Homemade Finger Paint = Perfect Summer Fun

It’s amazing that July is slipping away from us — and we’ve been busy busy busy. Making new gardens at our new home, putting together chicken coops, hanging (and re-hanging) art on the walls, shoving those last un-packed boxes into the attic, seeing old friends and visiting with out-of-state family, teaching, cleaning houses, having housewarming parties, birthday parties, just-because parties, going to the farmer’s market, picking berries, going to the beach. So, when the girls and I had a rare opportunity to be home, ALL DAY, alone, we found our old rhythm again and decided to do something a little bit crafty and a lotta bit messy.

Enter homemade (edible) finger paint. I figured it was something the 5 year old and the 15 month old would both enjoy. They did!

First step, find the recipe. I used this one:

I believe this originated from the easie peasie blog, but there are so many, many versions of this around the interwebs. I chose this one because it didn’t include soap, making it ok for my toddler to eat, if she chose.

Ours came out like this:

Emmaline and I decided on basic colors because she was determined to mix them to make her own, but I’ve seen some beautiful variations on other blogs. Sort of looks like crazy pudding, eh?

Here was my set-up for them. I love doing art projects outside in the summer. With a proximity to the hose.

I would show you the pictures of my girls all covered in paint, but I had them stripped down to their underdrawers…. Just trust me when I say a lot of messy fun was had.

It amazes me, always, when children think outside the box so naturally. Emmaline got creative with shells and leaves. And Tess painted her beach ball but I didn’t get a snap of that one, as I was too busy running after her.

I can attest to the fact that this is completely washable….

(White pants for this project? Ha, yeah.)

It was highly successful, all in all. I’m told it tasted “okay,” and felt “itchy” when dried on the skin but the best part of painting outside in the summer might just be running through the sprinkler to wash off.

What are you waiting for? I’ll bet you have all the ingredients in your cupboards. And some eager children just waiting to get creative. And messy. Enjoy!

(Erin)

The Edge of Land: Cove Dreams

Drive down Route 129 from Bristol far enough and you get to Rutherford Island in S. Bristol. It’s a beautiful place — frequented by lobster boats and summer renters, it’s not exactly a tourist hot spot but it is exactly what you want Maine to be in the summer. There is a feeling of exclusivity there, exuded by those lucky enough to own a house on the island and those who fish the waters around Christmas Cove. But feel free to go anyway. I’ll let you in on a secret spot there. You can bring a lunch and nonchalantly drive into “town” knowing where to go.

Let me take you on a little drive first…

Down Route 129

Over the swing bridge (closed for the moment).

Packing his catch.

Yeah, did you see that sign? That’s what you’re looking for. Drive past beautiful stately homes, the boats of Christmas Cove bobbing at anchor, and a tennis court and you’ll see this sign when you feel like you could drive no more. When you feel like you’ll drive off the edge of the land, hang a right and go down a steep hill and find this little jewel of a beach…

It really is the perfect place for admiring the sea, sweet baby feet in the sand, and the ripening beach plums, signaling summer’s peak.

You will feel like you are in your own little world — your private piece of the Maine coast. And it is yours. Shhh. Don’t break my reverie.

(Erin)

Morning Dew

In our neighbourhood, we have an abundance of amazing organic farmers.

Trying to support them all is a worthwhile endeavour, and one that we attempt very lightly on Friday mornings at the Damarsicotta Farmers Market. Generally we try and grow much of our own produce, but this year, like a few before it, have been so loaded with our busyness that that simply wasn’t possible.  Enter in- the CSA.

Community Supported Agriculture is an incredible means of enjoying the summer’s bounty while helping the farmer. With a CSA, you pay up front for a season of goods (there are many around that supply milk, cheese, vegetables, meat, winter vegetables, sea food, etc, etc…) and throughout that season you pick up weekly amounts of the harvest.  It’s an amazing method, and worth the upfront if you can manage it. AND if it happens you can’t, many farmers now have been a part of a grant that allows them to take EBT cards for a half the cost while the other half is paid by the state. For many the ideal of a CSA is unreachable, and this makes it possible. See here for more information.

