May 23, 2012

We’ve been living off of smoothies lately. I can’t remember how it all got started, but knowing me, it’s because they are easy and I am lazy. You just chuck a bunch of stuff in a blender, and whoosh! Instant breakfast/lunch/snack! I have a few picky eaters in this house, I think I’ve mentioned it before, and smoothies are a great way to hide veggies so the four year old gets a good dose without even knowing it. Best part, it’s always the veggie packed smoothies in which he asks for seconds. I get asked all the time what my recipes are, so here you go:

One blender

Add 2 cups of milk

8-12 ice cubes

Now open your refrigerator/freezer and start chucking in veggies and fruit.


Add stevia to taste, blend again.

Yep, that’s it! I put everything in smoothies:  all varieties of fresh and frozen fruit (frozen works best as you get that nice milk shake quality to it), frozen and fresh spinach, yogurt, wheat grass, peanut butter, cocoa powder, carrots, radishes, cooked beans (I especially like white beans, as their flavor is mild and it’s a great way to add natural fiber and protein to a smoothie), kale, and even more fresh, nutrient packed veggies. However I won’t list them all, because I’m sure my family would stop drinking them if they knew how good they are for you.

In the evenings, smoothies are a fantastic way to curb my cravings for ice cream. Evenings are my downfall to good eating. I can eat perfectly all day, and then the evening rolls around and I get the munchies so bad. I usually end up undoing all that good eating I did during the day.

OK, here’s a recipe for a real smoothie, and one of our favorites, and it’s uber healthy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Add to a blender:

2 cups of ice cold milk

10 ice cubes

1/2 cup of plain yogurt

1/2 cup of natural (no sugar, just peanuts) peanut butter

1/4 cup of cocoa powder

2-3 extra ripe bananas broken into 2 inch pieces

Blend until smooth

Add stevia to taste

Blend again.

Serve and enjoy!


Makeup Myth

April 23, 2012

I used to date a guy who assumed that make up and coloring my hair was a way to cover up or hide. I had to explain to him that it simply wasn’t so. It’s self expression. It’s art. It’s fun! You get to paint a piece and show it off, then come home and wash your canvas and do it all over again. It took some convincing, but he finally got it.

This seems to be a pretty common belief among you guys so I thought I’d take a minute to explain a few things. I’m sure there are lots of girls out there who feel as though they are not pretty unless they wear make up. And for some women who struggle with rosacea or acne, make up might be that little thing they need to feel comfortable in their own skin. For me, as I’ve said above it’s all about self expression. I think I’m pretty, au natural…from the neck up anyway. I’m working hard to love the bottom half, but that’s another blog post altogether.

I enjoy color and the different looks I can achieve.  My make up mirrors my mood.  I’m generally a pretty perky, nutty person.  I love to splash that across my face.  Wearing make up affects how I feel too.  Crappy, rainy, blah day?  Lets throw on some bright, sunny yellow eyes.  Date night with my hubby?  Something sultry and alluring, gotta keep those home fires burning!  Play date at the park with the kids?  Ha, skip it, I’m just going to sweat it all off anyway.

Plus there is something in the act of applying that make up that is both soothing and therapeutic, even cathartic.  If it’s been a crazy day and I have somewhere to go in the evening, I use the time that I am applying my make up to decompress. I let go of the baggage of that day as I prepare myself for whatever I’m doing that evening.

Wearing make up is also a way that I use to take care of myself.  I make time just for me.  It’s hard to put together a great look with my kids swarming all over me, so it forces me to set aside some time just for me, whether it’s first thing in the morning or while they are napping.

