Friday, August 31, 2012

one down, nineteen to go

That little guy had been wigglin' for a while.   We went camping over the weekend and after an ear of corn-on-the-cob it was barely clinging to its familiar home.  (Should you have a wiggler that needs moving along, might I recommend corn-on-the-cob?)  As we drove home the next day Naiya casually spoke up from the back seat, "Mommy, I think my tooth just fell out."

She says this is what makes her "big girl".  She tucked her special mini box under her pillow and fell asleep dreaming of fairies.  She didn't even want her usual nighttime snuggle.

In the morning she found the fairies had left a sprinkling of dust on the nightstand as well as a special stone bead and coin in exchange for her tiny tooth.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

jokes for five year olds - III

(We heard this one from a five year old we met on the playground.) 

How do you make a tissue dance?
Put a little boogie in it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

our first letterbox plant

stamping a found letterbox
This summer we've done a bit of Letterboxing here and there and even finally came up with our own signature stamp.  After discovering that it wasn't nearly so difficult as we imagined, we were inspired to carve a few more and finally planted some letterboxes of our own!

For those who have never heard of Letterboxing, I, as always, totally recommend you check it out and share this fun family activity in your own home town or whilst out and about on travels.  (For some helpful and informative sites and to start your own adventures today click here and here.)

If you're a local (in or around Portland, Oregon), you might even give our clues a try and see if you can find our first two plants.  (Since we are usually doing our questing with a five year old, those we've searched for with riddles or confusing directions have often been just really frustrating.  To make these simple for others with children in tow, we kept our clues pretty straightforward.  They're both also less than half mile walks on very easy trails.)  Great for kids and fun for the whole family...

"Gnome's Home" at Tryon Creek State Park in Portland, Oregon:
Tryon Creek State Park was named after Socrates Hotchkiss Tryon who originally established a land claim there in 1850 (and who I must mention because of his exceedingly excellent moniker). This 645 acre woodland park contains a number of trails for both horses and people and also seems to be home to dozens of magical hidey holes where we are certain colonies of gnomes and possibly fairies also live.

To locate the one gnome home we did verify (and the location of our very first letterbox) start your search at the southeast end of the Visitors Center (entrance off of SW Terwilliger Blvd.) and proceed down the Center Trail. Take a right at the Maple Ridge Trail and then a left onto Middle Creek Trail where many paths converge. You'll pass a bench with a back.  Midway down a fairly steep hill, you'll approach another bench with no back.  Have a seat.  Across the path you'll notice a fallen log.  Walk up the log to its end where you'll spy a circle of trees with a rotting stump at their center.  It's there you'll find our Gnome's Home.

"Native Salmon" at Wildwood Recreation Site in Welches, Oregon:
The Wildwood Recreation Site is located 40 miles east of Portland, off U.S. Highway 26, just past the 39 mile marker.  Nestled along the Mount Hood Scenic Byway near the town of Welches, this beautiful day use area offers a chance to explore natural stream and wetland ecosystems along accessible interpretive trails and boardwalks.   The site also offers family picnic units, several group shelters, outdoor picnic kitchens, playing fields, volleyball and basketball courts and fully accessible trails.  It likewise provides access to the Salmon River and an extensive system of trails in the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness (managed by the Mount Hood National Forest).

After paying the $5 fee to enter the park, skip the first junction and take the next left.  Park near the covered information area and bathrooms.  From there, head down the path past the silver salmon.   (Many wooden salmon will also line your trail.)  At the end of the boardwalk go left.  Pass the mini mountains and take a right at the fork.  Some grand old stumps will line either side of the path just before it forks again.  Go left at this fork passing a hidden world of streams.   Just past the forest gifts, heed the blue arrow at the 4-way crossroads.  Over the bridge follow the fish's nose at the next junction.  After stopping for a most unusual view of the river, continue on the path until you spy another bridge.  Pause to read Coyotes Tale then cross the bridge.  Where trolls might lurk, you'll find Native Salmon atop a support pillar covered in moss.

Do let us know if you find them.  (That's what makes the whole thing so much fun!)  Subsequent plants of ours will be listed as we place them under owners name "Spaceship Passengers" at .

Friday, August 17, 2012

we're winners!

I have to admit that, despite being a blogger myself, I'm not an entrenched member of any blogging community.  I often forget to visit some of my favorite sites and just don't have the time to search out the many, many fabulously witty and creative folks who, all around the world, share some of their most intimate thoughts and lives.

That said, one of the places I do regularly visit (and often share with at Friday's Nature Table) is The Magic Onions.  Every year the creative, warm and friendly Donni hosts a Fairy Garden Contest there.  This year she had over 150 beautiful gardens entered and (unbelievably) she chose our little backyard village as one of her winners!

We feel so honored (and somewhat falsely deserving since it is the fairies themselves who did most of the work under the trees in our little  garden corner).

