Feb 28, 2010

Gratitude Mondays...

What I am loving today....

~22 weeks, 18ish to go!

~Matt felt the baby move!

~"Cyrus who loves you?"  "Mama loves me."  "How much does mama love you?"  "All the way bigger than the stars!"  Then he brings his hands together, and spreads his fingers apart.  "This is my star mama!"  Then I make a star and our stars kiss.

~Ava explaining to her brother that we each carry several titles.  "its ok Cyrus, you can be a baseball man, and still be my little princess at the same time.  Just like I take care of grasshoppers, and I am a cat doctor."

~Spring Rain!

~Rainbows!!!  (More on that later....)

~A trip to the library!  I am moving on from Whuthering Heights.  Blah.  Its on my big list, yes, but I have like three years to get to it.  On to teen fantasy fiction, and adult mysteries.  (I also threw in some Nicholas Sparks just in case I am not crying enough already)

~Making invitations for Cyrus' Third birthday party!  WOW.  My tiny baby boy is turning three next month?  Wow.

~ordering Cyrus' birthday present.... I have coveted this for years.  I know he is going to love it!

~we have some big trips coming up...  am I ready?  No.  Have I begun to get ready?  Nope.  But I know we are going to have an amazing time, so I love that its just around the corner!

Here's to a great week!  I have loads to do, and I am blessed to have the energy to do it!

Feb 25, 2010

Spore printing adventures....

(Spoiler alert... it didn't work out in the end with the gorgeous results that 5 Orange Potatoes had...) 

We attempted to make mushroom spore prints, and while our results may not merit any long lasting works of art, we had Fun!  It was something new, and unheard of for my babies.  "Brand new project" that's always a great lead in with my adventurous art lov'n naturalists. (turns out 'naturalist' is actually a philosophy, not just a nature lover, as I am using the word.  It is also a much better choice of term than 'naturists', which I first had, that means a nudist.  I am not positive, but my children could be a mixture of both)

We started with the find....  
Then I gathered the materials...
Ava was our forager (I could trust her to wash her hands, and not put them in her mouth)..
Cyrus was the plate holder/ collector.... (if there is one thing these little guys love its titles)

Careful ovoid the upset ant colony...  (this photo can't show just how angry this tiny army were)
We set our mushroom caps on different shades of paper, covered them with lids and glass pans, and waited...
We did get one to leave a mark, its not exactly a "spore print".  I am not really sure what you'd call it.  Its kinda a sticky mess that dried over night.  The mushroom that made this mark was past its spore time, already decomposing.  Its more like a mushroom splat, than a print.  A mushroom rorschach perhaps?  I see a lady standing in front of a sunset.  (maybe you have to be here)
This project started with inspiration from 5 Orange Potatoes. Her site was down so I had to use directions from trusty ol' Martha, and later from the experts to discover where I went wrong.   I had great advice along the way, and it turns out my mushrooms were just to young. (and possibly not even the right kind).  And you know what?  It didn't matter.  It doesn't matter.  We really did have fun.  The required hour wait lost their attention anyway.  Next time (now that I am practically an expert myself) we will have all the same fun with the added newness of making the actual prints!  For my little ones all it really takes to remember an awesome time is being together, outside, exploring.  A complete success!

Thank you to The Magic Onions for bringing us together each and every Friday!

Feb 24, 2010

Proof of spring (part III)

Our backyard Garden...

On February 8th I took a few pictures of our lettuce, and spinach beds.  Ten days later I saw that our little Frisee was trying to grow up and bolt.  Naughty little rascal.  If lettuce puberty isn't a sign of spring, I don't know what is.  (I should add that I have no idea if any of this is horticultural-ly accurate.  I have actually no clue when frisee bolts, and if that means the weather is warmer, or it just wanted to.)

The dill plant has a similar story to tell...  The first picture was taken on the 18th.  Imagine my surprise (easy to imagine, this is my first year at gardening.  Everything is a surprise) when just four days later on the 23rd I find dill flower buds!  

My orange tree is preparing us for the most dramatic display of spring.  A display she has been working on for a while now.  She had a very hard summer, as did most things in this part of the state.  The winter was a time of quiet rehab.  We didn't know if she was going to make it, or give up.  Patience, like in all things, applies to gardening as well.

I was very excited when I saw this.  Tiny little points of life.  Covering her outstretched branches.  Some to be flowers, others to be leaves.
Ten days later this is her progress.  Leaves, buds, life.  Its spring.  Right here in my back yard.  The smell of orange blossoms used to fill Phoenix's air every spring. As the sun set the perfume would be so heavy it was almost too much.  Most of the valley has lost its heady aroma as the orange groves gave way to housing developments.  I am very grateful that I will be able to recreate the sent of spring, on a small scale, here.  Our contribution to the valley.

