Friday, May 30, 2008

Nothing much

No pictures this time. I keep forgetting this week for some reason. Not much new to report though I am thinking about things deeply these days, as some of you know, as usual. An interesting thing happened at the sustainability meeting the other night. During the course of conversation, it came up that "even a Republican candidate Mr. So and So is talking about making changes if he's elected regarding taking better care of the environment" which met with skeptical laughter and eye rolling. I thought I should probably reveal myself as a rogue Republican before they said something they would be embarrassed about once they found they were in mixed company! It didn't offend me at all, and these are all very good people, and they were embarrassed and profusely apologized. But then we all thought, how sad that is that I had to "declare myself", and how we all felt awkward about it, and they realized they have some biases, and I went home not too proud of a lot of what my party approves of, or dismisses as "leftist". I understood where their skeptism came from and feel badly. Its the same when I tell people I'm a Christian. I know that lots of images and sterotypes must flash through their minds, lots of them negative unfortunately, but hopefully they already know enough about me to know "I'm not like that". But really, I can't blame 'em for having a knee jerk reaction to it at times. After all, its always the crazy ones that get the attention on TV. I mean, can Republicans really think that Jesus would have been one? On the other hand, I don't think he would have been a Democrat either. So? Where does that leave someone like me who actually wants to know "WWJD"?

Then I kept thinking, well, how weird it is that the country is so divided supposedly, but that isn't really my reality in day to day living. I see people really wanting the same things, to rebuild (or build for the first time) a real community, to see their kids grow up feeling loved, safe and supported for who they are, and to operate in freedom. Yes, of course there are differences within all that, and different ideas on how to get these goals accomplished. The leader of our group emailed and said how wonderful it would be to get a dialogue going about this very topic, about how at the core, REAL everyday people, actually do have a lot of similarities. Could we actually sit down and talk about it? Joke about it? Accept that neither "side" has all the answers, but that a local community probably could figure it out in a way they never will in the media or in DC? Its a great idea, but I'm afraid that it would be hard to only focus on common goals. I'm sure there'd be a couple of yahoos from both sides who would turn it into a debate and ruin it. But, by forming actual friendships, and slowly forming common goals and plans, maybe not in a group situation for a planned discussion where its easier to become "us and them" again and not just "me and you", we could make actual progress in getting past this growing cultural divide and DO something to change it.

I'm reading a fabulous book. See it in my sidebar "The Irresistible Revolution". Its so good. It touches something inside me that wants the world to really see what true Christianity is supposed to be, and not all the weird stuff that the church has turned into, and all the bad examples that get all the attention. It makes me question my own little suburban world of comfort, which I am very thankful for by the way. Still, maybe I shouldn't be TOO comfortable. Same with the "Don't Waste Your Life" book. Good, very thought provoking stuff.

Anyway, I'm thinking a lot about labels, and how weird they are. I don't get it why being a blessing to the environment seems to get the hackles up of the people on the "right" a lot of times, when its just being a good steward of what God gave us. I just think if we all learn to take better care of ourselves and each other in a personal way, instead of relying on "the system" we would all be so much better off, and so many of the world's problems would be lessened. How can that be a left or right thing? Why don't people get that? Actually, I think PEOPLE do, but somehow the powers that be, be it media, politicians, or "they" whoever "they" are don't, can't. I'm telling ya, its all gonna come down to the whole "act local" thing. Just do it folks! Be a blessing to your community! Be the change we want to see, right?

I'm getting all soap boxy now. Sorry. God is stirring something in me, and many others. Anyone else?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Beautiful girl

Today was lovely. The sun was back, so the girls and I finished planting the hanging baskets. My hubby mowed the entire lawn and even reclaimed some new areas and came in thoroughly exhausted. The lawn looks great! Ready for the BBQ planned for Monday, where we may have 26 people! (from only 4 families!) Let's hope it doesn't rain. Our house is pretty small for 26 people when it rains. Our house is pretty small for 6 people when its sunny. We went to church, and heard a great sermon, about what it means to abide in Jesus, and the promise of a fruitful life when we do, and the fact that we can do nothing without him. He is the vine, we are the branches, and pruning should be expected. Remember, gardeners, pruning is a good, good thing, but it sometimes ain't pretty.

