Friday, July 30, 2010

Healing Myself

This post was originally posted on 7/21/09 as my second ever blog post. Over a year later,  being a mindful parent/wife is something I still work hard on practicing every day.  I just thought I would re-share :) 

"Stopping, calming, and resting are preconditions for healing. If we cannot stop, the course of our destruction will just continue. The world needs healing. Individuals, communities, and nations need healing"
- Thich Nhat Hanh, "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching"

When my husband and I decided that we could make it work financially if I didn't go back to work after the birth of our second child, I was ecstatic. I had enough with retail management and the hours and customers that came along with it. I would now be spending my days blissfully with the kiddos and getting all the stuff done around the house that I had wanted to do for years. After managing up to 10 employees, how hard could a 2 year old and a baby be? Yeah, I don't know what I was thinking. I learned pretty quickly that I might have a day of bliss (if the kiddos are in the mood), the house projects will not get touched (unless the kiddos decide to nap at the same time, or fall asleep before 10pm) and managing 10 employees is WAY easier then managing a 2 year old and a baby.

I also learned a lot about myself.

After 2 months of being a stay at home mom I hit a rut. I was feeling disconnected. My son, who had just turned 2, was bringing out feelings of frustration and helplessness in me with his tantrums. These feelings were so strong they physically drained me. Things between my husband and I were not good either. We couldn't even have a conversation with out arguing. This was also affecting our 2 year old, and looking back now, probably where his tantrums were coming from. I was at my wits end with everything and everyone.

Then one evening I attended a meditation group introduced to me by a friend. This meeting consisted of Qi Gong, sitting meditation, walking meditation, sitting meditation and a discussion of a chapter of the book "The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching" by Thich Nhat Hanh, which the group was reading. Suddenly everything clicked. To be the mom and wife that I need to be, I first need to heal myself. I need to recognize within myself when these feelings of frustration, helplessness, and defensiveness arise and be mindful how I handle them. My reaction affects everyone else. How can I teach my children how to be patient and how to calm themselves if I can't do it myself?

Stopping, Calming, Resting, Healing have become my words to live by. It didn't take long for me to realize that 99% of the time the arguments with my hubby were started by me as a result of my frustrations. It didn't take long for me to see that by stopping and being mindful in how to react to my son's tantrums, I could help him better manage his feelings, instead of causing him to react to mine. Everyday is a learning experience.

"Mindfulness is the energy that allows us to recognize out habit energy and prevent it from dominating us." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Visit Plum Village for more information on Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhism and Meditation.
The link is under "Favorite Links" on the right.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Gotcha!!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Dueling Gardens Part 1

The veggies from our gardens are making their appearances slowly, but surely. Yes, I said gardenS. We have more than one, not because of our large plot of land (I wish), but because the hubby and I could not agree on a garden location.  He wanted the left side of the yard, where we had it (unsuccessfully) last year because...I don't really remember why.  Bad, I know. I swear I was listening to his argument points.  I wanted the right side of the yard because it gets more sun, and I wanted to cover an overgrown flower garden . Two stubborn wanna be gardeners = two dueling gardens.
WARNING: If you are an avid weeder, these pictures might be disturbing.

 On one side of the yard is...

 The crops he has harvested so far have been green beans (which we have enjoyed for several meals), peas (which the kids have been snacking on, as only about 7 pods total have made their appearance), lettuce (enough for several salads and still going strong), and his pride and joy so far- his potatoes.

Today he dug up about 20 pounds!!!

Here is Sophie who I found on the table throwing the potatoes.

There are many crops he is anxiously awaiting.

Like the Jerusalem Artichokes.
We are going to have tons. The Jerusalem Artichoke is not an artichoke at all, but a potato like tuber.  I have never tried it (or even seen it before) and from what I have researched (the video on this link makes them look so appetizing), it's are an acquired taste.  Since these are harvested in the fall I will have plenty of time to look for tasty recipes (if such exist).       

And there's his corn.

