Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wishes and Dreams

A couple days ago I was trimming snap peas at the counter and the girls came up to me with this Things to Make and Do journal they had unearthed in the basement, wanting to show me one of the artworks they found inside. Having not seen this book since we moved I was curious to flip through and see what was inside and I felt such happiness as I looked through and was able to feel satisfaction and relief at seeing many of my wishes have come true. These things were all written in there far before Iz was born and this book was set aside once a baby (of our own!) filled my lap but the dreams are always on my mind and my wishes and dreams always guide me with every choice I make for our family. Every night when I write gratitudes I reflect on all of the good I can see and I have been doing this for years - long before things shifted for the better - and I credit that practice and continued hope and hard work for us continuing to manifest the things we want for our family. 

The baby babies are here, there is room for chickens and bees if we choose (which we will once things are more least bees...there's a lot of hawk action around here), we have more outdoor space and are nurturing our dreams by filling it with life and feeding our family from it and having so much more space for our girls to run and play, we are coming up on two years of E finding a new position that nearly doubled his income and allowed us to finally move and to start making progress toward other necessary goals. The other country thing? Well, as you can see, I don't have big dreams there, aside from exploring Canada (hopefully many times) and I feel confident that wish will be fulfilled at some point, but am not in any kind of hurry. I would say it looks like it's time to add some more wishes to those pages, but it really isn't as right now I am just happy to soak up things as they are after so many years of wishing.

Those first garden pictures are from about a month ago, so things are looking a bit different these days as all the babies fill out and go wild and it's been pretty spectacular to have this larger garden. It was a lot of work to get it all built and going for this first season and we still have more to do but we all make a pretty good team around here and while some things got a slower start than usual they are making up for lost time and anything that doesn't will get another chance in the years to come. 

Meanwhile we are harvesting radishes, lettuces, basil, kale, chard, ground cherries, snap peas in abundance, garden peas, cucumbers, banana peppers and tiny little strawberries which I am tickled pink by as I started all of those plants from seed just a few months ago and it's so rewarding to taste those tiny candy like berries already, knowing they'll pick up the pace in future years. Tomatoes are getting close, lots of lemon balm, catnip and orange mint were dried yesterday and sage today and there are some marigolds (for future dye experiments) and roses (for fun bath and body experiments) also drying today. Cucumber water is being guzzled and it's just all so good. I've waited patiently for years for this space and these dreams and it feels so wonderful. 

Do we have bigger dreams? Sure. Do we know that we'll be here forever? Nope. Are we enjoying being close and making this place cozy and abundant and wonderful? YES. Being close to everyone and having more outdoor space has been life changing in every way I knew it would be and I am incredibly grateful that this is my current reality.


Sunday, January 29, 2017

Making and Reading

We have been digging deep these past couple weeks as E and I work on our parenting and family goals together and while it is all going to be so beneficial, emotions have been high and I have been a bit exhausted from it all and busy trying to do that digging, but I did finally get around to sewing up a couple projects that I had the pieces cut out for a few weeks now.

Moon Pants for O. I remember this fabric coming in the mail while she was riding on my hip last year, still living at the old house and it feels good to finally have the time to make something for her with it. The pattern starts at size three so they are still a bit too big, but better big than small I say as she will surely continue to grow. 

Her second pair of Moon Pants.  One of the first things I made for her was with this fabric (a winter baby bonnet) so now it feels like it's hers and so when I saw I had enough left to squeeze out a pair of these in the smallest size I knew I must. I really like cutting out and assembling two or more things at a time to streamline things a bit as it is so much more efficient.

With The Girls
Us three girls made pb pinecone bird feeders this past week and they had a lot of messy fun with them. We haven't seen any birds actually come to them but all but three have disappeared completely, so we are thinking there are some other happy critters of some sort that have enjoyed them. Iz is pleased with that.

 And this because it makes my heart swell. Iz wanted to make one of her cousin's cards by herself and it's just the best seeing her add her own touch to our gift giving.

About mid-week last week we made our first batch of slime and it has provided hours of play. The recipe we used was glue, a bit of liquid starch and food coloring and I added a smidge of water too. All four of us are enjoying this really. This creation was what I think Iz was calling her rabbit duck. 

We have been great about making a menu again to keep us on track and this week we made a different butternut squash soup than usual and it will be our new go-to. The recipe is Creamy Cashew Butternut Squash Soup from The New York Times. We didn't have fresh ginger so left it out but otherwise followed the recipe and definitely recommend it. And if you eat wheat our favorite quick and easy bread is the No Fuss Focaccia from the King Arthur Flour website. 

