Monday, February 28, 2011

toiling in vain

I was gathering laundry the other day. As I stepped into the closet in the room my two older boys share, I discovered Owen, my third son. He was on his knees, his back to me as I approached him.

"Oh hi, Owen," I said. "What are you doing herein your brothers' closet?"

"I trying to clean up."

"Really? Oh, well...good luck with that."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

my niche

I am continually amused at the niche in which I seem to have found myself. Strange as it seems, I hadn't even really realized that it even was a niche, until I found myself squarely in it. It's not that I mind, not at all. But it does strike me as interesting.

The list goes something like this: homebirthing...homeschooling...real food fanatic...home cooking. I could go on, but for here and now I'll leave it at that.

I found my way to each of these areas independently, though obviously the real food and cooking are related. They weren't really interdependent, however. First, we made the decision to birth our babies in water...then, at home. A few years later, I discovered the traditional diet, and fell head over heels in love with it. I started out being more selective at the grocery store, but gradually I began making more and more items at home. Mayonnaise, nut butter, guessed it, bread.

A few months later, I found myself heading up our little homeschool. We were just trying it out for the rest of Ben's kindergarten year, you know. But of course it's turned into much more than I'd ever anticipated.

You see, I never could have envisioned my life looking like this. I never dreamed I would become a passionate supporter of natural childbirth...or starting eating butter and red meat with zero guilt...or be a homeschooling mama. And I never guessed that these things have a connection.

So you can imagine my surprise when I learned that a common stereotype of homeschoolering mothers is that they bake their own bread.

And then, when I joined a co-op, and got to know real life homeschoolers, I was amazed by how many of them had birthed their babies at home. Outside of the people I met at the waterbirth center, I'd never met anyone (in person) who had chosen homebirth. Not every homeschool mom I met was a homebirther, but I was amazed at how many of us there were.

My intention here isn't to reinforce stereotypes. But it's interesting to me that I've come, very unintentionally, to this place. I feel as though I've discovered the person I was meant to become all along. I've met countless like-minded women - such a joy, when I've spent so much of my life feeling as though I were standing on the outside, looking in.

You could say I've stumbled into a stereotype. You could say I have a subconscious drive to seek ways to be "different."

What would I say? I'd say I've found my niche.

Friday, February 25, 2011

little angels?

Owen: "I an angel!"

Kyle: "No, Owen. You're not an angel. Angels can fly. You can't fly, Owen."

Owen: "Oh."

Kyle: "Angels have wings."

Owen: "Oh."

Kyle: "Angels know the glory of God."

Owen: "Oh."


Owen is now Luke Skywalker.

Friday, February 18, 2011

anything's possible...

I just may...

...have forgotten not once, but twice, this week that someone was coming to work at the house that day.

...often be nearly a week behind on my perpetual calendar.

...have unknowingly worn a shirt for hours which sported a smear of coconut bark the size of a silver dollar. very weary of hearing my boys' theories about Star Wars.

...regularly send a text message to my husband, even when we're both home. really starting to hope that my third son will be potty trained sometime in the not-so-distant future. kinda/sorta be taking on a mother's helper a couple of times a month.

...have made a new goal for myself of one dessert a week, instead, dessert twice a day. And I am not missing it at all!

...have decided (after cleaning out the study today) that my husband and I, two pack rats, seem to be raising a houseful of pack rats. a nut for homemade nut butter.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I walked through the open door of the darkened bathroom, only to find my 5-year-old sitting on the toilet.

"Oh, hi Kyle. You're having a little private moment here in the dark?"

"Yeah," he answered. "I like to have private moment in the dark. Because then, even if someone comes in, it's still a private moment!"

Monday, February 14, 2011

easy chocolate fondue

Whether for Valentine's Day, or any time you choose to honor someone you love, here's an easy, simple, and romantic treat. It's adapted from "175 Natural Sugar Desserts" by Angelina and Ari Dayan. Served cold, it only takes a few ingredients, and I'd venture to guess they're probably ones that you already have on hand. So easy, and simply sweet!

