Wednesday, October 28, 2009

corner view: l'aqua

corner view is a weekly photo perspective on a theme, by bloggers from around the world. this week's theme is l'aqua (water).

from two of my favorite writers:

A lake carries you into recesses of feeling otherwise impenetrable. ~William Wordsworth

A lake is the landscape's most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth's eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. ~Henry David Thoreau



i live in coastal, northern california. water is everywhere...on the coast, in the bay, and of course, at my favorite lake in the mountains. this post might also have been titled blu (blue).






for more images of water from around the world, visit:
jane, ladybug-zen, ian, bonnie, esti, sophie, cele, modsquad, caitlin, joyce, ani, kim, natsumi, epe, kaylovesvintage, trinsch, c.t., jeannette, outi, ritva, francesca, state of bliss, jennifer, dana, denise, cabrizette, bohemia girl, isabelle, amber, a girl in the yellow shoes, mister e, janis, kari, jgy, skymring, elizabeth, allison, lise, cate, crescent moon, erin, otli, ida, caroline, lisa, dorte, kimmie, la lune dans le ciel, nicola, malo, vanessa, britta, april, b, kyndale samantha, karen, kristina, goldensunfamily, sophie, janet, mcgillicutty, aimee, sunnymama, jenell, britta, juanita, pamela, inna, daan, myrtille, cris, ibb, jodi, gillian, travelingmama, athena, pienduzz, latisha, clairette, kelleyn, iris, demara, mus, ninja, guusje, di, sammi, theresa, cherry b, victoria, kathryn , lisa, liza, juliette, braja, mulot, anne, lucy, leonor, elizabeth, helene, dominique, shokoofeh, cole, jenna, podane, grey-lemon, line, nihal, urbaNiche, inner toddler, puna, lucylaine, adrienne, emily, lynn, skywriting, eliane, the wanderer´s daughter

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

homemade play dough

i've posted a new examiner article on halloween costumes.

inspired by homemade dough finn brought home with him from a play date with lily, dough he played with at his playgroup buddy's house, and by memories of my mom making play dough with my brother and me at our kid-sized table in the kitchen, we set out to make play dough one rainy day last week. i did the stove work, but lala was creative designer. i.e., she chose the colors. homemade play dough is plentiful, cheap, and so beautifully pliable. it makes a very fun indoor activity and can also make a really creative, frugal gift for another child, especially when paired with a cookie cutter in a shape that child likes. (our play dough cookie cutters were free via freecyle, but nice metal ones are really inexpensive at thrift shops and even the local kitchen store.)

homemade play dough
1 C flour
1/2 C salt
2 t cream of tartar*
1 C water with food coloring added (we use gel or paste coloring, which gives more vibrant colors)
1 T oil

add all of ingredients into a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it forms a uniformly firm ball. it will become difficult to stir as it becomes harder, but continue until there are no soft spots remaining. (this sounds harder than it is!) remove and knead to to soften, smooth, and cool.

this recipe may sound smaller than others you have found. because the color is added to the water prior to cooking (to achieve perfectly uniformly colored dough), it makes a smaller batch. you'll want to make multiple batches to create different colors. it makes approximately 1 pound (500 g), which is more than enough dough for two kids to divide and share.

*cream of tartar can be pricey, however, it supposedly acts to increase the shelf life of homemade play dough.
C = cup, T = tablespoon, and t = teaspoon


Monday, October 26, 2009

my (semi) blogging break

edited to add. please keep our friend's daughter, mollie, in your thoughts. she has cancer and is battling a feisty infection right now. she's day 6 in the hospital...

hi! i haven't been in this space in awhile. i started my blog break feeling like something needed to give. it wasn't that my kids were lacking in attention or i wasn't getting things done. it was that i wasn't getting enough sleep and when i sat down to blog (an important outlet for me), i was getting sucked into the internet in an unproductive way. my tired attention to my kids wasn't the quality i wanted to be giving and i was battling tired frustration much of the time.

lots of snuggles and love for the sickies (lala and dada...the photo at left is finn laying on lala to hug her, between the piles of laundry sick tummies produce) and return snuggles for finn after a fall.

