Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Learning to Color Work Knit!

 Feeling so Proud of learning how to make this! Knitting is super rewarding and fun!
 pattern can be found at:
http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/cozy-canuck-chullo

Thank you, Make Onehttp://www.m1yarns.com/for teaching the class so I could learn how to do this!



Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Go away "Should Be Able Tos"

Me, putting baby on my back in attempt to do the dishes.


Been visited by the "shoulds" lately.. Should be able to keep up with the house and make sure my children get their homework turned in on time..Make sure my daughter doesn't have a rats nest in her hair..I feel embarassed when she goes to a playdate with messy hair and comes back with her hair nicely braided..Make sure that she wears warm enough clothes even though she wants to go short sleeved on a 33 degree morning.. I am embarassed when someone comes over to my messy house..and it is so messy because we went away for the weekend..and am now so far behind in everything, it will take another week to catch up, but oh, my husband is going away on another business trip next week, so I'll quickly get behind again..But, we went on the trip to see family..because that is what we should do..It was worth it, though, because we had "good quality time together" because that is one of the things we should do.  But my house is so messy and somehow I should still have it clean..

Went to the doctors today and was told I should get more exercise..but how?  Get up earlier?  I already get up at  530 and am often too tired by the time my husband gets home at 730..."What is wrong with me?"that I am not skilled enough to keep up with it all..I wonder that someone might think...when they give me advice on how I could do "better" But, honestly, there are not enough hours in the day even if you are a "stay at home mom"...I wonder how working moms do it?  Keep their house clean and feed their kids..and work..But, honestly it is still very hard even when you are not balancing a job..because often you dont have childcare..because you cant afford it..and often the other spouse works long hours..and you are on your own and expected to do it all because you are lucky to be home with your kids...you are "priveledged" so you must surely be failing if your house is not immaculate or your child's hair is messy..

(I really should edit my writing too...like my house, my writing is sloppy..)


Yesterday, a parent came over to pick up her daughter after a playdate..and I was hoping she would only see the living room, but my daughter had lost her favorite toy..and that parent had to help her find it...and they looked all over my house! seeing to my horror my failings..She is a working mom and  her home is so much cleaner than mine..  (she's better at this than me?)


I am not saying this to complain, really I am not..I am saying it to address the shoulds for other people out there who may be struggling with the "shoulds" too..Because, the "shoulds" is an unrealistic condition..just as much as the body image of being supermodel thin is..They are parts of the same problem...that women are supposed to be everything to everyone..and that the "shoulds" should not bother me when I realize this..

So maybe it is okay, that I cannot have a family weekend and a clean house this week..and maybe it is okay to have my 6 year old brush her own hair and live with the consequence if she doesn't..and maybe it is okay to have my kids get hot luch sometimes so I can go to the gym and get the exercise I NEED..or ask for help.

Here is the thing, if I did keep up with my home, do all the loads of laundry that need to be done..every day..  put the mail away, do the dishes 3x/day, sweep the floors (which really need it daily), put away the clothes, make the beds, clean up the toys, and the art supplies, make the food, put away the clean clothes...all the things that need to be done daily.. My baby would not get held much at all..she would have to just cry alone (a lot!)..  My children would not have playdates, or be able to play violin, or go on adventures, or get help with homework..  so, there would be those "shoulds" that would be not done..  and I would still be "damned"..as a mom..  Because I really can never win..  Either the house is neglected or my kids are..  or we choose not to go to visit my father in law for the weekend..

I am imagining in my mind, that some people may "imagine" my day while my kids are at school...as my being able to sit down and relax or watch soap operas..That is the look I get sometimes when I tell some people how busy I am...and why I need to say no to some things because I HAVE to catch up with the house..  What could I possibly be doing all day...when I am not "working"...I must have tons of time...so my house should be clean..  Perhaps, people don't think this at all, but sometimes it "feels" like these thoughts are coming at me.. (but perhaps those critical thoughts are only my own feeling of the "failed shoulds"

Also, someone might tell me how happy my baby is...that I have a very content, easy baby..  (and she really is!)  and sometimes when someone says this, I feel defensive..that it is another reason, why I "should" be able to do a better job at keeping my house clean..

Ok, here is the reality...Often all or 2 of my kids are home..  often one of them is sick.. or there are conferences, furlough days, teacher work days..and there is no school.  Often, I have to get groceries..or run errends..get the oil changed on the van.  and I have to fit it in..between naps. there are also doctors appointments (like my own today)  or my baby's last week.  There are days to help out in the classrooms.  There is catching up with other parents who want to get together with our kids.  There is communicating that has to happen with teachers.  The list is hundreds of tasks long..

