Showing newest 5 of 11 posts from 09.10. Show older posts
Showing newest 5 of 11 posts from 09.10. Show older posts

9.29.2010

hump day nuggets: equinoxes and harvest moons

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

An equinox occurs twice a year, when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from nor towards the Sun, the center of the Sun being in the same plane as the Earth's equator.

The harvest moon is the moon at or about the period of fullness that is nearest to the autumnal equinox.

Turns out it was the exact same moment this year. Did you see it? It was, hands down, the best effing full moon I have ever seen. Round and sexy and hissing with excitement.

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happy birthday Caroline!
The thing is, we don't need such scientific truths to announce fall 'round here. The air crunches, the leaves relax into rainbows. College students sit on couches on their front porches and bed time becomes more of a time. The sun yawns over the mountains sooner and insists upon sweaters.

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Here, we haul closet loads of stuff we can clearly live without to thrift stores and talk about weather-proofing windows. We wish we had planted more carrots and pick hundreds of pounds of fruit from neighbor's trees. We opine about the snow forecast and spread the down comforter over our bed.

nuggets.

:: Lots of surprises in the garden this year including one giant head of Kaboko cabbage.

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:: Annual peach butter making.

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We did it over the course of several days this year. Breaking up the blanching and peeling from the cooking from the canning made it seem like a snap. However, I think we lost a good 20 pounds of peaches to hungry kids. We still ended up with 30 pints of summer heaven.

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:: Pear-picking with friends.
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As I was pli矇ing way up in a tree I remembered last year when I was up in that same tree negotiating a big belly. As I approach Ruby's first birthday and I keep thinking about one year ago I was _____. It's a crazy thing that she was in my body a year ago and now she's long and strong and here.

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I'll make pear apple sauce. Method and recipe next week.

:: Our contortionist baby can bend in half to reach anything at all. Dare her and it's even more astounding.

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:: The winter squash harvest will be wildly successful in a few weeks.

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:: Lately I have insane twitches where I SEE Margot as a teenager.

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:: WE GOT A NEW RANGE and it took a minor miracle to shoehorn it into our beligerant kitchen. Some day, a remodel. For now? I have four working burners, convection and lots of things to make without having to hop on one foot while singing supercalafragalisticexpealadocious.

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:: I made a cake for my friend's birthday (in the schizophrenic oven) and it was good. Like, finishing-it-off-for-breakfast good.

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Adapted from Vegetarian Planet cookbook:

Cornmeal Plum Cake

1 1/3 cups cornmeal
2/3 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup salted butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain, whole milk yogurt
1 1/2 cups halved plums

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter nine-inch cake pan. Mix cornmeal, flour, salt and baking powder in a bowl. In another bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wood spoon (don't cream them). Stir half beaten eggs into sug-but mixture. Then add the rest. Add vanilla. Add half of the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well (don't beat). Stir in yogurt. Add remaining flour mixture. Fold in plums. Pour into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted into cake comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes and serve at room temp.

And because it stuck like crazy and was all fuhcockta when it came out, I fixed it up with a boulevard sunflower.

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:: I hear all the time on facebook how people dork out at Target. I do not do this but I can relate. I can walk the aisles of my local hardware store like I'm on a secret scavenger hunt.

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Especially when accompanied by a WIDE AWAKE baby before sunrise.

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We left with canning lids, Barkeeper's Friend and a dog poo shovel. What were you doing Saturday at 7am?
And, even though I CANNOT WAIT TO SLEEP PAST 5AM, I always feel lucky to witness sunrise.

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:: I think plums are nature's most perfect color combination.

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To preserve plums I simply halve, pit, toss in bags and freeze. We add to muffins, cakes and desserts all year.

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:: We have a farm seven blocks from our home. It's absolutely one of my favorite things to wake, make coffee and walk to Benson's for produce that was picked that morning.

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And my true Montana girl. It was cold on this morning and she insisted flip flops were fine if she wore a hat. Yep.

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We loaded the stroller with as much corn as it could carry (leaving room for two small children) to freeze for the winter.

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Swear, corn is the easiest, most satisfying thing to preserve. Once you taste fresh summer corn in a Rocky Mountain January, you'll never go back. Here's how we roll: blanch for three minutes, cool immediately, let dry a bit, cut of cob, spread on cookie sheets (to eliminate corn wad), place in freezer, wait until frozen and then flake the kernels into bags, label and store. Do it.

:: I love my dog.

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ant hat for sale here
So that's a week on our stead. This next week we will tackle the pounds of pears and tomatoes that are keeping each other company in our entryway at the moment. And we will ride the biggest pumpkin we've ever grown like a champion bull.

