Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the Season

For some reason during the holiday season I always hear people talking about how surprised they are at how generous and kind the general population is at this time of the year. And every time I hear it I can't help but to smirk. I think to myself hmmm...that is interesting because isn't that how we should live our lives on a daily basis? Whether you believe in Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, or are an atheist doesn't matter because this a basic tenant that we try to live our lives by, right? You know, do unto others as you would want done unto you kind of thing?

I can't help but to say I feel the exact opposite at this time of year, which makes me dread the holiday season (yes, I say holiday because I have many friends who don't celebrate Christmas or the birth of Jesus) just as much as I LOVE it; because I DO love it! But, I feel that it is this time of year that brings the worst out in people. The, "I am the only one who matters, get out of my way, my life, kids and presents are better than yours" attitudes along with people's pure selfishness. The last two weeks I have witnesses so many accounts of this type of behavior that it has depressed me deeply as well as created a level of stress in my own life.

Seriously, in two weeks here are just a few of things I have witnessed:

Too many drivers COMPLETELY blowing through stop signs in store/mall parking lots to even count!
2 people running red lights that were REALLY red.
One old lady hitting my child in a grocery store-YES it did happen, and was beyond crazy and my claws came out on this one!
3 grocery store clerks getting their ears chewed off by customers for things they had no control of or responsibility for.
Being cut in front of twice while trying to shop for gifts.
And this list goes on, but I will leave it at this.

Why is this I wonder? Is it really THAT stressful this time of year? I just don't get it. The sad part of it all is that this always makes me want to stay in and do all of my shopping online, which is just not acceptable, especially with the economic condition of our state & country. So I venture out day after day just hoping to spread a little peace in this world and ofter a smile and kind word instead of a nasty growl and insult and I challenge you to do the same! :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Menus

Monday: Tuscan Beans w/sage, polenta cutlets w/ sun-dried tomatoes & fresh bread

Tuesday: Taco Bar Night

Wednesday: Homemade Pizza & Ceasar salad

Thursday: Ceasar Salad, Left-over Tuscan beans & polenta & fresh bread

Friday: Salad, Butternut Squash Soup & fresh bread

Saturday : Salad & Harvest Kale Pie

Sunday: Groundnut stew

Monday, November 16, 2009

Monday Menus

Monday: Carrot Ginger soup, salad w/maple roasted pumpkin & feta, roasted brussel sprouts

Tuesday: Kale harvest pie

Wednesday: Greek veggies & orzo w greek salad

Thursday: Chickpea spinach curry w/ coconut basmasti rice

Friday: Caribbean beans & rice w/mango salsa

Saturday: Taking the night off & ordering out

Sunday: Veggie pot-pie w/salad

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday Menus

Busy Week & it has taken me too long...but here it is!

Monday: Winter Minestrone

Tuesday: Baked sweet potato w/kale & ricotta, left- over soup, salad & fresh bread

Wednesday: Pasta w/tomato sauce, salad & bread

Thursday: Chilaquile w/guacamole, salsa & chips

Friday: Walnut-lentil burgers & salad

Saturday: Date night

Sunday: Mujudra, spinach & kale w/onions, hummus & pita bread

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Menus

Monday: Farm-stand Casserole

Tuesday: Hubbie's cooking night ( I have a massage :) )

Wednesday: Black Bean Soup w/ Mexican Salad

Thursday: homemade quinoa burgers w/ home fries

Friday: pizza night

Saturday: carry-out

Sunday: sesame, tamari & ginger baked tofu, broccoli & peppers w/rice

*I have had a really hard time finding a vegetarian black bean soup that has a lot of flavor. The recipe I tried this week was new and we all loved it so I thought I would share. :)

Vegetarian Black Bean Soup

10 sun dried tomatoes
1 cup of boiling water

1 1/2 cup of finely diced onions
3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeno finely diced
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin
1/3 cup water
28 oz. can undrained canned tomatoes
4 cups of undrained cooked black beans
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
additional water or tomato juice

sour cream & shredded cheese for toppings

In small bowl, cover the sun-dried tomatoes with the boiling water and set aside.

