"I have Autism, but Autism doesn't have me."

I started this blog to share my thoughts on what is life as a stay-at-home mom. With changes that have developed and shaped our characters here on the homestead, this is now Tristan's blog (Captain's log?) about life with Autism. We will be sharing various topics, focused on Autism, ranging from the professional focus to being in the parent's seat and how every day is different from yesterday and may not come close to tomorrow. There is much to continue learning when it comes to Autism, and as a family, we are sharing our experiences along the way. Pull up a chair, learn, then go out into the world and make a difference with what you've gleaned. Knowledge is Power!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Creative Project Weekly Ambitions

"The Inspiration for This Blog"

"Creativity for Functional Purpose"

"Blast From the Past Visits the Present"
Taking a moment before heading off to bed for the night. I felt lost the last week but at the same time, after some major life altering decisions after moments of epiphany while gardening and feeling the coolness of the dirt as I intuitively placed seedlings and seeds, I enjoyed my weekend with my little growing family. A trip to the local bookstore reaped the reward of finding materials that I absolutely love, notices that my writing is starting to appear in the published realm-spurring me to write more but selectively and knowing I don't need the income to keep the lights on, I come into a new week of a new month; yes, it is the second week of June but I feel like we're still at the beginning of something new.
Found this great book, "The Gentle Art of Domesticity: Stitching, Baking, Art & The Comforts of Home," by Jane Brocket and absolutely love it! Fantastic way to view being creative while tackling and learning to turn around our view of the everyday tasks that have to be plowed through and not seen as drudgery. It has helped me to improve my focus on setting schedules, completing tasks that need to be done and then left as done, along with give me time to focus on Tristan's education, our time together connecting, playing, making memories, and last but not least, making time for myself and the many, many creative endeavors I have that I seem to dabble with as I move along.
Remember my closings on wondering why there were Cheerios in my shoes or under that coffee table.....the first photo here says it all.....even if it is Kix......~Mom
Yes, each week I focus on one particular creative project, write about it, and then move on to the next one waiting when the week is over, the weekend is enjoyed, and Monday comes round full circle to greet us with the feeling of where did the weekend go?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Life in the Mom Lane

"Building Makes Me Tired"

May is almost out the door and June is on the threshold to welcome us into the summer of our lives. Six more weeks to go, even with the doctor's office trying to convince me that I have an additional week and a half to go; hmmmm, I think a woman knows her body, or at least should, better than anyone could possibly try. Don't get me wrong, yes there are great care providers but I heard it said once and keep it in mind to this day: "They don't call it practicing medicine for nothing...."
I've been lax on posting here, as well as time devoted to my biz page and my musing page. This week especially was a tough one here in New England. Three days in a row that were sweltering and wanting nothing more than to rest and wonder when the heat would break to be able to find the energy to get stuff done. Its hard for me to do nothing, as I've always been on the go. I typically go until I can't go anymore, or at least this was my approach before becoming a mother. It has taken me two years to get it together to find a way to flow through life, things set up to do with the backup plan that it can all change in a heartbeat. And to NOT stress if something doesn't get done that can be picked up at another time. And now with another baby coming, it all changes....again. I have a feeling there will be times of laughter, the euphoric sense of wondering what just happened, and those moments where a good cry is all I need to get back on the horse and nudge into the Mom Lane.
I've been doing some great reading, cleaning up the two articles I have to submit before Monday, take a day to let things settle, and then move forward. Farmer's Market season opens this weekend in some townships but I will not be present until next week. I'll be doing what I can for the month of June, absent for the month of July, and hopefully back in the driver's seat come August. And now I find myself brainstorming what to write about next. Maybe starting with a list would be a great idea, and then work from there.....oh boy, I don't want to become a compulsive list maker......please take away all pens, pencils, paper, I'll even throw in the computer for kicks if it really gets bad.......you gotta laugh......
So, here's to another moment in the life of a mom who loves being a mom, a woman who loves being loved and being in love with the one who's meant for me, and the many, many other things I do that would almost require making a list.......~Mom

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cast Your Vote, Help a Little One

"Colors of the Baby Rainbow"

"Little Feet"

"Stitches, stitches, stitches.."

"Little Princess"
Ah, the long awaited post....finally. I had thought of this idea for some time, and with much more intensive thought over the Mother's Day weekend, I chose not to reveal the gender of my second child. There's more to the story of my decision but why continue to put focus on the negative when I can turn this into something positive and for the benefit of someone else, someone in need? So here it is....
Calling all friends, family, fellow fiber artists, and anyone interested in giving a hand to this project. For every vote cast, boy or girl, a donation of hand made items-hats, booties, and preemie size blankets-to be made to the children's hospital in your local area. I have many friends from all over the states, and would love to see where this will go. The voting will go until either my due date-July 16th-or when we make the announcement of the birth of our mystery child.
When my son Tristan was born, although a full term baby, he came a week early; swallowing and aspirating on amniotic fluid put in NICU @ the Vermont Children's Hospital for four days to clear him out and get him ready to be able to come home. After 30+ hours of labor into delivery, not being able to take my child home was devastating. After nine months of waiting for this little person to arrive, there was an empty feeling at first, frosted over with numbness of having to see him attached to wires and hanging on each progress report as to how he was doing. We both had a tough time going into the unit, just wanting to take him home. Watching other families there with their babies also made it hard to be there. We were very fortunate to watch the healing progress of our child, knowing that we would be taking him home at some point; knowing there were babies there, at least one not going home...its more than I want to give acknowledgement to but know that it does happen.
So, how important is gender? Why are some so overly consumed with boy vs. girl, pink vs. blue when it comes to colors? All I have and will ever ask for is a healthy baby, one I can take home and not feel lost as to how to start the journey of motherhood. As I continue my journey into motherhood, expanding our little family, I hope to hold my baby sooner than 13 hrs later, no wires attached, tests conducted, and to take this child home when I should be doing so. I can never dispute the wonderful care Tristan received in his time of need, because the staff, especially the nurses, were wonderful with him and put my mind at ease that he was receiving the absolute best care he needed. To look at him and listen to him today, you wouldn't know this event ever took place....miracles do happen, as do the speedbumps in life.
So, love the baby....boy or girl.....ask for a healthy life....and forget about pink and blue....

