LEAF 2017!

For the past 7 years, our family has gone to the LEAF festival in Black Mountain, NC.  Personally, I LOVE this festival.  There are no phones, no agendas, and no obligations.  There is art, music, crafting, food (oh, the food), classes, people watching, fun activities, and family time.  Sawyer and Parks also work on craft items to sell at the kids area each year, which is a lot of fun to watch.  Even though not much changes year to year at the festival, each year is a completely new experience with so many new memories.

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” Thomas Merton



I am a bit “behind” on my blog due to our annual LEAF festival trip.  We arrived home late sunday evening after another amazing festival.

The LEAF festival is, on the exterior, simply a music and arts festival.  However, you experience so much more.  We arrive the night before the festival begins each year in order to have one day of escape.  The camp appears fairly empty, although all around you people are setting up booths and stages.  The stillness of the evening allows you to listen to nature, see the stars and explore the camp before it comes to life on Friday evening.

Every year, the festival amazes me even more and in a different way.  Last year, the kids made bows and sold them.  They met lots of other children and played with them throughout the weekend.  This year, the kids sold bows again.  Instead of getting excited about the financial gain of selling bows, they got excited seeing their bows throughout the camp and hearing from children who purchased their bows last year.  Evidently, their bows hold up well over time-which they enjoyed hearing.  The kids did not meet a whole lot of new children but they did see lots of familiar faces.  We even connected with several families who live in our area.

We experienced art in many ways.  We listened to and felt the music.  We awed over phenomenal handiwork from metal works and hand-made instruments to beautiful scarves and tapestries.  We witnessed mother nature’s canvas as the leaves change colors.  All around us, we had a world of color.

If you ever get the chance to go to your local art and music festival, jump on it!  You may feel slightly out of place if you are not artistic but that is the beauty of them.  Everyone there is unique.  My youngest kept asking for the meaning of things.  You may look for this too.  However, I have found that sometimes it is best to experience art, see how it makes you feel, accept it and move on.  You may find things you love, and you may find that you do not connect with it.  Your children may find something that they connect with which is such a lovely gift.

And before I forget…Happy Diwali everyone!


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“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” Jim Rohn

Every year (at least for the past three years and we hope to keep up the new tradition), our family attends the LEAF festival in Black Mountain, NC.  The LEAF festival is a family friendly, art and music festival. The short four-day camp out always leads to fun times.  The festival has several different areas, including a terrific kids area.  The children took a lessons on aerial dance, magic, hula-hooping, rocket making/launching, airplane making and I am sure there are a few things they picked up that I am not aware of.

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Every year in the kids area, there is a children’s market place where children may sell items that they have made themselves.  My kids love this area and always say that they are going to sell something.  Well, this year that actually happened!  They came up with a plan to sell bows and arrows.  They went to a party this summer and learned how to make the bows.  We went to Lowe’s and started shopping.  The plan started getting expensive, so they altered it a touch.  Originally, they planned to make large, 44 inch bows; however, after pricing the material out, they came up with a plan to make smaller bows.

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They managed the budget very well.  I gave them a loan to purchase the materials.  They returned some unused items and kept track of the money that they owed me.  Next, they went to work.  Making bows required measuring, cutting with a hacksaw, cutting with pipe cutters and a lot of pure strength to actually string the bow.  Originally, they thought making the bows was going to be the toughest part of the job.  They had no idea about the selling part!

In all they made 30 small bows and 4 large bows.  They had to pay $4/child/day to sell in the market.  They started to get nervous as they saw their profit decrease.  They spent about 3 hours on Saturday selling the bows.  To sell, the kids had to stay in their area and actually market their product.  It was fun to watch.  Sawyer was quite the salesman.  Sims was totally out of his comfort zone and Parks was along for the ride.  They did a terrific job and sold all but 10.  Sawyer and Parks decided to go back on Sunday to sell the rest.  It only took them an hour to close out their merchandise.

They came home very excited about their endeavor.  Overall, they each made a little bit.  They were able to pay me back my loan.  And they donated $60 to the local animal shelter.  We went Monday morning to donate the money.  They were very excited to share their story with the employees and volunteers at the shelter.


Of course, we also ended up coming home with another pet to add to our zoo!

When the ligh bulb goes on….

Well it has been an exciting two weeks at Lake Norman Prep-we had fall break!  Last Thursday we packed up the car and headed to Black Mountain, NC for the LEAF festival.  The kids put their skills to work putting up the tent (with the help of Dad), drumming, kayaking, paddle boarding, meeting new people and exploring.  It was a much needed vacation and one that we look forward to each year.  Unfortunately, all good things come to an end and we had to start back to school on Monday.

One of the luxuries of camping and relaxing for a few days is time for reflection.  In my mind, I know that the kids are “on track” with where I planned for them to be up to this point.  However as a parent/teacher, I often wonder if they are getting the information or not.  As I reflected, I remembered many of the kids “aha” moments.  Several had to do with books that we have read or are reading-such as one day we saw a full rainbow over our town.  The kids started a discussion on whether or not the Norse gods were on the rainbow and if they were why.  We are reading D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths.

Theses “light bulb” moments continued through the week.  Tuesday Sawyer, Parks and I went on a hike and Parks gave Sawyer a lesson on moss and how it spreads-a lesson he had on a previous hike at Latta Plantation Nature Preserve.  The whole “class” also had lessons on the layers of the earth and land forms this week and last.  I could not have planned a better time.  We are also reading The Magician’s Nephew.  In the book, there is an inter-world with several lakes surrounded by forest.  Sims immediately realized that this was an area with a system of lakes and Parks, then, decided to make this system of lakes out of construction paper.  As scary as it is, the land forms continued through the week as the kids went on their weekly hike at Latta.  The kids learned about a ravine and erosion.  They followed the ravine to the delta.  I wish I had actually planned for everything to come together like that, but it was pure coincidence.  I love how life works out like that sometimes!