The Memphis Farmers’ Market and Me

First of all, I’d like to thank the 160+ that took the time to read and the many shares of “Where’s The Apology” since I published it last Saturday. I’m humbled that my rant connected with so many of you. If you’ve not had the chance to look at it, I would appreciate you reading it, sharing it and letting Drake and J Cole know that using the word autistic in such a derogatory way is akin to hate speech and not acceptable.

All that to say, the post I originally wanted to post last Saturday didn’t quite get the attention – I don’t think – it deserved. It’s about the Memphis Farmers Market and that facility truly merits your time and attention, even if my post doesn’t do it justice.

mfm logoI have found a new addiction. It’s a place I’ve been to twice and plan to go to no less than once a month – at least until they close in October. It’s the Memphis Farmers Market located at Central Station, S. Front Street at GE Patterson in the Historic South Main District, Downtown Memphis.

Farmers mkt 6The Memphis Farmers Market is a wonderful place to find loads of really great, locally grown, food and flowers and locally made artisan products. They have just about everything from tomatoes and green beans, to metal art, goat milk soaps and mushroom teas. On my most recent excursion, I came home with some wonderful cherry tomatoes, seriously good granola, goat cheese, pesto and even more. I even found multiple species of fig trees, one of which I may come home with my next time there.

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The atmosphere is wonderful! Everything is so laid back, even though it’s crowded. People are shopping the stalls, or eating at one of the food trucks or even just sitting on one of the benches listening to live music and just people watching. All the vendors I have talked to have been very friendly and informative, especially on items they sell I would have no idea how to use.

But that it part of the point for the Memphis Farmers Market. Their mission is to:

  • Improve public health nutrition options by providing a vehicle to educate the community on nutrition and good health
  • Provide access to local food choices
  • Assist area farmers, producers, and artisans with sustainable business opportunities
  • Generate a sense of local pride while furthering the economic development of our community
  • Serve as a community-gathering place

And part of that is not only providing space for vendors to sell their wares; but, they also have cooking demonstrations on how to use the food sold there, Farm to Fork Dinner Tours, and Harvesting Good Health events.

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Like I said I went there a couple of weeks ago and took my mom and Danger Boy. He had been with us before mom had not. But it was nice to let them both just explore and discover something new. Mom was super and bought me a bar of goat’s milk soap from Hearts of Eden and some chevre` from Bonnie Blue Farms. I got some vegan pesto from Harvest Fresh Farms and those together on some sourdough I had at home made for a wonderful lunch. Danger Boy couldn’t keep his hands out of the cherry tomatoes I bought from Mai’s Homegrown Produce. I still have some Bok Choy I need to use; but, I have some tofu marinating for that. (Scratch that, I did a stir fry with that this week, it was my very own Genghis Grill.)

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Today,  L’Ecole Culinaire is having a cooking demonstration, Dogs 2nd Chance is going to be there with dogs available for adoption near the pet sitting area and three different local artists will be playing. And who knows, if you go by the right booth, you might meet a local news celebrity serving coffee. He served me mine and was super nice! 

That was last week, TODAY master gardeners will be answering question from 7:30-11:30. I may have to ask them about getting some reaised beds started in my back yard. WellWorx is sponsoring a “Cardio Boom” class led by Eric Cook, Street Dog Foundation is holding the pet adoptions, and there will be music from Rob Halford (not this one), Shelley Brown and Yancy and the Good’uns. But if you still stop by the right booth, you might meet a very nice local news celebrity!

Farmers mkt 5I really enjoy farmers’ markets and plan to find more. I’ve been to the one in Hernando, MS and where I live has one in the court house square Friday afternoons. More on them soon as I re-familiarize myself with them.

What’s the best thing you’ve picked up at a farmers’ market? I’d like to know so I can find new things to try.

A Dead Person Breathing

Recently, I had the distinct pleasure of seeing one of the best Christian singer-songwriters I have ever had the pleasure of hearing live – Andrew Peterson. His music rivals my other favorite, Rich Mullins, for its depth of meaning and beauty of language. Even the circumstances of this most recent concert were fun and cool at the same time. The concert was originally scheduled to be at the Levitt Shell in Overton Park. Then, because of weather, the venue changed to the sponsoring church. At Levitt Shell, there is plenty of space for people to bring their picnics and lawn chairs to listen to whomever is playing on stage. So, even though the concert moved into a ballroom looking fellowship hall, everyone still brought their blankets and picnics to watch Andrew Peterson. Danger Boy and I were front and center for the concert and laughed when Andrew Peterson said the this the strangest concert he had ever performed in his career.

