Nov 30, 2010

More than soup...

When is vegetable soup more than soup?
When it becomes a tradition. 
When it marks the beginning of the season.
When it acts as a lesson in 
food preparation,
produce harvesting,
and plant biology.
When it warms the heart, and nourishes the soul.
I didn't even realize that Ava looked forward to this particular soup every year until I over heard her explaining to her brother that in when the weather cools we
"...make a wonderful soupWe all work together to make it."
I had been so wrapped up in holiday planning that I honestly forgot about this soup.
We started making it in our Waldorf playgroup right around Ava's first birthday.
She was right.  She has eaten this soup, prepared this way every year that she has eaten food! 
(and I was going to forget it!?)
In playgroup it was made with whatever ingredients each family brought to add.  At home it starts with trip to the produce section.  Choosing a little bit of absolutely everything that looks good.  We bring it home and set up chopping stations.  A board, a chopper (this, and this) and two bowls for each of us.  One bowl for the soup, and one for the waste.  My babies help from start to finish.  We enjoy this soup with some warm bread with butter, or nut spread.  We are still working on the proper name for our soup.  Some suggestions have been... Vegetable Curry (though there isn't any curry), Baseball soup (though there aren't any baseballs) Friendship soup, Cooperation soup, and Vegetable Soup.  We'll have to keep working on the name.

Our Soup Recipe
~Warm some butter (and /or olive oil)
~Soften some garlic and onion
~Add chopped veggies
(today we used Turnips, Rutabagas, Beats,
beat greens, carrots, potato, garnet yams,
zucchini, white corn, yellow squash, swiss chard, purple
cauliflower, and I think that's all)
~add enough water to look soup-ish
~heat until done!
we add a spoonful of miso to our bowls

Nov 29, 2010

Thankful Tree

Its time to pack away Thanksgiving and bring out the Christmas cheer!  On this day, last year, I was preparing my family for a trip to face a lot of unknowns.  Thank goodness for the passage of time.  This year has been so good to my family.  So good.  My little family has a tradition to write what we are thankful for on  paper leaves (pumpkins, or acorns) to hang on our Thankful Tree.  This is one of my favorite traditions.  I'd like to share 2010's 'thankful leaves'...

Orange construction trucks, and flags, and flag jackets, Sol, and daddy, mommy, Ava, Pretzel, toothpick umbrellas, nutcrackers.

I'm thankful for everything.  (this was actually really hard for her this year.  She tried to think of the perfect thing for weeks.  Finally, she settled on everything)

I'm thankful for the little baby, the girl, the boy, and the partner that make my life so full of beauty and adventure!

I'm thankful for ballet classes, curly brown hair, little grunters, homeshcool teachers, and wild cats.

Another year of Thankful leaves to grace our tree branch.  Another year packed away to be brought out and remembered next November.  Tomorrow starts my official celebration for the season of light, The Winter's Solstice, Christmas.  Let the Festivities begin!

Nov 28, 2010

Gratitude Mondays...

What I love today...

~Great parties...

~Loooong weekends....

~A baby who's a magical mover....
 (I never see him move, but every time I turn around he's in a different spot)

~A girl who loves silly games...
(Copying what ever you say, acting like your shadow)

~A boy who wears his underware backwards, his shoes on the wrong feet, and his sweatshirts under his shirts....
( most of that is on purpose)

~A partner who surprised me....
(and saved a holiday tradition)

~Holiday traditions...

~Christmas decorations...

~Retro camera app for my phone.....
(didn't it make this picture pretty?)

December begins this week, and I love that too!

Nov 23, 2010

25 Days of Christmas.....

Next Wednesday, December 1st, marks the beginning of our 3rd annual 25 days of christmas!  We use simple advent made of a felt tree cutout and felt ornaments.  (I really need to update our tree and ornaments... but that's a story for another time.)  We celebrate the holidays with a month long advent countdown.  Each day we add an 'ornament' to our 'tree', and each morning my children receive a gift in a large red box.  Inside the box they will find a gift, the supplies for a project, or a clue to a surprise event. 

