Monday, October 13, 2008

new on the 'net

quilt give-away

lizzy anne is giving away an original quilt on her blog pigtails and snails. check it out!

6 more things i am loving right now

1. autumn. my favorite season.


2. our deck, the freshly mulched yard beyond, and autumn sunlight.


3. ikea bibs


4. my rocking chair. one of the few new pieces of furniture we own, a joint gift to me from M and S, after they got tired of my coveting it for over three years! i love love love love love this chair. and i will likely post about it again. and again.


5. my musicians. here is one of them.


6. freecycle (the rocking horse in the guitar photo and the mulch were both from FC, for example)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

creative:: anytime


one of the things i have been working on these past few weeks is a better balance (not even sure that is the best word) within my own little life. my goal is to be a less grouchy, more fun mamma and wife, who is also filling a little bit of my own creative needs. so i have been working on more projects. not the house-needy kind (the list is still long on those), but the ones i feel good about: gardening, sewing, photo projects, cooking projects, etc. i even want to learn to crochet and/or knit. (and have a mom with crochet hooks to loan to me to get started! i should have had RGW teach me when i had the chance!)

and...drumroll...i am now the proud new owner of a serger! i posted a 'wanted' ad on a local buy/sell/give/get list and someone replied with a brand new one. i researched it and it generally got good reviews, so i own a new serger at less than half the cost if i had bought it on sale in a store! so now, i have to learn how to use it. this may take me awhile!

in the meantime, since i can't learn all of this at once, and what i do know and am creating right now is all being set aside for the holidays (so i cannot post about my creations), i leave you with etsy. may i find all that i desire on etsy to fill in the empty gift spots this holiday season.

Friday, October 10, 2008

one of my favorite scenes

i was telling a friend this morning, that, lately, one of my favorite scenes has been our dining room or deck table littered with art supplies, drawings, and various other creative tid bits. on the best of days, lala and i spend chunks of time sitting at one of these two tables, being together, but working independently, me with my paperwork, she with hers.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

jon and kate plus 8

for months, multiple people have told us about the show, jon and kate, plus 8. so we finally queued the first season on netflix. all i can say is...i am ashamed of my complaints with two kids. sigh...

peanut noodles


honestly, i am not sure where i adapted this recipe from, but here is my recipe for peanut sauce. it goes well over asian rice noodles, regular long pasta (like linguine), or even over whole wheat pasta. i sometimes toss it with shrimp and i always toss it with mixed vegetables. (frozen vegetables are one of the few "convenience" foods i purchase. i buy large bags of them at costco and man, do my kids like their broccoli!) if you chicken or beef, those would taste wonderful with it as well. i often cook an entire pound of pasta and serve it over a couple of days with different sauces, this being one of them.

peanut noodles
1 clove garlic
2 T oil
1 T sesame oil
2 T rice vinegar
1 T soy sauce
1/2 C peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 t red pepper flakes

blend in a food processor.

hands

another children's book review. hands, by lois ehlert. lala loves this one. i do too. not only is about working with one's hands and being artistic, but the dad is a woodworker and the mamma is a sewer and both parents garden. fits us just right.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

hope and peace

Lotus flower photo by Abedan, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries, found at www.writespirit.net

the lotus flower represents hope and peace, so i thought it appropriate for this post as i ponder over the future of our world and our country, leading up to the elections this year. i hope for peace. i hope for a world that is safe and fair and healthy and equal for my children.

and i wish we were closer to those hopes than we are. on npr's talk of the nation today, the discussion was centered around racism and how it plays into this presidential election. i cannot believe there are people who will not vote for obama because he is part-black. and yes, i can believe there are people who will vote for him simply because he is part-black. this is historic. we have only ever had white, male presidents. doesn't that seem wrong in the united states in 2008?

i hope i regain my faith and pride in our country and in americans. it has been awhile since i lost both.

