Saturday, July 31, 2010

Saturday Rambles and an ice cream recipe (sort of)

So the kids and I were walking back home from feeding the ducks, and this very large dog bounds out of one of the breezeways. We happened to be back far enough that I just turned the kids around and we went a different way. But who lets their ginormous dog out without a leash??? You know what? I don't even care how big or small the dog is, dog owners, please, USE A FREAKING LEASH. I don't know your dog, your dog doesn't know my children, and I don't care how mellow you think your dog is or nice or whatever. Letting a dog run loose is just an accident waiting to happen, either for unsuspecting young children (or their mothers) or the dog. Gah. And while we're at it, pick up your dog's poop too. It's disgusting how many people around here don't.

Sorry for the rant. I'm sure all my readers are very responsible dog owners. :)

Aside from the dog incident, it's been a very good and very busy day so far. We managed to get to the farmer's market and back before it got too hot (it's 97 now, if you were wondering). I spent the rest of the morning in the kitchen. After being right on the edge of buying canning supplies, we decided to use the dehydrater we have and maybe try canning next season. So I can ask for the canning stuff for Christmas (hint hint). Yay! I got the dehydrator out and I think it's going to be just as useful.

Here's what I have going on in my kitchen today:

blueberries, a peach (as an experiement), and peach fruit leather are in the dehydrator
I used part of the peach fruit leather mixture to make some peach popsicles.
I took the rest of the peach fruit leather mixture and used it in ice cream (more on that in a moment)
two batches of "cheater" maple syrup were made
one jar of iced tea in the fridge
pancakes for lunch

Ice cream is something that I don't have very often. The vegan ice creams in the store either taste bad, are expensive, or both. Coconut Dream, my favorite, runs about $5 for a little bucket. A pint? It's not much ice cream, and it irritates me to buy it when I can make the same amount of ice cream for less than $3. When I really want ice cream, I make it. It's probably for the best that I do this, since ice cream should be more of a once in a while treat, right?

Anyway, here's how I did it. I used leftovers from peach fruit leather mixture, which was basically a bunch of peaches in a pan along with a little water, a sweetener of your choice (maple syrup here), and a splash of lemon juice. After I cooked it down a bit over the stove, I pureed it in my handy Vitamix. Dump some in your dehydrator and when you run out of room, make some popsicles. What you have left makes great ice cream!

Leave the leftover peach puree (probably about a cup, so if you don't want to make all that other stuff, just cook 2 or 3 peaches) in the blender. Add a can of coconut milk (light, heavy, whatever) and sweetener of your choice to taste. Give it a blend to combine. Taste and sweeten more if needed. Get your ice cream maker off the top shelf of your cupboards, wipe it down because it hasn't been used in months, and set it up. Turn it on, then pour your peach mixture into it. Let it do its thing for a while, checking now and then to see how it's freezing up.

When the mixture starts to thicken, drop some blueberries in there if you'd like. When it's frozen enough, dump the mixture into some containers and freeze.

That's pretty much it. I'm not sure how you'd do this without an ice cream maker. You could freeze the mixture without it, but I don't think it would be as smooth as when it's processed with the ice cream maker. It's a fun kitchen gadget to have.

What will I do the rest of the day? I have a hooded sweatshirt (with short that weird?) cut out and ready to sew. There was a request for bread. I'm sure someone will want to go swimming at some point today.

Sunday it sounds like a canoe trip is in order. Yes, we still have the canoe. Sometimes we store it in the breezeway even though you're not really supposed to do that, and sometimes it lives on the top of the car. I'm not sure how long the canoe shuffle will last. We shall see.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Not Back To School!

Someone posted a link to this blog on facebook: The idea of celebrating us homeschooling folk is a great idea! I didn't find this in time to get on the list for the first week. This isn't really a blog just about homeschooling, although I'm sure I'll talk about it all the time. I'll probably just be a follower on this one.

So, curriculum. Maybe it's the teacher in me, but I love school-y stuff. Teacher stores make my knees weak. It was entertaining for me to sift through curriculum and decide our direction for the year. With my teaching background, I don't feel the need to have curriculum for every subject. I'm glad it's out there for parents who need more guidance. I'm also glad that I feel comfortable at this point without it because curriculum materials can get expensive. Kind of makes me wish we could get some sort of rebate on our taxes and put that money towards schooling our own children, but that's probably a discussion for another day.

