Friday, August 31, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...this guy's recent love affair with a certain blue plastic yard chair

...watching a spelling-obsessed girl find letters everywhere

...steamy humid evenings...

...and the light of those evenings on my babies

...38 pounds of Bartlett pears from the co-op this week, and all the plans being made for them

...cherry-oatmeal muffins on Grandma's patched blanket in the grass

..."chatting" with Henry on the porch in the mornings
This weekend, we were left speechless by the generosity, love, and wisdom of my parents and the beautiful gifts of their time, experience, and attention (not to mention a new radiator installed in my car and a shiny new crock pot for all that pear butter we're making!). What a blessing it is to have family so willing to drop everything and come to the rescue, for a weekend of boredom or when there's an actual emergency!

We start this last week in August (gasp, is it really?) with a fresh vow to always, always see the beauty and bounty in life, and to never, ever take it for granted. Happy Monday.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Cherry-Oatmeal Muffins

We love to eat outside, especially for breakfast. Usually that takes the form of some toast with peanut butter and local honey, a handful of grapes, raisins, apricots, or other fruit, and sippy-cups of milk (and a big hot mug of coffee for Mama).

However, there are those among us that crave a little more every once-in-a-while. Especially on the weekends.

Quite frequently we find ourselves out on the porch before the sun even tops the hills. So how to indulge in something a little more special without having to wake up ridiculously early to churn out a four-course breakfast? Muffins, of course. Make 'em oatmeal. Better yet, throw in some fresh pitted cherries. Perfect.

Ten Minute Oatmeal Muffins
This recipe takes only about ten minutes to whip up (not including the time it might take
to pit a few handfuls of cherries, of course). Makes a dozen muffins.

1 C quick oats
3/4 C skim milk
1 1/4 C whole wheat pastry flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
~1/2 C packed brown sugar (light or dark)
1/8 tsp almond extract
1/4 C melted butter
~1 C pitted sliced cherries
(you could totally sub any other favorite frozen or fresh berry)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin tin (or line with paper liners). In a small bowl, combine oatmeal and milk, and set aside. In a larger bowl, mix melted, cooled butter with egg, brown sugar, almond extract, and salt. Add oatmeal/milk mixture and mix well. Sift in flour and baking powder (or just thoroughly mix them together on the side and add them in) and mix until just combined. Fold in cherries or other berries. Scoop into muffin tins (I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop), filling each muffin cavity about 3/4 the way full. Bake in pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden around edges and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let 'em sit a few minutes before digging in, or the berry juice will burn your lips! Enjoy!

*Note: if you'd like a great go-to 'Muffin Formula,' check out this link, and toss in some cherries! 

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Autumn Seeds

We spent the day in the garden yesterday. In fact, we spent all day outside. After the kiddos were in bed, I was shocked to find that not a single toy was in need of pick-up in any room; aside from naps, we spent the entire day outside.

We planted all our autumn seeds: beans, beets, zucchini, onions, spinach, chard, more marigolds, and radishes.

 They may already be doomed, but at least we're trying.

Friday, August 24, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In the Garden

In the garden this summer, things haven't been so great. On top of battling most every pest and problem from the get-go, there are the rabbits. Oh, the rabbits... those furry jerks who first figured out they couldn't visit my garden in the daylight and have seemingly become nocturnal, then who conquered their fears of our dog and cat and rabbit fence, and now who even think- if they hold perfectly still- they will avoid human detection as well... those rabbits who loose their novelty and cuteness a little each day as I watch them, through the kitchen windows, jumping back and forth through the fence at their leisure... they have by far been the biggest problem.

I really, really want to have a second go with our garden space this year and try for an autumn planting/harvest. I have the seeds. I have the weather (at least for the moment). I have the will! Then... I had an idea.


The top three rows of the rabbit fence are 4" square, vs. the bottom half which is spaced at 2", respectively. The rabbits have been taking advantage of the top half of the fence and rocketing their garden-plumped bodies through those wider openings and thus gaining access to my space (my space!). Soooo... what if I take twine and weave it through the top three rows, cutting the squares in half and thus reducing them to a size that would stop them furry foes from jumping through?


So yesterday, with a morning starting at a tantalizing 71 degrees, I gathered a big ol' roll of twine, some scissors, and a little help, and I knocked out that fence weaving in about 2 hours.

As I worked, I snickered to myself, picturing the first entitled rabbit flying full-force at their usual point of entry, only to be 'clotheslined' by my twine.

Then I noticed the cat, busily poking around under the catmint at the front of the garden space.

That's right. A rabbit nest. A rabbit nest with four babies. Inside my garden, inside the fence. Four. Ever thought to yourself, 'I wonder what a slap in the face from a rabbit would be like?' Well, here it is. Slap.

So, once that was taken care of, the fence finished, and the garden cleaned up just a bit more, I declared the project completed, and we retreated to the house to sort seeds and dream up the autumnal planting.

This morning, I started the coffee, opened the back door, and gazed out at my 'fixed' garden. The quiet sound of the wind chime, the smell of fresh coffee brewing, the soft breeze blowing broken pieces of twine hanging from the fence.................. wait. What?! 

Those furry jerks!

