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I’ve been writing and rewriting this post in my head for about a month now…you think I would have come up with a title. Here’s what I’ve got. A few years ago before we moved, I had the most perfect running buddy. She is a for-real runner. She pushed me to the point where I was knocking out 10 miles a go without flinching. Good conversation is a powerful thing, people. Anyways on one of our last runs I said, “Hard doesn’t happen.” At first I thought that idea was unique to my season in life, my exact situation as a stay at home mom of little (sometimes maniacal) human beings who also happens to be co-farmer of a small urban farm thing. Nope, it doesn’t matter where you are at in life, unless you find a way to make “x” thing you want to accomplish not hard, it won’t happen. Well, blogging for me right now is hard.

It’s not really the little helpers, that are 1) trying to type for me using their feet as they color on the white wall above the computer with a blue sharpie or 2) demolishing my bookshelves/sewing table/bathroom as I’m tied to the keyboard trying to finish a post. (As I typed that Layna ripped open a sewing pattern and Corra sucked on a spool of thread before throwing it across the room). Sleeping kids doesn’t help because the baby one sleeps in the same room as my computer.

That would be hard enough, but like it said, it’s not really that.

It’s the fact that I don’t need to share like I did, it’s writers block and photo block and feeling like I’m being redundant. I don’t ever want to fake this or contrive something to meet a deadline I’ve inflicted on myself. There are still events and drama and life and awesome things happening (new goats with no ears are coming in a month, Layna is turning 4 in two days, we finished our physics class with homemade dry ice root beer, etc. etc. etc.). It’s just hard, and for me hard doesn’t happen.

If I wasn’t Mormon I’d be a strange amalgamation of eastern religion/philosophies with some serious Taoist underpinnings. I’m very sensitive to how things feel and fit into my day and I’m not one to force things (see also my homeschooling methodology/philosophy). Blogging has slowly gone from something that was effortless and naturally something I just did, to something I have to schedule in my planner and fight to make happen. And it’s not a fight I’m winning. Obviously.

I’m going to miss this space I’ve claimed here on the internets and the respite from the guilt I feel about not keeping a journal (blogging is a totally legit alternative). Writing is good for my soul and maybe the absence will be so keenly felt it will magically just start jiving again. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take a break and come back fresh and the fight won’t feel like a extra thing glaring at me from my to do list.

Of course this post is mostly for me, because I’m weird and need definition and official declarations. Viva le Structure! Wait, What? (I like to think this side of me perfectly compliments the hippie flower child of the previous paragraphs, a yang to her yin, if you will). Actually, I just kind of live in conflict most of the time. Hippie is passive aggressive and EconomicsDegree resents her something fierce. What I’m trying to say is that I am taking a small leave of absence from Comfy Posy and my Farm Blog. Hanging my “Gone Fishing” sign. And my “Be Back in an Hour” sign. Thanks for reading. Knowing that there is someone on the other side of this, listening and laughing at my foibles makes it so much more fun and worth while.

Keep Calm I'll Be Back by filippobassano

 

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Duct Tape and Rubber Bands

There is a big, long story of how it came to be that me, my good friend Denise and our other good friends Ty and Kim found ourselves teaching physics to a squirrely bunch of 8-12 year olds.  That story is interesting but not nearly as interesting as this class has turned out to be. First off, a group of 22 high energy homeschool kids with varying backgrounds and experience levels, requires certain considerations. Team dynamics, project difficulty, etc. and I know I’ve learned a lot and should I ever teach a class like this it will be even better. And it’s super hard for me to accept that there are things I couldn’t foresee and that everything takes practice, especially when you are doing something that’s never been done before. Wait. You already knew that? Oh.

We wanted to do physics challenges where the kids would get some very hands on experience with different principles.  Also fun. We wanted them to have fun. So each class is a different challenge with a set objective, prefaced by a short, flashy demonstration that is usually chosen because there are some freaking awesome things you can do with physics! Our whole goal is to expose the kids to the joys of science so that hopefully they will leave more curious about the world around them.

The duct tape challenge was first on the list, as a good simple introduction to the whole idea of a physics challenge class. Kids were put into teams and each team was given a roll of duct tape. The objective was to see which teach could build the tallest freestanding structure.

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But first there were three demonstrations to show some important principles: Synergy, Friction, and Balance. After those they got to work. It was pretty cool to see them stretched a bit out of their comfort zones and have to figure out things like getting it off the roll in the first place (one person holding the tape and the other person running across the room with the roll was a very popular method), dealing with the inherent floppy-ness of duct tape, and the ever looming stickiness problem.

