December 31, 2008

New Years Eve



New year meme! Thanks to MyTie!

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Little things, but they meant a lot to me: Baked a pie. Spent election night in Times Square, put together political slide shows in video form and posted them on You-Tube-just can't think of it all!

2. What are your New Years Eve plans this year?
Work- I only have one client today, so that’s cool. Tonight, we’ll join the neighborhood sledding/bonfire/ fireworks party! Currently it’s -11! If things are still looking too chilly tonight, Back-up plan: Sled and partake of libations for about 4 minutes. Rush back inside, partake of cocoa , watch Wall-E , put little one to bed and watch Batman, peer out the windows when the fireworks go off! See if we can make it to midnight. And, inevitably, the phone call: “Hi-this is ‘insert name of someone living a mile or 2 up the road’. Your dog, Niko, is at our house. He was freaking out at our door so we let him in and now he’s sleeping in the living room. Do you want to come get him?” Poor dog. Fireworks scare the shite out of him along with plastic bags crumpling, cell phone beeps, ice sliding of the roof, Lo talking, the stove timer, anyone breathing……


3. On New Year’s Eve, do you:
a) Fall asleep at 9:00 p.m. (like you do any other night.)
b) Barely make it to midnight with your significant other/family.
c) Hit the town like a party animal until at least 1:00 a.m.
Yeah, that would be B! But actually, the last couple of years we’ve done the neighborhood sledding thing and it’s gotten us through past midnight!

4. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don’t set out to make the New year’s Resolution. But this time of year does lend itself to change. After the ruckus of the holiday season, when things calm down and return to normal, why not re-do the routine with some aspirations?

5. What will you make sure doesn’t happen in 09 that happened in 08?
For the past year, in addition to many wonderful things, I’ve had to deal with round and round mix of: a changed schedule/routine, ADD med side effects hampering my energy level, resulting in AM grogginess so that I can’t get up and get the intense exercise I’m used to, resulting in some depression, adding a new med, having the new med zap more energy, ADD meds that really aren’t working-making the usual tasks of daily living hard for me, resulting in feeling overwhelmed, compounded by the depression, and now go back to the beginning and start again!
My goal is to seek out alternative modalities for my ADD, such as Biofeedback, CogMed, mediation, allergy testing, nutrition and supplementation. I’ve already got that ball rolling. I want OFF the meds that barely work. I will have to make a concerted effort and perhaps a change in schedule in order to get up early in the AM and get my workout in. Or employ the help of others with Lo so I can get to the gym during those times when childcare is not offered.
Getting off the meds and intensifying my workouts is so unbelievably KEY to my mental health and wellbeing. I yearn to have my 45 min of cardio/45 min of weight lifting 5 days a week, not just 2. When I have THAT, I have better mental clarity, peace of mind, and intrinsic happiness. Better than any shit Prozac.

6. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Mary and Martin! One of the most beautiful babies you’ve ever seen! An old friendship for Miles and a new one for me-we both look forward to spending more time with them over the years! One of our favorite couples!

7. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

8. How many people will you romantically kiss in 2008?
1! My Hunny.

9. What countries did you visit?
Many, many, many in my day dreams, research and web surfings!

10. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
I think what I want most is for things to be less... up-and-down. Balance.

11. If for one year (2009) you could choose to be any age, what age would you be?
Late 20’s? To go back and truly appreciate where I was physically and give myself a kick in the ass to get the emotions straight.! I took it for granted back then.

12. Will you be looking for a new relationship?
Marital? Hell, nope! Happily married to my sweetheart. Friendship wise, I wouldn’t mind another close girlfriendship or 2. Other then that we have a small but great circle of family friends.

13. Where did most of your money go?
Bank, existence.

14. What was the best thing you bought?
My awesome camera lens.

15. How many times will you break and/or lose your cell phone in 2008?
Well, I’ve never lost or broken it so far….

15. Whose behavior merited celebration?
BARAK OBAMA!

16. Whose behavior disgusted you?
A tie between George Bush and Sarah Palin. Huz’s ex pathetically invading my blog comes in a distant second to those two.

17. Any trips planned?
Besides our summerly road trips around Alaska, Florida to visit the folks and, hopefully, New Jersey.

18. Wedding plans?
Not unless someone invites us!

19. What about yourself will you be changing?
see #5.

20. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Political activism!

21. Will you be nicer to the people you care about?
I always strive to be kind and empathetic.

22. Will you be nice to people you don’t know?
Ditto. I once knew a person who was always so unabashedly rude and holier-than-thou to people. I will never be that person.