these past few weeks, mike and i have been working together to find the right parenting approach to suit mike (always the patient, bendable parent), me (the ever-present, tired, stricter parent), lala (smart, sensitive, slow-to-adapt, recently quite fussy big sister), and finn (curious, clever, smart, active, little brother, who is now able to unlock the front door, pull out, open, and a push a stool to reach items in upper cabinets, and pull out electrical socket protectors, but doesn't have the big kid common sense to match his skills).

this past week has been mindful of all the personalities and needs in our little foursome and i feel so much calmer and healthier (even if not yet fully recharged) as we move forward.

jam session with nonno (my dad)

this past week was full of purposeful, productive, grounding activities. one with sun, rain, art, dirt, play, friends, family, food, love, anxiety, sickness, giggles, task lists completed, crafting, sewing, knitting(!), and all those everyday things we all experience and sometimes forget to enjoy. it was full of the mindfulness i need to be present in every day. and after an adjustment to my evening routines (which was far harder than i anticipated!) and after a round of sickies that required my near 24-hour attention, there was a partial return of sleep.

simple snack and produce sacks i made. the kids love them! i still like the velcro style, but these are super easy for finn's little hands.

i was offline more than i was on, and when i was online, i was increasingly aware of how much time i was spending and where i was spending it. mike and i both developed an appreciation for the timer, which cut us short on various projects, online and off, so that we have more quiet time together and got to bed before the day rolled over in the wee morning hours. i did still visit all of you throughout the week, and re-organized my blog reader, with the hope that i can better balance my desire to live fully within my real life with my love of this wonderful blogging community you have all formed.

arugula is carpeting one large section of our garden

turned the compost and worm bin. look at that black gold and our wiggly friends

enough about me, though! what is new with you and what are you doing for better balance this week? in general, how are you managing to balance family, home, blog writing, blog reading, crafting, sleep, and all the other priorities we seem to squeeze into our days (and nights)?

autumn continues to make its way in

looking forward to the week ahead...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

corner view: my dream

click through to see a new examiner article on making the most of your seasonal pumpkin.


corner view is a weekly wednesday theme captured in photos by bloggers around the world.
this week's theme is: my dream

so many of my dreams have already come true and are part of my life-in-progress. for awhile now, my primary unfulfilled dream is a plot of land. with water, trees, sunny space for a mini homestead, space for my kids to run around, space for me to garden, and no neighbors within "spy through windows" distance.

we are getting closer. we were almost there a year ago, so i know, once we get past those set-backs, we will attain it some day. my brother submitted paperwork to buy his first home yesterday. we are so thrilled for him, but will miss him as part time housemate and it means my dream (which has been a shared dream of mine, mike's, and my brother's) is now a little further down the road financially. we can't have it all, can we?

in the meantime, i daydream in my head about the lake and the view from the deck.


for more dreams from around the world:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

friends

i am emerging from my little cocoon today to post a sweet one and to join in steady mom's 30 minute blog challenge. this post took less than 15 minutes, the longest part of which was searching for the first (oldest) photo on an external hard drive.

i will be back tomorrow, as well, for corner view!


finnian and lillian, march 2008

meet lily. you have met lily through my words many times, but here she is in all her cuteness. lily is little sister to julia, the daughters of our friends liz and josh, whom we knew vaguely for years, but have been friends with since bella and julia were newborns. although julia and bella are dear friends, there is something about the friendship between lily and finn (or as lily currently calls him "bin luca" - for finnian luca) that is especially sweet and has always been so. they have the kind of friendship that always tugs my mamma heart.

finn and lily, march 2009

i always feel a bit cruel when we have to say good bye (finn has a tendency to wail "wiwy! wiwy" for quite some time after) and i feel as though i have an ace in my pocket when i can get finn to do something simply by saying "if you do this, we get to go see lily!" that always stops him in his tracks, he pauses, says "wiwy? otay," and does it.

they might just be "babies," but we should all be so lucky to have such a treasured friendship.

finn and lily, september 2009
(and for those who worry about such things, those cups are BPA/phthalate free and are far preferred by finn than his klean kanteen!)