I had so hoped to grow enough food to feed our family through the winter. It didn't happen. But every year I am closer to maximizing the yield from our plot. The good news is that I am surrounded by generous souls who want their trees picked and want their tomatoes adored. I think we'll make out just fine. Just like Margot picking out her own clothes, it always works out, no?

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9.27.2010

wag more. bark less.

So many of my vulnerabilities and insecurities have dissolved as I've aged (thank goodness). But I still have them. Sometimes I feel so unsure as a mom, citizen, wife, woman. Like I am falling with a bushel of apples and trying to catch them as we all race toward the ground. And the fact that I feel insecure even posting this makes me want to do it. It's how I operate: I plow into my fears, dissect them and move on.

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I actually like that I don't know what I am doing as I navigate parenthood. And it's validating to know that everyone is in that same, unknowing place. Because, if we knew exactly what was next, we would be robbed of the excitement and reward that is unique to being a mama.

I had lunch with my good friend and she said, "Any mom you see who you think has it all together? She doesn't. You just don't know her well enough."

My brain has regurgitated this incredibly simple and true statement many times in the last few weeks. It's comforting to me when I feel frail or defeated. Also comforting to me is the evolution of my self-awareness. When someone makes nutty assumptions based on my blog and sends me a snarky email? Or shoots a look when I choose to hug my tantrumy toddler in the middle of the grocery store? Sure it stings a bit but then I remember I am doing the best I can. I love my family. I choose to surround myself with inspiring women who give me the benefit of the doubt. And I quickly get to the lovely place of buzz off bitchy sister.

Judgement (in the my-way-is-better-than-your-way sense), while inherent in us all, is dangerous and often shitty. I don't like it. I prefer support, empathy and kindness. I think judgement often comes from a fear of scarcity. Another's success doesn't exclude one from one's own. I believe it's actually cumulative. A success generates more room for success. It just gets bigger and greater. I read something somewhere about atoms or some other small scientific item and how they move around and bounce off each other. Every encounter they have makes all involved stronger. Each collision generates more energy and more power. I believe people are this way too.

I have been thinking about all of this a lot lately. It's because this is the first time in my life I haven't had a boss or a teacher. It's all me all day. With my sewing and writing, with my parenting. With my brain full of ideas and concepts and no colleague to chew on it with me. I like to be pushed. I like challenges. I like criticism. I want to be better. And because I feel so open to feedback and because I am on the threshold of some exciting things taking off, I feel like all my guts and nerves are on the outside ready to receive the full impact of anything in my path.

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I want to always have a bit of second-guessing because I think that means I am taking risks and living big. I don't ever want to be so sure of something...that would make me feel claustrophobic and like there's no where to go. But I do enjoy chiseling away at my middle school desire to appeal to everyone (can I get a hell yeah?!). I'm getting there...

All of those confusing paragraphs inspired this week's mama digs, let's hike. This is my way of announcing to universe and promising myself that I strive to live the golden rule. My favorite iteration of the universal principal is native american: All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves.

9.24.2010

dig this sponsor: Selvedge Studio

Is there a place where you go and when you get there your heart beats a little more audibly and you smile the whole time? I feel that way at my local fabric shop, Selvedge Studio.

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Almost everything I've made and posted about that led to a million Where'd you get that fabric?! emails? Answer: Selvedge Studio.

Mother-daughter owners, Mary Ryan and Leah Morrow, have this sweet little space in downtown Missoula and, for those who can't stroll the Missoula streets, they also have a sweet little space online. They sell mouth-watering fabric, notions, patterns and they offer classes, approachable advice in an inspiring and unintimidating environment. Time and agenda slow to a lovely pace in Selvedge. My kids love going there too.

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Margot on left and Ruby on right: my babes hanging at Selvedge while mama shops for fabric
I had a wee chat with the two stylish women about their inspiring business. Check it out.

Tell us a bit about Selvedge Studio's history.

As a family we have always been obsessed with making stuff. We started this business because we were inspired by all the new (and improved) fabrics, designers, and sewing styles. Missoula is a creative place, it has wonderful yarn, beading, and craft stores. We wanted to help Missoulians discover - and achieve - their sewing dreams. We offer classes to get started, and the fabrics for a fabulous finished project.

Every time I enter Selvedge, you have new, irresistible stuff (and I am there a lot)! How do you do that?

Our fabric turns over seasonally so we are always at Market, discovering new designers, new fibers, and new inspiration. We love to watch current fashion and home dec trends, and try to bring the best back to our customers. We are collectors at heart and can't help but try something new all the time. (Our latest addition to the Selvedge line is vintage fabric!)

How can one get their paws on your delicious fabrics and notions?

We are happily located on the Hip Strip in Downtown Missoula, just south of the Higgins Street Bridge at 509 S Higgins. (There is parking in the back for a stress free shopping experience.)