I will need knitters/crocheters to help with this project. Currently, I have two on board but depending on the number of votes cast, there may be quite a number to fill.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Doughnut Art

"I'll paint these, Mom!"

"Sprinkles, anyone?"

"Put the camera down and help me eat this."
I wonder if Picasso worked with food?
We're continuing to work through the alphabet through art projects; tomorrow we finger paint after today's "eels with playdough." The doughnut project was fun; we picked up frosting and 6 doughnuts, as we had the sprinkles here at home. Tristan didn't care so much for the set up but once the doughnuts and the frosting connected by way of the back of a spoon, he was all about the hands on for decorating. It was great to watch him choose what he wanted for sprinkles, shake them on, and then after the caps were secured in place, it was all about the tasting and sampling to find out how yummy those doughnuts were. Two doughnuts were decorated, and the rest were eaten for breakfast-perfect.

April Showers Brought Mother's Day Snow

"Rainy Day Painting"

"Toy Cars Have Many Uses"

"I'd Rather Be Gardening"

"Can you see the snowflakes?"
Last Wednesday, we did our creative project, which was fun. We worked with Playdough today but I couldn't get a good shot of him at any time we were working the dough to make letters, shapes, smell it.... So far, the little man is not too hung up on painting but I think with time, he might change his mind. We're painting again tomorrow but with our fingers instead. And if not, its not a big deal; I trust he'll like what he likes, and not push him to be over the top with achievements. I want what's best for him but I want him to want it for himself. Happy, a life filled with sunshine with the occasional cloud-those do come, even if you don't want them to-and to just be; that's my goal as a parent and what I can give to my son.
And yes, we got snow on Mother's Day....something else. It was interesting to look outside, watch the snow fall in large, wet flakes, see that it wasn't sticking and staying. The day before, I took Tristan to Lowe's for their kids' workshop for a building project; he attends these little workshops and is really becoming more and more hands on with the building. I'll have to post about his projects.
Its been so busy here these last couple of weeks; I still have a list of things to do, writing to get through, soap to make (seems non-stop), a garden to continue planting, and priceless moments to spend with the man of the house-yes, the toddler rules the roost. I'm also research reading and reading to pull myself away from the "heady" stuff to give myself a mental break. And the fiber work? Yeap, still slaving away at that project, and wondering why the potty chair lays in pieces and there's Cheerios under the couch and coffee table....~Mom

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wednesday Creative Project

"The Artist at Work"

"An Army of Ants"

"Oh wait! Here I am before starting the project!"
Wednesday's creative project this week. Its called an "Army of Ants" and I thought this would be a fun piece to do together. Tristan wasn't too interested in the taping the piece of denim to the cardboard, as he was sifting through his markers and checking out the electrical tape I used for the project. Yet, once we got to the part where we could decorate the fabric, he was all hands on deck to do his art-which I have no issues with; besides, the cutting of cardboard, taping of fabric to the cardboard piece will come along in time. His reaction to my applying the marker to the pads of his fingers was priceless; imagine having your mom applying marker to your fingers to create "finger print bugs."
I found this project in a great book about using art to learn and work through the alphabet; the book shows to work up to four projects in one week, making it 26 weeks to work through the alphabet but I've shortened it for us here at home by working through two letters at a time and one project per letter. The book is geared for older kids, like grade school but I believe with a little modification, we can still use some of the project ideas. Listed below is the activity and the supplies needed and directions to conduct the session.
An Army of Ants
-thick cardboard
-scrap fabric to cover cardboard
-masking tape (or tape that you can find that will secure fabric to cardboard)
-inkpads (or washable markers)
-fine tip markers
The Creative Process:
-Cut the cardboard into an 8" x 8" square.
-Cover one side of the cardboard square with scrap fabric and secure in place with tape.
-Draw a block-style letter "A" on the cloth covered square.
-Demonstrate how to create ants by covering finger pad with washable marker, color of choice, and press it onto the tablecloth. Place two prints beside each other, touching. Add legs and antennae with the marker.
-Encourage your child to place "ants" all over his/her tablecloth.
-Campbell, Kelly J. "Art Across the Alphabet: Over 100 Art Experiences That Enrich Early Literacy."
Looking at our bugs, I was glad we used the black marker; something tells me if we had used brown, our ants may have taken on the appearance of cockroaches-run screaming from the room, please! Of all the bugs in the insect world, those are the only creepy crawlers I absolutely can't stand-YUCK!!!!!!
Our next letter is "B" and we'll be painting with paints that begin with the letter "B." Here's to Wednesday Creative Projects! ~Mom

