May 29, 2008


Holy Shite! It's thursday! Why did I think it was Wednesday?
Well, I had planned to share the recipe for my award winning cardamom beer, THE OM, but it's dinner time and I can't keep track of the days.

So instead...QUICK ICE CREAM!
(recipe given to me by the kid next door)

To those of you who are ice cream connoisseurs, this will taste like CoffeeMate on ice. But the kiddos LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1. Get a large Ziplock bag

2. Fill 1/3 of the Large bag with ice

3. Add 1/2 cup of rock salt

4. Then get a small bag and put in : 3/4 cup of milk,

1/2 tsp vinilla(her spelling), and 2 Tbls sugar.

5. Get all the air out of small bag and close it.

6. Put small bag into large bag then get the air out of that and seal.

7. Shake for 5 minutes until it hardens up a bit.

8. WASH ALL THE SALT OFF THE BAG BEFORE YOU POUR IT INTO BOWL!!!! Or you will get nasty salty icecream.

9. Put toppings like crumbled cookies or chocolate chip in icecream.


UPSIDE DOWN DRAWING?!?!? The apple doesn't fall far...

Is she walking in her mothers back assward footsteps? For awhile now, Lo has been drawing her figures upside down! It's the wackiest thing to watch. She draws enthusiastically and fluidly but everything is upside down! What the heck is up with that?!?! I've heard of reversing letters, but...
Here's Lo in action a few months back:

I LOVE that drawing and I want to get it framed. I started off as our family but then she added the Grandmas, friends, and pets.

And a couple from this morning. She was attempting to "write her name". She got the W right but the I's and an A are reversed.

A self portrait-Lo outside in a storm.

Big purple ears and head. little legs. See her hair flying up into the storm? Dark clouds above? And look where she's positioned drawing the picture!

Anyone else experience this katywonkus kid drawing?!?!?

WHAT COULD THIS MEAN?!?!?!??!?!?! -Runs shrieking from room...

May 27, 2008


Blue sky…not a cloud in it…slight wind still trying to tether us to winter. But the snow is gone. The green is bursting, and the sky is glorious. It was downright WARM when the breeze would subside. Warm sun on my skin in my tank top….then the breeze, and the fleece goes back on!
We just set up a blanket outside on the deck and got stuff done. Little things but lots of them. We made some pretty fairy jingles out of some wood letter “o”s that I got from the store a while back. I just sanded the edges till smooth so Lo would have a nice comfortable grip and then used a beeswax and lavender finish on them to bring out the grain and protect.

Man that stuff smells good. You can put it on your lips, too!
I ‘ve been thinking of different woodworking projects to try out and came up with a great template for an intarsia puzzle. Actually, my head has been just spinning the last couple of weeks with ideas for so many things. Toy making, kid clothes design, photography, garden art, painting, writing, and so on. My ADD brain just jumps from one thing to the next. Things are only half planned out and then I’m on to the next thing. At some point I come back to everything with the cycle staring again-all the while adding MORE ideas. Wheeeeeeeeeeee!! It can be an all consuming Bacchanalia, relentless and overwhelming. It can also be a fun, exciting, and very satisfying ride if I can just harness the thoughts and the time-keep everything “filed and organized” so that I don’t just shut down and do NOTHING…
Let’s see, the load of branches I hauled up our property from the neighbor a couple doors down.
They slashed a ton of their alder(grows like gangbusters up here-skinny and stunted) and twas mine for the taking! This pile will become:

a trellis for the “entrance” to the play garden, walking sticks, a “spirit stick” or two, and a few sets of tree blocks.

The greenhouse! We have plans for beatification. Huz and I mounted some chimes, I mounted Lo’s birdhouse as well, finally cleaned all the speckles of paint off the greenhouse door, planted some sugar snap peas to grow up the sides

and drew out an idea for the painting we’re going to paint on the door. I envision a stained glass look, colorful and transparent . The kids can go nuts with the trim if they like.
Ugh. As I sit here trying to think of what else I got done today…I can’t. I HATE that. I would have to wear a little pad and pen around my neck like a mute to document everything. Oh! I painted my toenails To Dive For Pink and had time to blog.
Then there’s Lo. Playin’ and doin’ life during all my inner mayhem. Here she is cuddling in the sun with her rock “baby”, Annie,-inspired by the story, Elizabetti’s Doll.
And later, her set up of little dolls feasting.

Off to the Huz with me. We need our “adult time” at the end of the day. Helps to turn down the volume in my brain.
Nighty night.


I kiped this post from A Little Garden Flower in order to spread the word regarding SUBWAY's current campain:
"Karen from our list sent this along this morning and I was shocked. They have in one contest excluded over 2 million children! To find out about their contest, visit this link The fine print for the contest reads:

'Contest is open only to legal US residents, over the age of 18 with children in either elementary, private or parochial schools that serve grades PreK-6. No home schools will be accepted.'

