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Quite the pair we make

November 29, 2011


 

A few nights ago, right before the holiday and all its full and busy glory came to be, a realization hit me as Rudie and I went about our daily business. As he busied himself in the kitchen with a child underfoot and I busied myself at the sewing machine, I stopped and looked around for a moment.

I watched him explain to his little boy about yeast, flour and water and how it makes bread (and listened to said little boy repeat every word!). I watched him measure, mix and knead the recipes he was creating – using both skill and love to make one of our family’s daily staples. And I looked down at my own hands creating something  from nothing – from simple flannel and thread – and it hit me: what a pair we make.

One baking, the other crafting. One creating, the other inspiring. These roles are interchangeable from day to day – one day I bake, the other he does. One day I craft the next is his turn – well, except for the sewing. This is an area he doesn’t touch!

I cherish this partnership of ours, where the cooking and crafting can be split down the middle and both parents can be inspiring to our little ones. Looking to the future I can see us in fifty years still crafting and baking, still creating and exploring and having the love of making that currently drives our days.

November 25, 2011


 

 

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving – full of laughter, family, friends and food, of course! Our Thanksgiving was a surprise and last moment event. The relative who was going to make the feast fell ill and on Wednesday I received a call letting me know that dinner would be at our house ! Surprise!

Fortunately, it all fell through in a wonderful way – dinner was a breeze, everyone was in good spirits and a relaxing afternoon was enjoyed my the whole family. It was lovely to stay home, allowing us an outdoor outing to enjoy the fall colors and crisp air in between rain storms. We were also able to watch a movie and enjoy each other’s company instead of driving four hours in traffic for the holiday.

And today, well today is Black Friday. Will you (or have you) been shopping? Is this a yearly event for your family?

Black Friday has been a sore subject for me this year. Growing up, my mom was a shopper always hunting for the best deal. It was not uncommon for her to visit six stores looking for the best price for whatever she wanted. I was never much of a shopper, getting tired and impatient very quickly. But at this time of the year, the urge to shop becomes prevalent. The ads, the commercials, the flyers, the “joining in” of the crowds, the deals – how can you not want to go and be a part of it? It is exciting to see what you can get for cheap, cheap, cheap!

The big problem with this is that we, as a family, are trying to consume less. Less items, less clothing, less toys, less stuff. I am constantly purging our closets from years of stuff, especially with a new baby on the way. As a family we have decided to not buy for Christmas, and not purchase more toys for out little one who does not need them. Another issue is the finances. Our budget is rather tight with my being home and there just is not much leftover for a shopping spree – even at discount prices. We recently had a discussion about whether the Black Friday deals are actually worth your time and money – or if it is just hyped up pseudo deals for a consuming craze society. I could go on and on…

This year, I am attempting to make most of the goodies for my family.  I love to give gifts and am finding much reward in the fact that I can make so much with my needles or sewing machine. I have mentioned this before, how the love of making makes my heart grow in immense ways. How the love of crafting is something I wish to pass on to my children (!) and have them want to create and cherish their creativity.

My husband had a creative and crafty childhood filled with ceramics, paper mache, coloring, crafting and other useful and fun activities. I look and imagine his childhood as a magical time spent creating and learning a new skill everyday. Today he loves to make – and every new project is a wonder to him. Someday I hope my boys will have this sense of wonder too.

Sending warm and creative wishes toward all!

When cooking…

November 21, 2011


 

When cooking to a toddler it is best to remember a few simple rules:

  • if a mortar and pestle lives on your counter it will become a toddler mixing bowl
  • in case you wanted extra flour, sugar or garlic powder in your pancake mix, the toddler will take care of it for you
  • anything you wish to make might take 20-30% longer when including a toddler
  • the joy of seeing your toddler tell you what each spice is, how to mix them and try to measure out ingredients is wonderful
  • and somehow, despite the mess, it all gets finished – the pancakes are cooked, the breakfast devoured, the extra sugar, flour and spices are cleaned up and the toddler is thrilled at having help.

Hoping your Monday is fulfilling and full of sugar and spice!

Crunchy!

November 15, 2011


I have been hearing so much about this new popular snack that all the foodies are raving about: roasted chick peas. I was skeptical, I was cautious, I was wary, but I finally tried them and oh my! they are amazing! And such  an easy thing to make!!

Roasted Chick Peas

1 cup of cooked or canned chick peas

1 tb olive oil

seasoning

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

If using canned beans, drain, rinse and pat dry. If using freshly cooked beans just dry. Drizzle with 1 tb olive oil and shake to coat. Place in preheated oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and crunchy. If not all the beans are crunchy, leave them in a few more minutes.

