Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Witches flying past on broomsticks
Black cats leaping here and there,
White-robed spooks on every corner,
Mournful moaning in the air,

Goblins peering out of windows,
Spirit-things that rap and run,
But don't be scared-it's just October,
Having one last hour of fun!

-Mary Jane Carr

Alice and the White Rabbit wish you all a safe and happy


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Look For It

Today was not a good day. There was too much dissonance and not enough calm. I retired to my room as soon as the children were put down to sleep, utterly defeated and ready to read myself into a restless sleep. I picked up a magazine from my bedside table and opened it to find this poem staring up at me. What a beautiful and sobering reminder that no matter how hopeless it seems, there is peace to be found in the simple, everyday acts of living. Tomorrow, I promise to look for it...

I Have Found Such Joy

I have found such joy in simple things;
A plain, clean room, a nut-brown loaf of bread,
A cup of milk, a kettle as it sings,
The shelter of a roof above my head.
And in a leaf-laced square along the floor,
Where yellow sunlight glimmers through the door.
I have found such joy in things that fill
My quiet days: a curtain's blowing grace,
A potted plant upon my windowsill,
A rose, fresh-cut and placed within a vase;
A table cleared, a lamp beside a chair,
And books I long have loved beside me there.
Oh, I have found such joys I wish I might
Tell every woman who goes seeking far
For some elusive, feverish delight,
That very close to home the great joys are:
The elemental things--old as the race,
Yet never, through the ages, commonplace

--Grace Noll Crowell


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Recycled Craft-Halloween Votives

With his sister bringing home Halloween themed crafts by the backpack full, little J was starting to feel left out. While K was in school, I helped J make this simple (and sticky) craft I found over at Skip to my Lou. If you use what you've got, this cheap and easy craft can be an eco-friendly way to spook up your home this Halloween!

You will need:

-a mason or baby food jar (we used an old jam jar)

-Mod Podge (store bought or homemade)

-Tissue or crepe paper (white for ghosts, orange for pumpkins)

-Scrap paper

-A votive candle

Paint the surface of your jar with mod podge. Cover the entire thing with torn bits of tissue or crepe paper. It's a sticky job but most three year olds won't mind!

Cut a face for your pumpkin and/or ghost. We got out J's shape book and let him choose the shapes for his ghost's features. He wanted circle eyes and a semicircle mouth, upside down, so the ghost would look "madder than ever."

Cover the whole thing with another coat of mod podge. Dab it gently so you don't tear the paper. Painting your palms is optional.

Once it is thouroughly dry, place your candle inside, light it up, and watch your ghosts glow!

(This post is linked to the Green Resource. Visit every Thursday for great green ideas!)


Friday, October 21, 2011

The First Time

I remember the first time my daughter laughed. She was about six months old. According to all the baby books, little K should have been cracking up on a regular basis and as a first time mother, I was more than a little worried that she hadn't so much as giggled.  One evening, my husband and I sat on the couch with K trying everything we could think of to make her laugh. We tickled her. We talked in squeaky, high pitched voices and made faces. Nothing. Exasperated, I threw the burp cloth I was holding over my face and sighed heavily. I whisked it off in a dramatic fashion, expelling the air in my lungs and producing an exaggerated growly sound. Much to my surprise and delight, she laughed! Not just a little chuckle either. A deep down belly laugh. I repeated the same whisk the burp cloth move several times until all three of were laughing, tears streaming down all of our cheeks.

Hearing my daughter laugh for the first time was one of the sweetest and most precious moments of my life. First time moments are often amongst a parent's most cherished memories. Your child's first smile, first bath, first tooth, first step...these everyday, simple accomplishments not only mark the passage of time but for me, they provide and overwhelming sense of gratitude and awe. I am so blessed to witness the lives of these little people unfold. To see them beam with pride when they pedal their bikes by themselves or to hold them close when that first step turns in to a crash, I am the one who sees it. Who lives it. I get to share in their achievements and defeats. I get to be there the first time. Every time. How incredible to witness a lifetime of firsts!

