Alina’s Adventures: garden

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

Alina’s Adventures: faith

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

Alina’s Adventures: events

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

Alina’s Adventures: books

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

Alina’s Adventures: awe

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

Alina’s Adventures: art

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

alabama shamrocks.

Growing up in Alabama, running away for a while, and then returning to raise our family has illuminated the landscape and brought out the diamonds. This list is an ongoing collection of Alabama Shamrocks, or special places, sites, and scenes…

About Alina.

DISCLAIMER Check your premises at the door. Any preferred stereotypes about masochistic, subservient homeschooling moms will not offer any insight when reading this blog. Let’s agree that everyone has their own contribution to make to the revolution- this minutae is…

A weekend at Ono with extended family.

Carla and Isla get their kicks on the dock. A few weekends ago, we drove down to the Gulf and spent a weekend with my sister, her man, and their baby as well as my father and stepmother. Isla can’t…

A walk in the near-winter woods.

The Eldest led the way through trails he has named and cultivated… Yesterday, we made use of the stunning, sunshine-dappled weather to take a little stroll through our woods. How does the forest change during the late fall and winter?…

A volcano simulation with Bunicu and Pam.

Bunicu uses plaster to prepare the volcano as Prophet watches. He explains that plaster won’t get sticky until you add water and then mold the wet plaster into a shape. There are old black and white photographs from Romania– photos…

A visit to the Christmas tree farm.

Mrs. Gandy told Patrick this would be the last year of the Gandy Tree Farm. Five years ago, she and the mister decided that they would retire from the holiday tree growing business. So we picked a tree from the…

A visit to Hewett’s Honey Farm.

Thanks to Candace and Mary, we started the day with a field trip to Hewett’s Honey Farm in Duncanville, Alabama. I created an information sheet about how bees live and make honey which also includes a few interview questions to…

A toy boat craft.

Our toy boat day was the talk of the Coryell Castle. The munchkins decided that they needed to make their own toys boats in a manner that reflected their individual prefences and personalities. How can I argue with that? So…

A study of snowflakes.

In 1611, Johannes Kepler published a short treatise, On the Six-Cornered Snowflake, which was the first scientific reference to snow crystals. Kepler pondered the question of why snow crystals always exhibit a six-fold symmetry. He speculates that the hexagonal shape…

A splittlebug surprise.

Strolling down to test the water at Hurricane Creek Park, we noticed some foamy masses in the branches of a scotch pine tree. “Spittlebugs,” mused Amy. Having never seen a spittlebug, I stopped to snap a few blurry photos for…

A September inventory.

As September settles into place, some of our favorite natural dyeing plants are popping up, reminding us that the time for traditional harvest is near. This tender little shade-lover is only just coming into its bloom. It looks like a…

A Saturday visit to West Blocton.

The morning was slightly fall-scented, but the weather reports promised it would get warm enough to swim, so we decided to explore the Cahaba River. So we drove towards Birmingham and got off at the West Blocton exit, drove for…

A running list with the first 21.

Borrowing from the lovely blog post at TuscMoms on free fun with kids, I thought I’d add a few more fun summer freebies in the Tuscaloosa area. Here is my running list. If I can find 50, I’ll be pleased….

A proposal for Good Growth in Tuscaloosa.

Living in Cherokee Hills means you don’t drive on Loop Road immediately after it rains- the water pours along the street as if it were a creek. It’s no secret that Loop Road has long posed problems in dealing with…

A picnic with prairie dogs in Texas.

Perhaps unduly inspiring by Pat Metheny and Pat Lyles’ musical suggestions, we stopped for lunch in the town of Wichita Falls, Texas. After scoring some tex-mex take-out, a nearby park- and the prospect of basking in sunshine- caught our eye….

A perfect little chair back pocket tutorial.

SUPPLIES AND MATERIALS Measuring tape Scissors Fabric yardage for main chair back cover (I used a blue-white sailcloth) Fabric for pocket (I used canvas upcycled dish towel scraps) Sewing supplies (needles, thread, machine, fingers, etc.) INSTRUCTIONS 1. Measure the back…

A paean to unpretty meadows.

I don’t remember where I read that our conservation ethos is biased in favor of pretty places. Maybe it was Muir. Maybe the comment was actually about wilderness. Either way, it struck me as an unethical approach to conservation. Similar,…

A nature walk with Diane Kappel-Smith.

Dutchman’s breeches in Dublin, Ohio. All the recent, rather immediate demands of a growing garden have kept me from reflecting on our trip to Ohio- from mining it for tiny kernels of insight. But this morning, I found a crack,…

A Max+Alina tradition.

Max rushed into my room around 6:11 this morning huffing and puffing. “Mom! Are you ready to go to garage sales?” ‘Twas the only voice saying the only thing that can make me smile at 6:11 on a Saturday morning….

A little bit of local history.

A photo of the aftermath of the 1932 Alabama tornado, courtesy of the Hoole Library blog, where you can find more information about the Roland Harper Collection which includes this (and many other) photos. Who was this fellow named Roland…

A letterboxing looney tune to sing.