Chocolate Fondue
1/2 c. cocoa powder
1/2 c. whole milk
2 t. raw honey

Using a small saucepan, combine the cocoa and the milk. On low heat, stir until well-combined and smooth. Stir in honey. If desired, add milk to thin the sauce to your liking (but keep in mind it will thicken when cool). Pour into small serving dishes, and put in the refrigerator for an hour to thicken.

Serve with fresh fruit, cookies, or other dipper of your choice. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Each of our children have had their day - and today it was Elise's turn. We stood before our church family. We promised to raise her to know the Lord Jesus. We prayed.

As if she was ever really ours, today we stood up and said...she is His!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

the essential Star Wars

Kyle: "Mom, do you know who I'm pretending to be?"

Me: "Uh....well..."

(He waves his hand around in front of his face.)

Me, wildly guessing a Jedi, any Jedi: "Anakin!"

Kyle: "No...."

Ben: "Darth Vader!"

(Kyle begins to take noisy breaths.)

Me: "...who Anakin turned into! So we were both right!"

Kyle: "Yeah, that's why I started saying 'hoe, shhh"!"


"Star Wars" has become a big part of our daily conversation around here. To make matters worse, we are working our way through Episodes 4, 5, and 6 on our family movie nights. Tomorrow is "Return of the Jedi." They're so excited, they can barely contain themselves!

I never, ever dreamed I'd spend so much of my mothering days discussing Jedis.

Friday, February 11, 2011

have baby, will travel

We very much enjoyed our time at the beach!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

10 things I've learned recently

1) While at the beach, walking around and around to different stores, hoping against hope that our baby will fall asleep in her backpack carrier and we won't have to go back to the room for her to nap... is an exercise in futility.

2) My slow cooker cooks a whole chicken way faster than the instructions predict it will. To avoid four hours of keeping the bird on "warm," begin much later.

3) If a little girl has big brothers (possibly even if she doesn't), she will love cars. Especially ones that make noises.

4) No matter how much I love using cloth diapers, using 'sposies on vacation is a real treat. No smelly ones to tote home!

5) It is a beautiful thing to come home to a dryer full of clean diapers, an empty dishwasher...and then to discover that my wonderful mother-in-law washed the boys' clothing while they were at her house.

6) There are fewer things more charming than a baby who loves to dance.

7) After moving kitchen rug to sweep, do NOT send the boys to empty the dishwasher until it is back in its place. Failure to do so will inevitably result in puddles of water on my gorgeous laminate floor.

8) Kittens are just as likely to unroll all the rolls of toilet paper as young children are.

9) I love hard lotion. And I want to start making it myself. Because, you know, I don't already have enough to do.

10) Always, always use the toilet before going for a jog on the rebounder.

Monday, February 7, 2011

an itty bitty party

I'm going on a trip...

In honor of the getaway we'll be enjoying this week...

I'm going on a trip, and I'm taking -

Good book,
Lip balm,
Nut butters,
Oil (coconut),
Stevia (2 flavors),
Xcellent destination,
Young Miss,
Zero stress!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Elise is 1!

Today, Elise Corrine is a year old. We've enjoyed such a precious year of getting to know this sweet little girl! She is such a gift, and we are humbled and grateful to have her in our family.

We love you, Beautiful Girl!

a celebration of her first year

Thursday, February 3, 2011

saving money - without coupons

Let me just start by getting something out of the way here: I don't clip coupons. Not anymore: not at all. I used to, but like so many other things in my life, I'm reformed. So there you have it - I'm a reformed coupon clipper.

It's not that I don't enjoy the saving money. I "get" the thrill of a bargain. I love discovering something on sale, personally. So really, I understand.

