Saturday, January 31, 2009


A is an all or nothing kind of boy. All meaning 150% live and breathe it. Nothing meaning it is the worst thing EVER in the world. When he showed an interest in karate I didn't know which way we would go. After almost six months he is still into it, loves it, and is super excited about going to class a few times a week, every week!

Karate has been awesome for him. A is an intense boy and some things can be 'too much'. So, while he is in a room full of kids for the class, his focus is on the instructor. While the noises can be very loud, they are based on moves, and everyone does the same thing at the right moment. While it is a group class, it is really an individual sport for him. And while it is an exacting sport, his instructor is a happy gentle soul who is great with kids. Transition into class is exactly the same every time - and they get to wear a cool uniform. He really enjoys practicing the specific moves and combinations, and remembers every little detail. He loves it.

Today was a belt promotion. He was able to do a solo moment to show a combination. He did some great kicks and had a grin from ear to ear the entire time. He about popped from happiness when he got his belt and shook hands with all the black belts there, and chatted about it non-stop all night.

I love seeing how happy he is and how much he LOVES karate. It should be about doing what you love and finding something that is your own. And it is surely his thing. He is proud of himself today, and he should be! He has worked hard for this belt. Good job, sweet boy.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

january days.

The January blah's have hit me hard. I have so much work to do and absolutely zero energy to do it (I work after the boys go to bed at night). This happens every year at this time, but every year I still try to fight it. My body wants to be still and rest in the numbing cold, but my to-do list is miles long.

Lucky for me I have these two little boys who just keep going, and going, and going. They drag me along in their enthusiastic wake and energize my January slug.

The past few days we have spent a bit more time in the kitchen. The kitchen is a good place to be when the temps are below zero and there is just no way we want to go out again. The warmth, smells, and process of making something to nourish us in more ways than one energizes us all.

G, the little chef, loves to cook and bake the most, I think. He loves measuring, scooping, stirring, assembling, watching through the oven window, and seeing what we have created together.

So the past few days we have baked bread from a wild starter, cranked out noodles we made from semolina flour and eggs, slow cooked chili, made caramel popcorn, and juiced and blended our breakfasts. Our counter is covered with soaking things, sprouting things, trays of greens, and freshly baked bread.

With all of this, G came to me with a photo from the latest food catalog (his favorite reading) showing pink icing sprinkle covered heart cookies, and wanted to make some. Now. He said to me, they are white sugar cookies, mama, not brown (ahem). He told me in his G way that he loves our brown cookies (whole wheat flour), but in the photo they are white. With PINK icing. So, together we made white sugar cookies. With pink icing. And sprinkles. Twice. Perfect!

I'm looking forward to February for more energy, more garden planning, more sunshine, less work (ha!), more fun, more sleep, inspiration, fresh air, and maybe, just maybe, more heart shaped pink icing covered sprinkle coated sugar cookies.

Monday, January 26, 2009

fizzy foamy fun.

Science is fun. (No, really!) Lately A has been into being a scientist and conducting experiments, so we have been exploring different kinds of projects.

We had a chance to play with our fizzy foamy science kit over the last few days. It is all stuff we could do at home with a few simple materials, but having the list of experiments was nice for a starting place. The boys loved to measure, pour, scoop, observe, compare, chart, and chat.

They learned about single celled organisms, carbon dioxide, chemical reactions, liquid properties, yeast, and how similar things react in different environments. They were interested to watch how rapidly yeast grows, foams, and emits carbon dioxide.

And they got to blow bubbles in soap. Bonus!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a journey...

Today we went on a journey. The distance was not too far in miles, but we did traverse across many lands.

We visited grand cities,

arid deserts,

lush jungles.

We saw man-made marvels

and were awed by the staggering beauty of fragrant flowers.

We were tickled by the many mysteries of nature.

We were tired from our journey, but brought home many memories (and a whole list of things to google).

A perfect Sunday. Hope you all had a nice weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

long winter days.

This little guy has been sick so we have been home taking care of him. His big brother worried about him so - every time G cried out or got sick, A would sob "OH NO! MY BROTHER!" Sweet boys.

