Showing newest 8 of 10 posts from 02.10. Show older posts
Showing newest 8 of 10 posts from 02.10. Show older posts


dig this sponsor: Mama Loves Oils

I am excited to announce this month's sponsor: Mama Loves Oils.

Local mom and business owner, Erika Hickey, is passionate about Young Living Essential Oils and the profound effect they have had on her sweet family. I love promoting this product because it is amazing and, also, I adore Erika! We met many years ago, way before marriage and kids, in a feminist ethics class at The University of Montana. She's since married who she calls a gem of a dude, had two boys, Simon and August (and oh how I love their names), and dug into some pretty neat business ventures right here in our little western Montana town.

Erika's excitement about essential oils is contagious and her knowledge of their use is impressive. I've long been a believer in the power of oils extracted from plants. And I am learning more and more that the quality and potency of essential oils greatly influence the results.

These oils rock. They are therapeutic grade and very concentrated requiring only a small amount to have big impact on everything from teething babes to winter coughs to stomach aches to mama stress to general immune support...And holy holy the smells will win you over immediately.

I have the everyday oil starter kit which includes lavender, pan away, purification, lemon, peace and calming, thieves, valor and frankincense and am finding daily reasons to use the oils on my family.

A wee chat with Erika:

How and when did you discover Young Living Oils?

A friend brought me a sample when I had some sick kiddos. Simon used to get this wicked cough every winter and it was impossible to rid his poor little body of it. It would hang on for at least two months. Now he starts off the same way - with a little seal cough - and we are able to nip it with oils in just a few days. It made me a believer. After using the oils for a bit, we went through an entire winter of nobody in the whole family throwing up (which I was super excited about since we own a toy store - and Simon was in preschool).

What inspired you to become a consultant?

I was constantly talking about the oils and how they were helping my family. I'd literally chased off colds a handful of times (from my body) simply by applying Thieves to my feet on a regular basis. I'd seen them work time and time again with my kids and even my husband had seen them work, and he's pretty skeptical of everything, so I knew they were super powerful and it was such an empowering feeling to be able to be proactive when it came to the health needs of my family.

How have the oils changed your approach to your family's health?

With the oils I always have something in my toolkit to heal. I love being able to look in my reference guide and find a list of oils that might help with whatever ails you. These essential oils are pure and the fact that essential oils were humankind's first medicine is very reassuring to me. Why wouldn't I treat myself and my family with something so tried and trusted?

What are three oils you can't live without in your home?

Hmm, that's a toughy. I think we probably use Thieves, Peace & Calming and Lavender the most in the winter. In the summer we are using Peppermint like crazy, Purification as a bug repellent and Lavender...Ooh but I really love Lemon - we drink that almost everyday. So how about six oils?

***Erika is offering a free copy of Reference Guide for Essential Oils
($27 value) to all who order the starter kit!

To place orders, click here or email erika at walkingsticktoys dot com.

Thank you Mama Loves Oils!


Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break My Stride

Well, right now I am driving, heading west, over two mountain passes in my Subaru. The rocket box is packed and the girls buckled in their car seats. As you read this, Margot and I are probably singing to Jack Johnson's Reduce Reuse Recycle while my right arm is stretched to the back seat helping Ruby find her pacifier.

Just the three of us on a little road trip to hook up with my niece and sister-in-law. We are meeting half way between our homes for a few days of hanging out, coffee, walks, watching our kids love each other. I imagine there will also be a lot of staying up too late and sore bellies from laughter.

So, no nuggets on Wednesday. In the meantime, you can read about my clumsy, kinda funny and uniquely rewarding running efforts with my daughters in this week's mama digs.

:: :: ::

I have been running with my two kids. Oofta it is hard but I enjoy this challenge that looks a lot like my overarching challenge as a mama of two: it’s all about a sliver of time, an alignment of stars and getting on it, putting one foot in front of another, before it passes. Sometimes the opportunity isn’t convenient but when the opportunity is there, it is only right then.

Get on it. And then soak up the subsequent empowerment that it, whatever it is, can be done.

Going for a run is not organic and whimsical like it used to be. It requires the skilled precision, practice and focus of, say, a sniper or an Olympic here to read the rest of this essay ay


just add peanut butter

One of my great joys is making a masterful meal out of nothing obvious. I love the challenge of staring into my fridge and freezer looking for an ingredient that will inspire a pairing that will end in a triumph. It doesn't always work. But sometimes, it does.

A few nights ago I started with carrots, celery and onions at the bottom of a big pot. It seemed like it was headed toward a soup. I added water and ginger and more ginger and tomato paste and then it wasn't a soup at all.