They cut a line of twine on the lowest row, then apparently hopped right in like it was just another day. The nerve! I'd like to think it was just a last-ditch effort by a stubborn parent to check on the discovered nest, and now they'll get the message and stay away, but honestly. Honestly.

You know what, though? They're stubborn... but so am I. We will still plant our seeds. We will keep fighting the good fight. We'll figure something out.

Furry jerks.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Right Now

Right now, I'm loving...

...amazing weather. I mean, c'mon... is it really a 69-degree morning on August 20th? Swoon.
...finding little "letter drawings" everywhere.
...the awe and reverence for our natural world that comes from the activity around the hummingbird feeder lately (including the brief appearance of a very ambitious praying mantis). developing plan for a renovation to the rabbit fence around the garden to keep them wascals out once and for all, and the collected seeds and hopes that will follow. extra giant co-op share this week, and all the outside-the-box recipes and meal plans making their way into our menu for the week!
...seeing our Bubba learn how to use a bowl without turning it over and tossing it to the ground... well, we're getting there, anyway.
...sibling playtime.
...gentle weekend rain, distant thunder that never intruded, and gray morning skies.
...just-before-bath-time ice cream surprise outings.

Right now, I'm loving the epiphany that comes from going through discomfort (or even hardship) and seeing that there's rhythm, rhyme, and reason to everything all around us. Reminding myself to keep my eyes open to the small things that hold true beauty, and wishing all a Happy Monday.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Candle Light

"...I have found it wonderfully powerful to have at least one point in a child's day that includes the light of a candle. Children love the light of a candle and the magical circle of its glow... like an inhalation, the light draws us together." Kim John Payne, Simplicity Parenting

Happy weekending.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This Moment

Playing along with Amanda today... in her words: 

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Morning Walk

The gray from the rainy morning yesterday has held on, much to my delight. However, the rain has put a cramp in our style, as we always play outside after breakfast, and Mama can't sit on soggy patio furniture.

The kids don't seem to understand why wet cushions are a turn-off, however, and after breakfast this morning, they asked to be outside (Henry especially, as he can be quite assertive with his requests for "Zah-zayee?"- "Outside?").

So... how to get the kiddos their fresh-air fix before the rising sun + high humidity make it unpleasant- no, downright dangerous- for us to be out?

Eureka, a morning walk.

One of the things I love about my kiddos is how much they love walks. They breathe in the breezes. They feel the grass and leaves we pass. They notice birds and bugs and neighbor goings-on. They listen quietly. I believe they even use walks to think.

They do the same things I do when I walk. I didn't try to teach them how to listen to bird calls. I didn't make them put their hands out when we pass long grasses. I didn't tell them to take deep breaths. They do it on their own, and I do too.

Today, my thoughts wandered to so many of the obstacles and anxieties left to process that comes from just living life... daily stuff, work stuff, home stuff, health stuff (our thoughts today are especially with our Great Aunt Winona)... as I walked, they all struggled for a place in the forefront of my mind.

The longer we walked, the calmer my thoughts became, and the more I was able to welcome in the things around me.

The kiddos had a rocky morning start, too, and I noticed about halfway in to our trek they seemed to relax.

We were forced to have our morning playtime indoors yesterday due to the rain (actually more due to the thunder and lightening that accompanied the rain), and that one very slight hiccup in the rhythm of things had us feeling more out-of-sorts than I realized.

In loading up the strollers and stretching out into the open, we really came back to center, and no matter how many times I see it happen, it always amazes me... how much power there is in the connection between human and nature.

No matter how small the human, no matter how cultivated the 'nature.'

Oh, gray morning, thank you for returning to us something I hadn't realized we were missing- thanks to all this summer heat- our morning walk.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Home in the Morning

Awaken to a rainy day,
A little thunder, but that's OK...
It rumbles, but from far away
And babies sleep late when it's gray.

So let the dog out, feed the cat,
The morning chores- some this and that.
Then put the coffee on, and stat!
Fill up my cup, add milk (nonfat).

That morning calm, that early still;
The quiet lingers 'round until
Kiddos stir and house will fill
With sleepy voices (sometimes shrill!).

Our morning rhythm, pulse and beat
A firm foundation for little feet
And stories, memories so sweet-
A daily comfort on repeat.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Right Now


Right now, I'm loving...

...a good sendoff to my twenties, and a great welcome to my third decade.
...the discovery of what chalk can do when it's wet, and the beautiful blue messes that followed.
...a fresh batch of kale chips, with a tweaked and improved recipe, now linked over at Three Squares.
...a brief cool-down that gifted us two mornings with temps in the mid-70s!
...the breakfasts, coffee, and extended playtime on the back porch because of said weather change.
...a little time spent in the garden, a little cleaning out and freshening up of dry and dusty beds, and a little dreaming about what to do in that space in another month or so.
...Audrey's budding and blooming little imagination (just last night: "Mama, it's snowing and it's cold, and my sister whose name is Gaudrey likes to drink hot chocolate and play with skates when it's cold.")
...goofy sibling games, in all their emerging forms and functions.
...evenings out.

Right now, I'm loving a weekend that seemed to last forever, all the things accomplished in that time, and all the time spent doing absolutely nothing. Not too shabby. Happy Monday.