Sunday, March 28, 2010

Corners of My Home

 Here is the second corner of my home,  the lil dining room off of our kitchen.  Yesterday in this room, I had one of those moments where I accidentally made something. My lil guy and I decided that it was time to start felting some eggs in preparation for Easter and I was too impatient to go out and buy wooden eggs from the craft store so... I hard - boiled a couple. First mistake. SO Row and I had lots of fun rubbing wool around with hot, sudsy water, got the eggs nicely felting, and then... I squeezed too hard. My egg broke on the inside and I had to cut it out. When I looked down at what remained I realized that it looked like a precious little birds nest. Then the obvious fact dawned on me that we couldn't let Rowan's dry for the two days called for without his egg going bad - so we turned his into a nest too - his was lovely because it was lined with the lavender wool we dyed with blueberries the previous day. Then, "mom, can we make little eggs for my nest? Let's dye them! Will you make me a bird?" Oh boy. So we have sweet little bird scenes for our shelves, but still no eggs. This is my first year celebrating Easter away from family and its time that I began some family traditions. What are your favorites?

Friday, March 26, 2010

He Walks!!

 The babe has been racing around with only one hand on the wall for a week or so now... so I had an idea that it was coming. But I was shocked when I looked up yesterday to find him confidently (and delightedly) walking to me! I started counting 1,2,.shuffle, shuffle,..7,8..sway...16,17,18?!? Wow little man. 18 steps when you're only 9 months old is pretty good. Feel free to keep that goofy grin on your face. You deserve to feel proud! 18 steps and a first haircut all in one week. My baby is growing up.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

PS If you want your kids to adore you today...

So I just have to share the recipe for the ice cream I just made. It is from Apples for Jam - a very pretty cookbook that we have enjoyed being inspired by. I adjusted it so that my boy wouldn't get a sugar overdose but left some of the dairy in as I don't know of a vegan alternative to cream.

Whisk together: 1/2 cup of raw honey (softened) (my variation)
                          3 organic eggs
                         and 2 teaspoons of good vanilla

Heat 1 c. almond milk over low heat, stirring constantly until near boiling. Remove and whisk one ladle full into eggs to acclimatize them, then another, then pour whole egg mixture back into milk and heat for one minute to "cook the eggs." Stir all the time. Remove from heat and whisk in 2 cups organic heavy whipping cream.  Pour into a coverable bowl and put in freezer for an hour - then take out and whisk - then another hour - then take out and whisk - then another until you are pleased with its level of frozenness. (Probably around 4 hours.)

Spoon into a bowl, if you want you can invite Aragorn to join you for "imaginawy" ice cream, and enjoy the lovely flavor and sweet kisses you'll receive in thanks!

Souls and Soles

Last night I had a rare opportunity to just stop and think. Running early for a gathering of friends I walked outside into the crisp night air, deep inky navy surrounding me, and wandered to the spot a tree had recently fallen in a storm and been leveled. I stepped onto it and stretched myself up, up, and looked into the clear sky at a sight I treasure seeing... stars. sparkling. clustering into constellations. Some believe that stars were a first Creation, a sort of storehouse of great energy from which God spun the universe. You all know the Moby song, We are all made of stars?

Standing, stretching mind up, and soul deep. Feeling tree beneath my soles. Sad for the end of its time to reach to the heavens. Sad, then thoughtful. It will decompose and rejoin the soil, which will nourish plants that we will harvest and swallow, down, down, until our bodies integrate that carrot's body into ourselves, nourishing, healing, strengthening, growing... until our physical bodies breathe their last and begin to rejoin soil...We are all so interconnected. We can build imaginary walls around our selves but we cannot keep out the reality that our matter shifts and cycles in a continuous dance within and with the rest of this Creation. We are not Made as islands in any physical way.