23. Will you still be friends with the same people you are friends with now?
Of course!

24. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Meaningful stuff with my kids

25. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Blogging, so I could spend that time doing # 24!

26. What was your favorite TV program?
We don’t do TV. We’re Netflix FREAKS but I can’t imagine having the tv on all the time (like I used to when I was single) distracting our minds and stealing precious time from being present for each other. Every night, instead of avoiding life in the tv, Huz and actually sit together on the couch and…TALK! Imagine that! We usually have to force ourselves to bed.

27. Will you be looking for a new job?
No. I love my career, location, income and my clients.

28. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nope. Not into HATE. Just lack of respect, pity, disgust, disappointment, or all of the above.

29. What was the best book you read?
Much to my chagrin I didn’t read a lot for pleasure. Pillars of the Earth. The rest were Anthroposophy, parenting or child development books…

30. Will you better your relationship with your family?
The extended family-we’re on a positive even keel now so we’ll just ride that wave. I’ve re-connected with a lot of family and friends via facebook so I look forward to nurturing those relationships!

31. Will you do charity work?
Definitely. We are in a better position to help financially and I’ve put a lot into hands-on work, so I look forward to perpetuating the good karma and teaching my children about giving of themselves.

32. What did you get that you wanted?
Great times and great conversations with friends, a change in the political climate, travel, date nights with Huz, a healthy family, 2 happy SMART kids….just so much to list and be thankful for! On the froo-froo superficial side? Many of the items collaged HERE!

33. What was your favorite film of this year?
Why is this so hard to answer?! Crappy movie year, I guess. Juno? I have a feeling the 2 we haven’t seen yet, Iron Man and Dark Knight will be high on the minimal list!

34 . What happened in 08 that you didn’t think would ever happen?
a.
We bought a new Sony 52 inch LCD TV, a new tuner and a Blu-ray!
b. Hell must have froze because I actually found a great deal of new respect for all those TRUE conservatives who publicly acknowledged the ABSURDITY of McCain picking Palin. They are true to Conservative ideology. They didn’t turn a blind eye and weren’t willing to put our country in danger by trying to throw an inept Hail Mary into the White house. They truly care about their principles and aren’t afraid to show it. DID I SAY THAT?!?
c. We actually stopped the legal proceedings to sue the person owing us 25+grand just so we wouldn't have to deal with that person again.

35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Kynd BohoNordyrecREIation?

36. What new thing would you mix with chocolate in 2008?
Ancho/ceyanne/chocolate Easter bunnies!

37. Major lifestyle changes?
Improving on what I set out with in 2008.

38. What political issue stirred you the most?
The election. Duh.

39. Who did you miss?
Mel, my BFF! And the Kinne kids.

40. Do you expect 09 to be a good year for you?

Life would SUCK muchly if I couldn’t look to the future with hope and optimism!

December 28, 2008

Christmas 2008

Despite living so far from the rest of our extended family, our little family of 4 has spent many wonderful Christmases together. Each holiday season just gets better than the last, more thoughtful, more meaningful, our emerging traditions taking root and becoming more innate.

Outside looking in.
We made a concerted effort to be more eco-minded this year re-using gift bags, tags, and boxes, hand making gifts from recycled and/or reusable materials, saving bows and ribbons for future use, using scraps of fabric to make beautiful wrap, and trying to purchase items that aren't packaged in that gratuitous people-proof plastic packaging! It's HARD finding such things!!! We don't buy Christmas trees but we turn our big macrame hanger into our "tree"-it works quite well being tree shaped to begin with!
On a personal note, each holiday season seems to get more organized and on schedule for me-and that's saying A LOT! I actually got our Christmas cards out BEFORE Christmas!!!! Usually I'm lucky to get them out right after New Years! This time of year can be NUTS for someone with ADD but if I can keep my own stress at bay, it's a wonderful time as well. I was reminded of a comment I recently left on another blog regarding the wonder of traditions. I often find myself wondering why I knock myself out with all the preparations, baking, gift making, card making, honoring and reveling that goes on and I need to remind myself that I'm making traditions for my children-a few I had growing up but many new ones. They start here with ME and Huz so that hopefully they can be passed on.... and someday my great-great grandbabies will wear MY apron or use my cookie cutter. So, it's worth all this initial effort!

Christmas Eve-Making pie and cookies for Santa

Dinner! Before and after!