  1. Holiday Pencils
  2. Supplies for candle making.  A candle lit dinner in commemoration of Hanukkah, and the season of light.
  3. Candy canes.  The first of the season!  I like the natural ones colored with beat juice. ( But honestly I'm kind of a candy cane junky.  I LOVE them.  I blame my childhood friend who's family owned a tree farm)
  4. A Santa pen (for Ava) and a Santa plane (for Cyrus) A clue that we are going to see Santa that day.
  5. A holiday t-shirt, and socks
  6. Robert Frost    I like to add to our seasonal books a little each year
  7. Supplies to make our own stickers
  8. Ingredients to make our own cocoa.. maybe to make marshmallows also?
  9. Holiday tattoos  
  10. Supplies for making this years ornament
  11.  A clue of either mama made hats (wishful thinking) or a bundle of hay (more likely)For Matt's work  holiday party
  12. A christmas tree ornament... we are going to get our tree that day
  13. Snowflake Bently... We will make paper snowflakes this day
  14. Holiday grow sponge shapes
  15. christmas tree ornaments  (I seriously LOVE ornaments)
  16. bath bombs
  17. Christmas light clue... we are going on a family drive to look at lights
  18. Cookie cutter... 4th annual baking cookies with Grandma day
  19. Money clue... a trip to the dollar store [I know, I know] for each child to pick out a gift for each family member
  20. Ingredients to make cookies... a gift for our neighbors
  21. "Cookout" style foods... to celebrate the Winter's Solstice we are having a dinner cooked out over a backyard fire
  22. Train park tickets... our annual holiday trip to the McCormic Ranch Train Park
  23. DVD... christmas movie night
  24. mama made, and a book... On christmas eve we add a star to the tree and do things a little different.  I like to give my babies something to go to bed with.  This day they open the gift at night.  Matt read The Night Before Christmas and they get a little gift.  This year was supposed to be their quilts, but I was too excited and gave them that gift in October.  This year... I'm still thinking.  Maybe a little quilt for their babies?  Eh.  I don't know.
  25. Christmas day.  A gift from Santa, a gift from daddy (I gave them mine the night before) and a gift from each other.  Add stockings and it shouldn't be too much 'stuff'.  That's the goal anyway.
Have a happy Thanksgiving to everyone who will be celebrating this year!  I'll see you back here Next Monday.  

Nov 22, 2010

Ode to Egglant...

As a (mostly) vegetarian for the last 20 something years I can tell you that I've been served a lot of eggplant.  It seems most restaurants can't resist the idea that if you don't like meat, than you must Love eggplant.   Its not true.  I find myself rather indifferent to egg plant.  I personally have a 'take it or leave' it attitude for the spongy, kinda slimy little (to enormous) fruit.  With the exception of baba ghanoush, it wasn't until Matt started making this eggplant that I thought "we must grow these!"

Okay... now that we have them in the garden I've learned some things.  Did every one know how pretty these guys are?  I knew that they were gorgeous at the market, but the whole plant is just so pretty!  In my recent harvesting research I've learned a few things about the beautiful eggplant that you probably didn't know either....

"The Eggplant was believed by superstitious Europeans to induce insanity and was unaffectionately known as the "Mad Apple" until only a few centuries ago".  

"At one time, women in the Orient used a black dye made form eggplant to stain their teeth a gun metal gray."
"Eggplant is richer in nicotine than any other edible plant, with a concentration of 100 ng/g (or 0.01 mg/100g). However, the amount of nicotine from eggplant or any other food is negligible compared to passive smoking.  On average, 20 lbs (9 kg) of eggplant contains about the same amount of nicotine as a cigarette".

Well there you have it.  The more I read about eggplant the more I find I could really adore this crazy little plant.  Find out more about eggplant here, here and here.

Gratitude Mondays...

What I love today...

~A baby who squeals with delight when he sees me...
(I want to squeal  right back.  I sometimes do.)