Pattern Directions for Converted Sweater Project

Toddler's Pullover Sweater
(converted directions based on cardigan pattern)
-6 mos. (12 mos.)*
Shown in size 12 mos. When only one number is given, it applies to both sizes. Note: For ease in working, circle all numbers pertaining to your size.
Finished measurements:
-Chest= 22 (25)"*
Sensations Rainbow Classic (Art. 09122458); 100% acrylic; 11 oz. (312 g.); 615 yds. (562 m.); bulky weight.
-1 skein # 42588 Green/Grey Rainbow Classic*
Needles & extras:
-Size 10 (6 mm) needles or size needed to obtain gauge.
-Tapestry (blunt-end yarn) needle
-11 sts. and 20 rows= 4" (10 cm) over
-Garter stitch (stockingnette, or knit every row)
Note: Use long-tail cast-on throughout.
-Cast on 30 (34) sts. Work Garter st until piece measures 11 (12)". Bind off.*
-Cast on 30 (34) sts. Work Garter st until piece measure 11 (12) ". Bind off.*
Sleeve: (make 2)
-Cast on 26 (28) sts. Work Garter st until piece measures 5 (7)". Bind off.*
-Sleeve ribbing
-Cast on 10 (15) sts. Knit 2 rows, purl 2 rows. Work alternating stitches until pieces each measure 7 (9)". Bind off.*
-Bottom edge ribbing
-Cast on 17 (19) sts. Knit 2 rows, purl 2 rows. Work alternating stitches until piece measures 8 (10)". Bind off.*
-Neck ribbing
-Cast on 5 (7) sts. Knit 2 rows, purl 2 rows. Work alternating stitches until piece measures 5 (5 1/2)". Bind off.*
-Sew shoulder seams, leaving a 5 (5 1/2)" neck opening. Sew sleeves onto body of pullover. Fold pullover at shoulders; sew sides and underarm seams. Weave in ends.
Attach ribbing: As you sew on bottom edge and sleeve ribbing pieces, you will notice a gather or "pucker"," which should only be slight; if you notice an extreme gather, detach and start again. Gathering should be uniform for a clean appearance and ensure that sleeves can stay in place if pushed up and that the body of the finished sweater doesn't ride up or cause discomfort for the wearer. Weave in ends.
*You may have noticed an asterisk noted throughout the pattern directions I've listed here. My son is almost three years old but being a novice in the world of knitting, my stitches, depending on the fiber base I'm working with, can be looser or tighter in conjunction with the pattern directions; therefore, I put in all caps that it is important to check your gauge.
I wanted to create a sweater for my child but felt I lacked the confidence to move forward into the world of increase/decrease stitching; remember my swiss cheese reference in my previous post discussing the finished product and the importance of including (after making notes for revisions) a pattern for others to follow. When I found the original cardigan pattern, consisting of blocks (rectangles, if you will), I began to see how it could be converted into a pullover; the ribbed pieces were a "brain baby" during the formation of each piece that would become the body of the sweater. I wanted a sweater that my child could wear outside, when the chill is still hanging in the air in the mornings when we garden, something consisting of a fiber base that could be easily cleaned and cared for (therefore, the choice of acrylic), and assist with my learning process of working with different fibers for functional use. Am I happy with the end result? Yes, I am. I will have to expand the neck ribbing as he grows until he can no longer wear the sweater but I'm willing to work with that as part of my learning process on the knitting playground. Happy creating! ~Mom
-Better Homes & Gardens 1-2-3 Knit: Project-packed Beginner's Guide.
*distributed exclusively by Leisure Arts.

Monday, May 3, 2010

How to Transform a Cardigan Pattern into a Pullover Pattern

"Let me turn....."

"Ribbing on sleeves"

"Stockingnette Stitch for body & sleeves"

"How Do I Look?"
Now, I'm not an experienced knitter; I barely learned by teaching myself and a high level of long distance encouragement from a dear college girlfriend to go ahead and learn how to knit. I've been at it for about a year now, and I absolutely love it! It took me 20 years, most of them spent in discouragement on my own part plus the factor of being left handed while the women in my family are all right handed, just to learn to crochet; so I didn't plan on learning how to wrangle two needles, let alone one hook! Mind you, I consider myself a creatress, and love the challenge of a new project and the pursuit of the end result. The road always goes in two directions for me each time: I either don't try it again or love it so much that I can't resist to keep going in the direction of additional like projects.
I was given a huge bag of yarn, needles, and books not too long ago-I think it may have been just before the Fall melted into the cold of Winter by a neighbor-sweet soul. After sorting through, orgazining my new "stash," I started working on other fiber projects-hoodies, hats, scarves, etc...then, it hit me to try a sweater. I trialed increase and decrease stitches by experimenting with baby booties, and after the results of swiss cheese or moth eaten outerwear, I almost gave up on the sweater idea. It was right after that thought I looked in one of my "new" books again. Two sweater patterns, one for a toddler and one for a baby. The baby pattern is increase/decrease stitch loaded, so I looked at the toddler pattern a bit more closely. That's when the lights went on; I could see how you can alter a cardigan into a pullover with measurement modifications to the pieces, as needed. As I worked each panel-there's a total of four (one for the front, one for the back, and one each for the sleeves), I wondered about ribbing for the cuffs, bottom edge of the sweater body, and the neckline. Ribbing is NOT my best stitch, no matter how many times I've painfully followed the directions and almost resorted to using my needles as kabob skewers instead of the knitting they're made for; although, my understanding is that knitting needles can be used for so much more than just knitting.....
As I completed the panels for the sweater body, stitched each panel together where indicated by pattern directions, I settled into the idea that I was going to try ribbing. I managed, after much thought, a way to work my ribbing so that it works for me and how I can grasp the stitch. After some time, an additional week of fiber work and tearing out stitches-experienced knitters call it frogging-I managed to put the final touches on my toddler's new "spring gardening sweater." Happy with the results, I'm working to turn my modification over for publication. I'm not reinventing the wheel, mind you. I'm giving hope to other beginning knitters like myself that you don't have to make millions of scarves or hats before tackling a sweater for someone you love; just look from a different angle. Pattern directions in my next post.....~Mom

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Last Wednesday of April, part three

"I think I'm done, Mom...."