As for make up being a way to hide, or to cover up.  Well, maybe it is for some people, but when you are wearing the bright colors and eye looks that I love to wear…lets just say it takes a certain amount of moxy to leave the house.  Neon pink, orange, and yellow eyelids, plus a fauxhawk don’t exactly blend in.  You are asking people to look at you when you wear this kind of make up, and in that you are also putting yourself out there to be judged.  I get stopped all the time by women who tell me they love my look, but don’t feel confident enough to pull it off themselves.  I always find this a bit surprising, although it shouldn’t be.  As I said above, you open yourself up to judgement wearing bold color, and to pull it off, you really need to be sure of who you are.  Being thick skinned doesn’t hurt either, because for as many times as I’ve been stopped for a compliment, there are probably ten other sneers/gawks/or stares.

At the end of the day though, I know that what’s most important is how I feel about my make up.  And I feel pretty awesome about it.

Spinning my wheels

April 18, 2012

So, it’s been forever and a day since I’ve had any real fiber related posts to speak of. I think we are about due, over due really. A while back I agreed to make two pairs of worsted weight slipper socks for a friend of the family, for her kids (two grown adults with huge feet! Hope they don’t read this). This experience has been, interesting, to say the least. Basic worsted weight socks are generally a breeze to knit through. Ha! That is unless you have to knit them. Then it becomes a chore, and I get a little whiny when it comes to chores I don’t want to do. See Elizabeth, you come by it honestly. The person I was doing the knitting for, I love dearly, dearly! I hate these socks though. First off, I miscalculated how much yarn I’d need because I didn’t realize how large the sizes were that I would be knitting, a men’s 12 and a women’s 10. So, not only did I not make any money on these socks, they ended up costing me money to make. Which is fine because I grossly underbid myself when she asked me to knit them. I broke a firm rule of mine, and paid the price. My knitting for others rule is this:  “You can’t afford me. So don’t ask.” It’s not that I don’t knit for other people, it’s just that I do not knit for others when they ask me too. I like to knit something for someone else knowing it will be a surprise and because a pattern or yarn caught my eye and made me think of them. Not because I have too.

So, here are the socks.

Yep, they are socks.

I wish I could say they were knit with love, but they were knit with impatience and whininess instead. I wouldn’t wear these puppies out of the house, just to be safe. Who knows what would happen with all the bad mojo they have absorbed.

Mostly I spent the entire time knitting them wishing that I could knit something else, anything else! There were at least 20 different patterns I wanted to cast on as soon as I cast off these socks. So of course, as soon as I finished knitting them I sat staring at my yarn corner going, “Hmmmmmmm…beeeeeeeeeoooooooooooop.” What have I been doing instead? Spinning. Spinning my fibery little heart out. I’ve been watching youtube tutes on how to do Navajo plying, and fractal spinning, etc.

My handiwork from the last few weeks.

A delicious thick'nthin spun in merino and angora, yeah, I totally bury my face in this all the time.

BFL and Tussah Silk, soooo gorgeous!

A sample of some merino and bamboo, totally squishable.

Polwarth, two hanks from the same singles, one is fractal spun and 2-ply, the other was leftovers that I used to practice my Navajo plying. Both gorgeous.


I did end up casting on a quick project for myself, worsted weight slipper socks. Yeah, I know, ironic, but hey, my feet are cold lately. I also swatched for a cardigan that has been waiting patiently since the designer debuted it…you know, about 8 years ago. Which just goes to show you how classic the lovely Bonnie Marie Burns over at Che Chicknits is. Her gorgeous, Miss BB, cardi is ready to go. I think B Marie is my knitting twin, I always get gauge on the first try with her patterns.

It’s not about religion

April 18, 2012

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, and again, and again, and again.  If you want me to shut up already, then get with the program people.

Hate is hate, is hate is hate is hate.  You can’t cover it up with your religion, because really, are you living your faith the way it was truly intended?  I think not.  No matter what a persons lifestyle, whether you agree, disagree, think they are sinners or think they are smashing, treat them with love and respect.  Period, there is no qualifier.