This concert was also held on Easter Saturday. So he played all the songs he knew from his catalog that were Easter related. After a few, he said something that I’m still thinking on and marveling at the imagery. He said that on Friday they laid a dead body in the tomb and on Sunday morning ‘that dead body took a breath.’

That image had stuck with me ever since. I went to bed that night tossing around questions, like:

What did it feel like those two nights between Friday and Sunday? I know what happens when we, as humans, die. But how long was Jesus forsaken by God? Was he without his presence the whole weekend? Or was he in the presence of God immediately after death? I know creeds that say he was in hell. But was he really?

What did it feel like when it was time for him to go back into his earthly body, even if it was for only 40 days. Excitement? Dread? Relief?

When he did open his eyes, how long did he have to wait before the women showed up? Was he thinking of ways to reveal himself? Not in a practical joke or silly way, but in a way that would send them running back to the Apostles.

I know the details of his resurrection aren’t important, just something to stretch my mind, because they aren’t enumerated in the Bible. What matters is that he did come back to be the first-born of the dead and be the resurrection and the life for all who choose to believe.

Thirteen County Life Lesson

Sorry to be late with this post, hopefully faithful readers. I have been in a rush since mid March and am just now coming up for some air.  I’ve been working with our school’s spring fundraiser,  two field trips in two days, my birthday and Easter weekend with Friday and Monday out of school – not to mention the usual craziness that comes with school winding down. I guess I’m through whining so I’ll get to the post.

The 500+ entries
The 500+ entries

Danger Boy, Ninja Cat and I took a trip to Oxford for the Region VII Science and Engineering Fair recently. They took their projects that I wrote about in Of Bridges and Craters. Both had won first place in their respective categories at school and they were excited to represent their school against the 500+ entries that also decided to show up at Tad Smith Coliseum that day.

We really had a good time. We talked off and on about what was expected of them, what the judges were likely going to ask and how to act/react when the decisions came down. So when we got there, found their gifted Gifted class teacher and their spots, they were as well prepared as they could be for whatever happened. Last year, I was allowed to sit with Ninja Cat as his ‘aide’ of sorts because of his high functioning Autism. But this year, we decided that we should let him sit there on his own. After all, he’s grown by a whole year and he, along with the 500+, had an electronic device to keep him occupied until the judge came to see his project. But we were close to the floor just in case anything did go wrong and he needed someone.

Danger Boy at the Science Fair
Danger Boy at the Science Fair

Next was just to sit and wait for two and a half hours while all the projects were judged by not one but two judges. Ninja Cat said three came by to see him. After that was a long lunch break. So, we decide to go to the main cafeteria on campus. We talked about what college is and an overview of how it works. Danger Boy was wondering how he would get from our house to Ole Miss and back every day. (It’s just over an hour drive.) Then I told him that you live on campus in that situation. That took him by surprise.Then he decided he wants to go to Ole Miss for college, so I can come visit him on weekends as he put it.

We get back to see if any of our students were in the running for the overall medals. Unfortunately they are not; but, that gives us time to enjoy the student/adult version of Family Feud. They did a survey of 100 children that were participating in the fair for the questions and did multiple rounds for lots of people to have a chance to play and for the judges to get a chance to judge the projects up for the overall awards. Danger Boy really wanted us to do it; and, gratefully we were picked. We decided to sit in the same chair on or respective sides so we could go against each other. Our question was “Name an animal that flies.” He beat me on the buzz in; but, I beat him on the answer. Long story short (I know, too late.), we both were surprised that dragon was the number one answer.

After the Family Feud, they were ready to announce the winners. Again long story short, Ninja Cat won 4th place for his project on bridge design and Danger Boy missed the ribbons. Neither child was happy with his result. That’s when the consoling started by not just me but his amazingly gifted Gifted class teacher. However, neither child was consolable right then. So we left right after their lower grade division was complete citing over-stimulation for Ninja Cat.

