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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

a little patch of happy

I'm having one of those weeks. Already. Last week was like this too. It's a rut. A summer rut. Seizing the moment. Living up summer. Try try try. 

Today feels like. Fail fail fail

Everything seems to be not working out. And right after I start talking about it. Putting it out there. Hawaii is case in point. (Sure come teach. For two years. And oh we are a non profit so you need to raise your own salary.... Um. No?)

I'm not sure what to do about homeschool groups next year and it's honestly stressing me out to the point of tears. 

Dada is having a time of it pushing into his new career. Oh. It is going to happen, just taking time. More than we had hoped. So he does contract work. Slaving away at our hole in the wall home office while I take the kids to the lake and etc. trying to stay out of his hair. 

Little miss waking up with a fever. A chicken getting snatched up into the forest by a predator. The garbage collection people forgetting our trash two weeks on a row. (Which seriously stressed me out) And my new iPhone is back ordered. DAMMIT. 

And it's hard. It's okay to write that right? I can't be one of those blogs where everything is shiny and bright and pretty. Because let's face it mostly it feels like life is shoveling the shitty out of the way right now, trying to just clear out a little patch of happy among the shitty. You know? This is my season of life anyhow. 

Okay fine. It's this week. 

Yes. I'm melancholic by nature. 


At least I admit it. You know?

So. Here is to a little patch of happy. And shoveling shitty out of the way. 

Cheers mamas. 

Berry rhubarb jam

Green beans to freeze. 

Compost tea for the garden. (Egg shells, banana peels and coffee grounds in water!) 

Gorgeous long walks. 

Building a fort with dada

Corn on the cob at the county fair. 

Proudly checking out books with his own library card. 

A visit with my sweet baby sister. 

Finding a vintage well know label dress for $5 at the thrift store. 

Successfully crafting spool and bead dolls with the kids. 

Enjoying the first tomatoes of the season in a BLT. 

And of course my garden. 

And now. Put little miss down for a nap. Take some headache medicine. And read to the kids. Here is to August!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

summer flower doll craft

I still craft. I swear I do. I just forget to take pictures. Or, sad to say, the girls get involved and the results are rather, er, disappointing.

In any case. The other day we were faced with the prospect of a birthday party for a sweet little three year old. And I figured. Hey. Its been awhile. Lets craft.

I got out this "How to make flower fairy doll" book, given to me by my mother, who knows me too well, and thought it would be perfect. Easy. Felt. Wool. Have it. I can do this. Right??

The actual present turned out really well. The little birthday girl loved it. My girls were happy. And JEALOUS. Where is MY DOLL?? I WANT A DOLL TOO MAMA!

Yes, okay sweets.

So, we spent the day making dolls. One, a sweet little violet doll for my Evergreen. The other a stately queen daffodil for little miss.

The results were....mixed...but we had a lovely time and the girls participated and I only got slightly flustered when I realized it was dinner time and I was STILL SEWING.

But, nonetheless. and now, a month or so later, the flower dolls still get played with, residing in a place of honor on top of the piano.

Here is how we made them if you want to try. 

And hey, I posted this and I thought I never really mention actually trying to involve kids in this. Well, I did, for once. Which included things like picking out colors and helping to cut felt and thread and learning to stitch (a bit) and stuffing with wool and rice.  For older kids, well, an eight year old could do this on their own, I should think. Okay. That's all I had to say. Good luck. Ha!

The pink doll was my effort at this book years ago, for little miss.

The basic pieces started. The light purple for the baby. the green leaf shapes for the baby's bed.  The dark purple skirt is for the mama.

Another view of the pieces.
 This is the page about cutting out the clothes to make the body. A very simple shirt. A rectangle for the skirt. A round circle for the bottom of the skirt.

Here is the start of the head. A ball of wool crossed over with some thread to make a face shape.

Making the bendable arms to insert into the shirt. Simply wrapped in some wool and some wool yarn.

The head, now covered in a stretchy jersey knit, pulled tight and sewed up in the back.

The body, put together with the head. The shirt bottom wasn't wide enough, as you shall see, making her rather floppy.

Sewing on the skirt and the bottom of the skirt. I stuffed it with rice at the bottom and then wool.

A simple stitch to gather the top of the skirt.

Stuffing the skirt.

Drawing the skirt closed. I didn't take a picture of the next step because it was freaking hard. I had to stuff the skirt up into the too narrow shirt and sew it all together. Possible. Frustrating though.

The little baby. Really simple. Sew together, insert little piece of jersey knit for the face. Stuff with a little rice and some wool. Sew face on.

 Baby side view.

Finished mama, baby and leaf bed.