I pureed the mess and grabbed the peanut butter and started heaping spoonfuls in. A bit of soy sauce, a can of tomato paste, garlic, thyme and cayenne and it was dang good over rice.

I think I was needing protein. When Andy saw my wild eyes with the peanut butter all he said was

huh. that's interesting babe.

Also, I left the cayenne out of some and Margot loved it.

It didn't photograph very well. It disturbingly resembles Ruby's poop. So I was funneling the leftovers into some mason jars and I am not quite sure what happened but in hind sight I am pretty sure the carrot peanut butter stew lept from the jar, all on its own, to decorate my neck, shirt and shoes.

It doesn't look like I was that covered, but I promise I was. I think I am severely accident prone in the kitchen. Like when I sliced the tip of my finger clean off last month while making cauliflower curry. Oh it was dreadful and very bloody. The first thing Andy asked was um where's the sliced off part? And so we looked and there it was, the tip of my finger, icy white, finger print in tact, just lying on the knife. Anyway.

Peanut Butter Carrot Stew
This recipe is guessed at because I was just madly hopping around the kitchen throwing ingredients in a pot, two-handed, over-the-shoulder while singing bippity boppity boo. SO I recommend tasting as you go and altering amounts as needed.

olive oil
1 onion
6 carrots, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 can tomato paste
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons dried ginger (fresh would be even better)
5 garlic cloves. minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried thyme
soy sauce to taste...perhaps a few tablespoons
crushed peanuts
basmati or jasmine rice

Saute the onion, carrot and celery in the olive oil in a large pot. Add about 1 cup of water and tomato paste. Cook over medium heat until veggies are soft. May need to add more water...going for a thick applesauce-like consistency. Puree mixture with immersion blender or food processor. Stir in peanut butter, garlic, cayenne, ginger, thyme, soy sauce. Serve over rice and top with crushed peanuts.


hump day nuggets: bloom

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

A sweet dig reader sent a gift of four amaryllis bulbs when Ruby was born. She assigned each bulb the name of a person in my family. I opened each package to plant the bulbs and realized one bulb had come without its growing medium so I planted three in their separate pots and the other sat on our kitchen counter, waiting to dig its roots in and grow. It really bothered me to think of three family members safe and snug in the soil with promise of life while one lingered, languished alone and hopeless. I actually didn't sleep well thinking of the metaphor.

We had just come home from the hospital.

So the next morning, before my coffee (and that's sayin' something) I put on my winter boots and stomped through a snowy backyard to my garage to find some soil, some way to plant that bulb. Ruby needed her home.

I found a large pot and knew the answer. I dug up the other three bulbs and placed them with the fourth together. The three who had food and shelter would naturally share with the fourth. It's what families do.

I emailed Ann, the gift-giver, and told her the story to which she replied,

I think you can force an amaryllis bulb in gravel and water...Ruby doesn't need soil.

And she was right. That bulb shot straight up with a flower that week. No leaves. Just a flower. The other three leafed out first. In fact, the other three still haven't flowered and that bulb is in full bloom with its second flower.

Ruby Jane.

:: A friend made Margot some play dough for her big sister present and it is dreamy. Smooth and pliable, bright and long-lasting. And bug can't get enough of making dog bones. So we made some for her cousin Charlotte who turned three last week.

It's super fun to knead dough that looks like the Incredible Hulk's bread (Ruby on my chest, Margot napping).

And, of course, doubled the batch so we could have some too. For making all those dog bones.

epic play dough

1 cup white flour
1/4 cup salt
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-2 teaspoons food coloring

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tartar in a pot. Add water, oil and food coloring. Cook over medium heat, constantly stirring. When mixture forms a ball in the pot, turn out and knead on a slightly floured surface. Store in airtight container or plastic bag.

Margot has something she'd like to share:
;;'k,''k]k]k]]jjk]kk[[[[[k]k[[[[==== =yyyyki kkkouy0---y0-0y---0p:?l;.>;/

:: I was in the kitchen while Margot was unloading bricks or riding a hippo or something in our bedroom when suddenly it was silent. So, of course, I went to check and found this.

She had put Ruby's vibrating chair on our bed, turned it on, found one of Ruby's pacifiers and fallen asleep.

:: A sweet little trip to Lolo Hot Springs on Valentine's Day with my valentines.

According to facebook and twitter, it appears I am the only person who enjoys Valentine's Day. I don't care if Hallmark invented it. Any excuse for a day full of kissing on the people I love and eating chocolate is fabulous.

And oh my our fearless little water bug.

And sweet Rubes just slept in the warm water.

:: We always love a trip to our friend's store downtown (same creative friend who made the play dough).

:: Here is me sounding like a moron talking to my kids. But I took this video of Ruby and when I played it back remembered I had a similar movie of Margot. They are looking a little different, no?

