Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stuck Again

I'm stuck again with the thought that I have so much to write - yet really nothing at all.

I've been lazy, a little. There are a few recipes I want to share, that are worth sharing, I just haven't typed them up.

I have a few projects I want to share. Nothing fancy, nothing at all. Just little things - trying to keep the promise to myself to keep creating. Some pillows. A skirt I made, that is now becoming an apron. Bread bags. Market bags. A little lap quilt.

The days, the summer . . .just flying by. I remember being a kid when the summer seemed to stretch on forever. Long, hot, lazy days. Barefoot in the grass. Finding shapes in the clouds. Not a care in the world. I've been trying to recapture those feelings again lately. It's so easy as an adult to get "too busy". I think finding shapes in the clouds should be just as much a priority as anything else. Everyone needs a few minutes to recollect and feed their soul.

What do you do to slow down?

Monday, July 27, 2009

Weekend Review

In just about 3 weeks, our summer ends.

I mean, sure - it's still summer. The days are still long and hot.

But our worlds start spinning out of control.

First, the birthday season starts. 6 birthdays in 6 weeks. Then, we move. Followed by squeezing in birthday #3 (Colin's!) My overtime begins (about 2 weeks of 12 or so hour days). Still moving. School starts for the kids (a whole week early this year!) Then birthday's 5 and 6 into mid-September wind down the end of summer. Which gives us just enough time to catch our breath before the Holidays!

Let's just add into this my oldest leaving tomorrow for 2 weeks to visit his paternal grandparents in NC. He gets back the day before we leave for our last camping trip for the summer (which of course, ends just days before the craziness begins!) He's been going down there for a about 2 weeks every summer since he was 2. You would think I'd be used to it by now, but I'm not and I still miss him like crazy when he's gone.

So for now - we're taking it easy. And by easy I mean busy! But in a wonderful, not a care in the world - spend the day playing in waterfalls kind of busy.

We spent most of Saturday with some friends at Robert H Treman park in Ithaca. I had never been there before, and if you haven't either - make time and go! Seriously, it's worth it.

About 1/4 mile into the trail, you can follow a little side path off into the water.

Another 1/4 mile or so leads you to a little waterfall

We went back on the path for a few minutes after the first waterfall, and then found our way back to the water.

It was incredibly secluded, we passed very few people. It doesn't say you can go in the water - but it doesn't say not to either! It was quite possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been.

It was so, so nice - to see the boys all just being boys. Exploring. Discovering. Laughing. It was really wonderful.

A little further down - maybe a mile or two - there's a huge waterfall!

You can get right up and underneath it.

Some parts were shallow and we barely got our ankles wet - other parts were deep enough to swim

Sunday, I went with my father to Oswego on a replica of an 1822 flagship - The US Brig Niagara. He had won tickets through work and it took us on what was supposed to be a 5 hour sail, but we came back in about an hour early because of storms. It's a "working" ship. Little room to sit down, a crew that actually works the ship - it was pretty neat.

It was a full, but wonderful and relaxing weekend. And that's all we can do - is try and savor these last few wonderful days of summer while we can.

PS: I know this post is image heavy! I tried as hard as I could to narrow it down to my few favorites! I haven't yet perfected the less is more style :)

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Some days, they aren't yours at all . . .

Somedays aren't yours at all
They come and go as if they're someone elses days
~ Regina Spektor

Man, that's how I've been feeling.

Right now, it's hot. It's sticky. It's 83 degrees in our house at 9pm. We haven't used our AC yet this summer. I wanted to today, since it's supposed to be humid the next few days. Buuuuuut - the AC isn't working.


I have about 2 dozen bottles of homemade wine in my basement, just sweltering right now. I hope it doesn't ruin them.


I've been wanting to post more. I have several things I do want to post about. A mango chicken recipe. Some simple sewing projects. A few random thoughts and ideas.

But I've just been so, so tired. I feel like I've been saying that for years. I have been saying that for years. But it's been especially bad this last week or two. Practically falling asleep at work. Napping in the afternoon, I mean needing to nap. I don't get it. I've been eating right. Going to bed at a reasonable hour. Excluding the wedding we attended last weekend I've been limiting my alcohol intake. I've been getting fresh air and exercise. And I'm just exhausted.

So I'm hot and tired. Which means cranky.

My oldest is going to visit his grandparents in NC for the next couple weeks. What an ordeal that is every year. This makes his 8th year doing this. You would think it would get smoother or easier over time, but it doesn't.

We're moving in just about 3 weeks. We haven't started packing anything yet. Not one thing. I hate packing. I think we're just going to put half of what we own in our driveway with a free sign on it. I'm so not kidding. We don't need to bring most of it (the really nice furniture already in the house is staying)

We went out to dinner tonight. It wasn't really in our budget this week, or on plan for my diet, but we needed it. Ok, maybe we didn't neeeeed it - but close enough. My sister came too, and we chatted with her over beers and the kids over too large portions of greasy deliciousness. In the air conditioned restaurant. That's right. AC, ooh yeah.

