Friday, June 16, 2017

Join us tonight at the Ypsilanti Book Crawl

What do these images all have in common?

Find out tonight at the Ypsilanti Book Crawl. We will be at the Michigan Ave Branch of the library sharing our book Screen-Free Summer and hosting a discussion and Activity Buffet. The event is part of the Ann Arbor Book Festival and our portion is sometime between 6 and 7:30pm.

One of my co-authors and I have prepared a reading in shared voices, which promises to be fun.

Come, taste, and see!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Announcing our latest project: Screen-Free Summer book!

Do you ever have an idea, an idea that you just know wants to be realized?  This idea came to us one morning when we were all home, at least one of us nursing a head cold.  We cleared off the table in flurry, rolled out about 4 feet of butcher paper, and started spewing ideas.  The outline came together in less than an hour, and the final product in just a few weeks.

Here it is, our first non-fiction paperback and e-book!

Available on Amazon, of course.

It's 261 ideas for summer fun that do not involve a screen, tablet, computer, or device of any kind. Not because we are against devices and the benefits they offer, but because so much of life requires screens these days, and we find it refreshing to be away from them.  And, because sometimes we need permission, inspiration, and empowerment to go against the norm.

We hereby permit you, inspire you, and empower you to encourage your families to step away from the screen this summer!

We'd love to hear how it goes.  Post your experiences and more ideas for screen-free activities here or on our facebook page (yep, there's a bit of irony there, but hey).

And if you find anything of value in the book, please consider leaving an Amazon review.  That will boost the book's ranking and give us warm fuzzies.

Monday, November 28, 2016

We must love the bees.


When the bees first came to us, they arrived in the white mini-hive.

We put the bees from the mini hive into the main hive.

We checked on them a few weeks later.  See our veils, gloves, and long sleeves?
We lift out each bar to check if it contains brood (baby bees) or honey.

The bees are doing great!  The queen is laying eggs and worker bees are being born every day.

Here is the brood nest.  See the thick caps on the cells? This is where the eggs grow to become larva (baby bees).


When the days and nights are hot, the bees cool off by sleeping outside!  This is called "bearding."

What a beard!  They usually go back into the hive by morning.

It's important to have a container of water for the bees to drink. A shallow dish with rocks works nicely.

The bees stand on the edge of the rock to drink the water.  This always reminds me of wildebeests!

I like to watch the bees coming and going.  They spend most of the day foraging for nectar and pollen.  Nectar is what becomes honey when some of the water content evaporates.  Pollen is the food for the baby bees.

Here are some honeycombs, cut right from the bars.

We cut the caps off the cells to let the honey out.

We mash the honeycomb gently.

Then we  pour it into sieves and let it drip into a clean bucket.

The honey drains down and the wax combs remain.  These can be made into candles or lip balm.
We pour the honey from the bucket into jars and use it throughout the year for tea and baking.


To keep the bees warm, we fill a pillowcase with dry leaves and set it under the roof of the hive.

We also block off most of the entrance so mice don't get in.


On a warm day in winter, the bees will make elimination flights.

They also push any dead bees out of the hive.


Freshly made comb.  Will the bees fill it with honey or brood?

A bee being born (coming out of its cell).

Thursday, September 4, 2014

You know life is full when...

You know life is full when.....

....... there isn't much time to write about it.

It's hard to believe that weeks have turned into months since I last spent some quality time writing about the happenings of this vibrant family.  And it's not for a lack of vibrancy.  Quite the other way.

Well, there was a creative women's retreat, a bit of asthma, a polar vortex, a touch of pneumonia, a handful of students, a kids triathlon, a pack of delightful dogs, a road trip or two, and the regular amount of birthdays.

I'm hoping to reflect more, wonder more, and zoom through life a little less.

Triumph for the pool: kids triathlon!

They did it again.  The kids triathlon fundraiser.




So fun!

Historic America Vacay

Virginia and DC called, and we answered.  Actually we were invited to a wedding of a dear, long-lost friend, so we decided to make a proper trip of it.

Allegheny Trail

look out point somewhere in West Virginia

Chapel of the Centurion, Fort Monroe, VA

Jenny and Carsten

Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe

Fort Monroe

Langley Air Force Base

Buckroe Beach, VA

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Williamsburg, VA

College of William and Mary, VA

Yorktown, VA

Yorktown Victory Monument, VA

yes, that's a cannonball from the Revolutionary War

our hosts

National Archives, Washington D. C.

Washington Monument

the White House is back there

the Lincoln Memorial and the reflecting pool

the Capitol Building

metro station

Mount Vernon, the home of George Washington

an entire outbuilding dedicated to spinning and weaving

Mount Vernon, VA

Air and Space Museum, D. C.

the Fredericks