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August Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy August!

August is a month for enjoying the bountiful farmer’s markets, eating picnics in parks, and getting excited for everything “Back to School.”

We are packing to head off to Kansas for family fun and Indiana for the wonderful Escape to the Lake this month and then we will be diving into the adventure of officially starting homeschooling our kids + new work for Tim.

Enjoy!

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

AUGUST 2016 desktop

iphone_August 2016_3 iphone_August 2016_4

July Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

How is it July already!?

Our house has been listening to all our Independence day mixes this morning. This year is our first “quiet” at home July 4th we have had in a while and we can’t wait.

Make sure to also read this fun list of July ideas. Also, here is a list of some of our favorite summer books.
Enjoy this new summer desktop wallpaper inspired by explorations into the wild and quiet summer reads!

 

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:

JULY 2016 desktop_fin

iPhone Wallpaper:

iphone_July 2016

June Free Calendar Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy June friends!

Here is a fun summer reading list to dig into, a “Collection” of ideas for June from last year, and a little poem just for the month.

Enjoy this new desktop for your screens – open roads, broad skies, and so much green.

For the desktop, click on the image below to view the large size image.

For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen.

High Resolution Desktop Wallpaper:
JUNE 2016 desktop_v2
iPhone Wallpaper:

iphone_June 2016_v4 iphone_June 2016_v2

Midwest Road Adventures and “Maps” – a round up of the month of July

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Most of our July was spent exploring the midwest. What better way to incorporate the theme “Maps” then getting out and living on one. Eight states in two weeks (that includes Tim’s whirlwind trip to North Carolina for the Wild Goose Festival)!
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While road tripping, we did several fun pages out of the Maps Activity book
lucys imaginary country

 

We weren’t able to stop a lot (seeing as we were in the car for too long already) but, we did make two really wonderful detours on our way to Lake Geneva, WI. Since we were going through two state capitals, we stopped at both the Nebraska State Capital building and the Iowa State Capital Building. And WOW were they wonderful. Why is “Visiting Every State Capital” not something everyone does?!? These two building were filled with incredible history, art, incredible architecture, and craftsmanship that you just don’t see that often in our ‘slap it together and sell it cheap’ culture we live in. We all felt like we were exploring old castles of old. And both the Iowa building and the Nebraska buildings were so different! Here are a few picture from both.
Nebraska First –

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Amazing Castle-like building, beautiful mosaics, and, best of all, an old wood paneled elevator that took you to the top of the tower to an open air walkway with panoramic views of the whole city.
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Some Zelda scenes “may” have been re-enacted in these stone passageways
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Tried to take a family “Selfie” here. Aw… so cute. And then you notice what Lucy does with her bubble gum….
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Some things you didn’t want to know… thanks a lot iPhones…

And Iowa’s Capital Building:

They sure knew what they were doing when they designed the gold domes….
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Looking up into the ceiling of the main dome. They took guided tours to the top, which we sadly didn’t do because we had to get back on the road, but next time!
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A security guard at the entrance told us to be sure not to miss the Library as it was his favorite room. And boy was he not kidding. It was like stepping into Harry Potter land.

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As part of our midwest road trip, we stayed in KS for a few days at my parents farm. They live on 180 acres of wild prairie and orchards. My dad mows these lovely ever-shifting paths through the prairie that have become one of the things we look forward to most when visiting home.Kansas Prairie - Photo by Giants & Pilgrims

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Onto modes of transportation! Also while in KS, the girls had their first encounter with bumper cars (hover crafts more like…) and can’t wait for more…

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Picnics are always a good idea.
A picnic in the park with Grandma DiDi at Dillon Nature Center - Photo by Giants and Pilgrims

As are hotel swimming pools.

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Once we got back home, we mostly have been playing catch-up – especially with all the art shows and whatnot we have had going on. But here are a few highlights from the end of July.
This is one of the books we picked up from the library on maps. It is called “The Once Upon a Time Map Book” – you can get it here.  I can’t recommend it enough. My kids LOVED it. And it teaches so many cool map reading skills – directions, scale, keys, distance, etc. The book gives you a quest of sorts and then have to follow the directions to get through the map, while looking for hidden treasures. So fun.
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We definitely drew a treasure map of our backyard and hid treasure. Burning the edges and tea staining it is half the fun.

