Our alphabet garden at the Children’s Campus at Phillips Andover is coming along beautifully. In its second year, I’ll post photos later in the season as the garden begins to fill out and come into full bloom.

Thanks to Pam and her wonderful staff at Wolf Hill for locating our letter Q  plant, the towering ‘Queen of the Prairie.’ She is a gorgeous beauty for the back of the border, growing 5 to 7 feet tall, with panicles of deep pink and purple streaked lacy foliage. Can’t wait to see this native bee and butterfly attracting beauty in bloom!

P is for Peach leaf Bellflower copyright Kim SmithP is for Peachleaf Bellflower


Back To School: Then and Now

A great friend from High School shared this with me last night and it made me laugh.  As it is so timely (and funny) I thought it was totally worth sharing with you all.  As a child of the 70s and a harried mom of two young boys…plus a Montessori Elementary Teacher….I can SOOOO relate.

Many of my back to school memories from the 70s indeed include several of the things that are mentioned (god, I loved those thermoses)…and, between you and me, I see a bit of myself in the “today” routine also. 🙂

Back in the 70s and early 80s much of my back-to-school shopping was done at Hill’s in Ipswich and included a trip to Pennyworth’s across the street (was that the name?).

Some of my must-haves from waaaay back then you may ask?

Happy Back-to-School!


Young and Salty

We were on our good friends’ boat the other day with their 3 children, our two boys, and two additional cousins.  As we watched all of the children laugh and chill on the bow while we made our way around the back shore of Gloucester, he said, “I love that these kids are all growing up so salty.”

Well, me too.

Today the boys asked if I would do a post in which they could talk about how they haul lobster traps.  How do you say “no” to that!  So, as they hauled some gear, I took a bunch of photos and they taught me what was up along the way.

This is what they had to say….


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The North Shore Folklore Theatre Company is thrilled announce the 4th season of our Summer Stock Theatre Club!


“Not every child is a ‘camp kid,’ but in a club, everyone belongs.”

– Henry Allen

The North Shore Folklore Theatre Company is thrilled announce the 4th season of our Summer Stock Theatre Club! Continue reading “The North Shore Folklore Theatre Company is thrilled announce the 4th season of our Summer Stock Theatre Club!”

HarvestFest is TODAY!!!: Cooking Demos, Live Music, Local Food & Contra Dancing!!!

Don’t miss Rockport’s HarvestFest THIS Saturday, October 19th from 10am to 6pm. The fun includes dancing and a bit of Ipswich Ale, among other delights. This post would be a million words long (really!) if I included everything going on, so for the details check out the website: In the meantime, here are just a few highlights:

  • Rockport Music is sponsoring a Make Your Own Instrument Workshop for children at 10am (first come, first served)
  • Cape Ann Animal Aid is sponsoring a Dog Parade at 11:30, with lots of fun prizes to be awarded!
  • Bearskin Neck Leathers is sponsoring the Buddy Walker Band, a polka band founded 65 years ago with performances at 1pm, 2pm and 3pm in front of the shop.
  • The MIT Juggling Club is joining the fun with performances throughout the afternoon.
  • The HarvestFest Contra Dance, sponsored by the Cape Ann Contra Dance group, will host an outdoor dance in Dock Square, complete with live musicians and a caller. Did you ever think there would be dancing in the streets in Rockport?
  • -1The Annual Scarecrow Chase Costume Parade for children begins at 3pm. Lots o’ fun & a treat for children are in store.
  • Don’t forget the all-day food & drink under the big tent on T Wharf. Ipswich Ale, Twin Lights and an awesome roster of vendors will be on hand.
  • Cooking demos will take place throughout the day, culminating in the famous Seafood Throwdown at 2:30, sponsored by the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance.RFHarvestFest2013FoodVendors
  • Finally, close out the festival by sending off the public art installation that has been on Lumber Wharf all summer (due to be disassembled the day after HarvestFest). Head over to Lumber Wharf at 6:15 to join us to say farewell to this very cool piece of public art.HFsummerbuildartlight

Public School Students’ Art at the Cape Ann Museum

Here are some photos of the elementary school childrens’ art on display at the Cape Ann Museum as a part of the “Gloucester Public School District Arts Festival” on Saturday, May 12.  The museum put a lot of work into hanging all these creations!

(To get these big shots, I had to take several photos and use panorama software, which led to a bit of distortion and broken lines here and there… I need to get one of those special panorama tripods that eliminate parallax!)

I am not sure if any of this is still up.  The brightness, simplicity, and freshness of it all created a real ambience of upbeat enthusiasm!

The Miserable Music Teacher

This morning on my way to work I was listening to music and I got to thinking about an old music teacher that I had  when I was just a kid.

This guy had a beard and was probably around 40 years old (or at least that’s how I remember him) when I was in his elementary school class.

I remember him always seeming really miserable.  Looking back on it now with a little perspective I sort of constructed in my mind what this guy was going through even if it wasn’t true at all.  You see to be a teacher and to deal with children you really have got to love kids.  And when I say love kids I don’t just mean your own kids because that’s easy, I’m talking about loving all kids in general and their innocence and playfulness and all of that.

But getting back to this particular teacher and my perception of what was going on with him-

I’m thinking that this guy must have been a serious musician and had some pretty stellar gigs playing with fantastic orchestras, traveling around and such but he probably wasn’t making enough money to support himself as a musician by playing in a band.  He loved music, it was his thing.  So thinking to himself, “Well I guess I could get a job teaching music in elementary school.  I love music, so that would be a way for me to pay the bills and do something I love- being involved with music”.

Keep in mind that this is just all how I’m looking at his life 30 something years later and I could be way off base, but to continue-

Do you remember being in music class when you were 8 years old?  It was a shit show, right?  None of your classmates are paying attention.  Every single kid is fucking around and making fart noises in their armpits and passing notes and who the hell can keep the attention of a classroom full of kids for ten minutes let alone teach them how to play in sync and remember the notes and all of that?

The  music teacher who goes into teaching loving kids and understands that it’s going to be a freaking mess probably has a chance at a happy life.  But can you imagine what is going through the mind of the serious musician that really doesn’t have a thing for kids but takes a job as an elementary school music teacher just to pay the bills?  There are teachers out there that are just wired to be teachers, and there are some that just aren’t in the right frame of mind to be.  I don’t remember this music teacher smiling, not once.  It wasn’t the right career choice but I guess that everyone needs to take jobs to pay the bills.

Hopefully you somewhat like what you do and while no job is perfect, that there are some things you can pull out of your work experience that will allow you to smile and laugh at least a little throughout the day.  Because if you can’t smile and laugh at little kids making fart noises what can you laugh at?

Kindermusik for the younger kids

Wendy Hyatt of Rockport runs a Kindermusik program that gives children and their parents learning experiences based on movement and music for newborns to preschoolers. She was the previous owner of the Rainbow Day School in Rockport. This looks like a great way to introduce children to music and rhythm as well as meeting other families. You can find out more information on my blog for Cape Ann families at Flapping like a Haddock!