Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday I Found Some Inspiring Words

".......if it's something you really want—it'll happen. You'll find a way because you must. And when it does happen, be ready because it'll come fast. Life doesn't happen any other way. At least not the parts worth living."
-Jenna Woginrich,author of the Cold Antler Farm blog. She was featured on Craft Sanity Episode #96 talking about life and her book, Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Dear Avery,
Thank you for:
1) Always writing your name with an O on the end.
2) Holding your short hair up when I button or zip the backs of your dresses.
3) Winking back at me when I wink at you, but only sometimes.
4) Skipping places when you're happy.
5) Singing with the richest tilted head and earnest facial expressions in the car.
6) Lying and listening to Raggedy Ann stories with me before bed.
I love you no matter what, but these things? They are treats to me every single day.

Friday, October 16, 2009

A Long Awaited Furniture Upgrade

We recently purchased a new kitchen table from Costco, complete with six chairs. It is an incredibly nice table, made of bamboo! We are loving it. The fabric seats permit less wiggling and escaping from the kids. We also love how it extends on each end, so that if we ever have a huge group of people, we can all sit at the table. Sweet!

We also went and picked out a new couch at Lazyboy. Yep, the old Ikea couch is nearly Goodwill-bound, sniff, sniff. We chose the one pictured in a darker brown, something I know we will love. It's very comfy to me but also to my husband, which is especially exciting because he has a hard time being comfortable in most furniture.

Lastly, as you can see by the picture of Julia's room above, our girls now have bedroom furniture! Gone are the days of hand-me-down dressers than won't open and mattresses sitting on the floor. It all arrived yesterday and was assembled by the delivery men and everything. The timing was funny because I'd just finished finding and buying bedding to match the curtains I'd made as well as making them each comforter covers for their cozy new comforters. It's really all coming together and they LOVE their rooms. I will show some more pictures when they are all finished and put together. The next project will be some kid-made collages to hang on their walls.

We are very very lucky to be able to invest in some new things. We have waited forever to do it, too, which makes us enjoy it all the more.

People With a Yard

Check out this tree. Pretty, right? Bonus points if you know the variety. I'm guessing some sort of Larch?

Now in this picture, the sidewalk has been freed of its daily desposit of cones. In a way, it makes you forget the amount of "cones" (I call them phalluses) that drop from this tree. No matter, take a look at the lawn. Virtually blanketed, I tell you.

Of course if this tree is in your yard, then when the sidewalk is teeming with them it's your job to take care of them so you don't receive any sort of correspondence from the HOA, because believe me, we have received correspondence like that, and yeah, it was because of the "cones." The other day, correspondence fresh in my memory, I looked out to survey the yard and saw the amount of cones that had been shaken free of the tree and had to laugh. They covered the sidewalk in a large half circle of bright orange. They will never stop falling. They will need to be picked up for days, weeks, I daresay months until the tree is done.

It is an amazing thing, nature's ability to propagate its species. When we shop for a house, if there's a tree like that in the yard, it will be a deal breaker. Yes! This, coming from someone who LOVES trees.

Yuck, No More

At our dinner table we have Julia in one corner, afraid to try new foods. Avery sits opposite her, trying things but eating miniscule amounts. The role I've chosen involves giving them foods that I know they will eat.

Last week after "YUCK!" was uttered when I offered Julia pasta, I reached a new level of frustration surrounding feeding my children. I realized that her pickiness had paralyzed her, and in order to help her GROW into a more flexible human being I was going to have to do something major to change it up. Every night for two weeks I would make something new (to her) for dinner that she would be required to try.

We are one week into this and so far it's going pretty well. I feel victorious that the consistency of the plan has opened her mouth and her mind a bit. She has slouched and whined but several times I have watched her out of the corner of my eye slip something into her mouth in a no-nonsense way. This is HUGE! She admitted to liking halibut, another step. It's just nice to have a heck of a lot less HOOPLA surrounding eating. Avery is benefitting too because she is getting exposure to foods that she has no qualms about trying. I am empowered to live like this forever, convinced that my consistency and expectations are the agent of change needed to positively affect our situation. Julia still isn't really EATING the new foods which means that the next two week goal will about finishing something on her plate that is new. Baby steps.

