Friday, July 13, 2018

The Life Cycle Of A Colony Cuke

Stage 1: The Colony gardener will sow her tiny cucumber seeds in the garden

Stage 2: The tiny cucumber seeds will grow and actually THRIVE (at least in 2018)

Stage 3: The plants will bear an obscene amount of fruit that the Colony gardener will not realize until stage 4

Stage 4: The Colony gardener will realize her garden hasn't gotten much attention over the course of a 2-week span and will then spend a hot afternoon in the garden playing hide-n-seek with a bunch of cucumbers.
(Clearly I won the game!)

Stage 5: The Colony gardener will then assess the victorious bounty
(Sorry little premature carrots that I accidentally uprooted. You were still very tasty AND you prove that others are still out there fighting for their lives well)

Stage 6: Some of the cucumbers will be cut into slices for the Colony children to consume with humus or homemade ranch
(rather quickly, I might add)

Stage 7: Other cucumbers will be cut into slices and paired with freshly picked mint from the garden to infuse in deliciously refreshing water.
(which will be consumed just as quickly)
(cucumber infused water has several health benefits!)

Stage 8: The leftovers from the water are then fed to the chickens as a nice refreshing snack.
(Did you know that by feeding cucumbers to your chickens you can help lower their body temperature on hot summer days?)

I love it when things can be used to their fullest!

Thursday, July 12, 2018

It Takes A Village ~ Tips and Tricks To Make Life A Little Less Crazy

This photo makes it look like two of the towels are the same color,
but one is actually a light brown and another is gray.

A few years ago, after implementing a great disciplinary idea I had learned from one of my friends, one of my kids said: "See, that is the problem with moms.  They hang out together and TALK and give each other ideas!"

It is SO true!

Just about every idea we have for discipline, organization and strategies has come from reading books, other's examples and ideas from friends. You better believe I watch my friend's very closely to see what works for them and pull from their ideas when I see one that also might work for us!

I want to tell you about one such idea that has literally saved us water, money, time, angst and battles.

I was looking at 12 cups lining my counter.  None of which were mine and Josh was at work, so they certainly weren't his.  It was only lunchtime so I knew that by the end of the day the amount of cups was going to grow but not the number of children using them.

I voiced my frustration to my friend.  I told her that we had tried to tell our kids to remember which cup was theirs and where they placed it so they could keep up with it throughout the day so we didn't have this problem, but it never seemed to work. I mean, I can't blame them.  I can't even keep up with my OWN cup...except that mine looks different than everyone else's so it's easy for me to spot or for others to find for me (shout out to Alethia who is my right-hand find-mom's-phone, keys, pocketbook, flip flops, cup...).

Then my friend spoke up and told me of the most brilliant idea that she does with her family.  They each have their own color cup! So simple, yet SO ingenious.

Then she went on to say that she does the same thing with towels.  And I immediately backtracked over the course of the week and realized just how many loads of towels I have washed (not to mention that my dryer takes about 3 cycles to actually dry a load, so I typically line-dry them outside), conversations I've had with the kids about hanging up their towel, remembering where they hung it up and then reusing the towel so I don't have to wash SO MANY FREAKING TOWELS all the time because nobody will claim them.  And then the famous question I ask on a daily basis: "Who's towel is this? I need you to come and hang it up to dry."

Here is where I post my disclaimer about Colony cleanliness.  Our family has NEVER been the family whose kids get clean every night...or even every OTHER night.  I know, I know, we have failed as parents...but we just can't do it all, and I'm okay with it.  That being said, we do now have 1 teenage girl, an almost teenage boy, and other little humans that smell pretty rotten most of the time, so we are trying to get better.  But regardless of the amount of times our kids get clean (or don't get clean), towels somehow always end up in random corners of the house or under kitchen tables or even OUTSIDE in the yard SMH (I know I'm going out on a limb with my great vulnerability and honesty here today, ha!).

Also, since I've already stopped, you can check out my simplified laundry routine that I wrote about HERE.  I actually think I came up with this one myself!

Okay, back to today's post.

So I did what any smart mama would do.  I drove to Target, found 5 towels ON SALE (it was a gift from the Lord!) that matched the colors of the kids bathroom, then marched right over to the kitchen aisle and picked out closely color-related cups, BPA FREE, and only $.79 people, and rushed home with high hopes.

I quickly went over the plan with the kids and I'm telling you, it was worked like a charm!

The kids now have one towel.  Their only responsibility is to hang it back up on the rack in the bathroom and when I do my weekly load of towels I'll throw them in to clean it.

As for their cup, they must grab their cup, and ONLY their cup, wash it out and keep it close by for the next use.

What ideas have you learned from your friends that have been a lifesaver for you?

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Via Vacay 2018 ~ Installment 6: Injury stats, And final farewells


Sleep that looks like this...

Good attitudes in spite of multiple injuries.

3 people pinched by crabs in the water
(2 of which drew blood!)

1 shoeless kid, who will remain unnamed, walked through a patch of pretty gnarly cactus
and an older brother who went in to save him.

Unmentionable rashes and such.

So many bug bites we can't even count.
Rainy named the neon green and brown horse flies, "devil bugs".
The first night my entire knee swelled up and I counted 12 bites just on the knee cap.

Enough left in us to document a few more adventures on the way home.
Josh stopped THREE separate times at different locations for me to take pictures!

Feeding seagulls on the run

So many stories to remember from encounters we got to share with other people.

I only post this picture to brag on my kids, especially Cai.
This kid in the photo below, who had just barely turned 18 was sharing his life story all because our kids showed interest in his life (and his cute little puppy).  The kids were so in tune with what he was saying and engaging him in conversation by asking questions and keeping the conversation going that 
Josh and I were simply present, allowing the kids to do 90% of the talking.

And this wasn't rare.
We had SEVERAL opportunities to engage with others,
especially from the camp site.
Everybody was there to unplug and just relax, so this large family
with a bunch of kids who love hearing stories and asking a million questions 
were not only tolerated but welcomed!

It helped that we created constant entertainment while our boys choreographed 
fight scenes on the beach while using their floaties as body armor, ha!

As a mom, it was so cool to watch my kids practicing this lost art of sitting and listening.

Josh created the Colony snack truck on the ferry.
The kids would call out their order through the cracks of the car and Josh would whip it right up.
It was pretty impressive!

Body's Island Light House

We passed by this old warn down "water park".
So naturally Josh had to stop and let me take some pictures of it. 

What a fantastic trip we had.
We can't wait to see what adventures we come up with for next year!

Thanks for enjoying it with us:)

Monday, July 9, 2018

Via Vacay 2018 ~ Installment 5: Island Explorations

When the sun became too hot we headed into town to explore the Island

Ocracoke Preservation Museum

Sweet Tooth's for ice cream
(and because my Rainy girl is so beautiful...

...and because Jude could walk around barefooted and fit right in)

Watching the Ferries come in