Our letterboxing log. The hobby is official. Our family trail name is Coryell Castle. Max’s trail name is Nisse Gnome. Micah and Milla share the stamp and the trail name of Blooming Belles. Patrick’s trail name is Rolling Rooster, and…

A lesson in nursery rhymes.

Studying poetry begins in the cradle (or the family bed). The first poem we hear is probably a nursery rhyme- a brief, often silly, wacky imagining with an easy rhyme. So we are all exploring nursery rhymes today. The Mysterious…

A lesson about reconciliation from the Amish.

Kids from Sugarcreek enjoy their wheels. I’ve always held a great degree of respect for Amish and Mennonite communities because their faith in Christ leads them quite naturally to forgiveness, reconciliation, and nonviolence. So it interesting to watch the press…

A lesson about flowers and tea.

Max loves our white camellia tree and decided that he wanted to write about it in his nature notebook. While scouring the web for camellias, I made a mistake that turned into an awesome afternoon of learning moments. I printed…

A hunt for fairy abodes.

Today we went on a hunt for fairy abodes. To find fairies, we first needed to know more about how they live. We know that fairies, like all hidden folk, are usually all around us but remain invisible. This is…

A good man is hard to find.

Micah strums her new guitar. This is the story of how this guitar came into her beautiful, tender little hands. So I try not to take him for granted, though taking things for granted seems to be part of married…

A garden of good feelings: Christmas book and craft.

Piddling through The Ideals Classic Christmas Treasury last night with Max reaped formidable rewards. We spent some time reading and discussing Henry Van Dyke’s brief sermon, “Keeping Christmas”. It is a good thing to observe Christmas day. The mere marking…

A different perspective on Bowe Bergdahl.

My husband empties the dishwasher with the painstaking diligence of the 21st century male while I sit at the kiddie table and muse about the more pressing issues of the average, middle-class American day. “So….” I begin with all the…

A date with Adrienne Rich.

I stayed up late last night arguing with the ghost of Adrienne Rich. Or, rather, arguing with her brilliant text, Of Woman Born: Motherhood As Experience and Institution. We had so many things to say to one another. I use…

A dance party with kids on a rainy day.

The weather limits our choices again today. Or maybe it just brings dancing and music into sharp relief. Why not dance? If you’d like to join us, just right-click on the image with song titles to download the song and…

A Christmas eve pageant.

The way the threads of life twist and combine to create a picture which leads us from one moment to another mystifies me. When Tino came and stayed with last Christmas, so many strands were coming apart. Perhaps one of…

A case of “disaster discrimination”?

In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, tattoo artists are classified alongside porn shops and payday loan centers. As a college town, Tuscaloosa boasts a number of skilled tattoo artists who specialize in creating designs that allow customers to express themselves with body art….

A book and a few ways to play.

For Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain, Vena Aardema took an African folktale and turned it into a sonorous rhythm just perfect for a children’s storybook. The tale was originally discovered in Kenya more than 80 years ago by Sir…

A book about mercy and forgiveness.

Max finished The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett while savoring fruit salad and pumpkin bread for breakfast this cold and wet morning. I love when he reads aloud to all of us- stories sifting through baby babbles and the sounds…

A book about America by Joseph Brodsky.

Joseph Brodsky, one of the great poets of our century, was born in Russia in 1940. His early career as a writer landed him on the dissident list in the Soviet Union. He was expelled from his homeland in 1972,…

A Bob Dylan kind of day….

The King is resting, and I am procrastinating on all the sock sorting in the plans. Our bedroom is filled with that crisp, post-rain light that reveals every bundle of dust bordering the stacks of books on the floor. All…

A blanket reprieve.

The snowflakes collect on my grandmother’s rabbit hat from Romania. The irresistible poem came to me this morning as I watched the snow cover our unmanicured front lawn- a poem about the way the snow coats the wagons and toys,…

A baby shower for Isla.

There’s nothing quite like preparing for your only sister’s first baby shower. If I had to explain to an alien from outer space why we ritualize baby showers, I would not be able to leave out the way in which…

36 posts from October 2012

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

31 ways to learn a lot with an abacus.

Albert the abacus wants to play, not spend his life on the shelf all day. 1 – Begin by learning about the abacus and bead values. 2 – Explore the difference between a counting board and an abacus. 3 -…

25 days of holiday tutorials.

A handful of tutorials from me to you for this holiday season- that your hands may make the change and beauty you wish to see in the world. In honor of handmade holidays everywhere and the many different hands which…

21 crafts I must make this month.

Because maybe if I put them down in an easily-accessible list form, I will actually make them. Twill tape labels for y.so.str8 (Habit of Art) A banging wall for Max because I love him and he needs something to express…

12 days with my dad: A love letter.

Now that we are back from our visit with my dad and his wife, I find myself missing the man who raised me and kissed me and hugged me and told me what a beautiful Roman nose I had been…

11 posts from April 2015

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

10 posts from March 2015

The adventures of a restless, skinny-dipping-prone girl with three kids and a partner living in a tiny castle in Alabama. Sometimes it feels too good to be true.

#2 of my top 25 Alabamians.

2. FRED SHUTTLESWORTH The boy who became the man known as Fred Shuttlesworth grew up under the rigid system of segregation, which used skin color to determine the value and honor accorded a human being. Segregation served as both a…