Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At Cooper's school they talk a lot about writing notes for children. Children quickly learn that words have power, and if they are written down, they gain permanancy. Today, Cooper was frustrated that Erik's profile, and all the cars/trucks he unlocked, on his monster truck game got erased. So, we wrote a note asking Erik to basically get it all back. When I finished writing the note I handed Cooper the pen to write his name, something he has never done before. I don't push a lot of writing, especially since he gets easily frustrated if he can't do things 'perfectly'.

Here is the result.


 

Makes this mama so proud of her growing boy, as well as a bit tearful about the upcoming (gulp) 4th birthday.

Cooper felt "good and crazy" (and he insisted on typing this himself) about writing his name.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

One Small Change

A few weeks ago I found a wonderful blog, Hip Mountain Mama. Here, you will find an amazing challenge that has been presented for the new year....make one change to create a positive environmental impact. I've joined the challenge. The change I’m making in our household is a commitment to only buying meat and eggs that treat the animals in ethical ways…free range, grass fed, etc. This is inspired by recently watching Food, Inc., along with knowledge I've had for years, but have been ignoring in favor of convenience and frugality.

Part of the challenge includes blogging about the experience once per month. So far, things have been going quite easily, mostly because I haven't had reason to buy meat, until tonight. I faced the need to purchase cold-cuts for making Erik's lunches. I was skeptical that I would be able to do this in a way that goes along with my commitment. However, I was pleasantly surprised that I could get some turkey at the main-stream grocery store. It is so great to see that it is possible to make conscientious choices and not need specialty grocery stores to do so.

My biggest worry about my commitment is the cost. I know that it is much more expensive to purchase meat that is free of antibiotics, that respects the animals, etc. In order to offset some of the increased cost I plan to increase the amount of meatless meals we eat. We already eat meatless suppers at least once per week, but I'm thinking this will probably increase to 3 or so times per week. I see this as a positive side effect, since the environmental impact of eating vegetarian is so much less.

Are you up for this kind of challenge? Join in!!! Visit Hip Mountain Mama and read all about it and sign up.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Old Friend Doing Good Things

It is with a heavy heart that I've been listening to all the news of destruction and devastation in Haiti. My old Red Run Swimming friend Andrew Hutson has put together an easy way to donate to the relief efforts. I wholeheartedly trust his endorsement of Mercy Corp. Please take a minute and visit his site and give whatever you can.



I also feel the need to remind those of you with young children to be mindful of how much they are hearing and what news is reaching their young ears. If it is overwhelming for us adults, just imagine how difficult it is for young minds to make sense of any of it. Be mindful of how much of the news you can handle too. And, don't forget, visit Mercy Corp and help the people of Haiti, in any way that you can.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Bread Experiment

We've been making bread for the past year or so using the amazing book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. I had a hankering for a sweet breakfast bread, so I pulled off this bread experiment. I stretched out the dough, sprinkled on cinnamon, brown sugar, and sugar, on the dough, adding raisins on one. I rolled the dough and left it to rise a bit before baking. As an after thought, I added some butter (vegan soy margarine since I'm dairy free) by cutting slits in the dough and pushing the slivers in and trying to reseal. I baked the bread at a lower temp., and it turned out like this:



 It was delish!! It disappeared very quickly, every morsel. I think I might be almost independently responsible for that. Thank goodness for the breastfeeding metabolism!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tiny Vignettes

I love the idea of enjoying the corners of your home, a concept created by SouleMama on her amazing blog. Aren't the corners of your home where you really live? where your memories are made? or even, simply where you spend so much time thinking or not thinking or just gazing off into the past or future or somewhere in between?

As I washed the dishes I realized some corners can be improved upon, with simple ease. I was staring at this.


While there is nothing wrong here, it is just a tiny little mess that is tiring to stare at, and I stare at it a lot.

As I waited for a pot of water to boil, I transformed the space.


I quickly cleaned the window and sill and cleared the clutter. Then I created two simple candle holders using empty baby food jars filled with brown rice. I wanted to use the lovely beeswax birthday candles from Erik's celebration, so I stuck them in the rice. The purple rubber bands from the asparagus I was cooking added a nice little touch to the jars.

A little bowl to hold Ellery's pacifiers looks much better.

Now, the sill is neat and clean and has a simple loveliness. A much nicer vignette for my eyes to gaze upon while preparing a meal or washing dish after dish.

What little vignettes have you created around your home?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Happy Birthday 34 Year Old!!

We celebrated Erik's day yesterday. Cooper and Erik enjoyed decadent chocolate chocolate cupcakes. They sure looked delicious!


