Thank you to Soulemama for providing an awesome, easy-to-read tutorial for this easy-to-sew gratitude wrap (the link to the tutorial is in the leftside "For You" section on her blog).

Thank you to our good friend E for letting us celebrate her birthday with her tonight and for having good taste in movie picking and restaurant picking.

Thank you to koka and tutu (aka grandparents) for babysitting whilst we go on said movie and restaurant adventure with said birthday friend.


Thank you to Brian for giving me much needed craft time today to sew said gratitude wrap for said birthday friend.

The kids and I are heading to Redmond, so here's hoping a great week on everyone. Also hoping that Gustav settles down and sending safe thoughts to everyone in his path!


From Babes

Holden's preschool graduation ceremony was last night. In truth, it was a tough day and not for the reasons I thought it would be. My disappointment had more to do with my expectations which sometimes seem to get in the way of reality. But, fun was had by all. And I'm sorry, future Holden who someday may be reading this, but this picture of you in all your preschool performance glory just cracks me up (and makes those aforementioned icky feelings disappear entirely!)

Holden Performance

And don't we all feel this way sometimes when we're put on the spot and told to sing and dance? I know I do.

Anyway. To recharge and refocus, we decided to pick blueberries at a nearby grove this morning. Whilst there, Holden happened upon a little picking-mate about his size. They chatted happily while weaving in and out of the rows and I half-listened while trying to focus Esme on eating from the bushes instead of the picking basket.

My ears perked up when their chatter led to this exchange:

Friend: I like your dinosaur shirt.
Holden: Thanks. I like dinosaurs.
F: Dinosaurs aren't real.
H: I know, they're extinct.
F: No I mean, dinosaurs are pretend.
H: Well, they lived a long long LONG time ago. But not anymore. They're extinct.
F: No I mean, they were never real.
H: Yes they were.
F: No they weren't.
H: OK. How about I believe they were and YOU believe they weren't?
F: OK.
H: Let's go pee together by that bush.
F: OK!


Happy weekend everyone!


In Which I Use Every Pot and Cooking Utensil in my Kitchen


Angry Chicken's post about homemade paneer inspired me to finally try my hand at paneer-making. It was so amazingly easy, I don't know why I ever hesitated.

Or, just maybe I hesitated slightly because I knew I'd have the insane idea to cook an entire indian dinner to pay tribute to the lovely little paneer and have to set up our entire collection of blocks, legos, books and puzzles to entertain the kids whilst I cooked which would turn our house into complete mayhem. Yes, maybe I did hestitate for that reason. Just a little.


But, the paneer was yummy and did I mention easy? Truly easy. Deceivingly so. Like, 10 minutes for the cheese, 3 hours for the rest of the stuff. Dare I say it was worth it?

I dare do.


(all my paneer pics were worthless hence the pics of the "tree cuttings fort" we made over the weekend. much more visually appealing than cheese, methinks.)


Sweet Stuff

Today was Holden’s last day of preschool. Bittersweet, because he loves and will miss his friends and teachers (and I will miss those few precious one-child-only parenting hours), but also supersweet that he’ll now be home with Esme and me everyday. He was only attending two days a week, but still, it makes a difference. The irony that this week marks the beginning of school season for many school-goers is not lost on me. We always seem to do things a little backwards around here.

In any case, my babe graduated from preschool today! To celebrate, I gave him a huge hug, told him how proud of him we were and…proceeded to give him the worst haircut of his life.



Aaaack! Oh well. It’ll grow back and will probably advance his social standing in the 4-year-old freaky haircut club by a few measures.

As for gifts for his wonderful teachers, I asked Holden if he wanted to do anything special to say goodbye and as an alternative to his suggested “invite them over to swim in our (kiddie) pool” I suggested making pillows instead. So Holden drew his familiar T Rex renditions on fabric and we incorporated some teacher-appropriate patterns into these pillows.


On another sweet note, I have been awarded!

Jessica from Turkey Cookies nominated me for this pretty Wylde Woman award. She brightens my day as well, so thank you Jessica!

And Amy from Park City Girl kindly nominated me for a Brillante weblog award. Check out the sweet scrap quilt she just made!

So I'm awarding Amy the Wylde Woman award, Jessica the Brillante weblog award (not to be snarky - they truly deserve awards!) and Tracey, Simply and Tanya BOTH awards since they're quite the Brillante Wylde bloggers themselves!

Sweet dreams and happy awarding!


