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Thursday, May 30, 2013

on four year olds and patience

It is a cloudy humid sort of day. We've had rain on and off for the past week. At first it was a cold sort of rain. Then suddenly two days ago it turned into humid summer rain. Rather welcome. Baby has her first cold in a long time, asking "mommy, I milky?" literally EVERY time I sit down. And two days ago, fun times, I dropped my giant ass camera on my big toe. Ridiculously, I think its broken, and definitely, I'm going to lose the toenail. So stupid. But for now, the pressure has been relieved (after a visit to the ER) and I am enjoying the cool breeze as I sit on my butt and spend the day writing and reading to the kids.

Right now, I am sitting on my mama chair, crabby milky baby on my lap. And I've tricked the kids into lying still and looking at books by constructing a giant blanket fort around the couch, with separate rooms for each of them. I am hoping little miss falls asleep.

I am pleading with the nap gods that she fall asleep. PLEASE.

She is doing that FOUR thing lately.

She is very good at it.

She wants, SO SO badly to be big like brother, writing her letters, reading a book, playing with Legos, climbing trees, riding bikes.

And she wants SO SO badly to be little like baby, cozying up to mama, talking in baby talk, asking why she cant still have milk too.

Big and little.

FOUR.

Very, very four.

And every day, I take a deep breath as it begins. Mom. I want FOOOOOOOD. One hour later, after abandoning her Cheerios to the chicken scraps bucket. Mom. I AM HUNGRY.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHH.

This, all day.

I find myself hugging her brother, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO GROWN UP AND HELPFUL, MY LITTLE BUDDY.

I find myself cozing baby, THANK YOU FOR BEING SO SWEET AND TINY.

I find myself aggravated with her.

And yes, here is the rub of it. I need to cozy HER. Hug HER. Love her through this transition.

But man, mamas, isnt it hard??

Instead I utilize my saccharine sweet voice, that I think of as my stewardess voice (and yes, I know they are called "flight attendents now" HA)..."BUT my DEAR girl, why didnt you EAT your breakfast??"

"Because I wasnt hungry then. I am now."

Oh dear God.

A few days ago though as I was mulling it over it kind of dawned on me that I needed to reaffirm this big girl that is emerging, all long-limbed and gangly, from the baby she was just last summer. So as I was contemplating the gross apples purchased too hurriedly from Walmart I say to her "Hey, want to help me make applesauce?" "YES!" she says back.

I peel apples and one by one she chops every single slice up into small pieces. With a sharp knife, as she told dada proudly later.

Big girl, reaffirmed.

She is also a little sweet mother to baby dear, when she isnt fighting with her, so I give her tasks to reaffirm that role. "Can you pick out some clothes for baby?" I say one morning. "YES" she says. And she does. (Bright pink tutu, of course)

Ah ha moment. Tactic confirmed.

God help us all when she turns 13.

But really, really, this is what parenting is, right? One new thing at a time, building up these tactics to support these little creatures emerging from baby selves into adult selves, one transforming stage at a time.

Patience with newborns, redirecting and channeling toddlers, modeling behavior for young children, reaffirming roles in transition ages, encouraging and loving on the bigger kids. And its amazing really, how much parenting really is about character building IN US. As WE become better people, more loving, caring, less self-centered, more giving?

Hopefully by 13 I will have my shit together enough to take it, HA HA.

Kids are generous like that, huh? Here mom, how about some good old character building exercises, my treat!

Yea, and in any case, the stewardess voice works too, while you figure out what's what. HA HA HA.

And the fort is destroyed. Now they are playing that they are a castle under seige, little man armed to the teeth with bow and arrow and dagger. And now they are fighting each other, I gotta go.

And the breeze blows in. And I am thinking its a second pot of coffee day.

Hugs mamas.



Tuesday, May 28, 2013

views of a garden

So. Here it is. The giant country garden we have been plotting and planning for years.

