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Thursday, May 28, 2009

 

all about the backyard :: part 2

our days outside can long and wandery. it's fun to shake things up a bit now and then. i've noticed that bb (now 4 going on 5) doesn't realize that he can take toys from one room and move them to another. specifically as it pertains to upstairs/downstairs or indoor/outdoor. he knows that some toys are really "outdoor toys." this includes anything that goes in the sand or dirt or something to ride on. but what he didn't seem to realize is that we can take some of our playthings outside on a beautiful sunny day. so long as we don't muddy them.

this has opened up a whole new world. . .

he caught his first toad. he's been squeamish about this in the past, but on this day, he scooped it up without me even knowing. "hey mom, look! a toad!"

she could do this all day. bubbles. cups. and ha-ho (water).

the barn gets set up.

the horses are fed their hay.


stella and bo-bo enjoy some sleep on a log after snack.


together they enjoy placing the animals, walking them, knocking them over! and of course the big-rig in the back takes them for rides or brings new hay. "it's not a big-rig, mommy, it's a hay wagon."
yes.
it is.

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Monday, May 25, 2009

 

bake sale goodies :: strawberry cupcakes

this saturday we had the second of 2 bake sales for bb's school. one in the fall and one in the spring. it seems to work out well! for this one i made these kick-ass strawberry muffins. i used this recipe and my only complaint is that i wish the cupcakes had more of a strawberry flavor. however, once the frosting is on i can see why the cakes are less strawberry-y. still. i craved more intense flavor.

i was delighted, of course, to have the underwear chef in the kitchen with me.


i also made Oatmeal Banana Muffins w/ Chocolate Chips and the Cookie Carnival cookie for this month-- hazelnut macaroon sandwiches. i've blogged about the muffins before on a different blog that i used to write on the Content Quake network (it says annie so-and-so posted it, but i assure you, it was me). this recipe is one of my absolute favorite muffin recipes. and when you make them with organic ingredients, fresh eggs from a local farm and with dark chocolate chips they are completely irresistible. i swear.

i'll post about the macaroons later on at round-up time, but let's just say this: me and these cookies did NOT get along. more on that later....

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

 

all about the backyard

lately the weather has made it impossible to spend much time indoors. we've been living in the back yard most days enjoying the simplicity of just. . . being. being together.

i told my son how i couldn't wait to hang a clothes line so that he could find the joys of running through the sheets. he had no idea what i meant. and then i showed him how lovely it can be play in the wind and he and his sister had a BALL.


of course in my own mind i was wanting the clothes line for other reasons. to save energy, to give my children the experience of being with me as i do my "mommy work" outside, so they could help me fold and hang in the sunshine. it's all a part of bringing the lifestyle i want for us from my mind into a reality.

this is my favorite (above). i love how they are looking at each other and laughing so silly.

these outside day have a rhythm all their own. i find that we have little realms that get visited and revisited throughout the day. there's the picnic blanket with our snacks or lunch. there's the swings and slide. there's the rings which bb has just learned to hold, pull himself up and flip over on. there's the wagon filled with water for my girl to explore with her cups and watering cans. there's the garden and the sand. we flow from realm to realm enjoying each one for a time.

it's where i most love to be lately.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

 

the sewing obsession continues...

i made another skirt! the first one was cute, but i wanted something a bit more. . . flouncy. this one is maybe *too* flouncy and it's too short, but that's ok because it's still super cute. so what if it looks like a tu-tu!

and then of course the boy started to ask, "mommy, when are you going to make something for MEEEEEEE?" and so i made some pants. my first ever! (don't ask me why he is showing you his butt.)

they are a little "off," unfortunately. the truth is they were awesome--until i realized they were too long. i was REALLY proud of them, but then in the hemming i messed them all up. o well. live and learn, right?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

 

frosty badness

so, there was a frost last night. apparently everyone knew this was going to happen. except me. this is most distressing to me because my *beautiful* basil and tomatoes that were having a perfectly lovely time on the deck are now. . . kaput. and they were my mother's day gift! boo, mother nature, boooooo!