In a soup pot, saute onions, garlic and chili pepper in the oil until the onions are translucent. Add the cumin, 1/3 cup of water and the juice from the tomatoes. Chop up the tomatoes coarsely and add to the pot. Cover, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 5 minutes. Add the black beans and their liquid, continue to simmer and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

Drain and chop the softened sun-dried tomatoes. Add them to the soup and cook for 5-10 minutes longer, until the onions are tender. Stir in the cilantro and remove from heat. Remove half of the soup and puree, adding the extra water or tomato juice if it gets too thick. Pour back in to the pan, stir and heat until desired temperature.

Enjoy topped with sour cream and/or cheese.

Los Dios De Los Muertos

Day of the Dead is something that our family has celebrated the last couple of years. It has been a wonderful way to teach our children the importance of remembering members of our family who have passed away. We take time to tell stories that keep memories alive, we make favorite foods of those who have died and we set up an alter with photos, flowers, and candles to remind us to say prayers of thanks for all that our ancestors did to help us have the lives we have today.

It has been an excellent tool to help my five year old daughter be able to talk about death and start to understand it is part of the natural life cycle of every living thing. It also has been a great way to teach my children that through death we celebrate life.

This year I picked up this awesome fabric for our altar (Pink Chalk Fabrics) as well as some fun tissue flowers and skull trinkets from Mexican town. For those of you who are not familiar with this holiday, it is one that primarily celebrated in Mexico and by Latin Americans in the United States. It is celebrated on Nov. 1st & 2nd (in connection with All Saints Day and All Souls Day) and the celebration includes trips to the cemeteries to pay respects, special meals & treats and altars that are adorned with flowers, pictures, sugar skulls & food to honor the deceased. One thing that I have found very interesting is that scholars have traced the origins of this holiday back thousands of years to an Aztec festival in honor of a goddess, Mictecacihuatl, whose role is to keep watch over the bones of the dead. Her cult is sometimes held to persist in the common Mexican worship of Santa Muerte; this I find VERY fascinating!

I encourage you to make this holiday part of your family festivities at this time of year, especially if you have little ones who are curious about death and you are having a hard time approaching the issue with them.

Here is the recipe that we use to make the traditional Day of the Dead Bread, Pan Muerto:

Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)
Ingredients 1/4 cup milk 1/4 cup (half a stick) margarine or butter, cut into 8 pieces 1/4 cup sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 package active dry yeast 1/4 cup very warm water 2 eggs 3 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted 1/2 teaspoon anise seed 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons sugar

Instructions: Bring milk to boil and remove from heat. Stir in margarine or butter, 1/4 cup sugar and salt.
In large bowl, mix yeast with warm water until dissolved and let stand 5 minutes. Add the milk mixture.
Separate the yolk and white of one egg. Add the yolk to the yeast mixture, but save the white for later. Now add flour to the yeast and egg. Blend well until dough ball is formed.

Flour a pastry board or work surface very well and place the dough in center. Knead until smooth. Return to large bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise in warm place for 90 minutes. Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Knead dough again on floured surface. Now divide the dough into fourths and set one fourth aside. Roll the remaining 3 pieces into "ropes."

On greased baking sheet , pinch 3 rope ends together and braid. Finish by pinching ends together on opposite side. Divide the remaining dough in half and form 2 "bones." Cross and lay them atop braided loaf.
Cover bread with dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix anise seed, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar together. In another bowl, beat egg white lightly.
When 30 minutes are up, brush top of bread with egg white and sprinkle with sugar mixture, except on cross bones. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Autumn in Nature

Fall, leaves, fall; die,
flowers, away;
Lengthen night and
shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths
of snow
Blossom where the rose
should grow;
I shall sing when
night's decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

Emily Bronte

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Projects Completed

Coffee cuff...
P.J. top for little Jonah

Mom's old ugly sewing table....

Newly painted just the way I want it!