Ninja Cat at the Science Fair
Ninja Cat at the Science Fair

It took until the next day for them to be able to come to terms with their results. Ninja Cat did say the next morning he had fun doing the science fair and already has ideas in his head on how to improve for next year. Danger Boy is still in the planning stages. But that’s 10 months away, which doesn’t even place it on my radar. I let them plan anyway. It’ll be good for them to learn forethought.

What are some science fair projects you have done/seen in the past that blew you away? I’ll pas them along to Danger Boy and Ninja Cat.

This Mom’s Loft: Spring Break Edition

Yes, this past week was Spring Break here in the Loft – nine days (counting the two weekends) of no school and getting ready for the final push to the end of the year. I had been waiting for this week to come almost since Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in January. Heck, I’d been waiting since Presidents’ Day in February. We didn’t have that day off as planned because we had to make up our one snow day so far this year. We all needed the break; and we have taken full advantage.

The way I ‘do’ Spring Break is similar to the way I ‘do’ summer break. We have a theme to each day of the week, which I got from Pinterest and both Ninja Cat and Danger Boy like knowing what to expect each day. We have Make Something Monday, Time to Read Tuesday, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday and Something Fun Friday.

Most of our days started out like a Saturday, me in bed until all of 7:45 with Danger Boy up and taking Bucky out for his morning duties. Ninja Cat wasn’t usually too far behind and then we had breakfast. We all would tinker on electronics until 9 or 9:30 then they dressed and brushed while I got some house work started (laundry or dishes). They would join me for a bit then it was time to get on with the theme of the day.

Monday

Monday we went to the Games Workshop Bunker close to us. Yes, we are a geeky family and we are getting our boys into painting figurines. We had dropped by there a week before after Ninja Cat’s best friend’s birthday party at Sky Zone and they really seemed to enjoy themselves, so I thought why not expose them to a little hands on time. So, we proceeded to carry an old box on unpainted figures, some paint that I had to bring back from near desiccation and a few brushes. James, the manager there is amazing! He was so good with both boys and handling the couple of customers that came in while we were there. He let them sit at a table while he demonstrated several techniques of painting. They sat, enraptured.

Tuesday

For Time to Read Tuesday, we spent some time at the library (duh!) after a very enjoyable lunch with Hubby at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Ninja Cat is currently obsessed with Big Nate books, so he picked out two of those and nearly finished one while Danger Boy and I picked out Geronimo Stilton, comic books and even The Adventures of Tom Sawyer for him to read. Then once we got home, and after a little more house work, we spent some time reading until it was time to get dinner ready.

Wednesday

What’s Cooking Wednesday found us making a picnic lunch and taking it to a park near my best friend ‘Eeyore’.  She, her little village, and we all needed some time outside. So the four of us (yes, we took Bucky) got our Vitamin D the natural way that day.

Thursday

Thursday was probably our busiest day. It’s usually Thoughtful Thursday, where we do something nice for someone else whether we know them or not. But, this Thursday brought about quite a few Scout oriented things. We went to a local radio station and toured how the voices get from the booths to our car and met some really nice people. Ninja Cat and Danger Boy were … enthusiastic. They especially liked the snack machine. That’s three dollars I’ll never get back. But it was worth it to me for them to have such a great time there.

We talked about what they learned on the way home, changed clothes and went to Panera Bread for a nice lunch and some time for them to play chess. We sampled things off their new menu (tortellini alfredo and penne Bolognese), both of which were very good. Lastly, we made sure to write our thank you notes to our host at Clear Channel. It was Thoughtful Thursday after all.

Friday

My boys always like Fridays. It’s Something Fun Friday. We went to Shelby Farms Park (yes, we took Bucky) with the same friend we met Wednesday. But this time was a little different. On the way, Ninja Cat got sick, yeah physically sick. I was in the process of turning around until he said getting sick made him feel better and he still wanted to go. So we went. So we ate (except for Ninja Cat). So we blew bubbles. So we sat in the grass and drew what we saw around us. So we went home and I let them gorge on video games until Hubby came home early. His boss was amazing and let him go home at 3:00 with the edict “It’s too pretty outside to work.” I love his new job.

I want ideas for this summer or even next Spring Break. What did you do/are you going to do for Spring Break this year?