"Homeschool Schedule for May"
Ahhh....part three....we worked with an art project today for our Wednesday Creative Project. We made the schedule for the month of April as well, and I did photograph it, I just didn't post it. Looking back, Tristan barely put crayon to paper then and with this time, he really went to town-note the Picasso marks in the bottom and in the upper right hand corner. I was so proud of him, as he didn't need prompting to do so-only to keep the crayons and markers on the paper and not on the coffee table we used as our tabletop to work our project. Homeschool preschool trials have been going well, and I find I'm getting better at schedules, organizing activities, making sure we get time for what I've sketched out for the day. We're also working on potty training, and we're seeing success. I keep in mind that Tristan may regress once the new baby comes in July but this is something that does happen at times with older siblings and we'll just have to cross that bridge when we come to it.
Now that we have May and June schedules set up, I have to sit and work out the details to put it on the poster boards to post when the next month comes into view. I want to work on as much as we can, within reason and also to not put pressure or stress my lil' man out with learning, because as of July, we'll be working on our "Summer Reading Program." For the months of July and possibly half or most of August, we'll be reading, playing at the park, squeeze some swim time in there, and working in the garden. Ahhh...the joys of summer to come. ~Mom

The Last Wednesday of April, part two

So, after a bit of troubleshooting with internet speed and downloading, I've attached the links for my recipes for Sunday night's dinner that we had here in our home. I made Columbian & Peruvian dinner, as a treat for the interns who've been here in Vermont since mid-Jan. We've sponsored the Columbian interns since last summer, which has been a treat for improving my spanish and exposing Tristan to the spanish language to continue to grow and nurture our bilingual home. Anyway, please click onto the links below for the recipes in full, and remember, when life hands you lemons, launch them back like hand granades if you don't care for the prospect of making lemonade. Cheers!

Empanadas - Beef Turnovers | GOYA® Latin Recipes

Empanadas - Beef Turnovers | GOYA® Latin Recipes

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Arepas – Cornmeal Patties | GOYA® Venezuelan

Arepas – Cornmeal Patties | GOYA® Venezuelan & Colombian Cuisine

Posted using ShareThis



Posted using ShareThis



Posted using ShareThis

The Last Wednesday of April, part one

"Tulips Resisting the Cold"

"Potted herbs with a Blanket"

"Who Requested This Weather?"
I have so much to write about today, so I'm going to have to break it down into a couple of entries. Spring/Winter weather changes, creative project for Tristan, and the dinner I cooked on Sunday; I still have to take a picture of Tristan wearing his new sweater so that I can put that post together but that's for another time.
It started snowing yesterday morning, after a light rain and slight hail decided to fall first. I stood in the kitchen, looking out the window by the back door, watching it come down. Little did I know, it would keep snowing right into mid-day today. Now, its moving over into a small patch of rain, and according to the weather man, who is never truly right anyway, its supposed to stop and start warming back up between late tonight and into tomorrow. Global warming? Climate change? Human kind messing with the planet? Lots of possibilities....
"The cure for boredom is curiousity. There is no cure for curiousity." ~Dorothy Parker 1893-1967

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Earth Day 2010....celebrated at our home by gardening more this morning. My Glory of the Snows are about to their lifetime, and all other flowers are in bloom or coming up to bloom later this season and into the summer months. Scattering of lettuce and greens seeds, cleaning areas out to let flowers and herbs grow...yarrow, dandelion greens, plantain leaves, and sorting through the massive tangled roots of flowers that have been here long since we've come but due to neglect, bulbs have formed root systems and need to be thinned out severly. I love the colors when the flowers bloom but I don't need massive groves of these beauties; they also multiply, anyway. Share, share, share.....
The other element of today's posting is what is for dinner tonight.

Traditional Hummus
Coconut Curry Hummus*
Black Bean Hummus*
Braised Chicken with Crushed Wheat Stuffing
Steamed Brown Rice

Focus is on the hummus for today. I love the stuff, especially when its made that day. Well, its a hummus making factory here in my kitchen today. The traditional is very basic: chickpeas-canned or dry to cook, your choice; salt to taste, 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped; lemon juice and tahini (ground sesame seed paste, found in the health section of some markets or located with the peanut butter at others). Combine ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature. That's the basic; here comes the good stuff.

Coconut Curry Hummus
-2 15oz. cans chickpeas (or dry if you have the time to cook ahead of time)
-4 Tbsp tahini
-Juice of 1 lemon
-3 lg. garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 c. water
-1 tsp. sea salt
-1 Tbsp. black pepper
-1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped (you can use dried, just half the measurement)
-1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped (same rules apply for dried herb)
-3-5 dashes paprika
-7-8 Tbsp. red curry paste (international section of market or make your own, I do)
-1/2 c. coconut milk (international section of market)
-1/2 c. coconut shavings (baking aisle)
-2 dashes olive oil

In a food processor or blender, puree all ingredients until smooth. Pour into a serving dish with olive oil and enjoy!

Black Bean Hummus
-16 oz. dry black beans, cooked, drained
-4 Tbsp. olive oil
-Juice of 1 lemon
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-Sea salt
-1 tsp. cumin
-Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
-Tahini, to taste

Combine the black beans, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, cumin, pepper, and tahini in a food processor container; process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.

Yum! If concerned about how your traditional hummus is going to turn out, jot down the ingredients, making reference to the recipes added here today for measurements and directions, and go for it. Getting the consistency just right is the essence of the whole experience; don't sweat it, just try it. So, in honor of a very special mother today, take time to smell the flowers, savor the sounds of the birds calling to each other, enjoy the making of and eventually eating of a home cooked meal, and take five minutes of your day to research something in regards to earth conservation, green energy, wildlife conservation, sustainable living practices, etc....just five minutes, really. You'd be surprised what you might find. ~Mom

Growing Pains
-" ...the most important event in a woman's life is the birth of a child...In this period, she learns the discipline of sacrifice: her body, her time, her nutrients, her psyche, her knowledge, her skills, her social life, her economic abilities, her relationships, and her spiritual knowledge and values are called into service for her children. This passage, ambivilent at best, pushes her to reach far beyond whatever limits she thought she labored within, making her stronger." Paula Gunn Allen

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Creative Project

"I thought I moved these..."