Often naps are only 30 minutes long..  And the school day is only 6 hours long.  Usually there is only one nap that happens while the kids are in school.

And I have to feed the baby..and change her diaper..and soothe her when she is getting tired, but not ready to nap..

And often I am TRYING to get things done..run a load of diapers while the baby is content for 5 minutes..

I am doing the best I can. And trying to be a good parent..But, it is okay not to be a complete martyr. It is okay to read a book sometimes..or knit..or go on a weekend trip..  It is not going to get all done..and I should not feel guilty for stealing some moments to do this..even if I should be cleaning instead..because the cleaning ALWAYS needs to be done..

True friends will understand..and not judge.. and I can accept I am never going to be a supermodel..so perhaps I can accept I may never be one of those really good housekeeper moms either..

But I do make sure my kids are fed and warm and loved and safe..and I spend time with them..and help with homework and snuggle them and read to them..and do crafts with them..and I feed them healthy homemade meals most of the time.  And I really try to keep my cool even when my kids are not...when they are tired and "tantrummy"  And my kids are "clean"..They are bathed. They have clean clothes..and eat off of clean dishes.  (although sometimes, it feels that even this standard is hard to live up to lately..)

And I nurse my baby and sit on the floor with her as she explores..

And I make sure I do some things for myself..keep learning and creating so that I do not get depressed..or stir crazy..

There are not enough hours in the day to do it all..  I should not feel guilty...I should not react to the "vibes" I feel from others who may or may not understand..  I am not inadequate.  I am not lazy...or a slob even if my home does not reflect how much work I do..  I am on the go most of the day starting from 530 AM..  And I am soo sure that many many other moms/dads are too..

This "should" virus..of shame..needs to go away..  I am a fabulously creative and hard working parent of 3  and my husband is usually away for 12 hours a day..  My mother is passed away..and I do not have very much outside help..  I am NOT lazy.  I work very very very hard..while trying to find a balance..to keep my sanity..  So, I write..and knit and cook..And LOVE my kids..and try to put my all into this as best as I can.  (and clean the house as best as I can with the time/energy I have) So, go away "shoulds"!!  (-;

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I've Caught the Knitting Bug


When I was pregant with my youngest...over a year ago, I started this scarf.  It was VERY slow going, knitting too tightly and fumbling, making lots of mistakes, and only taking it out occasionally to work on it, because at that stage, it required a lot of concentration.  I managed to knit over 2 1/2 skeins of it before my baby was born..but it was not completed. Finally, after she was 8 months old, I pulled it out again in determination to complete the project.  Now, it is 5 skeins knitted and 6' long and completed!  and I was ready to begin a hat!


Knitting the first hat for my oldest..turned out to be much easier and faster going than the scarf had been..finally my brain and fingers seemed to know what to do..and I liked knitting in the round on circular needles much better!
 Of course, I then had to make one for my daughter. (-;

And my husband
It took me a year and a half to complete one scarf..but in a month, I finished the scarf and 3 hats..I am now working on my fourth hat for my dad for his birthday.  (-;  But, I can't forget the baby too... (-;  



Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Falafels


My husband was craving falafel and I had made a batch of chick peas the day before..great opportunity to make Falafel from scratch!

this version made enough for 4 of us and some leftovers

Blend together

4 cups chickpeas

2 large onions

4 garlic cloves

6 TB fresh parsley

4 tsp coriander

4 tsp cumin

1 cup flour

Salt

Pepper



Form into small ping pong size balls

Fry in 2 inches of coconut or peanut oil until golden brown

Eat hot alone or in a pita-- or even tortilla

Great with cucumber, tomatoes

Ranch dressing or other sauce?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homemade Baby Food




Peas, sweet potato, green bean and barley, lamb and baked potato, turkey and rice, oatmeal and pears, avocado, carrots and quinoa, apples, prunes and barley, blueberries and oats, bananas, zucchini, etc..






Can Having "Less" Be an "Asset"?



I was an "only" child.  I spent much of my childhood "longing" for a sibling.  In that longing, I pretended  I did have a brother or sister by using my dolls and playing with a neighbor child.  I adopted siblings of my own...always needing to reach out for connection..  Trying to fill the "void" of what I wanted but couldn't have.