But, while toodling around with the camera today, I got this pic of my middlin' girl. She was just so striking in this moment, just playing near our swingset, I had to take a pause. She's fun and open, sparkly and sassy, up for anything in both good and bad ways. She plays a pretty mean violin for a 6 year old. I like her a whole bunch.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

It's a start...

Today, we carved out some creativity time. It was great to see...

Superman painting...

And who can resist this...

I love those little dimples. This kid is the best for just squeezing her all over.

It was a good day. We did a little painting, then the boy dove into a preschool workbook, and then we made some paper airplanes. Then I spent the rest of the day avoiding getting hit by paper airplanes. Which I did. Most of the time.

It started out really good. But let me back up, to where it wasn't so good. The boy had a nightmare at about 4:30. Wonderful hubby got up and helped him calm down. 5 minutes later the boy was at our bedside, mumbling something about not being able to sleep without his baby sister, who at this point is still sleeping in her crib, next to his bed, like always. He didn't believe us that she was still there, until Dad walked him back to show him. Baby sister woke up of course, wanting some mommy time, loudly. Dad talked her out of it, and she went back to sleep for about 30 minutes. After that, she loudly wanted MOMMY time NOW. So, I snuggled with her for 20 minutes or so, and put her back to bed. 5:45 now. At 6:30, I am dead asleep, waking to the boy LOUDLY "asking" if he can get up now outside my door. And very soon, I hear the big sisters giggling in their room, and baby sister wanting more mommy time. Ugh. I'm so not ready to get up. So, I snuggle baby sister and the boy up on the couch together under a blanket, and let them watch The Wiggles, while I sneak back to bed for just a few more minutes. The next thing I know, its 8:oo and they are wondering when I'm going to come out. Oops. Well, I come out to find that everyone has had breakfast already thanks to the oldest, and almost everyone is dressed and the chores are almost done. Wowzers. Guess I need to sleep in more often. The big girls had hatched a plan to pool their allowances and get to school early so they could buy some things at the school book fair. They even had planned to get something for their little brother to surprise him. Moments like this wash over me like a big wave of relief that yes, I am on the right track!

I made these yummy sandwiches for dinner tonight, and they were a BIG hit with everyone. Even baby sister wanted seconds, thirds....

I really want to order this book.

I really want to subscribe to this magazine.

Tomorrow night, we get another date night thanks to my fabulous mother in law volunteering to come over and babysit AGAIN. Its our anniversary this weekend. 11 years goes by fast, and my how things change. :) I'm so lucky.

Today was a good day. I have so many things to be thankful for.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Isn't there something just hopeful and cozy about a basket full of yarn?

I've just finally gotten the hang of knitting, and it just feels so good to be creating something, even when I'm just plopped on the couch. I'm in the middle of my first real project, a really cute little bag that's coming along pretty well. I guess we'll have to wait and see how it really turns out.

Today is an ordinary day. Drizzly and on the cool side. I am so ready for Summer! We had 3 days of 80's last weekend, and now I'm hooked. I want more!

Lately, as I've been browsing around the blog world, I'm getting so inspired by so many of you out there. My goodness, you are so creative! I need to quit thinking about being more creative with the kids, and just sit down and DO something creative with them. My boy needs some serious "hands on" time. He is very imaginative, but its mostly in the realm of costumes and sword fighting. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I just know that I've neglected putting those tools and time into our day to just let 'em have at it. Last year, when we were homeschooling, it was kind of an automatic part of our day, "hands and brains" time we called it. But, now that 2 of them are in school, I guess I've gotten lazy about it. I need to find that balance between feeling like I need to do everything in a day, on a basic schedule and feeling guilty if I don't get it all done, and just a free for all keep the kids busy no matter what it is they're doing kind of day, including too much screen time. I see lots of good books to review out there, and a big ole summer stretching out before me. I'll try to incorporate more crafty, creative outdoor stuff this summer, and tell you all about it.

Today, I'm thankful for...