I Just finished A Man Called Ove last night. I don't often read novels these days but had seen this one recommended many times so I went ahead and requested it from the library. I did enjoy it and right now I'm not too into explaining the whys most of the time as I am more caught up in the enjoying part of things but I so enjoyed having a good novel to get caught up in to balance out all of my typical non-fiction and memoirs.

That wraps it up, but today E took both girls out with him while I was left at home alone, well, aside from two dogs and a cat - we are never too alone around here, so I took that time to finish cutting out pieces for O's birthday dress and for a sun dress for her as well to coordinate with a yellow honey hive one I made for Iz last Summer. Making their clothes has always been something I hoped to do and I am glad to be setting aside more time to make that happen now that O is getting older. It makes me happy to look in their closet and see all of their dresses hanging up and knit sweaters piled high and to open up dresser drawers to find their pants and skirts looking back at me. Then there's the cozy hats keeping them warm as we go about in the cold. Their blankets on their beds. Really, so many things and goodness knows we all have our own visions of the mother we want to be, but I am just happy to be fulfilling mine in this one way at least and to be keeping my creative fire alive. 

I know once warmer temperatures come around my focus will shift a bit as we are able to spend more time outside and bedtimes move back so we can all enjoy the sunshine, so for now I plan to continue to keep ticking off my mental list of projects and working through my stash while these colder temperatures keep us company.

What have you been making or reading lately? 

Friday, January 27, 2017


I have had a draft saved with this title, "embrace" for a couple of weeks, thinking I had found my word of the year, but the more I sat on it the more I realized it's just not right and that maybe for this year there is no single word or at least not one I have stumbled on just yet.  Embracing is definitely an everyday practice as I breathe deep through finding a millipede in the art room closet or find that little Leroy slipped off his dog diaper and peed on something again. I embrace the daily messes that are too abundant to track and I embrace that there is so much unknown in our world and in the greater world, but the word just still doesn't sum up my intentions for the year. 

This year we plan to continue settling into our house and our yard by painting and hanging art and sealing up the back room really well before building out the closets, making one into a pantry and kitchen storage of sorts since our kitchen space is tiny and making the other a more functional arts/crafts cupboard. We have garden beds to build and beds to plan and a garage to make functional for E to work in. We have a nearly two year old to continue to wait out sleeping through the night without a mid-night nursing or two. Simple speaking, we have hopes and plans aplenty and in these first couple years of living here there are going to be lots of changes and projects so while I do continue to plan to embrace life-as-is on a daily basis, to embrace our family of four, to embrace the necessity of patience, there are far too many changes in my mind to feel totally committed to such a thought.

So, while I don't have a single word for the year I do have hopes and I do have lots of love for having the opportunity to continue to change and grow as the year goes on. Meanwhile, I am embracing the hours of daylight already growing longer and am looking forward to more of that warm green grass beneath my feet when Spring comes back around and we get to experience our first Spring in our new yard. These cold days of lots of indoor time with our tiny outdoors loving people are a bit tricky and we all look forward to the warmer days that can't be too far off, but meanwhile I realize we have so much to be thankful for and am really grateful for a bit more time to order some seeds and to save back enough for supplies to get the big garden built before it's planting time. 

What about you? Do you pick a word for the year?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Making and Reading

I am finally feeling settled into this new year and back on my feet and really just trying to keep the momentum going long enough to create a new normal here in our home and to keep working toward being my best self and know the drill. 

So on to the making since I was last here:

This is a hat for myself. I had been searching for patterns for myself for a long time, but could never settle on any or was disappointed by the outcomes when I would finally decide to give one a try, but once I was introduced to Okanagan Knit Co. I was hooked and I have loved all three of the hats I have made (two for myself and one for E). This latest one is called The Ponderosa hat and fills my desire for a second hat in a more neutral color. Bonus is that it is really fun to knit. I loved seeing the design take shape.

So, Iz had a dress that this is part of that I had found at a thrift store years ago. After she outgrew it I had tucked it away in my fabric bins, planning to use the cute corduroy critter fabric for some kind of future project, but one day she was looking through the bins and gasped and said how she had missed that dress and followed up by insisting she needed to wear it every day, but that when she was finished I could have it back to make her a skirt out of. So, here it is. Today she learned about seam rippers by helping me remove a black sewn on waste tie and then it was just cutting the top off, making an elastic casing and sewing it shut while E gave them baths and then watching her smile when she took it from my hands. I love that these simple things can bring her so much pleasure.

