Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Making of Villa Villekulla

One of the things we wanted to do this summer was make Villa Villekula, that magical, wonderful, whimsical house belonging to the equally wonderful Pippi Longstocking.

Finally the right materials came our way in the form of a stack of white boxes. We watched scenes from the movie to get a better idea of the color scheme, bought big bottles of paint and inexpensive brushes and got to work.

It took about a week to complete as we built the house, cut the doors and windows, worked on one color at a time, added little embellishments like the flower prints and swirls in the paint. Every step of the way was great fun. Truly, from puzzling together our boxes to drawing the windows, painting the walls and shutters, hiding inside (both girls fit), perching Pippi on the roof, and drawing a whole cast of characters to play with, the house has been one of the funnest projects of the season.

I love how this project was informed and inspired by so many other things we've enjoyed this year--the Pippi Longstocking book, the classic movie, the Astrid Lindgren house we visited in Stockholm, the action figures bought at a classic toystore in Sweden. And I also love that it was a collaboration between all of us, with Sabrina leading the way as she usually does when it comes to creative projects. Another cardboard box success.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Summer Reading

This is our third summer completing the local library reading program, and if someone had told me two years ago that Sabrina would be completing her list on her own this time around and actually reading, not just words, but entire books, I would not have believed it. Reading, after speaking, seems nothing short of a miracle when I watch my own children learn to do it. Between CC's increasingly articulate speech and Sabrina's reading skills I sometimes feel that half my work is done here.

We took advantage of the rainy morning to complete our forms and claim our prizes at the library--a gold harmonica for Sabrina and a blue one for CC.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Picking Berries

Few things get Sabrina more excited than the idea of collecting her own fruit. She's always picking and eating the crabapples from our garden, no matter how tart. So we went berry picking at Butler's Orchard in Maryland. And here we had juicy blackberries coming into their sweetness and end-of-the-season blueberries just scattered enough to make the picking a challenge. Sabrina harvested (the blueberries hitting her pail sounded just like the caplucks from Blueberries for Sal) and CC ate, so many berries I had to confess at checkout that we should probably be paying for an extra pound. But tasting is encouraged, I was told.

It was a hot morning and since I really had no plan for our berries other than enjoying them for breakfast and snacks, we took it easy and came home with just three pounds of berries. But I would love to go back on a cooler day to gather more for making jams and preserves.

The same orchard also grows raspberries and flowers, for which we'll have to return later in the summer. And in the fall, apples and pumpkins, oh yes. We're already getting excited.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lake Anne


Here are the ingredients for a perfect summer morning. Keep Sabrina home from day camp. Make waffles from scratch and serve them with berries and bacon. Drive to Lake Anne, a spot just far away enough to feel special and close enough for me to go alone with the girls. Have lunch at a little lakeside cafe with a child-sized counter and stools. Get ice cream and dip our feet in the fountain. Look for treasures in the used bookstore. Drive back home in time for naps.

This was last week, and that day while the girls napped I canceled this week's camp so we can fill our mornings with more such adventures.