Camping At the Beach~

We love to spend time family camping so early this week we spent a night on site 27 at Winter Island,  the coveted first spot right next to the beach! It was wonderful to fall asleep on Sunday night listening to the waves roll in a few feet away. I think that this family was meant to live on the water. We love it so much! Here are a few of my favorite Winter Island photos. Needless to say, we had a good time!

IMG_2191 the view from our campsite…

IMG_2222the Winter Island lighthouse

IMG_2234What is this cool pole called? Maybe a peace pole?

IMG_2236The now hidden lagoon, it used to be part of a moat around the fort.

IMG_2243Looking north toward Beverly…

IMG_2250How the lifeguard chair is used after hours…

IMG_2251This kid is too much.

IMG_2256Seriously, he just cracks me up!

IMG_2262The sunset reflection, looking north.

IMG_2264and south, with the moon rising.

DSC02808The boys heading to the beach.
DSC02819One of our friend Casey’s creations. Still used and loved all the time, if you happen to see this Casey 😉 .

DSC02902Boats in the moonlight… one of my favorite things to do at Winter Island is to watch the boats come into the harbor at night. It’s so peaceful and quiet.

DSC02912Early morning fog at low tide…

DSC02918Playing on the beach in PJ’s is the best!

Camping is also the best (next to gardening 😉  )

Enjoy everything!

Michele

The “new normal”

I read an article in the Boston Globe Magazine today by former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky about his experience during the marathon bombings and the idea that many, if not all of us, will live at a “new normal.” He refers to a poem written by a Brazilian poet, the late Carlos Drummond de Andrade, that describes the security of normal as being “ancient.” The poem talks about the different things that one might take for granted until their gone or until one’s world is changed by something that threatens their security. It ends with the lines “They had gardens! They had mornings in those days!”

I don’t have permission to use it so I won’t publish the poem myself but you can read the  Globe article here. It met me right where I am today.

I think that we’re getting there. As I promised on Wednesday we got outside and planted away that afternoon. We turned beds over, planted spinach, peas, more lettuce, carrots, shallots and of course, radishes.

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Our new normal still has gardens. Our new normal still has mornings.

I hope more than anything that we can reclaim the  feeling of security that we took for granted for so long.

I think we will.

Thank you so much for all of your support and kind comments over the past week.

We’re going to be just fine.

Love,  Michele

Things That Work For Me-The Flylady

I haven’t done a “Things That Work For Me” Post in a while, but I woke up (at 4am, but that’s another post) thinking about the Flylady and my need to start following her again. Have you heard of her? The “Flylady” at Flylady.net is a woman named Marla Cilley and she’s quite amazing. She and her website have helped me through many a rough day, week, month and year. Basically if your subscribe to her free service she sends you e-mails, lots of e-mails. As you read them and follow the plan that she’s laid out, your home and your personal life will get into order a little bit at a time. It starts with the most simple basics like shining your sink and putting on your shoes.   As you adapt the routine that she gives you to your needs and lifestyle you’ll find that your space will slowly start to become de-cluttered and cleaner. Then you’ll be able to find things when you need them, and before you know it your laundry will be caught up and  your family will be eating healthy, nutritious food. You might even end up following a calendar. The very end result is that you’ll have much more time to do the things you love (like get out to the garden!) and you and the people who live with you will be transformed into healthier and happier creatures. Fly stands for “finally loving yourself.” You may think that you love yourself but how you take care of yourself and your environment says a lot about where you truly are. Truth be told I’ve been kind of “off the wagon” lately. The challenge of working, raising a large family and being involved in the community activities that I enjoy has taken a toll on me. The good thing is, the Flylady is always there. I can start reading the e-mails, feeling the love and encouragement and getting back on track whenever I’m ready. She is really the secret to our success as a family. Starting today I’m going back to reading and implementing the basics so that we can all breathe a little bit easier.  If you feel the need to get organized, live in a happy, clean home and love yourself and your space, go check out the website, then let me know how it goes. I’ll be your biggest cheerleader, next to the Flylady herself!

Project 365: August 5 2007 - tangible FLYLady
Project 365: August 5 2007 – tangible FLYLady (Photo credit: Quack the Wooley Duck)

Financial Aid Forms vs Garden Blogging

I’m stuck again. Darn it! I have a nice long list of blog post ideas sitting here on my desktop and I cannot gather my thoughts, let alone photos, words or sentences to write about any of them. As I picked up from the weekend and thought about what to do I realized that the reason I’m stuck is because I have to, and I do mean have to finish the financial aid forms. I think that if I do just that one thing I will be free and able to get back to normal. You know that if I share this here in public I’ll do it. It’s amazing what I get done when I feel accountable to you.

Here’s my senior in high school.

IMG_0314You can read about him here and here.

I need to do right by this kid. He’s going places 😉

So wish me luck, I’m on my way!

Send me energy, send me math skills!

Thank you all in advance!

Michele

Things That Work For Me–TV Turnoff Time

This week’s “Things That Work For Me” post could really be titled “Things That Work For Us”.

Every family has their own approach to the television’s place in their home from “its on all the time” to “we don’t own a TV”.  We live right in the middle. We do own a TV that we enjoy, but we set limits. The basic rule governing television viewing in our house is very simple;  It’s turned off every day from 10 am until 6 pm.  I must admit that there is sometimes an adjustment if someone is sick and needs a diversion to pass time or on really (and I mean really) cold, wet days when we can’t get outside. In the case of the latter we might watch a movie or turn it on at 5:00 instead of 6:00.

