My sweet girl turned 9 today! It's so hard to believe. She is constantly wavering between a little girl and a tween but she's still just my baby girl.
I have so many fun details to share from her slumber party and celebration, but I'm dealing with a bum computer. So for now, I'll just share a few shots I snapped with my phone, from my phone. Geez. Definitely not worthy of my lady's big day.
do you love pinterest? do you waste as much of your time on it as i do? at least i can honestly say that i have gotten some serious inspiration from all those hours spent and pictures collected. one of my tastiest recipes was a simple pickle. crispy, quick, and delicous.
i can't wait to pickle more! in my little garden, my cucumbers are flourishing and my dill is just swell so we'll see what we can throw together.
we definitely have our moments.
last friday keith and sophia decided to jam a little in our breakfast nook. he on the guitar, she on the fiddle.
it was a great show. but oliver was feeling left out so he grabbed his harmonica and we had a full-on family band.
of course my role was of dancer but in the end i couldn't compete with oliver's mick jagger swagger.
*they're all facing the same way because sophia, being the master photographer, had blocked out their spaces and set up her video camera. such professionals.
one of the kids' favorite snacks right now are homemade oatmeal bars. they are so delicious and super duper easy to make.
you can load them with anything you like and feel better about what you're giving your kids. i've made mine with dried strawberries and cranberries, and chocolate chips. some coconut would be yummy too!
preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
combine 3 cups of whole oats, 2/3 cup of whole-wheat flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and 1 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon.
in a separate bowl, combine 1/3 cup of honey, 1/3 cup of walnut oil, 1 beaten egg, 3 tablespoons of water, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Mix it all thoroughly.
combine the dry and wet ingredients and mix again. this is when i add all my goodies a handful at a time.
press the mixture firmly on to a lightly oiled cookie sheet forming one large rectangle.
bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes...until it is light brown and firm.
let it cool then cut. we like to keep our granola bars in the freezer for an even heartier, chewier texture.
i found this recipe in my laptop lunch user's guide. it's definitely a winner.
my herb garden has become a very happy little spot on my deck. so many lovely options. so many things to cook. one of my favorite ventures has been cheese making. it's terribly easy, tasty, and will take any combination of herbs i dream up.
this is what i did: in a medium, heavy pan, i brought a half gallon of whole milk to a rolling boil with a large pinch or two of salt and a variety of herbs. for one batch i used rosemary and lavender. for the other i used two cloves of garlic and some dill. when the milk was good and frothy i added the juice of one lemon and stirred till the milk separated. then i let it set for 10 minutes. i strained it in a cheesecloth-lined colander then rinsed.
it makes a good, crumbly, wet cheese. it is so yummy on crackers but also good in scrambled eggs and simple green salads.
i first saw a demo at our lovely botanical garden but you can find lots of different methods online as well.
i've got some great kids. i don't brag on them enough, but i do. they're smart, absolutely hilarious, terribly creative goofballs. love them. what they aren't, however, is consistently helpful and responsible for themselves. turns out i've been an enabler all these years. what can i say? if i wanted it picked up, i did it myself. you get the picture.
so there we are the other night all snuggled up and reading mrs piggle-wiggle. if you don't remember, mrs. piggle-wiggle is the sweet little woman who is great with kids and helpful with parents. she concocts lots of wonderful cures for all sorts of childhood ailments. cures like "the won't-pick-up-toys cure," "the answer-backer cure," and "the fighter-quarrelers cure." during reading one of the kids stops me and says, "i think the author was writing about us!" hmmm. could have been.
unfortunately i don't have a mrs. piggle-wiggle living on my street. i must rely on my own devices and it was time to devise a plan. time to get these kids involved in household chores.
i wanted something very simple that the kids couldn't miss and that they could manipulate to show that they're completed a task. i whipped together a couple pieces of felt and voila! the chore chart was born. right now they only have a few simple tasks they are responsible for. i really didn't want to scare them off and wanted to set them up for success. we are going to build ourselves up to more responsibility.
it's hanging all alone on my newly decluttered refrigerator. eventually i'd like to attach values to the tasks but for now, it's something. lots better than nothing.
in addition to this chart, i am reading a couple great books: too much of a good thing- raising children of character in an indulgent age, and no- why kids-of all ages-need to hear it and ways parents can say it. i'll let you know how it's going.
are you the keeper of stuff? yours, your kids', family members who just can't get rid of it all themselves? i am. i have so many chairs. i think my grandparents must have really loved chairs. i also have lamps, dishes, books, records, toys...most of it wonderful but some of it stuff i wouldn't have chosen but am now the owner of. i really don't live in a small house but keith and i find ourselves saying "our house is too small!". really it's just too small for all our piles.
i mean, look at this breakfast nook!
sophia's room has become unmanageable. keith and i don't like going into it and it just makes me feel rotten that our children are over-indulged. but when i really look around, a lot of it is my old barbie things, books, and furniture that i have always felt i couldn't possibly get rid of. oh the memories!
but things are going to change. yesterday at the library i found a great book titled, it's all too much: an easy plan for living a richer life with less stuff. it really is fabulous and filled with questions and anti-excuses that has already made me say "aha!" a number of times. the author starts with the nine most common excuses for not tackling clutter:
"i might need it one day."
"it's too important to let go."
"i can't get rid of it-it's worth a lot of money."
"my house is too small."
"i don't have the time."
"i don't know how it got like this."
"it's not a problem- my husband/wife/partner/child just thinks it is."
"it isn't mine."
"it's too overwhelming."
mmhmm. i've used most of these excuses but then i have to think, "how special can it be if it's stuffed in a box in my nasty old basement?", etc.
we started work on our basement this past weekend and soon, when it doesn't feel quite so overwhelming, i'll take on our poor little breakfast nook. but we are making progress. whew.
hopefully slow and steady will win this race.