:: Ruby doesn't sleep in her crib yet and so I regularly use it to store clean clothes waiting to be put away. And Ruby adores to lay in the pile and watch me straighten and fold. And she makes straightening and folding way more fun.

:: Margot LOVES to buckle anything that can buckle. Elmo cooperates better than Ruby for all of our daily bucking and unbuckling. (and YES that's a wee braid! Bug actually likes it, asks for it and doesn't pull it out.)

:: And equally exciting is my childhood cabbage patch doll, Kelsey Leigh, going poop. Good girl! I am so proud of you!, Margot declares.

:: My little food prep companion.

:: Mama lay with her?, Margot asks. And they just hang out and smile. Well, Ruby alternates between smiling and grimacing as Margot moves all about like a hot potato.

And Ruby's sweet batik bike shirt was handmade by our dear friends.

:: Really now.


Good Stuff

When my husband and I decided to have a family, I was nervous about all the STUFF that seemed to unavoidably come with kids. I feared a yard peppered with plastic toys and a living room where exersaucers replaced end tables. I dreaded a diaper bag that necessitated I do the hokey pokey to fit through a doorway.

It's because I like space between objects in my home and it's because I didn't want to quadruple my annual consumption of fossil fuels. It's also because I didn't think we needed all that snaz. I am by no means a minimalist but I do like to live simply. I thought to myself and eventually said out loud that my kids would be perfectly happy with yogurt lids, wooden spoons and hand-me-downs.

I never imagined I'd make a special trip to Target to get my two year-old a brand new, shiny pink laptop that talks. But that is exactly what happened last week. And I was so excited to do here to read the rest of this essay at


a basket full of roses

First, these three little flowers won the postcard/potholder giveaway:

1. Ann said...

a Dig potholder!!!!! pick me, pick me. I wouldn't want to use it for fear of spoiling it. it would probably be hung up like a piece of fine art.

2. Missoula Mama said...

I love your list. I will be 40 in a few months - the idea is a bit much for me, even though I've never, ever cared before. So I'm going to use your idea. I may even start now...40 is a pretty big number! (but not compared to the number of blessings in my life)

3. 6512 and growing said...

Happy Birthday and what a beautiful life you've dug for yourself.
Wishing you many more successful jogs with the girls!

Congrats ladies! Send your addresses to me: digthischick at gmail dot com.

:: :: ::

Margot continually teaches me to stop and smell the roses. And not just a passing uh huh yeah those smell nice as I follow my thoughts to the next task. But an oh yes wow let's just sit still and practice total olfactory immersion. I don't have a damn place I need to be that's more important than smelling these roses.

She's got powers like that.

A few days ago Ruby was napping and I set about to put away the mountain of laundry in my room. The laundry that I had been placing on my bed every morning for days, encouraging myself to put it away. But then it would all of the sudden be 4:45pm and I'd scoop that growing mountain right back into the basket.

I was on a Laundry Mission and Margot did not choose to accept it. She wanted to play. I fought it, sternly telling her to leave mama's laundry alone. And then I realized I was being an asshole. Isn't this why I am alive? To play?

And so we tossed the neatly folded piles around the room like confetti, did belly flops on the sun-drenched mattress, hid beneath the basket and tickled for over an hour.

More again mama, she kept pleading.

And at 4:45 I scooped the messy pile back off the bed saving it for another day. If I get around to it.

Life is best when I roll around in the joy of little things, when I take the opportunity to participate in a my daughter's fascination and happiness with a basket.

A rose's perfect fragrance is fleeting. And once time erodes the petal's delicate flesh, the smell is forever gone.

A good reminder: stop and smell those roses. I never regret it.


hump day nuggets: a good birthday

hump day nuggets: little bits of the season in photos and words about the last week

My birthday started out rough. I woke to my husband hurrying out of the house, a bear of a toddler and a hungry infant. I fed Ruby while trying to negotiate with Margot. Which was totally a mistake (the negotiating) because we all know trying to convince a two year-old that her tantrum is silly is a sure way to get her to wear nothing but elmo panties while sitting on the floor in the bathroom and yelling GO AWAY MAMA.

It was 7am.

I have this knack for always trying to find the positive in any situation which I think is a good thing (see? did it right there) but Pollyanna isn't always right. As I cleaned the previous day's dishes while rocking toe to heel and humming Ruby to sleep (grumps still in bathroom) I decided my day was going to be great.

Then I got a text from Jennifer, Want me to watch the kids while you go to birthday yoga? To which I replied, Really?! Um, yes. When she showed up with her two children I had tears in my eyes. I was spent and didn't feel like I could leave. She said Leave now. Even if just to get a cup of coffee. And I left and sweat through slow moving vinyasas. It was hard. I wanted to move quick, I didn't want to rest in any one place.