Farewell, Veg Friday

I missed Veg Friday last week which I realized was a much needed comfort to my brain. And since our CSA days are coming to a close, I’m saying so long to Veg Friday posts: B-bye, see ya next Spring, Veg Friday!


I do feel like I’ve accomplished our goal: documenting our CSA veg adventures for future meal planning and using the veggies to their best potential (let’s just not mention those poor green beans, shall we?) Aside from accumulating yummy recipes, we’ve learned some valuable lessons along the way...Subscribing to a CSA:

Reduced our overall food budget

This seems counterintuitive when writing that big fat check at the beginning of the CSA season, but we really did spend less on groceries this year. I planned our weekly meals around our CSA contents and rarely needed to buy extra veggies (we did supplement with our own garden harvest, however). So, our farmer’s market spending dropped as did our regular grocery shopping (due to meal planning). Plus, if I get all geeky and factor in the nutrient per dollar ratio on organic, local CSA veggies versus industrially farmed veggies, our food dollar becomes even more valuable…but I won’t bore you with those details :-)


Kept us cooking/eating at home
Having fresh veggies at home provided incentive to cook more meals--not just to reduce waste but also because the flavor and quality of the food we could eat at home far surpassed that of a restaurant or pre-cooked/processed food.

Introduced us to a variety of veggies we wouldn’t normally eat
This is obvious but for us was the most valuable part of subscribing to a CSA. Our kids love veggies because they actually taste good (Holden asked for chard for his half birthday dinner; Esme would eat raw garlic by the clove if I let her!)

Pesto Soup

Introduced meal variety into our lives
Eating different meals each week was a novel concept pre-CSA, but I’ve happily managed to kick the ‘food rut’ we’d been stuck in for so long. I used to cook about 7 or 8 different main dishes and move them around to different nights, occasionally trying something new, but not often enough. And when we got itchy for a change? Breakfast for dinner was my answer. But now with CSA veggies dictating our meals, I’m forced encouraged to find new recipes or tweak my old ones to accommodate different ingredients (so they at least look different on the plate!). I’ve also discovered some amazing new cookbooks in the process, including Apples for Jam that I have on loan from the library right now (and added to my want list should my husband be reading this post. ahem).

Introduced the kids to the merits of locally, sustainably grown organic produce
Our weekly bin contents spark many a question and subsequent conversation, including who, when, how, where and most importantly, why we get our veggies from this funny blue bin each week. I love exploring the answers to these questions with the kids and know that the answers we find make more sense when our actions support our words.


Prompted us to question everything we eat and change the way we shop in general
Or more accurately, who/what we support with our non-veggie and even non-food dollars. Our CSA experience has been a springboard for change in our consumerism habits. But more about this in another post, I’m afraid I’ve bent your ear long enough!

Thanks for following along and supporting us in our CSA adventure this season. And if you happen to live in Portland, I could bend your ear a whole lot more about our happiness with Groundwork Organics!


and a half...

HalfBday Mosaic


Potty Faux Pas

Or alternate title: The Urinals Should’ve Been a Tip Off.

Last night after yoga I was a teensy bit mortified to find myself in the boy’s bathroom. I heard a man’s voice and thought WHAT THE H IS A MAN DOING IN THE GIRL’S BATHROOM? And then I realized that I was indeed the potty foreigner (it was surprisingly clean, by the way!) I ran out of there with my head down and my hands covering my face. Not the best way to end a relaxing yoga night.


To give my obviously scrambled brain a little break and since tomorrow and Friday are the kids’ half year birthdays, I’m going to post pics of our adventures for the next couple days instead of, you know, writing words. I have crafts, cakes, escapades and (as always) last minute gifts to plan and make, so wish me luck!




A lil sumpin that I sewed up this weekend for my sweet girl, aka another handmade thing that Esme doesn't want to wear, thank you very much.


But that's ok. I'm not at all offended, no sir. Because this dress made from a too-short shirt (cut off) and not-cute-enough-to-make-a-pillowcase-dress-but-don't-want-that-hem-to-go-to-waste can, when it's done being a dress, become a blouse-over-pants-type-thingie. And by that time she will probably be begging to wear it, or so I assume judging from her flippy floppy attitude as of late.


And I'm willing to wait. And maybe even make a few more in the meantime.


The Return of Veg Friday

It used to be that receiving child-size help in the kitchen meant allocating LOTS of extra time for explaining, demonstrating, overseeing, sidetracking, refereeing the inevitable squabbles and making sure the compostables didn't end up in the salad bowl and vice versa. I don't mind the extra time it takes but it means we sometimes have to start dinner much earlier in the day. Like at breakfast.