My plan is that all this work will culminate in sitting down and eating Thankgiving dinner. I'll let you know how that pans out.

Ellen's Apple Tree is such a perfect find for fall and apple season! This beautifully illustrated tale follows her tree through each season, highlighting what the tree has to offer: pretty blooms in spring, gorgeous green leaves in summer and tasty apples in autumn. Then, a winter storm blows the tree down and Ellen must say goodbye to it. Thankfully, in the spring she gets to say hello to planting a new apple tree. Surprised and dissapointed by its' small size, Ellen soon learns the treasure of nurturing her new apple tree. This book is perfect for children aged 4-8.

My Uncle Emily centers around Emily Dickinson’s famous poem, “Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant.” Based on actual events in the life of Emily Dickinson, we learn that she was very close with her nephews both literally (they lived next door to her in Amherst, Massachusetts) and otherwise, as she always joked that they should call her “Uncle.” Gilbert, six, tells the story of how his Uncle Emily gave him a dead bee with a poem to take to his teacher. After the teacher reads the poem to the class, none of the children comprehend it. Later in the schoolyard, Gil gets into an argument with a bully because the bully calls Uncle Emily a name. At home, the injured Gil witholds the truth about why exactly he is limping, but Uncle Emily helps him find a why to share things, “so it comes around to the truth at last.” The illustrator's vibrant, digitally touched pen-and-ink pictures emobdy both the classroom and playground drama, as well as the warm, close family, all in period detail. I would say this book is perfect for children aged 4-8 also.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Podcast Love

My most favorite Podcast is Craft Sanity, a weekly program for those inspired by all things handmade. The host is great about seeking out popular crafters and people with innovative and inspirational stories. I have been able to listen to shows about many creative lives that inspire me, from Amy Karol's (Angry Chicken) to Amanda Soule's (Soule Mama), Alicia Paulson's (Posy Gets Cozy) to Emily Martin's. The Black Apple.

Anyway, It had been awhile since I'd tuned in to Craft Sanity, but just this week I was listening to an older episode, #102, featuring The Beerhorst Family. Theirs is a story worth listening to. Unconventional yet authentic, I admire the choices they've made and the way they're living their lives. YOU GO BEERHORSTS! They have a blog, too! Check it out!

And definitely check out Craft Sanity or all the other podcasts out there. They are totally worth having on in the background as you clean house, walk, or work on a project. That's how the multitaskers roll, you know.

So Long, Suckers!

Whether it's due to the bushel of apples on our back porch, or the various fresh vegetables that have made their way into our midst, it's that time of year when the cloud of fruit flies have become an annoyance. Finally, finally, I have a solution thanks to a quick internet search.

To rid yourself of pesky fruit flies, simply fill a bowl half full with water, add a few drops of dish soap, a few drops of apple cider vinegar, then cover with saran wrap and poke some holes in the top. In no time you will be catching fruit flies. We had a few bowls going and our flies are now gone. Phew.

Pumpkin Love

Despite the plethora of pumpkin patches in our area, a few weekends ago when we had family visiting, we tried a pumpkin patch new to us, Jim Dandy Farm Market. We have passed it many times on our way to the coast and this was the year we finally stopped to try it out. They had a pretty good selection of pumpkins plucked and set out in a grassy field for kids to choose. The corn maze wasn't finished when we were there. They had some beautiful flowers and we came home with some great honey, too. All four pumpkins now sit by our front door waiting for Halloween. It won't be long, not long, at all.....

Friday, October 09, 2009

The latest and greatest around here involve:

both kids getting stung by a bee for their first time ever in the same week

lots of fruit flies and spiders


keeping up with my jogging

a bushel of apples that doesn't yet have a purpose

ordering new bedroom furniture for the kids. we went with jc penny's allie set.

visits from faraway relatives

getting a good handle on our yard which looks fabulous