The hair was needle felted on and then sewn a bit too, along with a flower in her hair.
The face was hard on these to get right. I don't like either but, eh, the girls were happy enough. Little miss wanted her queen to have a smile though, as you can see below my attempt is rather, um, funny. But she looks happy and smiley and...good enough...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

seizing summer

So it's the middle of July. Which is precisely when we northerners start thinking. "Oh crap! Summer is almost over!! Need to get out and DO SUMMER!"

Perhaps this is also a mom thought. 

But we were going to do so much! Time to GET IT DONE!

This week we have been " doing" and then some. 

This week alone, ice cream cones, play dates at the park, blueberry picking, bonfire with marshmallows, and today we are going to a local small town parade, mostly for the fire trucks and the candy they throw at you.

I am tired. But my hermit self leftover from winter is starting to wither. So that's good. Right? 

I guess. 


So we are in the car now, driving to the parade. And I still have dirt under my nails from the garden. 

And right before we left I strained out elderflower cordial that has been steeping for two days. 

So I saw a post on one of these picture perfect blogs that make me feel insecure about making cordial with elderflower. A traditional British summertime drink. Also tasty mixed with soda water. Or vodka. 

And we went for a walk. And I saw some wild elder flowers. 

So I made some. 

It's delicious. 

And now for a parade. 

Seizing summer! Hooyah!!

She said, CANDY!!!

Where's the candy?
Tuesday, July 15, 2014

anti-recipe #70-something the best green beans ever

I've lost count of my anti recipes! And mainly I'm too lazy to look it up because I'm out in the garden rocking baby green on the swing and blogging via iPhone. 

70 something though, wow. Does this mean I'm learning how to cook? Or fake it really well. Ha! 

So yes green beans. One thinks of green mush or the thanksgiving crispy onion casserole thingy. Which I actually like but. 

In any case. 

I learned this trick from my dad a few summers ago and was amazed at how amazing they turned out. Not that he isn't a good cook mind you. In fact, come to think of it, my dad is totally an anti recipe kind of cook. Little of this. Little of that. Sometimes it's amazing, sometimes, well, you know. 

But always inventive and working with what you have. Truly the June way. 


Enough chatter. 

No I was surprised because well, soy sauce? Yes. Indeed. And fry up this dish in the middle of winter with beans frozen from the garden last summer and. Ah. Like you can taste July. And now it is July. And it's our first batch of beans for the year. 


Butter. All good dishes start with butter. Sauté for a minute. Add some minced garlic and chopped onion. Add your clean green beans. They can totally still be frozen. Totally. Sauté until they are tender. Now add a liberal dash or two of soy sauce. No really trust me. Now keep sautéing, stir and all, until the beans start browning. 

Serve. You can cover in grated Parmesan  too. Mmmmmmm. 



My view from the garden swing. 
Friday, July 11, 2014

how to ruin your day in 15 easy steps (and how to undo the damage)

Follow these steps, or variations thereof, and you too can have a miserable morning!

1. Pour a half gallon of farm fresh hard to get milk on the floor

2. Put on an artsy sundress, pull out your brand new oil paints and canvases and go to town

3. Get out kids watercolors and let them paint too

4. Bask in your ability to paint with children, side by side in blissful harmony for 3.5 minutes

5. Begin fielding requests for "mamas paints??" As in "why can't I paint with mamas paints??" 

6. Yell ridiculously loud when child B dumps water all over the table

7. Try to distract child #b and c with beads. 

8.  Forget to drink your necessary alotment of coffee 

9. Forget to eat

10.  Forget to feed kids lunch at exactly 11:30 am which is when they MUST be fed so as to not fall apart in desperate hunger within 30 minutes after

11. Think that child A can self monitor iPad consumption due to inspiring article read the night before. Realize you are wrong when said child whines and screams about sharing iPad turns. All. Morning. Long. 

12. Yell at children about iPad

13. Yell at children about picking up the hundreds of beads on the floor

14. Step in cats milk (salvaged from aforementioned spill) whilst yelling

15. Curse. 

Having noticed the level of ridiculous grumpiness distilling down to even child C the following remedies were attempted with varying degrees of success. 

1. Say sorry 

2. Make Mac and cheese pronto

3. Catch yourself yelling about eating their lunch

4. Clean up mess of paints

5. Eat leftover Mac and cheese

6. Realize painting is quite nice

7. Thank kids for painting with you

8. Turn on music, loud music

9. Dance. 

And now little man stomped off. Apparently Adele station on pandora isn't his jam. 

Mama can't win today. 

So 10. mama calls dada to come take kids out for ice cream. Please. Hurry. 

And finally, 11. Mama puts on video for baby and tries not to shriek when little miss says she's hungry 15 minutes after you fed her leftovers to the chickens. 