I thought I was "deprived" the joy of having a sibling..  Felt I had "missed out"..and I hoped that it still might happen.

Because I had no siblings, I was always "longing" for company..and for a larger family..or children of my own someday.

That "lack of"..created a discomfort in me..and a "desire" for something..that "motivated" me to fill that need..

That "wanting" and "needing" created within me a state of "searching"...

And because of that, I was more driven than I might have been..and eventually, I now have a larger family of my own..and I appreciate them with a passion..

What I lacked..became an asset, because it motivated me to "seek out" others..  And I appreciate my family much more than I would have had I had all my needs met as a child.

I think about that more and more when I see my children in "discomfort"...A part of me, wants to show my love for them and to help "Fill it"...Isn't that part of being a "good parent"?

I used to think so, until I started really thinking about it..

Sometimes, we need to let our children "be"...  Let them process their discomfort..

Sometimes that discomfort creates within them what they need to become actualized adults..  If we are too quick to "fill" their void..with stuff, or rescue them from what they struggle with..we may be actually robbing them of a life lesson..or robbing them of the "deficit" that may turn into their greatest asset..

What do you think?  Have you ever experienced this type of deficit-assest?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kid-Friendly Chickpea Curry


Got the craving for a chickpea dish and searched allrecipes.com and found this recipe:http://allrecipes.com/recipe/butter-chickpea-curry/detail.aspx

But I adapted it (less spice and I made my own Garam Masala from http://allrecipes.com/recipe/easy-garam-masala/detail.aspx

So, here is what I did for a quick meal.  (I happened to have a can of chickpeas on hand-but next time I hope to have some frozen..that I have premade in crockpot) and I happened to have some left-over potatoes and a small tomato soup..so this was super easy for me to make today..  I served it over rice and my kids ate it up!  (except for the zucchini)

4 medium potatoes, cubed
2 TB oil
2 onions diced
2 cloves of garlic diced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp garam masala *
1 tsp of ground ginger
1/2 tsp salt
1 can of tomato soup (or the equivalent in some form of creamy tomato)
1/2 cup of whole milk or cream
1 can of chickpeas (or your own cooked in a crock pot if you plan ahead)

1.  boil the potatoes until softened and drain
2. fry the onion and garlic until soft. Stir in curry, garam masala, ginger, and salt. cook for 2 mintues?  Pour in soup, milk/cream, and chickpeas.  Then potatoes. Simmer until heated/bubbly.  5-10 minutes.

3. fry up some zucchini or other vegetable in oil and add it at the end.  Really good served over rice, or to the side of the rice if you kids don't like their foods combined.

*Garam Masala
1TB ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg.

Mix in a bowl (or grind in a spice/coffee grinder) and store in a cool, dry place.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Latch Hooking




One of the first crafts I learned to do was latch hooking.  Here is a rug/wall tapestry I made as a teen that hangs on our wall now.  This year I have the goal to improve my novice knitting and sewing skills and thought I'd see how my kids enjoyed latch hooking.  It was a big hit/esteem builder and a great boredom fighter/ alternative to watching TV!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

CSA Potluck

 Our neighborhood CSA is run by Mercy Corps/Grow Portland and  is leasing land from the city
 Today, they hosted a potluck that included CSA members, growers, and neighbors.   



 Wonderful to share in the food and meet one another..



The kids really enjoyed the big trees and swing
Feel so blessed to have this project so local.. a little bit of Heaven.. Amazing what an empty lot can turn into..  


There are still some openings for Fall Shares!
http://www.growportland.org/programs/growers-alliance
http://www.growportland.org/csa-signup



Surround Yourself With Beauty




Surround yourself with Beauty

If the world feels too dark 
or the pace of it pressuring you to go too fast..

Someone in your life or space- in a "bad mood"
and that mood is getting to you..and bringing you down..

slow down..

Surround yourself with Beauty

Take a deep breath..and find the quiet within..

Surround yourself with what makes you happy..


What makes you happy?

(For me, lately: writing, knitting, cooking,  holding my baby, or going on an adventure)

 Refuse to be someone you don't want to be
even if that someone tries to pull you there..

I am not going to go there..

Refuse to let them in and corrupt your soul with darkness, expectations(mine and others'), guilt, or negativity..

There is no point in that..
It does not help anyone and it dishonors yourself.

I am going to surround myself with beauty
and be happy and be the person I want to be..