Friday, May 15, 2009

 

pulled in 2 directions.

this mama wants to know how you do it. do you have children? how on earth to you manage to serve each of them well?

i have 2. boy :: 4.5 yrs. girl :: 20 mos. me :: feeling unfit.

lately i don't feel like i'm getting it done with the kids. i can't seem to meet both their needs. i used to enjoy my time with my son when we could bake, do art projects, sit and quietly read a book, paint...whatever. but now, i feel like i can't do a thing with him. and i think we both miss it. i cannot engage in anything with him because the young one needs my attention. and so he never gets me. except on weekends when she is napping. i feel torn about this. on one hand i feel that that is just part of growing up in a family. and i also feel like it's unfair. or too hard for him to have to be so self-sufficient and "grown up" so young. and i miss our time together.

the girl is willful. impatient. walking away when she doesn't like what i say. getting frustrated. she's what we call high-maintanence. and she acts in ways he never did. she'll scream NO NO NO. she'll hit the floor. and i can't help but feel i've failed her. i've never dealt with this kind of melt-down and lack of easy goingness. not to say the boy was perfect. far from it, but he was not the melt-down type. she's more volatile.

and so i feel that if i'm serving one, the other is left to her/his own devices. i can't win. i'm frustrated.

advice? encouragement? i'm all over it....

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

 

more sewing projects :: a sweet skirt!

i finally buckled down and made my first wearable! it's a skirt for my wee one made from an old sheet. working with a sheet is great because there's a built-in hem! sweet! less work for me, the newbie sewer. i did manage to sew a little pocket on there, which she uses for a little stone. in and out, in and out it goes.

it is full of imperfections, but it FITS. so, major score there. next time, i might try to make it a little flouncier. we'll see. i have a list of projects......curtains, dish towels, picnic blanket. i tend to get idea-crazy. biting off more than i can chew!

but i have to admit---it's super fun seeing her in something i MADE!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

 

bread bags :: LOVE them.


ta-da! finally, they are done. it's been almost a month since this post and i've been working away embroidering and sewing these sweet little bags to hold the yummy soft bread we've been baking.

the pattern for the Rooster comes from the book Decorative Embroidery by Mary Norden and the Coffee Cup from Doodle Stitching by Aimee Ray.

i've been getting lots of books from the library on embroidery trying to learn a few different stitches. the stem stitch is a head scratcher for me. i can't seem to get it. if anyone has tips, i'm all ears!


i used linen fabric and it has worked out well. our bread keeps for about 3 days. and that's about as long as it lasts before we eat it anyway, so it works out well!

i highly recommend this way of storing fresh bread. it's nice to be using less plastic on/near our food. and they're so *way* cuter.

the kids love them and can barely wait for the bread to cool before putting the loaf in. "mommy, it's got a coffee cup. you love coffee. you can have coffee and bread now!" of course they were right by my side mixing up our dough for this organic wheat bread we made.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

 

mother's day fun

i have to say, i love mother's day. it's like getting an extra birthday or being queen for a day. my day couldn't have been more lovely.

it started with me getting to STAY IN BED this morning and read! not for too long, but long enough to feel decadent. soon, little feet came up the stairs and presented me with the sweetest homemade cards. "i love you mommy. thank you for all the yummy dinners you make." made me melty! and for a gift---the cookbook i've been going on and on about. yay! now i don't have to bother the librarians for it again. it was really the perfect gift.


next i got to take a shower--a long one ta'boot! and off we all went to my favorite cafe and had some breakfast yums. blueberry pancakes for the kids. which i of course dipped into and i ooh'd and aaah'd over my tomato spinach feta omelette served with a bit of baguette, potatoes and small salad. so yummy. so fresh. local eggs, local greens, and the best part.....the coffee. the delicous delicious coffee. ah. i feel happy just thinking about it.


then it was back home to get in the garden. we dug, raked, hoe'd and mixed soil and compost. we decided to do our tomatoes in pots as well as the herbs we adore. and the garden, we decided to dedicate to a sunflower house.

my little sprouts were looking a little limp and hesitant, but i have high hopes that they will grow strong, indeed.

and here's hoping i can remember to water the tomatoes, pepper plant and herbs in their pots on the deck! i love having herbs right outside the kitchen door. it's the best! just dash out and snip!


so, that's how i spent my day. and you?