Monday Menus

Monday: Baked Mac & Cheese for kids, Mexican salad for me

Tuesday: Cabbage Soup

Wednesday: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas

Thursday: left-overs

Friday: homemade pizza/calzone night

Saturday: small plates & soup for halloween

Sunday: Farmer's Vegetable Casserole

Friday, October 23, 2009

Shut Up and Sing

I have to admit I am not one for country music. I have listened to it in the past (forced mostly by my mom) and I did go through a short phase where I listened to it voluntarily, but it has been at least 15 years since I have sat down and listened to "country music." It is one of the two types of music that has never really done anything for me; the other being heavy metal. So when Natalie Maines, the front-womun for The Dixie Chicks, made a basic anti-war statement the night their 2003 tour opened in London, I had no idea what she said or the repercussions of her statements that these three womyn have dealt with almost continuously since that night. It wasn't until a good friend recently gave me a copy of their documentary, Shut Up and Sing, that I was aware of what was said, what has happened because of what was said, and how bad-ass these womyn truly are!

This documentary follows these womyn from the opening of their "Top of the World" tour (2003) through five years of backlashes, boycotts, death threats, pregnancies and the writing and production of a new album. It shows the strength and convictions and sisterhood that these womyn possess. It also shows how many people in this county say they believe in free speech and yet what they really mean is that they believe in free speech if what you are saying is something that they agree with and support. It baffles me that all of the controversy was over what Natalie Maines had said after singing their hit Traveling Soldier (in reference to the war) was: "And we're ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas."


THIS comment is un-American and un-patriotic?

Exercising their right to the 1st Amendment isn't American?

Why is it that Rush Limbaugh or other right-wing conservatives who spew messages of hate on a daily basis aren't held to the same standards?

When is the last time the radio stations which air these despicable people (such as Rush Limbaugh) have been boycotted?

And why is it that when a young womun stands up and exercises her right to the 1st Amendment she is a loud-mouth, pushy, liberal bitch that needs to be silenced?

Just some questions that have been going through my mind.

If you haven't seen this documentary I highly recommend it. And if you are anything like me, you will want to go out and buy all of their albums and 10 copies of this DVD to give to your friends and to show these fine ladies your support.

Here is a video of The Dixie Chicks singing their song, Not Ready to Make Nice, which I think is pretty kick-ass!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Monday Menus

Monday: Chickpea & Spinach Curry w/ Brown Rice and side of roasted broccoli & brussel sprouts

Tuesday: Taco night ( at request of the kids :) )

Wednesday: Potato Leek Soup, Salad & almost fat-free corn bread

Thursday: Homemade Pizza/Calzone Night

Friday: Italian Bean & Squash Soup

Saturday: Sweet Potato, Carmalized Onion and Butternut Squash Lasagne, Salad w/fruit & nuts

Sunday: Left-overs

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday Menus

Lately I have been trying to set weekly menus and I haven't had a lot of success with it. As a result my grocery bills haven't been the best and so I need to make this a priority. So I decided that I would start posting my weekly menu on the blog to help keep me on track. So every Monday I will do a post titled "Monday Menus" and occasionally I will add recipes for some of our favorite delicious and fast vegetarian meals.

MONDAY: Indian-curry Sweet Potato Soup (recipe below), Arugula w/fruits, nuts & goat cheese and fresh bread

TUESDAY: Veggie Taco Bar Night

WEDNESDAY: Whole Wheat Pasta w/ Green Sauce, Roasted Beets, Carrots& Red Onions in Fennel Pollen & fresh bread

THURSDAY: Left-over soup & pasta

FRIDAY: Carry-out Arabic food

SATURDAY: Veggie Minestrone, Salad & Fresh Bread

SUNDAY: leftover soup, Salad & Fresh Bread

Indian Curry Sweet Potato Soup:

* Ready in 25-30 minutes

2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small yellow onion chopped
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Madras Curry Powder
2 1/2-3 cups of veggie broth
1 can of light coconut milk
3 cups of shredded spinach or kale

In large pot heat oil & then saute onions, potatoes, and garlic until onion is just tender. Add spices and stir continuously for another minute. Add 2 cups of the broth & bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer covered for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.

