Wednesday, February 18, 2009

love:: 10

love: grandparents

(again, apologies for image quality. i am having some troubles with my handy little camera lately. it is kind of defeating the true purpose of the one word project, but not what i am getting out of the project! also, finn's participation in these photos is to be snuggled against me in the carrier as i take them!)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

love:: 9

love:: imagination

lala: "finn is faming."
me: "faming? what is that?"
lala: "he is crying. faming is when he is on the rise."
me: "on the rise?"
lala: "on the rise to feeling better."
me: "where did you learn faming?"
lala: "i made it up!"

(not the greatest photo, i know, but it suited the post. click on it to enlarge and read finn's shirt!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

when in doubt, eat.

we've had food on the brain around here. while i cannot quite bring myself to stick to a strict meal plan, we have gone back to being more creative with our diet, while still trying to be healthy. frugally feeding 3 adults (with various dietary limitations), 1 preschooler, and 1 baby (whose diet is ever growing and who is substantially pickier than his older sister was at the same age) on a balanced, whole foods diet has been, well, tough. here are some samplings of food this week.

lala, making the granola recipe from her mollie katzen book, salad people. ummm. yum. (although, honestly, a bit sweet. lala wouldn't eat it (evidence to the contrary here) and wanted my homemade granola. the rest of us had to mix half/half with mine.)

beans (a. lot. of. them.) and rice. free from freecycle. (see those arms? parenting tip: 4 year olds love to play with beans.)

mixing up a batch of muffins. protein and fruit plus variety, using bits and pieces of leftover, chopped fruit, frozen for just this purpose.

finished muffins. bonus? fore mentioned finnicky finn loves them.

oven "fries." yum.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

how much do i love thee?

lala quoted:
"i love dada up to the sun. i love S up to the clouds. i love finn up to the tree branches. and i love you up to the moon." (we've been reading a bit of guess how much i love you? and i think she was inspired.)

i am not much for valentine's day (being a hallmark holiday and all that), but the excuse to tell someone how much they mean to me? priceless. happy heart day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

love:: 8

love:: the everyday

i have been struggling lately. with our balance, with where i want to be, with challenging behaviors, and more. and i need this reminder today. of how special the everyday is. the siblings, the playful mess, my constant musician and her adoring audience, the way the sunlight highlights finn...i love how representative of our everyday this photo is. (now if i had only snapped seconds before when finn was dancing to her music. that would have been perfect.)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

love:: 7

love:: bittersweet mamma love

my little guy and i have just weaned. i think we were both ready. more or less.

what a bittersweet feeling. there is nothing quite like nursing. it is the one bond that is just for mamma and baby. and finnian? well, he liked his mamma milk....never would do the bottle. any bottle. that special bond held us in good stead (if not making mamma just a wee bit crazy). is the end of mamma-specific snuggly moments. the end of the infant stage, the reclaiming of my body, and maybe hardest for me to wrap my mind around....perhaps the end of my days as a nursing mamma. period.

one recent morning, my little guy woke early, so i snuggled him to me in the living room rocking chair to nurse. (our wake-up nursing was the last to go.) and we nursed and rocked. nursed and rocked. and slept. M came out and found us this way, covered us with a blanket, and returned to bed. i woke later, before finn, and just stared at his adorable sleeping baby face. i wish i had a photo keep sake of this special moment, but truly, i have dozens of them in my memory, and for that, i am so lucky.

bittersweet, indeed.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

love:: 6

love:: friends

this package arrived from bookyG last week:

with this note inside:

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

happy blogaversary

today, this blog is 2 years old. over the past 2 years, i have grown and changed and with those changes, my blog voice has shifted. here i am, still blogging, but sounding different than on day 1. and different than this day 1 year ago (5 posts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). it is odd to read back and realize how far i have come, because i don't feel any different. to see how far this blog has come. (i love including photos now!) and see how much my children have changed!?

about those changes...several times i have struggled with how i want to express myself on this blog. there are other blogs i enjoy reading, and in some ways, i suppose i want to emulate those, however, in the end, i don't. i don't, because, ultimately, this blog needs to be my voice and the part of me i am putting out there for a conversation with you. it is my (interactive) journal of sorts.

while i tend towards reading the blogs that feature beautiful crafts and gentle parenting, all posted in a positive way, i realize that isn't quite my style. i cannot seem to keep my mouth shut about the everyday realities, so i post what i want to post, in a real way. and it is often those posts, the ones where i admit my struggles, that have solicited solidarity and support from you.

really, this post is to thank you for coming (even those of you who decided not to come back!) and checking in now and then. i do read all my comments and appreciate them all!

if you want to post a reply and share a little something about yourself with me, i would love to have you shove this blog into year 3. cheers!