and today...a very happy first birthday to LMH!!! may your future be as bright an equal as we adults can possibly make it for you!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

daily good deed

by simply clicking this link to the breast cancer site,
you donate a
mammogram to a woman who needs one.

personal grocery challenge check in


$240. 59 spent on food, health, cleaning, etc. as of today
budget: $400
goal: $300

i did 2 very large shopping trips already and we should be okay through the month, with the exception of fresh produce and milk. just one more reason to increase our garden size next summer. we are trying to grow some cool season vegetables now.

and about milk...we finally found a source of "cheap" bulk dry milk. the costco near M's work still carries it, but the catch is that it costs twice what it used to, so dry milk is no longer a savings over fresh milk. in fact, dry milk now costs $1 more per gallon! we actually love dry milk as a convenience with a shelf life. i use a lot in baking and in homemade yogurt, so we will buy some, but not as much as we would have if we were mixing it to drink.

mini happy list

6 things i am loving or grateful for right now...

  1. handmade soap that RGW made.

2. living near the ocean. and family.


3. a change. in the simple form of a clean, rarely used linen table cloth and napkins.


4. being able to walk to and from school, and the nature she always collects along the way.


5. baby hands. soft, smooth, sticky. amazingly strong.


6. my budding photographer (big sis took this of little bro)

Monday, October 6, 2008

new on the 'net

redwood trees at our local regional park


what's new on the 'net?

letting my brain do its thing


i am supposing this will be a week of pausing to take mental stock. this morning, i am feeling melancholy. the past months have paddled by me more quickly than i feel like i have been able to comprehend, despite my consciousness and awareness of each moment. (well, as much as possible of as many as possible!)

this weekend, we celebrated the first anniversary of M's dad's death. we celebrated finn's 10 month birthday. and today we say goodbye, again, to S.

when i think of each of the moments that stay most closely in my head, i cannot believe how long ago each were. that we have been without tom for a year. that finn's first birthday is around the corner. our weekend to the yurts was half a year ago. my mom's diagnosis was 4 months ago. the lake was 2 months ago. memories of a week long property scoping/camping trip were 18 months ago. it is when i think of how lala was in her little life during each of these moments, that i realize how big those jumps in time really were and how much things change quickly.

i am sad to say goodbye to S. i feel like this is the longest stay we are likely to have from him for some time, yet i don't have a lovely collection of photos to show for it, just snippets of memories. i suppose that is all that counts. we will miss you, S.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

going green

i clearly have "green" on my brain, so it seemed fitting to go out and check on the garden. on friday, i checked out the volunteer squash (or cucumber?), clad in my funky, fuzzy green pants, which matched the vine green almost exactly.

and that evening, it rained. i wish i could capture the smell and sound for you.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

one year today

dear tom,
you have been gone a year now. so much has happened since you died. some wonderful. some not. but we think of you in some way every day and my belief is that you are out there somewhere, keeping tabs on us. (in fact, i swear i have heard "god damn it, n-----" in my ear, more than once, when i haven't been quite on the ball.)

and rest assured, your granddaughter remembers you, recognizes photos of you, and talks about you. often.

b & k are coming over this evening. we'll try and eat some of your favorite foods....ice cream and wine are on the menu.

peace, n

Friday, October 3, 2008

just hide it


so much of simplifying for me has been purging things. but there is some stuff we need or want to keep and my goal is to simply get it all organized. so when S and i were running up and down the stairs for office supplies, i thought, "that's it! we need it on hand!" so i used the empty shelf in the middle of the barrister bookcase for my "office space." the barrister bookcase is directly across from the computer, for which i made a simple curtain (using fabric from K&D!), to hide the printer and all the various computer bits and pieces. both pieces of furniture are in our dining room, and the space just feels so much more organized and less cluttered, even if not much has left the room!