Today I will live trying to remember this as I relate with all our God has penned, His Word awaking all that we are and will be and have ever been.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Henry Poole is Here

Two nights ago I snuggled up with hubby on couch - ready for some simple laughs... and instead was treated to one of the most beautiful films I have seen in a long time. Henry Poole is Here surprised us both. It tells the story of a man (Luke Wilson) who has moved home to his old neighborhood to die. He is bitter, shutting the world out, seeking to hasten his end through drowning himself in Vodka - that is until Something starts to whisper, in the voice of neighbors. A warm middle aged Catholic lady hands full of offered tamales, and heart open to love. A wide eyed, non speaking, six year old constantly sneaking into his yard and recording his conversations. He hears his harsh words and pain echoed back from her player over and over. Her mother, an artist, full of life, and willing to be vulnerable. The checkout girl named Patience at his local grocery store, who quotes from great works of literature and invites him to open himself and share his hurt.
None of these people obeyed the common mores of society; be safe, don't intrude, keep your fences UP. Each of these people were used to bring and receive healing.

Healing is offered to be entered into in this film - pain is present and vicious, life is raw and uncertain, and BEAUTY pervades every moment, until...

well, I won't ruin it for you. Watch it. You'll be glad you did.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Deep Breaths

I attend a wonderful small group of women every Tuesday morning and we are currently studying the Proverbs from the Old Testament. This week in particular we just discussed how we speak to others - do we defend ourselves too much? are we harsh? are we sarcastic? Are we patient? Do we model a grateful life, a forgiving life, a repenting life, a HEALING life? Hearts were poured out around our circle, memories drawn up of moments of beauty when we saw a child mimicking our behavior to a sibling, being gentle with them rather than short. Memories of pain were recalled - times when we said hurtful things to our smallest or our dearest, caught in a moment of anger or stuck with a heart full of self righteous bitterness. We recognized that our words pour forth from our souls, so our words are a very good barometer of where we are internally. Trusting? Hoping? Rejoicing? Hating? Resenting?

On coming home today I had a moment to watch all of these things within myself.
My sweet brother in law is in town and he wanted to borrow my bike to ride with my husband. I had misgivings. He tends to ride everything too fast and too hard, the paths were all muddy and blown out from recent rain storms, and I was nervous. My Bianchi Milano in Celeste is lovely, she is a friend even though she is a thing, and thus far I have taken better care of her than anything I have previously had. But, as I am constantly telling my son - we need to share. So share I did. Thirty minutes later my husband tiptoed into the house, looking sheepish. His brother had wiped out right in an intersection. He and the bike both had a few cuts and bruises. I took a deep breath. Then another. Then another. And finally walked outside with happy face band aids, and an ibuprofen. Grateful. Grateful for my bike and my bro- in-law.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Product DetailsI am so excited! Veganomicon just thumped outside my door, dropped by the wonderful UPS man and ordered by my marvelous dad. Veganomicon is touted to be one of the best vegan cookbooks out there (although I have not yet read it.) We are not vegans (yet?). BUT I am a vegetarian and we have recently experimentally removed dairy from our son's diet, so he's pretty dang close. (Since I'm the grocery shopper and have lots of moral issues with the meat industry in America, no one in my family gets much meat.)
Hopefully, this book will inspire me in the kitchen and help me to whip up "some yummy tweats" as Rowan always requests. I'm so excited! Oh wait, I said that already... (is this a silly thing to be excited about?)

PS I made my own apple sauce this morning for the first time and it was ridiculously yummy and easy. Why didn't I know this? Core and peel apples, place them in an inch of water and boil until they're squishable. Pour the liquid remaining into a jar and you've got apple juice that tastes like nectar. No added ingredients, no fancy tools, no hours spent stirring or anything. Quick, easy, delicious. I'm not sure if I saved any money on the deal, but I know that I saved packaging and avoided preservatives and other sneaky ingredients.

PPS I'm not quite sure if that dish wash detergent was as amazing as I first thought. Just a warning.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The first "Corner of My Home"

Welcome to my home! This is what you would see if you walked through my front door this morning. It was a bit of fun produced while my boy dabbled in wet on wet watercolor. Every weekend I will add a snapshot of one corner of my home, inviting you further into my life while introducing you to my space, and hopefully improving my photography skills along the way! Have a beautiful Sunday - I am going to go prepare our weekly Sunday morning whole wheat waffles... yum.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Every boys' dream