These days though, we're turning a corner where the 'help' is actually beginning to be well, helpful. Shucking corn, snapping peas, digging out favas, plucking basil leaves...these are all things that a little one (or two) can sit quietly and do without much council. I never thought I'd be able to say this, but making dinner with two small people is becoming enjoyable. Aside from the battles over the salad spinner, that is.

So Veg Friday... We're back on track this week, although this heat wave is throwing us for a lazy loop. Hopefully our green tomatoes will get that nudge of sun that they've been needing to redden up. Aside from a yummy Mushroom Barley soup from my favorite Moosewood Cookbook, I finally gave up on trying to concoct menu ideas for parsley (because who the heck plans menus around parsley anyway???) I just plain froze it and did the same with our pile of garden basil (via pesto) and crazy-big gignormous mountain of chard leaves. B-bye overly grow-y green stuff. See ya this winter!

The lettuce, lemon cucumber, and cherry tomatoes were easy summer salad appointees, while the heirloom tomatoes and strawberries were victim to merciless devourment by the husband and childrens. The green onion and green peppers were intended to be used in stuffed peppers this evening but got ix-nayed when the weather decided to skyrocket. They will sit comfortably in the crisper (unlike the rest of us) until the weather is conducive to going anywhere near the oven.

Sadly, the green beans sufferred a humiliating fate involving feta cheese and heavy cream. I'll spare you the gory details, but let's just say that any fresh, innocent green bean that should enter this house in the future will be treated with the utmost respect and admiration in memory of its brave and fearless ancestors.

Finally, my very intelligent friend gave me the idea to use the shallots in salad dressing. She is clever enough to marinate them in balsamic vinegar earlier in the day and then add them before dressing the greens. I, however, am too lazy and short-sighted to think of that early enough in the day so I've taken to force-marinating by simmering the sliced shallots, balsamic vinegar and a teeny bit of honey together in a pan for a couple minutes, then whisk with seasoned rice vinegar and olive oil. And voila, instant yumminess!

Wow that was a long post. Have a good weekend everyone and stay cool!


Easy Peasy Breezy Leaves Mobile

Hey thanks for the placemat love! I should mention that I've seen the idea elsewheres on the internets, although I don't know where. But it's definitely not my idea. So props to someone out there that actually thought it up!


Since we're heading into high temps for the next few days, I decided to get some outdoor time in early to avoid the tantrum-inducing afternoon heat. I sent the kids to the wall of laurel to gather leaves as leaf and stick painting has become our preferred outside activity lately. It doesn't exactly lend well to preserving or even displaying their creations though, so we put together these easy mobiles to showcase their work.

It's the epitomy-of-easy craft project, essential for dealing with a cranky 2-year-old whose current preferred method of communication is the ear-piercing, mind-numbing, makes-you-want-to-jump-out-the-nearest-window scream.


We just painted, dried, hole-punched and string-tied the leaves to the sticks. How's that for easy? I contemplated submitting this project to my beloved Crafty Crow, but decided there weren't quite enough words to warrant calling it a tutorial.

The kids love watching the leaves sway in the breeze. And with a forecast of 104 degrees tomorrow, 'breeze' is sounding quite heavenly.


Scrappy Mats


Our day began with "three stegosaurus feet and a fiery ball from above" and ended with some new placemats for the kids.


I've been wanting to do this project forever (do I say that about every new project I do?) and glad I finally bought the supplies as I think the fabric markers will be our new best friend, although Esme's enthusiasm over being able to color on fabric scares me a bit.


We started the drawings this morning and I just finished up the sewing after the kids went to bed. They picked the fabric themselves and I didn't think much about their choices -- just slapped them together keeping in mind that these will be stained in ketchup and God-knows-what before tomorrow is over -- until I just now noticed that Esme chose scraps mostly from quilts and other projects that I've made for her.

Aww, a sappy little sentimentalist in the making...not sure where she gets that, [ahem].


The Bright Sides

The weight of summer and it's myriad of activities that fill every waking (and some non-waking) moments of the day hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday. Instead of resisting, I let go and rode the lazy day wave whereever it decided to go. It led me straight to the couch, turned on Sesame Street and told me to lay there and absorb the familiar childhood songs and characters that I used to adore, along with some new faces -- Feist singing "One, Two, Three, Four Monsters knocking at my door" to the tune of "1234." Have you seen that? So sweet.