Season with salt and pepper or curry spices, or any spice blend you would like.

YUMMMM!!!!

Times are changing…

November 14, 2011


As the weather turns colder in our little house and we all gather around the fireplace and cozy up to remain warm my thoughts have turned to winter crafting and the holidays. This has traditionally been a rather stressful time of the year for me, what with shopping, wrapping, cooking, gatherings and shipping, sometimes it is a bit much for this easily overwhelmed Momma.

Growing up, my family always put a big emphasis on gifts. It was always about WHAT you received, not what effort or thought went into it. I remember my brother and I taking professional school pictures, framing them in nice frames and giving them to our parents for their anniversary only to be given the response of, “that’s it? That is all you got us?”

Every year I wrack my brain hunting for presents and worrying if it will be enough. Will they like it? Will it be used? Will they be happy? Rarely does the question of, Will I be happy giving this? come up, and rarely do I enjoy the process of giving at this time of year. It plainly stresses me out!

As a parent I have loved the simplicity of life of a toddler – and realizing the they really do need much less things  than we think they do. My son, for example, has far less toys than his fellow playmates, but he has never noticed. He has plenty to do. For his holidays this year my husband and I are trying to focus on the season of Christmas, not the gifts. We have activities planned to celebrate the lights and magic, instead of spending the time at the mall. (There will be more on this coming later!)

This year I am attempting a difference. With a very tight budget and limited time as the holidays approach quickly, quickly, quickly we wish to make a change to our routine. I believe children have too much already, and instead of buying my nephews and niece something to make them happy, I will be making them presents. I have a nice fabric and yarn stash, I can make just about anything. With many things in progress, much sewing to do and a little bit of creativity I believe it should all turn out well. After all, what is giving a gift if the giver is not enjoying the process of making it!

And what about you? Do you holidays stress you out or make you happy?

Acceptance

November 3, 2011


A week ago as I drug a kicking and screaming child from the library story time, I had a few thoughts about acceptance and parenting that I would like to share. It seems that acceptance is something we all struggle with, whether early in parenting or late, whether expected or not, we all have set expectations for our children. Be it the gender, the size, appearance, behavior, interests or dislikes, habits and style of our children – all these things usually have an formed shape of what we wish them to be.

In my parenting world it is no different. I love to read and there are few places that hold magic quite like the library for me. As a child, the library was my sanctuary. Being an awkward,glasses wearing chubby kid I used to find my solace in the books of the children’s and eventually young adult section. Anything I could possibly get my hands on I would read – Austin, Faulkner, Milne, Lewis, (the list escapes me after so many years).  As a child I would read my high school aged brother’s books and fully understand and explain them to him. I think I make my love of books pretty clear!

My son, on the other hand, does not seem to enjoy this form of entertainment. Mind you, he is two and two year old’s really don’t have a full grasp on what they do and do not like, but after almost two years of going to library story time he is not enjoying it any more. Each time we visit the library he loves going in, loves returning books or checking them out but once we attempt to enter the storytime room he fights and fights – and then I spend the entire hour attempting to keep him from leaving or screaming or having a full melt down. It is exhausting.

I see the other children who love their library time and am envious. I wish him to be the little boy engrossed in the story (he has never once paid attention!) following the songs and rhymes, singing along and loving every second of this special time. I wish him to be dying and begging  to go to the library as I did long ago. But he doesn’t.

He prefers to be at home with his familiar items, playing and learning at his own pace. He prefers to be with friends and running and jumping. Maybe it is a boy thing (being a little girl I am sure I would not understand!) or maybe it is a two year old thing.

Because, despite this little insignificant issue, he is an amazing and smart little guy. He learns so much so quickly, has his own way of doing things and his own way to tell you what he wants. I am amazed by his skill and understanding every single day as he grows and his verbal abilities get better. He is perfect in his own way – all of his lovely three foot tall, goofy, silly, intelligent, artistic, Duckie carrying self.

As a parent it is all about acceptance. Acceptance that your body will not be yours for years, that you will no longer have privacy, that you will have a little creature to love, teach and nurture.  Acceptance that you, yourself,  might not be the parent you always dreamed of, the mother/father you thought you would be. Maybe you are better than you thought, maybe worse. But the acceptance is there. I am learning that part of this parenting world comes with learning acceptance to take our children as they are – maybe just like us as children or maybe not – but accepting them for the amazing creatures they really are.

 

 

 

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