He came home from work almost a month ago all excited because someone told him if his corn was doing well, it would be a foot tall and his was!!!! And still is!!! The corn growing on the farms down the road is at least 8 feet tall right now (and probably loaded with GMOs and pesticides). Maybe his will have a growth spurt. Or maybe this is just a short variety. Or maybe this what a corn plant looks like with no added chemicals.

On the other end of his garden, I don't really know what's going on.
He is a firm believer that as long as the plants are watered, they will grow. He is NOT a weeder. What has been weeded, I have done. I didn't touch this area because I couldn't tell the difference between plants and weeds!  In there somewhere is cabbage, cauliflower. broccoli, more potatoes, and pumpkins or gourds. All of these plants are still working on producing their bounty, if there will be any at all. To be fair, we did plant both gardens late in the season, as there was still a lot of frosty nights.

He wants me to point out his awesome composting container.
He found it on ebay for $75 delivered. It works for us. Keeps the animals out and the smells in. :)

And that is the hubby's garden.  Stay tuned to be introduced to mine. :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Fluff Talk Thursday- Cloth Diapering on a TIGHT Budget

Today I am participating in Happily Domestic's Fluff Talk Thursdays. The topic today is "Cloth Diapering on a TIGHT Budget", something I am getting to be very good at. I am on my 2nd kiddo in cloth, and started almost 4 years ago.  I have not bought a single new diaper for Sophie, since she was born and we are going on 2 years CDing with her. This is how I do it.

I knew I wanted to cloth diaper when I was preggers with Logan, my first. I chose to cloth diaper because I new that after Logan was born I would be switching from my well paying full time job, to a lower (umm..extremely lower)  paying part time job, and then with the birth of Sophie- no job at all.  Money was going to be tight with just the hubby's income.  I didn't want to have to worry about the weekly expense. I stocked up on cloth diapers while I still had the money.  The investment is well worth it in the long run!!!

Here are some tips on building your stash the cheap frugal way:

*If you know you want to CD when you are pregnant, and you are going to be having a baby shower thrown for you, find cloth diaper gift regestries. These can be found on most websites and some stores (I had gotten some from Walmart's online store).  Many of these stores even have new baby "starter" package deals. My mom and my sister got me my first set as a shower gift. The package came with diapers, a couple of covers, and inserts.

*Look for gently used diapers. At the time, they were sold on ebay. Today you can look on Craigslist or even put a request up on Freecycle. There are also several networking sites you can join that have cloth diapering communities where mommas are selling or trading pre-loved diapers. Check out Cafemom , DiaperSwappers, and the community forums.  Some online diaper shops even sell them. You can also check your local natural mom's maternity/baby store, as there are some that sell pre-loved, or hold Diaper Swaps.

* Which brings me to Diaper Swaps. These are great! At a Diaper Swap a bunch of mom's get together to sell or trade diapers that their kiddos have out grown.  This is also a great way to check out new diaper styles. And as a plus you get to meet some really cool moms.

*Shop Around. When I started CDing 4 years ago,  there were not that many cloth diapering brands out there. I could count on one hand how many brands there were to choose from. Today, there are so many options. There are inexpensive brands out there that work just as well, if not better than the popular ones. Actually, my favorite and best working diaper covers are the old school "rubber pants".  These contain night time leakage the best for us. The elastic around the legs and waist work well  on the kiddos that moves around a lot in their sleep. You can find them in multipacks for less than $10.

*Enter blog giveaways. I have added some great diapers to my stash this way!  Check out the blogs on my sidebar. Most of them hold cloth diaper giveaways.

*Make your own diapers, or search on Etsy for someone who does. I started making my own and never had to buy a new diaper! I have used old t-shirts, sweat shirts and pants, flannel nightgowns and old recieving blankest. Flannel material goes on sale at Joanne's all the time and I even found a store near me where all their material is $1.99 a yard! I have bought elastic and velcro in bulk off of ebay. Here are some diapers and inserts I have made :)

OK, now that you have a supply of clothdiapers, here is how to keep on budget:

 * Most importantly- CONTROL YOUR IMPULSES!! Those expensive, extremely cute, very soft looking diapers are JUST GOING TO GET POOPED IN!!  And unless you live somewhere warm, they will get covered up 99.9% of the time! When ever I feel myself getting the urge to splurge, I chant my mantra- "They're just going to get pooped in, no ones going to see them but me, my kiddo doesn't care" :)

*Repair worn out diapers and covers. Yes, I am that cheap frugal. I have replaced worn velcro on covers. I have even added new elastic to my stretched out Kissaluvs that are almost 4 years old and going strong!!