Comments can be made at: http://www.subway.%20com/Applications%20/CustService/%20frmCustomerServi%20ce.aspx"

Lame, lame, lame!!!! Check this out: From the above link: "Homeschoolers, offended by the ban, spontaneously -- and almost literally overnight -- organized a national Subway boycott that already has Subway's corporate spokesman hunkering down. All this happened over a holiday weekend, a time when people usually have better things to do. Imagine the impact today when millions of homeschooling parents are back in front of their computers, and discover what Subway has done to them.

So, if a kid wins athletic equiptment for his school, do the "illegal" kids not get to play on it?!?!?

May 25, 2008


I'm a rock hound
fake flower
the door to my massage room
my rocks at work
Lo's beloved Lamby

May 23, 2008


Stacking stars
Yoga girl
Clouds over the mountains
Martini glass, blech! We use them for Margaritas!!

May 22, 2008

SINCE IT'S SPRING....Recipe Thursday

You get 2!

SPRING GREEN SOUP-the epitome of.

This soup can be served straight from the blender, when it is still frothy, or well chilled during warmer months. Use sorrel as a garnish; its bright, lemony flavor is a wonderful accent. If you are unable to find pencil-thin asparagus, you can trim thicker stalks with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

(Serves 4)
1 cucumber, peeled
1/2 pound pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed
2 cups cold water
1/4 pound spinach, tough stems removed, rinsed well
4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 to 6 fresh sorrel leaves, for garnish (optional)


Halve cucumber lengthwise; cut one half into eighths and the other into 1/4- inch dice. Set aside. Cut asparagus spears into 2-inch lengths. Puree in a blender with 1/2 cup cold water until smooth.
Add spinach, scallions, cucumber eighths, and another 1/2 cup water. Blend until thoroughly pureed. Add avocado, mint leaves, and lemon juice; puree until smooth, adding remaining water a little at a time until soup is desired consistency. Add salt, and season with pepper. Scrape down sides of blender with a rubber spatula, and puree 5 seconds more.
Cut sorrel into fine strips, if using. Divide soup among four bowls; garnish each with diced cucumber, sorrel, and a mint sprig. Serve immediately.

(And to offset the healthy recipe):
My older daughter has been making this cake for her baking business, Dea's Sweet Treats. She is fundraising for the People to People student ambassador program for which she was nominated. This will enable her to spend a month in Europe as a cultural liason learning, educating and promoting peace. Greece, Italy and France!

Her carrot cake rocks-it's right on par with her Dad's, and he was a pastry chef/baker for 20+ years!


1 1/2 cups grated fresh carrots
(about 2 large) 1 cup walnut pieces

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh pineapple (see Cooks Note)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine salt

4 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/4 cups vegetable oil

4-ounce pureed carrots


2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese (1 pound), at room temperature

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature

2 cups confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest (about 2 lemons)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) square cake pans, line them with buttered parchment paper, and dust with flour.
Toss the carrots, walnuts and 1/2 cup pineapple with 1/2 cup of the flour in a small bowl and set aside.
Whisk the remaining 1 1/2 cups flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda, baking powder and salt together in a medium bowl.
In another large bowl beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick and light, about 5 minutes. While continuing to beat the eggs slowly, gradually add the oil, and then the pureed carrot.
Scatter the dry ingredients over the wet and then gently fold them together to make a loose batter. Gently fold the nuts, carrots, and pineapple into the batter. Pour into the prepared pans. Bake the cakes until firm to the touch and a cake tester comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on a rack for 25 minutes. Turn cakes out of pans and cool completely on the rack.

For the icing: Beat cream cheese in a large bowl, with an electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in the butter until smooth. Sift the sugar over the cream cheese, and beat until smooth. Add the lemon zest and vanilla extract and beat until light and fluffy. Refrigerate to set slightly for about 20 minutes.

To assemble the cake, place a cake layer on a cake stand, plate, or cake board. Spread about half of the icing over top, but leave the sides bare. Top with a second cake layer, and repeat with remaining icing. Serve.

SAD GOODBYES and why I HATE mainstream preschools!

Poor Lo.

Dea Dea Dea Dea Dea Dea DeaYesturday was the last day of pre-K at Aurora Waldorf School for the summer and I was surprised at how hard she took it. She has been in the 3day/3hr pre-K class for the past 2 months. Before that, we attended the Parent/Tot class taught by the same teacher, Miss P. I also know Miss P. from an acupressure class that we both took a few years ago.