I'd love to say that its been all roses and rainbows working on it, children by our side, but in reality this is how gardening with kids goes...

Day #1

"Kids. We need to go out to the garden."

"Yay! Gardening!"

Follows with happy digging holes, planting seedlings, watering with mini-duck shaped watering cans.

Day #2

"Kids we need to go out to the garden."

"Okaaaaaaaay...."

Follows with helping mama poke seeds in the ground for five minutes and then running off to pick dandelions and throw to the chickens.

Day #3

"Kids we need to go out to the garden."

"But MOOOOOOOOM!"

Follows with kids ripping open random packets of seeds and planting their "OWN" gardens in random spots. (Okay, fine, that happened once.)

Day #4

"Kids we need to go out to the garden."

"Do we HAVE TO? I WANT TO PLAY INSIDE!"

Follows with kids biking and doing their own thing while you garden, which, lets face it, is kind of blissful at this point. HA.

And so it goes.

Nevertheless, with a small break for de-tick-i-fy-ing the back yard, we managed to get a heck of a lot done the past few days.

We even had our first admirer stop by, a minivan rolled past slowly, then backed up, then pulled into the driveway, our neighbor, or "country neighbor" from down the road, who wanted to see our "beautiful garden" up close.

Yes!

Is it prideful of me that both me and dada were totally pysched?? HA.

So far we have bean pole and sweet pea teepees, to be forts for the kids in the hot summer months, a flourishing bed of strawberries, greens planted last fall and in early spring under the protection of the hoop house, several boxes with tomatoes (and more to plant!), cabbages and kale, a box of broccoli and cauliflower, mounds of watermelon, pumpkins, squash and zuchinni in the back with corn planted here and there around it all, a long row of sunflowers planted on the side, and my favorite, three potato towers made out of sticks poked in the ground, wound with wild vines pulled down from the trees and stuffed with grass clippings and dirt (they are seriously beautiful, the idea is to add layers of dirt as the plant grows and then it keeps producing more and more potatoes.)

That is a lot of vegetables.

And a lot of work.

But we are so excited by it. When dada finally finished the fencing around it he called my phone and told me to look outside, where he proceded to take a bow to his admiring audience. HA.

Happy.






the potato towers waiting to be filled
 
luckily my adorable baby sister was here to visit and she
totally knew how to do this...first we layered some dug up sod around the edges
then we filled with grass clippings and dirt in the center
 
then we put in our potato starters (you can cut them up into chunks but i didnt because i had a ton)
then we covered with dirt
 

the finished towers. then just keep layering with dirt and clippings on the side
as the plants grow.




my herb garden, waiting for herbs (next weekend!)

bonus! dada found wild grapes in the woods!



and see that clump of bushes? not bushes. wild blackberries!

just waiting for a gate.
LOVE.
Friday, May 24, 2013

confessions

I havent posted a confessions post in awhile. Keeping my dirty little secrets hidden away I guess, HA.

Well, time for some airing I guess, good for the soul and all.

#1 I havent put a cloth diaper on baby dear in over a month. Havent even tried. And no, she isnt potty trained yet, nor am I really trying. LAZY MAMA! Damn straight. The last time I tried to get one on her she said it was a "ouchy" dipe and promptly took it off. HA HA. So, perhaps my cloth diapering days are done??? FOREVER???? This would be crazy. Likely true too. WEIRD.

#2 I'm going to train for a half marathon. There I said it. Now I have to do it. CRAP. So far the most I've been able to run without stopping is 3.5 miles in 40 minutes. Not great. Not terrible. This is not some big health kick. Mostly its a release. I used to run a lot pre-baby, when I had a super stressfull job. Parenting is also super stressful. So. I figure yes, lets be running girls again. Yes, that is talking in the royal we, apparently.

#3 Dada asked little man what he wanted to drink with dinner the other night. He, without hesitation, said a cocktail. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.