Friday, October 16, 2009

mindfulness

edited to add: i have a new examiner article up. it's a local piece, but worth checking out regardless of your location, as it might give ideas of what could be available to you locally!

always, there is art at our house. it is the quickest way to distract lala. and finn? he wants to do what his sister is doing.

being thoughtful and mindful of the everyday activities, of my children, and of my own behaviors has been so dominant for me these past few weeks.

the transition into kindergarten for lala has been both easy and challenging. she loves school, we love her school, but the days are intense and once she arrives home at the end of it, she is tired in a way that results in tantrums and fusses, even more predominantly than we were seeing before. simultaneously, finn has become a clever, able bodied little person, making his need for stimulation and supervision greater, and having the two kids together has been far more chaotic than in the past.

my little brown mouse is the master of hiding. when i took these photos (behind the shower curtain!), he was hiding there, completely silent (for a good 3+ minutes) while i "searched" for him. when i "found" him, his face was a silent grin, which broke into a fit of giggles. priceless.

perhaps lala's behaviors go beyond just fatigue, hunger, and this transition. we are exploring that, but regardless, this past six weeks has been one of much growth and exploration for me. how can i do things differently to be a better, more present, more mindful mamma to our kids? how can i bring peace back to our little home more quickly when a tantrum occurs? are there things i should stop doing that would make a difference?

although the tantrums are no fun, nor are the worries that come with them, i am startled when i realize that i am feeling so much better about and so much more intentional in my time with my kids.

completely absorbed in playing with the mail truck and mail she "earned" way back in january.

i have continued winding my way through the blog world, finding my way back to blogs i read some while back, and mindfulness seems to be a common theme of late. mindfulness of our habits, actions, tendencies, and our strengths. mindfulness of the impact even our smallest actions or words can have on those around us. being self-aware is incredibly powerful.

with all of this in mind, i am realizing i need to take a little blog break. i need to be at least slightly more unplugged than i have been recently, if for no other reason than to be getting to bed earlier, rather than blogging! so over the next week or so, i plan to be online less. i may stop by your blogs, but may not comment. and here at which name? the posts may be a bit more sporadic for a spell and are likely to include some re-posted oldies, many of which most of you haven't seen before. i welcome you to leave comments, as i will check in on occasion!

wishing you a joyous and thoughtful weekend and week ahead.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

nature - outside:inside

earlier this week, the kids and i took a wonderful, autumn sunlit exploratory walk around our neighborhood. there is so much to see when you are seeing things your children see.

outside:


even when you never leave your own garden




and then the rain began.

inside:
our seasonal nature corner

the storm has eased up for now. there are branches and leaves on the ground, but just enough dryness for a little garden play and clean-up. there is no sunlight at the moment, but i am off to soak in some outside air with the kids. hoping you get some of the same today!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

corner view: love

happy birthday to my grandma (who reads this blog)!

i really struggled with this week's corner view. back in february, i did an entire month of posts with the theme of love. how can i narrow this topic to just one post? my family seems like a logical choice, but i fear excluding someone beyond mike and the kids, whom i post photos of often enough.

so i am doing the thing a sensible person would do. turning to my taste buds. my best friend (who's also the love of my life) has been making lattes for me with la pavoni and lavazza blu. they appear randomly, so they seem to end up in my hand, from out of no-where. i treasure this little tangible act of love.


(back to add: the mug belonged to my late aunt, with whom i was close. she loved irises, pottery, and purple. when she died, my mom chose this one for me, since it so perfectly represented her.)

for more photos of love from around the world:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

i do love a good cookie


don't these look good? they are delicious and moderately wholesome (well, for a cookie)!
for the recipe, please click through to my latest examiner article.

what are you up to today? i am off to find a glass of milk...

Monday, October 12, 2009

weekend projects

did you have a nice weekend?

autumn definitely arrived in our neck of the woods this weekend. in fact, it was more like early winter weather here. grey, crisp, damp air, with the threat of rain to come this week. i stood outside last night soaking in the coolness, smelling all the wood fire smoke filtering from our neighbors, trying to decide whether to hang laundry or not. (i didn't want our laundry to smell like smoke and...am i the only one who has woken up to the sound of rain and run out into the dark at 1 am to remove laundry before it all gets soaked again?)


