Tuesday, November 8, 2011

looking up

After T's birthday party ended on Saturday, it began to rain. And it rained. Buy on Sunday, it dawned with sunshine, rain clouds teasing in the background. To us, that meant the perfect day for an outing to the beach. It had been awhile since we went to a sand beach with Mike. (Our favorite family outing beaches have small rock beaches!) I learned that Mike thinks big. We took the usual sand toys, but he wanted to play, too, so he brought big buckets and real shovels. And the thing with the sandy beach down the street from where we live is that it is urban, so Mike took a little walk to find coffee for himself and came back with french fries for the kids. Talk about an infrequent fast food treat! I think the highlight (besides Mike and I reading, side by side, in pop up chairs) was watching the sky shifting and changing.

Monday, November 7, 2011

rocks versus a jumpy house

My two.

The birthday boy.

This was one of several times Finnian hurtled himself down the pile, giggling all the way.

Mike and Finnian

The birthday boy taking a swing at his pinata, with his dad, holding it up.

The big sisters.


On Saturday, we were invited to a 3rd birthday party. This might have been the best birthday party we have been to yet. Through school (actually, through our introduction to the school a year ago), we have new friends. Their girl and Isabella get along so well and her little brother just turned 3. (He and Finnian get along beautifully, too!) Lucky Mr. 3 has a dad who works at the rock quarry and who arranged for a whole gaggle of kids and their parents to come play (rolling down a mountain of pea gravel makes for giggles galore), watch dozers in action, and climb on a track bulldozer. Everyone had fun! Happy 3, T! (We made him a shirt with 3 trucks on it and a T, his first initial, but I forgot to photo it!

Friday, November 4, 2011

sweet moments

Early in the week, I went to Costco. Yep, I still shop there. I have a love/hate with Costco (as I do with a couple other stores). Anyway, I was there with Finn Luca and Lily, and after shopping, I sat and let them split a slice of pizza. Another little boy, there with his grandparents, came and sat next to us. His grandpa was pushing frozen yogurt on him, but he was refusing, until his grandma sat down and said "if you don't want any, that is okay." He changed his mind then and I heard his grandma say "just don't tell your mamma." I smiled then, it all sounding so familiar. I looked over at the grandma, still smiling, and she smiled back saying "We are so restricted. I asked, but was told 'no sugar!' It is so hard being a grandparent!" I felt a bit ashamed in that moment, for that mamma and I are very alike and I am certain I have made my parents and Mike's mom feel this way. I chuckled over it later to both my mom and Mike's, who came trick or treating with us. (The irony of trolling for candy isn't lost on me here.) Mike's mom replied emphatically in agreement with the grandma, but my mom surprised me by saying "I never let you sell candy to raise money for anything. Do you remember that? I felt like I could not have you sell something that I would not let you eat." Later, when I had a father daughter coffee date with my dad, I told him this story, as well. He reminded me that there is a difference between the occasional grandparent treat and the food care given by grandparents that have charge of grandchildren on a regular basis (which is the arrangement we had during the time I was most prohibitive of food spoiling). It was a reassuring reminder that we really do learn and share with our children the fundamentals that our parents instill in us. Indeed, Mike, just two days earlier, when I told him how we had done with our October grocery budget, said "It is wonderful that fresh produce is where we spend the most money. You really have given our kids such healthy food habits and preferences by providing the foods you do." I was so touched by this, even though, really, it is "us," not just me that encourages and reinforces this with our kids.

I am not sure why I am sharing this...it was just one of those odd moments where you can see yourself in something a stranger describes in a random, brief encounter. It left me with food for thought. (No pun intended!)

Happy weekending!

(Photos from Halloween, of course. I had a Monarch and a Honey Bee. I was a flower to match them, but I didn't remember to have anyone take a photo of me!)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

a tale of history (yarn along!)

On Saturday, we went to the used book sale at the library. My mom is a retired librarian, so volunteers regularly. My dad volunteered with her, so when we got there, they gave each kid money to buy themselves books. With every book priced at 50 cents, it was hard to resist bringing home more. One of the books I really wanted to buy was a copy of Grimm's fairy tales. I know this is the fairy tale selection of choice for Waldorf and since Lala is a first grader in a Waldorf school, she is in the height of fairy tales. I did not find one, but I did buy a copy of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales.

I brought it home and decided to put it on the shelf of books that holds old favorites passed down to me from my great Aunt (whom my mom is visiting this week and is 96 years old). In adding it to the shelf, I had a little start and a little laugh at myself when I noticed I already had a copy of Grimm's fairy tales. My copy was given to my aunt Frances for her 8th birthday. How special is that?

And my knitting...I have just cast on 20 rows of white, just as Lala and her classmates have just learned how to do. They will be knitting little cats, so I am going to knit one with them.

inspired internet: october 2011

LinkConsidering I have been online far less the past month (plus), I have caught quite a bit of goodness here in the Internet community!



family and education:
fiber arts:
  • I love these PJs, from Wendy of ThimbleNest. How did I miss the kids clothing week challenge over at Elsie Marley?!
  • Dye your own silks (and other fabric) with Kool-Aid. I know many of you know this, but I thought this tutorial at Tried & True was so neat and succinct!
other inspiration:

Monday, October 31, 2011

eat it down: october 31

This month's challenge has been so fabulous in that it has reminded me to be aware of our shopping, eating, and cooking habits. For example, I have been reminded just how much we like fresh produce. It is where the bulk of our food spending goes. We luckily live in Coastal California, where the growing season is long (never ending?), so we have access to good food. It means we can also be better about growing our own food year round, not just in the summer. It will be trial and error, but I was motivated to resume growing, even in small amounts, in our yard that has been in upheaval for some time.

In September, we planted into our seasonal raised beds. This month, we have continued working on the rest of our yard (we have been all summer and now all autumn) and got started on our perennial plantings.

My main learning from this month has been that when I think I am "out of food" or my list is long, just look around at what we have and find a new recipe to match. I won't pretend that my current shopping list is short , but we ended up eating very little from the "preserved" foods we had on hand at the beginning of the month, so October's total feels re-doable. I still feel confident that I can continue this challenge going forward. I hope to cap our edibles at $400 monthly and our total grocery (pet and health & body) at $500.

Our total spending for edibles this month was $343.60.

This week's meals included pizza, enchiladas, crepes (with arugula pesto), and chard pasta. All homemade, all gluten-free.

So as we transition into November, I know my major shopping happens at the beginning of the month. In the past week, we have also had a half dozen earthquakes, so given that non perishable food is one of the areas in which we haven't ever been fully prepared, I will be stocking up on those, but not out of our food budget, since this won't be consumed anytime soon. In a year or so, when I feel we need to eat and replace emergency food, I will use food budget money at that point.

Below is the delicious pesto recipe we made (and froze excess) this week.

Arugula Pesto
from Frugal Foodie, by Lara Starr

1/4 cup toasted almonds (Nicola's note: toasted is essential)
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1/2 cup fresh arugula leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend. Add salt to taste.

Thanks for following along with me in this challenge! I feel really good about how well we have eaten and for how little. I needed this to pull me back on track and feel positive about reducing our overall (not just food) spending. Check out all the others doing it over at Beauty that Moves.

Some other posts I have written in the past, may be of interest.


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