Add coconut milk & stir to mix well. Pour into a food processor or use emulsion blender to blend until smooth. Add the additional broth until you get it the consistency that you want it. Then add the spinach/kale & cook until the greens are wilted. Season with salt & pepper, serve hot.

* The original recipe is a little different. It also called for a can of chickpeas to add in with the spinach & I did so and my whole family thought the texture combination was horrible so I ended up straining out the chickpeas and making them into a dip for crackers.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A lot of randomness

I have to be honest and say when I sit down to start a blog I can never quite get into it these days. Maybe because I have so many other things pulling me in different directions. I have started a few entries that I do plan to finish, but right now sitting down to the computer to write just does not do it for me. If I am going to be on the computer I'd rather be doing brainless activities such as bouncing through fabric sights and sewing blogs; drooling over what future projects await.

But as for right now I have produce that I must can, freeze, dry and cure for the winter. I have been sewing and trying to learn some basic embroidery stitches to get ready for Christmas. I have been doing a lot of baking as well; I think it is the cold weather that has prompted the need for comfort foods and carbs. AND....I have started my graduate school application in hopes of starting school next fall. Yes, much is going on right now and I am trying to soak it all in. I know that if I am in school this time next year a lot of this other stuff will be put on hold for a couple of years. And did I mention I have two kids to take care of, chase around and help with homework?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Projects completed!

Here are the set of pajamas that I FINALLY finished! I finished this set last week as well as the top of another set I started back in the summer and seemed to never get around to finishing (sorry Rebecca- I hope they still fit!) I am not sure why, but I seemed to have issues every time I sat down to a project. First it was not measuring enough fabric and so then I had to go back to the store I purchased it to find out that they were completely out and not getting anymore in. So, the search online began to find this flower fabric or one that was complementary. I also had some issues with my bobbin winder that delayed these projects that sent me to friendly neighbor's machines to do some bobin winding. Then I ran out of thread and well, let's just say there was a lot of life happening in the midst of all of this as well.

But I am very happy that both projects are done and now I can FINALLY move on to start Christmas gifts and goodies! By the way for those of you who are interested the fabric for this set is by Erin McMorris; part of her Park Slope collection.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

And more tomatoes....

Oven-Roasting to store for winter....
This is how my table is at this exact moment due to the fact that there was a frost warning for last night.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Cookin' up something

I have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen lately cooking, canning and baking with all of the beautiful produce that the garden and local markets have sent my is what has been on our table...

Fresh Arugula w/ local strawberries, goat cheese, e.v.o.o. and white balsamic fig infused vinegar

Mixed beets, carrots and red onion roasted in e.v.o.o., salt and fennel pollen

Rustic Swiss Chard tart with goat cheese and an oatmeal crust

A beautiful loaf of "No-knead" bread that I proudly made

and my new favorite dessert, a plum kuchen

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There is a chill in the air

By the chill in the air right now you would guess it to be late September or maybe even early October, but it is August. That is right it is the end of August, cloudy, rainy and 63 degrees. We have had a our fair share of cool weather this month. I can't say that I am sad about that.This typical fall weather always puts me at ease; helps me move a little slower and also helps me to regain focus. But even though I love sitting here on my couch with the cool air pouring through my house and the smell of chai simmering on my stove and being bundled up in sweat pants and wool socks, I can't help but feel a little cheated out of summer this year. The weather has been perfect by my standards (mostly in the mid-70s to mid-80s) my garden's full potential has been lost. It is in all of it's beauty and still offers our family so much, but I still can't help but to think that so many large and glorious heirloom tomatoes may never nourish my body and soul. And my new budding figs...oh how I have fussed over them this summer and hope to have the experience of picking and savoring a ripe fig from my very own tree. But there is a chill in the air and my body tells me to rest, to forget about tending to the garden's needs right now and instead tend to my own.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Calgone take me away!

This summer has been rough; I am not going to lie or even sugar coat things. The weather this summer has been anything but summer-like. Greg has been sick and is still dealing with infections and such. The kids have been at war with each other ALL summer, which has been comical at times, but mostly just a tad bit of hell. And I have been in a really pissy mood and weird funk all summer.