Loosing for someone else’s gain or motherhood

April 16, 2012

As I sat on my basement floor this evening, with tears rolling down my cheeks, up to my elbows in the boys’ old newborn clothes, I realized that motherhood is loss. From the very beginning, the moment you look at those two pink lines, it’s loss. You lose your life, to create a new, brilliant, terrifying one. Most of us do this by choice, bravely venturing into the unknown with ideas and ideals that quickly get tossed aside when the dream of a child being in your life becomes reality. Some of us get tossed into this by accident. That reality check is the hardest to cash, let me tell you.  Some of us are lucky enough to get to do it both ways though.

Just the mere presence of a child in your life means you kiss goodbye that old life you had. 50 pairs of high heels in the closet, nope, now you get to buy diapers. Going out on the town on a whim? Ha! You have to find a babysitter, then you have to find the energy to get dressed, and go anywhere and be more entertaining to your significant other than an ice cube. Lets not forget that date now costs you double because not only are you paying for the date, but for the babysitter who makes it possible for you to go on said date.  Your sanity, you can kiss that goodbye too. My father always told me, insanity is hereditary:  You get it from your kids.  Good Lord he was right! My children have been slowing nibbling away at my brain for nearly 16 years now. I keep wondering if there will be anything left to recover when they are all grown and leave the nest. I babble like I’m drunk half the time because I haven’t slept through the night in years. I can’t remember my kids names most days, “Seanny, Finny, Rudey, Seanny, Finn, whatever your name is! Leave the cat alone!” And don’t even get me started on the losses (and gains) my body has suffered!

It’s other loss too, deeper, more personal, more painful loss.  It’s bittersweet.  You take care of this growing life in your body with the sole purpose of bringing it to full term and bringing it out into this world. Then from that moment on, it is your duty, your one and only duty to that child, to raise it to leave.  Every day you lose that child a little bit more, and every day that child gains a firmer grasp on their own identity and individuality.  That tiny baby that you hold in your arms, that holds you captive, will be gone in a flash and will be asking you for the keys to the car.  I watch my kids now, one only two years from graduation, another two years from entering school, and the third toddling right out of babyhood and into little boy terrain.  It all passes too quickly.  Even now I find myself missing those nights that I said I would never miss.  Those nights where I was beyond exhausted, stumbling in the darkness in a mental state akin to a tortured war prisoner to a crib holding a crying baby.  Swearing up a storm about how sleeping longer than two hours at a time was not a super human feat and that this child of mine had better get on board…and then, there was the quiet, just the two of us in the rocking chair while I nursed that baby and rocked.  Yes, I even miss those nights already.  Every teeny step, every new skill mastered, every new discovery, is one more step away from you.  Loss.

Then there is the deeper, more tragic losses that come with children that I can’t even think about.  Words are never adequate enough, either spoken or written, to capture the pain of losing a child.  I can not even fathom that kind of loss.  I don’t think I’m strong enough.

Motherhood is loss.  Even deciding not to be a mother.  We have decided that we are done having children.  We just feel that this is it, these three, it’s where we need to be.  I’m completely fine with this decision and at peace and even a bit relieved by it.  Just the same, I found myself going through baby clothes to donate tonight, looking at tiny outfits that both the boys had worn and crying. Not because I wanted another baby, but because I knew that the babies, my babies, that had worn those clothes were gone, and in their place are two little boys, who will also be gone just as quickly.  Putting those tiny outfits in bags and knowing that our babies wouldn’t be wearing them ever again, and more importantly, knowing that we would not be making any more babies to put in those clothes again, was a loss that hit me hard this evening.  That chapter in my life is over, and it is one that is so important and dear to me.

I saved a few things, most importantly the tiny hat and socks I knit while I was pregnant with Finny.  I can still feel the yarn sliding through my fingers as I knit those items up, wondering about the person who would wear them.  They will be packed away next to his Big Sister’s socks and hat from the hospital.  And these small tokens will be the only tangible reminders of the babies that my soon to be adult children, used to be.  It’s bittersweet, losing so much, to prepare a human being to live their own life in the world.  It’s like those baby clothes, donating something that I loved and cherished and took care of  so that someone else can love and cherish and take care of them.