Beauty and sparkling sunshine. Our daily walk, a trip to the local garden shop for a ph testing kit, an hour spent reading my new amazing book on bio-intensive gardening, and an afternoon full of harvesting soil from my friends compost box. My sweet friend who made us the amazing mozzarella that we topped our pizzas with the other night (i really need to learn to make cheese...) also keeps a worm box. She's cool. I like her a lot. (she's also gotten really into the dietary ideas of Nourishing Traditions. Anyone read it?) Anyways, today was the day to sort the worms out of the soil and we. were. invited! Can you imagine a more exciting activity for a three year old boy? Thousands (literally) of wiggling worms and a huge pile of deep black soil. Yea. Pretty dang fun. He held them, prodded them, counted them 1,2,6,7,8... didn't really do much productive sorting, but had an incredible tactile assortment of experiences. So sorry I didn't bring my camera! What was I thinking? Maybe we'll reenact tomorrow...

I'm so glad that my little guy gets to learn alongside me. Its a rich blessing for me right now. That I get to introduce him to nature with his little fingers brown with dirt as he watches science in progress. That I see his eyes light up as he notices sticks just the right shape for a spike ball slingshot. That I am there to teach him that shooting poles with above sling shot is fun, but that shooting people and animals isn't (thankfully that instruction came before it was necessary.) That he gets to learn about the changing temperature of the soil b/c he is running barefoot through our fields on his way to the community garden.
That I am home to hear him muse that "Maybe mom, couldn't Jesus be part machine? Well, you know, because He is a maker. He made you and me right ? And makers are machines? ... like in Bob the Builder." Deep, simple, delightful.

I can't imagine a better life than the one I have right now.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Buried Treasure

Last night we finally started sinking our fingers into our own soil. Ben came home from class and grabbed a small rake and started clearing our small front yard plot of winter debris, which Cedar delightedly kept trying to snack on. (The round face was COVERED in beautiful black soil.) Rowan busied himself hunting worms, and I sat on the sidelines shaking my second batch of butter, listening to the marble clink clink clink against the mason jar, and smiling at the surprise flowers poking their heads through the soil. What will they be? Leftovers hidden underground from previous inhabitants. Buried treasure.

Friends joined us late for homemade pizzas smothered in veggies and their own mozzarella. The sun remained with us long. I love Spring striding so confidently back into our lives. Days spent with the sun kissing our cheeks. Boys with grubby palms, returning freckles, and constant smiles. Joy.

Late night the baby called long and I went to find him with a tickling cough that would not allow him to sleep. Eucalyptus, lavender, and tea tree dropped into water to sit in a bowl on the heater. Rescue Remedy dripped on the tongue. Hylands teething gel rubbed into sore gums. Baby snuggled into my arms and I chose to cherish the hours spent soothing him. Observing his round face white against the dark night. He is my second so I know how soon those chubby cheeks will slim and his dimpled elbows will be lean and scraped. That his loving dah-du-dah-dahs will form into words.

Rhythmic breathing let me know he had finally calmed and drifted - and I returned to my husband and snuggled in close.

PS I discovered a great dishwasher detergent recipe that I have tested and found at very least comparable to the natural one I got at the store. Mix 1 cup borax, with 1 cup washing soda, and 1/4 cup table salt. Use white vinegar as your rinse aid. Voila. I know every single ingredient within my soap and although I have not done the math, I am pretty sure that I made it at a fraction of the price of store bought. Plus - no plastic. Yea!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Little Red Wagon (and another small change)

It is finally sunny sunny sunny and 60 degrees here. As soon as the boys wake up we'll be out roaming the world in our beautiful new (to us) Radio Flyer Town and Country. Last week we visited some dear college friends in Virginia and discovered that they had the sad conundrum of having an extra (adorable) wagon on their hands. We delightedly helped them clear some space in their shed (ummm... which means we packed up the wagon and took it home!!) I LOVE the old wood and metal Radio Flyers and my boys do too. thanks friends! In Norfolk we had soul nourishing long evening conversations, and a fun day at their local botanical garden. These pictures are of Rowan exploring a mud house at the gardens. Happy lil boy.