My friend who was taking care of Lo on Wednesdays so that I could work, was no longer able to watch her due to a heavier work load. She is the head naturalist at our Nature Center and Lo got to hang out with her and attend her Kneehi Naturalist program. As I was not able to stop working, we were forced into looking for alternative care. We checked out 2 "highly recommended" pre-schools and I left feeling like I was going to throw up. Total chaos. As soon as we walked in it blasted us in the face. Kids screaming, arguing, fighting. Teachers yelling over the din. Early academics pushed. Stupid mainstream themed plastic toys. Kids laden down with Disney, et al. accoutrement's. Windows were covered up? No artwork on the walls. And no friendly welcome. Lo hid her face in my legs when the teacher finally "greeted" us. I could tell Lo was too sensory overloaded to respond. When Lo peeked out to watch some wrestling kids, the woman actually placed herself in Lo's line of sight, bent down from the waist(not squatting on Lo's level for reassurance), stuck her face in Lo's and seemed not to want to relent until Lo greeted her back! Through gritted teeth I said,"She's easily overwhelmed by this type of thing. She'll come out of her shell when she feels safe."
In tears I told my husband there was no way in hell we could send her there. I just could not accept anything less then the homeschooling(for lack of a better word-she's only 4 so I've provided the basic rhythmic Waldorf pre-K ) I was giving her or an environment like our Parent/Tot class. In the end after giving it a lot thought, we decided to buck up and send her to her beloved MissP's pre-k class. I pushed hard to get in her in for just 2 days a week but that wasn't possible. They are a private school trying to make ends meet. So 3 it was. It was so hard for me at first-I love being home with my baby! But I also knew in my heart that she was needing a little more social stimulation and I was having a hard time giving her that with where we live. She fit right in knowing her teacher and classroom as well as many of the kids. I took on another day of work to help pay for the tuition and realized I was really needing that 3rd day to just be by myself to engage in some "me time". I've never been the type of mom who was sick of being at home, couldn't wait to get back to work, blah, blah, and I've never needed or asked for a lot of space, but those 3 hours a week are precious to me. It gives me a chance to re-connect with myself as an individual. It's like restarting my battery and really all I need. Without it I'm not myself, lost, crabby...yikes! In the end, we're both invigorated and still have our own "homeschooling" rhythm.

So, back to sad goodbyes. Parents were invited to stay for the day for a shared meal and outside play. Lo was uncharacteristically clingy and did not participate in any activity that represented the "last day". This kid is totally motivated by food and didn't even want to help with making the fruit pizza. She didn't want to be a part of the impromptu class picture.
Here she is leaning on Miss P.... Sad girl.

She didn't want to hug anyone or hold hands during the closing verse. In my soul I felt her sadness. I was almost teary myself as were some of the other moms and dads and kids. I could only imagine how Lo must have felt! She crashed hard for a long nap when we got home and was in slightly better spirits when she woke up. She had 2 pee-pee accidents though. One during nap which is rare and one after her bath(oi!) when we went for a bike ride(never has an accident when awake anymore). What might be going on there? :(

A Waldorf school is a world apart from other educational institutions. It's a family, a deep connection, an extension of oneself. I understand that sense of loss she is feeling.

But we'll fill our summer with fun, still see some of her Waldorf friends for playdates, explore and learn, travel, and invite Miss P and her family to come up and go hiking with us in our "back yard". She's still asleep this morning but I hope today's blue sky and pink morning sun on the mountains will fill her with the promise of more time with Mommy and Dea...and Summer.

View from our deck this morning


1. El Tigre mask from Mexico
2. Roses from my sweetie
3. Butterflies-I SWEAR I'll hang them up in Lo's room today
4. Lo sleeping in her pink TUTU
5. Her first self-tied shoe! She just came up and said,"Mommy! I tied my own shoe!" NO ONE had attempted to sit and teach her yet!
6. SCOOT-Our Astoundingly Adventurous Amorous African Clawed Run Away Attack Frog!

May 21, 2008


1. Part of one of my acrylic paintings
2. Orange Tunes
3. Gnomies and such

4. Part of the twisty slide at the park
5. Abstract star
6. Our pizza!
7. More of the painting

May 20, 2008


ARRRRRGGGH! Jeez! Wouldn't ya know I'd have trouble uploading pictures during a week of photography! I don't know what's going on but hopefully I'll figure it out. So for now, the only pics I could get up: Lo's night light and stuff. And Carter, Huz's groovy stuffed chicken from when he was a boy(60's). Lo was really into him for awhile but then she broke up with him. Now her fave is Lamby. Maybe on purple day she'll show up. If I can get this junk up on the blog!!!


*The antique mask is one of 4 that we've bought on our trips to Mexico. This one was from our honeymoon to remind us of the fabulous weather and hedonism during our Alaskan winters. It was used for celebrations and ceremonies. I love the amethyst eyes!

May 19, 2008


So it looks like Tammy at Little Home Big Love and Dawn at Renaissance Mama will be joining me in celebrating color this week! And maybe Denise from Mom in Madison?!