In the middle of taking care of sick boy this week I had an acupressure massage appointment that took me out. I know the work needed to be done to relieve some issues, but wow! It is amazing how getting stuff moving can really unload into the system. The sore/migraine/fatigue isn't so hot when my child is sick and not sleeping well. I just want to curl up and sleep in a sunny window! Yep, kind of like her:

Today I did some baking with the boys. The wonderful smell of baking banana bread wafting through the house makes everyone feel a little better, I think. Warm, familiar, comforting.


We have a new science kit we are ready to explore, gardening plans to finish, seeds to purchase, sewing to complete, places to go, and V-Day projects to start! I think we are ready!

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Oh, to be brothers. These guys are inseparable. To have someone to play with, go places with, do things with, talk to, snuggle, eat with, and who is perfectly willing to play with you - all the time.

Of course they are indeed brothers, so there is conflict, but it is never for long, and they always work it out. They are best friends.

I see how much they love each other and I feel my heart about to burst. Life is good.

Friday, January 16, 2009

photo of the day.

The moment one gives close attention to anything, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.

~Henry Miller

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

a few good books.

I usually can only read late at night after the house is asleep and my work is done. I always have a big stack of books next to the bed and read into the wee hours. Since reading is my way to unplug, unwind, and chill out, I like books that are peaceful, positive, or good for the brain. Here are two of my favorites so far this month...

Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting
by R.J. Ruppenthal

I am liking this book! While I already do a lot of what is in the book and definitely enjoy the exercise I get from nodding my head throughout the entire book ( ;) ), it is written and organized well and I like the tidbits of information and resources for each section. For the small space/urban/suburban gardener - growing vegetables, growing fruit, sprouting, making yogurt and kefir, fermenting, growing mushrooms, raising bees and chickens, disaster planning - all great! Of course this book is not a deep 'how to' book, but an overview and guide with resources of what you can do in small spaces, where to find more information and supplies, and the benefits to be reaped with each thing. An easy read full of great info!

Baking Bread with Children by Warren Lee Cohen

This book is a wonderful resource for baking with children. It not only has the recipes - but also has activities, songs, and history to go along with it. There are chapters such as Recipes, Songs Poems & Blessings to Celebrate Bread, Building a Bread Oven, Enlivening the Senses, Seven Grains and Nutrition and more. Many of you know how we love to bake bread in this house, and my boys help with every step whether it is grinding flour or kneading...and having the stories and songs just makes it that much more fun and meaningful!

I also have a big stack of gardening books that I am really enjoying - I can re-read the same books every year and not get tired of them a bit! What are you reading this week?

deep freeze.

During the deep freeze days of January we don't usually have cloudy days (unless it is snowing). When the temps get below zero we usually have the intense blue skies and bright sun...which makes you *think* you want to go outside and play.

But when check the temperature and my son reminds me (loudly) that exposed skin can freeze in only TEN MINUTES when the windchills are 40 below (or FIFTEEN MINUTES when the windchills are 20 below, or, or, etc.) and so we stay inside our warm home, do fun projects and crafts, read in the bright sunshine, and enjoy the day.

Today we have to venture out to visit a farm (for a pickup) on a very snowy rural road. But then we'll hurry back home to be safe and warm inside as we get our coldest night of the year so far (very cold!). Its all good though - we have lots of fun and interesting things to do!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

growing wheatgrass.

We have been enjoying our indoor herb and greens gardens. The boys have been interested in what happens under the dirt as everything grows. So, we started a project where the boys are growing wheatgrass in a canning jar!

It is very easy to do, and it is cool because each part of the growth process is visible through the glass - from the sprouting wheat berries to the burrowing roots to the shooting bright green blades.

All you need is a bit of sand, some potting soil, canning jars, wheat berries and a spray bottle with water. Start off soaking the whole wheat berries in room temp water for 8-12 hours - drain/change the water about half way through. You can find whole wheat berries usually in the bulk bin at your local grocery store or coop. Organic is best since it is not treated with anything and will sprout healthily! You can use any glass jar - I use canning jars because it is what I have at hand. We used pint jars.

(january 5 - started)

First spoon about an inch of sand in the bottom. Follow that by spooning about 1-2" of potting soil on top of the sand. The sand is to just help keep it from getting too waterlogged (my boys love to squirt the water). Top it off with a dense layer of soaked wheat berries. We used about 1-2 Tablespoons of wheat per jar. Don't put too thick of a layer of wheat or the bottom ones may get moldy.