Our garden changes throughout the Summer with Naiya and I sometimes making offerings to the Queen and her entourage but mostly with the fey folk themselves leaving evidence of their nighttime festivities.  Our daughter is endlessly delighted to discover what new bit of magical something or other those tricksy pixies leave behind.

solstice offerings
fairie firepit
additions to the village
fairieland festooned

Might I suggest you check out the many super creative folk who have likewise welcomed magical creatures with amazing creativity into their own tiny spaces?   Donni lists this year's winners here.

Perhaps you or your children will feel inspired to create a mini garden of your own?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

we've got a wiggler

Of the dental variety that is.  It came as a shock to me that Naiya has her first loose tooth!  I generally think of seven as "the change of teeth" and here we are with a wee five and three quarter year old with one bottom tooth a wigglin'.  I told her to stop messing with it (secretly hoping that the thing would maybe harden back into her gums). 
I'm not ready for the loosing of teeth.  (Am I the only one finding this aging of my child so disconcerting?)
My baby girl is growing up.

Monday, August 13, 2012

summer nature table - at the beach

During the Summer our Nature Table transforms several times.  For the past couple of years, the beachy version of our nature collection and play space is often the favorite.  It is played with more than any other tableau of the year and this time around I had the idea to add actual sand.  It is messy, but Naiya just loves hiding shells and special stones in there, and the little people enjoy all kinds of adventures on the sea and shore alike.  The sand area is actually one of those rake-able decorative tabletop Zen gardens that my brother made for me many years ago.  The sand is special glass sand (that was also part of my brother's gift) and so produces no dust (but still gets scattered about the house).  One could also use regular sand and a high edged baking sheet or box for this purpose.

Hours of fun for those quiet, restful afternoons spent out of the heat of the day (and a great place to display the many shells and stones found on our outdoor Summer explorations).

Saturday, August 11, 2012

house party

Last year we started talking about having a party for our house.  The records are a bit foggy on the date but the general consensus seems to indicate that the old gal was built in 1912.  For those in Europe or even on the east coast of the U.S., I know our home is laughably adolescent but here in Portland, Oregon I think 100 is considered somewhat historic.  (Oregon itself only became a state on Valentine's Day 53 years before this structure came to be.)
Anyhow, we like hosting gatherings and sometimes we've got to think up an event around which to plan them.  Despite all its structural and cosmetic issues and less than optimal location, we love our old house.  We think it deserved a party for making it this long.
For kicks, I thought it would be fun to make a house shaped cake.  Let it be said that I have never attempted anything of this sort before.  Perhaps I never will again.
"You're not putting that on your blog are you?" my husband asked when I was snapping photos of my confectionery wonder.  I glared at him and he went on..."It's just not up to your usual high standards," he kindly added.
I let that go.
It is kind of sad.
Don't even mention its lack of dormers and porch rails.

My sister-in-law, Kim makes some amazing cakes in the likeness of an array of animals and book and movie characters.  Surely a boxy house would have super simple for her, but she's had practice and knows which materials would work best.  And... well, she lives in California (or I might have recruited her and her services).  I was doing my best and working with graham crackers and popsicle sticks!  Anyhow, the kids loved it.  Because what kid doesn't love cake in any shape.
And a party just isn't a party without the pointy hats.
Happy birthday old house.
 We hope you make it for a hundred more.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


I've had a pretty on-again, off-again blogging record this Summer.  As our daughter gets older, there seems to be quite a bit more happening on the activity and entertainment front and so our outings and little vacations have taken precedent over time spent in front of the computer as well as time spent on crafts and stories.  I even missed posting about the ever elusive mid-summer celebration of Lughnasadh.  (Huh?  We'll talk about it later...)  Anyhow, my latest absence is related to another distraction entirely.
Last week our dear 10 month old cat Scarlett (half of the brother/sister pair that Naiya was gifted for Christmas) was in an accident.  It was a bit traumatic and I'll spare the gory details.  In the end, it turns out she is almost perfectly fine just a week later.  (Hurrah!)
She has a lower sympheal fracture.  This essentially means that her jaw was broken at its weakest point - right in the middle.  Her upper jaw and one of her canines were also fractured but didn't require surgery and are supposed to heal on their own.  The lower one is wired together (you can see the plastic coated wire protruding under her chin in the photo) and our poor kitty is now house bound for six weeks.  (For all those who think cats should be kept only indoors in order to avoid such tragedies as befell her, I'm afraid that even after this trauma, we'll just have to agree to disagree.  I understand the stance and I respect that choice but it isn't for us or for those cats destined to be part of our home.)  Scarlett is going batty in the house.  She pines at the door and stares longingly out the window for great lengths of time.
We're just so happy to have our healthy cat back as part of our family.
And blogging will soon return at its regular intervals...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

a special visit to the fairie garden

We had some special visitors to our fairy garden this afternoon...

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