(and by the way, something i should blog more about...M is a hobbyist woodworker. he made the computer cabinet and the top to the barrister bookcases, as well as refinished the cases, which were stained green and in disrepair when he found them at the salvage store.)

a day redeemed

for every bad day, may there be a good day to follow. we were all much better behaved and enjoyed each other's company today. and i did remember to live in the moment.

finn is sick, and although LH generously offered to come over here to hang out at least while the babies napped (it was my friday morning to leave finn with her), it just didn't feel right. to impose a sick baby on her or be apart from him. we had a lot of mamma~finn time and that was lovely.

and lala...well, she is not taking quiet time quietly these days. i really need that break, so i drew the line today and when she came out, she asked if i would make her baby chloe a baby carrier. so i did. that very moment. she came and "supervised." (notice that bolt of fleece just keeps on giving?)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

reminder of joy

oh, how this day sucked. i was able to redeem it by 4:30. after major meltdowns by both kids, an early exit from the zoo and friends, due to a gas leak at home, my being very worn out, and sadly admitting to a friend that i am not enjoying my kids.

and then i read this post at down--to--earth.

oh, how lucky i feel to still be in these moments. with the chance to redeem myself and my pleasure in my children and the fleeting moments i have with them. while they still want to be with me. and i am here to be with them.

and i do know what we talked about today. what we ate. what they looked like as they reached for me. what they look like now that they are snuggled into their beds. and i am so very lucky.

good night. tomorrow is a new day.

those books you always reach for

do you have certain reference books you always reach for? here is finn checking out a few of our favorites. the dictionary, atlas, and our health almanac also see a lot of use. we are so lucky in this age of internet, for all the information that can be found with a few clicks, but there is nothing like the unique, practical, heavy feel (and smell!) of a book.

one(?) more thing

about my two posts below. i realize i am opening myself up there for comments and criticism, but matching what i want to buy and what i am able to buy has been stressful and a real concern.

i should have mentioned (again) that our grocery budget includes food, health, body, cleaning, etc. products, not just food. it also includes our costco membership fee. the overall budget also includes my belief that we should be buying certain products organically and more sustainably. my budget reflects this as we spend less in other areas to allow our grocery budget to be as high (!?) as it is.

before we had kids, M and i routinely spent less than $200 per month, so if i can manage $100 per month, per person, in our house each month (and the number of people varies!), this is ultimately my budget, with my goal being lower.

oh, and on the tangibles for health and cleaning i am marking the date i begin using each item (right on the container) so i can learn how long each lasts. just out of curiosity and a desire to simply use less or only what we need.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

budget. brains. beliefs. BUST!

for those of you who come to read my posts on money and the environment: listen up. this is the post where i admit that i am really struggling to practice what i preach on both. (see my grocery budget post below.) this isn't to say that i don't know how to, it is just right now, part of why i post about both of these topics is that they are near and dear to my heart and they are a struggle. i know that i can live my beliefs through previous practice (especially the frugality part), but despite all the ways in which thrift and earthy living overlap, i am struggling with both in the areas where they diverge and for which they require extra time.

for example, i am now armed with information on cleaning, health, and beauty products that are safer for the earth (what goes down the drain impacts all of us) and safer for us, but $6 a bottle versus the -$1 bottle we were 'paying' (free after rebate, then minus a coupon = money back), i am struggling to make my budget and brain and beliefs all match. how do you eat the right foods, buy the right products, purchase from the right places, all within a limited spending pool? and how do you know what is environmentally right anyway? there is so much conflicting information! something has got to give.

with long discussed dreams of buying property potentially becoming a reality, we re-evaluated our budget and finances and came to the conclusion that our daily/monthly budget isn't being met. we have always been excellent "cushion" savers, but with only one income, our daily cash flow has changed significantly and we need to work harder to meet that reduction.

i need to start walking the walk instead of talking the talk. again, making my budget and brain and beliefs all match is tough.