#4 Turns out I am horrifically afraid of ticks. Like, bordering on crazy lady afraid. Turns out there are a lot of them in the country, this year especially. Which sucks. Dada is actually spraying for them this weekend. Lets hope for the best. In the meanwhile, Benedryl works to take away imaginary crawling skin as well as real itchy skin. Who knew?

#5 The above situation has made me actually contemplate brushing out my dreads and cutting my hair. Like, normal person hair. But then I would just have boring straight lady hair, with lots of greys, and would feel the need to style it and crap like that and, well, I dont know if I have it in me. Maybe. Maybe not.

That is all for now.

Carry on.
Monday, May 20, 2013

anti-recipe #61 sprouted lentils

So. I raved via Facebook about the loveliness of sprouted lentils. Yes I know. I know. We all know I am dramatic. HA. But, some context...The Longest Winter Known To Man. So, that is probably why the sight of green things happily growing in a jar in my window, and OH the sweet taste of new-ness, well, that is why.

And now. Green things all around. But still, the garden is a work in progress. We dig. We put in teeny seeds. Flimsy seedlings. And then. We wait.

So, if you, like me, are not good at waiting. Here is something you can try, for that nice fresh green-ness in your very own house.

Sprouted lentils.

So very easy. So very tasty. So very good for you. (Something about the enzymes stored in the lentil being activated by the sprouting process...something like that.)

Here is how you do it.

Take that half-empty bag of lentils at the back of your cupboard. You know, from when you made chicken and lentils THREE MONTHS AGO. Yes, those lentils. We all have these lentils.

Now, rince them and soak a cup of them in water overnight. Any old bowl will do. I covered them lightly with a cloth.

Now. The next morning drain the water and divide the cup of lentils between two mason jars. (Or you could just do 1/2 cup at a time, clearly.)

Now put the ring of the jar over a piece of cheesecloth or paper towel. Or use a rubber band. Cheesecloth is worth getting for it in this case because then to rinse and drain (several times a day) you simply take the cheesecloth off, fill with water, put the cheesecloth back on, shake around a bit, and dump it out. Also its usually in the grocery store (who knew?) so its not that hard to actually get. If you dont have any for now, use paper towel and then to rinse hold a mesh strainer on the top of your jar, filled with water, and dump out over the sink, using the strainer to stop the lentils coming out. (Holy crap that was a terribly confusing sentence. You all know how to use a strainer, right?? HA HA)

Now wait a few days, keep rinsing and draining, and soon you will see little green sprouts on your windowsill. Once they sprout roots AND little tiny green leaves they are ready. Store them in the fridge and use within just a few days.

Now, what to do with them?

This is why I didnt post about them for awhile. That is all well and good Sara, yes they are tasty, but what to do with them??

#1 So, first the obvious. You could use them raw on sandwiches. Lots of people poo-poo this idea, they say its a risk for bacteria. I say this about that. Have you ever picked the slimy spinach out of a container of spinach from the store and just used the good stuff anyhow? Yea, its like that. Plus, this is exactly what alfalfa sprouts are in the store (and incidentally everything I've read says that alfalfa sprouts are actually not good for you??)

#2 Then there is pad thai. Just follow my pad thai anti-recipe and stir them in in the last few minutes. YUM.

#3 Then our new creation, sprouts sauteed in butter with garlic salt and pepper. SO DARN GOOD. This is my favorite.

So. Experiment! You can sprout just about anything. Raw nuts (havent tried). Random dried beans (have tried, used in a ham soup with regular beans, SO GOOD).

So, hey, if you are sitting around waiting for your garden to grow, or if you are a city dweller with no dirt, go try it. Instant gratification! Instant gardening! YAY.


these still need a day or two.


see the little green shoots? ready to eat!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

where i am at


Its a SUMMER DAY. SUMMER DAY. And the strawberries are planted, now broccoli too. So, come to the garden!





