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Friday, June 29, 2012


Moving with three kids under five...lets just say it. It sucks. It really does. No way around it. I find I go from over-reacting crabby mom "DONT FIGHT ANYMORE! EVER!" to passive mom "Fine, go watch TV all day" to depressive autopilot mom "Juice? Sure. Here. Love you. Now go play. What? You are screaming at each other about who gets to play on the play table? Oh. Um."

I am in depressive overwhelmed autopilot right now, having just done the over-reacting crabby bit (I actually started crying when I had to break up another fight just now.) And the kids are oh so crabby, especially little man, my absorber of emotions. And did I mention baby dear is finally getting a tooth? She is. And she is letting me know it. All night long.

We are getting it done though, slowly, and by we I mean me because that is how moving works, right? Dada is taking off the next few days before the move so, that will help, but we need to go and finish off the attic space we plan to live in at the farm, eating up two out of three days he plans to be around to pack.


Little man just snarled and threw a ball in my direction.

Is it too early to have a drink? At 2pm? Yes, yes, it is.

Yesterday I declared the day off. We would not pack or do a single productive thing. I never lost it. Not once. We went to the lake. Watched tv.

Earlier this week, in another attempt at escape, we went for a picnic, which was lovely and picturesque. Here are some pictures below. Because I promise, you do not want a picture of the insides of my falling apart home, or house rather.

It is sad, when moving, when you reach that point where your home is no longer a home, just a house, with lots of boxes and memories. That is what we are reaching. So many people are saying, "oh so glad you are getting out of that space, that neighborhood, and oh, its so small how did you ever manage?" I have complained about all of this for more than a year, I know, yet I find myself feeling defensive.  It was our home. You know? Our sweet little space. And it isnt perfect now, which is why we were leaving, but it was good for us, what we needed at the time. And my dear sweet baby was born here, breathed her first gasping scary breath here. And I am sad to leave. And I dont know what is next. And my parents farm will be a lovely respite from all these swirling questions but still, the questions are there, waiting.

And my little man does karate chops at the couch and I KNOW this is what is going on with him too.

Just a few more days. We can do it. Right?
Here are some photos.

Monday, June 25, 2012

june goes country

So I am surrounded by a torn up house. Boxes and tape everywhere. And here is what is up. We decided a few weeks back we do want to try to do the country house thing. Now, not later. For many many reasons. But really because I want the kids to have that now, and want to avoid taking them away from the city in five years after they are connecting with school friends and city life.

So. We are going country.

But for now, at my parents farm! This we figure will give us space to find our place (which is more involved when searching for country vs. city places it seems) and we can hang out with grandma and grandpa, help out with building projects, hang out in the garden. Win, win, it seems.

So. Packing. With three kids underfoot. It is Monday morning, 11am and I have a tension headache already. Time for more coffee. I am out of milk but am considering stirring in dolce de leche ice cream. Totally, right?

So this is in explanation of light posting in the past week and the weeks to come...

I am in a weird space about it. Happy. Anxious. Overwhelmed. Relieved. I have no idea where we are going to end up, and when, but I am trying to just go with it. Enjoy a summer with the kids on a farm. You know?

More later.

Monday, June 18, 2012

a rainy day and anti-recipe #50 (!!) muffins for baby.

We don't often get rainy days in the summer. We get mostly thunderstorms that roll through with their prickly heat and strong winds and then leave us with blue skies and fresh clear air.

Instead, one day last week, we had grey skies and rain. Just gentle rain.

So Thursday, instead of trekking to the local mall where our rained out park playgroup was meeting we stayed home and embraced the rain.


my container garden this year.

We painted the rain, as it came pouring down in sheets. And then sprinkled salt on the drying water color to make that nice splashy effect.

little man's lightning rain and thunder picture

And then we read this poem, out of a nifty book of poems and stories for children I recently inherited from my mother's homeschool book collection (she gave away all her homeschool books to us kids. It was amazing) called 'Favorite Poems, Old and New Selected for boys and girls by Helen Ferris.'

The Cloud
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail
And whiten the green plains under;
And then again I dissolve it in rain.
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

Great, right?

And then I thought. I am on a roll. Lets bake. Now, disclaimer about this recipe. My kiddos wouldnt eat them, after a few polite nibbles. But, baby did. And they are for baby so. That is the point. The other thing. Please store them in the fridge. I put them in a ziplock in the cupboard. And just threw out a moldy mess. Ew.

Now that we got that out of the way, dont you want to bake these??? HA HA.

Baby muffins. We are talking muffins, for baby.