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Most of the teams ended up abandoning any plan they may have had in favor of the “stack of tape wads” method (see left), however, the winners (right) did not and their design ultimately was the tallest by a long shot.

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They did have some stiff competition from this tower in the center of the left picture, but it didn’t stand up for the requisite minute.. The kids seemed to have fun and my little girls were much happier supervising construction than they were playing with the other littles.

Next up was rubber band cars! These taught us, as teachers, probably the foremost rule that one should internalize about the modern class room: if it looks easy on YouTube it probably is stupid hard in real life. Also axles that don’t buckle is kind of vital for a vehicle of any sort.

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Denise started with examples of force and differences in air pressure.

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We watched some videos then turned them loose on a table full of stuff. Two of the teams (out of 8) ended up with cars that could go a few feet.

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Ultimately though, it was a lesson in how sometimes things just don’t work and that little details make all the difference. The kids were very good sports and most of them stuck with it even in the face of abject failure. As a side note, I really like all the kids in our group and hopefully there will be many more cool things in store for us with these families.

Next up is the Egg Drop and Popsicle Stick Bridges and my musings on kids and the need to play!

 

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Bubble Dancing

Family lore holds that it was my Grandma and Grandpa Ballard who started the treasure hunt tradition. Every year one of the kids would find the first clue in their stocking and it would lead to a big-ish present for everyone. Or sometimes we each had our own, depending. The year I remember the most was finding a new-to-us Sega Genesis in our bath tub! We have carried on this grand tradition (because you know how I feel about traditions, Traditions!) One year it was a book I wrote and illustrated, last year it was the Love Sac (epicly sized bean bag chair thing). More and more I’ve been trying to move away from stuff and more towards experiences, so when I heard that on the High Roller  kids 12 and under are free and they were running a family deal I squealed. And did a happy dance.

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Each kid got a pair of binoculars and a juice, but since we were the first ones to be there we got our own bubble. That was the best part! It was a 30 minute ride and we did one complete revolution. The view was really nice in the morning, but at night it would be spectacular (but super crowded, which would be not so nice).

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We weren’t sure how the Littles would do (especially Layna), but they all loved it. Corra poached drinks from everyone else’s juice and Layna death gripped her binoculars and danced a lot. So yeah, good times were had by all. There were screens that showed fun trivia, how high up we were, and also played music, so we had an awesome dance party in our bubble.

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Sorry this is kind of the only option for camera angle if I want to prove that we were both at an event. Until I teach Garyn how to use my beloved camera, you’re stuck with the couple selfies. We had so much fun and Garyn has already decided that we will ride the High Roller every six months at least.

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Filed under Holidays, life the universe and everything

Sara and Sally

It was late October when I asked the kids what they were thinking about asking Santa to bring them for Christmas. Little man gave Santa a few options but he really wanted a Lego Minecraft set (which he got and has loved). Little girl, without hesitation, said, “I want Santa’s elves to hand make me a fairy doll but it has to be a mom fairy doll and a baby doll with a cradle (she really meant a carriage) and the mom has to have arms long enough to wrap around the baby and hold her like this and her dress has to be pink on top and blue on the bottom and her hair should be buttons like in a bun but string would be ok too.” And that didn’t change right up to the day she opened the box with her very own “Elvin Crafted” fairy doll with baby and carriage.

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They were named Sara and Sally, respectively.

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I could not for the life of me figure out how I was going to do a carriage. Luckily, there is a huge trend right now of Fairy Gardens. Couple this trend with Etsy and you get holiday bliss for the mom of one very particularly precise five year old. After a quick search I found a wire carriage and when it got to me I whipped up a matching pillow and blanket.

When Naomi told me this is what she wanted, my first thought was, “Ok cool! I have the internet, I can make anything!” By the way, that confidence that borders on naïve arrogance comes directly from my mom. I was raised by a woman who’s rallying battle cry was, “Sure, I think I can make that.” And she could. And she did. And she does. And so I assume that I can too.

I found these tutorials:

http://www.blog.handmadehome.me/2013/10/how-to-sew-tilda-angel-doll-detailed.html

http://www.tantehilde.be/wrdprss/?page_id=80

and away I went.

Well. Turns out doll making is a fine art and should be respected. I totally screwed up the first one and had to try again. A lady I know who works at my local Joann craft store found me the most perfect wing material. I butchered that and had to go to my plan b material. I lost one of the sides of the wings and had to start over. Shhh! Don’t tell Naomi they are totally lopsided and asymmetrical. Sigh. Here is what she looks like sans skirt (the skirt actually turned out nicely…once again sergers are God’s gift to the crafty), and here is her hair from the back. For the record, if I ever become a fairy, I want hot magenta and lime green dreadlocks just like Sally.

