Monday, May 18, 2015

Market Fair at Claude Moore Colonial Farm

After 7 years of living only a mile from Claude Moore Colonial Farm we were FINALLY able to go to the tri-annual Market Fair. Claude Moore Farm is a living history museum. Actors "live" as a country family would have lived in the year 1771. They farm crops native to Virginia in the manner taught to them by the Powhatan Indians.  It is like a miniature Colonial Williamsburg but way more manageable.
Nash took to heart the idea of "putting aside the routine chores and cares of life," by practicing a little meditation.
Our first order of business was exchanging our 21st century money for some 18th century Spanish Coins.  Apparently the colonists were not able to import English money so they used Spanish silver. Each silver coin was cut into 4 bits.  At the fair each bit was worth a dollar.
Next task-FOOD!  We had bread and cheese with blood sausage and roasted chicken, pecan pie and homemade pickles. DELISH.
The kids talked to the interpreters of all ages, played colonial games, shopped for colonial wears, made candles, scent satchels, and Harley painted a lovely fan and made a Corn Husk Doll.

Everything was so adorable and educational.  It was great fun!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Remembering V-E Day

May 8th marked the 70th anniversary of V-E Day (Victory in Europe).  To commemorate this important event the air space over the National Mall was opened and a plethora of World War II planes flew over the city in formation and in order of their appearance during the war.  I really had no choice but to take the boys out of school so we could enjoy the festivities.
The airplanes were amazing and even included the only operating B-29 Superfortress in the world.  This is the same type of plane that dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
 Atley adopted a grandma at the event.  She was very impressed with his knowledge of airplanes. She asked him questions all afternoon and he was in heaven. As the P-51 Mustangs were flying over, Nash said, "It's pretty cool to be an American isn't it mom?"  Yeah, it's way cool buddy.
The following day we went to the Air and Space Museum at Dulles where the same planes involved in the flyover were scheduled to land at the museum.  Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate but there were lots of other activities for the kiddos. They learned so much about life during the war.
They learned all about planting Victory gardens and even planted some seeds of their own.
Harley learned all about Rosie the Riveter. They designed and launched their own aircraft and even made paratroopers that they dropped into a war zone.
They played in restored WWII military jeeps, used the sometimes primitive instruments that were the only things available to the soldiers at the time and also learned how to spell their name in Morse Code.
The most special part of our V-E Day experience was visiting with the WWII veterans.  Nash has always had a tender place in his heart for the elderly.  I feel like it is a spiritual gift for him. At one point in our day I discovered Nash with a man named Ernie Krause.  People were gathered in front of him and Ernie was explaining his role in the war.  He was born in 1921. He and his brother both enlisted in the Navy. However, his brother was shot down somewhere over Europe and never made it home. He told some incredible stories and people asked him questions and shook his hand. He was amazing to listen to and as sharp as a knife. During his story Nash quietly slipped behind him and the rest of the crowd.  I noticed Nash silently standing behind this hero with his chubby, grubby, little boy hand resting gently on the old gentleman's shoulder listening intently.  I was so touched by the image that I failed to snap a picture.  I later had him return to Ernie for a quick picture.  It was such a sweet moment and something I will always cherish.
Of course, we spent the rest of the weekend recreating the Battle of the Bulge on our dining room table and streaming war documentaries on Netflix.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Refinishing Our Kitchen Table

We have this kitchen table that we bought when Atley was a little baby. It has been used and abused, moved and moved again.  It has been written on, spilled on, burned, carved on and repeatedly stabbed with forks. It fact, it has been so maltreated that it probably should have been replaced long ago. But, this same table is the place where we have eaten almost every meal.  It is where the kids have done their homework, where they have learned to write their names, where they have completed dozens of crafts and decorated cookies each Christmas. It is where I bathed two of my newborns. It is easily transformed into a fort with just the unfolding of a bed sheet.  I just can't bear to part with it. This kitchen table is part of our family institution and perhaps the only piece of furniture I am sentimental about.  However, it was turning into an eyesore.
When I finally decided something had to be done I knew that I was way to lazy and much too impatient to go the whole sanding-stripping route when it came to refinishing.  After some research I discovered a product on the market called Annie Sloan Chalky Paint. Not to be confused with chalkboard paint.  These two things are totally different.  I am sure Annie Sloan's paint is wonderful but it is also extremely difficult to find, doesn't come in a ton of colors and is astronomically priced.  So, I opted for making my own.  The best part of this process, is you don't need to sand or strip anything just make sure you begin painting on a clean and dry surface.
1 1/2 Cups Any Latex Flat Paint Tinted to your Color Preference
(I used Behr's Builders Grade Paint $14 per gallon at Home Depot)
1/2 Cup Plaster of Paris
1/2 Cup Warm Water
Mix plaster and water thoroughly until all the lumps have dissipated. Add paint and mix well.
I put three coats on the kitchen table and chairs.  Waiting about 15 minutes between coats.  The mixture dries well and adheres like a dream.  When the paint dries apply a few layers of Minwax Finishing Wax to seal and protect the furniture. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Harley Belle's 5th Birthday "PAW"ty!

Belle turned 5 today.  (Tear, Tear)  She requested a puppy themed birthday party and her wish is almost always our command. Yes, we have indeed created a monster. It was lots of work but tons of fun for the whole family. 
I'm a firm believer that the key to any successful kid party is keeping them occupied at all times or else you will lose them forever.  We set up a table with puppy coloring sheets and crayons for the kids to work on while all the party guests arrived.  Every child was given a pair of puppy ears and took turns getting their face painted, along with temporary tattoos while they were coloring. Of course, they all had to take a turn on the trampoline as well.
After everyone finally arrived and all of those who wanted their face painted were painted-up, we gathered around for a story all about puppies.  We pretended to be puppies by digging in the sand where there were lots of doggie treasures buried.
Once the kids knew all about what it meant to take care of a puppy it was time to adopt one of their own. 
After the adoption paper work was completed and their dogs were given a proper name, each puppy had to be checked out by our local vet, Dr. Atley.  He was very thorough in his examination and equipped each new owner with a free sample of puppy vitamins.
When the puppy was given a clean bill of health their owner could visit Nash's Tee-Pee Pet Shop where each child purchased a collar, puppy chow, a blanket, and a ball for their new pet.
Next the kids decorated puppy houses.
By this point our new pet owners were famished.  We plopped them in front of the TV with a carton of "PUP"corn for an episode of Paw Patrol while we got their Hot "DOGS" ready.
I used a bone-shaped cookie cutter for the water melon and each child had their own doggie dish to eat from.
Harley's cake looked like a giant bowl of dog food.  It was obviously Nash's favorite part of the whole evening. 
Last, but not least, the little kids whacked the puppy piƱata with all their might but it took the brute strength of Nash to fully decapitate the poor fellow.
By the end of the evening the party got completely out of hand when the party-goers stripped to their underwear and jumped into the hot tub.
Happy Birthday Princess! You are a precious gift to us and we love you more than you could possibly imagine.