In the next few weeks my broccoli and lettuces will no longer be here for me to harvest.  (I think)  But lets not think about the end of spring.  Spring is the reason Arizona is so full of people.  Spring is the season that warms the hearts of even the most cynical (pointing huge finger at me here) Arizona residents.   I may lament my time away from the Pacific Northwest.  (I may dramatically refer to my time here as a 'prison sentence'.)  As spring sets up home in these parts, its hard not to fall in love just a little bit.

And lastly I wanted to show you this little guy.  He isn't a sign of spring.  He showed up in our carrot bed last fall.  Waiting with all the rest of the bed quietly all winter.  Now he is stretching his big red leaves out.  He is doing a horrible job of camouflage.   I am going to let him stay here for a while.  I think he is so cute.  Much cuter than his well behaved brothers living in the appropriate lettuce bed.

Here's to all of us feeling the spring in the air, and feeling the love that comes with it!

Feb 23, 2010

Proof of Spring... part II

Bee Season...

(Its true that only the last two are to illustrate the title, the first two pictures are just because the are pretty)

We have entered officially into bee season in our house.  The calls of "shut the screen, the bees are getting in" are being heard all through out the day.  Sadly from this season we quickly merge into "shut the door the air conditioner is on".

We've needed and used Apis. (Apis Mellifica, a homeopathic must for all families)   So far its only been the one time.  It seems like we may have an easier year than last.  (knock on wood) Last year Cyrus kept grabbing the bees with his hands.  Oh boys...

We've rescued many 'girls' from being trapped in our home.  Five in one day.  (We assume them all to be female, and have a statistical chance of being correct)  Ava made one of her proclamations to me the other day...

"mom you know what would be really cool?'
What's that Ava?
"If we could have a whole bunch of bees in our house, then they could build a hive-"
Oh Ava, I don't think so...
"no, listen.  They could build a hive in our home, then they will give us honey!  We could have honey all they time right from our house!!!"
Ya.  That'd be something alright.

I feel like letting you all know (just between us) that as I took these photos, I was mesmerized by the action of bees.  Entranced by the sunlight filtering through the red Fairy Duster blossoms.  Fantasizing about life as a nature photographer... It had completely slipped my mind that I was in the middle of a text conversation with my friend.  My cell  phone was forgotten in my pocket.  When my phone vibrated at me I screamed, nearly dropped my camera, and for an instant believed that there were bees in my pants.  Oh I am so brave.  And remarkably bright.

Here's to Spring!  I hope to bring you all more proof yet again tomorrow....

Give Away...

A heads up to let everyone know that Herbal Roots is having a giveaway....  A beautiful little wooden woodpecker!  So cute! 

But that's not all....
Mama Roots is also having a give away...
She is offering a copy of next months Herbal Roots magazine!  Head on over to Mama Roots to check it out!

 Good luck to all of us, and many thanks to Herbal Roots, and Mama Roots for the opportunity!

Feb 22, 2010

Proof of Spring.... (part I)

Arizona Diamondbacks Fan Fest

Last weekend Matt took the kids to the Chase Field for Fan Appreciation Day.  In our family this marks the official beginning of baseball season, and spring.  The pitchers, coaches, and players have all reported for training camp, and  will start Spring Training games in March.  It was a fun day for my partner and our babies.  Matt is pretty much a super fan, Cyrus is obsessed with all things balls, and of course being a "baseball man".  Ava... um, she was glad to go, but came back saying that next year she hopes they go to a place with out lines.  (I think in the end she is going to be in my camp)

I spent the afternoon relaxing and cleaning in peace.  There is just something about cleaning a room, or even an area and knowing that it isn't going to get messed up again for at least a couple of hours.  (I also watched Dirty Dancing....)

It is my hope and plan to bring you more proof of Spring in the next few days... Blessings to you whatever your season!

Feb 21, 2010

Gratitude Mondays...

What I love right now...

~21 weeks, 19 to go....

~baby belly kicks.  And rolls, and swishes....

~watching my babies experience a 3D Imax movie for the first time... 

~Spring rain....

~little leaf and flower buds all over the garden...

~afternoons in the front with the neighbors, and their children.  Bikes, races, flowers, and good conversations...

~The Olympics...

~Ava somehow taught herself how to cast on a row of knitting.  I showed her one you tube clip.  One.  Now she wants me to teach her the rest...  (I don't know if I can)

~Cyrus is so close to his Orange Party.  So so close.... (an Orange Party will commemorate the end of nursing)

~Orange juice...  (speaking of things I love that are orange)

~Matt came home with a new baseball and bat (made of a dense foam to protect my windows)  for Cyrus the other day.  A wonderful surprise, and a perfect opportunity for a father and his tiny little son to bond.  (At night Ava teaches Matt how to sew...)