Another Iz request this week was roasted chickpeas for snack time and I thought they were worth sharing because they're quite a tasty snack. We make them from time to time, usually when Iz asks, and I appreciate that they have a good amount of protein, fiber and iron in them and that she will gobble them up. From trying lots of things we have settled on preheating the oven to 450F and rinsing two cans of beans (could use freshly made too of course). We then pat them kind of dry on a dish towel and pick out any loose skins before tossing the three cups of beans with 2tbsp olive oil. Then, you can season them however you like. This time Iz sprinkled on salt, garlic powder and nutritional yeast and they were really good. I usually set the timer for 20 minutes and then give them a stir and then back in for another 20 or so. At least with this oven. In our old one I would leave them in forever, so obviously that's all dependent on your stove. Just give them a good first stretch and then keep an eye on them every 5-10 minutes.

And reading! First let me say that I am so happy to be finding more time to read again and second let me say that I loved this book, The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. In this memoir she speaks of her time raising teenagers and moving to a new home and the entire journey and emotions surrounding it all and even though my children are both four and under I still found myself tearing up on the regular because I already know how much that will ache and how our journey as mothers will only continue to require us to grow, which is actually quite the gift, yet a challenging one. I found this book both honest and relatable which are both things I crave in a memoir.

This book, Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach is not one I have completed because it has a passage for each day of the year, but I am already really enjoying the daily reflection and I have found it to be the perfect fit for a daily read for me so far. It even got me back to the daily practice of writing my five gratitudes again and that alone is a gift. When Iz was about five months old I found myself drowning in anxiety and had to really fight to get myself back above water and one of the many things I did was to start a gratitude journal. It was life changing and really helped me to focus on all of the good that was surrounding me even in what I would consider pretty tough times for our family. Love filled and beautiful but challenging in many ways, but gratitude really can move mountains and I found myself getting to such a positive place that I credit in helping our family get to a better place overall. Days were still hard but nothing could truly defeat my positive attitude or my belief that it would all work out as it should if we kept looking at the bright side and focusing on what we did have. Anyway, this book goes well right alongside all of that and though I'm only half a month in I would really recommend it.  

That is all for now, but there is no doubt I will be back soon with more to share as I have a full list of projects I would like to complete and a big stack of library books that I am making my way through. Let me know if you have been making, reading, cooking anything lately that you feel is worth sharing. I would love to see/hear/read about it. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Christmas This Year and Thoughts on Those to Come

My sister's girls up top and Iz(orange) and O(blue) on the bottom made one day when they came to play.

Christmas Living Room
Iz testing out her first Piggy Paint by the fire Christmas morning

My sweet Two Potters pitcher as my gift from E and the girls and our traditional Christmas cinnamon rolls.

A little time in the woods at our nearest park on our foggy Christmas afternoon.

Recently I read through many old posts here to clean things up a bit before taking time to write in this space again and while I was doing so I found myself smiling, tearing up and generally reminiscent. As this was all happening around the holidays I found one post surrounding Iz's first Christmas to be very relevant as I talked about how our holidays needed to change and would have to eventually. We always knew we didn't want to run about or to spend hours of our holiday in the car - especially with one or the other of our daughters crying the entire hour which is stressful for us all and really unfair to them - but we kept trying and going with it and hoping things would change and trying to get up the courage to do what was best for us.

As the years went on we kept feeling the pull and this year Iz specifically asked if we could stay home in our pjs all day on Christmas and with that we decided it was time to make the change. So, we did and it was just what we had wished for. We saw E's parents the morning of Christmas Eve and saw my family that evening before coming home to get the girls to bed, mix up cinnamon roll dough and fill stockings, without worry of packing up bags and pjs and preparing food for the following day.

We spent the morning opening a few gifts, enjoying the warmth of our fireplace, eating our rolls, painting toes, reading new books and just generally enjoying each other. We were also gifted with a rather warm-for-December day so after O's nap Iz agreed to get out of pjs for a bit so we traveled less than a mile to the other side of our neighborhood and played there for a couple of hours before coming home for homemade pizza, dip and fruit in the living room while watching The Snowy Day and just being together. Slow and simple. Just the way we needed it. Just the way we had desired for so long. Every year may look a little different as we find our way to some new normals but this feels right for us and it feels fair and respectful to our girls and since we know that is what is most important, we will embrace it with big happy smiles and wide open arms.