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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

where i am at

This is the soundtrack of my week.

Its a very end-of-January sort of week.

With failed muffins and crabby children and lots of grey skies and homeschool doldrums.

Wake me up in March, m'kay? Unless you have cookies. Then you can wake me up sooner.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

anti-recipe #75 strawberry coconut milk ice cream

I didn't make this one up. 

There, now that I've gotten that off my chest, let's continue. Ha.

Why coconut milk ice cream? Well, the whole vegan paleo thing, if you do that. It's also super rich and creamy and tasty, so there is that. And I wanted a treat, had no cream, did have a can of coconut milk , and happened to see this recipe floating around on the internets. 

Here is how I made it. 

You'll need:
One can of coconut milk

So this is important, don't shake the can of coconut milk. Because you want to skim the cream off of the top of it and leave the watery stuff on the bottom of the can. You'll have about a half a can of watery stuff left over. Coconut water you can add it to a smoothie or something later. 

So spoon the coconut cream on top of about a cup frozen strawberries. I did it in a big giant cup because I used my immersion blender, my magic bullet blender thingy, to blend it. 

The recipe I saw said to use honey to sweeten it but every time I try to use honey in a smoothie the honey freezes in a big glop. So I used a teaspoon of sugar. 

So blend all of this really well. 

And now the freezing part of course there's lots of different ways you can make it frozen you can use an ice cream maker or a fancy vitamix type blender. 

I did it the cheapskate way. 

Put your blended mixture in a Ziploc bag. Now put that bag inside another Ziploc bag. Make sure it's sealed really tight. Now put those bags inside of a large Ziploc bag. Fill the large bag with about a tray of ice cubes and some salt maybe a quarter cup of salt. No maybe less so than that. In any case put some salt in there. 

Now for the patience part. I tried to get the girls to be involved in this but they weren't interested. (Dada and little man are at Cub Scout camp this weekend!!)

So you basically just roll the ice around the baf that has the cream mixture inside and eventually it turns into an ice cream texture - keep poking it to see if it's frozen. I put the big bag full of ice and a bowl and just kind of rolled around maybe five or 10 minutes. 

Once it's the right texture and frozen and creamy take it out very carefully from the salty bag otherwise you'll end up with salt inside of your ice cream which is what happened to me. So rinse the inside bag off in the sink and then take the next bag out-do you see what I'm saying?

Now scoop out the ice cream and eat. 

If you don't eat all of it and put it back in the freezer it will just turn hard and icy and you will have to go back with the magic bullet blender and blend up again. So that means you need to eat it all in one sitting. Ha! 

Of course you can make all sorts of flavors. If I had some chocolate chips I would've tossed those in as it froze. And of course you can make a quick batch of ice cream like this with real dairy cream too. 

Ok. Yum. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

six things to a happier more productive me (you)

Its the end of January.


This is how I feel the end of January.


So, this title. Huh? Does it make you laugh? Its very ambitious of me, right? And, according to my protestant Midwestern upbringing shall I put it? very self centered of me?

But, lets face it. The old saying is true. Ain't mama happy....Ain't nobody happy.

Because we set the tone.

Because emotionally, we hold these little hearts in our hands.

Because the world, as it were, rests on our shoulders.




(Ha. That just fit so nice I had to say it.)

And when the grey skies prompt the EHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH kind of days and we are holding on by a thread as the kids pile all the blankets and cushions on the floor of the living and start jumping OVER and OVER and OVER again and your other kid keeps asking how to spell EVERY. SINGLE. WORD. of his book report.

And you try.

But that ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

And then you take on some perspective. A step back. And the Daunting, Difficult, Dammit, becomes Daring, Death-defying, Dreamy, even. Because its a challenge. And you rise up. Somehow. Over and over, we moms do.

And, I was talking to dada about this the other night, in one of those rare conversations after the kids are asleep and the house is quiet, about what I have realized, in my walk as a mother, that I need to stay sane, happier, more productive.

And, I share it with you here now, not as a list of what might be true for you, but to think about your own ingredients for a happier more productive you, to find them, whatever they are, and BUILD THEM INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE.

This is so crucial. Make them part of your daily in and out breathing, what you do, to turn the Daunting Difficult Dammit into Daring Death-defying Dreamy, your mommying life. YOUR life.

1) ATMOSPHERE- I am a very visual person, I see the scene as I write. I picture books as I read. So for me, that also means that my surroundings directly feed into my mood. I need tidy. I need beauty. I need (somewhat) organized. A folder for my homeschool files. A shelf for my art supplies. Not that my toilets have to be scrubbed daily, mind you, but, that when I am feeling overwhelmed a sure fire way to feel more on top of things is to sweep the kitchen floor and clear the clutter of the counter. This also means beauty. To rotate pictures, to have something new to look at. To burn candles as  wash dishes. To yes, have the kids toys arranged attractively in the living room on the shelves. It is not neurotic, I have come to realize, it is just what my visual oriented self needs.