Dear Finnigan

March 27, 2012

Listen buddy, I need you to know something. You are three, very quickly going on four here in May. You are very good at being “that” toddler. You know the one. The kid screaming in the grocery store with the mother who looks like she wants to just leave you in the cart in the isle and run away screaming and crying herself. Yeah, that’s us bud. You’re the kid who really didn’t want to share at all, with anybody. Although, surprisingly, sharing seems to have clicked with you recently. You used to eat every vegetable known to man, and lately, I’m lucky if I can get you to eat anything, vegetable or not. You don’t listen to save your life. You wear your “angry face” way too much. You have picked up whining somewhere recently, and I’m hoping this phase goes by quickly, as you’ve never been too whiny in the past. You tell me no to just about everything, even things that I know you like…you booger.  “I need!”  “I want!”  “Gimme!”  Seem to be in every sentence you say lately.

I see the looks people give you in that a fore mentioned grocery store. I also see the looks they give me. You know, as if this is all my fault, and I’m not doing some magic parenting thing that’s so obvious to all of the other mothers. I want to say, “What? Do you have a problem with my son? I’m doing the best I can so stop glaring at me! He’s a three year old boy, a NORMAL three year old boy!” I see the looks some of our family give you, and that hurts the worst. I love that Seanny stops women of all ages in their tracks with his charm and sweetness, but it brakes my heart when they don’t even acknowledge you, sitting right next to him. They don’t see the you I know.

Listen my love, my love, my love. I love you. And Daddy loves you. And Big Sissy loves you. And Seanny loves you. We get to see you snuggling and wrestling with Seanny on the floor and giggling like mad. We get to see you flop down next to Rudey and kiss his head and pet him. Have I mentioned how proud of you I am lately? You are finally learning to be nice to Rudey. We get to see you picking out a fun toy for Seanny with no thought of yourself at the museum gift shop (and you picked out the perfect items too!). I get to hear you say, “Drive carefully Daddy!” each morning to Daddy as he walks out the door, annunciating each syllable perfectly.  I get to see how incredibly excited you get when Sissy gets home from work. (Boy, wish you were that excited when I got home.) We get to see the nutty little sweet nut burger that you are. I remind myself all the time, that the character traits that make me crazy now, are the ones that will make you a brilliant adult.

So here’s what I’m saying Finnigan. I love you. We love you. When you get “the look” from someone, just remember, the important people in your life love you. And we always will. The Nanas and PopPops, the Lawlas and Georges, the Grammys and Pappys, the Aunt Cryssls and Aunt Caseys. We all love you buddy. And as for those disparaging glancers in the grocery store…well, I hope they drop their eggs in the parking lot.

One to remember

March 5, 2012

You know those days that just seem to be perfect. Even with the little hiccups and bumps in them. The ones where you want to pull them out of your head and put them down in a more concrete manner? Saturday was one of those days. It was just perfect. It was a very March comes in like a lion day. The weather was pleasant, but boy was it windy. Just enough of a nip to make you put a jacket on. Elizabeth had to work, so I dropped her off, and on the way there we got into a good scuff about money, and a trip to Italy, and responsibility, and then I headed back to the house. Ah, being on the cusp of adulthood with no clue. I smell a reality check coming. We took the boys outside to play and burn off some energy and ended up deciding to walk up to the greenhouse to see all the tiny green things just sprouting up. We wandered around and Seanny and I hid in “the jungle” aka the ferns, while Daddy and Finny came to find us. We looked at the giant fish in the koi pond. Seriously, these guys are longer than my arm.