Birds singing me awake this morning, along with the sound of the rain.
My baby's super close up smile first thing in the morning, as she tries to get me to open my eyes to look at her. A smile first thing in the morning is a good thing. Too bad I didn't have my camera right then.
That all my loved ones are alive and healthy.
The beginnings of a tan (hey, they can't all be profound)
Enough food in the pantry and money in the bank.
That God has opened my heart and mind to his truth, and calls me his child.

More soon...

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Happy Saturday

I'm in the middle of my "day off", and it feels pretty great. I adore my family, really I do, but I also adore days like these, when my fabulous mother in law takes the kids, and I get a day to do whatever. Very unfortunately, hubby man has to work. I'd rather hang out with him, but I do love to have these alone days. I woke up thinking I might go for a hike with my sweet pup, Tess, but that bed, and the silent house was just too yummy to get up early. So, I got up at the crack of nine, opened up the curtains to a sight not often seen on a northwest morning...a gorgeous blue sky! It was kind of a magical moment as I made myself breakfast, in the totally quiet house, and went outside to eat and read a magazine on the patio. The birds were singing, my chickens crowing about their impending daily labor pains, and of course, there was Tess, and the incessant dropping of the tennis ball at my feet. was total bliss. Then I packed myself off to the plant nursery, and went a little wild....

All the above went into my gardens today. *sigh* It was heavenly.

I love Gerber Daisies. Now I have some of my very own.

Some of you who have known me for a long time, might be a bit surprised by my self-titled "Crunchiness" that is creeping into my life. I mean, I don't look so much like the "crunchy" type, though the more I live in the Northwest, the more it starts to creep into my style, if you can call my 30-something mom, still trying to be somewhat hip, but not really style a style. Still, no sandals and socks, or shorts when its 50 degrees for me. Although I did just have to buy my very first pair of reading glasses. Of course, I had to buy the crunchy-chic kind.

I feel so hip when I wear them. And a little old.

Any-hoo, Its been a journey to my discovery of these newly found passions. I think it first started to dawn on me when I first became a mom, almost 9 years ago. I realized as I went grocery shopping week after week, and cooked at least 3 times a day, everyday, that I am the only person in my family making the choices about what the people I love the most are going to eat. Thankfully, they're not picky, and will pretty much eat whatever I put in front of them. So, I let this sink in. Then I realized that my choices literally have the chance to make or break their health. Lengthen or shorten their lives, maybe. Whoa. I figured I oughta start paying attention to what is going into their mouths, so I started poking around online, learning more and more about whole foods cooking, and basic nutrition. I started out with the Sue Gregg Cookbooks, which are fabulous, easy to use, family friendly recipes, kid and Dad approved, and it made the transition to whole foods pretty easy. A whole lotta moms out there were talking a lot about the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and the Weston A Price Foundation. I learned all kinds of things that some of which I have put into practice, some things are still on my "to do" list. So, cooking was my first step into the whole, healthy lifestyle thing. Then, upon realizing how important my food choices were, I also realized I can do a lot more for their health by learning a bit about how to take care of them at home, mainly by learning how to boost their immune systems to avoid getting sick in the first place, and also how to take care of them when they do get sick, without carting them off to the Dr. for every sniffle. Of all 4 kids, I think only 2 of them have ever been on antibiotics, once each. WellTellMe is a great forum for all things related to natural health and nutrition. In the course of browsing that site, I ran across someone mentioning MaryJanesFarm I went over to that website, and was instantly transfixed. Here was someone doing everything I wanted to do, and so much more, and doing it with such grace, beauty and style I didn't know what hit me. MaryJane Butters is truly my hero. You've got to get her book MaryJanes Ideabook . It has so many ideas, patterns, recipes, gorgeous photography, and thoughtful writing that it will make you want to give the book a hug, or put it under your pillow at night or something along those lines. I've been to her farm twice now, and am honored and amazed to be able to say that I know her, and can almost call her my friend. But, I'll stick with hero for now. You must find out why, and go to her website, read her books, and subscribe to her amazing magazine. Seeing the things she's done in her life totally inspired me to just get out there and DO it. Start the Farmgirls chapter. Go to the city council about starting a community garden...which led to the whole task force on sustainability, which is going to lead to many amazing things in my community.