So that's how I  cloth diaper on a TIGHT budget. Make sure to stop by Happily Domestic to check the linky for more of Fluff Talk Thusday!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday- Through the eyes of a 3 year old

All pictures were taken by Logan, my future photographer :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


A friend shared this on Facebook, and I just have to share it here. This is a very powerful speech by Severn Suzuki at a UN Earth Summit in 1992.  An important reminder to all parents that we are only borrowing this earth from our children.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My First Award!!!!!


I have been awarded!!! A BIG THANK YOU  to Sarah at Fanged. Faerie. Princess for giving me my first ever blog award!!! Woop, Woop!!! :)  I accept!!! And now I will spread the love by passing on this "Blog with Substance" award to 10 great blogs I stalk read regularly. Check them out!! :)


Congrats Ladies!!!  Remember when accepting this award to pass it on to 10 blogs you know have substance!!

A New Twist on an Old Breakfast Favorite

It seems like we are always having the same things for breakfast over here. French Toast is one of my kiddo's favorites that we have at least once a week. This morning I switched things up a bit. I mashed a very ripe banana into the dish first before I added the rest of the "dip" ingredients. YUMMY! I also added a bit of crunch by dipping the moist bread into a crushed cornflake and wheat germ blend before throwing on the griddle.

Banana French Toast
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 egg, beaten
11/2 cups milk (might have to add more or less, depending on the thickness)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
Sliced bread
oil or butter for griddle
Mash banana in a bowl that is suitable for dipping the bread. Add egg and mix. Add milk and mix. Add more milk if too thick. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Dip sliced bread into mixture. Place moist bread on warm, oiled griddle. Cook until both sides are golden, and no liquid comes out when bread is pressed on with spatula.

To add some crunch-
1 cup of a cornflake, wheat flake type cereal, or a crisp rice type cereal. If using the flake type, crush with the bottom of a glass. Might have to crush the rice cereal just a tiny bit.
1/4 cup wheat germ
Mix crushed cereal and wheat germ together in a bowl suitable for dipping bread. After bread is dipped in wet mixture, dip in cereal mixture. Add to pre-warmed, oiled griddle. Remember to add more oil or butter to griddle before adding next batch or the topping will stick!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Five years ago today, on a Midsummer's Night, I married the man of my destiny.

And the day was like a dream.

With a horse drawn carriage.....
....and a fairy as a flower girl.

 My father walked me through ribbon covered trees.

The ceremony was magical.
                                                      Among the guests were.......

fairies and monks.....


....and pirates.

 My dress was handmade (not by me) and dyed with tea leaves. It cost less than $300. My mother made my bouquet with flowers from her garden, as was tradition in Renaissance time.

Our "cake" was also of the tradition of the Renaissance age. Guests were asked to bring a homemade dessert. This was seen as the melding of the families.

There was a feasting hall...
....and thrones at the head table.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wordless Wednesday - Big girl bed conquered!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Almost Daily Bread

So I have finally gotten myself back in the habit of making my own bread!! It has been months since I last bought a loaf of bread or a bag of buns. Logan is now bringing a lunch to school, so I have been making a loaf about every other day. I use my bread machine on the "dough" setting and bake my breads in the oven. I try to switch up my recipes and will be sharing my family's favorites.

White Bread

3/4 cup warm water
1/4 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup of wheat flour
2 teaspoons of yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine in order suggested by the manufacturer.
Select basic bread setting, normal crust if cooking in machine.
OR Select "dough" setting if oven baking. When "dough" cycle complete, punch down dough and form into loaf, place in greased bread pan. Let rise again for about an hour.
Pre-heat oven to 350 and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Herb Garden In Progress

In my neck of the woods, March brought us record rainfall. It rained and it RAINED!! Now April has brought us record warm temperatures. Tomorrow it is supposed to be in the 80's! Craziness. I packed up the winter hats and snow pants today really hoping that we don't get hit once more with snow. This is New England, it is still April, and it really could still snow.