We walked home and Finny cried because he wanted to stay and look at the fish. So, Seanny got off my back and Daddy carried him, and Finny got to ride in the wrap on my back. When we got home, Seanny and Daddy went inside for a supposed nap that never happened, while Finny and I put together his little $1 kite from his Easter basket two years ago. It was a Spiderman kite, and he loves it. We took it out back to our tiny yard, and flew it, and it was windy enough, that we could do so with very little line let out at all. Finny thought that his Spiderman kite was very fine, however, it would be greatly improved if it was a Batman kite. I kinda have to agree with him, no offence Spiderman. We noted a little Seanny face peeping out Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom window every few minutes. At one point, I think karma bit us in the butt, because Spiderman escaped from his lead and I had to go chasing him through the neighborhood while Finny stood on the sandbox and cried because his kite blew away. Thank goodness I caught him. Back into the sky he went, and just as I was getting ready to suggest to Finny that we walk  back to the green house so we could really let Spiderman fly super high, Daddy poked his head out the back door and said that Big Sissy got let off work early because they were dead at work. Odd, it was a really great day for ice cream. Oh yeah! Hey everyone, Elizabeth is working at a local ice cream stand. She loves it!

Anyway, we packed up real quick and went to pick up Big Sissy, all of us got ice cream and then we drove to the mall. Someone, who shall remain nameless, was careless and left their earbuds out where two little brothers could get to them. Needless to say, by the time this was discovered, the ear buds were ear duds. So we went to the mall to get a replacement pair and ended up in the arcade. Oh my gosh that was fun. We are a skee ball family, that’s for sure. Finny loved the skee ball and also the little basketball game that was his size. He got carried away with shooting hoops and his basketball went rolling back out into the mall, but he got it and came ripping back into the arcade, face just shinning. Seanny was very much of the “what the heck is all this nonsense” attitude at first. They had a skeeball game made for wee-uns so Seanny and I decided to give that a try, after 9 tosses Seanny was getting a little miffed that the dang ball wouldn’t stay put when he threw it in the hole, so he ditched me and the rest of his game to go have a look around.

Now, it should be noted that I am a sucker for the games that spit out tickets. Oh man. I will work my butt off to get a mess of tickets so we can get a crappy toy made in China! We found one game were you put your token in and it rolls down a shoot and whatever number it passes through, that’s how many tickets it spits out. Well, this bugger was old and confused. If you got 6 tickets it would spit out 50, if you got 30 tickets, it would spit out 3, however, for the time being it seemed to be working to Seanny’s and my advantage. Seanny put a token in and hit a jackpot, and let me tell you, seeing a teeny little toddler beaming up at you, toddling around the arcade with a six foot tail of tickets wrapped around him and dragging behind him, man it just made my day. He was so cute! Once he figured out that this funny machine would spit out tickets, he was done putting tokens in, instead he would sit and wait for the tickets to start coming out and then he would start ripping. He’s a pretty good ticket tearer offer. Seanny and I figured we’d better save some tickets for others and decided to challenge Daddy to a game of air hockey…and he loved it, got his fingers pinched only once, but man, he loved whacking that little puck and the sounds it made hitting the sides. Daddy kicked our butts, but we had fun anyway.

We left the arcade, sweaty, smelling of copper tokens, and with two little boys carrying inflatable baseball bats that were longer than they were. Big Sissy’s idea, you know, watch them whack each other, you’ve got to admire the way her brain works. She found these crazy little concave popper discs that she remembers as a kid, to annoy me with, and some colorful plastic kazoos. Daddy got us some really great tops that spin pretty good. We walked next door to Subway and between bites of subs and sips of soda, I gave kazoo lessons. I am happy to offer my kazoo skills to all, please contact me for details and class dates.

Around 5:30 we climbed into the minivan to head home, and two little boys fell asleep in no time. It was a great day. I love days spent with the family like that. It was a fairly inexpensive day, and we had such a great time. I leave you with, The Battle of the Bats!

The Battle of the Bats