Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mommy Camp, Daddy Camp

Earlier this summer, the four of us took a look at the weeks that stretched before us and realized we needed a plan.  Not a schedule so much, but a concrete idea of how best to enjoy our gift of time.  We discussed goals.  We spoke of chores.  We suggested outings.  And we came up with a pretty good plan.

Mommy Camp, Daddy Camp!

Because both Mommy and Daddy had Stuff To Get Done.  Daddy had never-ending music planning to do.

 And Mommy had ever-engaging market business to attend to.

So, we all decided that the kids with be with me for the morning time, and with Daddy in the afternoon.  During the evenings, we'd have family game nights or movie nights or bike rides or visits with family and friends.

About halfway through the summer, I realized I was hearing a lot about other kids and their camps.  Baseball camp.  Band camp.  Bubble camp.  And I realized that our kids were pretty much doing the same thing, but they were doing it with their parents.

And sometime in July, our time had a fun new name.

Mommy Camp, Daddy Camp!

Mommy Camp tends to include an outing or two,


kitchen skills,

repurposing crafts,


Do you recognize these children's books?  "Little Georgie came tumbling down the rabbit burrow, panting out the tidings." and "She was about the size of a gumdrop."

fun with nail polish,

all manner of living room forts,

nature play,

collecting eggs,

trips to the library.

Daddy Camp gravitates toward bike rides, running,

music theory, typing skills, folding clothes, and experimental photography.

taken by Abi
taken by Abi

taken by Abi
taken by Josi

So when you ask my kids, "What did you do this summer?" and they answer "Mommy Camp, Daddy Camp!" you'll know what in the world they are talking about.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Take me out to the Nature Zoo.

When people think of downtown Detroit, a Nature Zoo with a deer-feeding opportunity does not normally come to mind.

They might think of crime, struggling schools, the baseball stadium, or even urban gardening.  But not usually a memorable nature experience.

When I heard about the Nature Zoo on Detroit's Belle Isle, I was determined to go.  So we gathered up some nature-loving friends and made an outing of it.

It was fun to see the Detroit River, the tall buildings, and the island itself.  Because we arrived right as the Zoo opened, the naturalist was happy to show us all around.  I could almost picture him as a little boy, catching and releasing all sorts of turtles, salamanders, and fish, as he walked us though the different exhibits, explaining this and that.

We touched antlers and animal hides.

We saw bees and turtles doing their thing.

We even fed the mysterious and beautiful herd of white fallow deer.  These creatures were so mystical, for a moment I thought I was in Narnia.

After the fun of all that nature up close, we ventured on over to the giant slide.  You know it's a good slide when it costs a dollar to go down once.  We climbed 91 steps to the top, slid ourselves into big burlap sacks, then hoped for the best as we zoomed down.

Lunch in the park completed the day.

I'm so glad that Detroit is committed to nature education and a crazy fast slide!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Now laying!

We were wondering when those chickens would start laying.  And we were getting asked the same by many friends and relatives.  I tried to have a laid back approach and had September 1st on my mental calendar for a good egg deadline for our 5 backyard hens.

And yet, I checked those nest boxes daily.  I wanted the surprise.

So yesterday, when Music Man and I went out to move the coop (just cuz' it's mobile doesn't mean it marches around the yard on its own, I wish), I took off the right side of the coop to lighten the load by a few pounds.  And what was sitting there so quietly?

Six eggs!

Two tiny ones, three regular ones, and a double-yolker.

I think it's appropriate that our first discovery was a half-dozen.  And oh-so-tasty.

We cooked up those eggs so fast, they almost seemed unreal.  I had to refer to the photos and empty shells to remind myself that our hens (or at least some of them) are now laying.

Any ideas about how to teach them to lay in the actual next boxes?