Hurry home dada!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

we are sick

We came home from the wedding. Rested a day. And then WHAM. Late nights, too much sugar, and lots of germy exposure and we've got this.

The nasty cold going around the wedding party. Little man hasn't moved from this spot in two days. Re-reading Harry Potter books over and over. I tried to entice him with a new selection from the library. He holds up his hand. No, mom. I like these.

Okay then.

And he won't eat.

But at least this cold we have the reading factor to prevent the whining mama to death factor, which is usually what happens when little man gets a cold.

The girls are sickish too. Of course. But little man is especially talented at being sick. Poor guy.

So. Health nut mama kicks into gear...

Here is what I have been administering:

"Fever oil" = a combo of peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, lavender oil, and thieves oil combined in olive oil, I keep a saturated flannel cloth in a Mason jar (of course) and wipe his head, chest, and feet regularly. This combo also works like a mild bengay muscle soother on a sore back, it also works for tension headaches and migraines, just be careful not to get too close to the eyes, the peppermint stings!

Honey lemon tea = 1 fresh squeezed lemon in a teapot with some ginger slices and a quarter cup of honey (a lot but it soothes the throat) and a dash of kombucha. Little man loves this stuff.

Children's Echinacea = a dropper full through out the day

Similasan Cough and Fever syrup = this works but it has to be given every few hours

Vit C and D = double doses, which is 1,000 and 4,000 IUIs (I've been taking mega doses of D lately myself as I heard its supposed to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder, which I seem to be struggling with even on cloudy summer days, WTH???)

Probiotics = I dump a capsule of the kind I take (PB8) into a spoonful of yogurt. They don't like it but I make them take it.

I've been drinking copious amounts of real apple cider vinegar and lemon juice in water. Sometimes with an Emergen C mixed in. Of course, this was supposed to prevent me from getting the Cold of Death. Of course it did not. Mama is SICK. I've also been downing thieves oil (just a drop!) and peppermint oil in hot water, dropping tea tree oil in my ears (they are killing me). Dada came home from the store with lots of fruit to juice, along with greens from the garden.


No seriously, all this goodness, how could we possible still be sick???

Ha. Ha. Um.

No. Seriously. Too Much To Do To Be Sick!

Aw, poor guy just requested an apple "cut up in a bowl" an English Muffin, with honey and butter. And then he declares, he's going out for some "fresh air" after he eats and then he is "going to take a nap for one hour."

I heart this little guy.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

cling. cling. cling.

My little brother got married on Friday.

I managed not to burst into tears in the ceremony. My girls and their cousin managed to walk down the aisle, wearing matching white, tossing rose petals, looking absolutely adorable.

It was perfect.

And now my little brother is heading back to an officer training school (he's in the Navy) and we returned to our little house, kissing aunties and uncles and cousins and grandparents goodbye.

And here we are.

And my house is alive with bright orange flowers from the ceremony. And I cant help but remember when he was born, the only boy after six daughters, (two more daughters were born later) and I was 13, and my dad rushed into the room in the middle of the night (he was born at home) holding up this squawking baby, like Simba, yes dad, its a boy, great, so exciting, I'm mildly grossed out now. And I went away on a missions trip and came home later that summer to find a blonde fat little baby, my brother, who I danced with to Lisa Loeb songs in my later teen years, sad about any number of things, who I called Fuzzy due to his shock of blonde hair that wouldn't lie flat.

And it strikes me how fast those years went by.

And I look at my babies, as they play this morning. My little man, sniffing from a cold, cuddled with with a giant Harry Potter book. Who someday will be making big decisions and heading off to college and finding "the one" and yes, how quickly it goes by.

And the shining faces of my family, sitting in chairs in the woods, watching the magic of the marriage ceremony, and I think how lucky I am, to have my children raised in this kind of love and togetherness, the sacred bonds we share that overcome misunderstandings and squabbles and hundreds of miles between us, and how I want that for my crew, how we are modeling that for them.

And we come home to find our monarch chrysalis turned dark, a sign that its about to hatch, and this morning we wake up, to see its fluttering its wings, dangling from the net of our butterfly cage.

A butterfly, dubbed "Heart" by little miss and "Flower Dance" by baby. Little man just sits on the couch and reads during this debate.

And the sun is shining. And, my client work is behind me, and my book work ahead of me. And. And life is good. Blessed. And I a planning on clinging to these little years, today anyway, while the coffee is pumping fresh in my veins, lest they slip away, and suddenly my little man is standing in the woods, saying "I do" with shining eyes. Cling. Cling. Cling.
a perfect wedding in the woods

dada and little man watching the rehearsal

solemn beauteous flower girls

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