Of Bridges and Craters

Danger Boy's crater

Okay, so, recently Ninja Cat and Danger Boy had their Science Fair at school.  Fortunately for me this project is science rather than language arts, meaning they were ready to hit the ground running and get their projects accomplished. It’s a pretty big deal to both of them, too. Last year, Ninja Cat won in his category at school, got to go to Oxford  for regional fair, won in his category there and even earned himself an article in the local paper r his accomplishments – magnified by his high functioning autism. Danger Boy, I thought, did an awesome job on his project; but, he wasn’t as lucky. It’s safe to say each of them felt they had something to prove at this year’s fair, be it wanting to go back and repeating a win or getting vindication that he was equally capable as his brother.

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We spent a few hours going through a couple of websites that I love to use sciencebuddies.org and education.com.  Science Buddies is strictly a website for science projects. I love this site because it not only lets you browse projects by subject or grade, it also has a personality type quiz and the answers are a list of projects based on the likes and dislikes of the student. And Education.com is a whole playground of information/worksheets/activities for toddlers all the way through high school. I’ve used their reading comprehension sheets as well as multiplication sheets to supplement Ninja Cat and Danger Boy when they have had trouble with certain topics and math facts. So, going through both websites, we finally came to decisions on what their respective topics would be. Ninja Cat decided to test the strength of three bridge designs. We even came up with a pun of a name for it, ‘“Truss” me I know bridges, “Arch” you glad?’ Danger Boy decided to see if the weight of a falling object would change the size of the crater it made. His title we couldn’t seem to make a ‘punny’ but it ended up being ‘Greater Craters: Does weight change the size of its crater?’

2013-01-24_12-45-43_624Then it became a matter of getting their materials together, actually doing the projects and writing it all down. Because you know to quote Adam Savage, “The only difference between science and screwing around is writing it down.” That was so very true in our house the three days we spent working on these projects. Ninja Cat had a ball building his control bridge and two test bridges out of popsicle sticks and hot glue, at least until he burned himself a time or two. Then, he had to take a break before he was ready to tackle it again. Danger Boy’s project consisted of a lot of plaster of paris and disposable cake tins. We mixed the plaster of paris in the tins, then the smaller batch and raced out to the garage before either batch got too hard to use. We then dropped the small batch into the tin and, after it dried, measured the crater.  By then Ninja Cat was ready to finish his bridges and test them with the weights.

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Then it came to writing it all down and making up the boards. they did a great job of  working on the report and getting the boards built. Fortunately, all this work paid off as they each won in their category (Ninja Cat for Engineering, Math and Science and Danger Boy for Earth, Space and Environmental Sciences). So now we get to go to Oxford for the region VII fair March 21 and spend the day. I’m so proud of the work they did on this project. I hope Oxford is a great experience for them.

Hopefully faithful readers, what do you do to help keep your kids engaged in educational activities? I’d love to know.

Here We Go

Here is the first posting for This Mom’s Loft. So I’m going to let you, who I hope to be faithful readers, know what is going to be posted in this blog. Just like anyone, I’m not a one dimensional person, so This Mom’s Loft isn’t going to be a one dimensional blog. I have a family, here named Husband/Hubby, twin sons Danger Boy and Ninja Cat and our trusty dog, Bucky. I’m a SAHM and volunteer at the kids’ school when I’m not keeping up with the housework. I also enjoy my Christian walk and both participate in and lead Bible and subject studies when time allows. And the list goes on and on. So I guess what you will be seeing out this blog will be things like:

My Christian Life – The most important thing in my life. So I’ll post things I am learning and observations I make about it.
My family – We function and we have a great time doing it. So you will hear about our endeavors and misadventures, I’ll also write about children’s education, nutrition, literacy. Not from any educated mindset mind you. Just from a mom’s perspective.
Autism – Ninja Cat is a high functioning autistic, so I’ll be posting things I learn from him and re-post things I read from trusted sources.
Geekdom – Yes, we are a family of geeks. We trend toward gaming (video and board games) and medieval things. But we also have room for Star Wars and Legos and science and … you get the picture.
Cooking – I enjoy cooking. It’s almost therapeutic. I’m trying to teach myself to cook healthier and lose 30 pounds. I also plan to do some cookbook reviews from time to time.
General thoughts on life – There may be a current event that strikes me to write about. Who knows.

So that’s just a little about me and my world. What’s going on in yours? I’d love to get to know my readers. Leave me a comment below, k?