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Some afternoons when mom is trying, ahem, to get ready for an art show she is not ready for yet, you google “kids map games” and let em loose.

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The church we are part of, called Atlas, does this amazing kids camp where they make a movie. The kids do almost everything – the acting, costumes, songs, etc. One of the days was all about outer space. Each kid was assigned a role as either a planet, the sun, moon, stars, etc. They physically acted out our solar system as part of our movie. It was so cool. I didn’t get any photos of the kids, but here are a bunch of the parent volunteers pricking holes in a black paper wall that was lit from behind to make constellation star maps. The twinkly black wall was the backdrop in the film for the little kid moons and planets swirling around.

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We hung a nice big world map at kid level on the wall and have been having lots of fun conversations about where things like panda bears and cousins live.
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June Ideas and Activities Around the Theme “Collection”

Giants and Pilgrims’ “Abacus” is a creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme. This month’s theme is Collection! All the bits and pieces that make up a whole, taxonomy, pressed flowers, and collected works of literature, poetry, and music. We wanted a theme that lent itself to playing outside, picking flowers, and long evening walks.

Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

Below is our comprehensive activities list. Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole list! What would you add? I would love to hear your ideas and plans for the month.

Dates in June to take note of/celebrate:

 June 14 = Flag Day
June 21 = Summer Solstice & Father’s Day

Our List of “Collection” Activities:

SCIENCE:

Learn about Scientific Naming and taxonomy.
Herbaria - Johnson exsiccata

A perfect way to go about that seems to be to make a little collection of pressed flowers


Learn about Curiosity Cabinets and make one – I will probably pick up some old drawers from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and we will use the magic of hot glue to put it together.
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Looking at curiosity cabinets ties in nicely with the art of Joseph Cornell and his shadow boxes
 

GEOGRAPHY:

In celebration of Flag day, look at all the different flags from around the world, and sew our own flags to put on the treehouse (or summer club house of sorts).
(For slightly older kids, the book Swallows & Amazons, is great)

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Speaking of the treehouse, we want to have our second annual sleep over out there – enjoying the sounds of the night, the stars, and the summer air.
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Take lots of lovely summer evening walks – and find little treasures.
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I used some old letterpress trays I had laying around to make our “Collection” themed wall. My plan is to fill up the wall with all sorts of found treasures over the course of the month.

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HISTORY:

Have mom share some of her love of button collecting with the girls. So many tidbits of history and folklore. The buttons have so many stories to tell. Check out her fun etsy shop here. She is also about to release a new site called “House of Button” that should be pretty neat.
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Visit the Build Frontiers exhibit at the Greeley History Museum (and of course play with legos)
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ART/CRAFT:

Draw lots of collections of tiny items (hopefully we will be making these into a calendar that will be available here!)

Visit the Denver Art museum (now free for kids) to see the collected works of Joan Miro exhibit with studio time (through June 28) (we didn’t make it last month, so I thought I would roll it over 🙂
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Last month at Denver Union Station I saw a little collection of hand cut paper silhouettes. I think I am going to start my own collection of them. Isn’t this fabulous!
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For that matter, I also want to continue adding to my collection of tiny art – I love this because they are small, I can afford originals of some of my favorite artists. Note to my artist friends, I would really love to curate our own version of the “Enormous Tiny Art Show” if anyone is interested 🙂
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Revisit the Collection a Day blog that Lisa Congdon did in 2010 – this is just lovely to browse through and get inspiration from.

Documenting:

Jump back into our Journaling – specifically using my sister Katie’s awesome tiny squares method. She just adds one each day, or to capture a little moment she wants to remember. #documenteachday
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PLAY:

Have a tea party with using my teacup collection – probably for Lucy’s 6 year old woodland fairy birthday!
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MUSIC:

Listen to Ars Moriendi by The Collection
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The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra – Moonrise Kingdom
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Curate a Curiosity Cabinet Playlist

WATCH:

Indiana Jones
We Bought a Zoo

READ:

I want to read tons and tons. That is what summer is about for me. Lazy days filled with quiet reading.
We will definitely be participating in our libraries summer reading program. Their theme this year is “Super Heros”.