I'm going to only let that beauty in...let it shine into my soul

So that I can shine too..

And that is who I want to be.

To do this, I surround myself with beauty..


Nature, 
quiet moments, 
love, 
sweet moments..
beautiful art
photography
beautiful people
beautiful attitudes
Abundant garden
Luscious fresh food
lovingly prepared
sweet fragrances
sweet, happy music..
a great book
a new skill
a sweet prayer
a warm bath
steaming bro-thy rich soup
good coffee
good company
a warm snuggle

Beauty


What is the "beauty" that you surround yourself with?

Monday, August 22, 2011

On my bike: groceries


Well, I finally did it...something that has been on my list for a very long time to try.  Tonight, I biked to the grocery store with the bike trailer in tow and used it to lug the groceries..and it was not nearly as hard as I thought. It worked.  I got exercise, I saved gas, I had an adventure, I had time on my own, and I got food for the week.  Baby steps..

S P A C E


Over four years ago, we moved into our home.  I still remember the feeling of when it was empty and how good that felt.  The kids felt the "space" and ran around in the joy of it..exploring the nooks and crannies and the openness of it.  

In it's empty state, it held "potential"..promise of the ideas of how that space could be used.  It held future and vision in its non-defined state.  

Since that time, we have filled it up!  (-;  

In some ways, our home was "too polished" for us...Shiny-new remodel.  Trees already planted.  Yard tidy and polished and pruned.  It had a sprinkler system to water the grass, an central airconditioner, dishwasher.. carpeted, finished basement.  Being that polished didn't really "match" us as a family..

Since that time, we have taken out the sprinkler system...since part of it "burst" during one of our winters..and we also had to dig in our yard to put in a french drain and drywell, because our basement flooded because of hydrostatic pressure from all the rain/and non functioning downspout drain system that was clogged and degrading underground. We have disconnected most of the downspouts..

We have planted 2 apple tress and one cherry tree, put in 6 raised beds for growing food, and also put in blueberries and raspberries,  and changed a flower bed into an herb garden.

Our shiny new dishwasher being as most dishwashers these days died after 2 years of use.  It is a nice dry rack now.

We took out the carpet in 2 of the basement rooms because of the flooding..tore out drywall from  a wall, and then replaced it.

And our yard has been overtaken by weeds, thistle, dandilions, and blackberries...One tree has grown into the power lines in our back yard. Another tree has been sending out watershoots all over the front yard..bushes need to be cut back every year or they "clutter" and take over..

Our cheap closet doors have been taken out due to their lack of true funcionality...

So, we have adequately, "lived in our home"..  (-;  It is resemebeling less and less the former owners and looking more and more like us, (I suppose)--but it does not mirror exactly what I want it to..  I don't want "clutter"  and "unkempt" to be part of what we "are"...(the wild beauty of the raised beds are okay..but not the water shoots..or the blackberries..or the excess of toys and uncovered closets.) Our home has  not quite been  congruent yet with who we are..Has not quite matched our values..  Decorative trees and bushes that do not provide food, are not quite beautiful, but require quite a bit of upkeep..  We are not into being simply "decorative"  Too many toys is not congruent with our view on sustainability..  The incongruities have been wearing us down.

But, here is the wave of what is happening now:

We are purging...and creating "space" again.  

And my husband rented an industrial weed wacker and rototiller and bought a chainsaw from a yard sale, and has tacked the blackberries, removed the bushes, and the neglected bark chip borders (overtaken by grass and weeds)..and has cleared it all out..  Yesterday, he mostly cut down the tree that has to be pruned away from the power line every year (so we don't have to constantly maintain it)..  We are going to also cut down the tree that sends out water shoots..  Our goal is to eliminate most the the things in our yard that create mainenance requirements on us that don't seem worth it..don't give us payback (like producing fruit/food)..  

Our time and our space is precious.

Yesterday after going to a workshop on Simplicity Parenting, I rode the inertia of inspiration and courage and put away the little upstairs TV..probably will sell/give it away.  Now, if the kids want to watch TV, they have to go to the effort of going into the basement TV room..(and most of the time they don't want to do that)..  I also purged out more of their toys.  And instead of picking out toys from the bins and the floors, I dumped it all in a box as if I was getting rid of it all..then I picked out a few things to keep.. I realized THIS is what I have to do if I REALLY want to make a good enough dent to feel good about!  

Pretend I am getting RID of all of it...take it out of the space completely, then only put back into the space what is TRULY cherished/needed/used!

