Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Mother Lode

In my mind, Martha Stewart is responsible for launching the huge DIY/craft movement in full swing today. I remember perusing the pages of Living, becoming inspired to try one of the projects on its pages. Now, Martha has given us an amazing Encyclopedia full of every HOW-TO ever featured in her magazine. You'll find it at Costco for a very good price.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

I love Peonies!

Saw these beauties at New Seasons and just had to snap a picture.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Saw this idea in Cookie. Find a wooden window frame with 32 squares at a building supply salvage yard, get a peice of masonite the same size and paint it with chalkboard paint, attach one on top of the other and you have a family calendar that's as useful as it is attractive. I think I'm going to do this!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Julia's Journal

I like to draw. It is fun. There is millions of things to draw. My favorite thing to draw is hearts.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Any grown-up Girl Scouts out there remember Sit-Upons? Back in the day they were made by enclosing a thick stack of newspapers in two vinyl squares and stitching around the edges. I made this "modern version" for camping by sewing batting onto two layers of vinyl tablecloth, right sides together. I left one side open, turned inside out, stitched closed and Voila, no more sitting on damp picnic table benches!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Duds Vs. Dudes

The Bachelorette just started up again, and I am watching. This season is sporting some duds and some DUDES.
The my opinion are:






Monday, May 25, 2009

We attended the birthday party to beat all birthday parties this weekend. What made it so wondrous, you ask? Zany Zoo, a Eugene area pet store, was in attendance, along with many of their favorite animal friends. The prospect of hanging with a Tortoise and an Iguana was absolutely thrilling to Julia and Avery. Little did we know that we would also get to meet a Sugar Glider,and a baby Bush Baby! Have you ever seen a Bush Baby's hands? We also met a Kuwati, something similar to a Raccoon, and something which I'd never even heard of before. We had a great time! Best birthday party ever, guys!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Me, in a Nutshell

"She was a noticer....all the shelves are lined with shells, bird feathers, dried sea grasses, pebbles, eggshells, and the skeleton of something that might be a bat. They're just bits that were lying on the ground that anyone else would step over or on, but she saw they were beautiful and brought them home."
-Geurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Friday, May 22, 2009

Letter To My Four-Year-Old

Dear Avery,
Our lives have been so very busy lately, and I have been totally putting off writing this letter to you because I really wanted it to be good. Now I'm ready.

This year you started preschool two days a week. What a huge learning experience that was for you! You loved it, all of it! You sat down and tried whatever was for snack. You immersed yourself in the activities you got to choose from each day. You made beautiful artwork in the art room. You talked a lot about different friends. You would often kiss your teacher's hand, and you gave her a nickname. She was so good for you, because she helped you to be comfortable. She couldn't believe the growth you made this year. Remember when you didn't want mommy to leave? About February I was able to say goodbye, kiss you, and walk out of the room and you were just fine! I was so proud of you!

As a four year old you try new foods all the time. Sometimes when we take sister to school you and mommy go out for a special lunch. We've had both Thai and Sushi and you tried it all, even enjoying the spicy Thai dish mommy ordered for us. (The crab in the sushi made you get a very funny look on your face!) You love helping in the kitchen and are great at setting the table with place mats and napkins. You also love having your own little pitcher of water and pouring it into an egg cup to sip out of. You are a total snacker, preferring brief meals to larger ones. You love dried mango, chili, jerky, hamburgers, and lots of cheese. NO worries with you on the protein front! You love drinking water, and are zealous about hydration, to the point that we still need the occasional pull up at night. You're a lover of candy and marshmallows but could take or leave most other sweets.
Sometimes you tell me you don't want to grow up, that you want to stay home with me and daddy forever. You are afraid of dogs to the point that when one comes near you are completely paralyzed with fear. The ocean also frightens you and you don't like walking close to it.

You have been known to sit down with a piece of paper and ask me how to spell words so you can write them. You got a CD player for your birthday and now you, like sister, can listen to things like our Music Together CDs or the CD that came with your Nursery Rhyme book. You like singing, too, and it's so sweet to hear you singing softly to yourself when you are alone. I especially love your rendition of a certain Kidz Bop song with the lyrics, "I'm slippin' into the la-va and I'm tryin' to keep from goin' under....Temperature's burnin' hotta, cuz I'm burnin' up, burnin' up for you baby." You love dancing, give it a beautiful flair with pursed lips and delicate hands while listening to "Meghann's music." You are an amazing artist. Your drawings blow me away.