whole foods lotion and shower gel, unpetroleum jelly, safe shampoo for kids, dr. bronner's unscented, oxo brite versatile powder cleaner, whole foods glycerin bar soap, and that cute insulated lunch bag is a from whole foods ($1.25! )


so what have i learned? you have to read labels!! you can learn from all my obsessing and stressing, though...
  • we have long been using homemade cleaners. we are happy with these and they are safe all around and gentle on our wallets. i bought a small tub of oxo brite to try as a stain remover on our clothes. the tub cost $3.99 and i already mixed up a 16oz bottle of stain remover using just 1 teaspoon of powder, per the instructions. if it works, that is a bargain!
  • coffee - we switched a few months ago to san francisco bay brand organic shade grown coffee. $4.44/lb at costco. much cheaper than the peet's we would like to buy and reasonably tasty.
  • liquid sink dish soap - costco just began carrying their kirkland brand environmentally friendly version. all plant based ingredients, no phosphates or coloring, and it works wonderfully. (so well, i need to measure the soap, because it suds so well and i otherwise add too much.) the bottle is partially recycled and totally recyclable. i am sensitive to smell and their (natural) lemon doesn't smell great to me, but it doesn't bother me enough in comparison to the price savings.
  • shampoo and body soap for us and kids - whole foods has their own store versions (and their own premium product label they apply to all health products that pass their organic/earth friendly standards, which includes exclusion of the dirty dozen). and their store brands are surprisingly affordable. this coming from the FAR gal, who calls the store 'whole paycheck.' the whole foods shower gel in my photo contains SLES, but is otherwise much "cleaner" than the products we were using. it was $2.99 for the huge bottle. i spent quite a bit more for the shampoo for the kids. $9 for the 18 oz bottle, but it is free of everything and it will last them awhile, though.
  • lotion and sunblock - i have mostly switched from petroleum jelly to alba's unpetroleum jelly, although we will continue to have petroleum jelly in the house, because there is a time and use for it. i continue to use shortening (yes, food shortening) as a diaper barrier for finn. although both contain parabens, i will be sticking with trader joe's moisturizing cream and their sun block. (i will contact tj's and ask if they plan to remove that ingredient!) the parabens are the last ingredient on both bottles and the sun block ranks a safe 2/green by the EWG. i know both work well for my sensitive skin and they are affordable. neither kid uses the cream and as far as sunblock, i am undecided on how often to use it for them. skin cancer runs in my family, so i have always made daily sunblock a part of lala's routine. now i worry about which is worse...the sun damage or the chemicals in the sunblock! (i did buy a large bottle of completely safe whole foods lotion to try, for $4.99, so i will switch to that if my skin is okay with it.)
  • we'll be putting our 'has lasted forever' bottle of dr. bronner's to better use. we passed it to my brother and i bought a fragrance free version for us.

so....armed with all of this information...about our budget, environmentally friendly products, my continued need to pare down, etc....i am ready to begin october with a fresh new attitude. join me and see if this time, i can live frugally, live lightly with environmental awareness, and do it all a bit less grumpily. others are doing it, i am sure we can too.

budget buster

remember my september grocery goal of $400? ummm, i am too ashamed to admit what we actually spent. and i knew heading into the month with that goal that we were a family of 5+ for the month, but still, i failed. among other excuses, i didn't anticipate renewing my costco membership, which does pay off for us, but i usually pay that in november. i switched plans and payment cards with them, so now we will additionally be receiving cash back on purchases. (i am fully aware that costco is not shopping locally, but this is an environmental "give" area for me, as i can purchase bulk and organically and be closer to meeting my budget goals.)

so here i go again...for october, i have budgeted $400 but my goal is $300.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

michael pollan's 12 commandments

an interesting article on what michael pollan, author of the omnivore's dilemma (and others), says the top 12 rules about food should be. food for thought...(pun intended)

a supportive contest and....

over at economical baby, she's hosting a contest that supports good4girls. check it out!