Esme and I ventured to IKEA today and my future crafter picked out this sweet hippo fabric "to do sewing" (don't those ikea product names just crack you up?) I'm not sure what she has in mind but knowing her, I'm sure it'll be big and cute and perfectly wonky. She also insisted on laying her head on a pillow in the cart and making whooooping noises throughout the store, especially the echo-y warehouse portion. If carting around a whooping child will buy me a couple more minutes of frantic shopping time, so be it.

And I somehow managed to organize all my scrap fabrics with the intention of making a scrap quilt. So far I've sewn about 16 scraps together and lost interest. Perhaps because there is no pattern or recipient or intention as of yet. I'm hoping that same wave of "let it be" will take over and the quilt will figure itself out in the end!


Fabric Friday


Trying to recall last week's CSA veggie pathway from the bin to our tummies is making my head spin. Needless to say, nothing too exciting happened to those veggies except for getting themselves eaten. So I'll skip veg Friday and show some of the yummy fabrics I found in Redmond last week instead!


Here's the beginnings of the rainbow chard quilt I've been itching to make. The pre-cut florals in the perfect shades of pink, green and orange and the little gingham orange were thriftstore finds and I pulled the other fabrics out of my stash. I don't have quite enough, but it's a good start and very rainbow chard-y.


This is a very heavyweight (maybe upholstory?) fabric that is screaming to be made into a bag of some sort. Which means I'll need to find a bag-of-some-sort pattern to follow. Any suggestions?


You can't tell from the pic, but this feels and drapes suuuuuuuper yummy. I'm thinking skirt or cute flowy blousey top thingy. Again, any pattern suggestions?


And...the rest. The red floral is actually a little baby pillowcase destined to be my next attempt at an Esme pillowcase dress. Wish me luck!

I'm pretty sure I used up most of my good thrift store karma on this trip, but hope I have a little tiny bit left over for the Redmond visit we're planning for September. Oh and their special that day was all the fabric you can fit into a brown grocery bag for $6. Score!


My Summer Vacation


Bike rides, naps, take-out tikka masala by candlelight (no cooking on vacation!), roasted marshmallows for dessert…and breakfast, antique store shopping in Aurora, yurt with a skylight, sleeping in, naps, an owl spotting, more naps, leftover curry for lunch, learning what a yurt really is (even more charming than the picture in my head). Did I mention napping? In a yurt? In the middle of the afternoon? Ahh…nothing better than that. Except maybe for the happy little faces awaiting us upon our return home.

Summer Yurt

And uh, did you know that bats like to live in the flap that lines the perimeter of a yurt? I did not know this, and I’m not sure if I would’ve embarked so happily on our yurt-cation had I known this less-publicized yurt fact in advance. I ended up loving them learning to accept them since 1) they keep the other creepy-crawly variety of creatures at bay, 2) I never saw them unless I peeked under the flap, which I did on occasion just to freak myself out and 3) the park ranger swore on his park ranger badge that they would not fly into our yurt in the middle of the night and get tangled in my hair. Well, he didn’t exactly swear on his badge, but he said that’s never happened before…to his knowledge.


On our way home we passed by this cute little farmhouse that, according to Brian, we “almost bought a few years ago.” What? We almost bought a farmhouse? My recollection was fuzzy, so I asked him to elaborate. “Well…I guess we didn’t quite almost buy it. It was more like we almost went to look at it. Or, we wrote the number down off the sign and talked about looking at it. Or maybe we just drove by and saw the sign and talked about how cool it would be to buy a farmhouse…” Something like that...


Just Passing Through

The kids and I returned from our high desert staycation just in time to unpack, do some laundry and repack for tomorrow's yurt day. Ahhh, yurt day…free of arguments such as this one in the car on the way home from Redmond, 20 minutes into a 3 hour long ride:

Holden: You say yes and I’ll say no.
Esme: ok.
H: No!
E: No!
H: No. You say yes. I say no.
E: ok.
H: No!
E: No!
E: NO!
Me: How about Holden says yes and Esme says no?
H: No. That takes all the fun out of it.
(why do I bother?)

I’m in the process of laundering and ironing my way through this bag-full of thrifted fabric finds which I’m excited to show. I also have a kazillion pics of our elephant-eared, cotton candied, hot air ballooned, lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer week in Redmond to share. But tonight…tonight I must clean and pack and plan for our carefree, relaxing day…ahh yurt.