Sunday, June 23, 2013


Last year we missed the strawberries and for a year I've been craving homemade strawberry jam.  This year I watched like a hawk for strawberry picking season and on a lovely Monday afternoon we trooped out to Jacquemin Farms to get a little taste of farm life (and a little taste of fresh picked strawberries).

We found that picking strawberries was hot, hard work.  But the reward was the heavenly fresh strawberry smell that filled the car on the way home.  
Oh and the strawberry pie Rick made that evening.  
Oh and the jars of strawberry jam that now line our shelves!

Crafting Skills Save the Day

My beautiful friend, Eleni, got married over Memorial Day weekend.  It was literally a big, fat, Greek wedding.  She asked me to be one of her 13 (yes, 13!) bridesmaids.  

We were gathered at the church helping her get ready and herding the flower girls and hunting up the programs that had supposedly been delivered to the church earlier that day, when Eleni's mom came out of the dressing room and said that there was a bow on the back of Eleni's dress and who could tie the perfect little bow?

I have only Mary Elliott to thank for teaching me how to tie the perfect little bow.  
Crafting skills to the rescue!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Right to Read Week

This year's Right to Read Week was a little bittersweet, knowing that the Diocese had eliminated the librarian position for the upcoming year and this would be one of our last opportunities to enjoy the boundless enthusiasm of the amazing school librarian, Mrs. Ruefle.  

I was also a little nervous about this year's theme: 
The Civil War.  
How on earth would they get elementary school students interested in the Civil War?  How would they explain some of the complex and very mature issues?  
Because I spent many of my formative years living in the south and because we vacation frequently in Charleston (the very place where the Civil War began) I tried to interest Will in the historical places he had been and seen.  
"Will, remember Fort Sumter?" 
"Will, remember the Hunley? The first submarine to sink an enemy war ship?" 
"Will, remember Fort Moultrie?"  
Will just wanted to know who the good guys were.  I tried to explain that both sides wanted different things.  I tried to explain about states' rights.  Will just wanted to know which side wanted slavery.  I gotta give him that- that's pretty much a deal breaker.  Despite my best efforts to muddy the waters, the school did a great job of making the Civil War exciting to kids.

The festivities kicked off with a field trip to a Confederate cemetery right here in Columbus (yes, really!).  Camp Chase was a prisoner of war camp on the west side of Columbus and the cemetery survives.  There are 2260 Confederate soldiers buried there.  It was nice to see the soldiers from so long ago being honored in a beautiful, peaceful place.  All the trees in the small cemetery are native to the south and every year, reenactors hold a ceremony where they sprinkle a little dirt that has been brought from somewhere in the south on each grave so the soldiers can rest in southern soil. So interesting! 

The next event was the family cake decorating contest.  I found a book about a cat who was the garrison cat at Fort Sumter during the war.  We won First Place.  
Score one for the South. 

We put together a drummer boy costume for 'Dress as a Civil War Person' Day.  Note that Will chose to wear Union colors.  
Score one for the North.

At the end of the week was the Reading Festival.  The Drum and Fife Corp from Camp Chase provided amazing music.  Will sampled hard tack and johnny cakes.  An Abraham Lincoln impersonator delivered the Gettysburg Address.  At a model field hospital some kids from the upper grades pretended to perform limb amputations without the benefit of anesthesia, which was interesting to me.  
Score a million for Right to Read Week and Mrs. Ruefle and the teachers at St. Mary School. 

A Festive Farewell

Back in April, The Hostess with the Mostest 
(aka Kara Schafer Morris) let me help her throw a going away party for a dear friend and colleague who was moving to Cincinnati.  
In a stroke of party theme genius, Kara came up with a 
'This Is Your Life... In FIngerfood' theme.  
We served refreshments representing every place this person had lived during their life and career: 
potato salad for Germany, Mickey Mouse cupcakes for Anaheim, Mikesells potato chips for Dayton, etc.

It was a lovely afternoon of great friends, cute kids, and croquet on the lawn.  
We will miss our friend but will remember the joy of sharing samosas for India and Gold Star Chili for (where else) Cincinnati.