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For Grown Ups:
Collected famous stories – I am really interested in trying out some of this curated list from Powell Books.
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This list also has some I would love to read –
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For Kids:

Read Collections of Nursery Rhymes, short stories, and poems

Read the Borrowers by Mary Norton (they collect all the tiny things we don’t use)

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Read lots of books from Jan Brett’s extensive collection and then go to her show at the Fort Collins Contemporary Art Museum.banner_Brett-2015

Recipe: Old Fashioned Soda

When the Coons family makes a summer trip to Dairy Queen, Betony will often ask for an “old fashioned soda.” Most of the time this is met with a blank stare that begs explanation. But every once in a while a seasoned employee smiles and nods. 

It’s what Betony’s grandfather, a great man affectionately called “Daddy” (short for Daddy Goose), would order. In the treat’s simple ingredients it’s easy to be nostalgic- for a time not overcomplicated with rich flavors and too much sugar- when going to DQ actually was a rare, special event.

It’s surprising just how good that simplicity tastes.

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Old-Fashioned Soda

1/4 cup milk

3 tablespoons chocolate syrup

1 cup vanilla ice cream ( or 1 large scoop)

club soda (cold) or seltzer water ( cold)

canned whipped cream

maraschino cherry

Directions:

Pour the milk into one tall 16-ounce glass.

Stir in syrup. Add in ice cream and enough

soda water or seltzer to fill almost to top of glass.

Top with whipped cream and a cherry.

Serve with a long spoon and a big straw.

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A Photo-Challenge Contest: #mundania

Here’s a June photo-challenge that we are turning into a contest! Do you see the majestic in the mundane? the uncanny in the common? the beauty in the everyday?

Follow the prompts given for June (enough has been given that it could be daily, but you don’t have to have a photo for each one…) and bring out just how special life is; even in the normal, so-called boring moments. Do your best to make these prompts into captures of beauty.

Use the hashtag #mundania to share these pictures.

The BEST IN SHOW photo, judged by Tim & Betony Coons and Wes Sam-Bruce, will win 3 limited-edition art prints from Almanac No. 1!

1 Laundry

2 Breakfast

3 Front Porch

4 1:00 PM

5 Refrigerator

6 Lawn Care

7 Working on

8 Where I sleep

9 Mail

10 Dirty dishes

11 Morning routine

12 The commute

13 Coffee

14 Bedtime routine

15 Lunch

16 Clutter

17 Shoes

18 Pet

19 Currently reading

20 Dinner

21 Rest

22 Groceries

23 Summer

24 Garbage

25 Cleaning

26 Computer/ Tech

27 Home

28 Street

29 Favorite place to sit

30 Friends

May Recipe: Strawberry Shortcake

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I didn’t like strawberry shortcake growing up. Then I met my wife. 

You see, I had a preconceived notion of the dessert in my mind: it was made with strawberries, dry- pre-packaged- store-bought angel-food cake, and cool whip thrown over it all. That was the way I’d had it prepared by relatives and pot-lucks over the years.

Then my wife cast a new vision for me, repainting the glory of what could be… nay, what strawberry shortcake was MEANT to be.

When she made it, it was homemade shortcake, hand-spun whipped cream, sugared strawberries. 

THIS is strawberry shortcake. How it was really meant to be enjoyed. I love how the truth of something can be revealed by experiencing the real thing. There’s a larger story in there somewhere…

Enjoy the real thing here. And make this great recipe for May.

-Tim

HOMEMADE STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE 

6  C. sliced strawberries
1/2 C. sugar, divided
2 C. all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 C. unsalted butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 beaten egg
2/3 C. milk

Homemade Whipped Cream 

1 C. whipping cream
1 Tbs. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Stir together berries and 1/4 C. of the sugar; set aside. Stir together remaining sugar, flour, and baking powder. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (can be done in the food processor). Combine eggs and milk; add all at once to dry ingredients. Stir just to moisten. Don’t over mix! Spread into a greased 8 inch round baking pan, building up the edges slightly. Bake in a 450 degree oven for

15-18 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean.

Cool in pan 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Split into 2 layers. Spoon the fruit and whipped cream between the layers and over the top. Serve immediately.

For whipped cream, beat cold cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.
Note: for a yummy variation, add some thinly sliced mint or basil to the sliced strawberries and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
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