Monday, December 12, 2011

The latest addition

I am very pleased with how these dolls came out and cannot wait to give them to the girls on Christmas.  Em gets the fairy and Cora gets Rapunzel.  A few finishing touches and they will be ready. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

for the tummy-Seeds

If we have ever spoken, you will know my love of seeds.  Some may say that I have more than a normal fascination about their presence in my food.  I rarely let a meal slip by without a sprinkle of these little beauties to and some crunch, protein, vitamins, or even just because they look so darn pretty.  If you want to see a fight occur at my house, come by around 7 pm on a night where some toasted salted pumpkin seeds are on the table. I am no joking when I say that seeds have saved an otherwise kid-disastrous meal.  Oh, you don't like it?  Here I'll just put some seeds on it.  And all is good again.
At any time there is at least 10 different types of seeds hanging around my pantry.  The staples are: sesame, poppy, sunflower, pumpkin, hemp, chia, flax. The others are used for not so everyday things like sauerkraut or pickling and are seen more as spices than seeds like fennel and caraway and dill and coriander. I am always surprised when someone picks up one of my seed jars and wonders aloud how one would go about using so many seeds, then I show them the stash.  To keep up with the usage I have to order in 5 lb increments which last about three months, so I rotate each month to replenish one at a time to keep cost down.  If you believe anything I have to say, than trust me when I tell you that seeds should be a part of your life.  A, leave a tootbrush at your place, kind of way.  And if you are truly hooked, you may even make them a key.
Here is a recipe for some delightful biscuits that go smashingly with a hearty soup or stew.  I seem to be able to feed a big(ish) hungry man on soup so long as there is a protein rich bread sitting next to his bowl. 

Seedy bar bisciuts
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/2 c oats
1 T baking powder
1/2 t cream of tartar
1/2 t salt
2 T sugar
1 cup total of sunflower, sesame, and hemp seeds
1/2 c shredded cheese

1/2 c melted butter or oil
1 c milk(we use almond)

mix the dry.  add the wet.  drop onto a pan and cook at 450 for about 10 minutes.  Eat. Smile. And buy more seeds.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dodging Bullets

A short conversation that happened over carrot rosemary dumplings:
Dadda: Cora, tell me about school. Did you meet any new friends?
Cora: Yeah, the girl that sits across from me, Annabel, I told you about her this morning.  That's not her name. 
Momma: What is her name?
Cora: I have no idea
Momma: You should probably ask her so you don't have to keep calling her 'Annabel, but that's not her name.'
Cora: Yeah, probably.
Momma: Who did you play with at recess?
Cora: Bella.
Dadda: Oh, is Bella in your class again?
Cora: No, she just asked me to play with her which was nice.
Momma: Anyone else play with you?
Cora: Bella's boyfriend(said while hiding her face in her napkin)
Momma: Bella has a boyfriend?  What is his name?
Cora: I have no idea.
Momma: Do you have a boyfriend?
Cora: No!
Momma: Why not?
Cora: I'm not ready!
Momma: How will you know when you're ready? When do you think people should have boyfriends?
Cora:  When they get bigger.
Momma: What do you think it means to be someones girlfriend?
Cora: That they are your bestest best friend in the world.

Like Momma and Dadda.  I guess we are doing something right. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Today Baby Cora(BC) turns 7.  And due to the fact that I still have no oven in which to bake a cake, I made a pancake cake for breakfast.  It was overwhelmingly sweet but that is the point of birthday cake in my eyes.  It only happens once a year,  so why not go into a diabetic coma because of it. Also, she is 7 which is so hugely bigger than 6 and deserving of extreme celebratory action. Amazingly enough, Cora has only reminded me of this fact 19 times today.  This does not include the three million times over the course of the weekend spent in NYC.  We have a tradition with our kids of taking them on adventures for their birthdays and Daddy finally got his way and off we went to the American Museum of Natural History.  I should say: off we went to the first floor on the AMNH.  We glimpsed the fourth floor and only stood on the landing of the second and third. In nearly 6 hours we saw about a quarter of the museum.  I think this has been the greatest of our adventures yet and can't wait to revisit.  I need a few months to recover from Times Square and the mangy Cookie Monsters and Elmos that kept trying to hug my kids.  Gross.  Happy seven years of life sweet girl, may you never be touched by unkempt faux fur again. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The grass is even greener in the past