(I think the key to deciding what to keep is asking yourself "do I LOVE this thing" and if you don't LOVE it, don't keep it..it is taking away from you/diminishing you...  Only keep what you LOVE and what you really USE..  (there is still much more to do...) but this step, felt liberating..Keep only what you LOVE and what brings you joy and beauty..  Even butterfly bushes that can be beautiful become "junk" and "burden" and "overwhem-ment" if there is too much of them and you feel diminished if you don't have the time to prune them. ..You look at them and think.."I still need to get to those!" instead of "how pretty is that one bush!

And you know what happened.. This morning with no TV in our living room, we instead sat out on the front porch (on a new bench I found at a yard sale).. and talked and watched the birds..got out the binoculars and looked more closely at the birds... We NEVER would have had that moment if the TV had been in the living room.  

That is what I mean by when you create space, something else fills it up..  a good something..a real something..  

And when I looked out in the back yard at the places where we used to have weeds and bushes and a tree...I see "space"..and that "space" is amazingly calming..

and filled with "potential" again..future that is not "defined" yet.  

Beauty




Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby Chehalis Apple Tree and Recipe



recipe at bottom of post

CHEHALIS  Large crisp, sweet yellow apple.  Ripens with Mac.  Very productive.  Considerable scab tolerance 

Large greenish yellow apple, usually with a pink blush on exposed side. Resembles Golden Delicious in looks and flavor but larger, crisper and more elongated. Crisp, cream colored flesh. Medium-fine texture. Sweet, slightly honeyed, juicy eating and baking apple.






This is my poor little Mamma tree that bent out of shape to carry the weight of these delicious (heavy) apples!  She is much relieved now and her apples are being enjoyed! http://timecapsuleeighties.blogspot.com/2011/07/how-i-have-felt-these-past-2-weeks-or.html




Basic Apple Pie Recipe

The Crust:
I made 4 crusts for 2 pies

5cups of flour
2 1/2 tsp. salt

I used a pastry tool to cut the butter into the flour and salt
3 sticks of chilled butter

12 TB of ice cold water

I added the water a bit at a time using the pasty tool..to keep it all cool.

Then I put saran wrap over the dough and refrigerated it overnight.

The next day, I rolled out the 4 crusts.
put them in the pie plates and topped the top crust with a little brown sugar, cinnamon and butter

put slits in the top crust for venting (I think)

Apple Filling

Lots of apples cut up mixed with:
enough brown sugar for your preference
cinnamon
nutmeg
allspice

I baked the pies at 350 for an hour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Minimalism and Puritanism

image from: http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/149/149syllabus5summary.html


I'm sure this is not an original thought, but it occurred to me how often we are looking for balance..and the tide often turns from one extreme to the other.

Today, there is a longing for minimalism, because our culture has become so opulent...

I think there is a parallel to the Puritan movement..  The Puritans began (I believe) as a rebellion also against the opulence of the Catholic church..They thought it had become too materialistic, grandiose...had lost its true purpose.  They wished to simplify..get back to the grassroots..

I say this not as a criticism, just as an observation... It is interesting that we do this back and forth..  But, I think it is important to note where Puritanism went wrong too..  And how our current desire for Minimalism could also go awry..

Caution for becoming too judgmental/superior (for ultra success in detachment) or feeling shameful..for not living up..  What virtue are we really ascribing to in simplifying our homes and lives?  One must not feel superior or inferior in the accomplishment or lack of accomplishment in this category..

It used to be Prideful to have "stuff"--And now, it is "prideful" to have less.. (Or actually, it seems it is still virtuous to have lots of stuff (as long as your home looks like you don't have stuff/clutter)..  Where does our true virtue rest?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world









I thought of this poem recently...I suppose because in my memory of it, it seemed so alive and powerful, purposeful.  I couldn't remember its context (other than from the movie Dead Poets Society)  The internet is great when you want to quickly find a little tidbit of info.  (-;  Thought I'd share.  






image from: http://animal.discovery.com/guides/wild-birds/i-r/red-tailed-hawk.html


Walt Whitman


from Leaves of Grass, Book 3 (Song of Myself), the last poem:

The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me, he complains of my gab 

    and my loitering.



I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable,

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.



The last scud of day holds back for me,

It flings my likeness after the rest and true as any on the shadow’d wilds,

It coaxes me to the vapor and the dusk.