According to the Farmers Almanac, it is not safe to plant here until May 9th, the date that the Almanac estimates we will be free of the danger of frost. This date is over a month away and I am itching to start planting NOW!!!!! But, until then, the kiddos and I have been outside every day getting the gardens ready. The first one we tackled was the herb garden. I wish I had pictures of the before. It was in ROUGH shape.

Now, I have to say,  this herb garden has been a long term project.  When the hubby and I bought the house almost 5 years ago, the herb garden was a lovely fish pond. A pond that did not hold water and was the biggest pain in my neck. So the fish pond got filled in, and the herb garden was started. At this time I worked full time and gardening and my job in retail did not work well together.  The next spring/summer I was preggers with Logan. I made a lot of progress at the beginning of the season, but once I couldn't bend over to weed, the garden went wild. Gardening and being huge with baby did not work well together either. And the spring/summer after that, Logan was a baby, which also did not mesh with the gardening. And the next 2 years, repeat with being preggers and again with having a baby to tend to.

Now, with no job, no pregnancy, and no baby, this is the year I plan on getting all the gardens in order- the herb garden, the veggie garden, and the various flower gardens. This might be wishfull thinking, but with Logan and Sophie (and the hubby who excels at heavy lifting and digging up monster Hostas) as my eager assistants, I am hoping that we can do it!

So, with out further ado, here is the herb garden, minus the plants.

I removed 9 monster Hostas from around the edge- remnants of the past life as a fish pond.

I made 4 "benches" out of rocks, one for each member of the family. I want to make plaster decorative stones to put in front of each bench. I want the kiddos to have their own spot to plant near their bench. I can't wait until May 9th!!!!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Friday, February 12, 2010

I Am But A Child

Logan came home from school today with this poem in the valentine from his teacher. It is so beautiful and true of every child at the age of 3!

I Am But a Child

Look at me, I am but a child.
I won't be grown up for awhile.
Let me enjoy my childhood days
Give me opportunities to run and play.

Let me make discoveries, give me space
That I might develop at a steady pace.
Let me be messy, let me explore
Then as I grow I will learn that much more.

I am very energetic though still quite small.
I run, climb, spill and that's not all.
I am but a child in my own little world.
Inside me there are struggles and twirls.

I have not learned to share or sit still,
When I am older perhaps I will.
I am full of life and curiosity
But that is how I learn, you see.

I need your help in all I do.
I need your love and approval too.
I need your patience day after day
So that I can grow in a positive way.

Play with me, smile at me, hug me too.
I need to know that I am accepted by you.
With your help and guidance, I'll grow to be
all that you expect from me.

by Lenora McWhorter

Valentine Crayons

We are on a cleaning and de-cluttering spree over in this household. While going through our crafting supplies I noticed we had 2 containers full of broken, old crayons. By OLD, I mean some of these crayons are a good 20+ years old, and I'm not joking! They came from MY Nana's house. The crayons I colored with when I was little. Yeah, we don't throw anything away over here!

I have always wanted to melt down crayons to make big cool looking crayons, so I figured we would give it a try. I found a "recipe" here, and I actually went out and bought a Valentine themed cookie tin (mutli-functional, and used to make Valentine cookies too). I decided to use all the crayons on hand and buy him a new box of "big boy" crayons now that he has finally stopped breaking and eating them. Here are pictures of our project in action!


Ha, Ha, I just noticed Hubby sleeping on the couch in the last picture! Here are pictures of the finished product:


This is Logan's "Space Ship" color. 

We had a lot of fun making these. And the house didn't smell like something burning, like the hubby kept saying it was going to. They look nice, but they don't really function that well. I was hoping that we would have created  large enough crayons for Sophie to manuever with her little hands, which she can, but they only work when held at a certain angle. It seems that most of the wax floats to the top when melted.  Maybe from using cheap crayons? The wax part doesn't make a mark. Oh well, they will be perfect for rubbing creations.