At least three times a day I have a flash of a life that I can place as mine, but have no recollection of the time or place.  A smell, a song, a breeze and I float away.  An overwhelming sense of peace floats over me and a smile finds its way to my face.  I have been trying to place these memories and can only pin it down to the time that Matt and I spent living in St. Pete's, the year we got married and had Cora and started our adult-ish life.  We lived there for only about 10 months at a time when the town was somewhere in between surviving and drowning.  It was the most beautiful place we have lived in all the many moves we have made.  We walked out the door and into nature.  No driving required.  The French Creek swept through the front yard and under a beautiful train trestle long ago abandoned by the quarry that offered even more amazing scenery.  Strangely that life felt anything but serene at the time.  Here we were, living in a remote historic village on the edge of beautiful forests and rock strewn creeks and we couldn't wait to leave.  Too remote, crazy neighbors, nothing to do, the list goes on.  In reality we were doing about as well as the town.  It looks great on the outside but walk through the door and you'll see the wear.  We wanted so badly to live that life but were at a point when everything we knew was being changed and what we needed to know was still not apparent.  Matt took a bad job, we got married, moved to a place that looked so much like what we wanted the photos of our life to show and had our baby.  The loneliness of that bad job and the long hours being home made the walls close in.  All that nature out the front door became my isolation and my distance from the world.  It all got harder than we could have imagined.  Who knew that having a baby, getting married and working endless hours could make life so unbearable?  The pictures of our life started looking like they may have a few less people in them if we continued on that dirt road so we left.  A less crappy job was offered in a more crappy town and we left in a breath.  For years we said that it was bad timing, another time in our life and we would have flourished there.  That still may be true, we will never know.  So why do I have those floating memories that make it seem so tranquil, something to be missed?  The isolation had it's benefits and the simple unattached life felt liberating.  There was no television, no cell phones, no internet and certainly more than enough time to do things that truly made life more fulfilling.  I became someone who could be alone in a room and be happy, a person that I had never met. I spent most of that 10 months rocking Cora to sleep in silence only interrupted by the sound of the creek.  I remember days when I never heard another voice until Matt returned home well into the night.  Somehow I had transformed myself into the person whose life looked good in pictures and in reality because we all know that snapshots are all smiles and life tends to be all but sometimes.  Looking back I have realized that we laid the groundwork for this life back in St. Pete's.  We chose what mattered and took it with us.  We want to be together as a family as many moments of the day as possible and we want as few distractions during that time as can be managed.  I have a feeling that those soothing memories are meant to bring that reality back.  Slow down and remember that even the tough times look great a few years later. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bored Stupid

Lately I have been feeling a bit bored with the way things go.  I am truly fulfilled and love all 9 million hobbies that have gotten me through these spells, but lately I am not in the mood for any of them.  This eventually results in me watching some terrible show on the computer.  We chose to not have television in our house but it is just too damn easy to find crappy tv on the internet these days.  For instance: I have not missed an episode of Teen Mom Season 3 yet!  And now I have seen all episodes of Dance Moms!  That is only four but still.  I am not sure it gets worse than that with the exception of Housewives of (insert city).  I tend to find something that holds my interest for a bit of time but get bored of it and move on to something else.  I usually cycle back but I honestly can't force myself these days.  In the past 7 years home I have learned to: sew, felt, cook, bake, make jewelry, ferment foods, homebrew, garden, and a slew of other things that have fallen of my radar.  All of these things make me happy but none of them fit my current desires.  I am starting to wonder if maybe it has to do with the fact that my girls are getting bigger and need me less.  This is the longest I have gone without being pregnant or having an infant in 8 years.  They are both wiping their own asses, pouring their own water, dressing themselves, and most importantly playing together or alone quite nicely.  That leaves me on my own to fill my time with things that just don't excite me. This is not a change that I expected.  I never imagined a time while being at home with small kids being dull.  Again, I am not unfulfilled.  Happy as a clam in this little life.  Do I need to push that further?  I feel truly blessed that we have been able to work it out so that I can be home and watch my girls grow.  I just really didn't think that would ever include me time between 9-6.  So I am now on a journey to find some happy things to fill that me time. Most likely by the time I figure it out, things will change and me time will go back to the 1.25 hours before bed. 
I am certain that there are cupcakes and cookies that I could be happily baking at these times but will refer back to Oven Woes to explain that.  So if you feel like inviting me over to feed you baked goods, my lines are open! Otherwise suggestions and rude comments about how lucky I am and should not be whining are welcome.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A little love to our butterfly friends.  This craft turned out to be an all day event!  First we made the paint smears and once dry cut them into butterfly shapes.  We hung them in the climbing tree and added a homemade butterfly feeder.  I found the tutorial here at Mother Rising.
In total we had about twenty butterflies and the tree looks amazing.  Hopefully we get to witness some butterflies visiting the feeder, it is an obsatcle course with all those strings and butterflies. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mermaid tails tutorial