Monday, February 9, 2009

knitting is on a roll

oh, for the love of youtube. i "get" the purl stitch now. and understanding the purl helped me move beyond the cast-on-knit-unravel rut i had been in. (the youtube videos i liked the most both came from salsita, thanks for directing me to youtube!)

here is where it has gotten me. not far and a bit wonky, but i am so excited! and it has been fun, as lala enjoys sitting with me, making her own yarn crafts. (we pulled out knitting needles and a crochet hook for her, but she hasn't been ready to really learn any needle or finger stitches the several times i have shown her.)

see! happy nicola! (ignore my messy little computer corner. i cleaned up the day after this. i swear.)
now,, please. so my rib pattern was originally unintentional. i was alternating knit, purl, knit, purl. that creates a stockinette stitch, right? now, my texture switch that caused the wide ribs...i am assuming that happened when i accidentally did 2 knits (or purls) in a row instead of alternating. is that right? (i intentionally did this again, to try it out.) is there a trick to remembering what stitch i did last if i set my knitting down and pick it back up later or will this become obvious when i get better at this whole knitting thing?

and what am i making? nothing, but i love my swatch of nothing. i will be practicing switching yarns/colors, picking up dropped stitches, unraveling parts, and finishing off the piece. then i will move on to a real project!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

cancer bites. help fight it.

amy has been doing marathons in support of the leukemia & lymphoma society for the past few years. she is at it again. please click this link if you are willing to donate to support her efforts and the research of the leukemia & lymphoma society. i have asked her to add mollie and my mom's names* to her shirt.

(*mollie has leukemia. click her name for an update on how she is doing. my mom's cancer is not a blood cancer, but cancer sucks no matter what kind. my mom is doing really well right now. thanks f0r the concerned emails.)

Saturday, February 7, 2009

love:: 5

love:: rain

have a lovely weekend!

Friday, February 6, 2009

love:: 4

love:: romantic

i am so lucky to be married to my best friend. (who also happens to like snow and digging holes. just for the hell of it. which is one of the reasons i like him. he is just as odd as i am.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

love:: 3

love:: all of you (and a good bargain, too)

thank you, all, for the kind birthday posts, email, facebook postings, cards, gifts, and telephone calls!

i had a wonderful day! it would have been a tad bit better as an all around family day, but truly, i needed a bit of a break and i got one. lala was in school all day (atypical) and my mom took finn and i to a huge (used item) sale that happens annually. it is like a garage sale on a sugar high. (think: costco sized warehouse thrift store.)

remember my wish list?
well, i got the following items as gifts/loans:
  • stainless steel commuter mug
  • cutting mat
  • stitch n' bitch (plus yarn, happy hooker, and more)
  • mother earth news
  • bend the rules sewing
  • beautiful eco friendly vest
  • organic gardening
  • flowers :)
  • small sewing scissors
and i got the following items at the sale:
  • slippers for me
  • 2 crib sheets
  • crocs, swimsuit in bigger size, fleece jacket, 2 pr PJs3 pr tights - all for lala
  • wooden xylophone toy
  • chutes and ladders board game
  • rubber stamps (lala stocking stuffers)
  • 3 garbage cans
  • queen sheets
  • knitting needles (4 pr), 2 pkg bias tape, 3 balls of cotton yarn, sack of 1/2 inch elastic, and medium sewing scissors
and i only spent $60 doing it.

oh, and the day was a calories-don't-count day, of course, so there were doughnuts for breakfast and our favorite restaurant pizza for dinner!

and a few words on the "one word" project, as there have been some offline of the blogs i visit is a photography site and they proposed a challenge for a month. the challenge is to choose one word and think about that word as you take your photos. try and capture images that move you and are descriptive of that word. i chose the word love, so my photos this month are trying to capture images that call out "love!" to me.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

love:: 2

love:: self

today, i am 33. i am one of those women who generally thinks age doesn't matter. i think 33 is young and think i am even younger at heart. (i also think we are lucky, in this country, to think there many years to come after 33.) but i still had a hard time actually hitting the 3 twice before posting to my own blog.

as this month is all about love and because self-love is by far the most difficult, here are 3 things i love about myself. (33 would be appropriate, but far more difficult. have you noticed the list of things one wants to change about themselves is far longer than the list of things one already loves about themselves?)

i am caring. i am giving. i am honest.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

love:: 1

love:: siblings

finn has been giving me hugs for some time now and lala has been lamenting that she wants one too. i happened to catch the first hug he voluntarily bestowed on her.