I depart as air, I shake my white locks at the runaway sun,

I effuse my flesh in eddies, and drift it in lacy jags.



I bequeath myself to the dirt to grow from the grass I love,

If you want me again look for me under your boot-soles.



You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,

But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,

And filter and fibre your blood.



Failing to fetch me at first keep encouraged,

Missing me one place search another,

I stop somewhere waiting for you.


you can find more of the poem here: http://www.bartleby.com/142/14.html





from: http://dictionaryperson.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/yawp/



yawp

Perhaps you know this word from the work of that most American of poets, Whitman:
The spotted hawk swoops by and accuses me…..  he complains of my gab and my loitering.
I too am not a bit tamed…..  I too am untranslatable,
I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world.
Song of MyselfLeaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 18551
Webster’s Third defines it as “a raucous noise; foolish complaining talk; something suggestive of a raucous noise.”
The OED dates the noun “yawp” to 1824, but the verb form to around 1400.  Definitions there are:
a. A harsh, hoarse, or querulous cry, esp. of a bird.
b. fig. Applied in contempt to speech or utterance likened to this. Chiefly U.S.
Many of the poets (see Allen Ginsberg and the beats, for instance)  cherish this word; they identify with Whitman’s yawp.  Yawp in this sense embodies a stridency — confident,  assured,  and loud  — that will be heard, no matter what.
It is not to be confused with yap or yowl!

Adventure Self-Care


Yesterday morning began as one of those days that were going to overwhelm me.  I had not gotten very much sleep the night before and the day before I had been in limbo as my husband roto-tilled part of the yard. It was going to be an especially long day since it was also my husband's "night off" to be out with friends and family..

I was tired and buggy.

I needed to sleep, but napping with 3 children at home is beyond me..Not something I would be able to do..  Seems when I've tried, something almost always happens to sabotage it and I end up  angry and frustrated.

What I needed most was to get out, and this time, visiting haunts in my area was not enough for me. I wanted to REALLY go somewhere..like for the whole day..

We used to live in Corvallis almost 8 years ago now.  My husband and I met, married, and had our first child there.  Special place for us.

I needed to go there...

So, we just did it!  Drove 2 hours..and as I drove the song "Simple Gifts" came on..and it gave me goosebumps...  I felt more alive than I have in quite a long time.  Free.  With my kids.  The song was perfect..because it reminded me of how to reach "realness"..

I recently purged a bunch of "stuff"..and it seems the reward for that..the empty space that is left..is being filled with "realness"..This feeling of being alive.

It was a BLISSFULY full day.  And we got to visit some old friends there... Sweetness..

We didn't get home until 10:17PM.  And the kids traveled beautifully.  (with some squirrelyness during some adult conversation), but other than that they were happy..and I was happy..and ALIVE.




Simple Gifts






    'Tis the gift to be simple, 'tis the gift to be free
    'Tis the gift to come down where we ought to be,
    And when we find ourselves in the place just right,
    'Twill be in the valley of love and delight.
    When true simplicity is gain'd,
    To bow and to bend we shan't be asham'd,
    To turn, turn will be our delight,

    Till by turning, turning we come 'round right.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Taste of Homeschooling



It has taken nearly 2 months of summer to undo the boredom effect of school on my kids.  When school ended they did not know what to do with themselves...expecting entertainment and direction..


Now, a wonderful thing is happening.  A theme of interest is evolving.  First, an interest in dolphins and sea creatures, now the Titanic(the library is our friend)...and then a desire to make a boat..and my husband figured out how to help them make one out of things we have and it floats! The pride they felt was priceless!  They named it Mayflower.

I am realizing how this works/can work..the theme on the Titanic is a lesson in history, but can be so much more..science of the water, the construction of the boat, the ocean, effects of depth.  Math-the size of the titanic, geography-the location of the ship and its voyage, etc... then there is the art of making their own boat..and they could create a presentation on the topic, etc...

Wonderful...3 more weeks left to go with this taste of unintentional homeschooling...bliss (potentially)

Some books I have heard recommended from some friend Homeschoolers that I have yet to read..I think I will read, whether I ever homeschool or not.  I figure, even if I do not "officially homeschool" I can still adapt some of the ideas during the summer or vacation times..  (and figure out what kind of homeschooler I would be.


