Monday, September 29, 2008

being organized

while i am not the most organized person around, planning ahead and being somewhat organized have saved me so much time and hassle (and money). lala asked me yesterday for her trick or treat pumpkin bag. i knew i had put it in her closet. well, i was wrong, i couldn't find it anywhere(?!), but in the process, i emptied and decluttered her closet (trust me, it is, even if you look at it and it looks full to you), then reorganized everything. the result is a big pile ready for donation pick-up on friday. (i did our closet today. whew, that felt good.) in the process, i pulled out the bag storing clothes for finn in the next size. almost all of the clothes my kids have worn so far in their little lives have been gifts (the least number), hand-me-downs, or from freecycle. i sort, wash, and pack them into bags or tote boxes labeled with the size. the photo below is a bag ready to be put away again, with a pile of "might now fit" clothes stacked behind it.


also in the interest of reducing clutter, but enjoying the sweet and heartfelt art lala comes home with, we have a wall dedicated to the art of the moment. we put up favorites for awhile, then i photograph the wall. this lets me save a memory of all those projects, allowing me to recycle more of them and save only the most special.


sun tea

trying to cut down on sodas or other tasty beverages and boost your water intake, but you just can't do it? try sun tea. i have read that brewing tea in the sun invites bacteria, but the speed with which it brews seems hardly long enough to be troublesome. mix and match all sorts of tea flavors, about 4 bags for a half gallon pitcher, and set out in the sun for an hour or so. yum

Sunday, September 28, 2008

if you aren't a democrat...

then skip this post.

sent to me by LH and totally brilliant!

For all of you who support Planned Parenthood and find Palin really scary... Check out the idea below, Worth $10 if you ask me!

Instead of all of us all sending around more emails about how absolutely
horrible she is, let's all make a donation to Planned Parenthood in Sarah Palin's name.

The cool thing is that when you make a donation to Planned Parenthood in her name, they will send her a card telling her that the donation has been made in her honor.

The Planned Parenthood website is
www.plannedparenthood.org.
Click on Donate and then "In honor of" (not the regular 'Donate Online'),
https://secure.ga0.org/02/pp10000_inhonor You'll need to fill in an address to let Planned Parenthood know where to send the 'in Sarah Palin's honor' card. It's suggested that we use the address for the McCain campaign headquarters, which is:

McCain for President
1235 S. Clark Street 1st Floor
Arlington, VA 22202

another birthday!

happy birthday to JH! i know L will check my blog at some point. was the pie good?

just maybe

we are on to something. after S' first property search (informative but unsuccessful), he took one in a different direction late last week, to the area i prefer a bit more simply because it is a shorter, more straight forward drive. he was successful enough that M and S dropped our plans for the day in favor of driving back up so M could check it out. they are on their way home now, my fingers crossed.




fall color in our area. i loved the height and color transitions of this bottom 'three trees' photo


meanwhile, back at the homestead, i was feeling weary at the thought of another day, anticipated as a family day, but not turning out to be one. i think my mom heard that in my voice this morning when she called for another reason and so they came by and the five of us took lala's bike to the nearest regional park for a little ride and walk. simply perfect.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

happy birthday, S!


you are my very favorite brother!

and the cake...his niece made. thanks RGW for the cocoa powder. the response? "this is a damn good cake!"



Friday, September 26, 2008

neanderthal

finn with his anatomically correct, baby bottoms doll, which he loves. a gift from little LMH and her big sister

so, after enjoying little LMH's company today, particularly on her own while finn was still napping, i decided my son is part neanderthal. miss L sat quite calmly, no wiggles, gave me gentle lap cuddles, and didn't make any attempt to knock down my stacking cup tower for at least 3 minutes. i mean, really, no knocking down?! my memory of lala at this age is more LMH-like like than finn-like. is it a boy thing? we are in trouble, aren't we?

reducing:: simplified beauty

okay, maybe beauty is a bit much, but a simplified and healthier grooming routine is in order at our house. i get sucked into free-after-rebate items, as i tend to care little about brand and more about savings, but i care most about our health. imagine my surprise when i looked up several toiletry products purchased from our natural pharmacy and found they ranked an 8 out 10, with 10 being the worst for our health?!