Now that we have the wagon my mid March "One Small Change" addition will be much easier. We are now going to get much better about recycling and begin composting. I was going to wait until April to make this change but decided that was silly. With the help of our new wagon the daily task of toting the recycling over to the bins on the other side of our neighborhood, and bringing our food scraps to the community garden will be much more doable. Yea!!

The plastic fast is going well. This does not mean that we have avoided all plastic, but we have become more mindful of what we purchase and have begun making more of our food from scratch which Rowan loves. Yesterday I let him help me prep the veggies for our soup from the Riverwood Cottage Family Cookbook (from my wonderful dad) and the little guy decided to eat the veggies! Woo hoo!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Let the winds howl

So my three year old has been begging for a sword for months. Every package that arrives excites hope and then disappointment. But, I have been unflinching in denying him the joy of slaughtering all of those within our household. Today we finally found an arrangement that pleased both of us. I made him a stuffed sword complete with belt and scabbard. My little one is DELIGHTED and I am unconcerned. He's pretty dang cute too, look at how valiant he feels!
Last week we also improvised a fun little play kitchen from his table, a loose tray from his easel, some wooden blocks, and some kitchen odds and ends. This has inspired hours and hours of fun, he bakes and Cedar watches in wide mouthed wonder. I am so grateful for all of the simple but wonderful ideas I received from books like The Creative Family and Heaven on Earth.

We also finally got around to sawing the beautiful branch that we found on our first family bike ride of the season into blocks. SO much rainy day fun.

 Let the winds howl - we are warm and happy inside.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Baby kisses

Inspired by Meg at Sew Liberated I have had the great experience of recycling some old sweaters into a cloth doll for Cedar and making him and the doll matching hats. (Mine is not nearly as cute as the one she made by the way. Hers is awesome. Look at it.) He looked at it, squinted his eyes as he took in it's eyes and mouth and then started kicking and pumping his arms and squealing with joy. Cloth baby subsequently got smothered with wet kisses by its new owner and friend. Apparently Cedar likes it. My mama heart is glad and satisfied.

Then, inspired by Amanda from Soule Mama's christmas present for her lil girl, Rowan and I emptied out my lil paint trunk and turned it into his Dr's kit on Friday. He loves healing everything now - and of course everyone needs bandaids. We put a lavendar eye mask in it and I now constantly get asked, "Mom, are you swessed out? Are you swessed out?" bc he likes to make me lie down and wear the mask. I don't mind one bit.

What are you guys creating for your kids? (Obviously a sneaky question bc I steal all of my ideas from you!)

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Quick Update of Fun

SO my itch to go back in time and learn old ways of doing things has continued. Yesterday I made butter by simply pouring cream into a mason jar, adding a marble, and shake shake shaking it. Mixed in a bit of maple syrup and salt and YUM. I have already eaten too much of it, and we can use the butter milk for our sunday morning waffles.

Then yesterday afternoon we wandered over to our local farm to get some fresh air and (inspired by one of our favorite kids books, Pelle's New Suit) I asked if they ever sold raw wool. Turns out that they GIVE it away and had some left from the last shearing. They gave me 1+ lbs. for free, and we spent the rest of the evening washing it with gentle dish detergent, picking through it in our bath tub, drying it and carding it. HOW FUN! ( Don't worry I disinfected the bathtub afterwards. One of my rare uses of bleach. Anyone know a gentler but just as effective way to disinfect?) Now I just need to figure out how to hand spin it! I think I will use some for the felt egg tutorial from this edition of Rhythm of the Home.

Today we went to the local living history farm and learned how to make Maple Syrup from start to finish. My. cup. overflows.

Soon I will give an update about my foray into the world without plastic (well sort of). Also show some of the fun projects that i've made with my beautiful new Bernina that my Nana lovingly purchased for me!

Monday, March 1, 2010

One Small Change March,

All right - a new month - a new promise.

Let's review, so far i've given up commercial hair products, meat, and paper diapers.
 This month I commit to avoid bringing plastic into my home. I know I might not be able to escape it in lids, but I will try without being legalistic. Practically this will mean a whole lot less trash to empty, returning to homemade yogurt - learning to make cheese... I am excited.
I will also be joining the Real Food Challenge. (I pretty much have to anyway without buying plastic, don't I?)
What are your March commitments?