Here's my plan for this coming school year:

Reading/Language Arts: We use a phonics program that includes a listening tape and easy readers. We'll supplement with read alouds, easy readers from the library, and probably do some Letter of the Week (fab preschool FREE curriculum, google it, my friends) for Eli. I have a book list started for read alouds that I'll post if you'd like to take a peek. I also love the 4 Blocks reading program, especially for primary grades.

Math: After much deliberation, I thought we should try Singapore math and this will be the only curriculum we'll actually buy. While I feel totally comfortable with every other subject, I want more direction with math. I think this will be great for our family.

Social Studies: I printed out the Georgia state education standards for social studies for 1st graders to get ideas and direction. I really like the GA ED website, by the way. It's full of helpful ideas and lesson plans. The standards for 1st grade include things like recognizing your city, state, country, basic knowledge of several historical figures, and basic civics knowledge. Since we're new here, I'd also like to explore who our representatives are on the local, state, and federal levels, find out who the governor is, things like that. We'll do this by using the library, making lapbooks (another super fun homeschooling're burning up google tonight, huh?). I see many trips to the (free) Columbus Museum in our future.

Science: Guided again by the GA ED standards, we'll be learning about nature, and some basic science concepts like magnets and properties of water. Lapbooks are great for science too. I'm sure experiments will abound, as well as trips to nature centers. Again, the newness of our location will probably lend itself to us wanting to learn more about plants, animals, insects, and birds that live here.

**I'll introduce research skills to the kids, and we'll also be using writing across the curriculum.

Physical Education: Reese wants desperately to take a class. First it was ballet, and now she's interested in swimming lessons. We would like to see both Reese and Eli in some kind of martial arts. The homeschool group we are going to check out, Amazing Mondays, incorporates physical activity during their weekly meetings. The kids and I like to walk, bike, and swim.

Health: Basic body knowledge, hygiene, and nutrition of course will be included. The GA ED standards also require information about healthy habits (things like not smoking, not doing drugs, etc).

Music and Art: These are subjects that admittedly I usually forget. I'm going to try not to do that. We do listen to music all the time, but somehow I don't think crap top 40s is really music appreciation material, although I am quite impressed that Reese can sing along to most of my Lady Gaga songs. I'll take that Parent of the Year award now. Heh. Seriously though, I'll be keeping my eyes and ears out for places to go and programs to attend that have to do with art and music. I'd love to take the kids to see a play. Most important to me is exposing the kids to a wide variety of experiences in hopes that they'll find something they enjoy to pursue.

Hmmm...did I get everything? As you can see, we'll be busy this year, and we're not even required to go official until next fall (thank you, December birthday!). I'm very proud of how far we've come already, what we were able to do in the past year in spite of the challenges we had. We're all looking forward to a year full of fun adventures!
Some mornings I wish *I* was the one walking out the door to go to work, to spend a day kid free. It's been one of those mornings: trying to referee the fighting during my yoga, convincing kids that breakfast is more than one sip of a smoothie, and cleaning up said smoothie off the floor after a gigantor spill. Sigh. It's hard when kids wake up too early and I don' t get a little while to do my own thing.

I remember working. There are challenges to working outside the home too. I appreciate that every day, Eric goes out into the big, bad world and works to take care of us. I hope the way I run our home and care for our children makes things easier for him.

So, turning this day around. I'm drinking my coffee, that will help. ;) We're going on a field trip to a cool store called Earth Fare with some good friends. There is a pile a foot and a half high of new library books begging to be read this afternoon. I think this day will be all right. If I can get the kids to stop fighting...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ugh. Blogger and I aren't getting along today either. I forgot to upload the pics in the reverse order so I don't have to shift them around. They're not shifting properly, so oh well.

Anyway...we went to a storytime today at Oxbow Nature Center. My GPS apparently hates me and sent me to Ft. Benning instead of to the nature center. A nice military man headed me in the right direction and we only ended up being 10ish minutes late. The program today was about reptiles, so a guy read the book Verdi (which I love), and then there was supposed to be a reptile show. The reptile show consisted of a guy who likes snakes sharing two albino bull snakes. That's all. For $5 a kid, I was disappointed. I could have read Verdi to the kids and then hustled them to a pet shop to see an albino snake for far less than $10. I was so irritated I forgot to take any pictures there. After the "reptile show" the kids and I walked around with our friends looking at the creatures the nature center has on display. There were a lot of different snakes, some baby turtles, and a chunk of a bee hive. The kids seemed to have fun, I guess that's the important thing.