Lately, I have been trying to pull myself back to realms of normalcy and I have been trying to find the good in everything and everyone (including myself), which hasn't been easy. Do you ever have those days/weeks/months where nothing seems to come easily? Not joy, laughter, peace, love, or even anger...a time in which you feel like you are just suspended in time trying to get somewhere, trying to rip the callouses off your heart and remember what it is like to feel again; really FEEL. I have been trying to do this as of lately and by lately I mean these last few weeks or so and I am not sure how far I am getting in this process. I know this week I have had some wicked PMS and so I have regressed a bit! But honestly, I am trying and that is what counts right?

So in doing so I decided I would post some pictures of things that bring joy to my heart and puts a smile on my face. And then I am going to go take a lovely bubble bath in the dark. Good night.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New York, New York

I have been in many cities and countries around this world that have offered me so much joy and beauty, but there is something about NYC that holds a special place in my heart. Two weeks ago, Gregory and I had the opportunity to go to NYC for five days just the two of us. That is right, no kids! Thanks to a wonderful sister-in-law and friend we were able to steal some much needed time just the two of us; granted Greg was there for a conference, but the evenings were ours and the days were mine to explore the city and go wherever my feet and heart desired to take me. It was the first time as a mom that I had the chance to wake up on my own schedule and do whatever I wanted to do for not just one day, but 3 whole days! Now for those of you who are moms, you know what this means and you know that this is a fantasy that we all drift to when shit is hitting the fan at be on our own, by ourselves, in some foreign place to us (for me it is always a high rise hotel is some city) and to just be....and it was THAT, that I was able to do!

I spent much of my time wandering the city streets just checking out the diversity that it had to offer. During the days I spent some time on my own with a coffee in hand from a local espresso bar and book in my new bag (that was made just for this trip), but instead of reading I found myself just wanting to walk and surround myself with the local bustle of a city; a real city ( oh how pathetic Detroit really is...). Yes, I know you probably are thinking that NYC is too big to walk, and you are right, partially, but if I choose to do so and I found it quite easy to navigate on foot. And so I managed to go from our hotel in Manhattan up to East Village and through Soho and back to Manhattan again with just my trusty feet and a good pair of Danskos.

I also spent some time with a couple of friends from high school who transplanted themselves to the city almost ten years ago. Friends that warm my soul and make my heart smile. It was so refreshing to reconnect with a particular soul who I haven't seen in years, but still somehow knows me well. We spent a lot of time laughing about all of our stupidity in high school, but also spent more time getting reacquainted with where we are at now in life as adults. We haven't seen each other in six maybe even seven years, yet it was like we hadn't skipped a beat and we were still able to connect on the same level that we did 15 years ago with no expectation and none of the bullshit; which I have found can be so hard to do.

He ended up being the absolute best tour guide and introduced me to some of the best local secrets in East Village, Soho and Brooklyn and here are some recommendations if you find your self in NYC anytime soon.

*Macchiato Espresso Bar (midtown, E. 44th st.), was a small espresso bar a couple of blocks from my hotel and I found it by wandering through the streets looking for an independent local espresso bar; I refused to do Starbucks since there were so many other options! This place caught my eye by their bright turquoise sign and the dozen of old Italian men standing out front having lively discussions in Italian at 8 a.m. every morning. As you step into this place you feel as though you truly may be in a coffee bar in Italy, maybe Milan. It has a sleek, gorgeous interior and the coffee and espresso were definitely the best I have had in a long time. If you are willing to wait in a line that in out the door (maybe this is just early mornings, not sure) and don't mind being yelled at for your coffee order and having to yell it back... you will be pleased. The chocolate croissants were also fresh and out of this world.

*Moonstruck Diner (mid-town, 2nd Ave.), we went here for breakfast one morning and the eggs Benedict is decent, not great, but the interior of this cafe was worth the trip. Almost every inch of this place is covered in cut-glass mosaics. I can't fathom how much time and energy went into making these unique and beautiful creations.