(what does it say that 20 minutes after i posted this, she bit him? and she isn't even a "biter." sigh.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

one word project:: february

over at shutter sisters, they have announced a one word project. i am going to tag along, although i don't have the skill or time to participate officially. this fits perfectly with my desire to take it easy on the blogging for a short spell, so my posts this month are likely to be photo heavy and word light.

so here we go. my word of the month is: love.
it seems appropriate for february, even if it is more than a bit cliche'. i intend to post photos of tangible and physical love. whatever i am feeling about love each day.

would you like to play along?

Saturday, January 31, 2009

january in review:: bargains

we explored one of the local flea markets for the first time. (i generally frequent garage and school sales, but rarely large flea markets.) we have several big markets in our area, the two biggest are completely different from one another. the first one we explored was the bargain one (the other is mostly antiques). the place was a mix of new, cheap-product vendors (we skipped those) and garage sale like booths.

lala's good friend, monkey (yes, that is his name. original, eh?), is showing off our lone purchase of the day. a pair of converse and a pair of keen shoes, both like new, both for finn, both for $15.

other used bargains of the month were:
  • diaper covers: 9 of them . 3 prorap, 3 bummi, 3 blueberry minkys, which new, are $35 each. (you can see some of my other posts about diapers for more info!)
  • car repair book
  • toy xylophone (free)
  • several suits and several leather jackets (free. we didn't keep all.)
  • pyrex and ceramic baking dishes (free)
  • more toddler shoes, in different sizes from the ones bought, above. (free)
  • robeez
i also began selling again, so all the used items we bought were paid for through my pay pal "sold" fund.

Friday, January 30, 2009

january in review:: keeping our eye on our goals

lala's eye. isn't it beautiful that the brown is 2 different shades, split right down the middle?

a summary of our first month of 2009::

no buying new (NBN)::

well, this is tougher than i thought it would be, in part because our house has decided to implode. okay, not really, but this month, the following items have broken:
  • our shower fixture
  • our kitchen aid mixer (heavily used around here and sorely missed while it is awaiting repair)
  • our kitchen sink faucet
  • our outdoor clothesline tree
  • our fitted bed sheet ripped
we have bought some new items:
  • kitchen aid parts to do a home repair
  • shower head part to do a home repair
  • some sippy cup straw parts (to avoid buying entirely new cups)
  • turbo tax (to do taxes ourselves)
  • small toy mail truck for lala (a promise we made following her good behavior chart. could have done something else, but didn't want to. bought at small, local toy store)
  • books as gifts (could have/should have skipped)
  • new kitchen sink faucet (M waited until it went on super sale, bought with gift card)
  • i joined facebook. i felt like this was caving to peer pressure, but after several days of obsessive FBing, i settled into a semi regular check in. at the same time, i moved all my favorite blog links into a reader and sorted them in a way that makes sense to me. between the two, i feel as though i am still reasonably connected with others, yet online far less.
  • M tuned up and cleaned up our computer. words cannot express how much more smoothly and quietly it runs. and i am loving our new nano from S. (yes, i am technologically behind, i realize this.)
  • at my most recent shop at costco, where we buy many food items in bulk, i was hit with stress over spending (in general), more stuff (even necessary consumable stuff, but often with packaging!), and a desire to be far more self-sufficient. this will be the year for it. more on that later....
  • i have been mentally playing around with a more professional blog, volunteering, going back to work, something. i am struggling with a need for further self-fulfillment. i love my children, but i currently lack "me" time. (i know this is hugely due to the age of my children, but i would prefer not to lose myself in an effort to mother them.) i have almost no time on my own, unless i am neglecting someone else in some way. (check out this article on solitude. and read back over my post about guilt.) i cannot "do it all," so before i move forward on any, i am trying to sort through what would be most fulfilling. (oh, god, is this an early midlife crisis?!) any suggestions for me? i love helping other people, so something philanthropic, perhaps? i also adore talking about thriftiness, baby/kid stuff, and the environment. what i would love is to come up with the perfect way to combine all of those!

