Friday, March 30, 2012

{This Moment]

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Play along with SouleMama.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Frugal Friday (on Saturday): Homemade Chips and Hummus

I want to feed my family healthy, wholesome and heart-warming food.  My children, however, don't always appreciate my culinary gestures and would prefer I drive them through the local fast food joint. But fast food does not float my boat -- either in taste or nutrition.  Luckily for me and unluckily for my children --  I like to cook.  

I also worry about food waste; both from an environmental and financial standpoint. Our chickens will eat quite a bit of organic waste though I do avoid feeding them meat.  Nonetheless we throw out too much food -- leftovers gone bad, etc. 
This week we've had a few unanticipated expenses and are therefore tightening the purse strings. This means making do with what we've got and using those left overs to boot.  

My children, again, are less than pleased with this arrangement.  After school yesterday they were STARVING and we had NOTHING to eat, NOTHING!  

As the angry masses circled I peered into the pantry.  What to feed this fussy crew?  Hmmm -- chick peas and tahini.  Hummus!  But what to serve it with?  The celery in the fridge was clearly past it's prime and we didn't have any chips or crackers.  But I did spy in the back corner of the fridge a package corn tortillas.  Ah ha!  Chips!  

The tortillas were cut into triangles, sprayed with cooking spray, salted and lightly doused with chili powder.  They were then baked in a 350 degree oven on a silpat covered cookie sheet until crisp.  

The hummus was a free for all.  Two cans of garbanzo beans, a healthy spoonful of tahini, some basil from the windowsill, a couple of cloves of garlic and a 1/4 cup or so of plain yogurt.  I also add a touch of olive oil until it was the consistency I wanted.  Oh yes and a pinch or two of salt.  All whirled in the food processor. If I'd had a lemon I would have used it.  I didn't have a lemon and did not to fret about it.  

As I was making the chips Little came by and asked if she could have a tortilla which she immediately grabbed and then frowned at.  "I do NOT like this kind of tortilla!" she said haughtily and stomped away.  When the chips came out of the oven, however, she was the first one to proclaim their deliciousness.  

Chalk one up for Mama; a thrifty, healthy *and* tasty snack borne from nothing.  Can't beat that.  


Tuesday, March 20, 2012



     * I fluffed the chicken coop and gave them new pine shavings.  My hands still smell like pine and I 
        like it. 

     * The chickens layed five eggs (not bad for seven biddies).

     * I got three new books from the library; fuel for the fire. 

     * I really want to get a goat or two and am completely bummed they are not allowed in the city.  Oh
        sweet little five (or ten) acres where are you?

     * I started reading this book and am ready to take over the empty lot next to us. 

     * I'm also heavily fantasizing about these practical and relatively inexpensive hoop houses.  I've
        wanted one for more than a year now.  That ought to tell me something.  

     * I also spent some time on practical matters.  I did a load of laundry and a load of dishes.  I love 
        my homemade laundry soap in its vintage glass jar.  Just looking at it makes me happy.  

     * And I finally got the gist of this baby blanket pattern.  Not sure why it took me so long as its not
        terribly difficult.  I guess I was previously too distracted.  Happy to have my knitting mojo back. 

Now I need to put down my book and make dinner.  I'm excited to cook but not ready to stop reading.   I suppose I should be grateful for such a dilemma.  


Monday, March 19, 2012

Road Trip!

We went on a road trip this past weekend.  Originally we were schedule to go to Boise, Id for a lacrosse tournament.  But the weather got in the way and the tournament was cancelled.  

I had already taken the weekend off work, the girls were out of school on Friday and we had a non-refundable hotel room.  Therefore, after a brief family conference, we decided to go anyway.  None of us had been to Boise and we were ready for an adventure.

Here are a few photos in no particular order.  

In downtown Boise there is an alley covered in graffiti.  The graffiti is commissioned so I'm not sure if you can even call it graffiti.  This butterfly was my favorite.  

Downtown Caldwell (adjacent to Boise) is a veritable ghost town.  I still found some photographic inspiration. 