You change your clothes at least three times every day. You prefer to sleep with minimal clothing. You ask me often if you can "Watch something," requesting Olivia or My Friend Rabbit. When the Smurfs is on you and Julia always watch the beginning and point to different moments that you think would be coloring sheets you'd want to color. When we have movie night you have been known to get choked up during sentimental moments. Today we were driving home from somewhere and you were sitting in the back seat, calmly lost in thought, listening to the music. There are so many sides of you, there is that side, but there is also hyper silly Avery who can't calm down.
Your sister taught you, "May I Have Your Attention, Please," and you say it and get her attention every time. You LOVE your sister and play really well together. These days it seems you orchestrate as much as she does. You love wearing each other's clothes and jumping on the bed. When there is a problem between you your fiery emotions cause surprising eruptions of violence.

You have your own library card and trips to the library with you are so special. You usually check out four books and then a bonus book, and like to carry them out with your receipt thank you very much. You still enjoy reading to yourself at night in your room. You have the cutest little voice and when you tell stories to yourself you use so much expression. When you tell me things I find myself inwardly chuckling at both what you are saying but also how you are saying it.

You were born amazing but you are becoming more amazing each and every day. I am looking forward to what the next year holds for us together. Aves, my Bub, my Averita: I love you so much!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The End of the Path, For Now

Sometimes when the girls have a good day they say, "I want to go back and start today all over again." I feel that way today.

Today was Avery's last day of preschool for the year. I never liked the last day of school as a kid. I felt the same as a teacher and feel the same now as a parent. There are the joys of it, like your hard work is done, you've got something to show for it, you have your school supplies at home (how strange!) to use. On the flip side the circumstances will never be the same. I'm sentimental and cling to those familiarities: the people, the combination of people, the bonds you've created.

I love giving thanks to hardworking parents, acknowledging the dedication and commitment that so many people in a cooperative preschool put out there.
Today, as President, I got a thank-you that surprised my heart and really touched me. All 36 families gave me a wonderful card with tons of sweet messages about the job I did this year, a copy of Alicia Paulson's Stitch in Time book, (a gem I didn't yet have), and $100 to spend at Fabric Depot! I totally cried when it was given to me. I was the one being thanked! The generous gesture lit me up.

We look at our kids every day and don't see them getting taller. Today another mom friend who worked in the classroom had to measure the kids height and see how much they'd grown from September. She told me that Avery's height had changed the most this year. I marvel at that because not only was she making leaps and bounds physically, her comfort level and confidence was growing rapidly as well.

As President I grew. When I was first considered for the job I felt terrified. A high school teacher once described me as timid, and this timidity and fear definitely had held me locked in what was comfortable. It was my husband who supported the decision in a way that made me feel like I was completely capable and should do it. I assumed the job, and as the months went on I felt more comfortable as our leader. It was a new role, but it was never too much.

After preschool Avery and I hit the park and had some fun. She got to run and swing with her pals and I got to look for rose pine cones with them and talk with other parents. For three years we have been a part of a very special preschool. In her final year there next year, Avery will meet new friends and grow more. I won't be as necessary to the big picture, but I will always be necessary to the whole. She and I are guaranteed so many gifts from the experience of being a part of it.

This bowl is testament to the treasures you can find thrift shopping. Many moons ago it called to me from the shelves at Goodwill and it pleases me still every time we use it camping.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This Pesto is Perfecto!

Have you ever made Pesto? Thanks to Everyday Food, I have. Incorporated into a pasta dish, it was so full of flavor and yum.

Basil Pesto
Makes 1 3/4 cups
1 cup walnuts or pine nuts
Coarse salt and ground pepper
8 cups (4 ounces) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden and fragrant, tossing once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.
Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; add basil, and submerge with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool, then pat basil completely dry in paper towels.
In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Use immediately, or freeze. To freeze, spoon pesto into an ice-cube tray (2 tablespoons per cube); cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight, then transfer cubes to a resealable plastic bag; keep up to 6 months. Defrost pesto at room temperature, about 20 minutes (or at 30-second intervals in the microwave). Mash with a fork before using in recipes.
-Everyday Food September 2005

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mount St. Helens, Remembered

I was seven. It was an afternoon in May like any other afternoon: my brothers and I were playing outside while my dad washed the car. Suddenly the skies turned dark. It became night in the middle of the day. The air felt warm. Something began to fall like snow.