  • come february 10, i am glad fewer toxins will be able to make their way to kids' products, however, i am saddened at how many handmade crafters are going to be out of business. these are the types of toys i most want my kids to have! i suspect this will serve to make M and i use our crafting time better and differently.
  • we are suffering a very bad drought here, so have become even more mindful of our water usage.
  • NBN has had a good impact on our earth friendliness, budget, and our desire to simplify.
  • M fixed our clothesline, so given the drought (i.e. nice weather) and repaired line, i have been able to hang more again.
  • i purchased some used pocket diaper covers at TLM's suggestion, in an attempt to get finn out of paper diapers at night. new, these premium covers are $35 each. yep, you read that correctly. i got them, with inserts (which usually cost extra), for $22 each. well, they worked almost as well as the paper at keeping him dry, but his rashes were so bad, at one point, it spread all across his chest and made his legs raw and peel. much as i hate this, we are sticking with night time disposables. sigh...(i can resell the diapers for the same amount or more.)
  • our grocery total for january was: $450.95 for all our grocery store/drug store purchases. this is for 5 people and includes the portion my brother paid for. i am continually trying to get this down. i feel like we should regularly be at $25 per week per person, or less.
  • M and i have been working with a financial planner (free through his work benefits). this has us feeling a little more secure about where we are and where we need to head with our money, particularly in these stressful economic times.
  • M and i confirmed our wills are valid and began working with a lawyer (again, covered through his work benefits) to set up living trusts for our kids.
  • see items above, where economizing blends in!
how have you been faring this month? i would love to hear!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


french butter crock, handmade by RGW

handmade. a word that is in my little world often these days. it has been highlighted often on the blogs i frequent, in regards to the required testing that will begin on february 10th for childrens items in particular. and in my own little world, handmade is what i wish i could accomplish much of the time. my brain is brimming with ideas, my fingers are itching, but my time and ultimate motivation often fail to fire off at the start line.

the gorgeous butter crock, above, is handmade by RGW, who is also responsible for some of our lovely hats, scarves, soaps, and more. (the lady is talented. she is visiting right now....think it will rub off?)

i have noticed, too, that two or three of the blogs i read have made their own comments recently about not being able to do it all like the women on other blogs they read. parenting, thrifting, crafting, and living well. and then blogging beautifully about it all.

well, i am not one of those women, and instead of feeling envious and drooling over their beautiful lives, i hope to glean ideas and enjoy my beautiful life. handmade or not.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

you've got mail!

parenting is often a game around here. who is smarter? the parent or the four year old? this time around, we put a behavior chart up for some of lala's most challenging behaviors. five weeks in, it is working really well. she can earn two stickers per day (mid day and bed time) for good behavior and responsiveness if she gets counted for questionable behaviors. once she earns 10 consecutive stickers, she gets a treat of her choice, that we have to agree with. her first treat was easy (lunch at IKEA). for treat number two, she narrowed down to a mail truck she saw at the local toy store. we broke our NBN challenge to purchase it. treat number 3? mail to go in the mail truck. the added treat for us? the pleasure of making it with her. (although...imagine how small that mail had to be! the truck is only a little bigger than her hand.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

25 things i want

in all honesty, but in no particular order. i started this list awhile ago and just added as i went. all in all, quite greedy, i noticed. add "greed" to the list of personal issues i should be working on this year. :)
  1. good news. on a regular basis.
  2. to be a better sewer. (but i just want it to come naturally.)
  3. bend the rules sewing, by amy karol.
  4. regular date nights and family outings.
  5. to become a good knitter. (but i just want it to come naturally.)
  6. new slippers. durable ones for once. (i had stitch in bitch by debbie stoller in this slot, but i think GCW just sent it!)
  7. to find "the time."
  8. a self healing cutting mat for sewing.
  9. to be able to travel in time.
  10. to visit canada. prince edward island specifically?
  11. a vacation away from my kids.
  12. to renew my terrapass
  13. to be less cranky.
  14. a sweater clip/guard, like this one.
  15. to live more rurally. i want to have a lot more land and not much more house.
  16. small, thread-snipping sewing scissors
  17. a used stroller buggy board or hitch hiker for lala to use on our maclaren
  18. to feel satisfied.
  19. world peace and equality on all levels.
  20. to be guilt-free.
  21. an aldi store to be in our area
  22. a subscription to mother earth news magazine.
  23. a new laptop, a dSLR camera, a flat screen tv and tv reception (small...want to reduce space consumption), and a new, compact stereo system. yes, i know that is 4+ things, but consider how greedy just one of those items is coming from an not-buying-new household. see? at least this makes it seem obnoxiously humorous.
  24. guaranteed happiness.
  25. a cure for cancers. all of them.

