Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Keepin' it Real

I'm turning 33 this month, and I think it's time I shared another reality check. Seriously, I'm getting too old for loose ends and pretenses.

Ahem.

So as I've stated in this space before, it is a noticeable trend to anyone reading blogs (like mine) that the focus 99% of the time is on the niceties of life: perfectly executed projects, sibling harmony, balanced meals, all-natural homemade coconut oil hygiene products... you get the idea.

I know I do it too, but honestly my blog wouldn't be much fun for me if it was an equal balance of flops and fantastic. I focus on the good stuff on purpose so I can get a boost every now-and-then looking back through the archives. It's not that hard for me to remember the other stuff on my own, without visual aids.

But every now and again there are a few loose ends that would seem to be tied up neatly into packages with bows on top... if all you knew was what I wrote in this space. Yes, I capture sweet moments with my kiddos and shots with nice light sometimes, and yes, I usually only share the best ones here... but here's a little follow-up to some of all that goodness that needs to happen:

1. My moment 'Learning About Natural Yeast': yeah, it sounded good and wholesome and accomplished, didn't it? I read books, I ordered wild yeast, I worked up a few batches... and all of them flopped. They came out like bricks. I then watched YouTube videos, read more books, consulted some go-to blogs high on my natural foods resources list, and then I gave up. I just can't conquer the Natural Yeast Bread Brick Syndrome. Maybe another time I'll give it another shot... but for now, behind the scenes of this blog, I'm baking with conventional factory-made rapid-rise yeast. I'm sure we'll be fine.

2. My years using the 'Oil Cleansing Method': so I washed my face with various combinations of oils for, like, three years, and for probably two of those three years it worked wonders for me. Unfortunately weird things happen when you age, and last year my skin type shifted and I actually developed what I later learned was "late-onset adult acne." Lovely, right? Now, in defense of this cleansing method, what happened to me was hormone-related, not due to washing my face with oils. But for almost a year now I've been using conventional cleaners plus medicated treatments to clear up my face, and all my expensive oils have been remixed and are now relegated to foot and back massages... and beside my sink sits a bar of Clearasil. How "granola" is that?

3. My food confession: despite what I preach when it comes to whole foods, nutrition, and diet, I subscribe to the 80/20 rule and it should be known that I still buy frozen tater tots, crackers, canned beans, and white flour. Those things will never loose their spots in the 20% of our pantry that slips under the health-food radar.

And lastly, something I never thought I'd ever say and mean it:

4. We are all looking forward to school starting again. All of us. This summer has been great, watching my Littles play together like BFFs every day has been wonderful, and not having the pressures of that early morning routine has been a relief... but yeah. School.



OK whew. Glad to have that all off my chest.

Now back to my perfectly clean house, sweet sleepy babies, and from-scratch breakfast offerings.

Ahem.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Right Now




Right now, I'm loving a weekend that saw...

...a "cold front" on Friday which brought much lower humidity and a weekend with mornings cool enough for coffee on the back porch.
...a house full of the kind of quiet and still that only comes from Littles spending the weekend away.
...a double-date night with friends, an amazing dinner, and some crazy people watching.
...the burning of our brush pile (finally!), a late morning kid return-delivery, a really good treasure-filled trip to the thrift store with my Mama, and early bed times for all!

Right now we're kicking off the week a little out of our usual: we're in Daddy's truck this morning so we can take it to have the tires rotated and balanced, and while we have the truck we'll swing by our farm supply store for a small chicken cage so we can quarantine a Red Lady with sour crop (that should be fun). We're also still dealing with a broody mama-wannabe who refuses to give up sitting in nesting box(es), despite the fact that she has no eggs to sit on and it's really, really hot... so there's that, too.

So I guess I'll spend a little of my early morning quiet time googling more ideas on how to break this broody hen of her broodiness.

Sigh.

Happy Monday!

Friday, July 31, 2015

10 Things at the End of July

This morning I have one Little sleeping in, one Little up early choosing and packing beloved toys for a weekend away at Mimmy and Pappy's house, and a hazy sunrise piercing through the trees and across my keyboard.

My coffee's half gone, there are muffins in the oven, and my thoughts are all over the place. So... ten things that have my attention this morning:

1. This book- I read about it in Mother Earth News Magazine and ordered it promptly. I actually had to sign for it when it was delivered, and now a friend of mine thinks I'm on a government watch list or something (ha ha), but so far it's been a mind-blowing read. I'm thinking about donating it to our local library when I'm done, because I think everyone should read it.

2. My fall garden- in the next couple weeks I'll be digging out seeds and reawakening the beds I put to sleep for our no-grow summer season. I'm hoping the heat we're having right now will ramp back down (at least a little!) by the time I get out there so my seed babies won't be roasted in their beds before they germinate!

3. Halloween costumes- OK, so it's not even technically August yet... but I can't help it! Look at some of these!

4. Baking- I'm wondering if, while the oven is still hot, I should make some zucchini cake. It just wouldn't feel like summer without making at least one, right? I owe it to summer. Yes.

5. Wall art! Look at this thing... how cool?! I want to find a small wall-hanging sculpture of some kind to complete a spot near our game table area that needs just a little something. It's been fun looking... and the search continues.