But the best part of the morning for me was going to the Country Life Vegetarian Restaurant. Veg eats, om nom nom nom. They were serving up rice and beans, but I had a veggie burger and the kids had almond butter/agave necter sandwiches. And Reese mooched some chili from our friends. Oh!! They had vegan cherry cheesecake. It was soooooooo freaking good. I had been thinking about cheesecake, so I was quite happy to eat it. There's also a good looking salad bar. Prices were so reasonable as well, I'd definitely eat there again. I'm so glad my friend Hannah and her kids could join us!

I did some shopping in the store as well. They have bulk unbleached organic flour, which I was glad to find. Again, great prices. I love the Country Life store.

Here's Eli, and his pic is blurry because he was running away from me. He's picture shy.

Reese, however, is NOT picture shy. She's posing in front of the store. Yes, she wore her tiara today. That dress? I made that from an old sheet I found last year at Goodwill. It's hard to tell from the pic, but it's wild and flowery, right up Reese's alley.

The sign pic that I wanted at the beginning of this post. Oh well. I should also add that the restaurant was hopping busy. I was relieved because we've only visited on Sundays and the shop is pretty dead.

And a quickie update about yesterday's carrot and rice pudding. It was delicious if you are over the age of 30. The under 30 set in the house didn't like it. Oh well. I don't think Eli even tried it, and Reese licked it. Since I enjoyed it, I'll serve it again. Did you know it can take something crazy like 20 tries of a food before a kid knows for sure he/she likes it or dislikes it? So when you introduce a new food and your kid is all, "I don't liiiiiiiiiike this!!" just keep trying. Get them to lick it. Ask them to help you prepare it, and then tell them something goofy like, "The chef must taste his/her food!" I know this can work because I've been serving up hummus for 4 years of Eli's life, and he's just now starting to like it.

I'll see what I can do about more food blogging. I don't make up many of my own recipes. Rather, I thief them from others. But I'll share what I can. :)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Healthy Eating

I fed my kids ice cream for breakfast. Wellllll...that's what I called it anyway. In reality it was:

1 1/2 frozen bananas
about 3/4 cup frozen watermelon
about 1/2 - 3/4 cup soy milk
a couple tablespoons ground flax
a squirt of agave necter

Mix that up in your blender (I rock a vitamix), marvel at the pinkish "ice cream," dish up and serve. I'm sure you could add some other odds and ends, or completely change the fruits to your tastes. I've found that if the color is appealing, the kids will eat.

So, healthy eating. I'm probably going to post about this subject a LOT. I love food. I love eating. I'm not always in love with the healthy part, but as long as it tastes good, you'll suck me in. Our family does the best we can to eat healthfully, and we are on a budget. Most of meal we eat are cooked from scratch. I enjoy cooking and let's face it, prepackaged meals/foods can be costly. I share what I like in my facebook notes, and I'll probably post recipes here as well.

Part of healthy eating is taking some food risks. I do this all the time. You never know what a kid will love or hate, so I experiment. For example, this morning I'm working on a carrot coconut rice pudding. If they like it, it's a great way to get some carrots and healthy whole grains into them (I'm using red rice today, but I'd use brown too). If they don't like it, then I'll have ready made breakfast for a week. It's a win-win! The recipe is from The Vegan Lunchbox. I'll get back to you whether or not it passes the kid taste test.

I'm also going to make a double batch of seitan today, one for dinner tonight and one for the freezer. Seitan, admittedly, is time consuming, although most of the time is passive (ie it has to simmer for an hour or need to hover around the pan). As long as we're going to be home anyway, things like seitan or bread aren't a big deal. Anyhoo, seitan is a great source of protein and very inexpensive to make at home. I'll probably saute it with some mushrooms and squash tonight and serve it with a grain, quinoa maybe? Maybe noodles.

It's been like the Food Network in my kitchen lately, probably because I was out of commission for so long. There's just something relaxing about turning up the crap music (Ke$ha, I'm talkin' about you) and cooking some good food for my family.

What are your thoughts about healthy eating?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Ya'll know this song, right? Cheesy Kelly Clarkson, bordering on country, song? I'd copy and paste it here but for some reason blogger hates me today. But here's some of my favorite lyrics:

I'll spread my wings and learn how to fly
I'll do what it takes 'til I touch the sky
And I'll make a wish
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway
Out of the darkness and into the sun
But I won't forget all the ones that I love
I'll take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And break away
I'll spread my wings and learn how to fly
Though it's not easy to tell you goodbye
I gotta take a risk
Take a chance
Make a change
And breakaway

Awww, Kelly Clarkson, you're so wise.