"Pollinator Attraction Planting"

"Creative Project"

"My Little Gardener"

Gardening today, and it has gone well. I finally got all three of my raised beds moved, and can concentrate on working in and around them as the season unfolds. Now is a time for planting seeds, starting seedlings, taking inventory of my seed collection to see what else I'm missing for seeds and plants, track the lunar calendar to keep track of the right times to plant, keep the squirrels at bay so they don't end up in my soup pot-although, its been years since I've had squirrel for dinner, and to enjoy the season as it comes along.
It amazes me that even though I moved bulbs and plants, somehow they seem to pop up in the places I've moved them from. Roots? Perhaps, and something I'm not too concerned about. Move them again and again until all are moved, I suppose. I love letting some things grow and go where they will, as it creates color to appreciate for the time we have it; its when it gets out of control that I have to take a step back to access the situation of moving or totally taking out and giving away just to get rid of it. Looking for a plant/seed swap....
It was supposed to rain this afternoon; my plans to clean the house, work on tonight's dinner, and the seemingly never-ending sweater project to finish are still being carried through but augh! Who wants to be inside on a day like this? I love days when the sun shines all day; makes me want to hire a housekeeper just for those days....yeah right, like that's going to happen. Right now, I'm focused on prepping dinner and cleaning the kitchen to start with. I'll move around the rest of the house, along with shutting down the garden project and cleaning off the back porch to move into the late afternoon and early evening.
Tristan and I put together a pollinator planting box; he made the box @ one of the kids' building workshops we take him to on Saturday mornings. I thought it was a cute building project and to use the project for a school project was great. We planted sunflowers, marigolds, moonflowers, and morning glories to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds to pollinate our gardens for this year. I still have seeds left over that I will start and transplant as we garden along. Next week may be an art project but if its this nice again next Wednesday, we'll be utilizing the back porch for our creative time. ~Mom
-"I don't know everything. I just do everything." ~Toni Morrison

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's for Dinner

The Bavarian Gastronomic Express blew through my kitchen last night; actually, I had planned this "all day" eating frenzy about a week ago and after shopping, prepping, and waiting to taste authentic German food in my own kitchen, my alarm at 6 am yesterday morning didn't make me jump out of bed like Julia Childs-have you seen the movie, Julie & Julia, yet? Oh, please do; we pulled it up through Netflix to watch here at home, and I really liked it. No, no food blogging for me; just the occasional dinner entry and if I do a creative project with Tristan's learning that pertains to food. Three blog pages are enough for me, really.

The Cooking of Germany, Nika Standen Hazelton & the editors of Time Life Books. Good book, and I've delved into some of the other "Foods of the World" cookbooks for exploring recipes and twitching in the afterglow if the meal was a hit-you know, the well planned meals that make you as tired as post turkey dinners on a Sunday with a ton of relatives, or the holiday meals that bring old recipes and dysfunctional families together? No relatives this time, just three adults and one toddler who can put the food away like a beaver building a dam. Yes, my boy can eat, of which I'm very happy for. On to the "five meal" Sunday....

Breakfast #1 (yes, I said it) 7 am

-Mixed Berry Muffins

-Apple Raisin Cinnamon Muffins


Breakfast #2 9 am

-Sausages with bread & gravy


Midday Meal 2 pm

-Braised Stuffed Beef Rolls

-Hot Potato Salad w/ Bacon

-Red Cabbage w/ Apples

Afternoon Break 4 pm

-Sugar-crumb Cake


Dinner 7 pm

-Farina Dumplings

-Steamed Bratwurst in Sour Cream Sauce

Mind you, I'm only listing the meals throughout the day; skimming over the recipes, it would take me a couple of hours to write out the measurements and instructions to put together the recipes. And after all the eating that went on here yesterday, its a wonder any of us crawled out of bed this morning to function for the day. Just reading about eating five times a day was like a small challenge but when it came to the actual event, wow. Eating I've got down, and the cooking and prepping just goes with the territory. What tired me out was the feeling of constantly being in the kitchen to turn another burner on, empty another pot, cut this up, cook another half pound of bacon...yes, lots of yummy artery clogging pig protein. I remember eating a lot of potatoes when I was growing up, especially whenever we went to visit my mother parents and have dinner with them. Believe it or not, I always thought that only poor people ate tons of potatoes, pork, and greens from the local meadows. Maybe we didn't always have money for things that entice children because of what someone else may have but poor we were not. Rich in heritage, even if we didn't know, much less talk about it. Amazing what memories food will push to the surface while you're prepping, cooking, eating, and recovering....

I would say the best part of this cooking/eating experience was that it made me realize that I know how to cook most of this without the book but its always good to reference just to make sure you didn't forget something or change it in any way that you can't identify it later on when you attempt to replicate the recipes. I know what I'm putting in for a request for a Christmas gift this year-cookbooks. Definitely have to have German cookbook (no, believe it I don't have one!) and not sure what other literary collections of edibles I would be interested in but hey, time will come to figure that out at another time. I love to cook around the world, so its not like I don't have a book I don't use. ~Mom


-"God is really another artist. He invented the giraffe, the elephant, and the cat. He has no real style. He just goes on trying other things." ~Pablo Picasso

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Do I Write?

"One Little Step At A Time...."

So I get the news last night that a college friend of mine is deciding to step off the social network scene and concentrate on constructing and working on her new blog. I think this is a great idea, yet feel sad at the same time. So, I started thinking to myself...."Why do I write?" Quite a few other questions and contemplation popped into my head as well but this is where I want to start for now.

I started my own blog(s) after reading others, finding out that it could be good for my business (and being a free service isn't a bad perk), and finally the pull into writing again really hooked me into blogging. I wasn't sure how I was going to do, if I was going to stay consistent or not, how often would I be writing, etc....so many questions, and yet forging ahead with my decision to blog. I started out with a business blog, which shortly after I shut down my first website; I had jumped the gun and wasn't totally satisfied with the services I had available for my site, so the decision to take a "time out" came after much deliberation. Did it hurt me to make such a business decision? No-if anything came of it, it was peace of mind that I didn't have to stress about what my site was and wasn't doing. I could pull back and continue with a clean slate.