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

 

book "review" :: The River Cottage Family Cookbook

i have been so excited over this book for a few weeks now that i could barely contain myself to get some thoughts down about it and how fabulous it is.

i first saw The River Cottage Family Cookbook. on Soulemama's blog. it immediately appealed. just the cover alone had me. anything with the words "family" "cottage" and "cooking" and i'm there.

this book inspires me, but i admit not in the ways i expected. i didn't find the book to be incredibly inclusive of children in the way i thought. there is no talk of how to make the recipes with kids or why they would like this or that. there are lots of pictures of kids doing stuff, but very little said about it. and there's a LOT of words in there. i don't personally know any kids who would read this book. so, i am left to gather that the "family" aspect was meant in terms of the food--yes for the most part it is stuff kids might eat, but more so, it's a real basic text on the building blocks of what we eat. it's part history lesson, part "what is an egg anyway?" it gives a wonderful and enriching look at our food. and it whole heartedly advocates eating whole, simple foods. for me, it was a delight because i enjoyed the food 101 nature of it--how it explained things without talking down. to the contrary it inspired me.

before i even finished the book i was already baking my own bread (2 loaves a week for 3 weeks now!) and putting heavy cream in jars for us to shake into butter to go with it. and it was wonderful. not only did it taste like heaven, but there was something really really satisfying and GOOD feeling about knowing our food was simple and fresh! we baked it. we know what was in it.

and now, i am looking at taking it all a step further. i am readying the garden to grow just a few edibles of our own, i'm gearing up for our first pick-up at our CSA farm in a couple of weeks, i'm researching where to get local butter, milk and meat.

don't get me started on meat. the author makes a pretty awesome and compelling arguement for eating organic, grass-fed meat. and though it seems obvious, the thing he pointed out that hit me the hardest was that the farmers respond to our demands. if we demand meat raised humanely and without drugs, then that is what they will do. imagine. . . if stores that carried organic meats couldn't keep them on the shelves, they would tell the farmers, and the farmers in turn would produce more of it. it's up to us.

and so tomorrow, i'm off to check out a local farm that raises chickens and cows to get my first-ever raw milk. (this book convinced me to give it a try--a rant on that one--my current bedside read is forthcoming) and hopefully some organic, locally raised meat. yes, it's more expensive, but my goal right now is for our family to eat higher quality food. so if that means eating a little less dairy and meat, then so be it. the stuff we DO eat will nourish us so much better.

i highly recommend you check this book out of your public library as we did. love being inspired. don't you?

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

 

cookie carnival :: may challenge!

hey y'all, it's cookie time!

for those of you waiting for the April round-up, holly is working on it and i'll let you know when it's up!

until then, behold the delicious looking cookie for May. it's a HAZELNUT MACAROON SANDWICH COOKIE from williams-sonoma and don't they look lovely and dainty and perfect for a springtime tea party? (or in my case a school bake sale held at a garden shop).

i've put a pdf of the recipe here for the downloading. my hope is that this makes it easier for everyone to have and to print.

thanks to all of you who participate in the Carnival. each of you make it so much fun to do!

if you would like to be included in the round-up, please email me the direct link to your post as well as a photo (see sizing and naming protocol as well as other FAQs here) no later than MAY 31st :: 7pm EST.

any questions, don't hesitate to email me or comment on this post and i'll answer them as soon as i can.

happy baking!

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