so learn from me and from the environmental working group (EWG)...."natural" doesn't actually always means natural and "natural" isn't always healthy!

from the EWG website, these are the links to at least their top 10 safest brands in each category. they have numerous categories, so if you don't see what you need here, go directly to their website!
shampoo
lotion
sunblock
soap
toothpaste for adults
toothpaste for kids

the top 10 brands of concern
top 10 companies of concern
top ingredients of concern

i will be slowly switching us over to healthier products, starting with the kids and the products we use most. our goal will be to use products that fall within the EWG 0 to 2 green zone. and you know me, i will bargain hunt sales, but we will also focus on multi-use items, such as a head-to-toe body soap for the kids. dr. bronner's (a basic castile soap) can be useful for all sorts of cleaning, and is safe. i do recommend the fragrance free version for sensitive skin, rather than the well known peppermint. neither lala nor i tolerate the peppermint well.

reducing:: simplified cleaning

we are still working on reducing...our consumption, our clutter, our spending, and our use of environmentally unsafe products. one of the biggest ingredients in my cleaning bucket is baking soda. there are more uses than you can count for baking soda. (there is even a book all about baking soda.) yesterday, i whipped up a new batch of homemade laundry powder (mine is a 4:3 ratio of soda and borax, where half the soda is washing soda and half is baking soda). i put half of the batch in an empty (now recycled) animal cracker container for the laundry, and the other half in this adorable IKEA jar, for use as dishwasher powder. yes, i discovered the same homemade powder works great for both. while i was at it, i cleared a slow tub drain by dumping a cup of baking soda down, followed by a cup of vinegar. when that finished sizzling, i poured a kettle full of boiling water after it. drain clear. next...find a replacement for my less healthy shout and zout stain removers.

edited in 2010 to add:
Alll these recipes specifying Castille soap are new to me. The recipe I use calls for grated soap (and back when I began making it, they often called for Zote soap of Fels Naptha, both old school laundry soap bars), but I just skip it due to skin sensitivities. It seems to work just fine without soap. I think Castille soap is now being used because it is more earth friendly and people friendly, so if you want to use a soap, just grate a bar (or half) and add it in. In fact, you can use any real soap you like.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

AAM

happy 3rd birthday, sweet cheeks!

uphill


after yesterday's post about hills and valleys, i took a deep breath, bucked up and started parenting in the mature, "i am not the 4 year old" kind of way. and we had the nicest afternoon filled with art projects of various kinds outside on our deck, and renewed attempts to get her involved in some of the chores that just have to happen around here, whether or not either of us like it.

target on reuse

did you see the cool target ads a few months ago that were designed as a two page magazine tear out?


fold the magazine page into an envelope, stuff with target bags. drop in the mail and....


eccola' - a coupon for a reusable target bag comes in the mail (3+ months later!). trade it in for your new cloth sack that folds into a pocket.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

another boy...

...will be joining the "family!" GCW and TGW are having a boy, due on or around finn's first birthday. i am thrilled finn will have company. because of lala and AAM, we know the 1 year gap will close in quickly and the potential for good friends is great. plus, baby "alfy" has a boy cousin 9 mo younger.

by the way, G, gallop! is a very popular book at this house, thank you!

quick skirt for the little girls in our lives

oliver + s has a cute pattern for downloading.

hills and valleys

if there is one thing i have learned as a parent, it is that parenting changes your life. well, duh, but how many times, before kids, do people make assumptions or judgments about parenting situations they see? lots. and let me tell you, have pity on the parent.

i started to share my most embarrassing parenting moment, but decided i just don't want to go there if i am really trying to get myself out of my current little rut.