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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

a felt flower crown and the story of why flowers have bright colors

Tuesday is our craft day but it hasnt really been a crafty mojo time for me lately. However, what with all the green leaves dusting the treetops and the wild water marigold we saw growing in the ditch, and my little giant garden started to take form, well, that gets me to thinking of flowers and fairy crafts.

Because I am a dork like that.

So, what better than a flower crown for my little fairy children? I mean, right? (HA.) So my boy, with a teeny bit of coercion, said yes he wanted one too, as long as it didnt have any pink in it. When I requested please please could I take a picture he said, "For who?" I said, um, for daddy? He said "Fine, ONLY dad. And you CANT put it on your blog!!!" HA HA. I've been found out!! I knew the day would come, too soon. Ah well. Maybe I will ask him pretty please because, oh my gosh he made the cutest scrunched up embarassed face in the picture.

In any case. The craft.

I simply cut out flower and leaf shapes from felt and hand sewed them onto a length of ribbon. Easy peasy. And so so so so sweet.

I want to try and make a garland the same way for my kitchen window. Because, as I said, I am a dork like that. Maybe I will even hang tiny flower fairy dolls from it. Maybe. HA. My sisters are going "OhMYGOSHSARAYOUARESUCHADORK." I know. I know. But its so pretty and nice and sweet and, as baby says "Gooden and nummy" This is her ultimate highest compliment. GOODEN AND NUMMY!! NICE SUMMER DAY. SO GOODEN! SO NUMMY! As she spins around in her gooden and nummy dress, flower crown in her fluffy curls. Yes. My life is a tiny bit fairy tale, I do realize that. HA.

And then. To complete the sweet scenario we went out to the swings and hammock hanging under the deck and read the below story, from my favorite website, an old tale by Madge A. Bingham.

Happy Gooden and Nummy Days my friends!!
a length of ribbon and some flower shapes

simply sew on a ribbon

tie in back. CROWN. VOILA.


they are both enamored with worms lately, picking them,
carrying them around, holding them, naming them
things like "Golly" "Jolly" "Molly" and "Rocky" HA HA HA


my summer fairy

i was authorized to use this and only this picture. isnt he ADORABLE???

this is her face whenever we pull out the camera lately

WHY FLOWERS HAVE BRIGHT COLOURS


If you had been in the Garden Beautiful late one moonlight night, you would have heard the Lady Petunia, all dressed in a violet robe, tell such a wonderful story that even the dewdrops nestled among her leaves to listen.

"Once upon a time," she said, "when the world was new, all flowers were white, and none wore the bright coloured dresses we see them wear these days.

"The queen of the flowers was an exquisite white rose. She grew in the centre of the garden, near the lake, and grouped around her were flowers of every kind—pinks, nasturtiums, poppies, dahlias, lilacs, hyacinths, phlox, daisies, daffodils, and many, many other kinds.

"But all, like the queen, were dressed in pure white.

"They loved the rose queen, because it was she who had taught them all the wonderful secrets that they knew.

"She had shown them how to send forth their slender roots under the ground for food to eat, and how to carry it up the stalks to the leaves and precious blossoms.

"She had shown them, too, how to make the wonderful pollen dust of gold, and even how to make the little seed cradles with the wee baby seeds tucked inside.

"But one thing, the greatest thing of all, the rose queen could not tell them; and that was how to ripen the wee seed babies and make them grow fat and round and plump,—as an earth baby does, you know.

"For many days the rose queen bowed her head and thought and wondered over this question. What could she do?

"It would be too bad if the baby seeds from none of the plants ever ripened or grew any larger, for not even a little seed likes always to be a baby. Then too, without well-ripened seed, soon there would be no flowers blooming in the Garden Beautiful—because there would be no seeds to plant.

"So, you see, that was enough to make the rose queen sorrowful, and for nights and days she thought or dreamed of nothing else.

"At last she said, one day, to a little breeze fairy who was softly fanning her cheeks:

" 'Pretty breeze fairy, in all of your travels, have you heard of no one who knows how flowers may ripen their seeds, and make them grow plump and round?'