My summer schedule at work is almost done. A couple more weeks.

I hope this Thursday evening finds all of you well. I hope wherever you are and whatever you are doing - you are happy, and fully alive.

And if for some reason, like me - you aren't - I hope you realize it, acknowledge it, say it out loud. And promise yourself to change it. Maybe not today, or tomorrow - but a little bit every day, you'll work towards it.

~Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Harold Whitman

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tell me, how does your garden grow?

Currently, we have everything in pots. Because of the move in August, we didn't put anything in the ground. So this way we can pick up and bring our harvest with us!

Oh, but I am already dreaming of next year (and the year after and after and after!) when we really put down roots. The notes and sketches are starting!

This year we've got roma tomatoes for canning, brandywine for slicing. Pickling cukes. Scallions. Bell Peppers. Broccoli. Lettuce. Parsley, basil, oregano, chives. Jalapenos. And some more that will be surprises since the lables washed away (oops!) and I don't remember what is where! And we have it all in containers.

Who says you need lots of land to grow your own food?!

Friday, July 17, 2009


I'm feeling a little discouraged and sorry for myself this morning. Which makes this Friday gratitude thing hard. Which is why I started it in the first place I guess, it's not always easy or evident.


Today, I am grateful for:

Having enough food to eat

Recipe to come soon!

A garden that keeps on growing and giving

4 more weeks until we move into our dream house - complete with loads of wild raspberries and blackberries

Coffee. Oh - am I grateful for coffee!!

Fridays off of work.

For the people who remind me of all I have to be grateful for.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Right Now

I'm wishing . . . it wasn't Monday

I'm drinking . . . a delicious vodka with homemade lemonade

I'm feeling . . . full from dinner.

I'm thinking . . . about packing to move.

I'm loving . . . the garden growing.

'Round the house . . . the laundry is piling, the kids are laughing, there are flowers in vases everywhere.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Weekend Scenes

I've got a couple of things for later this week - including a pretty thing (finally!)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Racism is Alive and Well?

Kids might change "complexion" of club.

Apparently in Philadelphia, about 60 children belonging to a day camp paid dues for the summer, to use the pool at a private club. The club accepted the money and the members - until they showed up.

"The pool attendants came and told the black children that they did not allow minorities in the club and needed the children to leave immediately."

Is this racism? Or just a private club being selective about it's members, which they are in full legal right to do?

I, personally, think it's disgusting. I'm shocked, though I shouldn't be - that this kind of behavior continues in America. I know that we are still far from equality, but I find it incredibly sad that people - children - are still being treated differently based on the color of their skin.

How is it possible that this is still acceptable? I mean, the racism in this case couldn't be more blatant. This club took their money. Until they showed up and tried to swim. Because then, obviously, they were black. Oh no! The club has offered to refund their money, but it's too late and not enough in my opinion.

What about the lesson that this taught those children? That they are good enough to pay for, but not good enough to use the same membership and pool as white people (?)

Where do you stand? Is this a private club exercising their rights to limit membership, or is this a private club abusing those rights to exclude blacks?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Recipe of the Week

Since I'm pretty much a recipe/cookbook addict - I think it's fitting that I should do a recipe of the week on here.

This was actually inspired by the Summer Pasta on Beauty That Moves.

Now, as much as I do love recipes and food and cooking - I'm not very good at staying on track with things. I'm pretty scatterbrained. So I can't promise I'll have a new recipe every week. And some weeks I might even have two. (gasp!). So well see how this goes.

But - after trying the summer pasta, I just had to share it.

I made a few alterations based on what I had on hand, but the spirit is pretty much the same - and I'll definitely give it a shot using the original recipe (which I'm not posting, cause it's not mine. Click the linky, okay?!)

I didn't have penne, so I used ravioli. It was still super yum. But probably not very good for the waistline. I forgot all about using bouillon until just now when I was checking to see what changes I made. Oops. I bet it would have been even tastier. I also forgot the butter. I had the darn recipe right in front of me too! I didn't have just Parmesan cheese, I had a 4 cheese blend with parm, reggiano, asiago and um . . .something else. It worked. It was good. And then because I have an abundance of basil growing, I added a few pieces of that on top.

It was a bit prettier in real life than in the picture!

Soooooo good. I did find it slightly salty - but that's my fault. I added a bit too much to the sauce.

Should I rate these or something? I don't know. Two thumbs up? 4.75 stars? How about PDG (pretty darn good).

Did I mention that my increasingly picky 5 year old asked for seconds? Seconds! That makes it a keeper in my book.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Thanks for reminding me . . .

I've spent several years moving towards a lifestyle of frugality and simplicity. Partly for financial reasons - but more in part because it feels right. I feel centered and satisfied when I'm on track with that.

But lately, we've been spendy. We've been continuing our (my?!) movement in some ways. Planting from seed, growing food. Buying locally and local organically. Reducing. Reusing. Buying secondhand. Making beer and wine at home.

But somehow, sometimes - the little things get out of control and I'm suddenly surprised to see how far off track we've gotten.