parenting is all about the highs and lows. i spent the last couple of weeks in the parenting hills and something this weekend just tipped me into a valley. i am tired again. both kids have been waking around 5am and in some cases, calling/crying for me at night, too. finn's learning to stand has been amazing, but tiring (more bonked heads than any of us would like) and lala has been testy and testing. i am seriously sick of the sound of my own voice.

so, i have been skimming your four year old, by louise bates ames. i needed something. some kind of guidance! the first thing she says is "ignore it!" about the all those irritating behaviors. more importantly for me to read is that the typical 4 year old is doing those behaviors to annoy you! another book on my 'to read' list is parent's problem solver: smart solutions for everyday discipline dilemmas and behavioral problems, by cathryn tobin.

so.... i received great suggestions on how to handle the meal time distractedness.

i now need to figure out how to:
  • encourage more independent play
  • carve out lala and mamma only time
  • have M, S, and i brave out the whininess that occurs when someone other than mamma is offering help
  • ignore the irritating behaviors (either completely or by flipping the situation and being silly and distracting)
  • be consistent (with myself and with M) about calm, firm, limited repetition followed by counting and time-outs (for her or her toys). seems harsh, but works best.
  • get better at reading the signs on whether time outs are appropriate or the kid is just tired and we need to cave into the neediness
  • figure out how to head off the "i can't do its" and "noooo" that really comes off as, dare i say it, lazy
most importantly, i need to remember what a new blog friend reminded me. they are only this little and demanding for a short period of time. before long, the house will seem quiet and empty and i will feel unneeded.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

dirty dozen:: take 2

i have posted the food dirty dozen before. RGW posted a link and list to the shampoo dirty dozen. basically the cosmetic chemical nasties. i also recommend the environmental working group's cosmetic database.

mollie

my mom mentioned this morning that RGW has linked to mollie's blog and encouraged friends and family to sponsor her. RGW is incredibly thoughtful, as she has never met mollie, but what a great idea! the more the word is out there, the better chance mollie has of being sponsored! mollie is the daughter of one of my friends and she was diagnosed with leukemia in june. click here to see her mom's (please recycle) post about the walk they are doing in mollie's honor.

Monday, September 22, 2008

back to basics:: 2

i am ending another really productive day and feeling so pleased about it. i had a stay-home day and didn't use the car. it was a preschool day for lala, so i had more time to concentrate on the house than usual. i picked more from the garden, made pesto, pick-axed and raked more of the yard, did the wall photo additions/changes that have been on my list for some time, paid bills online, fixed a door hinge, washed and hung 3 loads of laundry, cleaned out a kitchen cupboard, moved and reorganized spices onto the spice shelves that i cleared of no longer loved collection clutter, and a handful of other things. i got a little thrill watching my little guy standing today. the joy, the pain (when he pulled up on a drawer, then closed the drawer on his own fingers), and the fear/exhaustion (of not knowing how to sit back down), all made me realize we have entered a new stage. and that i had better bump baby proofing up on the list!

garden notes

this post is really just notes to myself about our garden this year and what i think we should do next year.

our garden took a hit this summer during neglect when work on our deck was taking place. here is what we started with in our garden. in the upper part of our yard, the plum tree went bonkers this year.

in our boxes (square foot gardening), left to right, we had:
box 1-variety lettuces, pumpkin
box 2-cucumber, papaya pear squash
box 3-zucchini, arugula, 2 artichoke
box 4-2 artichoke, 4 basil, 1 tomato

below the boxes we planted a nectarine tree and put a row of potted strawberry plants on the small retained dirt wall. below, in pots on the ground, we had volunteer tomatoes, and volunteer canteloupe (that grew in the pot that had peas, which died during construction and subsequent relocation).


along the fence, we had 4 more tomato plants
we also had 3 volunteer squash plants.

in the planter bench we grew mint and cilantro.

