How to shop for souvenirs

October 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Somehow I’m only just getting to a place in life where I want to get something from the spots to which we travel and bring it home. Which is a shame because I feel like I went to all the most thrilling places years ago. I guess I have associated souvenirs with kitsch and shot glasses. But now! What fun to bring home a little of the experience and a piece of memory in a tangible form. Squashed pennies are souvenirs we like. Penny machines in interesting locations flatten the pennies you provide and imprint them with a place and picture. The kids are gathering quite a pile. They used to be a luxury when I was a child, but now you can’t even get a candy bar for the 51 cents each costs.

On a recent trip to Tucson, AZ, we loved the landscape and the blooming dessert and the whole experience. I did look in some artisan shops. This basket is the only thing I purchased while in Tucson, and I just adore it. But after looking at what was for sale I thought I might have a better selection on-line and when I got home, I went shopping. Ebay and etsy have an abundance of items from all areas and I was soon immersed in prickly pear glasses and desert themes.

This water color print was $4 via etsy, and is an adorable snip of all the quail we saw skittering through the cactus while in Tucson.

The saguaro is a defining characteristic of the Tucson landscape and this tile is from etsy, and from an AZ artist. The Indian lady I found at the thrift store. There are all kinds of geometric and Native American themed things being donated that I never noticed before looking for them!

I loved the textiles I saw but they were steeply price in Arizona. I found this woven blanket for $8 thrifted. It is new and I love how the edge frays so delicately.

Found in Kentucky

July 14, 2012 § 1 Comment

While visiting my parents recently I spent an hour in a really truly junk shop. Exploding overflowing overwhelming piles of all kinds of flotsam. I didn’t find anything I wanted. I could really see anything for all the stuff in the way!




Pinterest project- succulent hostess gifts

July 13, 2012 § 1 Comment

The drought friendly symmetry of succulents is very much in vogue this year. Lots of trendy home decor stores have stocked them and I can not get enough of their blossomy shape. On our recent spring/summer wandering, we spent 52 days and over 7000 miles enjoying new places and people. I brought along planted cups of succulents to leave with some of our gracious hosts. Pinterest shows many images of the beautiful plants. I ordered a box of 36 assorted succulents from Amazon here. Though it arrived badly bashed, the plants were packed pretty well, and most survived transplanting and thrived.

I used a glass bit to drill holes in thrifted pots and dishes, and got the colorful mugs from Marshalls. Succulents are planted in special soil which I got at my local nursery and seems to be crushed rock. They must drain well. I covered the soil with gravel, which makes it look pretty and professional.

I carried them in a crate in the car and they traveled beautifully. They can take the heat of a hot car and only need to be watered about once a week! Here you see them in our car contents on the right.

Home again

July 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

We have returned home after our time of travel. We were gone 52 days and came home to a few weeds, but nothing else terrible. I had fears that our fridge had spouted water all over the floor for a week or other such tragedy. The fridge is possessed and has done that before. Our home is such a blessing, wide and peaceful. And we are reveling in it. It took almost a week to get home to CO from Miami. We had car trouble in GA, but in providence we also had a terrific mechanic, a swift tow truck and taxi, a convenient hotel, and a kind friend to drive us home for lunch and help us pick up our miraculously repaired car. The kids did well all the way to the end. The whole last 2 days of driving we listened to Little Women. There are a lot of hours in that book! And a lot more to the story than I had remembered from our childhood abridged copy. Never ever read abridged books.

Living in Miami for a month was great. We enjoyed the marine iguanas in our development lake, and harvested the mangoes in our neighborhood. Smoothies are our favorite thing to make with them. Having no toys and few diversions in our little condo, we did activities every day morning and afternoon. We found great libraries and went to playgrounds, the beach, splash parks, play dates, the zoo and the pool. We loved the Miami zoo and rented a ciclofan to tour it. They are Italian vehicles kind of like a bicycle golf cart. Pedaling and shade and  very cool locomotion all at the same time. I want one! I like hot weather. And I like being with my husband. It was a really great trip for the whole family.

The kids really wanted to find a coconut to eat. They had a ton of fun busting it open. But it was not edible.