Perhaps there are still people who don't really understand why we uprooted ourselves and moved. I get that. There are even people here in GA who seem shocked that we moved here. That's okay. I know in my heart that this is right for us. But saying goodbye wasn't easy. Missing friends and family isn't easy. How else do you learn how to spread your wings and fly if you don't take some chances? How do you live a life regret free if you don't take some risks? I didn't want to wake up someday and be all, "Damn, I never got to live where it's warm. I never got to live in a big city."

Take a risk today. Make a change. You don't have to move, haha. However, there are apartments for rent in our complex. I'm just sayin'. Seriously though. Talk to someone you wouldn't normally strike up a conversation with. Go somewhere you've never been. Try a new food. Sew a new pattern. Read a new book. Something. Anything. What's the worst thing that can happen? You'll discover that you don't care for that book or that food? No big deal. Try again tomorrow. What's the best thing that can happen? Your experience might change your life, it might impact you in ways you never thought possible.

So...what risk did you take today? Feel free to comment about it. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fabric and Plans

I usually try to stay on top of the whole clothes thing for the kids. I hate, hate, hate, buying full price for clothes. It seems silly to buy most clothing items at all since I have a sewing machine, a serger, and a goodly amount of fabric on hand. Even though it's only the end of July, I've been thinking about what I need to get done, sewing-wise. Eli is set, I think. I don't know how he ended up with so many clothes, but it's less for me to do! Reese is going to need just about everything.

So what do I have at my disposal? One copy of Kwik Sew's Sewing for Children. I have the Fishsticks Emmy which can be seen here: I'm waiting for some knits from a co op. I'm thinking I'll want a few of the Emmy shirt, leggings, a hooded shirt or two, some comfy flannel pants, a plain long sleeved shirt or two. And maybe we'll fill in with a couple ready-to-wear shirts, but we shall see. It's been suggested that the winter weather here is like fall back in WI, so I think my plan will work.

I'd really like to sew up a bunch from my fabric stash. Since I'm waiting for MORE fabric, I need to free up some space. There must be balance between my fabric addiction and the amount of room I have for storage!

I do miss having so much fabric at my disposal though. The other day I went to start a batch of cloth pads and realized that I destashed all my velour. Oops! I have some in the works, some awesome swirly dyed stuff from a lovely friend back in Appleton. So there are solutions. I've been more mindful in my fabric purchases too, trying really hard to buy with a project in mind instead of just buying because it's a good deal.

So I'll be busy. I'm also looking at a home made Christmas this year. I'd love to get others to join me, but I realize that not everyone gets happy making things. That's okay. Anyone who does want to exchange home made gifts, drop me a line or a comment. :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm a Lame-O sometimes

Because it's true, I am.

I suppose life is about learning, and I learned a lesson that I will never forget. It's not a horribly big deal, but I'm dwelling and I thought if I wrote about what I learned, maybe then I can let it go. So here's the life lesson:

If you absolutely want to post something snarky on Facebook, wait 24 hours and then if you still must post it, post away. In the heat of the moment? Leave it alone.

Yes, I fell prey to spouting off on facebook, probably hurt some feelings, and now I feel like a jerky jerk about the whole thing. Facebook is really nice, it's a great way to stay connected to people I care about, it's a convenient way to make plans. But man, just like in real life, think before you type. I know I will from now on.

There are other factors, and I'm confident I can get it all sorted out.

Ugh. I'm not perfect, okay? I get upset for silly reasons, I get emotional, I get butthurt, I react. Sometimes I react badly. I say (or type, haha) things that I perhaps should keep to myself. I'm a work in progress, just like everyone else.

I contemplated taking a short facebook break, but I don't really want to do that. I would miss everyone's pictures, messages, and snippets of everyday life. I don't know, I'm feeling sort of blah about this stuff and I hope it will pass.

So while dealing and waiting for it to pass, I'll be making bagels, probably some bread, and there was a request for pizza this weekend. Yes, I will be using up all the flour in GA. Maybe I'll sew some stuff too.

Anyhoo, have a good weekend all!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Just answer the question

What do you need at this point in time? A list.

to stay connected to friends and family even though we're far away

to strengthen my body by getting it moving

to eat healthy foods

to enjoy my husband and children

to let myself cry, laugh, sing, express myself

to continue to learn, both about the world and about myself

to appreciate what I have

How about you?

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Case of the Mondays

I often feel that Mondays are catch up days. Somehow over the weekends, everything around here goes to hell in a handbasket. Laundry goes undone. Dishes aren't kept up as well as during the week. The kids' room is a disaster. And if we were on the go all weekend, even though I can have the car on Mondays, I crave staying home and putting things back in order.