Here's to a new week everyone.  Lets make it a good one!

Feb 18, 2010

Valentine wreath...

I have been seeing a lot of wreaths on blogs lately. Here, here, here, and years ago here.  (technically that's two recent blogs and one very not recent, but you get the idea)  Its not something I would normally think of doing for myself, its sometimes too 'country charm' for me... and yet... I found myself drawn to the idea.  Thinking about what materials I would use,  and how I could make one my way (read super simple, and free-ish).   Keeping the wreath in the back of my mind I was inspired after all of our projects these last few days left me with a big heaping pile of scraps.  I hesitate to throw things out, hoping always to find a way to repurpose... Add in one fine day with my little ones full of energy ready to fight with one another, or create something together...  And there you go.  Birth of my free Valentine's Day Wreath.

~I used an old grapevine wreath (sitting in a closet waiting for something to do)
~Scraps in a variety of colors, mostly red, and white
~and scissors

We simply cut my fabric into strips and tied them onto the wreath.  So uncomplicated. 

Within minutes we were done.  For now it hangs by my February table.  We left the ties visible, I may decide to clean the look up some and cut them back.  For today we like it messy.

My project was free, my babies helped in every step, we ended up repurposing an old wreath, and finding new life for scraps destined for the trash.  That's my kind of project!

And... one last note... I also think this was a good lesson for my babies in finding ways to upcycle and protect mother earth, all while making our home pretty!  (Also a good lesson for me in stepping in and changing the situation before the big fights begin. The power of proactive parenting, but that's one for another day...)

Thank you to The Magic Onions for bringing us together week after week to share in each others journeys.

Feb 17, 2010

Valentine's Day

On Valentine's morning our family exchanged handmade valentines, and gifts.  Himalayan sea salt for Matt, and a handmade tree tile, locally made, for me.  The kids received tiles from Matt (from that same local artist)
and valentine books, and stone hearts (from the Tucson Jem and Mineral Show) from me.  We had a breakfast of waffles, with hearts cut out of the center.  Quite in theme for our day!  With their lunch my babies each had a blueberry Izze sparkling juice (soda) and heart shaped (I don't have any good pictures)  home made strawberry ice cream for dessert. 

Indulge me a moment to talk about my tiles?  Thank you, I love them so so much.
I received my first one for christmas..

Its the one that I wanted, and now that its in my home I know I need a set, a collection of seasons.  So I was ecstatic when Matt gifted me this one the other day...

Can't you see how my wall is patiently waiting to be filled in?  Yes, I can to.
Maybe for my birthday, or mother's day?  

Back to our Valentine's day....

Ava and I went and got pedicures!  It was So. Much. Fun.  A little extravagant, and totally not our normal way to do things, but oh my goodness.  It was just what my pregnant legs and feet wanted, and Ava was so excited.  A very pampering day for us.

Such precious little toes, that were so excited to get sparkles and flowers, and new flip flops courtesy of her nail technician.

Of course Ava never lets the beauty go to her head...

Our boys spent some quality time at a park...

We wrapped up our day with books about loving, and put our babies to bed nice and early.  Then Matt made me the most amazing dinner!!!  
~Tomato bisque (from our home grown tomatoes) and lobster tail
~Halibut in a fennel shallot lemon butter sauce
~with potatoes and roasted asparagus.

What a great holiday.  Seriously.

Tomorrow I want to talk about how we used our scrap Valentine materials... then I am done.  Promise.

Feb 16, 2010

Valentine's Placemats...

If you have been to my house than you will probably know that I really like to make placemats.  They are simple, useful, and best of all can incorporate creativity, and upcycling.  My favorite things in life!  My quest to make placemats for Valentine's Day has been a long one.  I hadn't come across the right fabric.  I didn't want to spend much, I was hoping the material could come from something repurposed, but the elements just hadn't come together for me.  Then one night last week after finishing up my bird placemats I started rummaging through my "stash' (I use the term loosely).  I found 4 old red napkins I had set aside, and forgotten about  for this project.  All I needed was the top.  Next thing I see is an old pillow case waiting to be reused....  Ahah!  I love love LOVE when a project comes together like this.  Everything I need, in my home.  Free.  Upcycling.  Perfect!!

I cut the pillowcase into 4 pieces, cut the red napkins to size, got out some paint, found my little painters and we got to work!

After the first set, Ava's paint plate looked much the same as when I gave it to her....

Cyrus' on the other hand...

With refreshed paint plates they started on their second set...

Cyrus was tired of painting "clean"

After waiting a whole day for them to dry, it was my turn!

Et voila!
The most perfect placemats.
Painted with love and care by my babies.

Here's to all of us finding those moments when everything just comes together!

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About Me

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East Bay, California, United States
I am a thirty something mother of three. Hoping to raise my little ones to love the the slower things in life.