Monday, September 30, 2013

Blue Lake and Walden

“We need the tonic of wildness...At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Two Saturdays ago my little family set out for another adventure in the wilderness.  We awoke early, packed some rations, and drove a few hours north and then upwards into the mountain air.  Once past the city, we opened the windows and felt the zephyr chill, we saw our breath become visible, and we felt our feet kick in anticipation of our hike to Blue Lake.

Once there, we stepped from our vehicle and into the wild.  I gulped in the air.  There is no fragrance equal to forested hills and babbling brooks.  I looked over at Jim, his face mirrored his inner excitement; my own outmatched to his.  Out in the wild, away from civilization, inhaling the algid mountain air, communing with and exploring nature's terrain; that is Jim's felicity.  You can read it on his countenance when we set out on outdoor adventures together, and I am both in awe and bedeviled by him for it.  Mostly the first, rather than the later.

Our whole experience hiking to Blue Lake a few Saturday's ago reminded me of Henry David Thoreau's Walden.  I studied it a bit in college, and have a copy of it sitting on my bookshelf -- more for appearances than reading these days.  However, I can both appreciate the language and sentiments behind Thoreau's two-year experiment of solitude.  I think Jim would very much like to spend two years alone in the wilderness.  Unfortunately for him, his wife and children wouldn't fair well that long.  I myself relish in a sprinkling of outdoorsy days throughout the year; my children delight in such adventures as well.  However,  the fear of getting devoured by a bear or mountain lion brings me happily back into our civilized arrangement in the suburbs.  Be that as it may, to occasionally sneak into the wild, and gaze upon God's first and untouched creations with those I care for most; that is a delight very much on par with Walden's ideals.  Henry David Thoreau and Jim Jacobs have got something figured out when it comes to the bliss of nature.  

And so, below are some of my favorite Walden quotes mingled with some photos of our Blue Lake adventure that appeared worthy of Thoreau's musings.

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“A lake is a landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is Earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

"Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, thrilling, glorious hours, even in a poor-house. The setting sun is reflected from the windows of the alms-house as brightly as from the rich man's abode; the snow melts before its door as early in the spring. I do not see but a quiet mind may live as contentedly there, and have as cheering thoughts, as in a palace.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“I silently smiled at my incessant good fortune.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it...At last we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“The millions are awake enough for physical labor; but only one in a million is awake enough for effective intellectual exertion, only one in a hundred millions to a poetic or divine life. To be awake is to be alive.” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“I have, as it were, my own sun and moon and stars, and a little world all to myself.”

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

“A taste for the beautiful is most cultivated out of doors” 

-  Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I read that while Thoreau fully advocated for outdoorsy recreation, such as hiking and canoeing, he didn't reject civilization.  I like to believe that while he felt comfort in nature's solitude, he understood there is a time and place for embracing both the wilderness and the company of his fellow man.  I feel the same.  While there is no innervation like climbing a mountain, or leaping from stone to stone while crossing moving water that can be duplicated by man, I like to return home to my well constructed life.  I enjoy both the company of myself and with others.  I like my pillows to be both made of moss and synthetically-stuffed.  I enjoy watching a fish jump from a pond just as much as seeing it from the glare of my telly.  I can contemplate Thoreau from a tree stump, and while typing into the glow of my computer screen.  I think the point to these jumbled end-thoughts is that, this world -- the natural and man-made parts of it -- are all to be marveled at.  We live in a wonderful time full of possibility.  I'm so excited to explore various avenues, and raise my children to discover the wonder of it all. . . 

But a few Saturday's ago, I was especially excited for them to discover Blue Lake with Jim and me.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Little Things

Things that make me happy:

1.  When men or boys willingly help in the kitchen. . . also healthy delicious muffins

2.  My son's handiwork 

3.  Kids that are excited for their first day of pre-school.  Also. . . pre-school!

4.  My morning and afternoon cup of tea served in my favorite tea set

5.  Making my children happy with simple activities, like making homemade flubber.  Recipe here.

6.  When my family gets crafty or artsy.  I love creative nights in.

7.  My husband's artistic hand and sentimental heart.  He finished a painting his grandma didn't get to before she passed.  He signed both his and her name at the bottom once the painting was complete.

8.  My daughter's artwork

9.  Finding quotes that seem perfect for the mood/moment you're in

10.  Our baby birds. . . that have since left the nest to start their own lives.

11.  Completing a REALLY difficult run/workout and feeling so proud of me. . . even if I feel exhausted and sore.  It's a good exhausted.

12.  My son's artwork proudly hung in his room.

13.  Going on walks with superheros in their underwear

14.  Loving the superhero stage

15.  Making my daughter a cape she designed, then watching her wear it for a few days in a row. . . even to school.

16.  New delicious discoveries.  Kiwi berries man, I'm telling you!

17.  Watching my children sing/perform

18.  Donuts with dad

19.  Seeing my daughter and her father's bond

20.  Rebelling against donuts with dad and going out with my son for donuts with mom

21.  My son's crazy Russell Brand hair

22.  This picture

23.  Spending quality time with my family

24.  Indulging in some much needed "me time."

25.  Discovering a new song/artist that I LOVE.

That's all for now.

Good day!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fall is Here!!!

Hello little devils. . . there's a crispness to the air that can only mean one thing; FALL IS HERE!!  Hooray!  When I'm not sipping hot cider or tea, I hug myself with a sweater (YAY FOR SWEATER SEASON), bundle up whatever child wishes to adventure with me, and we go forth.  The autumn breeze rushes over and around us -- sometimes stealing our breath with it.  We gasp in excitement -- reclaiming our breath -- and anticipate all the glories the autumn wind whispers to us.

One of the most looked forward to events of fall, in this household, is Halloween.  With the all expectancy the 31st holds, I created a few free printables to celebrate the upcoming festivities.

I've set up a link for each printable.  Simply click on the image you would like to print/download. This will take you to a download page.  Hopefully this will make downloading and printing these images a bit easier.  Each image is sized for 16x20 and/or 8x10.  Feel free to send these printables to places like Costco, or for the 8x10, just print from home, trim the image, and pop it in a frame for some instant cute decor.




I took one of my printables, and applied it to a 16x20 canvas.  I had "Something wicked this way comes" printed at Costco, and I happened to have an old 16x20 canvas in the garage - WINNING!  So, first I painted the edges of the canvas black, next I used some spray adhesive to adhere the printable to said canvas, then I used modge podge with a sponge brush on top of the printable and the sides of the canvas.  I applied the modge podge in one direction (top to bottom), let the it dry, then I applied more podge in the other direction (side to side) which made a nice canvas-y looking texture.  After all was said and done, here's how I decorated our entry way with my printable:

The kids and I made the foot ghosts last halloween.  Maybe we should do it every year to compare!  I can already picture a foot ghost display hanging on a wall from over the years.  The rest of the decor is from the dollar store, or big chain stores.  I cut the spider out using my Silhouette, and put it in a dollar store frame.   Easy peasy!  Halloween decor. . . DONE!