Tag Archives: creative adventures

Acts of Kindness and Lessons in Faith

I woke up Saturday morning with an activity list of things to do.

1. Although I find lists extremely helpful, making them overwhelms me.
2. If I get a list made, I become overwhelmed with trying to cross everything off.

It was a fairly simple list….

1. Return stuff at store
2. Aidan soccer game
3. Food shopping
4. Pick pumpkins at the Alpaca Farm
5. Admire and possibly pet said Alpacas
6. Come home and eat lunch
7. Put Autumn down for nap
8. Have boys paint and decorate pumpkins

Aidan’s game was at 10 and I somehow managed to get everyone fed, dressed, and out the door by 9:15. Plenty of time to run to the store.

That is, if your car will start.

The thought of telling Lincoln to close the car door the previous day comes to mind as the car is making funny clicking sounds and the RPM and speedometer hands are having seizures. He mustn’t have closed it completely, which left the cabin light on. All night.

I ran next door to see if the neighbor had jumper cables. Her mother-in-law did. AWESOME!
She drove her car down to mine and I hooked everything up.

Attempt 1 to jump my car failed. By attempt 2 I noticed the cables were beginning to smoke.

FUCK. Me.

Let me just tell you, smoking jumper cables are fucking HOT.
I burned myself. Nothing awful, but it hurt. A lot.

I forgot to mention that my mom and sister were in Boston at a college open house, so I was flying solo.

No car means no anything when you’re living in the sticks.

At 9:50 I tried calling the coach. The thought being maybe he had cables, or someone there had them and could give us a hand. He didn’t answer. So I left a message, explained the situation, and let him know we weren’t making it.

Aidan was upset. I was upset. Lincoln didn’t like the sun in his eyes. And Autumn was as cool as a cucumber.

I had a “thinking moment” and remembered that my mom’s best friends (we’ll call them Aunt J and Uncle P) were coming to Aidan’s game. I gave them a call. Within moments they were parked beside me.

You’re thinking cables, right?

Nope. No cables.

They took Aidan to his game.

I was upset. Lincoln was upset. Autumn didn’t notice a thing.

It was at this point that I remembered why I hated lists.
It was also at this point that I realized we weren’t going to be able to do any of the things we planned. More specifically… pick, paint, and decorate pumpkins (aka the highlighted activity for the day… aka the thing we spent days preparing for and talking about)
And it was at this point that I lost it and became a heap of tears.

Tears? Over pumpkins?

Yes and not necessarily.
Like I said, it was our highly activity for the day. One that we spent days discussing what the boys wanted to make. And days discussing the plans to turn their visions into reality.
I LOVE it! Pumpkin decorating is one of my all time favorite things to do.

 

It’s amazing how some things have a way of working out….
Aunt J must have known how much this day meant to me. She must have known how much I needed it because this is how the rest of the day went…

Aidan got back from his game and the story I’m told is that the team was down a point or two when he arrived. By the end of the game, Aidan had scored 5 or 6 goals. Aunt J and Uncle P lost count. According to Aidan, he score 80.

Aunt J called AAA while I was making lunch. They got here shortly after we finished eating and jumped my car.

Autumn had gone down for a nap so Aunt J offered to stay at the house so I could take the boys for their pumpkins.

We got back and the boys played outside for a while.

By the time the boys were done playing, Autumn had woken up (I don’t think she ever fell asleep).

Pumpkins were painted and decorated.

…and it went this way because of her. And even though I hugged and thanked you before you left on Saturday, I want you to know that your small act of kindness made a HUGE difference in my day.

 

And, without further adieu, I present the pictures….

 

Pumpkin picking at Plain View Farm

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The chosen pumpkins…

 

 

Alpacas...what the heck are they? An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.

Alpacas…what the heck are they?
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.
Alpacas are bred for their fibers (aka hair), which are used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.

 

 

Really wishing he could pet an alpaca...

Really wishing he could pet an alpaca…

 

 

Really, really, really wishing he could pet an alpaca...turns out they don't like sudden movements or loud noises.