It was a busy weekend. On Saturday we made our farmer's market run and brought back a fridge full of fruits and veggies. There were other errands to run, and we did some swimming in the pool. At some point we got to talking about what the plan would be for Sunday, and an impromptu trip to Callaway Gardens and Atlanta was born.

So, our Sunday Adventures! On the way out we met our duck friends, looking for food as usual. These are the same ducks that loiter outside our breezeway, probably because we almost always feed them. Not wanting to drive over them, I ended up getting out of the car and luring them away while Eric backed out.
Callaway Gardens is about 30 minutes from Columbus, near Pine Mountain, GA. It's a huge place, complete with a resort and spa, several lakes, biking trails, a nice beach, and a bunch of other stuff. It would be a great place for visitors, hint hint. This is the Discovery Center, and behind us is one of the lakes.
We happened to be just in time for the Raptor Show. It was kind of short, but the presenter explained that it's hard to get the birds to do much of anything because it's so hot. We did get to see and learn about a red tailed hawk, a great horned owl, and this big guy, a vulture. The presenter did a nice job, we learned a lot. For example, do you know why the vulture's legs look white? Their legs are actually black like the rest of their feathers, but they pee all over themselves and the uric acid stains their legs white. Don't worry, their pee also cools their legs down as it evaporates. Yay!
Lunch break! I packed us some goodies, and it's a good thing because by lunchtime we were starving. I should mention, it's nearly impossible to get these two yahoos to stand together, both look at the camera at the same time, and smile. This would be why there are so many pictures of the backs of their heads.
After lunch, we went to what was probably Reese's favorite part of the trip, the Butterfly House. You can see cocoons in the main building, and then there's a greenhouse where you can hang out with many different kinds of butterflies, including Reese's favorite, the Blue Morpho. Callaway Gardens hosts a Blue Morpho Butterfly month in September, so I'm sure we'll be going back for that.
We found a butterfly!!! They were all over the place, and of course the kids really got into it. This is why I often say that Reese is hard on clothes.

After the butterfly house, we made our way to Robin Lake, where there is a really nice white sand beach. And when I say beach, I mean it's a freaking huge beach. On one part of the beach there were a bunch of inflatable water bounce houses, a slide, great stuff for older kids. The part of the beach we swam at had a huge fountain. If you got tired of swimming, you could go up the hill and play shuffle board, ping pong, or horseshoes. I think it would be easy to find a patch of grass to set up Kubb.

Reese and Eli, always ready for anything!

After we finished up at the beach, we continued on to Atlanta. The main purpose for the trip was Trader Joes and Whole Foods. There are some things I just can't find in Columbus, and Eric is nice enough to indulge me with a trip to Atlanta for vegan food stuffs now and then. After I got all my vegan goodies, we decided to find a restaurant. And find one we did! Green Sprout is a vegetarian Asian restaurant: Everything on the menu is vegetarian, and most items are easily made vegan if they aren't already. It's a mock meat paradise! I can't even recall a restaurant that I've eaten at since going vegan where I could order nearly anything off the menu. The food was delicious, and it was a nice, laid back place to take rowdy, sweaty children. I'll definitely be back as I was geekily excited about the menu.
All in all, an excellent trip! We counted 10 dead armadillos, one dead bobcat, and a dead coyote, in case anyone wanted to keep track of carnage. No pictures...I might be able to get Eric to pull over on a residental street, but neither of us is going to be pulling over on a highway. Kids were exhausted and sleep came pretty fast. I can't wait until our next trip!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Awww, it was my little guy's birthday this week. He's 4 and I'm...shocked that he's 4! Time goes by so quickly, doesn't it? It seems like just yesterday I had little Reese jumping around and baby Eli in a sling all day long. I've always been thankful for my children, and even more so now. They have such fun, kind, interesting spirits. I feel lucky that I was entrusted with them.

I think Eli had a good birthday day. He helped me make cake and frost it. Reese was in charge of decorations (ie she told me where to put the banner and the balloons). He loved opening gifts and cards. All in all, it was a nice day.

So happy birthday my future bulldozer driver!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


I bribe my kids with tv shows so they will leave me alone in the morning.

Sad, but true. No worries, I fed them, they are dressed, and they even did some chores! But man, I just need half an hour or so to chill and drink my coffee and putz around. I simply can't do this in an enjoyable fashion if my children are bouncing around and shouting (sorry, downstairs neighbors...I tried to stop them).