~A girl who feeds her babies at the dinner table with us...
(she is such a tender mama)

~A boy who makes knots in Everything...
(I was going to write something else, but had to pause to work out Several knots  [again] for him.  This inspired me.  I do want to remember this little part of his life)

~A partner who will make two trips to Joanne's for 'have to have it right now' poli-fill
(I know how much he doesn't like that place, does he know how much that means to me?)

~Two bad boy kittens...
(they cause so much trouble, but are so cute!)

Impromptu pre Thanksgiving dinners...
(every last thing was scrumptious) 

~Cool wet air, and windy days...

~I love looking at my baby and wondering just who he will be...

Here's to the beginning of a new week!   The holidays are upon us, and we have just three days left in our first trimester of homeshcooling!

Nov 18, 2010

On this day....

On November 19, 2007....


Naked time
Dress up
Story time
I'm trying to take pictures
You are foiling my plans
You are both so beautiful I can hardly stand it
I love our life.

A look back at a time that was so long ago,
  not very.
Things were so different,
 not really.
I thought I couldn't love you any more,
I was wrong.

Nov 17, 2010

Not it.

so this is Not the picture I picked for our christmas cards this year.
But I kind of love it.
Just a little bit.

Nov 16, 2010


Later this month my mother celebrates one year of living after nearly succumbing to heart disease.
Next week we'll go to her party.
Because after you survive,
you party.
I get that.
I think all the red in her yard is nicely fitting for survival don't you?


Ten more days till party time! 

Nov 15, 2010


A personal manifesto for
a day in the life
of my 

~Climb trees
~Color, paint, cut, glue, draw, create. 
~Love and care for animals.
~Explore the garden.
~Tend to, and harvest the garden.
~Seek out all things delightful.
 ~Ride bikes.

Nov 14, 2010

Gratitude Mondays...

What I love today.....

~A baby who tries to suck his thumb while nursing....
(thumb sucking babies are pretty adorable)

~A boy who acts like a cat while shopping.  Saying "meow" to everyone he greets...

~A girl who goes shopping in black and purple tights, rainbow tutu, pink leotard with a big flower on top of her head...

~A partner who talks in his sleep...
(this is constantly amusing)

~Christmas lights on the house!
(Not to be turned on until Thanksgiving night)

~Christmas cards addressed and signed...
(stamped, not so much)

~Trader Joe's Triple Ginger Snaps...
(edited to note~ I just caught a typo, I originally called them "Triple Finger Snaps" oops)

~Surprise flower bouquets...
(Techno colored daisies sprayed with glitter [aka fairy magic] that only a 6 year old, a three year old and their mother could love!)

Here's to a new week....  I'm hoping to get a lot done.... or maybe just read a lot.  We'll see!

Nov 11, 2010

Blessings, Gratitude, Thanksgiving...

Gratitude is very important to me.  
As a mother, its a cornerstone to my parenting.
Giving my children opportunities to express their gratitude is a daily goal.
A holiday named for Giving Thanks?
Yes please!
Today I'd like to share some of our words for giving thanks....
 (Ava's crayon melt art inspired by The Artful Parent, here.)

Turkeys come out to play
Thanksgiving is a time
to give thanks
Thanksgiving is a special time of year 
to be nice to everyone.
Thanksgiving is a time 
to be thankful for everyone who loves you.
Thanksgiving is a time 
when everyone gets together to make food and share it.
Ava, age 6 

I've mentioned our blessing cards before, here, and here.  Last year Ava painted this lovely cornucopia,  and wrote a beautiful blessing, but for some reason (umm... pregnancy) I didn't write her blessing on her card until today.

 (water color by Ava)

Thanksgivings Blessing
Jack-o-lanterns go away when pumpkins and cornucopias come to the table.
Cats lay inside winter's doors.
The farmers run and switch to make a scarecrow itch.
There are good sights to see when you step outside on Thanksgiving day.
Ava, age 5

And for me personally, what makes my day full of warmth and gratitude...

Messy faces...


Ocean Fairies...

and one little teething baby who was taking a nap during this time, so I didn't risk taking his picture.
(I was too grateful for his rest)

Many thanks to The Magic Onions for bringing families together for Friday's Nature Table.

Nov 10, 2010


Why even make baby toys when there are such delicious toes?