" 'I know how trees ripen their seeds, replied the little breeze fairy.'They exchange their golden pollen dust with one another. I have often helped the wind blow it from one tree to another.

" 'Perhaps that is the way flowers should ripen their seed babies, too. I would help you if I could, but when the wind blows it is so rough and strong that I feel sure it would blow the dainty flower-cups all to pieces.

" 'Why do you not ask the bees to help you do this or the moths and butterflies? They would be the very ones to help you out of your trouble, and carry the pollen dust to and fro.'

 "Now the rose queen had often seen the bees and butterflies flitting by the garden; but they never came near any of the flowers. So how could she ask any of them to carry the golden pollen dust from flower to flower?

" 'I must get a message to these bees and butterflies somehow,' said the queen to herself. 'How shall I do it? '

"And then, the very next moment, a smile played over her beautiful face and she said softly: 'Oh, now I know what we can do! I suppose bees and butterflies are like the earth-children and like good things to eat.

" 'I will tell the flowers about my plan in the morning, and we will all make sweet nectar juice and tuck it away, down in our flower cups, and then the bees and butterflies will be sure to come to us for a taste.

" 'It is then I will ask them to help us exchange our golden pollen dust with one another—roses with roses, violets with violets, pinks with pinks,—that is the way.'

"And so the rose queen fell asleep, happy in her new-made plan, because she knew how happy it would make the flowers next day when they heard that she had at last thought of a way to make their seed babies ripen and grow.

"And, indeed, they were very happy when they heard about it, and they began at once, and worked from early morning until night, storing away delicious nectar juice for their visitors, the bees and butterflies, whom they were expecting very soon.

"But alas! though the nectar juice was of the sweetest and very best, none of the bees or the dainty butterflies stopped to take even a sip, and because of this the beautiful rose queen was more sorrowful than ever, and the flowers drooped low over the cradles where the young seed babies lay sleeping, sick and pale.

"It seemed that they would have to die after all, since neither the bees nor butterflies would come to help them exchange their golden pollen dust, and this alone was all that could possibly save their lives. "Surely something must be done, or very soon the Garden Beautiful would be without its lovely flowers, since there would be no more seeds to grow up in place of the flowers that withered.

" 'I’ll tell you,' said the little breeze, who lingered again by the side of the rose queen. 'Why do you not put out signal flags of red and blue and other bright colours?

" 'All of your flowers in the Garden Beautiful are dressed in white, and perhaps bees and butterflies cannot see white.

" 'Now if you will put out brightly-coloured signal flags, I am sure the bees and butterflies will come, because they like bright colours, and when they find out that you have made sweet nectar juice for them they will be only too glad to keep on coming.

" 'Try it,' laughed the little breeze, 'and while the bees and butterflies are busy sipping nectar juice, the flowers can be sprinkling golden pollen dust over their bodies and wings so they will be sure to leave some with every new flower they call on.

'"The fair rose queen laughed merrily with the little breeze, as he talked, and then she said:

" 'But wait; before you go, tell me, pray, where I am to get these brightly-coloured signal flags you speak of? I have none.'

" 'Oh, the sunbeam fairies can bring you every colour of the rainbow,—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet,' replied the mischievous little breeze, tickling her leaves into fresh laughter as he flew away.

"Then the happy rose queen called quickly to a sunbeam fairy who danced that way.

" 'Come and help me, shining fairy of the sky,' she said. ' Bring to me, I pray thee, many brightly-coloured flags. I would have them of the lovely rainbow colours, so beautiful to look upon.'

" 'Flags?' replied the shining sunbeam fairy, pausing in his dance. 'I have no flags, fair queen, but I can bring you something better—dresses in all the rainbow colours, bright and beautiful to look upon.'