CHRISTMAS MORNING!
Clockwise:
My whittling kit, Danskos!, a piggy bank Lo made Dea for saving money for her Europe trip, the hobby horse I made Lo(I heart my scroll saw!!!), funky tie that Lo made Huz(for how to, go here), the COVETED new TUTU, Dea's new luggage for the Europe trip, coffee intermission, the painting Lo made for me, faux Uggs, the fabulous hummingbird(my fav bird) mask that Dea made for me-I just about started bawling, it's amazing and the best part is that it was molded from her own face. It's going right up above our Mexican dance masks.




One of our favorite traditions is spending the rest of Christmas Day over at the O's house. This year we had a great time sharing a big meal, hanging out and relaxing, exchanging gifts and playing "spoons". And the kids get along so beautifully!


I have a very fun blog to share, LITTLE NUMMIES. This blog by Kellie Strickland is totally dedicated to showcasing the most clever and yummy eats for kids(and the inner kids of adults!). I perused her site after she contacted me about featuring my penguin snacks and I highly recommend you check her out!!!

December 24, 2008

JOYEUX NOEL!!!!!!!!


Between Darkness and Light
by John Matthews



It is within the darkness and the silence
That the magic of Christmas starts;
Somewhere between the glimmer of lights
And the first breathless moment
When children come
Stumbling like new-born angels
Into morning light.
Within the darkness and the silence
We sit, watching wonder
Evolve into form; where we
Enter the ringing silence
In which the first bells of Christmas
Sound the music of the soul;
Where the morning joy begins
With a single carol
To a half-forgotten tune.
It is here, between the darkness
And the light,
That we wait, uncertain,
Seeking the moment
That challenges us to believe
In a freshly minted miracle
Born every Christmas Day.



~From The Winter Solstice
Quest 1998

Christmas Eve EATS! and a recipe! and more ornaments!

Tonight we're gonna MANGIA!!! Alaskan King Crab, mashed taters, green beans, Cabernet, aaaaand....

My FAH-BU-LOUS Apple-Cranberry Streusel Pie!

PASTRY FOR SINGLE-CRUST PIE
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
Dash of salt
1/4 pound COLD butter-NOT margarine
1/4 cup VODKA. Yup. You read me, vodka. ~Hic.

FILLING
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 dried tart cherries
5 large apples -- peeled, cored and
sliced, 6 cups
1 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 teaspoon apple pie spice-which is basically cinnamon and nutmeg.
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup toasted finely chopped pecans
or walnuts-BLECH!!! I HATE nuts! Keep em out, I say!
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
5 tablespoons margarine or butter

VANILLA ICING- optional. We don't bother cuz it makes the pie too sweet.
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
milk -- as needed

PREPARE PASTRY FOR SINGLE CRUST PIE:
Using a pastry cutter, cut in the COLD butter with the flour and salt until nice and crumbly. Make a little "bowl" in this mixture and pour in the vodka. Using your hands, gently fold together and combine until the dough can form into a ball. Form the ball into a disk shape and sprinkle flour on top. Using a floured surface-preferably marble-roll out the dough, occasionally flipping the dough and re-flouring the top.


When you've achieved the desired size, place in a deep 9 inch pie dish. Don't be a hero-spray it with Pam first. Roll under the excess edges of dough and pinch/flute a design all around. The design is both pretty and functional-it seals the crust.

FOR FILLING:
Mix granulated sugar, apple pie spice, and salt together in a bowl. Set aside. Boil dried cranberries and cherries in water for a couple minutes then add the apples and frozen cranberries mixed with 1/2 of the bowl of granulated sugar, apple pie spice, and salt. Boil for a couple more minutes. Drain. Mix 3 tablespoons of flour and the rest of the sugar and spice bowl with the cranberries and apples. Stir in half-and-half or light cream. Pour over fruit. Place in pastry shell.

FOR TOPPING:
Combine the 1/3-cup flour, brown sugar, and nutmeg. Cut in margarine or butter with a pastry blender till the pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle over filling.
BAKE:
Bake in the 350ºF oven for around 45 minutes. Bake till internal filling seems to come to a boil -it'll start oozing out the top. Cool 45 minutes on a wire rack. Drizzle with Vanilla Icing, if desired. Serve warm or cool. Makes 8 servings.

VANILLA ICING:
Combine 1 cup sifted powdered sugar, 1-tablespoon milk, and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in additional milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, till icing is of drizzling consistency.

Mangia! Hit the gym Friday.....

My favorite Santas. My BFF gave me the little one

A trio of ornaments of our x-mas lists that Dea and I made in 2001.

Peace, ass wipe, and duct tape. What more does the world need?