Nov 9, 2010

Brought to you by Silly....

Something to do while our Ava was sick...
playing with a camera.
Started off sweet, quickly turned silly.
Oh so silly.
What could be sillier than a boy in a heart leotard?
A boy in a heart leotard making 'crazy' faces, of course!

Sol, Cyrus, and silly.
Love it.

Nov 8, 2010

Always be six...

 I know it may be asking too much....
But could you always be six?
Wear tutus and tights
Sparkle shoes are best
Sparkle Anything is best
Faith in Fairies
Tangled hair
Pink blanket
Potty humor
Party dresses
Bike rides
Two baby dolls
Pillow houses
(pillow bee hives
pillow cars
pillow nests)
Night lights
Finger knitting
Strawberry toothpaste
Dirty nails
Glitter glue
Peppermint tea
Hair bows
 Yes to honey
No to bread crust
Tender hearted
Strong willed.

Gratitude Mondays....

What I love today.....

~Family birthday dinners...
(happy 60th to my father in law) 

~A clean house as a result of said party...

~Christmas crafting...
(or planning)
~ A mysterious weed in my garden that is now taller than I am....
(I hope it will bloom so I can figure out what it is!) 

~A little girl who has a circus act with her two daughters...
(and very elaborate costumes)

~A little boy who wants to hear his father's music LOUDER....
(if you only knew what his father's music was like)
~A little baby who spit up on my face...
(not great, but they've all done it)

~A partner who will wake up and shred carrots with me, 
so I'm not alone making dessert in the middle of the night.

Here's to the week.  And all that she'll bring!

Nov 5, 2010

Migration Celebrations...

We can't always count on the thermostat to guide us throughout our seasons  (have I mentioned that before?), but there are signs~ some subtle, some plain, that we can rely on.  One of the favorites in my home is the return of the ducks, geese, and loons to our local library.  We welcome the first our annual visitors with delight....


Thank you to The Magic Onion for bringing us together for another Friday's Nature Table.

Nov 4, 2010

Sweet Little Bunny

Sweet little Bunny

I awakened with a feeling
that the day would not go well.
It seemed that I was out of sync,
and things just wouldn't jell.
I looked outside my window and,
cute as he could be,
sat the sweetest little bunny,
who was looking back at me...
He cocked his furry head and looked,
as if about to say,
"I'm here to cheer you up,
to help you have a good day!"
I forgot my moody feelings
as I looked him in the eye
and said, "Hey, little rabbit--
thanks so much for stopping by!"

Glenda Allen

Nov 3, 2010


Its time to tell the tale of Ava's 6th birthday party.  There is so much to share....

The invitations were made (using this template)...

Family and friends arrived from out of town.  A time to meet Sol, and a time to celebrate Ava combined.  I had a brilliant idea of enlisting my nephew's help for a small fee.  He had the enterprising idea of enlisting his smaller cousins..

When their work was done, my family took Ava to a hotel room for a sound sleep.  We wanted the magic of her party to surprise her, as it would her guests, as it unfolded.

The little fairies arrived dressed in their fairy finest.  We made magic mushroom wands then headed to the back yard to follow a fairy trail to meet a fairy for each season.  Each fairy had a small treasure to add to our sacks.

The Fall Fairy gave us the gift of Goblin Balls.  (sweet gum seed pods)

The Winder Fairy had a bowl of crystals for us to chose from...

The Spring Fairy watched over the tiny acorn babies, and let us bring one home to take special care of...

The Summer Fairy offered us a gift from the sea.  Seashell necklaces wrapped around a stone.

With our bags full we came inside for Fairy foods (salad with edible flowers and raspberry vinaigrette, fairy cheeses, crackers, fruit salad and stuffed mushrooms) and Dew Drops to drink.  Our little fairies enjoyed a chocolate marble cake topped with lavenders, and homemade birthday candles...


 Its was a party to remember.  A day of magic I hope she'll never forget.

Okay, 21 pictures is excessive, (even for me... ) but come on.  Those fairies are too cute!

About Me

My photo
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.