saturday was cool, but sunny enough to be filled with autumn yard work. i pulled dead plants for compost and started moving junk from the yard to our driveway, prepping for bulky pick-up. mike turned the dirt patch (that was once our grass) to add amendment and re-seed before the rain. he also added the final capping to our deck rail, which looks so nice! as we moved into late afternoon, i moved inside and warmed the house with the good smells that baking brings.


and once the kids were tucked in bed (very welcome as finn has been sick and not napping or sleeping well), i got a little crafting time in. i sewed this reversible placemat for lala, complete with utensil pocket and sewn in napkin ring on each side. i used decorator weight fabric on one side and some more of that vintage sheet (that keeps on giving) on the other. (both were from the thrift store.) lala loved it, so i plan to make another for finn. i took photos along the way, with the thought of writing another tutorial, but i am not sure the tutorials i have done so far have been all that useful, as not all that many of you who read which name? sew. (well, those of you i know of, at least!) let me know what you think and if you are interested in a tutorial.

and so we roll into a new week. it feels like a big shift. stian is gone now, my parents are returning from an extended time away, close friends are back from their trip (which means our childcare swap resumes), and the weather is begging me to cozy up and keep clearing house.

what are you up to?

Saturday, October 10, 2009

the goodness of friends

upon reading my post from earlier this week and following an email conversation, rhian sent a box of homemade soap my way.


and genevieve, tom, and oscar came to visit, and brought gifts. (the photo is missing a gorgeous memory game set they brought, as well.)

thank you, friends.

i hope your weekend is as blessed with friends and goodness!

Friday, October 9, 2009

house keeping

you know all that autumn cleaning i mentioned? no need for hired help around here. i have a cute guy ready to take on any task!





what more can you ask for? he dusts, does dishes, vacuums, steam cleans...
he even checks to make sure the suction is good on the steam cleaner hose.


wishing you a clean october!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

change

happy 2nd birthday, miss lily!

october, we have our feet planted firmly in you now! i wish i could capture the smells and cool breezes for you all, but i know you are feeling them, too.



although the catch-phrase is 'spring cleaning,' i find that autumn is when i am ready to do a whole home cleaning. when i am itchy to purge, rearrange, reorganize, change our decor from summer to fall, and fill in the homey gaps. (spring is a time to dig my fingers in the dirt, outside!)

so this is how i have been spending my last week or so. i have touched corners and surfaces ignored for far too long. i moved the living room furniture for a fresh perspective. i changed the couch cover, pillow covers, and blankets to bring autumn colors in. and i am getting rid of unnecessary items, reorganizing those that are staying, readying myself for the damp days we'll be spending inside.




after each burst of cleaning energy, i took myself back outside, into the sunny warmth of 'indian summer' in northern california.



and in case you are thinking my house looks clean, here is a regular reality at our house. (that's a pile of clean laundry, overflowing our two large laundry baskets, waiting to be folded. ahem.)


edited to respond to comments: the glass front cabinet was a $30 salvage find previously stained a bright green. mike stripped it and refinished it. the curtain fronted cabinet was made by mike to hold the stereo at our wedding reception. it came home, was altered, and now houses our computer and printer set-up (and resides in our dining room). the big rocking chair is one of my favorite spots. it was an unfrugal gift to me from mike and stian immediately after finn's birth and was worth every penny they spent. i would recommend this chair to anyone! the little table to the left of it was made by mike from an old oak wine barrel. the little wooden rocking chair belonged to my great aunt and mike made the bookshelf behind it. the doll house was salvaged from our neighbor's driveway trash pile. lastly, i think those cloth diapers are what often put me over the edge on laundry, but we do love cloth!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

corner view: local souvenir

i've posted a new examiner article on having a frugal halloween.


corner view is a group of bloggers from around the world, posting photograph weekly, representing a shared theme.
this week's theme is: local souvenirs

the first things that popped into my mind were foods, of course! sourdough bread and ghiradelli or scharffen berger chocolate. where else to find these but at the farmer's market, in particular, the one at jack london square, home to one of the oldest taverns in the area and named for a local writer.

the well known one-stop shop for all things paddle related. my toddler loves boats, so we stood and watched a long time.

sourdough varieties


old tavern, around which are new buildings and old boat docks


checking our the selection of local chocolates


for other corner views, visit:

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