Blogging didn't stop there for me. I went on to create a page that speaks of who I am as a mother, how I manage to stay at home with my child-soon to be two children, how I find time to create, let alone write, and how I manage to keep my sanity to a level only I seem to understand. Many entries and projects have gone onto the cyber canvas to let readers in on who I am and how I operate. I got involved in a creative project for the 2010 year, of which I've been struggling at times to keep up with it yet finding my own way through the process. Trust the process.....words to live by....

Who I am as a mother, urban homesteader, independent business woman only scratched the surface for me. As I've been going through the creative projects each month since January, I started to feel a stirring of sorts. I know who I am as the many hats I wear within a day but who was I to myself? I wrote in high school, worked my passion for art into sketches that most are but a memory of yesterday, and then with my four year committment for my undergrad degree, the writer emerged once again. The artist-the creatress, came forth as well. Four years came to a close, I chose a different career path which radically changed my life, struggled for what felt like an eternity, and in the process, found myself morphing into a mother....the emotional changes, let alone physical and mental were the greatest challenges I have learned to come through since my college days of endless studies and mountains of papers written to turn over for credits....little did I know....

So, now as the author of three blogs, a mother of one soon to become two, urban homesteader, independent business woman, freelance writer, artist, creatress, thinker.....I could go on; I look at the importance of why I write, who I'm writing for, and what I have to say. Yes, I've been on the social network scene for a bit of time now but I have been questioning its importance. Yes, I've reconnected with friends, which is great but how important is that arena to me, really? I can do without it; I don't play games or copy and paste numerous posts to catch the attention of friends. Some postings are wonderful, great ways to converse but some are just not necessary. I can stay connected to friends and the few family members through emails, phone calls, and maybe even the occasional visit; those things in life are not extinct, at least not yet.

Rainy days are great for relaxing with a book, playing with the kids, taking an extended nap, and the creative process of placing words down from the thoughts that loom at the forefront of the mind. I write to share what's going on, be it from ideas that manifest into something tangible, what's for dinner, creative projects, time with my little one, random thoughts, business, homesteading......giving my perspective on the world and how I choose to live in it.



"In an age when we are told that good mothering is just a matter of finding the right sitter and learning how to arrange "quality time," most of us could never have invisioned how completely we would be taken delicious minature people." ~Linda Burton


"God is not a cosmic bellboy for whom we can press a button to get things done." ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Creative Project

"Off to the hose for water..."
"I might need some help...."

"Urban Homesteader......"

"How about a clean driveway?"
Here we are, a beautiful sunny day in Vermont! Perfect gardening day, and I think we made the most of the morning. I decided at 7:15 AM today that going outside would be the best idea after a day of what appeared to be chaos from yesterday. You know, those days when you clean an area and your kids come through and bring you back to the starting point all over again? Yeah, it was one of those Tuesdays; this was after a great morning at the library and wandering through the produce section of one of the local markets to identify foods....of course, we had to look at the "organics" section as well.....
This morning, we spent time digging in the dirt, planting seeds-turnips & early greens with pumpkins, melons, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs, etc...in containers to wait until mature enough to plant and especially after the last spring frost. Yes, I plant the old way-lunar calendars, farmer's almanac, and sage wisdom from people I've known my whole life to propagate food from the soil. Tristan planted pumpkin and watermelon seeds, watered everything he could pour water on-including the driveway-and played with his trucks while I worked the soil to plant grass seed in bare spots, turn the soil over, work on the compost pile, and till over in my head how to better manage things. We tried potty training right there on the back porch, had three accidents, ate lunch outside, and came in to clean up, read books for nap time, and when I heard the snoring of a toddler snuggled in my arms, I knew that I did the right thing by making the morning an outside learning experience.
After a short rest stop for me, cleaning the house (I always leave it for the afternoon because our morning hours are focused on homeschool), laundry (I have a feeling I'm going to be going food shopping tomorrow and clothes are piling up), some research, and found a great way to make better use of my time. Thanks to a tip about schedules coordinating creativity, business, home management, time with the kids, and making time for yourself, I'm ready to bang out another schedule but this is a monthly set up; I already have a weekly schedule and a daily schedule, so I would say this makes sense. I was never one for schedules but once I signed on for my third attempt for an undergrad degree back in 2001, I managed to keep my spontaneous nature and learn how to schedule at the same time. Now, with being a parent, running my own business, and everything else I have on my plate, it comes in handy to schedule-I feel like my "free time" is spontaneous these days....oy! ~Mom
"Let each man exercise the art he knows." ~Aristophanes, 450 BC-388 BC

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wednesday Creative Project

Juice pops were on the list today for a creative project, working with materials from right here at home. Washed, recycled applesauce cups with a straw cut into thirds, a banana cut into thick slices, and orange and grape juice to make the main body of the pop.

Of course, as you can see, we had a couple of "floaters." For whatever reason, the grape juice pops ended up being interesting looking with their sticks kicked off to the side but I bet they're just as edible.
In the freezer, Tristan and I went outside to enjoy the wonderful weather we had this morning, once again after lunch, and we're on day two of no nap. I think nap time is going through another major adjustment due to the fact that his bed went from crib status to big boy bed by taking down the crib railing and putting up the toddler bed bumper. At least he's not falling out during the night onto the air mattress that I set up on the floor underneath the bed. The first night he rolled, bounced, and landed in the middle of the mattress-never woke up during this acrobatic feat.
Other notes, we're working on homeschooling and I think its going well. We have a schedule hanging up, a notebook to keep track of daily work, and my little sponge is quite the learner. I'm glad I made the decision to try homeschool, and hope that each day that comes, Tristan will continue to learn and flourish.
Fiber projects are coming together in completion. I have one I'm struggling with, so I set it aside to focus on others to give myself a break from racking my brain to figure this puzzle out. Writing is coming along, one step at a time like it usually does and I have no complaints.
Warrior Mom
-"Even the most courageous warriors need to remember this simple wisdom: there is a time to take on the world and a time to rest, replenish and reflect." ~Jillian Klarl