2)  ACTIVITY - My level of daily activity needs to be varied, but not too crazy. Finding the level of activity that is enough (sitting at home day after day makes me become an introverted wreck) but not TOO much (I need yoga-pants time daily....HA) is a balancing act. But, I tend toward less activity than more. Its funny I was more extroverted as a younger adult. Now that I'm heading into the, gulp, 40s I need more down time. Actually though I think parenthood did that to me. HA. This also includes getting outside and being physical - gardening - or even just doing yoga for a bit with the kids.

3) ARTISTIC RELEASE - This is super important to my personality, something that I am just realizing really about me in the past few years. I need that release. I didn't write for many years, but good grief, I need to write. It's so helpful. And artistic creation in other ways too. Drawing, painting, but also crafting or sewing. Something. Frivolous, seemingly. Soul-filling, in reality.

4) RELATIONSHIPS - Motherhood is an island, in so many ways, in the early years especially. Tied down to nap schedules and feedings and just as you get it worked out (Maybe I could get out of the house to a playgroup!) Another kid comes along. Now, veteran moms will tell you, hey stick that kid in an ergo and go to the playgroup anyhow! But, for new moms, in my experience anyhow, this is so challenging to balance. And so, we stake out our space on Facebook, and dream of the day when we will do more than chat to the grocery store clerk for our weekly adult interaction. It took me several years, being a new mom in a town new to me, and now in a new town again, but I think I am figuring this one out. Its still a work in progress though. New friendships as adults are HARD. But, luckily I have lots of siblings, a text away, and several are mommies too. (Thank you God for them!)

5) PURSUITS OUTSIDE OF MOTHERHOOD - It took me several years of mommying to realize this was okay to need. Oh sure, I worked, consulting work from home. But really that was to pay the bills, and mostly that was it. Although being able to go to a meeting with a client leaving kiddies at home was great. Now, without that, I have realized I need to spend time, daily, weekly at least, pursuing career/work ambitions OUTSIDE of mommying. For me, lately, this has been writing pursuits (about to send my first book to agents! Meeting with a potential writing partner/group person soon!) and my international "teaching/advocacy" type efforts (Hawaii connections, Mexico, and etc.)

I have to confess not getting this in my early years. I would never again work. Never again travel. My life, my own pursuits, were over. And then somehow I started seeing the need for it, craving it. Something that was mine, just for me. And it took awhile, but then I became okay with WANTING IT. Now, its totally  part of my "happier-me" list. And it happens, weekly, if not daily. Even giving yourself ten minutes of space to write an email, work on a troublesome paragraph, something SOMETHING to further your dreams.

YOU ARE WORTH IT. I try to tell myself. Give yourself that time.

6) STABILITY - This one is harder to control, but it has to be recognized as a stressor for me. Its basically financial at this point. Launching dada's new business has made it a hard thrifty sort of year for us. Necessarily so, but still. Not knowing how this or that bill is going to get paid becomes SO HEAVY it clouds my seeing of everything. Little man's attitude over his math assignment is suddenly SO IRRITATING. The dishes in the sink SO OVERWHELMING. The girls sing-song play SO GRATING. And then, I am learning, take a step back. Life does not suck. This ONE THING is challenging right now. But that is all. Everything else is quite good.

Perspective. You know?

This has also been, in the past, things such as - moving, school choices for the kids, those large life decisions that loom up ahead, daunting, difficult, dammit. And, it may not change them - the bill still is there, staring at you - but realizing how that instability impacts your day to day mood, well, it is huge. Because once you see it, you can see past it, to all the goodness around, trying to hug you, little sticky fingers, beautiful sing-song voices, thoughtful minds.

I don't know. I just felt compelled to write all this, for myself, but any other mamas out there wrestling through this time of year. Sit with a cup of coffee. Think it through. What are your things that impact your days, your perspective?


The year we take Daunting Difficult Dammit to DARING DEATH-DEFYING DREAMING.

Onward, ever upward.

awwww baby green


me in teaching mode, way back when

writing coffee me time. with the princess and her ipad cartoons. ;)

Monday, January 19, 2015

i have decided

"I'm concerned about a better world. I'm concerned about justice; I'm concerned about

brotherhood; I'm concerned about truth. (That’s right) And when one is concerned about that, he

can never advocate violence. For through violence you may murder a murderer, but you can't

murder murder. (Yes) Through violence you may murder a liar, but you can't establish truth.