The epitome of the females in our home-both feminine and strong.

An Homage to Huz's years as a pastry chef.

Dea's cute handmade ornaments and "baby's first year".

December 23, 2008

WOOD UNIT BLOCKS...Easy-n-cheap!!!!!


Last Christmas, Huz made a set of kindergarten wood unit blocks for Lo. It was so simple! Just a matter of buying 4xwhatevers of pine, following a spec chart, doing the math, ripping the wood and sanding with a belt sander. Lo was amazed by this gift handmade by Daddy and has been incorporating them into her play almost on a daily basis for the past year. Here's a quick schematic and you can find instructions for making your own HERE.


I've really enjoyed seeing so many blogger's Christmas tree ornament posts! It's interesting to get a little insight into people's personalities and histories. Thought I would share a few of ours over the next few days:

Every year we make a set of Christmas ornaments to send to family and friends. Here's this year's batch. Wool wet and needle felted using cookie cutter shapes. The bear is my fav.


Every year at least one of us gets an REI ornament that showcases our love for the outdoors.
Dea's mountain bike and Santa on a kayak trip!

Hot cocoa-a camping must have.
Buddy the elf. THE bestest fast food kid's meal toy we ever got!!!
Lo's first Christmas. Her smilin' face just slays me!

December 21, 2008

HAPPY SOLSTICE!








December 19, 2008

Penguins. OPUS would be proud....Recipe Thursday

First off, I just posted like 1 or 2 other posts and an important petition, below this one-which I rarely do so close toether- but I LOVE these ideas and I'm being impatient! I wanted to get them out to folks before Christmas, so don't forget to scroll down!!!!!



Lo's Waldorf class had a little Holiday feast the other day and one of the moms brought in these penguin snacks. So friggin cute, I DIE!

We re-created them last night for a snack before swimming lessons:

Ingredients:

6 hard-boiled eggs
12-16 whole black olives, approximately
6 baby carrots for feet and a few more for beaks. ....or whatever you call them)
6 toothpicks
(and a celery "string" if you can finagle one off of a piece...)

Directions:
1. Hard boil the eggs. Drain, set aside to cool then peel.

2. BODY: Cut a small slice off the wide end of each egg. (Cut the slice so that the penguin can stand up on its own.).

3. FLIPPERS: Slice three olives in quarters lengthwise. Cut a small slit down each side of the"body" of an egg and insert one olive piece on each side.

4. CHEST: Cut approximately 1/2" sliver of black olive lengthwise. Make a tiny slit down the middle of the hard boiled egg and carefully insert the olive sliver.

5. HEAD: Place one toothpick down the center of the top (narrow end) of each hard boiled egg. Attach the whole olive with the hole in the center of the penguin's face.

6. NOSE: cut six small triangular pieces of carrot or bell pepper-large enough so that it will fit snugly in the olive hole and not fall out. Place the carrot or bell pepper piece in the olive hole.

7. To serve, arrange the soon-to-be endangered penguins on an irregularly shaped piece of styrofoam.

Angels


Dea made these cute angels with her 6th grade class a couple years ago and thought she would re-create them this year for her grandmothers. Simple materials and process resulting in a surprisingly beautiful gift!

MATERIALS:
About 2(to be safe) yards of unbleached muslin
Raffia
Styrofoam ball (about 8 or 9 inches around)
Christmasy embellishments, i.e. holly, poinsettia, ribbons, etc.
Glue gun

HOW TO DO IT:

1. Rip strips of muslin roughly 45 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. These will be looped over the Styrofoam ball to make the head and body, so periodically check your strips against the head to gauge whether or not you have enough strips.

2. Start looping the strips tightly over the ball(it should rest in the "middle" of the strips) to cover the head and make a smooth "face".

3. Using a scrap of muslin, tie the strips together tightly under the head to form a "neck".

4. Next are the arms. Rip strips of muslin about 25 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Line them up together neatly and fold so that each end meets in the middle. The ends should overlap about an inch or so. With a thin scrap strip, tie the strips together in the middle.


5. Holding the body, separate the hanging strips equally into 2 bunches and place the arms between the 2, up close against the neck.


6. Now tie strips together below the arms with a scrap strip and voila! There's your waist and arms. The body is complete.

7. Decorate your angel by using your glue gun to make a holly wreath for her head, a poinsettia belt at her waist, or whatever else you like.


8. Make a large bow with long pieces of raffia and hot glue to the back of your angel.



9. Tie a strip of muslin to the back of your angel in a loop to be used for hanging.

Save the TOYS!!!!!!!