* Stage Restaurant (East Village), polish diner with the best and most beautifully pink borst I have ever tasted and veggie cabbage leaves and fresh blueberry perogies that kept bringing my fork back to the plate for more and more and ...more.

* Bluestockings (East Village), an amazing independent bookstore that had a wonderful selection of feminist and LGTBQ literature.

*8 Mile (Soho), new Aussie bar, which we thought was a perfect location for two native Detroiters to enjoy a couple of drinks in the early afternoon.

* Vosges' (Soho), a haut chocolatier that has exquisite chocolate combinations and some amazing ice cream-vanilla cream with madras curry and coconut, mmmm..... Also their naga, woolloomooloo and red fire chocolate bars are divine. They frequently do free champagne and chocolate tastings.

*Total Wine Bar (Brooklyn), a small and cozy wine bar in the Park Slope district (5th Ave. & St. Marks) that offers a small selection of wine, beer and appetizers. I can't say that I tried a variety of the wines that they offer due to the fact that my tour guide/friend bar tends here and he had bought us a bottle of his favorite, which was superb. It is small and the set-up of the bar does seem a little unfriendly, but once you walk in and sit down it is obvious that is a local hangout known for it's friendly bartenders and crowd as well as the selection of good, inexpensive wine. If Mike is working tell him I sent you! Also, The Chocolate Room is two doors down just in case you love good chocolate and wine together :)

*The Chocolate Room (Brooklyn), has some of the best chocolate I have ever had, seriously! Particularly, the dark chocolate truffles filled with lavender infused caramel. I also sampled their layered chocolate cake and hot chocolate and well, my mouth is watering right now just talking about it. If you ever go to NYC or Brooklyn you HAVE to go here! That is if you like chocolate :)

*Brooklyn Museum of Art is now home to the beautiful feminist exhibit, The Dinner Table by Judy Chicago. This long-term installation is breathtaking and something that I recommend every womyn to see, even if you don't consider yourself a feminist. Although this exhibit does feature plates that are made to look like different yonis, there is more to this exhibit than the "vagina plates" as my tour guide likes to call them! This exhibit is a triangular table that measures 48 feet on each side and is the home for the 39 place settings that celebrate strong womyn throughout history. It does so by using the typical domestic mediums such as weaving, embroidery, sewing and china painting. For me, standing before these place settings and observing the meticulous detail that has gone into each place setting gave me such an appreciation for the many womyn (there were hundreds) who put in so much time into helping Judy Chicago create this installation. It is something that we, as womyn, can all appreciate on some level. If you are interested in this exhibit and are not going to make it to Brooklyn anytime soon you can go to the museum's websight and in their search engine type in "The Dinner Party" and you can do an online tour of this exhibit. It is nothing like seeing it in person, but does give you somewhat of an idea of how magnificent this exhibit truly is.

*Brooklyn Botanical Gardens is right next to the art museum and is so damn beautiful! I have been to NYC a few times in the past, and each time I had spent time in central park which is wonderful as well, but the botanical gardens feel magical. It has many different gardens to offer through all seasons: the lily pools and terrace, rock garden, bonsai garden, rose garden, herb garden, oh I could have spent a whole day just here in the gardens. These few pictures are the ONLY photos I took during this trip, which was strange since I am usually all about taking photos I guess I was was too preoccupied with other things.

The picture below is of the vegetable garden in which they use strickly as part of a day camp to teach urban children about gardening and vegetables. It is not that good of a picture, but you can see how large it is, which was very exciting for me to see!

Ahhhh....New York, New York. I miss you already!!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Life goes on

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your kind thoughts, prayers and energy that so many of you have been sending our way. Greg is almost fully recovered and we are finally starting to get back on a schedule, well, kind is summer. As July approaches quickly, we are trying to find a good balance between catching up on the rest that we all need and getting ready for a week in NYC without the kids and then off to northern Michigan for a family vacation.

This year I have found that I am spending way too much time weeding my garden and worrying over my wimpy tomato plants. Due to the lack of heat this summer the tomatoes are taking forever to grow. My plants were pretty small to begin with since I have refused to buy grow lights, but I am now thinking that next spring I will be making that investment.