So. Baby needs nutrient dense food. So these use yogurt. Applesauce. Coconut oil. NO honey (baby isnt supposed to have honey because of botulism rish till a year or so and we use raw honey so, I follow that one.)

You can put just about anything in these. I did 1/2 cup oatmeal. Four teaspoons baking powder. Two cups flour. One cup applesauce. One cup yogurt. Two tablespoons coconut oil. One egg yolk. (Babies are supposed to avoid the whites of the egg, but yolks are GOOD for their brains) also half cup water.

Mix it all up. Bake at 400 in mini muffin tins for 20 minutes or so.


Been trying to write this post for four days. That was a lovely rainy zen today. Today is not that day. Baby is a wreck. Bouncing in ergo on my back. Dada is working late. It is wicked humid out. Crabby Crabby Crabby Sweaty Crabby.

Ok. Just had to get that out.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

happy fathers day!

To my love, for being the baby-hugging, tie-dye shirt wearing (the kids gift to him this year), gourmet-cooking, co-sleeping, hard-working, lovely-eyed, guy that he is.
dada cooking with his girls

dada and little man

We love you dada.

And to my dad.

Nine kids. NINE. And the fact that we all love each other so much is testament to the amazing car-fixing, canoe-camping, God-fearing, hair-braiding, loving father that he was, and is, for all of us.

I love you Dad.

me and my sibs :)
i am the one in the long sundress....i think i still have that
dress somewhere....hmmmmm going to go dig it out....
Friday, June 15, 2012

zen moment at the window

Baby girl has realized that the outside world with so many fun things to put in her mouth (sticks, dirt, rocks, leaves...)is connected to her inside world through these magical portals called windows. Its her new favorite game. She shrieks in delight. Talks. Pounds the glass. I WANT TO GO THERE. And if you dare to take her away she yells out her new word "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!"

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

but you get what you need...

Oh such a great song, right? Ah the memories from college, belting out the chorus while our favorite band played a cover of it. (That is one jacked up sentence, alas, I havent the patience to figure it out.)

I wish you could see me right now, you would understand my state (I know what you are thinking, see Sara its this new fangled thing called "VIDEO" but no, I would never ever do video blogging. Why? Well, because then I would feel the need to put on mascara and change out of the yoga pants I've worn for two days and the shirt I went running in this morning. And also I couldnt take breaks to let the baby chew on my chin and bite my hair and nurse, which is what she is doing in turns right now.)

So yes, I am in a state.

And now. The kiddies and I are in our jams. Fed. Washed up. BEDTIME. They are playing for a few minutes in the playroom. I am trying to finish this post.

It isnt going to happen.

In any case. Where am I going with that song?

Oh yes. So. You cant always get what you want. You cant always get what you want. But if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need.

You get what you need.

Because the line between want and need is a funny thing.

We think we want something. (Be it a new pair of jeans, a goat farm in the country, a better job, a glass of wine, a perfect spanking new house on the lake, etc) And then we get that thing, or that thing gets closer, and we realize, wait, do I REALLY want that? Or we discover that thing wasnt that big of a deal. ($120 on a pair of jeans?? Really?? To backtrack I went through this crazy, I want to own designer jeans, like a year before little man was even a sparkle in our eyes. And then finally, when it came to it, I realized I couldnt ACTUALLY spend $120 on a pair of jeans. Who can do that? I couldnt. But. Three years later I found nearly perfect jeans of that same variety at my favorite thrift store. TWO PAIRS. And I bought them. Man I wish I could get into those jeans! One step at a time, right? But, I digress - obviously)

Or then we get to that point and we go "Wait. I am confused now. What DO I want??"

Enter the point of the story (phew, you all think). This is where I am now. Country life. Yes, really? Now? Wait? SO FAR AWAY. But trees. A big endless yard. Maybe even a river. My own for real garden.

Then part of me goes. OH BUT THE WORK! Can I do it? Will I be good at that? I have been a city mama all of my mama-days.

Then we get to the gist of it. What if I cant hack it?


I dont want to not be good at country life.

I also dont want to come crawling back to the city, beaten - full of ticks and mosquito bites - defeated. But its more than this. Will we find the right place, the right community? What about the community we have built up here?

And this is all going around and around inside of me. Like this twisty feeling. I dont know what to want. I dont know what to daydream about. And man, my daydreams are important. I need something to picture to get me through the day. I need an imaginary house to decorate. Then the practicalities. Where will we be next Christmas? For our girls first birthday?

Swirling, swirling around.

So whats a girl to do?