I think it can be hard for stay at home moms (maybe all moms?) to admit they need some time away from their kids. For me, one of the biggest reasons I stay at home and homeschool is because I love my kids and genuinely like being with them. But then there's the flip side, that I really crave being alone, doing my own thing without worrying about who is getting into the markers or who is hitting who. I don't particularly like talking to anyone about anything early in the morning. I'm not jazzed about playing games or reading books at first daylight.

So we negoitate compromises. I get to sit and drink my coffee and they get to watch some television crack (aka NickJr). Since I keep them busy doing other things for the majority of the day, a little tv isn't going to scar them for life. I've made my peace with that.

And it's Umizoomi time! And coffee time! Yay!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I created chore charts for the kids using this nifty website:

It's pretty cool, you can pick out a graphic and then fill in some chores in a chart. I set mine up as a morning routine. Lately I've been feeling like we needed something to get us off on the right foot each day. We have a successful bedtime routine and overall bedtimes are peaceful and predictable. Perhaps the same thing would work in the morning? We'll give it a whirl.

Many of the sites I perused suggested monetary rewards for chores, and I don't know how I feel about that. I didn't get an allowance or money for chores growing up. One of the things I want to instill in the kids is good money management skills, and giving an allowance seems to be a way to do that. I want to teach them about saving and giving and spending wisely, skills that I'm not very good at. Plus, it would be nice when I hear, "I want buy that!!!" to be able to say, "Save your money!"

On the other hand, I don't get paid for doing chores now. My reward is a clean house, good meals on the table, clean clothes, you know. We all have to pitch in so we have a liveable house. It's helpful to the family. I'll have to think more about the whole allowance thing.

Anyway, the morning routine includes self care (eating breakfast, brushing teeth, brushing hair, getting dressed) and a couple simple chores (picking up clothes, tidying room, helping empty the dishwasher). I think I could add some things as the kids get older, give them some chores I'm not jazzed about doing. That's my right as a mom, you know. Reese and Eli have such a desire to help and be responsible, I'd like to encourage that.

How do you handle chores and allowance at your house?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meeting new people, yikes!

I feel like I'm not very good at meeting new people. I don't always know what to say, what to do. Starting conversations feels weird to me. So of course I'm all nervous about going to our first LLL meeting here. It can take me so long to feel comfortable with people. Because the kids are older and want to make friends so badly, I'm going to make an effort to make friends too. It would be nice to have some people to hang out with.

Here's hoping I can find some people who think that the things I do are normal, or at the very least won't be all judgey about it. And I'll try not to be judgey as well. I think there's room in this world for all of us. Well, maybe not the killers. But you know, most everyone else is welcome.

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Crankies

How do you banish them?

I woke up with the worst case of the crankies I've had in a while this morning. No cause as far as I can tell, just feeling stressed out and cranky and out of sorts.

Anyway, half a cup of coffee and some putzing around in the kitchen has helped me feel much better. A swim with the kids later might be fun too. Working on some more of the box mess around the apartment would also help. Things are coming along, and the apartment is looking like home and not like a storage unit, but we have a ways to go. It will happen, eventually.

I've got the kids watching a few shows, some beans cooking on the stove, and hopefully the morning will continue to improve.

It's driver's license day!!! I think I'll officially feel like a Georgia resident once I have a new license. And a library card, because that will be next.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Boxes, unpack yourselves!

And contents of boxes, kindly find a place to call your own. Thanks.

Unpacking boxes is both fun and frustrating. Some of the boxes were packed almost two months before we moved, so it's kind of fun to see what's inside. What's frustrating, you ask? Everything else. We have way too much stuff still, and we got rid of so much before the move. It's definitely a lesson in estimating and space management. I suspect there will be another big purge either NOW or whenever we move again.

Honestly though, things have been going smoothly for the most part, and that's not just the prozac talking. The moving company did a pretty good job overall. Things with the apartment have been good overall. No major hassles, not like the last time we moved. Perhaps that's a sign that this really is the right decision for our little family.

Slowly rooms are taking some shape. The dining room is almost done and clear of boxes. If I can find a dresser I like this weekend, the master bedroom will be just about done. The kid room needs some organizing, and I think we need a toy purge. The desktop and tv are back in action. I think the only thing we need is some storage for bikes and camping gear and such. The kitchen probably could use some tweaking, but again, nothing huge.

It's so weird seeing our stuff in a different environment. I remember feeling that way after we moved to Appleton from St. Paul. The pictures on the walls are the same but look totally different on these walls. The furniture, the storage bins, the's hard to believe that a few short days ago this apartment was bare.