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Back on Track

Wednesday is here, and today is our creative project day. Because of Tristan having been sick for almost five full days, I didn't plan ahead for today's project, so we're going to shoot from the hip. We did complete our April 2010 preschool homeschool chart, which now hangs on the wall above our reading chart and cork board that has paperwork we need to pay attention to for weekly stuff. It helps to keep in mind and on paper, a schedule that we can follow yet, I know that things happen and scheduling should always be flexible, especially when it comes to kids. You can plan until your last breath but there are times when the apple cart gets turned over and you have to set it back on its wheels, gather all the apples, taking care to set aside the bruised ones-hey, they make great pie....and then you pick up from there once again and move forward.
Thinking of the above metaphor makes me realize that time with your children is priceless, and every moment counts because you'll never get it back once it manifests and becomes a memory. Long before I became a mother, I felt like I needed a full schedule of "things to do" to keep from becoming bored; I often found myself wondering why I always felt like I didn't have enough time to really enjoy what I was doing. It was in the beginning of taking on my responsibility of being a new parent, even into my son's first year to almost two years of life, it was time for me to step back and take a good, long look at what I was doing, where I was trying to go, where I was really going, and what was really important for everyone involved.
I didn't have to accomplish everything I set my eyes on, don't have to manifest every idea I have at the moment into something tangible right away, and realizing that preparing my child for life was going to be the top priority and that everything else was going to have to come afterwards or drop off completely. Adjustment to motherhood has taken the better part of two years for me to really get a firm grip on, knowing that in my heart, I'm not in control. I etched out a mental list of things I want to do, not setting it on paper, and being happy with the results of going with the flow of life.
Love, ~Mom
"Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our view." ~George Sand

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Coming Through the Dark of Illness

Wow....it has been quite an interesting five day chunk of time...Tristan got sick last Thursday and is now, on Tuesday, almost 100% again. The first day was spent throwing up, the second, third, and half of the fourth days were spent sleeping and feeding him to keep him hydrated, fed, and comfortable. Monday afternoon looked promising with the hope of at least 75% better and this morning he's really taken off. After FOUR bowls of dry cereal and watered down juice, his demand for food really came on strong, and with a light lunch, a walk down and back up the basement stairs, he's sleeping peacefully. This is the longest he's ever been sick, and just the idea of knowing someday I'll be rangling two kids through sickness-'cause they usually like to share what each other picks up when it comes to virus and bacteria pets....I didn't sleep hardly at all these past few days, so working on auto-pilot and knowing the coffee pot will be my best friend...whew....
My strawberry picker from last year; I can't help thinking of this year's season to come when we can go pick berries and make jam making, storing and freezing, and just snacking on a big bowl of fresh, yummy VT grown strawberries...I'm looking forward to it again this year. We might try to grow a few plants here at home with the edible landscaping project I have in rough draft but to truly appreciate the jam making and storing up of locally grown berries, we definitely are going picking again this year. Our season is soooo short here-only two weeks for the best crop options-one must take full advantage of such a short season. And to think, next year, I'll have two little sets of hands to help with the picking-eating, e'hem.....
My writing took a 24 hour break; I looked up a deadline, thinking it was within a day or two and come to find out-or possibly that it got moved back, who knows-its later than I thought it was going to be. Fine with me. I also looked into other opportunities to write and found quite a few. I've picked my arenas to write for, happy with the knowledge that most outlets I can write about the things I know and find things to write about that perhaps I'm limited in knowledge on, and be happy with non-pressure deadlines and recipients who are going to be happy with the final product that gets turned in. Ahhhhh.....I can breathe on this one, too.
Love, ~Mom
"You tell me who has to leave the office when the kid bumps his head or slips on a milk carton." ~Wendy Wasserstein

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memories of the Early Days

Issues with accessing my blog page, and finding myself having to sign in another route-huh? Seems there's another blog page attached to this one, which I've NOT authorized or set up; hope it's just a clitch that can be remedied, otherwise Momma ain't gonna be happy....
Tristan has been under the weather since Thursday and now seems to be on the road to recovery, just at a slow pace. The last time he was really sick, it was only for three days-now, we're moving into day five. He doesn't get sick save a couple times a year, that's it. He's pretty healthy, especially for a toddler who's around other kids a couple days a week.
Boy, does this picture bring back memories! He was little but didn't seem as little as most babies-not for almost nine pounds! He's always been content, not fussy except when he's hungry, which he still voices his "I want to eat!" when he's hungry these days. He still likes to cuddle, although its when HE wants to and has nothing to do with anyone else. Ahhh....those were the days and these are the days.....to remember.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On My Way

"Oh, yeah, that's it-right there.....thanks Mom. A thumbs up for that great back massage/reiki session...."
I loved the Snoopy suit, even if Tristan only wore it for about a month before I handed it down to my youngest sister for her new little man-what a long time ago!
I've composed a list, and then some, and feel confident today as I continue to work on things I need to get done. Still staying off the social networking, and maybe even do it again tomorrow. I don't mind not being there, as I've got my hands full with tasks to complete and opportunities to continue looking forward to.
Tristan and I went to the library today, picked up some books, signed him up for next week's Easter egg hunt, and toodled back home to grab lunch and chill out before reading and settling down for a nap. We found some great books for him, especially the three on cd that I think he'll love. I found a great earthy kids sing along, and really hope he likes that, too. I'm thankful these days that he will nap for the most part, and learning to work around those days where a nap is just not going to happen, per the jumping and party-like cheeriness that undulates from his bedroom like the aroma wave in the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Dinner has been started and fragrance of roasting chicken fills the kitchen air as I write this post. Tumbling plans for tomorrow's creative activity over in my mind like a load of clothes in the dryer, knowing that we're starting our freshly washed, and the results are pinned on light, airy, and warm-we want to avoid the shrunken wool sweater affect if we stuff the dryer and not pay attention to what gets put in there before hitting the go button.
My current research is beginning to blossom, and I'm happy and amazed at what I'm finding. Interesting history that I never knew about, let along paid attention to or looked for. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds and works out. Speaking of writing, I still have an article to finish before the middle of next week but my priority for today is to sew and finish repairs to a fiber project so it can be on its way and off my list of "Things to Complete After a Long Weekend of Insanity." Yeah, that's the heading for one of my lists.....~Mom
"It is never too late-in fiction or in life-to revise." ~Nancy Thayer
"In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play." ~Nietzsche