(january 6 - sprouting)

Water lightly and then cover (loosely) with saran wrap and place on your kitchen counter in a dark or shady spot. Spritz well with a spray bottle of water morning and night. After the first day or so the berries should be sprouting - remove the plastic wrap. Keep in a (not too hot) light place once they start sprouting - not direct sun though. A bright windowsill or a table near a window is fine.

(january 9 - grassy! check out the roots)

Continue spritzing with water twice a day. Once the grass is growing, rinse out every day - just fill the jar with cool water, then use a finger to gently hold everything in as you pour it back out to drain. This just keeps the lower wheat berries from getting moldy and rehydrates the soil if it is a bit dry.

(january 11 - tall green wheat grass!)

It is fun to watch the roots and the grass grow - once it gets going it grows so fast it is literally an inch or more per day. Very fun to observe - my boys love not only the watering part, but also seeing how fast it grows and how the roots look through the glass!

You can feed the grass to your pet, juice it in a wheat grass juicer and add to smoothies, or, of course, keep it as a cool green burst of life on your table.

(january 11 - first trim! )

Giving the wheat grass a 'haircut' is also fun. You can trim it and it will continue to grow. Once the grass is at least 4" long, take scissors and snip (leave about 2" on the grass)! Then make sure to lean in and get a good strong whiff. The face above is A's reaction to the strong wheat grass smell after he gave it a trim. :)

It is really simple to do, happens quickly, and does look cool all lined up on the table - especially when the temps are going to be below zero all week. A nice living green centerpiece!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


Ahhh, the sun returned today, if only for a bit before the big snow tomorrow. This week we have happily eased back into our rhythm and routine after the boys had their dad home (but constantly working) last week. We have started many ongoing projects this week ... paint, clay, plant, food, books, 'experiments' ... Here are a few!

The boys started grass gardens using the local wheat berries we get for our bread making. We started on Tuesday and have been spritzing with water and tracking the progress for a few days now. We should have long green wheat grass soon!

We made some hollow 'mountains' (in progress above) of clay and are drying them to paint and use for our baking soda/vinegar lava eruptions the boys love doing so much. That goes with this book that A has been reading - he is loving Hawaii lately, and so is interested in volcanoes, history, and culture. Besides, words like Kilauea, Halema‘uma‘u, and Puʻu ʻŌʻō are just cool!

We started a tray of micro greens. We are comparing our previous batch where we grew in cells before transplanting to open trays with very dense seeding - to see which method has the best results. The boys love watching the progress, I like eating fresh greens in January! ; )

We had a bowling 'field trip' with a friend today. Three spirited boys competing at bumper bowling! What a fun time. It is so nice when school is back in session after the holidays and we can get out to places without worrying so much about G (little asthma guy) getting sick.

Tomorrow the snow will come. We are all excited to see some fresh snow and get outside again after the ice storm last weekend left everything dirty brown and rock hard and crazy slippery all week - fresh powdery white snow is very welcome!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

adventure checklist.

What does a four year old need for an indoor exploration adventure trek?

One tent, a rechargeable LED flashlight, night vision goggles, binoculars, a bug net, two head lamps, a lunchbox of toys, safety goggles, a compass and a big comfy cushion. Oh and a snack.


Sunday, January 04, 2009

icy sunday.

Ahhhh. A Sunday at home. We were going to leave and do some things, really, but when we woke up the world was covered in ice, and we decided to have a nice day at home.

It wasn't a little bit of ice either, it was quite a bit. Yes, that is my husband ice skating down the sidewalk this morning...before the sand went down. Thick ice.

The boys had a fun day. They jumped on the trampoline.

A lot.

We baked YUMMY whole wheat strawberry muffins.

We played many board games, read books, made things, snuggled, cracked geodes.

We watched the birds skid, slide, and freak out on the deck. Made more things, jumped more on the trampoline, played more, read more books, did many puzzles, and played more board games. I even finished cleaning/organizing the dining room and craft supplies. A perfect Sunday! Hope you had a nice weekend~