Alpacas and Glass Blowing 101

We recently took a little trip north to Wimberley, TX. If you haven't been, it's very much worth the drive. It's a beautiful little hill country town nestled along the banks of the Cypress Creek - filled with more than a weekend full of adventure. Along the way we thought we'd stop in and see what was happening at Wimberley GlassWorks - a beautiful blown glass workshop and studio. We arrived just as the next show was starting.

The kiddos were mesmerized by the entire process. The workshop lasted well over an hour...

And, I'll admit, after about 45 minutes I was thinking maybe it was time to skee-daddle (and figured the kids were ready to go as well) but noooooo, they weren't budging. They thought it was, and I quote, "so awesome!"

I'll also admit, I was too busy watching the assistant in her Star Wars outfit that I completely missed the 'bowl' turning into a 'platter' (if you go back up to the picture above this one you'll see it's still in a closed bowl type shape). Well, with a 'poof' - in an instant - (and seriously, if you blink - or are staring at the Star Wars girl like i was - you will surely miss it) - that little bowl thingy turned into this platter thingy.

And off it went into the fridge to cool. Fun fun!

Afterwards we headed to Inoz, a little pup-friendly outdoor cafe on the river. Ate some yummy grub and meandered along the river a bit.

Little one isn't camera-friendly.

After hitting the rock shop and the candy store and the tshirt shop, we then drove thru the hills a bit more and found this neat-o alpaca farm.

And these neat-o alpacas were captivated by our pup. Every where the pup went, so went the alpacas. We were told by the shopowner the alpacas have never had such a strong reaction to other dogs. There are, in fact, 4 dogs that live on this alpaca farm, but they've never seen the reaction to a human or dog like these alpacas reacted to this little pup. Weird, right?

Guess who they're looking at?

Only thing I can guess is perhaps they picked up on some sort of herding vibe from the pup, or maybe pup was an alpaca leader in a former life? Or maybe they just thought he was too cute. Yea, I'm sure that's it.

Even the big old dog hanging out with the alpacas found the pup intriguing.

We'll have to come back soon so they can all have another playdate. Bye alpacas - yes, we're really taking the little furry guy with us. Sorry!
The alpaca farm also has a very neat-o sculpture garden, complete with bubbling brooks and open air caves.

The girls found a big ol cypress tree they couldn't quite get their arms around.

but they did manage to load up with a few bags from the colorful candy shop

...but the best part of the day was relaxing at Driftwood Estates, overlooking the Italian-style vineyards below.

ahhhhhh, now that's the way to end a day in The Hill Country...


I like old stuff. It can be old stuff that looks new, or new stuff that looks old, or just plain ol old stuff. When my Lyn was a babe we lived a few blocks from a thrift store so during nap time I'd put her in a snuggie pack and go 'junkin', as they say. We had a old Victorian house we had renovated, and a tight budget, so despite living just a few miles from one of the biggest shopping areas in Houston, I filled it with vintage thrift store treasures instead. Some I painted and fixed up, some got converted into different forms, and some were perfect just as they were. Our stuff has been moved about 9 times since then, but most of it I still carry with me from place to place. It's hard to part with some of these old treasures.

Even found objects can offer a lifeline of memories. We've been collecting rocks and shells from the different rivers around The Hill Country where we live. Labeling the jars allows us to remember not only the different rocks we found, but the fun we had finding them. The glittery purplish sharp-edged rocks (it's a geological term - look it up) from the Pedernales River, for example, are very different from the smooth white-ish stones found at the Guadalupe River. This summer we'll hopefully have new jars for the Frio River and Cypress Creek; and will get a chance to add to our Port A 'butterfly' shell collection (yes, another technical term).

Lavender from the local lavender fields, buttons from misc clothing items, painted rocks, and wine corks and bottle caps the little one likes to collect from patios and trails completes our little jar collection.

Handmade pottery, framed leaves and flowers from our flower press, a lovely old jar holding rose petals from our heirloom rose bushes...

Little kitties that cost a quarter, resting on a $10 child size rocking chair...a stained glass made by a friend

A magazine tree I made from salvaged wood.