6. This article on 'vintage advertisements.' 

7. Back-to-School stuff. Yes, it's finally time. In fact we'll probably be planning a trip out to get the supplies on Audrey's school list for the first grade some time this coming week. Also thinking about making a new stack of lunchbox notes like I did last year, because now I've created an expectation for them.

8. Date night- with the kids at my parent's house this weekend, the hubs and I are hittin' the town with friends Saturday night! Now I have to decide what to wear, what to do with my hair, and if I'm going to repaint my toes in this free time I'll have this afternoon!

9. Pie. Everyone is making pie right now, because everyone has a surplus of berries right now. Everyone but me. It's kinda sad. I think I may get out tomorrow and see if anyone at the farmers' market has any they'd like to share. I think I want some pie.

10. How I'm going to clean out the blow-up water slide. It's been up 2-3 days at a time almost every weekend since we got it, and when we've deflated it we haven't been able to completely drain it, so it's getting a little gross. I bailed out the extra water this last time, and it's now inflated to enable maximum evaporation... but there's still sand and stuff in it, so maybe next I'll go out and sweep? Where did the care and maintenance manual go...........?

OK, I guess it's time I try and focus on something... like feeding the Littles and getting them out the door to Mimmy's house! Everything else will have it's turn later.

Especially pie.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Library Retreat



It's been hot, y'all. I think they said yesterday was the hottest of the year so far- we reached 102F. When it is that hot it's hard to feel much like doing anything except strategically positioning self under air conditioner vent and lingering... and it sure is easy to stay put like that when you have a basket full of fresh books from the library. So that was our main goal while it was still cool (like before it got out of the 90's): return old library books, play with friends, and pick out new books to take back home for hibernation.

We do this probably once a week right now, and our trips to the library have become a beloved part of our summer routine. Sometimes my kids even look at books while we're there (haha). Anything that keeps us out of that harsh high summer heat! How we love our library retreat!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Right Now :: Looking Back & Looking Forward





In the beginning of July we marked a second year in this 'new' house of ours that's rapidly becoming just plain Home. We didn't really mark the day with anything special like we kinda did last year, but our second housiversary didn't pass unnoticed.

We bought this house knowing there would be a lot of work to put in before it was something that felt like Ours, and in many ways we're coming 'round the bend on much of what we knew we needed to accomplish. However, just like you'd expect home ownership to go, things have come up along the way that have added to the process. Some of what's come up has just been par for the course, and some of it has hovered like a gray cloud over many of our days... but there's always sunshine behind the clouds, and everything we've done so far has been for the better.

This morning I woke up thinking about our early days settling in, unpacking, cleaning and cleaning and cleaning, and getting to know our new space. I thought about the things that haven't changed since then, and about all the things that have.



July is almost over, August is coming... school will start back up, summer will finally break (it has to, right?), Brother will keep getting taller, Sister will loose more teeth, we'll cross more off our to-do list and more will make it's way on there. The ins and outs, the ebb and flow of Home. That's what's got my mind this morning. A bittersweet rhythm of comings and goings, happiness and stresses, resolutions and new beginnings.

There are days when I don't necessarily wake up looking forward; some days I can't help but pause and linger in a moment looking back... it seems to help keep me anchored in the important stuff that's flying by in the present. Right now- where all the good stuff happens- that's where I want to be as this last week of July gets off the ground.

May we all remember the past to appreciate the present and prepare for the future. Happy Monday.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Her Very Own Cookbooks

This summer I gave Audrey two of her very own cookbooks. She has always loved helping in the kitchen- cooking, mixing, baking, even cleaning- and that together with the fact that I was kinda searching for something special just she and I could share during her first summer off school made this the perfect thing. 


I got her How to Cook the Perfect Day by Nikki McClure (who's art print I've had in my kitchen since pretty much we moved here), and Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson. She's loving the Pretend Soup cookbook especially, and last night she used the recipe for 'Zucchini Moons' to make our side dish for dinner... completely on her own.

Well, I should say she was completely independent of grown-up help (though I was within a safety reach for the whole process, of course). She did have an eager and willing sous chef who she graciously included with little jobs throughout her process, but all the ingredient-gathering, washing and chopping, measuring and even sauteing she did by her onesie.


When I gave her the books we talked about cooking method: pre-reading the entire recipe before getting started (so important!), making sure you have all the ingredients, washing your hands and getting your hair out of the way... all that stuff that will soon be second nature to her, I'm sure.

What I think she's especially enjoying is having these to herself because she's big enough now. We spend a lot of our family time making sure things are fair (or as much so as possible) between her and Little Brother. This time around, however, we gifted these cookbooks only to her. Little Brother is a little bit jealous, but he's being surprisingly understanding (and he's already talking about cooking from his books when he turns six). Honestly, though, every once-in-a-while there should be a little something special about being the older sib, right?


I have to say my Mama heart done swelled right up when she was given this power; she immediately began including Henry and sharing jobs and tasks throughout the entire cooking process. Not once did she hold her new privileges over his head or brag about what she got to do while cooking. My good, good girl.

And I must say... when she finished her dish and we all sat down to eat, it was the first thing to go on both their plates (mine too, actually) and there were many 'yum's floating around. Funny how a little bit of work investment improves appreciation, huh?



Good thing these cookbooks we chose are a series- I'm thinking this might end up being a 'thing' for us, and there are no complaints about that!

Nom nom nom.........