Summer plans


Ice cream and lemonade – coming soon to a neighborhood near you!

Although it’s a blustery 40° outside, the kids are in the thick of summer planning! They are making their plans, drawing up signs, writing out lists, and even just ran upstairs to decide on a secret handshake (upstairs so I don’t see it!). I think we are ready for a little summer around here!

We Have Maple Syrup!


Last month we tapped two maple trees in our front yard.  We had high hopes, but the weather didn’t cooperate and the sap flowed slowly. 

Today we finally had enough sap, and time, to boil! 


Forty minutes into the process.

We started with 20 cups of sap.  It took about four hours to boil it down to the 219° “aproning” stage. 


Checking for doneness. The book says it should slide off the spatula in a smooth sheet, or "apron" when it's done. Not there yet.


Done! I think. Maybe a tiny bit over done.

It goes very quickly from done to candy to burnt.  If you don’t watch it closely at the end you can ruin the whole thing.  We all watched it together.  :-)  I think in was supposed to be scooping the foam off the top, but I missed that part so I hope it doesn’t matter too much!


We have maple syrup!

It’s pretty thick and viscous and cloudy.  I filtered the sap before boiling and filtered the syrup before putting it into the bar, so I’m not sure if the cloudiness is sediment that will settle overnight or if it’s the foam I didn’t scoop off.  Either way, it tastes delicious! 

160 oz. of sap and four hours = 4 oz. of deliciousness and a fun family project!

Sunshine and soccer

Spring is finally here and with it.. SUNSHINE! My favorite. We had a picnic snack on the porch after school one day last week and the kids have been “practicing soccer” each afternoon. Eve even dug out her summer clothes.



We have daffodils blooming and the weather forecast for this week is full of sunshine as well. Whoo hoo!

Spring! (and riding with the big kids)

Today was a beautiful day all around. (the kids aren’t in bed yet so there’s still the chance of disaster, but I’m hedging my bets and calling it a great day!) I subbed at school today, in Lex’s class. He was thrilled. They are a busy bunch normally, but I think Monday must be their mellow day. Mellow for them, anyway. Still very busy!

When we got home from school it was sunny and in the 60’s so we had snack then headed outside to blow bubbles and ride bikes. I also swept a dirt road’s worth of dust and dirt out of my garage!


Fun with the new bubble blower!

While we were blowing bubbles a group of fifth graders came zipping by on their bikes. It was a group I haven’t seen hanging out in our neighborhood in the past. They ended up hanging out on our street for quite some time. One of the kids is in Lex’s class (his brother was part of the older group) and my two kids were fascinated. I told Lex he could ride with them if he wanted to and he was thrilled! He zoomed right up to them and joined the group. I have no idea what they were talking about or playing (if 5th graders even “play” anymore, I guess mostly they just “hang out”) but he rolled with them for awhile. Most of the time they were at one end of the street or the other so I wasn’t even really able to keep an eye on things. It was a big step for me! Before he joined the group they had been going from our street to another and back again, so I was curious to see what Lex would do if they left. I didn’t think he’d go, but I wasn’t entirely positive. At one point I noticed the group start to disband and a few kids split off one way while the rest went the other. I looked and looked and didn’t see Lex. Feeling a mix of surprise and worry and awe and… suddenly I saw him riding down the driveway at the end of the street, heading home! He didn’t leave our street after all! Whew! I’m not ready for that yet! :)



Another benefit of fresh air is that Eve requested apples and peanut butter for dinner, helping herself to a cheese stick while waiting, and Lex happily accepted carrots on his plate. He turned the plate into a smiley face then ate the whole thing.

Welcome fresh air and sunshine! Welcome Spring!