The middle of nowhere Oregon, somewhere near Juntura, Oregon had just the right amount of grunge. I am especially smitten with the worn floor. 

We found a fabulous old bicycle locked up in a back alley.  It had been retrofitted with a gasoline motor.  As we were admiring it its owner came by and let us take it for a spin.  Mr. Peculiar was enamored.  Bike engines can be found online and fit on most bicycles (even vintage ones).  You learn something new everyday!

We ate at a couple of noteworthy places.  For breakfast I recommend Goldy's Breakfast Bistro.  It has a great cozy atmosphere.   Plus you can wait for your table at their coffee shop next door -- perfect on a cold rainy morning. 

For dinner I recommend Fork.  They specialize in local sustainable food.  I had corned beef and cabbage (guess what day we at there).  The food and presentation was excellent. 

This sweet horse was outside the market in Dayville, Or.  Oh how I'd love to take him home!  But alas it was not to be.  

All in all we had a good time.  We explored.  I got some knitting done.  We spent quality time together as a family.  There is something to be said for getting out of dodge and breaking up the day-to-day routine.  

And now back to said routine; school, work, laundry and dishes, nightly lacrosse practice and cooking at home.  As my neighbor always says, "It's all good."  


Monday, March 12, 2012

Things I'm Loving Today

Things I'm loving today:

  • Seeing old friends and their beautiful bellies (can you say glow?)
  • An afternoon coffee date with the hubby
  • These amazing walls that shelter me from the cold and wind
  • Great stories written by people I know
  • Great stories written by people I don't know
  • New stories whirling around in my head (now to get them out of my head)
  • My camera phone (oh how I love my camera phone)
  • Moustaches  laying about the house
  • Health, health, amazing health (no ringing, no vertigo, no dizziness -- knock on wood)
  • Glorious time off work (i.e. time to develop normal sleep patterns)
  • An upcoming, albeit short, road trip to a place I've never been

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Lorax Birthday

Yesterday we had a much overdue birthday celebration.  Little turned eight in December.  December, however,  is a tough month for birthdays.  Thus we've made a habit of putting off her actual party until late winter. 

This year we decided to go see The Lorax.  We made truffula tree cupcakes, embroidered party favors, lorax moustaches and little potting jars complete with a pack of seeds. You can see my inspiration board here.  

I'm doing my best not to go overboard and thus only permitted Little to invite a few girls.  If she'd had her druthers she'd have invited her whole class.  I was definitely not up for that.  I prefer keeping things small and homemade.  

Project notes: 
  • The embroidery project was fun.  I found great tufted yarn from Michaels.  It made wonderful Truffula tree toppers.   
  • The little pots were on sale at JoAnns.  I used a set of letter stamps and a touch of black paint to add the "unless" to the surface.  
  • I found these great stripey straws on Etsy.  I used them for both the moustache handles and the Truffula tree trunks. 
  • I was going to make my own cotton candy for the tree toppers but decided that was too ambitious.  We found cotton candy at a local candy shop.  The fresher the better with your cotton candy -- it will shrink up and not look so good over time.  In other words get fresh cotton candy and make your trees the day of the party (preferably just before the party).  
  • The moustaches were cut from a yellow school folder -- a six moustaches for .59 cents.  Can't beat that!

Checking out the river before the movie
We had everyone dropped off at the house and then drove them to the movies.  The girls were WILD before the movie -- running, charging, screaming, giggling.  What was I thinking taking five eight-year-olds to the theater?  We made it there successfully and no one fell in the river.

Once at the theater we bought a large tub of popcorn and divvied it up into paper lunch bags; one for each girl.  Thankfully they calmed down once the movie started and a good time was had by all.

Phew!  Another successful birthday complete, for another year at least.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Pantry Redo (and space and time and relativity)

I live two lives.  In one life my house is neat and clean and organized, time is ample and I get dressed before I take the kids to school.  In my other life the house is chaotic, time is harried and I most definitely stay in pajamas for my morning commute.  Guess which life is real and which is fantasy.