in the front, we had more strawberries, 2 more artichoke, onions, a lemon tree, and an orange tree.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

so, for for next year:
  • i have read juliet tomatoes produce like crazy. we had 5 tomato plants and we could certainly do with more for more canning, even though their production was fabulous. the sweet 100s were our favorite.
  • the artichokes were delicious, but the plants are very space consuming. two of our plants succumbed to aphids, even with attention. they grow again after being cut back and we have new growth now. we'll see what happens.
  • we want more basil (even though we had a lot!), more mint, more cilantro (which did fabulously for the first time this year), and more strawberries next year.
  • we hope for nectarine, lemon, and orange production in the next few years.
  • the cucumber never really took off and our zucchini production was limited (can you believe that?), but the papaya pear squash was fantastic.
  • the lettuce was fabulous, but re-seeding never took. i suspect that was due to extremely hot weather for a duration.
  • we need more flowers, because we need more bees. i think pollination was an issue with the squash.

my big boy!

9+ months has brought about a huge number of changes for our little brown mouse. he has grown in length (while not adding much weight), sprouted a lot more hair, popped two teeth, made moves to actually crawl on his knees, and drumroll...he has figured out how to stand! (at this age, lala still had no teeth and was just starting to sit stably. she didn't crawl until 11 months or so and i don't think she was standing until after she turned 1. she didn't walk until 15.5 months.)


here he is, proudly standing


and here he is, wailing loudly because he doesn't know how to get himself back down!

paper

as much as i like to use recycled paper, there is something about post-it notes. i came across several old daily planners of mine. i dissected them for shredding and found page after page of appointments, many pages also layered in post-it notes. i turned to S and told him "my life in post-its."


and our daughter enters the paper world. her first series of homework and her first time writing her full name. the odd thing...she wrote part of it and drew the picture on the page next to it....upside down. (and as you can see, she ran out of space for her name, so circled back around!)


Sunday, September 21, 2008

back to basics

i am taking myself off to bed now (early!!), tucking myself in with a book (i didn't realize that all this time what i really needed was a little janet evanovich!), and bringing a lovely weekend to a close. M and i both suffered from some grouchies (me due to fatigue, hence my early bed tonight and M due to overwhelm at all the stuff we need to do on the house and a refreshed set of seasonal deadlines), but other than that, we had a nice weekend. during the course of the weekend, we had a lot of family time, we got a lot of garden work done (pruned back a lot of plants, pick axed and raked the uphill part of yard to flatten it, turned compost, composted plants, etc.) and did a lot of cooking (yogurt, granola, quiches, arroz con pollo, etc.). we also did some other basic activities, like a home hair cut. it was a back to basics weekend of sorts.

in addition, we participated in a baby party for GCW and TGW today. my dad generously took the kids to the park while M attended and i co-hosted. it was wonderful to see G again, glorious in pregnancy, and i had fun co-hosting with my mom and another "fairy godmother." in fact, my mom is doing wonderfully, 2 weeks post surgery, and it was lovely to see others notice as well. and being around G and another pregnant guest, i realized how far we have come and remembered how special that first journey into motherhood is. i would post a picture or two, but my camera was sitting, forgotten, in the "don't forget!" spot near where my bag was.

as a result of the party and G's desire for a list of baby items i think she is missing (we gave her a lot of hand-me-arounds), i have updated my baby list.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

5 things....

...i love right now:


1~serendipity. lala has been begging to take M to ikea for breakfast. we thought it would be fun to go this morning. we arrived and guess what? today, they were serving breakfast for free!


2~that the stack of (really nice) pants a friend gave me a few months ago fit now! and one pair is - ahem - loose! just in time for cooler weather.


3~the pottery barn catalog. i can't help it. there are a couple of catalogs that are eye candy to me and this is one. that said, this latest one made me realize my home style is (quite happily) so three years ago, and we much prefer to diy with some of their styles in mind.

4~that i completed a christmas gift. i wish wish wish i could post it. but santa's elves are sworn to secrecy.


5~body time's egyptian musk. if i had a signature scent, this would be it. in fact, it is so soothing, that i have taken to putting it on at night, to help relax myself to sleep!

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