Really, really, really wishing he could pet an alpaca…turns out they don’t like sudden movements or loud noises.

 

 

The kids had the task of finding their perfect pumpkin for $5-.  Their 3 pumpkins came in at $7- total, leaving them with enough money to purchase 3 finger puppets (1 for each of them)

The kids were given $5- each to find their perfect pumpkin.
Their pumpkins came in at $7- total, leaving them with enough money to purchase 3 handmade finger puppets (1 for each of them)

 

 

Onto painting and decorating…

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Lincoln working hard on covering his pumpkin in black paint.

 

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And Aidan worked with the white...

Aidan working with the white…

 

 

The peanut right as she started painting...

The peanut right as she started painting…

 

And The Peanut right before we cleaned up.

And The Peanut right before we cleaned up.

 

Autumn really enjoyed the activity. So much so that she painted for 45 minutes.

Autumn really enjoyed the activity. So much so that she painted for 45 minutes.

 

This is how she felt about cleaning up.

This is how she felt about cleaning up.

 

The Final Products…

Aidan needed some kind of a scoring system, so this is what we came up with…

Aidan.

Scariest.

Bloody Mummy.

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Lincoln.

Spookiest.

Black Bat.

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Autumn.

Most Original.

Untitled.

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There have been a lot of challenges for me in Massachusetts. The biggest being having to function and carry on despite negative outside forces (i.e. dead car batteries).

There have also been a lot of lessons learned since moving up here; two that stand out.
1. I am strong and capable.
2. Sometimes you have to take a step back and have faith that everything will work out. Maybe not the way you would like it to, but anything is better than nothing at all.

Make a Pit Trap – Weekend Activity for the Kids

Living in Massachusetts, more specifically the country, has it’s advantages and disadvantages.

A major advantage is that we have a huge yard over looking a pond (6.85 acres of land and water to be exact). It’s pretty awesome.

I try to make sure that kids get out and utilize what’s just outside their back door. And while riding the big wheels down Nana’s driveway is a lot of fun (and easy for me), I like to engage the kids in at least one, at home, hands on activity a week.

I found a book on nature experiments at the library and knew Aidan would really enjoy looking through it. And he did. I gave him some post-its and told him to mark the pages/experiments he’d like to conduct. There were a few of them. After some discussion, we decided to build a pit trap. It’s super easy. Aidan had a blast building it and was thrilled with the results.

Autumn was on board for this particular experiment.

Autumn was on board for this particular experiment.

What is a pit trap?

Trapping pits are deep pits dug into the ground, or built from stone, in order to trap animals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pit_trap

 

What you’ll need:

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a piece of wood (we used bark)
4 large supporting stones
leftover scraps of food (the stinkier the better)
trowel (hand shovel)
glass jar

 

Instructions:

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dig a hole in the ground large enough to hold the glass jar.

Place the jar in the hole and pack loose soil around the jar to hold it in place. Make sure the rim is level with the ground's surface, so animals (insects) will fall in easily.

Place the jar in the hole and pack loose soil around the jar to hold it in place. Make sure the rim is level with the ground’s surface, so animals (insects) will fall in easily.

Put some bait in the jar. We used some apple scraps, but any leftover scraps will do. Try and use those with strong smells. The smell of the bait is what will attract passing animals.

Put some bait in the jar. We used some apple scraps, but any leftover scraps will do. Try and use those with strong smells. The smell of the bait is what will attract passing animals.

Place the large stones around the four corners of the trap.

Place the large stones around the four corners of the trap.

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Place the wood or tile (we used a piece of tree bark) on top. This will prevent rain form getting into the trap and harming any animals that have been caught.

In the morning, take the lid off the trap, lift out the jar, and empty your catch into a bowl.

In the morning, take the lid off the trap, lift out the jar, and empty your catch into a bowl (we skipped this part b/c it was a school morning)

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After you have examined them, put the creatures back (we caught two black beetles).

We only set up the trap once, but you can try varying the bait to see if different kinds of food attracts different animals. You can even set up different traps in different places to see if the types of visitors vary and then record your results in a notebook to find out where different creatures live.