Bringing local home is what it is all about.

This season our family has a CSA through Morning Dew Farm of Newcastle. I’ve known Brady Hatch for years…(about 15…wow…) and met her husband Brendan about 7 years ago when we moved back from Portland. They were just starting up back then, and have since made quite a name and business for themselves in our small midcoast area. Their clientele includes specialty food stores (like Treats), local restaurants (like the Newcastle Publik House, the cafe at The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and Savory Maine), Rising Tide and Good Tern co-ops  as well as  just general everyday folk like you and me who happen upon their lovely goods. (Their salad provencal mix is AMAZING…whilst pregnant with my youngest I bought it by the pound and ate it for breakfast…it was the best cure for morning sickness that I found.)

This past Thursday my wee one and I arrived early to the farm and wandered while we waited. Such a lovely farm. (And, as always, it feels so good to see our food growing and know where it comes from!)

(This will be my last post until September, as we are busily trying to put some hard work in on our new house. I am passing the command over to Erin… See you in September in time for the Common Ground Fair! Happy summer all!  xo, ida)

The Lincoln County Animal Shelter

For months now my oldest has been begging for a dog.

We just aren’t in a place (both physically and generally) where a dog makes sense for us. Although, having grown up with a dog, I’m with her. I miss the happy and abundant joy of arriving home to a dear face that has missed you and will happily smother you with licks.  My husband and I remind my dear little one that she has a cat that equally needs her love and would love to be the focus of this unbridled attention (well… maybe…) but she says, “Yeah, but SHE has claws and doesn’t like to play the same way a dog does. And she bites me when I try and pet her.” Too true. Our cat has an affection for bare feet and unguarded legs that is…well…unnerving.

After a calm quiet morning at home, both girls had a bit of cabin fever. The sun was shinning, and I was trying to dream up some fabulous homeschooling adventure. (Hard work when the biggest thing you planned on all day was going into the kitchen and mixing up the ingredients for home made coconut milk ice cream… and then putting it in the ice cream maker and walking away. SIGH.) So, with out a real agenda, I bustled two little girls into the car and backed out the driveway without a real plan. Where were we going? Hm…

As we pulled in and parked, she could barely contain her bouncy joy. We’d talked about this possibility a few times, and we had never quite gotten the day together.

A chorus of barking ensued as we neared the doorway, much to both girls’ joy. The youngest squealed in excitement and pointed with her crooked little pointer finger saying “OOOOH…..ABBY!!” (Abby is our kitty’s name, and funny enough, the word she uses to every animal we come across. Sheep, Abby. Chicken, Abby. You get the idea.)

We walk in the door and greeted by an incredible group of very happy and friendly people who work there. We tell them we’d like to volunteer, and they sign us right up and are quite sure of the perfect dog for us when I say “Probably no one who is too jumpy and nervous with two little girls…”

When they bring Brooke out, I have to laugh. She is a Saint Bernard with drool dripping off her chin. I check myself in the mama-sense that we all find ourselves doing ten zillion times a day and act like this is a walk in the park. I coo. I pat her giant head and puppy talk to her. I take the lead and off we go. My daughter holds the “extra” leash they gave her so she can “help,” but without a  doubt, Brookey weighs more then the two of us together and quite honestly it is she who is taking us for a walk.

Down the road we go, chatting and trying to manage walking with a dog this huge. A hilarious and adventuresome task, and not without a huge amount of excited joy. My daughters are thrilled. We talk about how dogs have a very alert sense of smell, and Brooke must check out each nook and cranny of this road as we walk down it. We talk about how she spends a big chunk of her day in a wired in cage so it is very important to let her enjoy this walk. The wired in cage is not uncomfortable, by any means, it is definitely large enough and has her food and water in it. A soft place to lay down. Without a doubt, the animals at this shelter are loved and cared for in a way I haven’t seen too many shelter pets be. They are not miserable, which is a relief. I have been witness to too much animal sadness in my life, and this is a breath of fresh air.