I like it here. I'm starting to meet people (if only online for now), starting to get out and see things. It's such a unique opportunity, I'm glad we were able to do this.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Two in one day!

Aren't you lucky girl or boy??

I saw this posted on facebook and wanted to share:

I'll come out of the closet as a lactivist. I think breastfeeding is important for babies, mothers, and the whole world for about a million and one reasons. Helping breastfeeding mamas has been an important part of my life for several years, heck, since Reese was a baby. During the whole cancer thing I wasn't able to help as much as I had in the past, partly due to the dreaded Chemo Brain. And partly due to my need to mourn the loss of my own breastfeeding relationship with my son. He might have been a little past three years old when I was forced to wean him, but he wasn't ready and really, neither was I.

Anyway, I'm feeling better about both things, for the most part. I don't feel like I'm in a brain fog at least. Breastfeeding Eli...I think I'll always wish it had ended differently, but I'll never regret that I did what I could to make it as easy as possible for him, as gentle as possible for him. It's about balance and that can be difficult.

So breastfeed those babies!

Flat Rock Park

On Saturday we went to visit Flat Rock Park, which is just down the road from our apartment. Well, there might be a turn onto another road now that I'm thinking about it, but it's really close. Anyway, it's a pretty cool park, lots of hiking and interesting things to see. Like this old shoe. I call this picture "Lonely Shoe."

This little guy (and his many friends) were running around some rocks. He's a six lined racerunner, a common lizard in this area. They're super fast, and my hands were full of other people's shoes and sand toys, so the best I could do was a one handed picture with the camera. Next time he and his won't be so lucky because I'll be armed with the trusty butterfly net (that has caught such animals as giant frogs and baby rabbits). Be afraid, Six Lined Racerunners, be very afraid.

Reese and Eli got a kick out of chasing little tiny minnows in the creek. Since they brought water guns instead of buckets, we didn't have any luck catching minnows either. It's probably for the best.

Flat Rock Park is named for the flat rocks. You can slide down them at your own risk. I did not. I don't think my ass is flat rock ready just yet. Besides, there was a rumor that Eric got his arm caught under one of the rocks and bruised his own ass trying to get out of his prediciment. That, however, is only an unsubstantiated rumor. Reese and Eli loved playing around on the rocks though.

All in all, it was a good trip. We decided it would be fantastic to return in the fall when it's a little cooler and walk the trails. You're welcome to join us. :)

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Quiet Mornings

My favorite time of the day is morning, before the kids are up, when it's cool enough to have the windows open. Even without furniture, it's nice to sit around drinking coffee and looking up things on the internets.

There is just so much going on here. Right now I can hear bugs and birds in the trees. We went on a walk yesterday and saw ducks (of course), but also lots of turtles and a huge bullfrog. At Flat Rock Park I saw some little lizards running around on the rocks. It's nice for a nature junkie who doesn't really like being too far from the city. I like it for the kids too. Even though I don't think I would ever live in the country, I still like visiting, know what I mean?

There's a part of me that is jealous of people who do that, live in the country on a little homestead, growing all their own food and just living very simply. I feel the need to slow down, to enjoy life and what I have. I wish I could set up a clothesline in the breezeway. Could I have become one of those Radical Homemakers without even realizing it? In case you don't know what that is, there's a book about it (that I haven't read...need library card badly), and the basic idea is taking back domesticity, taking back a more simple life, rejecting a consumerist culture. It seems to involve things like cooking from scratch, canning, hanging clothes out to dry, etc. If you go searching around on the internets you'll find more information too.

Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about the whole Radical Homemakers thing. I don't do what I do because there's some list somewhere, so I can tick things off and give myself a label. I do what I do for our family because it feels right. Labels are so tricky, especially because so many people get caught up in the list of Must Dos that seems to come with a label. I found this with attachment parenting. I don't think attachment parenting is all about following the list, and I've always thought that the people who cling to the list are missing the point. I see this kind of thing with vegans sometimes too, that it's more about the do's and don'ts than it is about the real reasons for choosing not to eat or use animal products. I can see this happening with the Radical Homemakers movement too. People like to fit in, they like to identify with others. I suppose having a list is a fast way to do that. Don't get me wrong, the characteristics of a label can be useful if you're trying to learn about a different lifestyle than you're used to. But can't we take what is pertinent to our families and leave the rest behind without feeling like we're doing something wrong? Can't we be allowed to make small yet meaningful changes without being chastised for not following the list?