I have harvested almost 7 pounds of sugar snap peas and I think the gurl and boy ate about 2-3 pounds while playing outside every day. They loved sitting in the pea patch and snacking, and I loved watching them do so!

At this point my lettuce is still kickin' strong and I have harvested almost 4 pounds of lettuce (which is A LOT) and about 3 pounds of arugula. My beets, carrots and onions are doing wonderful and I hope to have pictures soon of some of those harvests along with the garlic that will soon be harvested.

It is finally starting to feel like summer and I am excited to see what challenges, changes and experiences that July offers.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Just Breathe

These last few days have been a blur. I am so stressed, so worried and so sleep deprived. Whether you are a patient or a visitor, the hospital is not a fun place to be. As most of you who read this blog know, Greg has been in the hospital for a couple of days now with a crazy MRSA staff infection. I know this is serious and I know that this could be something that he/we deal with numerous times if the antibiotics can't truly wipe this infection out of his system. Which is common when dealing with MRSA since it is resistant to numerous antibiotics.

I am scared. Terrified probably better describes how I feel. I lay in my bed alone at night praying for help to fall asleep so that my wandering mind won't think of all of the possibilities and what ifs of this situation. Praying that I won't become my mother. My mom is a widow. My mom was widowed at a young age, 35, with three children to look after; me-a 12 year old, my sister who was 3 at the time and my brother who was 18 months.

The fact that my dad died when I was so young affected my life greatly. Whose life doesn't it affect when someone they love dies? It wasn't until I had my first child that I realized the extent of this fear. After both of my babies were born I dealt with serious cases of anxiety anytime Greg left the house. I worked through it both times and even though this is still a massive fear of mine I have been able to work through it on most occasions. And I am trying my hardest to work through this right now. I will admit it is difficult. I know I am a strong womyn and I know I can work through whatever the universe hurls my way. But knowing that doesn't erase the past, the struggles and heartache that I have watched my mother go through daily. Then I stop myself and remind myself, "I am NOT my mother," and I AM strong and I WILL get through this and I have an amazing support network whose love, strength and kindness have given me and my little family so much during this bizarre ordeal and I am forever grateful.

I am not sure why I am writing this blog right now, this entry should be more for my private journal. But there is something compelling me to be be be show a side of myself so few people see and to just breathe.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

My blooming garden

The peony...Almost open...
FINALLY OPEN...smells SO good!
My first new growth on the fig tree

Some yummy lettuces

Some favorite purple flowers

It is finished

This was last year at the begininning of putting in 4 new beds

And this was next to the garage where there was a massive rose bush that we were not fond of; to say the least.
And now this is what the area looks like...

SOOOOO happy that is it finished and my whole garden is planted!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Thank you lovely ladies.....

I am grateful for all of the womyn in my life. I truly appreciate all that they have offered me; whether small or large, it all has made impressions on me and the world as I see it. I have realized in recent months that as you age and change, so do those relationships dearest to your heart. Some grow stronger, some take new shapes and forms and some slowly disintegrate to memories of the past. Change isn't always easy; especially when it affects matters of the heart. I have opened my heart to these changes and some have been very difficult to deal with and accept while others have offered a breath of fresh air. In this last year I have had some of the most beautiful womyn on this planet enter or re-enter my life and I feel very privileged. These womyn have taught me a lot about life and love as well as about differences and commonalities, forcing me to focus on being a better person every minute of every day.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to gather four of these womyn at my house for a couple of hours to enjoy good food and conversation free of stress and competition. There was something about yesterday that was able to restore a part of my spirit and my trust in other people; other womyn.
It was an interesting mix: the five of us womyn with our five children; a few whom never have met; a set of sisters, a set of cousins, two stay-home moms, three working moms, some tall womyn, some short womyn...basically it a house full of talking womyn.

From the moment of arrivals there were immediate bonds and it felt as though this was just one of many moments together. Maybe it will be the first of many... I don't know. I do know though that yesterday I opened my heart and home to four womyn who in just four short hours felt like family. And that is a wonderful feeling to have!

