet and moody, which I've been seeing a lot of lately. Turns out my slightly early arrival had interfered with their tentative plans to pick up Slurpees at 7-11. Munch proceeded to pout, stomp, mope, and sigh loudly as she packed up to leave, all the while not saying a word to me- gee, can't wait until she's a teenager! As we got into the car, I made the quick decision to tell her that I HAD been planning on a treat and that her attitude pretty much eliminated that possibility. Munch burst into tears and apologized, so I got out of the car to give her a hug and we got on our way.
As we got closer to home, we stopped at the library. I'd been meaning to get library cards for the both of us and we had a few extra minutes. I also realized as we were parking that an ice cream shop was just across the way, and maybe we could still stop in. As it turned out, filling out an application for her own library card and getting a stretchy bracelet to attach it to lifted Munch's spirits considerably. She happily skipped to the car, holding my hand, and clutching her books. Boy, was I glad I didn't mention anything about ice cream earlier! Because as much as I wanted the enjoyment of taking her out for a treat, I realized that Munch had learned several lessons that afternoon about her attitude, accepting disappointment, and moving on to enjoy other experiences. So I gave myself a pat on the back for making the right parenting choice- but I still really wanted that ice cream!

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Friday, May 18, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Not even a month later and it's amazing to see the growth in the vegetable bed! I've decided, despite the dubious looks and warnings that I've planted things too closely, that I really like the "square foot" method. I appreciate having a straightforward "system" that feels manageable and knowing that I can plant more squares as I am ready without having to do everything at once. I added a few tomato seedlings which just took off in the rich soil as soon as the weather warmed up. The corn is coming up, as are the snap peas and beets. I planted a few more seeds of the vegetables where I found empty spaces. I think I'll let the seedlings grow a bit larger before transplanting them. None of my lettuce seeds survived past the barest hint of a seedling- I think those really hot days we got a couple of weeks ago did them in, so I sowed more of those seeds too. Next steps are to fence in the veggie beds so the dogs are no longer tramping through there, and probably to make cages to protect the newly planted seeds from birds- I've noticed they've gotten more numerous and noisy as the weather has warmed- probably advertising to all their friends where the yummies are! Next month, I really should get the vertical supports in for the melons and squash- people are already pretty skeptical about the fact that you can train those large fruiting vines UPWARDS, but it supposedly works!