Road trip- things that help

June 6, 2012 § 1 Comment

3700 miles and counting. 21 days on the road and I’m still so thankful for each new day! Not always easy, but great. We met up with Daddy in Tampa and have but one leg of our trip to go. Then we will stay put for three weeks or so before heading home. We have stayed overnight with sixteen families and we have many more people to enjoy here in Fl! I have to purchase tires tomorrow, and there is a disturbing smokey puff with every low gear acceleration, but I have had no car trouble.

Here are some things that have helped make our last three weeks easier:

Have a place for everything. It fits there. You know where it is. Each child can find his or her bag to carry in the house and can dig out the next audio book they would like to hear.

Clean out the car at least every day. It takes 5 minutes. With all the flotsam gone, the air of calm is palpable.

Audio books! They haven’t lost their fascination. We have had 9 for the trip, all from the library, with lots of music and theater productions too. The children listen for hours to these classic stories. Beside drawing and making pulleys out of laces, the audio books have been our primary entertainment, and completely sufficient.

On the long days, 500 miles or more, leave very early. Like 4am early. By the time breakfast comes you are a third of the way there, you arrive in time for exercise and visiting before bed, and everyone is happier. Driving all night is an attractive alternative, but not possible for me, I’m too sleepy.

I bathe each day in prayer. I acknowledge that God is in charge of each bolt in the car and each germ we meet in a puddle and give Him the reins with my requests for safety and blessing.


Road trip- Why I love to travel with my kids

May 31, 2012 § 4 Comments

Adaptability! It very high on my list of parenting goals to teach. Long drives, scads of new people, pallet beds, and varied food. They are learning; adapt or be miserable. Your day is determined by your attitude.

In this stage of life all the things we see are amazing.  All the words I say, they believe them. All the things they learn are soaked into their brains with delight . I am the most wonderful person in their world. This trip is a gift of time to feed their minds and hear their hearts and cement memories.

I get hours of talking, singing, answering questions. My sometimes divided attention is still more focused now than at home with the calls of cleaning and cooking. We discuss everything and nothing.

In all the driving and the visiting I get to teach skills. Map reading, license plate games, how to be a blessing and not a burden to hosts, sign reading, and story-telling.

As the only parent for a time, I’m on duty. Every hour. I can’t grouse to Ed about the children’s behavior, so I just deal with it, and we’re all happy. Another tiny carving off of self. My character is built when I recognize this as a time to cherish, and not to complain.

Flowers and photo courtesy of my children.


Road trip- what it looks like

May 27, 2012 § 3 Comments

We are 2400 miles into our longest road trip yet. Across the US and back, just Mama and three little ones, enjoying all the wonderful people we know, and loving on this great wide country. 16 overnights with friends and family so far, each a delight and a treasured memory. We have a blessed and giving family of welcomers, spread out geographically, but close by the grace of God.  We have stores of friends and relatives who set us up, feed us, talk for hours, enjoy shared memories and send us on our way refreshed, happy, and thankful.  Our goal is Daddy, the beloved.  He’s working for a time away from us and we will join up with him in a week for needed togetherness. And then many more miles back home, with more friends to see. It has been an amazing trip and I’ll be sharing more in days to come.

For starters, here is the gear we tote. A very adequate minimum, perfectly suiting the four of us. We took the commuter car instead of the big family one; it’s a diesel miracle of gas efficiency, keeping costs very reasonable.

On the top: purse, bag of sewing, camera and kindle, address book, etc, and rolled duvet.

From left to right: green tote with computer, cords, school books, wipes, candy, Bible, cords, headlamps, and a beading activity. Tackle box first aid kit. Peapod baby sleep tent. Picnic mat for all the grassy roadside lunches. 2 sleeping pads. Empty backpack for the hikes and the all-important atlas. Mama’s duffle topped by a stack of bedding, enough for all of us in a pinch. And the versatile towels, good for mattresses,  blankets and swimming. A purple activity backpack. Blue bucket with snacks, frappuccino supplies, and baby food. The most important section; the audio books.  A small duffle for each child and the best stuffable versatile running shoes. Boys activity bag and a crate of hostess gifts. And that is it! 6 more weeks my friends.

Things you can’t see: a coat for me, a large pack of diapers for the baby, 3 car seats, plenty of trash bags, a small empty cooler (shouldn’t have brought that, wasted space), and a pile of skipping rocks the kids keep adding to until we find a suitable pond. I love Lesportsac. And I’d save my Nalgene with lightning bug lid in a fire.

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