This very simple method of limiting TV screen time has many benefits, for example:

*We find other, active things to do.

*It provides some quiet during the day (one of my favorites).

*There is more cooperation and much less fighting among siblings.

*We spend more time together.

*Homework gets done early, with less fuss.

*We get creative and try new things.

*We read more and we go lots of places.

*Everyone is propelled outside to play, breathe fresh air and to spend time in the garden!

I could go on and on with my list but you get the idea. I’m not trying to speak in favor or against TV viewing, but rather I’m sharing an alternative that works well here in our house.

We started this last June and I’ve noticed that after a while the turn off seemed to extend beyond the “before ten and after six” time frame. When the tv is off for most of the day the habit is broken and it’s not the “go to” activity anymore. Everyone becomes engaged in other things and kind of forgets about watching it.

What works for you? Do you limit television and if so, how do you do it?

My inquiring, tv-less (most of the time) mind wants to know~

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Things That Work For Me— My Pink Bench

Good Morning Everyone! I have decided to do a weekly winter series  called “Things That Work For Me”… Lots of people have questions and queries about how I manage our household of seven. It’s a juggling act most days but I do have some tools and tips that really help.  I have a little list of products, services,  house rules and routines that make a big difference. There are lots of moments in my day when I’m thankful for having found a way to make life easier.

As superficial as it may seem, I’m going to start with something very basic, my pink bench.

I found this bench at TJ Maxx several months ago for the clearance price of $7.99.

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I am 5’1″ and I’ve been climbing on chairs to reach things for as long as I can remember.These are my cabinets. They are very, very tall. It’s virtually impossible for me to get things down without a little help. This bench gives me almost eleven inches, making me six feet tall! IMG_0504

That’s a lot of help with the milk glasses!

And it folds up so that it can be easily hidden almost anywhere.

IMG_0510just like this, although I never put it away.

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It’s also used as a barrier for Dino’s food so Winnie doesn’t eat it and a place for whoever is passing through the kitchen to sit for a minute. I’ve had many great conversations with my kids lately while they’ve relaxed and I’ve cooked.  I revel in the fact that I can just reach up and get almost anything down without having to climb up on a chair or ask one of the four other people who are taller than me to do it.

It’s the little things that make life easier.

Enjoy Everything!

Michele

Recent Holiday Moments

Hello out there! I miss you!!  Just like everyone else, I’ve been so busy with Christmas and lots and lots of people in my house that I haven’t had a chance to post anything. Where did a week go?  It’s still the holidays around here… Michael is home from work, the kids are  home from school, we’re eating and visiting and avoiding most of the every day routine.  I thought I’d just check in and post a few photos from the past few weeks.

Uncle Mark was here a few weeks ago… he’s a fun uncle. My kids think he’s part jungle gym. I’m always a little bit worried for his back and my lamps when he’s around.

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These two were dancing angels on Sunday morning then became soldiers, gumdrops and polichinelles in the afternoon. They are busy, busy girls!

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My Magi’s Assistant (I love the hat)…

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Prepping for the Christmas pageant… our church has a wonderful collection of costumes, so much glitter and gold.

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Our beautiful church during the pageant. I love this place.

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Winter at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. We had never been there and really enjoyed a walk one day.  I suspect that you’ll be seeing more Arboretum photos in the future.

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Is this not the most patient sixteen year old sister in the world? Really. I think she was trying to read something.

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Probably the biggest gift hit this year… he loves it!!

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Yes, that is the computer and I in the sunroom/office! It still needs furniture and shades and decorations, but it’s almost there. I love, love, love it!!

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I won this, along with a basket of other baking goodies from Amy at A Healthy Life for Me. We kind of like to bake around here so it was a great surprise!

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We made Linzer cookies for the first time (very fun and surprisingly easy)… along with Gingerbread and Christmas Tree sugar cookies…

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Life has been sweet…

Hope it’s been for you too.

Love,  Michele

A Painting Story

In the beginning

there was a garage full of furniture that needed to be painted (along with 1,555,698 other things)…

Then there was paint…

and a great painter!

and wonderful helpers!

and more help…

and the great painter was very patient (as he almost always is)..

and soon there were painted furniture pieces…

strewn throughout the work area…

of many amazing colors…

and shapes and styles…

and in the end

there were nice places to have a snack..

and to relax

and to visit

And it was good.

Amen.

Family meals inspire cook to do the same for his young twins : Stltoday

I love this post by Pat Eby for the St Louis Post Dispatch and thought it would make a great share for today.  In our family the center point is our dinner together, it’s that simple. We come and go at this time of year but I strive for us to eat together as much as possible for all of the reasons that are mentioned.  Enjoy everything!  Michele

Family meals inspire cook to do the same for his young twins : Stltoday.

A Few Minutes on the Friendship

Here’s a little inside look at our favorite ship in Salem!  You can read all about her here.  There are wonderful ranger guided tours, but, since we have our own ranger we like to stop in and look around once in awhile.

The rigging is amazing. The ship’s crew spends countless hours working on this.CargoImagine sleeping here..More cargo and maybe a sail?Counter space and a cute pie..The view from the deck

Another outside view, looking forward (I believe there’s a nautical term for “forward”)…

The captains quarters was closed for repair. I’ll try to get some shots there sometime soon. I could have taken a photo of the steering wheel ..I think that there may also be a nautical term for “steering wheel”, please feel free to chime in and correct me…

Sometimes I can’t believe that this is where we live, work and play.  What a lucky family I have.

Enjoy everything!

Michele