Singing Happy Birthday
 
Blowing out the candles
 
Synchronized eating
 
The cupcake lasted two days for Coop

Happy Birthday my wonderful husband!!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Knitting, here I come!!

I registered for a beginners knitting class today. Starts Monday evening. It is at a hip little knitting shop called Wonderknit in Clintonville, an area of Columbus bounded by the Ohio State University. I'm quite excited.

Moving along on my list already!!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010, so far

My favorite things about this New Year....so far....

  1. Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in Lemongrass & Clementine Zest -- Yes, it is dish soap, but it is so good it is worth blogging about. The smell....delish!!!
  2. Lighting candles during the day -- Cooper likes to keep an eye on them for me and blows them out when "they are running out of energy". Not sure how he determines this, but that's okay.
  3. Pulled pork in the slow cooker -- Nothing new about this one, but I made it for the first time tonight and had to apply serious restraint to keep from eating two sandwiches. I was inspired to make it by this lovely food blog, Smitten Kitchen.
  4. Making coffee the night before and using the autobrew setting -- I used to do this all the time in my working full time before kids days. I'm not sure why I have neglected to do it again until now. Makes the morning so much better!
  5. Ellery slept for 9 straight hours last night -- Be quiet about that last one. I don't want to jinx anything. New sleep tactics in place and so far so good. Again, please don't talk about it. I'm getting nervous even writing about it.
What good things have come your way in 2010?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Intentions

I've been thinking a lot about this new year, 2010, and all the possibility it holds. I've never been a resolution maker, but this year I have this overwhelming desire to resolve, to make lists, to make small changes and reclaim my life in some way. The desire stems from a couple places. One is my liking for beginnings and fresh starts...seeded perhaps in my years teaching school and as a student. There is no better feeling than facing down a new school year in the end of August.

The second place the desire to resolve comes from is a bit harder to explain and revealing it is difficult. 2009 was an unexpectedly change filled year for our family, as you read about here. While there has been much good at the end of the turmoil, I have been living in what feels like a cloudy place for the past few months. It isn't too surprising, really, as anyone who has moved to a new place can understand. Through in economic uncertainty, a new baby, a three year old desperate for friends, and well, it's left me feeling overwhelmed, and, at times, the dreaded word, depressed. A baby who is not a fan of sleeping for long periods of time, who still wakes up several times every night (last night it was probably around six times between 7:30pm and 6:30am), only adds to the messiness inside my head. It is easy to see the very obvious reasons that I've been in a fog. Now, I am working very hard to emerge, and do feel like I can see the light again. Hence, the ability and desire to seize this new year and make it great.

So I'm not making resolutions, per se, but instead creating a list of things I'd like to see happen in 2010. I'm sure some will happen and some will not, but that is the beauty of the experience. In sharing this all with you I hope to get to an even better place of acceptance for myself as well as make my intentions that much more real. Thanks for sharing it all with me!

  • Join a CSA -- I'm starting to research and even found a meat CSA. Intriguing!
  • Take more walks without destinations
  • Run in a 5K race -- I'd also like to try for a 10K, but I'm not willing to make that commitment quite yet. Let's say it's half way on the list.
  • Take a knitting class
  • Get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep -- I know this isn't entirely within my control, but I'm hopeful
  • Start commenting on the blogs I read -- I spend most every night reading a variety of blogs and I would like to start letting the writers know how they inspire me. I'd like to be more of a participant, less of an observer, in this realm and everywhere else too.
  • Journal -- in a real pen and paper way, privately. I miss the reflection journaling provides.
  • Get a job
  • Knit while the kids play
  • Plant a container garden -- container in case we move
  • Get closer to being homeowners again
  • Go on lots of family day trip adventures -- this will be helped by two books we bought yesterday: Ohio Off the Beaten Path and Day Trips from Columbus
  • More reading, less TV -- This includes allowing the kids to see me reading. Cooper talks a lot about how Papa likes books, because Erik reads so much. He honestly thinks I don't like books. That has to change.
  • Be frugal
  • Make lots of wholesome, real, delicious food
  • Try as many flavors of Jeni's Ice Cream as possible -- This will necessitate Ellery outgrowing her dairy sensitivity. Jeni's ice cream seems a good way to get back into eating dairy
  • See live music
  • Go on some dates with my wonderful husband
  • Continue to create family traditions

A color intermediate between red and blue

I made this for dinner tonight. Isn't she beautiful?!?


 
Cooked her simply, as described in one of the new wonderful cookbooks I received for Christmas. Sliced, sauteed in olive oil with Kosher salt. Erik and I ate almost the whole thing. I'm wondering what this delicious Curried Cauliflower soup would look like made with one of these?

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year



Welcome to the New Year, the New Decade, 2010