Monday, January 26, 2009

on the internet:: current crafting

can you tell i am into crafting, sewing, and fabric re-use at the moment?!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

vintage fabric re-use

one of my favorite set of pillowcases, embroidered by my great grandmother, finally gave in to old age. i was only a little sad, because, truly, this was a vintage set that saw regular use and gave pleasure until the very end. it lived a full life.

so...what to do with the loved embroidery now? M suggested hankies, since we use them often in our home. (he took it as far as to say "something old and blue for when lala gets married!")

i also found these lovely vintage fabric ideas: a scented sachet for a linen or sock drawer, a scented sachet for the dryer, or an eye pillow.

do you have any re-purposing ideas to share?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

socks and mittens

recognize this booklet? carocoknits had extras and she generously sent one to me AND sent along a children's sock/mitten pattern book as well. (thank you!!) now i really have to get myself over the knitting hump! (mom, anita? either of you want to sip tea and knit with me?) off to watch some youtube video how tos in the meantime! oh, and i want to learn how to knit a wool diaper soaker. my little guy leaks through everything at night. e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. even paper sometimes, and you know i want to be 100% cloth around here!

Friday, January 23, 2009

the gift that keeps on giving

have you ever received the kind of gift that keeps on giving?

this has been a full week. in addition to the usual, we had a charter school interview for lala, a meeting with a financial planner (during which we were given the diagnosis of our monetary status), a meeting with a lawyer (to discuss wills and living trusts), near weaning, first steps, and then....illness hit. all the adults in the house are sick. it is amazing how quickly two kids can outnumber three adults when the adults are feeling crappy.

mamma crashes for a moment on the kitchen floor and the ever-needy pups dogpile

so...enter the gift. for christmas, my parents gave us four cloth sacks, each one full of food. a complete meal, from appetizer to dessert, complete with beverages, candles, and a dish towel. we got the pleasure of receiving them on christmas day. and then the pleasure of consuming them at the time of our choice. and we consumed part of a bag tonight.

indian meal, missing the bottle of wine and box naan that were included

and those first steps...just so i don't breeze right by! finn has taken several precarious attempts at toddling during the past 2 weeks, but today was amazing. (and a sick dada was home to see it all, too!) he attempted walking all over, maxing out at about 8 steps. and by the end of the day, when he fell, he tried to stand up from sitting, without leaning on anything for support! oh, finn, you are getting so independent!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

furniture rearranging

sometimes, a little rearranging is all it takes to make spaces feel new, more organized, and less cluttered. i have been having a series of issues with lala and her behavior, one of which is her need to be with me 24/7 (help!). so i took her little table and chair out of her room (photo on the right) and made room for it in our kitchen (photo on the left). eccola'. a place for her to eat and draw right near me while i cook. and honestly, both rooms look less cluttered now.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

cast on knit purl knit purl repeat

i am still learning my stitches. once i recognized that first rhythm, i struggled more than i expected on evenness and comfort with the needles and yarn. in fact, i have cast on and unraveled several yarns and several sets of needles at least a dozen times now. as much i love natural materials, i think i am a metal needle girl for now. i like them better than my bamboo set. the smoothness just seems to work for me. (lucky me...these are much easier to find used.)

i had to return stitch n' bitch to the library (although i have that copy coming back around to me at our library visit tomorrow), but was thrilled when my brother handed over a knitting book (above) that my mom got from the library bookstore and asked him to deliver. not sure when she got it, but he gave it to me today and i have already flipped through twice, looking for help, and gotten it! (thanks, mom!)

although i love sewing, the knitting is something i can pick up with kids around and do for any length of time available. lala is on board with the knitting and i even cast on for her to play with it.

lala "i'm knitting a blanket for baby oscar!"


my honey brought me flowers. :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1 more thing

7:: watching the inauguration of president obama with my 4 year old daughter. we have no TV, so we streamed from we had to switch over to NPR half way through his speech, due to bandwidth demands, but what a shared feeling of hope and excitement!

and a quote from our house seconds after the swearing in of obama. "whew. i feel safer already. oh course, following bush, it could be ronald mcdonald and i would feel safer!"

Monday, January 19, 2009

6 things i am loving

things i am loving right now.

1:: this adorable purse gifted to me by TLM. i feel so....non-mamma! (first time i have carried a purse, separate from a diaper bag, in a long time.)

2:: mother earth news magazine. i haven't read a hard copy in awhile and S brought some home from the library.

3:: more handmade knits. this time, a blanket made just for finn, by TLM.

3:: the crafting blogs whip up, crafting a green world, and the long thread. can you tell i am in a crafting mood?

4:: breakfast....and my sweet cup cuddler, made my RGW.

5:: i am love love loving my plan toys shape-headed pencils. these were free with an order from the stubby pencil studio, and turned into stocking stuffers.
6:: re-watching the DVD papa tom made of lala when she was a little younger than finn is now. it was surprising how much i had both remembered and forgotten. and it was nice to see tom again.

what are you loving right now?


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