1.The first step is to measure the waist, length and circumference of the feet.
2. Next fold fabric in half measuring the width plus 2 inches and the length plus 4 inches.
3. from the top of the fabric measure down to the length from waist to toes and add on inch.  Mark the spot in pencil.
4. Center half the circumference at the marked spot.  Cut out the triangle with the third point being at halfway up the side.  
5. Cut the fin in and shape you would like.It should look like this if my explanation is accurate.

 6.Fold the top down a half inch and sew a chamber for the elastic.  Thread the elastic and sew it to one end.
 7. Bunch the fabric to equal the waist measurement and begin to sew starting at the elastic.
 8.When finished sewing the outside, turn right side out and stuff the fin with anything soft, we choose some roving left over from the dolls.Sew a seam to enclose the stuffing. 

That's it! I hope this tutorial doesn't make you want to throw your computer through a window. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

for the tummy

Fruit and Seed Cakes

The picture was terrible and there is no evidence to their existence by now, so the recipe and a firm trust that anything with fruit and nuts inside bread is going to be delicious.  This was our lunch but I am sure that most of you would consider this for breakfast instead.  We are not firm believers in foods only being served according to the society approved meal structure.  As a child I would have rather starved than eat cereal, hot or cold.  So I began eating leftovers, usually cold, as a substitute.  Spaghetti was a huge hit.  So I have passed on my strange meal habits to my children and cora is always first to ask for breakfast for dinner when given the choice.  So enjoy these cakes at whatever meal you see fit. 

Fruit Seed Cakes
1 c flour(whole wheat)
1 T sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
1/4 c hemp seeds
1/4 c sunflower seeds
1 egg
1 c milk(almond)
2 T oil(coconut)
1 peach diced
1 banana sliced
1 c blueberries

1.Mix dry ingredients together.
2 mix wet ingredients and add to dry.
3. gently fold fruit into the mix and let sit for 10 minutes. 
4. cook like pancakes and eat while hot. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Preserving' is a great and addicting idea

My new endeavor that has been in the lineup for some time: fermented foods!  I finally got an organic cabbage to make kraut and some pickling cucumbers for some sour pickles.  I can't believe how easy it was.  I pay far too much for naturally fermented pickles to not do it myself when it is this easy.  Literally water, salt, spices and cucumbers.  I have no idea how to store these puppies for long periods of time, but I will have to figure it out as I plan to make at least 10 crocks of these in the next few weeks while the kirby's are in season.  The kraut was a bit late and my cabbage too small but it is a good starting ground for us.  I am not sure of the response I will get when I serve this, they do love fermented foods but this may be over the line. The last jar is a recipe from Put Em Up by Sherri Brooks Vinton. Actually they are all her recipes.  Though you can find similar versions online as they are very simple and time tested methods.  I highly recommend this book for home canners who want to spice up their jars.  I am not a typical canner in that I tend to only do a bit of jam and the rest strange versions of things I like.  Last year I did: blueberry jam, blueberry peach sauce, blackberry syrup, heirloom tomato salsa, green tomato relish, blackberry pear chutney, apple sauce, more salsa than I care to recall from mom's garden and a whole bunch of tomatoes and sauce.  I have the itch to put lots of foods into lots of jars and just sit and stare at their beauty.  Now I just have to find room for it all!
Happy preserving.