Food and Control



Food and power/control  seem to often happen on so many levels...look at WHO controls our main food supplies..  and what food is cheaper..  what foods are subsidized.. and what foods and farms are not subsidized.  (watch the movie Food, Inc for starters)


And even the seeds--Who controls the seeds? and what species of food are continued or are mainstream.  (Monsanto)

And how often even at a young age food can be used to even control little children to get them to behave..what foods are used to reward them?  

And overeating, how and why does that happen?


how is food used to manipulate in the media even in schools..in our homes..in our childhoods?

And the image of women and how food is linked with that..  (or deprivation of)

That is just for starters..

Now..  look at what happens to small farmers and co-ops?  and raw milk supporters?  

we don't pay enough attention to our food..considering we need it to 

survive..  
thrive, be healthy...because of this dependency...we are vulnerable to whomever controls our food.  and how much we need a doctor... 


 food-health-medical care

Here is a message I received today:





here is an excellent letter from michelle lasley, another local Food Buying Club coordinator. please help spread the word! this is a time sensitive issue, so submit your comments by August 15th. Food Buying Clubs and CSA drops in Portland are being threatened!!!

food buying clubs and CSA drops ought to be allowed in residential areas. forcing them into a commercial space, which is what happened to Know Thy Food, is akin to shutting them down. not every club could survive or afford such a move. the City should not be allowed to tell friends and families how and where to buy their food and restrict such private activities.

thanks for your support!
--rebecca

Dear Friend,
I co-coordinate a food buying club in my neighborhood. This idea arose from many things, one the example is the one set by my grandparents who always had access to local food through their garden, animal husbandry, and local grocery co-op. Mostly, though, I do this because food quality for my small family is very important. I also do this is a way to increase food security for everyone.
Nary a day goes by where we don't hear about another food recall. These food recalls largely involve large industrial food complexes, like confined animal feed operations. I don't buy from those operations. I buy directly from the farmer. My family eats fairly locally and seasonally. We learn how to preserve our food and make things from scratch, like bread -- a lot like my grandparents learned post World War II. We develop relationships with our farmers, our distributors, our producers of the food we eat. We do this to increase our food security. We know where our food comes from. We visit the farms. We know the names of our farmers' children. We are invested in them, and they are invested in us.
But that investment is being threatened. The City of Portland has hosted several meetings to revise the food zoning laws for our locale. Their recommendations are to increase the hurdles one has to go through to have access to local food.
This is a problem. A big problem. And, I need your help to tell them it's a problem.
Find out more about the city's plans and please take the survey. Please tell the city they are going in the WRONG direction for CSAs & Buying Clubs. Tell them it matters to you because food security matters to you. Tell them having access to local food is important to you. And, most importantly, pass this message on and have your friends and family take the survey
Urban Food Code Policies: http://www.portlandonline.com/bps/index.cfm?c=53834
The Survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/FoodCodeConcept
Thank you for your help.
In food!
Michelle Lasley
community advocate | green coach | nurturer
www.michellelasley.com
michelle@michellelasley.com

Watching the stars


Last night there was a meteor shower at 11PM. My kids have never seen a shooting star.  We live in an urban area that is usually cloud covered the majority of the year.  Last night it was clear.  We still had the obstacles of city glow and a full moon, but we went out anyway.  We set up a blanket to lie down on and sleeping bag/blankets to keep warm and sat out late with our two older children until they were about to fall asleep..about 1130. In that time, we saw a few meteors that were actually quite bright, but mostly we snuggled, identified stars, talked and snacked. It was one of those very simple, real, and memorable moments together that I will hold in my heart. (So much better than fireworks)  Sweet, Quiet, Tenderness..

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Birthday Expectation




When my son (first child) had his first birthday, I wanted the whole family and friends group to all be there to celebrate and bask in his one year birthday.  To celebrate HIM and his birth and his existence and to have them all be a part of it.  I was a new mom and there seemed to be nothing more important to me than cherishing my child..and I thought that the way to do that was to put all my effort to make that day special.

Since then, I have hosted and been to probably a hundred birthdays...or so it seems..  The work of putting it together, the money spent on food and gifts...I really don't want to know how it all adds up!  And now my kids "expect" something very special each year...

When I was growing up, I think I had 4 parties total..and one of those was with one friend eating ice cream.  Simple.

Sometimes a little disappointing..but simple.