Would I really have chickens in my backyard if I had never heard of MaryJane Butters? Maybe. But, I know I'm more crunchy because of her. And I'm glad.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here comes the sun!

Today the most fabulous thing happened. Here's where it started, at my kitchen sink, like it does everyday.

The angel represents how I want to feel everyday, all the time. I like to look at her while I do dishes, when I'm usually not feeling that way. I also like to look at these...

They're my Mother's Day flowers.

We worked in the garden this morning, in the drizzly, overcast day. And then, amazingly, this happened...

Glory Be, the sun came out and it was in the 7o's, tomorrow its supposed to hit 90! 80's all weekend!!! Monday, its supposed to be 55 and raining. We'll enjoy it while it lasts. The best part about the above sprinkler moment, is that the boy chose his floatation device suit, instead of his trunks, you know, just in case.

The littlest bit wasn't into the sprinkler thing. But she sure is cute. And she's the proud owner of those toes I showed you yesterday.

Tomorrow, its errands with the 3 littlest, the biggest has a pool party to go to in the afternoon, (could the timing be better weather-wise?), and then hubby man and I get a date night...we're hoping to see Prince Caspian! THEN, I get a Saturday to myself. What will I do with all that time? I'm sure I'll think of something....

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Things That Make Me Smile

Here's my boy, doing his part to help us achieve food independence. He's in the moment of experiencing reeling in his very first "I caught it all by myself" fish. Note the look of total joy. :)

Here's my little tomato garden,

still in its little tiny greenhouse


Here's my spinach. I've never planted an early spring garden before. It worked!

And here is something I am completely in love with. I find myself wanting to eat them.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I need a plan...

Browsing around tonight, I found the coolest thing. I found out about the Independence Days Challenge through another great blog I just found, The Zahn Zone . It gives a plan to move forward in food independence. I SO need a plan! Yes, please, give me babysteps! It basically gives you 10 areas to work on, supposedly everyday, but realistically for me, just to be working on in general. So, each day, you can ask yourself What have I...
6)Managed in reserves?
8)Worked on local food systems?
9)Reduced waste?
10)what new skill have I learned?

I love these steps! Just little babysteps here and there will move me forward! Tomorrow I'll start thinking about this. And hey, tomorrow night I'm going to a workshop on home canning and preserving! Tomorrow, #10 is in the bag!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Good Things Grow

Hey folks, yep, I'm starting another blog. I so want to write and share, and I really hope I will keep up with this one. I'll do my best!! I have so many great things I'm thinking about and starting to do, and am getting pretty passionate about. Where do I start? Well, I started a chapter of the Farmgirls, got invited to join a community task force on Sustainability, took the girls fancy camping at MaryJanesFarm, learned to sew (kinda), learned to knit, and I'm trying to teach myself photography. I'm feeling really so, how shall I put it? Motivated? Compelled? To actually DO something about what I see about to happen to our culture. I had a realization awhile back that I wasn't actually "doing" anything real. I liked to read about things, get inspired by this or that, but really, I wasn't actually getting out there, doing, creating, experiencing the things I love. Also, I realized how much of all this global warming trouble would be helped if we just stopped relying on the box stores for everything. The idea of living and buying locally, or at least from people you actually know, or heck, even learning to do stuff for yourself was like a light bulb that went off in my head! A real A-ha moment. Now, of course, I'm so at the beginning of this process, so yes, I'm still shopping at the grocery store, and at Target. But there ARE other choices to be made. At the farmgirls meeting last month, we discussed the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Fabulous read, and it just shows what's possible!

Tonight I went to the first meeting of the task force on Sustainability issues that's forming in my town. It was great to see the enthusiasm and hear all the ideas for what we can do. Its strange for me to realize how important this is becoming to me, because I never thought of myself as the tree hugger type. :) I just think its so important to be able to take care of ourselves, and stop relying on whoever, or whatever to provide it for us. Or at least to know exactly who you are supporting when you allow someone to provide for you. So, as I embark on this journey, of learning how to become more self-sufficient, along with how to be the best mom, wife and Christ follower I can be, I hope you will find something that you can learn and do too.

Meanwhile, enjoy some of my photographic efforts...