My son went to his first soccer practice this week. He was timid. I spent most of the time on the field with him and when I wasn't there, he clung tightly to his sister. He stayed quiet and listened attentively to the coaches. He kicked his ball gently and barely cracked a smile when he scored his first goal. He is so careful, such a perfectionist. He has to get a feel for things and really get comfortable with the situation before the boisterous little boy I know is in there is allowed to creep out. It was a simple, beautiful moment. My youngest, my baby.... another first. My heart is still smiling.

 Here are some pics of his soccer debut:

Hands crossed, close to his sister.

No hands!

First Goal!

So serious. This takes precision Momma!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Freezer Burn

I have two dozen carrot zucchini muffins in the oven and two loaves on deck. It seems a bit excessive but we loooove zucchini bread and loaves can easily be frozen. But the main reason I am baking is because of what I found in my freezer last night. It all began with a forty pound box of chicken...

Through a local food co-op, I was able to purchase forty pounds of hormone and antibiotic free chicken for $1.49 a pound, which is a fantastic price for chicken breasts. We had to cut and trim them, then package and freeze them, but the hour or so of labor was well worth it. After the meat was put up and the kitchen counter and floor had been cleaned of chicken juice (ewwwww!), my hubby and I ventured out to the garage to reorganize the chest freezer.

I am appalled and embarrassed about what happened next. As we started to dig, we found food. Good food. would have been good if we had eaten it. Freezer burned roasts and rib steaks, buns and breads, lunch meat, vegetables, chili...we ended up throwing out an entire garbage bag full of ruined food. Americans waste forty percent of the food we produce for consumption while food prices continue to rise. That's nearly HALF! And here I am, hauling a bag of what used to be edible food out to the garbage bin. Wasted money, wasted resources....UGH.

The guilt has subsided a bit since last night and both my husband and I have sworn to shop the freezer before the store. Thus....the carrot zucchini bread. While we were cleaning last night I found a bag of shredded zucchini from last year's garden, four quart size bags of shelled pecans from our Aunt's trees, and a bag of whole wheat flour I don't remember buying. Combined with some rubbery, need-to-be-used carrots from my mother in law's garden and we've got snacks for the rest of the week.

I found this handy little freezer inventory list that I plan on laminating and attaching to the garage freezer so I know EXACTLY what's in there. What are some of the things you do to counteract food waste?

Check out the graphic below (from for a visual take on just how much food we waste.

(this post is linked to the Green Resource. Check it out every Thursday for great green ideas!)


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fishing for the Wookie

A few things I noted while taking a shower this morning:

a) My razor wouldn't cut butter. Why am wasting my time trying to shave when my legs feel almost as furry as they did before I shaved them?

b) I still do not understand why my huband refuses to use that last sliver of soap. We have a collection of slivers that I've mashed into a free form soap blob that he claims is "gross." I say it's frugal.

c) Standing ankle deep in your own dirty water means something is seriously wrong with my plumbing. Time to go fishing for the wookie.

The phrase "fishing for the wookie" was coined by my father in law. My husband comes from a large family with two brothers and a sister. Said sister had long, thick, gorgeous hair that frequently clogged the shower she shared with her brothers. When things weren't draining as they should, my father in law would roll up his sleeves, grab a coat hanger and a bottle of Draino and go "fishing for the wookie," the wookie being a blackened, soapy, greasy ball of his daughter's hair. I suppose whatever he managed to dig from the drain resembled Hans Solo's famed companion, Chewbacca, thus the strange yet appropriate moniker.

Giving a whimsical name to a disgusting chore doesn't make me want to do it. I've been trying to ignore the fact that our shower isn't draining but this morning's back up was a little ridiculous. And though I'm hoping to avoid the coat hanger, I sure as heck won't be using Draino if I can help it. It's toxic, it's dangerous and it's expensive. There are a variety of DIY green drain cleaner recipes but I decided on good 'ol baking soda and vinegar. Apparently the bubbly action will soften and dislodge whatever nastiness is lurking in your drain.

Pour, pour, bubble, bubble, test....nothing. Then I tried baking soda and boiling water. Pour, pour, burn myself, cuss, test...better, but still not draining. I am trying desperately not to resort to chemicals but my green cleaning efforts have failed. I don't want to go fishing for the me help myself! Leave me a comment and tell me about the clog cleaning concoctions you have used.

(This post is linked to the Green Resource. Check it out every Thursday for great green solutions!)