My issue with coupons isn't the savings thing, of course. It's the items themselves. After our real food "conversion," I began discovering that there weren't really coupons offered for the kinds of foods I sought. They were almost exclusively for processed foods. Crackers, canned goods, sauce mixes, cereal bars. Sure there was the occasional $.30 off a box of clementines, or something...but that kind of thing was pretty rare. And between our commitment to eat real, whole foods and our goal to avoid processed sugar...well, it became clear that coupons weren't really going to work for us anymore.

So did what I could to save money. I shopped the farmers' market when it was in session. I learned the usual prices of things I bought regularly now. I figured out where it paid to buy bulk, and where it didn't. I was keeping my budget, and doing fine.

But today I've turned yet another corner. Recently, I took the plunge and joined a food co-op I've been hearing about for years now: Azure Standard*. Now I have my very first order, and I am so pleased - and amazed at the money I saved.

Here are just a few examples: I normally spend $4.99 for a 5 lb bag of organic whole wheat flour. But in the order that was delivered today, I purchased a 10 lb bag for $5.70. Another great example is raw cheese. It has been difficult for me to find raw cheese locally; I have to drive a little farther to get it, and usually paid $9 per pound. But through the food co-op, I was able to purchase a block of raw cheese weighing 5.36 lbs, and paid $26.59 for it. Amazing!

Azure offers nearly everything I usually buy at the grocery store, including things I never thought to look into when I was putting together my first order. Thus, I have a second order nearly completed, and it won't go out for another two weeks!

One thing that gave me anxiety for a while was how this would all fit into the budget. I have a certain amount to work with each month, and as I said, I've been staying within my limits. But it made me nervous to have such a large chunk of my grocery money tied up in a once- or twice-a-month purchase. But last night, it hit me: instead of my usual task of planning for the week, I should do it for the month. Such a simple solution probably would have occurred to many people much sooner, but it had escaped me until just that moment. This way, I can lay things out in advance, know what I need, make sure the meals are "balanced" within the week, etc. Just the thing!

And today I had another idea. In fact, I called it an epiphany. I am going to begin a monthly food budget within our household budget. It'll be a smaller model of the design we've been using since first attending Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University. Every dollar will be accounted for at the outset of the month, even if it means just putting leftover money in a "savings" fund. That way, I will learn better how much I spend on particular things, and what I might be able to do with all this money I'm saving through Azure.

Believe me, I have a few ideas. And I'm definitely starting a Berry Fund for this summer.

Perhaps I'm a bit premature in posting about all my big plans. But this is all so exciting to me - healthful, organic whole food at significant savings. The only question is, why did it take me so long to decide to go for it?

*I am not being reimbursed by Azure Standard, or any such thing. I'm just amazed at the money I'm saving, and very excited about the possibilities. To learn more, or see if there are delivery options near you, check out their website!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

sometimes I miss the babymoon

Sometimes I miss the babymoon...the dazzling, dewy newness of life. My family all together, all day long. My husband home, his comforting nearness, his male strength. His love evidenced in a thousand tendernesses. The songs he sings as he dances our babe to sleep.

Sometimes I miss the babymoon. That first great time of acquaintance, the intimacy of having known one another for months...and yet just then really meeting her. The wonder of those tiny hands...toes...the sweep of a newborn's eyelashes. The petal-soft skin, the folded limbs. The utter dependence on me. Establishing our relationship, those blurry-eyed nighttime feedings. The sweet weight of her sleeping in my arms as I sit quietly in the afternoon light.

Sometimes I miss the babymoon. Those early days, in their newness. Something we can ever again quite capture.

But then I remember the now. Watching my children play together - chasing, laughing, crawling out from underneath playsilks or forts. The ability to play happily by herself, or quietly go exploring. The beauty of a routine. My lightness of heart when she grins at me, so very pleased with herself, or sees me and waves from across the room. Sweet babbling sounds. The utter thrill it gives her when her daddy comes home from work...the joyful sight of all my family seated around the table at mealtime. Anticipating a Birthday.

Sometimes I do miss the babymoon. But the now? These sweet days have a beauty about them all their own. There are memories being made ...these are precious moments that are over so, so quickly. The now? I'm loving the now.

It's good stuff.