Once we watched the news we understood: Mount St. Helens had errupted. The winds had carried the ash and debris East and in Moses Lake, where we lived, six inches of ash accumulated. We stayed indoors, because breathing the ash was not good for our lungs. School ended early that year, because the ash was so heavy on the roof of my elementary school. I remember the way the ash puffed dry around our ankles, the few times we were allowed to frolic in it. Once cleaned up, it formed huge soggy dividers down the road.

Monday, May 18, 2009

MY MY and the Little Brown M&M

In 1977 my dad bought a 911. We called it a Porsche, one syllable without the "UH" at the end. That was before car seats as we know them, and I remember we three kids packed in the backseat of that little car, our blanket purposefully billowing out of the top. My dad and I went to Montana in that car, just he and I loaded down with Big Hunks and beer. I got to drive it once, in the middle of tourist season in Lincoln City. I was a nervous wreck.

Through the years and our many moves, the Porsche was eventually stored in our garage, replaced with newer and bigger toys, though that didn't keep my dad from lamenting every near scratch that occurred as we would walk past. Despite our efforts, it would receive a few choice "DINGS" over the years, like the legendary one left when our neighbor John Bates, renowned neighborhood Sousaphone player, dropped a fishing pole on it and left a mark.

Fast forward thirty-two years later and the Porsche, last licensed ten years earlier, became buried in "debris" in my parent's garage. In April my brothers and I teamed up with my mom to clean her garage, and we uncovered the car that I liken to a brown M&M. It looked pretty good. It had housed some mice, but luckily still smelled like it used to smell, leathery. I remembered the furry upholstery's interior, how I would smooth it in one direction and write things in the nap. I remember the novelty of snapping on the radio without having to have the key in and how I loved to sit in it, with someone trusted, listening to music, undisturbed.

My mom is having the car overhauled so she can drive it. That had been her goal upon turning sixty, but my dad did nothing to encourage that. When he died, she was a little more empowered to revive it. She had it reinsured, and is putting personalized plates on it. My dad always called a fancy woman a "MY MY" and that is what her plates will read as she tools around town. The car has 76,000 miles on it, and many left to drive for someone like my mom, full of life, full of memories, determined to gun her motor and go.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Dead Man's Cove Didn't Kill Our Fun

This weekend my husband and I had a great getaway to Cape Disappointment State Park. We walked on the beach, went inside the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (open only one day a year), learned about Lewis and Clark at the Interpretive Center, ate yummy seafood, relaxed by the campfire, enjoyed beautiful weather, and slept in! We returned happy to happy girls, who'd had a wonderful weekend with their grandma. Thanks mom for babysitting!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

All Things Small

You name it, if it's about little ones we'll be into it! We uncovered The Littles and Their Friends in a box of my old books. What a treasure! In it are maps of The Littles and all the other small people that live nearby in the woods or the dump. There are the Trash Tinies, the Ground Tinies, the Brook Tinies and the Tree Tinies.

As a young kid I totally remember reading The Littles Go Exploring and then when we were in the woods I'd spy creekbeds that looked as though they'd be a perfect place for the Brook Tinies to live among the gnarled roots. Now, having read The Littles and their Friends, we were inspired to read our first Littles book: The Littles and the Trash Tinies. After that Julia was really interested in creating little spaces for the littles, finding bottle caps for them to use as dishes, etc.

It was the same with the Smurfs and Julia has been known to look for Smurfs in the woods.

Stuart Little was enjoyable, a story of a mouse two inches tall.

We also watched The Gnome Mobile the other night, a Disney classic!

I think maybe we'll investigate the Borrowers next, in the spirit of the wee ones.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Kindergallery features art for children's spaces. I love love love the artwork there!

Mother With Child Cut and Paste by Ana Ventura
Small Rose Farm by Meredith Gaston
Me and Company by Isa Form.

Tractor by Gav Barbey

Thursday, May 14, 2009

These Designs Are Officially Luscious

I found Amy Butler craft paper at Fred Meyer yesterday-20% off. I rarely go into Fred Meyer, but now have some inspiration for a new collage.....