But there I was. 32 and pinned in pigeon on my sticky mat.

The afternoon was uneventful and nice. And then Chelci arrived with gifts and liquor and so I had a Birthday Martini. I've said it before but I really think there is something to yoga and martinis and a long, happy life...

Andy made my all time favorite dessert called zupa. The recipe was hastily scribbled on a restaurant chit about 12 years ago when he worked at an Italian restaurant in Athens, Georgia. All the recipes were family secrets but he, a Montana boy, was a prep cook and chopping in a steamy kitchen without air conditioning in the summer in the south. He had two heat strokes and so copying down some recipes was the least he could get out of that miserable job.

Zupa is a layered dessert of espresso and Captain Morgan's-soaked yellow cake, whipped cream and semi-sweet chocolate whipped cream. Oh it's heaven.

I put out a last minute invite to some friends and it turned out quite magically as most unplanned chin wags do. It was a late gather time, after 8pm, the idea being to have kids in bed. Slowly my kitchen filled with a pile of women I am so fortunate to call friends.

I checked on Margot at about 8:45 and she was just laying in her big bed with eyes like moons. Hi mama, she said. Hi babe, I replied. Margot wants to go see friends please? How could I resist? So her little monkey-jammied bum trotted out and she was beside herself with joy. A room full of her favorite aunts. I was glad she woke up.

My friends sang. Ruby slept and woke and slept. She is just so sweet. Margot helped me blow out candles and her papa served us all his prized dessert, including Margot...the dessert that was soaked in espresso and rum. Um, so mama promptly snatched the cake from her death grip and found her a suitable sweet item.

I stayed up too late and laughed a lot. Today I sent an e mail to my friends that said On my 33rd birthday will you please remind me that a giant martini followed by champagne doesn't do much for my intellect the following day? ahem.

And so I am officially in my 33rd year and happy.

ps Thanks for your birthday wishes! There's still time to enter to win potholders and postcards. Winners picked on Friday.


32 (and a giveaway!)

Today is my birthday. I am 32. I have always loved birthdays and now that I am a mama, I love them even more. It's a special thing, being born.

:: :: ::

More than a new year, my birth day pushes me to look at the last year's accomplishments and struggles, to set resolutions. This last year has been the biggest, fullest, hardest and most satisfying year of my here to read the rest of this essay at

:: :: ::

And because I just love feeling fortunate, making lists (like when I was 30 and 31) and giving gifts, here are 32 things I am loving today and a little giveaway at the end.

1. I get to be their mama.

2. Collecting eggs from my backyard.
3. A fine tip roller ball pen.
4. Letting go. Alice can be on the green chair and Margot can be on the coffee table. Who really cares?

5. Montana.
6. A decent haircut. My curly hair wants to grow into a hideous triangular shape. I fear the triangle.
7. My new life with two kids, at home.
8. This video.

9. Generous friends who knit.
10. Our family bed.
11. Red lips.
12. My Ruby is healthy.

13. My husband.
14. Pilates on Saturday mornings.
15. Listening to Margot read books by herself.
16. Knowing my girls won't get up at 5:30am forever, right? Right?!
17. Sewing clothes for my daughters.
18. The very idea that I have daughters.

Upon realizing I didn't have any photos of myself and my girls, Andy administered an impromptu photo shoot yesterday morning before our walk. I simply couldn't pick one or two to include here. Because together they tell our story. We rarely look at the camera at the same time and we mostly have lots of fun.

19. Cooking dinner for my family.
20. Seed catalogs.
21. Homegrown garlic.

22. Writing my weekly column.
23. Kitchen counters with nothing on them.
24. My new ipod.
25. Our Sunday morning walks.
26. Dark beer just after the sun goes down.
27. Running with both kids successfully.

28. Margot sings Ruby songs.

29. My girlfriends.
30. Soup.
31. Alice in the snow.

32. My blog and the community that spouted up around it. It brings me so much joy. I have wanted to GIVE since we were on the verge of it all at the hospital with our newborn and I fell in deep, not-looking-back love with this place. Writing was my outlet while I was stuck in a room with my sick baby and your comments and e mails were my therapy. The stories and poems you shared, the support and love you gave...I just never expected to be a part of something so big and powerful when I started my blogger account nearly three years ago.

I am so grateful for all of the beauty in my world and I adore writing and taking photos and sharing it. I have great fun and you, dear readers, fuel dig in so many ways. So, thanks! And, I want to give you stuff!

Leave a comment and I'll pick three people to receive a potholder and a set of my postcards. Comments will close Friday morning, February 12 when I'll randomly select the winners. xo!
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