Here is what I am thinking. Trust that it will work out as it should. That we will get what we need. For us. Our little family. For me.
Monday, June 11, 2012

caterpillar, caterpillar

Tickle tickle on my arm. Tickle tickle on my arm.

This was the song little miss danced to in her recital a few weeks ago (which consisted of hopping around on stage, fluttering her arms, and smiling adorably) and aptly so, for we have taken to raising a whole crew of caterpillars this spring. (As noted in a past post)

Okay, so its only 6, but for us no-pet family it was a huge undertaking (for me, lets be honest.)

When the first chrysalis formed, OH, the JOY. And then we were able to catch one in the 90 seconds in took to form into a chrysalis one morning. Seriously super cool.

Then we woke up this morning to a report from dada, the chrysalis had turned black (oh dear, that cant be good!)

But, on closer inspection it was not black, just clear, with a butterfly clearly visible underneath!

And then, 15 minutes later we look again and oh! A butterfly!

We will release it this afternoon, after its wings harden (sniff) maybe I need a dog to take care of...or some goats...but more on that later.

little miss in her dance attire. (anything she wanted to wear, ha!)
Friday, June 8, 2012

baby love

Isn't she fabulous? She is sitting on my shoulders right now alternately patting/kissing my head and then clapping her hands. I love her.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

a felted wool playscape (part 1)

our felted playscape, with plans for a tree on the bare dirt patch :)

i cant seem to get a decent picture of this project!

So, have you all heard about "playscapes"? These adorable felted wool creations, soft, pliable, and turns out, super easy to make. Our fairy garden has bit the dust, out in the sun, crumbling to pieces. I need a better container with better drainage maybe? So, this felted wool idea is similiar to that but without the dirt and watering and mold (ew) and bugs. You see them everywhere on Etsy or Waldorfy blogs. Here and here and here are some samples.

When I was with my mom and sister at this awesome local "fiber festival" one vendor was selling these playscapes, for big bucks, and the kits too. I was like, hey, I could make that. So I bought colorful wool rovings and a bunch of brown wool for the dirt (and to eventually make a fairy/root children tree) and went at it.

And oooh, I am excited about this one. As little man said as we were making it, Mom, you are making this for yourself, arent you. Dad says when you make stuff its because YOU like it. I was like, fine, you cant play with it then. HA.

In any case. Turns out once we got the base done and started putting in the details the kids were super into it, more than anything I have made "for them" in awhile.

So, here is how we did it.

First I needed to make the base. I read online about using bamboo mats to wet felt a large piece. But you can use bubble wrap too, and as I had some lying around it worked perfectly.

Criss cross your rovings in strips across the bubble wrap,first long then across, until you have several layers. My wool was thick so I only did two layers. I shouldve done more, maybe four. Your woold will shrink u quite a bit so be generous with the size.

Now drizzle a little dish soap on the wool. I used just what we have on hand, I dont think the brand matters. Now roll up your bubble wrap then turn your tap water on to hot and run the water down into the opening of the roll, both sides. Now roll your wrap on a counter or on a cutting board over the sink, like in the pictures here, so that the soapy water drains right down into the sink.

I did it for like five minutes, which was enough.

Now unroll and work your wool a little more just kneading (I did this for barely two minutes as the baby started freaking out to be held.) Then I took it and rolled it up in a towel to dry then layed outside for a bit in the sun.

Now you should have a nice thick base.

I did not. So I found an old scratchy sweater, cut it out to the size of the shrunken wool base and laid it underneath the brown wool and needle felted it all over.

NOW I had a base to work with. SUCH FUN. We decided on a little stream and a lake in one corner, using some blue wool. Then a cave like structure (reinforced with a bit of the same old sweater, simply bent into a semi circle cave shape) which I needle felted to the mat. Then one corner became a grassy meadow with lots of flowers.

As a note, it takes some serious effort to get things securely felted onto the playmat (important if you have a grabby baby that has a death wish and literally eats EVERYTHING she gets her fat hands on.) It was a quick process to get it together but I am still working on felting down loose pieces (after baby grabs at it.)

OKAY. Seriously. I am in love.

Next I am doing a tree, using pipecleaners. Then we have plans for a bridge, maybe some toadstools.