That happened this morning, when I paid the credit card bill. I pay on it weekly, I had a plan to have it paid off in a year (we didn't owe much). So imagine my shock when I checked the balance today and it was almost maxed out! HOW did that happen?!

Well, the little things I guess. A little here, a little more there. Little+little+little= a whole stinkin' lot.

And on top of that my car essentially caught on fire last week - there was all sorts of nasty smoke billowing out on my way home. Something about something dying and burning some belt and yada yada 400 dollars to repair it. That's after a grand in repairs between the cars in March.

So a whole stinkin' lot on the credit card + obscene amounts in car repairs + a ridiculous fee for a lawyer to write up a simple contract (for the fab new house) = Me Stressed.

Thing is, we like to spend. I like thrift shops (hey - they're thrifty, I mean - it's in the NAME!). Kev likes microbrews. We both like live music (and festivals)

We don't spend extravagantly. We don't. You know, just a little here and a little there. : /

But it's cool. I mean, it sucks. But it's also cool. Or will be. Maybe.

This happens to us sometimes. The husband is a student. Which means no reliable income from his side. My income is pennies. Or close to it. So we scrimp and save and just get by. And then we do really well for a really long time, so we loosen up a little and treat ourselves just a little. And then a little more. And, well, we've already been over the Little Equation.

At any rate, it's good - or can be - when this happens. I mean, it's no fun being broke. Especially not during the summer. But it helps to recenter and remind us. It has us choosing the free little things again. We got the Empire Pass this year - so we don't have to pay to get into State Parks. Free hiking. Free Swimming at the beach(es).

And there's still other things too. The kiddie pool out back. Painting rocks. Examining bugs. Reading books. Making ice cream at home instead of going out for it. And on and on.

AND, it recommits me at home too. Reminds me how I wanted to sew up new couch pillows, and make aprons. Finding vintage aprons at rummage sales and thrift stores is fun (and addicting!) - but I can make my very own. For free, from my already huge fabric stash. And who knows, maybe someday some one will be scooping up my aprons at a rummage sale and squealing with joy at such a great vintage find. Or maybe one day my daughter in law or grand daughter will be cherishing those items. Vintage is fun, but homemade is cherished.

It also reminds me how important and wonderful our progress has been. By planting seeds for food this year, we have lettuce producing now - and cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, scallions and (hopefully!) broccoli on the way.

We've been slowly stocking our freezer with market meats. Fresh picked to freeze berries. Extra homemade bread. I've been learning to can.

We're not broke - just close :)

But this is a reminder that we are on the right path, that sometimes we may slip, but we have protection to catch us if we fall. We know how to get by on less. We have food. We have the tools to get by. It's also a reminder to keep on truckin'. To keep on saving. Simplifying. Stocking Up.

What's great is this next year will continue to bring us closer to our goals. The new house will give us the option of relying completely on wood heat. The woods are already bordered by raspberries and blackberries for picking and storing. There's enough land to get a respectable potager going. Composting.

We're on our way.

So yeah, this morning was a bit of a shock. A bit of a reawakening. But also a wonderful, timely reminder of what we really want, where we are really going, and what really matters.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Is it Friday yet?

I'm doing gratitude Friday slightly early. I need to.

It's been one of those days. You know what I'm talking about.

The kids are bickering.
The husband lost all sorts of financial aid for the fall.
My 20 minute meeting lasted almost two hours.
Work - just . . . well.
There are mosquitoes in my house and apparently I am very sweet.
The house is an absolute mess and I don't have the desire or energy to clean it.

I'm feeling - tense. Wound up. Cranky.

I need to recenter.

I am:

Grateful for the bickering. Because I have two healthy, growing young boys - who's only worries right now are nitpicking each other.

Grateful for the fact that, although he lost a LOT of financial aid - we still have some. And what we've lost won't hurt too badly. He can still afford to go to school. That's something that too many people can't afford. We are still blessed.

Grateful for the information I learned. The questions I was asked - the thoughts that meeting provoked.

Grateful that I have a job to be annoyed at.

Grateful that it's sweet summertime. Even if that means mosquitoes.

And even grateful for the mess. Grateful we have the toys and games and books and clothes and the children to make that mess. Grateful that we have enough food to eat to create the dishes to wash. Enough clothes to create the laundry to wash. The home to vacuum carpets and mop floors and clean toilets in. We don't have much - but we have so, so much more than so many other people. I am grateful that we have the opportunity to complain about our messes.


That's better.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


As if I wasn't feeling the guilt enough, while reading the news at work today - I came across this:

Kids who move more than three times have twice the suicide risk

Fabulous. This will be move four for Evan. Yes, each time the decision to move was made so we had more space and a better place for the kids (and it was better financially for us as well). Yes each time, we prepared Evan, kept in contact with friends. All the "right" things.

But has it been enough? I don't know. He's already expressed displeasure at moving this time. But this is it! We're done renting (sort of). We won't be moving for a long, long time. It is more than worth it to make this move, and if we didn't now - we'd have to in a year anyway.

But boy, reading that article hit me like a slap across the face this morning.