Monday, March 22, 2010


Face down over Elmo, that's where I'm headed at this point. I've always loved this picture...
Well, I finally just took a deep breath and took a step back to the insanity I've been neck-deep in. Finding freelance writing prospects has been great; now, to tackle the list I've composed so as not to miss an opportunity but to not become overwhelmed at the same time. I've acquired all but one element to improve my soap making, so now its about preparing for that final step off the diving board into the pool of business improvement. Fiber work has tangled me into a ball of yarn, thus having to compose a list of the projects that need to be finished before moving onto new ones had to be done; now, I just have to stick with that commitment.
Spring has sprung, and major nook and cranny cleaning has begun for me; I love this time of year, as I get into corners I typically ignore for six months at a time-the Fall will be my next major cleaning overdose. Purging and organizing has become a huge part of my cleaning expedition this year, nesting-pregnant or not. Being pregnant, I could contribute nesting to my cleaning but I really can't. Homeschool trials are going well; I just have to sit and incorporate our school activity journal to keep track of progress and the things we do for the year. I'm really having fun watching Tristan enjoy learning and showing what he's learning.
With really putting myself into the first four days of the new season, I cut my time with social networking to all but dead. I don't miss it at this point; I think I put too much time into it but I can at least say I'm not signing on to play games to chain mail to my friends. I don't have the time for such things and love the idea that I can keep in touch with people without being overwhelmed with building a farm or sending kissses and heart shaped pillows. And when I see a chick send a guy a "What kind of sexy bitch are you?" quiz, I have to wonder if she's aware he's a GUY, not a CHICK? Hello? Duh?
Plagued by paperwork in need of organizing and finishing, the things I've already stated, and utilizing my time to get things done....wait, did I squeeze in time for myself and maybe a few minutes of downtime so I don't find myself face down over Elmo? Yeap, gotta fit that time in there to keep my sanity and wonder where the box of Cheerios went to....have I vacuumed out the box yet?
"Somewhere in our lives, each of us needs a free place, a little psychic territory. Do you have yours?" ~Gloria Steinem

Friday, March 19, 2010

The Day Before Spring

"Only My Grandmother Understands Me"

It's the Friday before the Vernal Equinox-Spring. I've got a few minutes with prepping dinner, reading board books, and emptying my head out onto the page. Its been quite the week or so, and many things have happened. Last Tuesday, Tristan locked me out of the house and after trying to pick the lock to get in, employing one of my neighbors to try to help out, the town cops AND the fire department had to come to pry the door open. I've been musing about writing about the experience, and I've come to the conclusion the only way I can do that is with a sense of humor; therefore, you will find it on my creativity blog page, The Pearl and The Muse-the link is to your right under "Where to Find My Writing." A small turn of fortune came along as well, and I'm making my investments for improved soap making. Writing an article, researching one as well, and managing to finish fiber projects in the midst of planning for the gardens and starting spring cleaning a day early. Yeah, I'm tired, are you? Whew!

To think we only have another week and a half of March and then we march right into April. I'm looking forward to it, as we're working our garden spaces, enjoying the sunshine-despite the sinus flare ups between Tristan and myself-and feeling, I mean really feeling the warmth of the sun. I can't wait to photograph the garden progress this year, and to use our experience of homesteading in an article. Yes, I'm planning to write about the experience and especially touching on the concept of urban homesteading-a.k.a., gardening in small spaces. I'm still raising an eyebrow over the concept of living an urban life, especially in Vermont, where I don't perceive any part of the state to be "urban." Still feels like the 'burbs to me.

I've unplugged from social networking for the next four or five days to focus on house management, spring cleaning and purging, gardening, writing, family time, business rough drafting for the new season to come, and time to myself-somewhere it will get squeezed in. I like to network but when it comes to the days when I should be focused more on my priority list-yes, I've started composing those to get through and not procrastinate, I find myself checking in to see if there's anything new going on. Ok, time to unplug for a few days. Finish up unfinished business, be open to new possibilities, and keep family first. Yes, still making time for myself.....somewhere in there.

So remember, Mom is a busy girl but never too busy to hug, tickle, and cherish the moments that are fleeting. Even if Grandma understands the little people best....she is a mother, too.

Love, ~Mom

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring is Almost Here!

"Tristan's First Garden" 2008
It has been some time since this picture but we are looking forward to gardening again this year; last year's weather was not exactly prospering garden growth and yield weather but hoping for a better growing season this year. Our first garden was located in a community garden project, of which I loved watching other garden plots grow as well as the joy I felt in working in the dirt in our own space that year. Our garden prospects for this year are here at home, working the soil and engaging in "urban edible landscaping." I have it on my writing list for an article/chunk of work focused on gardening in small spaces in a more populated environment...it should be fun.
So, Spring is coming and I'm feeling it. My chronic sinus issues of my lifetime have cropped up again this year, right on schedule. Being pregnant, I can't self-treat as aggresively as I can when I'm not pregnant or breastfeeding, so recovery time is longer than what I care for but for the safety of my child, I'm doing the right thing. A bonus of this Spring is that I'm finalizing my materials/ingredients collection for my new adventures into soap making for my business. I'm soooo excited and can't wait to get started. I'm really looking forward to the process and posting my experiences on my business page, which you can find the link to at the bottom of this page. And yes, writing an article/chunk of work about that, too....yeah!
Ahhhh....warm peach tea with lemon and honey, a coconut macaroon, the never-ending list of "Mom's things to do," and realizing there's Cheerios under the coffee table...are they in my shoes, too? I guess I better check. ~Love, Mom