~Thank you my lovely ladies~

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

To all of the amazing mothers out there who are busting their asses for their families 24-7 I say a HUGE thank you! And I hope you all had a wonderful mother's day. I really do.
I hope you were able to sleep in.
I hope you were able to get breakfast in bed.
I hope you were able to do what YOU wanted for your entire day.
I hope your day wasn't full of kids whining, crying and fighting.
I hope the day encouraged you be a little reflective on the type of mother you want and strive to be.
I hope it filled you with an overwhelming sense of appreciation.
I hope all of this, or even some of this happened for you because you deserve it.

But, I am guessing it probably did not. I am guessing that it was just another ordinary day like every other day that left you falling into your bed at the end of it with pure exhaustion. Or maybe that was just me. Maybe I am the only mother out there who is a little bitter that I didn't have a good mother's day, or that I didn't get the one and only thing I asked for...TO SLEEP IN! I have sickness all around me and now I am sick again as well and I can't seem to get a break. is now over a week later after my serious head cold has mostly passed and I am done sulking about what a shitty day my mother's day turned out to be. I will spare the details, but let's just say that many tears were shed...many. I wasn't going to post all of this until I realized that all of the mothers around me had really horrible days as well. As I had numerous (quite helarious) conversations over this last week with other womyn I realized that we all had wanted basic displays of appreciation and for whatever reason the day was just like any other day and we all went to sleep with some levels of disappointment.

For me, as I went to bed with disappointment and a little bitterness, I sat in bed reflecting on what it means to be a mother and I came to the hard realization that this is part of the job. You do what you do not for numerous accolades from those around you but because you want these human beings that you brought into this world to have the best life possible- to be happy, healthy, loved. And you do whatever you need to do to make that possible. Being a mother is the most self-less job there is; even on mother's day, the one day that you should be able to be a little selfish.
The following day I wrote my mother a letter thanking her for the endless amount of love and care that she has given through the years. As a mother I now realize and appreciate all that she has provided and sacrificed. Even though I don't even know the half of it, I do know as a mother what that means and I am appreciative.

From one mother to a world of mothers out there...thank you for all you do for us as womyn, daughters and other mothers. Thank you for the sacrifices that you have made for the next generation and for our mother earth.

Monday, May 4, 2009

She's Five

Yesterday my little gurl turned five. There is something about the age five. The realization that you have a kid now, not a baby, or a toddler, but a kid. I watched her every move yesterday and I hung on every word, soaking her in like the sun. I wanted to remember this day for the rest of my life just like I remember the day that she was born. I am guessing she will remember it because she wasn't feeling well and spent most of the day on the couch resting. Presents were even uneventful, which was so heartbreaking to watch. My little gurl has a difficult time dealing with her allergies to mold and dust as well as some intense sinus issues for a little kid. The issues seem to have gotten worse this year and we have been trying as many natural remedies as possible to help her, but she still struggles when mold is high, which it was on her birthday. It breaks my heart to see her deal with all of this as such a young age. No one every wants to see their child sick. I watch how she struggles with these issues and wonder how it will affect her as she gets older.
It also makes me angry that to take care of her the way that we feel best, which is naturally, that we have to pay for it all out of our pockets because insurance refuses to cover it. The only "natural" practice that it does cover is our chiropractic and they are trying to find a way where they don't have to cover that either. Don't even get me started on the fact that we pay over $200 a month in copays for pretty much nothing! So...I will do what I can with the herbs and tinctures that we use and continue chiropractic and start her on cranio-sacral therapy sessions in hopes that I don't have to put her on some poison that will help her allergies, but damage her kidneys and liver in the process.
The highlight of the day was when I presented her with her very own birthday crown. Her face lit up and it was the only part of the day when I saw a real smile on her face. We finished her special day by reading her new books, The Paperbag Princess, The Whole Green World and Ladybug Girl and with her dessert request: popsicles.

As I ended my day writing in her journal I also looked at her birth pictures to remind myself of this beautiful journey that this little one and I have begun.