The baby/toddler parties were usually at people's homes. That wasn't so bad..socializing with friends and family while basking in our little ones while they play together..Sometimes they were small parties, but sometimes they were quite large too--

But, then there came the parties at the play-gym type places..  The worst for me was at Chuck E Cheese..the pizza made me feel nauseous!  Many of these places were loud..and the kids were running around everywhere and it was hard to keep track of my own kids..  My kids have loved it there, though (and all the other places too)..  (-;

But, now the problem is the expectations of my own kids..and the idea that you make big parties if you love your kids, and you attend the other parties, because you love your kids and want to support your friends' kids..and show your love..by going and by "buying" presents and throwing big bashes.

I am afraid of disappointing...my kids..having them think I don't care enough to go all out.  And afraid of disappointing other people by not always attending all the parties every year.

It is a gopher wheel I'm not sure how to get off of.  And it not only costs hundreds of dollars, but it also costs a lot of time...Many a weekend has been taken over by attending (and hosting) these parties.

Seems to me, there are other ways to "show the love" other than through a "materialistic form of consumerism"  LOVE = BUY

I have had this gut feeling for quite awhile now..and each year I attempt to simplify the parties I host for my kids.  One year we took a couple of my son's friends to a fishing pond.  This past year, we went to a local beach on the river and only invited 3 families.  And my husband and I decided to only host or attend adult birthdays for ourselves and other friends every 5 years.  (with some flexibility)  (-;  

Simple and Small and in Moderate Frequency

"I love you very much and I actually want to spend time with you on your birthday and give you attention...rather than entertaining a huge lot of guests or giving you a ton of gifts"..because those parties make me grumpy...and stressed...and they just don't feel right!  

The consumerism culture...seems to eek into everything pure...wanting us to associate love and self worth with love and appreciation..  I don't want my children's birthdays to be tainted with that any more..  (I may not have a complete choice, because the expectations are there. already from what I have done for them in the past and what they see their friends parties are like...  

"I want a PlayGym birthday too"

Anyway...  I actually haven't heard anyone really complain about it much, but in my gut it feels wrong...and it is all around us...  Birthday parties every weekend for some folks..  Sometimes there is a weekend of birthday party hopping...sometimes there are 2-3 birthday parties to go to in one weekend!  (talk about OD on sugar!)

And usually my kids have a great time, but when they come home, they "melt down" from the let down of the excitement and sugar...and then they are bored..want to be entertained..want the over stimulation or feel jealous of the toys.. Real life isn't quite as super-real exciting as one of those Bday parties.

I don't wish to alienate anyone who enjoy this or believe in this or who do this because of all of sincerity..they feel it is the right thing to do..  Enjoy it (or)..

A parent can feel a lot of GUILT..for not doing it..  hosting and attending..

seems like a trap..  

Seems like there could be a different way of showing love and appreciation for our children and support our friends and family members without having it tainted by "Consumerism"

I came across this article today and it made me happy.  Perhaps we can band together for ideas in finding many more creative ways to celebrate our most precious souls--in a way that gives dignity to their birth and their being alive and reaching milestones..

Good Enough Birthday:

http://thehappiestmom.com/?p=1887

Using our Feet


My husband used the car today to go to work. Normally he bikes.  It is a 10 mile bike ride mostly on a bike trail.  It is quite ideal for him to be able to do this.  Grateful.  It is a win-win on many counts.  Exercise for him, de-stressing from work, less wear on a car, not using fuel, and much less aggravation...getting stuck in city traffic/rush hour, etc..

I was grateful today, that he had the car, because I had an errand to do that was only about a mile away.  Normally, I'd make it a simple trip and drive out there, but this time, without the car, I made it into an adventure..  

We started out by having breakfast at a local waffle/art house.  The kids played checkers as we waited for our waffles.

Then afterward, we worked off the sugar by walking out to Walgreen to pick up our 300 photos.  finally printing out favorite pics from 2007-2010..  

It was pretty idyllic...although the way there was pretty urban-like..not ideal in that way..lots of noisy cars..Still, we saw an osprey or eagle..and some bugs and other birds and plants along the way..little snippets of nature.  The kids were happy and exercised..and I could tell they felt good about themselves..

Makes me think, I need to do this more often...walk more instead of using the car even if it turns a simple errand into a 3 hour trip..  It was a complete experience..food, exercise, quality time together..  

Feeling inspired by all the bikers around here..(my husband included)  I can't bike with the baby yet..not until she is one, but I am thinking that with my third child, I may go down this path that I was hesitant to do before with my first 2 children..  Not too late to start.  In the very least, we can get around to quite a few places on foot..There are many places to go to that are within 1-2 miles.  

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