A while back I was listening to NPR and they were discussing the very real possibility of parallel universes.  Not just parallel universes but identical universes; places filled with the same people doing the same things.   It's mind boggling to say the least.  I'd like to think my universal doppelganger is living my fantasy life -- the one I'm *supposed* to be living.  And my ultimate goal is to switch lives with this doppelganger.  I wonder if I clean my kitchen does hers become messy?  Are our actions related like Dorian's picture in the attic?  But I digress.

Yesterday a small crack broke between these parallel universes; I organized my pantry and spice cabinet.   Let me tell you  -- it is a thing of beauty.  I was inspired by this pantry but knew time was limited (the crack didn't open that far dagnamit).  This meant no painting for me (though I LOVE her walls).  Rather I found some stickers from Target for $9.95 to give my pantry a little extra punch.  I used jars and boxes that we had laying around.

One advantage to having a husband who is a junker?  Lots of fodder about when a project is at hand.  So, yes, we had vintage canisters and crates just waiting for this purpose.  It's hard to see in the photos but the big ball jars are a gorgeous blue.  I simply adore them.  Ah the little things.

The front of the pantry was already painted with chalkboard paint.  This was done several months ago after seeing (and loving) my friend Kim's pantry (hello Kim!  I'm waving at you!).  We still had "Merry Christmas" written across the front in a child's hand.  That ought to tell you the state of my kitchen.  Anyway I updated the chalk drawing and then tackled the inside.

After I was done there I was so happy and couldn't help but move on to the spice cabinet.  

And now my kitchen is neat, clean and organized.  I only feel a little sorry for my doppelganger and the mess she had to wake up to this morning.  But hey -- at least she's dressed for I am still firmly pajama clad.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll leave her in her pajamas too.  


Tuesday, March 6, 2012


There must be something in the water because several people are expecting babies this year.  This is a perfect excuse for me to get my craft on.  I've been pinning baby projects like crazy.  And no, Mom, it's not me who is expecting.  With all these new little fingers and toes out there I'd best get busy!

Purl Bee Lap Duvet

Hospital Survival Kit

Purl Bee Flannel Receiving Blanket

Moving Mountains Baby Blanket

Aviatrix Baby Hat

Wash Cloth Duckie

Vintage Inspired Alphabet Cards

Friday, March 2, 2012

{This Moment}

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

I'd love to see your moments.  Leave a link here and play along with Soulemama.


Thursday, March 1, 2012

All I want to do is snuggle in, watch movies and eat.

Last night it snowed.  Again.  And this morning school had a two hour delay.  I didn't want The Boy and Middle to have to take the bus so I drove them.  It took me an hour round trip.  To put that in perspective it took an hour to drive eight miles.  

Little's school is closer so we walked, actually more like stomped, our way to school.  I am loving my tall winter boots (best thrift store find evah).  

It's hard to believe a week ago it was sixty degrees, the bees were flying and I was gardening.  Now my world is frosty and white.  

This weather makes me want to snuggle in, watch movies and eat.  Only here's the problem.  I'm on a diet.  Yup. It's official.  I've joined Weight Watchers (could I *be* any more middle aged?).  After trying to do it on my own and gaining an additional ten pounds I am seeking help.  

I've been on it a week and, as of today, am down five pounds.  Not too shabby.  What I've realized is I eat healthy but eat way too much.  Cutting down portion sizes has been a BIG eye opener for me.  

I like that I can still use all my old recipes and plug them in to the weight watchers recipe tabulator.  Then I can determine just how much I am allowed to eat.  Additionally I'm trying new recipes.  

Tonight we're having chicken enchiladas and tomorrow night crock pot bolognese over whole wheat pasta.  

I can also earn activity points which lets me eat a bit more.  Every day this week I've either walked, hiked or been on the treadmill.  Oh yes and I've shoveled snow.  My ultimate goal is to look good in a swimsuit come summer.   I have no interest in being skinny but rather hope to be fit and healthy.  

I must admit I've been a bit hungry this week.  I'm getting used to the feeling and it is abating.  Currently I am curbing that gnawing feeling with a big 'ol mug of tea.  

I've avoided diets a lifestyle change for years and am open to any hints, tips and suggestions you might have.    

Wish me luck!