Here we go with GREEN:
1. Our sweet little buds we forced inside. I can now say that buds outside have finally caught up!
2. A sweater for Lo that Grammie knitted.
3. My save Darfur hoodie that I am planning to embellish with the unbelievable photo of a Darfuri child getting a drink from someone's bottle cap. Should make quite an impression when I wear it. I hope.
4. Cockeyed peacock feathers that I plan to incorporate into an acrylic painting.
5. A budding tree at the Farmer's Market.
Cheese-N- Rice, I NEED a decent lens for my camera!!!!

So, what's your child's outdoor play space like?!

We’re looking for new ideas t0 improve what we started in the back yard last spring and would love to hear your ideas!

Living in Alaska, I do miss the big trees of my childhood that you could climb and hang a swing on. And it would be nice to have a small grassy area on our property, but everything else it has to offer makes this place fanciful, inviting to the imagination, open-ended and the epitome of natural.
In summer there is still the trail system and spruce forts. Out back there is a spot where the ground is leveled off and this has become our “playgarden”. For a few years it was a just a firepit and squeaky crappy swing set. The kids in the hood used it a bit, but…well you know how it goes with those old swings with the legs bouncing out of the ground as soon as the kids get a good swing-on!! The playgarden was blahsville but we didn’t have a lot of scratch to put into one of those serious wooden fortresses with the tower, swirling slides, rock-climbing wall, rollercoaster and personal chef. Last spring I found out that a kid doesn’t really need all that noise.
As I was delving into Waldorf education I decided to enroll Lo and I in the Parent/Tot class at the Waldorf school. *I highly recommend these programs for anyone interested to exploring this type of education*. I learned so much in this once a week 3 hour class. Toward the end of each class we would go outside for some fresh air and rambunctious play. The first time we stepped into the play yard out the back of the school I was …disheartened. There were no swings, slides, climbing structures, tetherballs, or 4-square plots…just MUD. And a small strip of icy snow down a sloping part of the yard. It was break-up and everything was grey. The trees were dirty and lifeless, rotting leaves blanketed the ground, bleh. The only redeeming factors were a big sandbox and a little wood cabin. I felt sorry for the kids attending the school. While the inside was warm and inviting and beautifully decorated, this play yard was enough to put me back on Prozac. “Depressing!”, I thought. As I stood and watched the kids, it didn’t take long at all for me to see that those kids were having a blast out there! They made due with what was there: tree stumps and logs to roll around and make into a bus or a wagon caravan, a long wide plank of wood that could turn into a see-saw by placing it over a log. Placed over 2 upright logs, it became a bench or a bridge or a dragon to ride on. There were large rocks for lugging around, little gemstones and sea shells hidden in the sandbox to be unearthed by a delighted child, and a fallen tree that became a balance beam or a mountainous cliff to jump off of. There were plenty of buckets and rakes and shovels for making mud pies and soups. The trees in the yard had amazing above ground root systems and made for great fairy houses. And the kids delighted in that quickly disappearing strip of ice-using the big shovel to sit on and slide. I was amazed, impressed , and inspired with the vast imaginations of those children. Had the play yard been more mainstream, I don’t think I would have see the variety and intensity of creative play. This little place was a wonderland to those kids. Over the past year I’ve seen that play yard’s potential change with the seasons and combined with the burning imaginations of the children remain a wonderland of opportunity.
Dea and I planned to create something similar with what our property had to offer. I love the idea of using all natural recyclable materials as much as I can. No more metal and plastic stuff! We had tons of long branches in the back yard and with them we created a cool stick fort. Once we had the basic support branches set up, we filled it in with smaller branches. Whenever we’re out there, we’ll pick up a couple branches to add to it.



We gathered big attractive rocks from the French drains on the sides of our road. On the drive home one day, we passed a property with a felled cottonwood tree that someone had started to buck up. There were nice fat squat logs and thinly sliced disks strewn all over. Perfect for making mushrooms to play on! I stuck a note asking if we could have just a few logs and disks for our playgarden in their mailbox. The guy called to let us know we could have whatever we wanted! We loaded to back of the Buru up and now have a toadstool table and chairs,

various mushroom seats and a “structure” that resembles a dragon, all made out of logs! We also found an old long and sturdy board behind the shed and mounted it onto a big round log to make a see-saw. Dea helped make a bridge out of a half round of thick tree bark to go over our “river” made with pebbles. It started to turn into a pretty whimsical place to play!



This year we plan to build a big sandbox. I found some free railroad ties on craigslist and I’ll start searching for some good sand.
I came upon this idea at Joy in the Journey! Looks like FUN, but where to get a whiskey barrel?!?!? I also found these amazing mushroom seats!

And these, too!

Very pricey, but man, aren’t they COOL! I've only seen them sold in the UK though.

I love being a kid again!
Let us know what’s up in your backyard!!!!!