"So away he hastened to the palace of the sun, leaving the dear rose queen very happy, and when he returned there came with him many, many tiny sunbeam fairies, each one heavily laden, and oh, the beautiful, beautiful dresses they brought with them! Soon all the flowers had changed their robes of spotless white for garments of the brightest rainbow hues—of blue and red and violet and orange and their tints and shades.

"Very soon there was a wonderful change in the Garden Beautiful and the rose queen's cheeks flushed a delicate pink when she bowed her head in thanks to the kind little sunbeam fairies.

"And it really happened just as the little breeze fairy said it would.

"Very soon the bees and butterflies caught sight of the Garden Beautiful, decked out in its wonderful new colours, and over the old wall they flew in troops and visited every flower.

"Best of all, they liked the nectar juice so much that they came again and again, and, fluttering here and there, they carried with them the golden pollen dust which was needed so much to help the seed babies grow.

"So, day by day, the flowers worked to keep a store of nectar juice, and day by day the bees and butterflies kept coming, until by and by the seed babies were ripe and plump and strong, and the fair rose queen knew the Garden Beautiful would remain as it had been—fresh and beautiful every year.

"And now," said the Lady Petunia, "my story is ended, and you know why it is that the flowers wear bright-coloured dresses.

"True, a few of them still wear white in memory of the fair rose queen, but by their perfume the bees and butterflies have learned that they keep sweet nectar juice for their friends and visit them just the same.

"Some of these white flowers bloom only at night when the bees and butterflies have gone to bed. But the little gray moths that flit about in the starlight know how sweet they smell, and visit them often—sipping their nectar and carrying the golden pollen dust from flower to flower."



Monday, May 13, 2013

and the winner is.....

MISS K!

SUPER fun mamas! THANKS!

I plan on doing these every now and again, so keep checking back. I'm thinking maybe some wooly pants or some of my handmade baby shoes?

So, Miss K, send me a message on my Facebook page with your address!

Hope you are all having a happy Monday. As baby dear says, SMILE-EY!




Saturday, May 11, 2013

a hike























Friday, May 10, 2013

I declare

I declare, that mothers get the whole WEEKEND, starting Friday afternoon. Right?? Are you with me?

I'm gonna leave the couch cushions on the floor, eat butterscotch brownies for lunch, drink too much coffee, read a junk novel procured by lovely dada yesterday and then pack the kids up for an excursion to the local bookstore, then Costco for a rendezvous with dada. Tomorrow I'm thinking garden work, a junk movie, maybe a run BY MYSELF. Then on Sunday I plan on being out and out indulgent. Sleeping in. Brunch. Maybe coffee in town with a book. Maybe even a nap. That's it. No guilt. 

Okay fine I did a load of laundry this morning, out of necessity due to some wet sheets from little miss this morning. 

Ergh. 

Is this all super selfish of me? Probably. I'm feeling right now like I don't give a rats ass what people think of me. I plan on wearing leggings, a little skirt and a ratty shirt running errands. Why? Because I'm comfortable and I DON'T CARE. 

Ha. 

So mamas. Hope you have a lovely indulgent weekend. I plan to too, right after I change baby dear's diaper. Ha. 

Perfect. Little man just yelled in from his room, "mom! Baby is stinky! Why are you being so lazy!?" Ha ha ha ha!! 

Happy mamas day! 

Edited to add: I got off my duff to take the kids for a walk, also below, pics of my I don't give a rats ass look...although with my super cool moccasins I feel like its actually allowed? 








Tuesday, May 7, 2013

handy gardening tip

Pallets that are marked in this symbol have been heat treated, NOT chemically treated, and are safe to use in the garden!! Great, huh? Especially because there are so many AMAZING Pinterest ideas using pallets. We find ours at our local hardware store, for free (ask first!) in the store's burn pile out back or for around $4 new.

Back to gardening, or as little man says farming.

"Mom, our new spinach leaves taste like real spinach! We did it! We are farmers!! "

Baby is chowing on it as I write, covered in dirt. Ha!






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