CPSIA Grinches are trying to OUTLAW handmade toys and goods for children!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


HELP!!!!!! SANTA?!?!?!?!

The issue:

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys with dangerously high lead content, toys with unsafe small part, toys with improperly secured and easily swallowed small magnets, and toys made from chemicals that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.
The United States Congress rightly recognized that the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) lacked the authority and staffing to prevent dangerous toys from being imported into the US. So, they passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in August, 2008. Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and requires toy makers to permanently label each toy with a date and batch number.
All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and update their molds to include batch labels.
For small American, Canadian, and European toymakers and manufacturers of children's products, however, the costs of mandatory testing will likely drive them out of business:

~A toymaker, for example, who makes wooden cars in his garage in Maine to supplement his income cannot afford the $4,000 fee per toy that testing labs are charging to assure compliance with the CPSIA

~A work at home mom in Minnesota who makes cloth diapers to sell online must choose either to violate the law or cease operations.

~A small toy retailer in Vermont who imports wooden toys from Europe, which has long had stringent toy safety standards, must now pay for testing on every toy they import.

~And even the handful of larger toy makers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

The CPSIA simply forgot to exclude the class of children's goods that have earned and kept the public's trust: Toys, clothes, and accessories made in the US, Canada, and Europe. The result, unless the law is modified, is that handmade children's products will no longer be legal in the US.If this law had been applied to the food industry, every farmers market in the country would be forced to close while Kraft and Dole prospered.


How You can Help:Please write to your United States Congress Person and Senator to request changes in the CPSIA to save handmade toys and children's products. Use our sample letter or write your own. You can find your Congress Person here and Senator here.

~from HANDMADETOYALLIANCE.ORG



Dollhouse-made by RUNNINL8

Knitted food-made by WALDORF MAMA(her photo)

Fabulous Wood Castle- made by HEARTWOODARTS.COM





December 18, 2008

SILKIES!!!!! I LOVE 'em!


Number one in my Top 3 Best Toys for kids? Besides a box and sticks? SILKIES! A staple of Waldorf play, these simple squares of colored silk are the most versatile, open ended, creativity-sparking toys on this green earth! Silk is such a dreamy floaty fabric so conducive to the delicate state of young children who are still hovering in the spiritual. As ethereal as it looks, silk is quite a strong material and lends itself so well to active use. The endless possibilities for transforming silkies with ones imagination include: a cape, a baby blanket, a curtain for a puppet show, draped wings or skirt, baby sling, a tent for small dolls, and dress-ups. You can use them with play stands or decorate your nature table with the coming season's hues reflecting the magical changes to nature. Placing rosie colored silkies over a baby's bassinet or draping them across their window has a soothing effect. Then you have Lo's take on silkies: She's used them as clothes for her stuffed animals, dancing, hammocks for dolls, "slidey-shoes"(tie them on your feet and slide around the floor!), gift wrap, food-green for salad and brown for porridge, lakes and meadows for her castles, and even fire for campfires and as the fire for her dragon(see Random pic post!) The possibilities of silkies are only limited by the imagination!

One of the cleverest ideas that Lo has had with her silkies was to make a basic doll with a hooded cape over it's head! She figured out that she could ball up a couple of silks in the middle of a third as a head and secure it with one of her hair ties. She then placed another silky around the doll's head and secured it with another tie in the same spot.

(Knot the corners to make hands and feet!)

She had a bunch going at a time-they were all over the house! This doll idea turned out to be a great simple gift idea for Lo's friend. I ordered 4 white silks from Dharma Trading. Lo and I then dyed 1 of them pink using Kool-Aid. Lo made the doll and used the pink silk as the hooded cape. We left the other silks white so that Lo's friend could dye them if she wanted to! I was SO surprised and touched by how much this little girl loved her silkie doll! One of the most popular gifts we have given and just so easy to make!



Another great place to buy play silks is A Toy Garden. Their silks are made of high quality 8mm Habotai silk, are home-dyed in the US. And I've found they are much sturdier and longer lasting than Sarah's Silks.

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining some moms and teachers in silk dyeing over at our Waldorf school. It was tons of fun and quite EASY! All the materials were, again, ordered from Dharma Trading. I was so inspired and am thinking of investing in some bulk silk and natural dyes to make silkies for my future ETSY shop.

Hint, Hint, nudge, nudge...Silkies make ROCKIN,' simple, yet such versatile gifts for the Holidays.


For our silkie disaster, read HERE!