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Yarn is going to be my crazy old lady obsession some day. Stored in huge brightly colored bins, I’ll take it down and call it “My Precious.” But seriously this yarn was exactly what I imagined and gave me the strength to continue after the first horrible attempt at a body.

Anyways, I made up the pattern for Sara (the baby) and I think she turned out ok. Not my favorite and if I hadn’t sworn off doll making forever, I know what I’d want to do differently. It did give me a huge feeling of accomplishment and the fact that Corra loves her maybe even more than Naomi gives me warm fuzzies. Garyn keeps saying how talented a craftsman Santa’s elf must be {Wink, Wink!}. He really enjoyed being in on “The Secret” this year and is a sweet boy to compliment his mom and keep the magic alive for his little sister.

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Filed under crafts, Holidays

I am resolved

Here are my resolutions:

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1) learn to make the same face as Naomi in this picture and make it. All. The. Time.

2) Get a post up about our holidays sometime before the end of January. Or February.

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3) Never ever make another fairy doll. But I will show you pictures of the one that I did manage to make.

4) Have a lot more baby mani/pedi dates.

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5) Kiss this guy more. Not sure if that’s possible without getting ourselves kicked out of most of our social circles, but it’s going to be fun trying!

6) Enjoy baby morning breath even more than I already do. Oh wait, that one is definitely not possible. I’m pretty sure her beautiful sleeping face and sweet baby breath is the only thing that makes late nights/early mornings bearable.

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7) Laugh at the hilarity of life three times more than I already do. Because farm life gives us a front row seat to that like nothing else can. For starters, Little man named our rooster “Mr. McPompous” and is still trying to figure out how to kick him across the coop when he (the rooster) decides to be a jerk. Anything mating is inherently hilarious. Whatever, you know its true. And when you spill lots of milk because you were being dumb, you have to laugh because crying would be cliché. (Side note: the goats are really enjoying our Christmas Tree. Gives them extra vitamin C and stuff. Who knew, Right?)

 

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Filed under Animals, Holidays, life the universe and everything

Aebleskivers!

Go check out my farm blog for my newest culinary favorite thing ever!

http://angrydwarfdairy.com/2014/12/09/aebleskiver/

ps. there are baby bunnies too!

Merry Christmas!

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10 years ago…

my now husband came up to spend the weekend with us and he asked my parents if he could marry me. We were at the same cabin, same resort, for the same holiday this past weekend.

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So ten years has brought us short/receding hair, four kids, a farm, and most importantly…I’ve given up my penchant for tight hemp chokers. Whew! That’s progress, man!

I grew up with my Grandpa’s cousin’s cabin, tucked up above the Sundance Ski Resort (also think Sundance Film Festival), as being this supremely magical place. And I know I use the term magical casually, but this place is almost my definition of magical, especially to a 5-8 year old. There is a ship’s window (round with big brass fittings) in the wall, real spears and other exotic weapons, a whole cabinet full of antique locks and keys, but that doesn’t even scratch the surface. My “uncle” (much easier than typing out the actual relationship) traveled as a political science professor for BYU. He spent a lot of time in China (did I mention the artillery shell that was almost taller that Naomi in the kitchen?), and as a result of their travels the Cabin is filled with the coolest treasures ever. There is a hidden loft and a fairy bathtub (the bathroom is high enough that it could be entirely surrounded by windows and not be a privacy issue, so it’s like taking a bath in a tree). We saw Stellar’s Jays and Black Capped Chickadees. We played in snow, ate good food, and watched Christmas movies. It was everything I wanted and a lovely way to reflect on gratitude.

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He’s a fish most of the time and a monkey the rest of it. But we discovered his latent abominable snowman on this trip.

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Her great grandparents are way nicer than her mother…especially the Grandpa guy.

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I know all mother’s think their daughters are the most beautiful beings to ever drop on to the planet…and this girl…wow, I think she’s pretty.

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Of course this one hated all the love and attention that was showered, nay lathered on her the whole weekend. See that smile? She is being stoic and tolerating it for the benefit of her aunts. Corra is thoughtful that way.

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Oh and the wood burning fire place? Yeah, that’s instant ambiance right there.

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Gratuitous artsy picture because I’m in love with my camera.

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At least 2/3 of us are looking at the camera. I hope you had a great time doing whatever it is you do on Thanksgiving. I did. Oh and aebleskivers happened, and there was much rejoicing! What are those you ask? Only a culinary delight so fantastic they warrant their own post!   …stay tuned…

 

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