The weather.....has been pleasant. After some severe thunderstorms and hail last week, there have been very nice temperatures with cool breezes.
Thinking....how much fun we had yesterday at Lutz Backyard Railroad Garden. This garden is in Eagan (Minnesota) and is in someone's backyard. They have four times during the summer in which they invite the public to see the railroad garden at no cost.
The train runs on tracks around a landscaped and decorated garden.
There's a lot to see no matter where you are. There was a smoking volcano near a town.
I'll be posting a lot more pictures tomorrow about the visit to the railroad garden. (Click HERE to read the post.)
Reading....The Christmas List by Pete Nelson.
From the back cover: "I opened the drawer where I keep my Christmas list and read it again....My list and what she wrote on it changed my life forever. Most Christmas lists name the gifts we want. Mine contained the only thing I really need, which is love. It taught me how to give love. By loving we risk everything, but that's the way it should be. The love you give away comes back to you, multiplied and magnified, for as long as your heart can beat."
Favorite blog post last week....I want to catch up reading some blogs that I enjoy. The past few weeks have been hectic as the girls are preparing their projects for the county fair and are heading off to camp this week.
Also am preparing for a trip to Arizona next month. (Sophia won a trip to attend a leadership camp; and Olivia wants to see two national parks in Arizona as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's home while we are there.)
At any rate, she had been asking quite a bit to do gymnastics, and I thought it would be good enroll her and see what she thought of the sport.
She's been taking classes about twice a week (for the most part) now for 14 weeks. She did the beginner class and passed out of that; was given permission to skip the intermediate level; and moved right to advanced.
She still has a few skills to master before being able to get out of the advanced level and move to the excel prep level. She's hoping that sometime in the Fall she'll be able to do that.
It's been fun to watch her try something new and be excited to go each time to her lessons. This is definitely a sport she enjoys and is happy to be doing.
On the menu for this week....leftovers mostly. Need to clear out space for the next box of produce from the CSA. Last year, I chose a family box not knowing how much produce would be in each box. It was way too much and we had a lot of food go to waste.
This year, I chose a "Couples Package" - basically produce for two people who eat a lot of produce or a family who eats a lighter amount of produce. This is the perfect size for us.
We've enjoyed the Napa cabbage, green onions, spinach, and mint so far in two different salads. Still have a bag of mesclun, some rhubarb, and half a bag of spinach to use before Wednesday.
I may make another batch of homemade yogurt.
On my to do list....
Monday - take the girls to 4-H camp.
Tuesday - clean the house. Maybe go strawberry picking.
Wednesday - Pick up Olivia from camp.
Thursday - Pick up Sophia from camp. (Camp Counselors stay an extra day to celebrate and clean up the camp.) If the girls aren't too tired, see a presentation at the library about zoo animals. The Minnesota Zoo is bringing some of their animals from their collection.
Friday - Go strawberry picking if I don't do that on Tuesday.
Do a final review of Sophia's photo book that she's been working on (16 Sweet Things for My 16th Birthday). It has descriptions and pictures of each of the 16 things she did to celebrate her 16th birthday.
All of the things she did were to help or benefit others (e.g., make coffee cakes for seniors in an assisted living facility where we volunteer; make a Jared Box and donate it to the Children's hospital; decorate 15 graves at Fort Snelling National Cemetery with wreaths; donate items to the food shelf; donate books to Read Indeed).
Also finish the 4-H club's digital scrapbook; and request a proof to edit it.
Do canning (strawberry jam and strawberry-lemonade concentrate).
Saturday - prepare for a memorial service on Sunday.
Sunday - attend a memorial service.
In the craft basket....I've enjoyed the craft classes I've taken recently: Saori weaving, Saami bracelet, and prayer bracelet.
Took a wood-burning class on Thursday and made a butterfly. Wood-burning is a lot more difficult than I anticipated it to be. Whereas a pencil, pen, or paintbrush glides across paper, a wood-burning tool has to move across the grain of the wood.
Depending on the type of wood used, the rings are more or less pronounced. We used cedar wood which has the smoothest texture. Other types of wood are bumpier because the rings are higher than the growth areas of the tree.
At any rate, I learned a new skill. Both Olivia and I agreed that wood-burning is not something we would probably do again. However, Sophia thoroughly enjoyed wood-burning and wants to do more of it.
Looking forward to this week....having some time to get caught up with cleaning and personal projects.
Looking around the house....I need to do some cleaning while the girls are gone. I stopped doing the 52 Weeks to an Organized Home challenge on March 15th. The 13th week focused on the basement which seemed overwhelming to do that time. However, now that 4-H is done for the year and the winter and spring holidays are over (and the bins holding decorations are in the basement), it seems like a logical time to re-visit the challenge and get caught up.
From the camera...After seeing the railroad garden, we drove about five minutes away to Caponi Art Park (also in Eagan). There were large sculptures throughout the park.
There was a lot of recycling and reuse going on with the sculptures, rock work, and pathways. It was a great way to see art and nature together.