A bench we made out of an old headboard...topped with handmade pillows...under a window from a very very old house that we converted into a mirror (complete with runny glue)

Old hooks attached to scrap wood makes a very handy apron holder.

Our collection of handmade potholders.

My file box. It's amazing what gems you can find if you dig around a bit.

St. Valentine and the Greeks

Working our way down the ancient timeline, we are finally in Greece! One of my favorites! For that reason (and because I think classical studies are good for the little ones) we'll linger here awhile. Our library haul/reading list was a bit puny this week though. Mostly that's because we're reading The Iliad and The Odyssey together and I have a feeling that's going to take awhile. Also, we picked up a few books from the used book store that related to our studies and the older gal has already breezed thru them and filed them away on the shelf (she sometimes reads at night while the rest of us sleep - she's quite the night owl, that one) - so they didn't make it into the picture stack.

We took a road trip thru the hill country this weekend and popped in a couple of Jim Weiss' stories about the Greeks and Galileo for the car ride. He's quite the storyteller. Even the man enjoyed listening in! (pictured on the top of the stack)

I also picked up a book for myself called Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See. It's our bookclub pick of the month.

We're also working on our first history pocket! I thought we might try a lapbook, but in my googling I came across the history pockets and thought maybe we'd try that instead. I found this one a bit lacking in the literature section, but otherwise I think it covers just about all the major topics, as well as offers up craft projects and games.  

We'll be adding to it over the next six weeks so I doubt it will look like this when we're done, but so far here's how it's looking. There are 9 pockets that will be added to it - and we might even have a little Greek Festival at the end! That is, if we survive Homer. Stay tuned.


Something else on my mind lately, with calling this next year our year of healing, is gratitude. It's occurred to me that we have become complacent lately in our expression of gratitude. And it's showing up in the girls, as well. We are taking too much for granted and not truly appreciating the people and luxuries in our lives (yes, luxuries, just look around, I bet you're surrounded by them, too - and yes, the dishwasher counts).

I came across a book recently called 365 Thank Yous and found myself inspired. John Kralik was a bit on the down and out and turned his life around by writing one thank you note a day in order to learn the lesson of gratitude. This is a lesson I want need to learn, and one I want to pass along to the kids. And there's no time like the present.
So we are writing Thank You notes. Together. Once a week we'll be picking someone to write a thank you  note to, whether it's my friends, or theirs, or family, or maybe to our troop leaders, or a friendly waitress - just anyone who we come across who makes us feel special, is doing something selfless for us or for others, or who is paying it forward with a friendly smile or positive attitude. Heck, maybe we'll even write them to each other.

And during our Thank-You note-writing time, we also managed to squeak out a few Valentines. First we made little card-holding baskets, ya know, to hold all those Valentines .

Then we water-color painted a few sheets in happy heart colors, which were then cut into happy heart shapes. We got the idea from Garden Mama - you'll find her pics and tutorial here.

And for our friends we made a slew of these cute little heart trees. We found this idea over at Scrumdilly-do!

Happy Heart Day, Gypsy Friends!

Now go out and tell someone THANK YOU! I promise you'll feel better.

And while I'm thinking about it, THANK YOU to all my wonderful Gypsy friends and family! It makes me so happy to know others are out there reading and enjoying our little blog - thank you so much for supporting us and being a part of our journey! We heart you!

Snow Day in Texas

We don't get snow days in Texas very often. OK, pretty much never. Especially here in South Texas.

It rarely sticks, it's usually dry, too dry to make a snowball with, and by noon it's usually all melted away...but it's still SNOW!

And in case there was any doubt it happened, I have 3 bags of it in the freezer...

We've only been in our little house by the lake a few days, but seeing snow on the ground inspired us to drop the unpacking for a moment and explore. We found a little trail behind the house (thru the woods and over a ledge, just beyond an empty lot...ya, know, that sort of trail) that leads to a pretty little cove by the lake

Well well...won't this be fun to explore come spring time!

The snow also brought with it in, icicles. Which inspired yet another hike thru the woods. This time over by the river.

Running off some steam...chasing the pup, chasing the sister...

and just like that, it's 65 degrees again, sweaters and scarves are shedded, and the icicles are no more...I love this kind of day