(That's right) Through violence you may murder a hater, but you can't murder hate through

violence. (All right, That’s right) Darkness cannot put out darkness; only light can do that.


And I say to you, I have also decided to stick with love, for I know that love is ultimately the only

answer to mankind's problems. (Yes) And I'm going to talk about it everywhere I go. I know it

isn't popular to talk about it in some circles today. (No) And I'm not talking about emotional bosh

when I talk about love; I'm talking about a strong, demanding love. (Yes) For I have seen too

much hate. (Yes) I've seen too much hate on the faces of sheriffs in the South. (Yeah) I've seen

hate on the faces of too many Klansmen and too many White Citizens Councilors in the South

to want to hate, myself, because every time I see it, I know that it does something to their faces

and their personalities, and I say to myself that hate is too great a burden to bear. (Yes, That’s

right) I have decided to love. [applause] If you are seeking the highest good, I think you can find

it through love.

... And so I say to you today, my friends, that you may be able to speak with the tongues of men

and angels (All right); you may have the eloquence of articulate speech; but if you have not

love, it means nothing. (That's right) Yes, you may have the gift of prophecy; you may have the

gift of scientific prediction (Yes sir) and understand the behavior of molecules (All right); you

may break into the storehouse of nature (Yes sir) and bring forth many new insights; yes, you

may ascend to the heights of academic achievement (Yes sir) so that you have all knowledge

(Yes sir, Yes); and you may boast of your great institutions of learning and the boundless extent

of your degrees; but if you have not love, all of these mean absolutely nothing. (Yes) You may

even give your goods to feed the poor (Yes sir); you may bestow great gifts to charity (Speak);

and you may tower high in philanthropy; but if you have not love, your charity means nothing.

(Yes sir) You may even give your body to be burned and die the death of a martyr, and your

spilt blood may be a symbol of honor for generations yet unborn, and thousands may praise you

as one of history's greatest heroes; but if you have not love (Yes, All right), your blood was spilt

in vain. What I'm trying to get you to see this morning is that a man may be self-centered in his

self-denial and self-righteous in his self-sacrifice. His generosity may feed his ego, and his piety

may feed his pride. (Speak) So without love, benevolence becomes egotism, and martyrdom

becomes spiritual pride.
... And I must confess, my friends (Yes sir), that the road ahead will not always be smooth.

(Yes) There will still be rocky places of frustration (Yes) and meandering points of bewilderment.

There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. (Yes) And there will be those moments when

the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. (Well) Our dreams will

sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. (Yes) We may again, with teardrenched

eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life

will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. (Well) But difficult and painful as it

is (Well), we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. ...

Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Let us

realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again." Let us go out

realizing that the Bible is right: "Be not deceived. God is not mocked. (Oh yeah) Whatsoever a

man soweth (Yes), that (Yes) shall he also reap." This is our hope for the future, and with this

faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow, with a cosmic past tense, "We

have overcome! (Yes) We have overcome! Deep in my heart, I did believe (Yes) we would



Friday, January 16, 2015

what i did all afternoon instead of...

...dishes, laundry, cleaning, making dinner and etc. 

It was fun though, and the girls joined in, and little man listened to stories while we all sat at the table together, and I'm reasonably pleased with the results. 

So. There is that. 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

recipe for disaster

Recipe for disaster. 

One pinewood derby race car kit. 

One perfectionist mama. 

One perfectionist Cub Scout son.  

Stir and mix. 

Watch the results explode, with much weeping and gnashing of teeth. 

Serenity now, dear Lord. 

Looking forward to the actual race with much trepidation. And, in the end, a good lesson for us all in having fun, trying new things, and being okay with crooked lightening bolts and not coming in first place. 

Sunday, January 11, 2015

3 items of note on a Sunday evening

First, little man just swore in French. 

Sacre bleu! 

Ha ha! 

It means holy cow in French mom. Yea, kinda. Ha.

Two, he and little green have hit it off lately. Little miss is already asleep, so I asked him to read Green some books so I could do the dishes.

Sure he says, come on little buddy. Then he teaches her how to make finger shadow guys with a flashlight. Then he scratches her back and sings her a song, pretending to be a radio. Then as I'm finishing up I hear him say, come on in my room, I'll tell you all about my AT-AT walker ( Stars wars lego set for Christmas) and baby green happily trots after him. Sure Jacque! (As she calls him.) 

And my little mama heart skips a beat. 

So good. 

Third thing of note, oh you kept scrolling! Third thing is this book. Big fat OMG. Have you read it? Wowza. You should.

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