Me? I like to do what feels right and what makes sense. And if I save a little money in the process, heck, that's good too. So I will go on with my cloth trainers and my cloth pads and my family cloth, but I don't really care if you do it too. I'll tell you about it if you like, and even help you get started. And maybe you can share something you do with me, and if it feels right maybe we'll do it. If not, no big deal.

I didn't always feel this way. Life is a learning process. I've become a lot more chill in the past couple years. Are there some things out there that I would like to not see and hear about? Um, YES. Are there things that seem very wrong to me and that I don't understand? Of course. But is it my place to be all judgey and tell others they are doing it wrong? I don't think so. I've been told that I'm doing it wrong, and it hurts, especially when it comes to things that I do for my children, like homeschooling. I think the best we can do is lead by example. If you're in public wearing your baby or breastfeeding, people are going to observe you. If you're homeschooling and are happy and your children are happy and thriving, people are going to observe that. I could go on and on with examples of how everyday moms and dads can affect the world around them in a positive way. It might make them think, and they might be pleasantly surprised that there's a viable alternative to what they've always known.

So yeah. I'll still read the Radical Homemakers book because I'd like to see if there are more things I can do to enhance our lives. I'll probably read a lot of books about different points of view. I'll keep on keepin' on with the things we do, no matter how crazy or silly others may think it is. If I find something that makes sense, I might do it. I'd encourage you all to do the same.

Enjoy your Fourth of July!!!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Fun Around the Apartment Complex

The other morning the kids and I went for a walk around the apartment complex. This place is huge: six swimming pools, two playgrounds, tennis courts, ponds. Lots to explore!

Reese my little Chicken Lady found some kindred spirits outside our breezeway that morning. There are ducks here and there, it's pretty fun. Maybe not as fun as Nibble the chicken, but it will work for now. Reese loves animals so much, I do want to find her a farm or something where she can chase chickens (or maybe learn to take care of them!).

Two of the pools are connected by a cave, and inside is a hot tub. It was quite exciting to check that out. One of these days we'll have to swim in there too.

Reese and Eli assure me that the water is warm in the hot tub. It's always so fun to watch little kids exploring their world. I'm lucky I get to be a part of that exploration and discovery.
One of the pools has this cool brick path. Do you notice how many times you see the back of Eli's head? He gets weird about having his picture taken, so it's challenging to get him to look. I'll try to do better. ;)

Look at this crazy tree! I don't know what the deal is with those roots or whatever sticking up, but it looked pretty cool.
Squirrels still look the same in GA as they did in WI. I'm sure you were all on the edge of your seats about that.
Eli is going to cook us some delicious barbeque. There are several grills scattered about the complex, and Eli was fascinated with them. He's my little Mario Batali, I should really get him in the kitchen more.

DUCKS! CHASE THEM!! Yeah, I tried to stop them and explain that the ducks were just doing their duck work and we should leave them alone. It didn't work. I guess all the chasing of the chickens in WI is to blame. ;) The ducks around here are fat and slow. Is it wrong that I secretly hope Reese catches one?

And...dining room table!!! After about a week of craigslist nonsense, we caved and bought a new table and chairs. From Walmart. I know, I know. But I think the kids were getting sick of eating on the kitchen floor, and I know I was more than ready for some furniture. Oliver is grateful that there is once again something she can hide under, too. The rest of our stuff is due to arrive early next week.
The plan for today is to check out a farmer's market, and there's also a vegetarian store I want to see. I need nutritional yeast. Now.
You know what else I need? A freaking library card. I crave books so much I almost bought a copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (even though I already own a copy). I have to check to see what kinds of information they need to give me my card, if it's just proof of address, I can do that. If they need a license, I'll have to wait until we find my birth certificate, which is in a box. I can't wait to get our stuff!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Holy Crap, I'm 33!!

Nah, no dramatics. I don't mind being 33. I didn't mind turning 30, I don't think I'll mind turning 40 someday. You're only as old as you feel, and sleeping on an inflatable bed makes you feel about 80, haha.

I wish I had more good things to say about The Year I was 32. Unfortunately there aren't that many good things to say about cancer. The biggest good thing that I learned was the value of friendship, and how important my friends are to my life. I like to think I always knew that, but it sure was right in my face over the past year. In the Year of 33, I want to remember how important friends are, and I want to be a good friend.

And that's what life is all about, isn't it? Learning lessons, living to the best of your ability, making mistakes, making those mistakes right again. Life seems to be a work in progress, just when you think you have it down, you get something unexpected. I'm choosing to roll with the unexpected, to make things work.

I think I will like being 33. It's just a feeling I have. I hope everyone else I know has a good year this year too.