The workers are kind, respectful and loving to their animal compatriots, as well as the volunteers who come at regular intervals. From what they told me, the volunteers who come to this shelter in Edgecomb are plentiful and regular.

When we returned Brooke to the staff, my girl spent a good fifteen minutes playing with the kitties. She threw the ball and giggled and chased them around. Many of them hid. (My daughter has a bit of squirrel energy in her….) But the kittens thought she was wonderful, watching her and the ball with wide and curious eyes.

We left with promises of returning soon.

“Can we come every week, Mama? Every day?”  She asked and I smiled.

Lessons learned for each of us.

(For more information on the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, visit their webpage. They encourage volunteers and visitors at any age. Donations are also accepted in the form of pet food, dishes, leads, or other goods.)

in the cat room…

(ida)

Sheepscot General Store

Driving past the hayfields, you would never expect to come upon a store. Especially one like this.

Or maybe this is exactly where a store like this should be.

Ben Marcus and Taryn Hammer have done an amazing thing with a store that had been closed for years. They reopened it and re-established a community base and hub that had been vacant for years. Whitefield is a center place for an amazing number of farmers and craft people, and here they gather and exhibit their wares. For years, those of us that had grown up in the sweetness of the Uncas Farm store missed it’s community. However, 15 years ago, it was nothing like what Ben and Taryn have turned the place into.  Yoga classes, talks, dance classes, a lending library, movies, take out pizza (with organic, local and even gluten free options!!!), an open mike night- hosted by Bert Koller, and an incredible selection of the region’s finest foods, beers, and craft-ables.  It is a market all it’s own.

Ben is the man out in the fields, more often then not, while Taryn “mans” the store. From outside perspective it is a dream come true, working a farm with your sweetheart and making it all work. The social involvement and community eyes must make for an interesting and very busy life. I applaud my dear friends, Ben and Taryn. They have a strength for this sort of endeavor that is rare. What is truly wonderful is that it’s worked. Every single ounce of it.

(this was the greeting my daughter got… although she did give me a hug…)

the spring tree/plant sale. Hard to walk away empty handed… (I sure didn’t…)

best deal around for a cup of coffee…not only that, but like any well known cafe, they have WIFI, so you can sit for hours and make that joe LAST… (that is, if you don’t have children or a life to attend to…)

Great beverage selection…and right by that is the bulk snack shelves, which my youngest took it upon herself to rearrange. Multiple times.

“Folk Art” as Ben puts it. (That is Taryn and my little one lost in the lid selection.)

For more information about Sheepscot General, visit their site. They are host to many activities and festivities through the year- which are great fun for all. Enjoy the beautiful country on the way up! (And stop in at some of our favourite farms!! Treble Ridge, Thirty Acre, and Swallowtail Farm and Creamery. )

(ida)

Dot’s Ice Cream

Out of the blue and almost late, we decided to check out this new ice cream shop in Bath.

Ok, Ok, it has been there probably a year.

Dot’s has Shaun’s of Maine ice cream, which neither of us had ever tried, and it was quite the experience. They have a BRIGHT blue variety called “H2O.”

This little shop has quite the extensive menu and seems to be a hot spot for the younger crowd, especially the 14 to 18 crew.

My girl loved her “soft serve vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.”

Dot’s is a very classic ice cream shop, with tons of offerings. Very unique flavour combinations and super friendly service.

My girls loved it (the wee one spent the whole time running around and climbing up on the child size tables…!), and for me it made me remember how going out for ice cream as a kid is a major event. So much to choose from, so many options. Some times so much that it’s easier to just pick the same thing every time. My girl is in that kick, thanks to her buddy Logan. Very very sweet to watch her in her independence by her choice of ice cream flavour. To each their own.

(ida)