Isnt this fun?? Seriously. Tell me. Am I the only dork that LOVES this stuff??

all the brown wool that has been sitting around my house,
looking like a dead animal

my nifty needle felting tool. really necessary.

layered wool rovings, laid out in bubble wrap

little miss rolling out the wool. they did this for literally three seconds and
then walked away. you do it mom.

our creepy looking playmat

look who is crawling now!

scratchy wool sweater backing

half done with it and they are already fighting over who gets
to play with the gnome cave

mr gnome now has a lovely cave to hide his treasure :)

the kids helped roll tiny balls of wool for the flowers which were then needle felted on
with darker green bits of wool for the leaves
Tuesday, June 5, 2012

anti-recipe #49 strawberry rhubarb crisp

I havent posted a "recipe" post since MARCH?? HA. That is funny. Poor dada, he doesnt think its funny, my lack of kitchen prowess of late. I just, well, dont have that vibe in me. I mean, I am cooking for my family, obviously, just not super enthusiastically, or creatively.

So when I took it upon myself to make strawberry rhubarb jam this weekend and then suggested making a crisp with the leftover fruit dada was like "UM, YES PLEASE."


We had planned a big "date night at home" complete with a fancy steak dinner. But of course, as these things go, the baby was restless, the kids took awhile to get to sleep and by the time we had finished eating the giant steak and sides cooked by my gourmet husband we were too stuffed and tired for dessert. But the next morning? Well, its just fruit and a little butter and oatmeal, right? I can eat that for breakfast!! (Speaking of, I think there is still some left...)

The jam (following the recipe blogged about last year) was really great. This year I doubled the batch but less sugar, using 12 cups of fruit (half strawberries, half rhubarb), 1/2 cup of lemon juice, two packets of pectin, and 6 cups of sugar. (Of course the way to make jam, boil all this together, a full rolling boil for say 20+ minutes until it bubbles like molten lava (ha!) Then put in hot jars that have boiled in a giant canning pot for 10+ minutes. Seal with hot rings and lids (dont boil the lids! just rinse in hot water) Let sit for 24 hours before moving to let the jam set.)
my pretty strawberries, local! organic! and yes, this is my sole counter
space in this kitchen. this is mainly the cause for my lack of cooking enthusiasm
last year i had a baby in my belly. this year i had one on my back :)

So, the leftovers. I had maybe a cup and a half of rhubarb, maybe two (you know me, I didnt measure) and then almost a cup of mashed strawberries.
the leftovers. yes, the drink to the right is a vodka soda water with fresh
strawberry juice. MMMMMMMMM....

I dumped this in a pan, and sprinkled on a handful (about half cup) of brown sugar. You could add some lemon juice or maybe ginger or something like that too. I didnt.

Then I mixed up half a stick of butter with 2/3 cup of wheat flour (just what I had handy) and some more brown sugar and then a handful (half cup?) of oatmeal and some ground flax (which I try to sneak in everynow and then).

You could also add chopped nuts of some kind. I shouldve added more butter and some more sugar. Ooh, maybe some coconut oil and some raw honey.

In any case. Dada proclaimed it "tart, but delicious." Which equals out to little man calling it "sorta good, and sorta bad." (HA)

Topped with vanilla ice cream, I call it just about perfect.
Friday, June 1, 2012


I have the best memories of summer as a child. Bonfires out in the cooling air, watching the sun set over the cornfields in back of the house. Forts in the shade of the lilac trees. Drinking out of the hose, that slight metallic taste, and then "accidentally" squirting your little sister. Lying in the middle of a field of grass, looking up at the blue blue midwestern sky. Bike rides. Thunderstorms. Popsicles. Summer nights. Fireflies.

All in and around the serene little farmhouse that we called home.

Really rather picturesque.

I wonder what kind of summertime memories we are creating for our brood? Do you wonder about things like this, or is it just me?

I want these kinds of memories for my kids. For us it will be... Swims at the lake. (Endless) trips to the playground. Picnics by the bandstand, listening to local music acts, as the sun fades over the lake. Visits to grandmas farm and cousins and gardening. Camping and cooking over a fire and putting up a tent with dada. Late night walks through the park in the dusky warm air. Saturday mornings at the farmers market. And lots of watermelon outside. LOTS.

It helps me every now and then, when I am having an impatient week (which I have had...enough agonizing over the which house and when question Sara! PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER! I realize I need to control this, you know? Make the day my bee-atch. I OWN this. I can MASTER this. You know?) Anyway, it helps to lift my head up out of the day to day and think big picture. What are we creating here, in this little world of ours? Does it fill up these little folk with goodness? Is it memories of laughter with mom and dad, out in nature or cozy in our little house?

I see a little of it here and there, what they will remember. Like driving down to the farm the other day. My little miss with a sleepy smile in her seat.

What are you thinking about little miss, I ask.

"About the farm," she replies with a happy sigh.

And so, we plan our weekend. Farmers market. Outdoor art festival. Picnic. And yes, we need to pick up more watermelon.

(you can tell who was the more willing photo subject on this particular day HA)
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