You can also shop online and find links to our facebook, blogspot, and youtube sites on our website selvedgestudio.com

What advice do you have for aspiring seamstresses out there?

Start simple with a fabric that inspires you and a project that is manageable.  Some of our customer's best projects are as simple as tote bags, A-line skirts, and embellishments.  Pick stuff that is quicker to make than bathing a baby after a romp in the park.  After a few successful projects you'll find potential everywhere - "I could make that!"


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It's a very cool business to support, people. AND they are giving a little extra incentive:

:: 25% off all purchases! Enter 'dig this chick' at checkout or mention 'dig this chick' at their store.

:: Become a fan of their Facebook page and leave a comment answering What do you like to sew? for a chance to win a $25 Luckiest Seamstress Ticket (gift certificate!!) to the store or website! Winner will be announced on Facebook on October 21.

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lots of fun to be had at Selvedge Studio
    Y'all I am all about this place. Good people with a fabulous business. What's not to love? Head on over to Selvedge Studio and buy some beautiful fabric.

    Thank you, Selvedge Studio!

    9.22.2010

    hump day nuggets: Fisha in da hizouse!

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

    Margot's giant, joyously pleading eyes led to us coming home with a betta fish a few weeks back. She was exceptionally decisive in picking the fish and the name. It seemed like she already knew this would happen so I trusted that and went with her. It went something like this:

    "Oh mama! Look at all those fish! They are so beautiful to me!"

    "Well...perhaps we could get a fish if you help me care for him everyday and..."

    "Sure. I want that one right there. He's a boy and his name is Fisha."

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    I like to pronounce his name like a hip hop gangsta might. Fisha, Puhleez!

    Fisha is chill. He swims around in a bowl and likes the music box. My husband last changed his water and the bowl broke and sliced clean and fast through his thumb. Andy placed Fisha in our liquid measuring cup until we could find another vase and when I went to fetch the homeless fish, he wasn't in the pyrex cup.

    I immediately saw him. Dry and lifeless like a post-rain worm on a sidewalk. Margot was napping right next to me so I couldn't even verbally respond. I picked up our dead dude and he twitched and I about twitched out of my skin. I tossed him in the bowl and he sunk and then floated sideways and motionless. I thought maybe he had some nerve response like a chicken after it's head is chopped off.

    I was about to dispose of him when I saw his itty gills erratically moving. I reached in and swirled the water and, sure enough, Fisha in da hizouse!

    It took several hours of slow recovery but now he's resumed his daily activity of swimming in small figure eights on top of Margot's bookshelf. It's unexpected and surprising. I could have easily tossed him had I not given him one last hopeful glance.

    I find relationships to be this way. The more I look, the deeper I dig and give the benefit of the doubt, the more people rise, sashay and move with life. The more I believe in greatness and inspiration, the more I find it.

    I was moved in meeting my blog friend and her Florida family this last week. Kelle and I talked a lot about similarities outweighing differences....like people with or without down syndrome, women with or without kids, moms with or without mountains.

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    I think, at our core, we all know this.

    We are born without judgement and with trust. We learn to assess situations and form opinions and while those are essential skills, I think we eventually (especially in our thirties when we learn we know nothing and mortality is real) try like hell to revert and practice that child-like wonder and appreciation for a hug, a cool bug, a perfectly prepared bowl of oatmeal, a favorite song on the radio.

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    nuggets. This last week, we:

    :: Rolled around in color.

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    :: Believed there was nowhere else we'd rather be.

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    :: Taught those younger than us what's in store.

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    :: Danced.

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    :: Found wonder in tall, honey-colored grass.

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    :: Smiled a lot.

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    :: Stretched and grew.

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    :: Realized we didn't have to go far or do much to discover new, exciting things.

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    :: Played.

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    :: Understood how little one really needs to have fun.

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    :: Wrestled thirty of the sixty pounds of peaches lounging in my kitchen.

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    :: Got to know old, new friends.

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    A common thread in my conversations with Kelle was competition versus camaraderie among women. And how we all have insecurities and if you were able to deconstruct them (as we did with each other's) they are the exact same.

    She shared this beautiful excerpt with me. It's about writing but substitute any word you like and it is wonderful. "Mom" works beautifully. "Blogger" works beautifully.

    From Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg:

    Writers are great lovers. They fall in love with other writers. That's how they learn to write. They take on a writer, read everything by him or her, read it over again until they understand how the writer moves, pauses and sees. That's what being a lover is: stepping out of yourself, stepping into someone else's skin. Your ability to love another's writing means those capabilities are awakened in you. It will only make you bigger; it won't make you a copy cat...great writers realize they are what they are in love with...

    ...So writing is not just writing. It is also having a relationship with other writers. And don't be jealous, especially secretly. That's the worst kind. If someone writes something great, it's just more clarity in the world for all of us. Don't make writers "other," different from you: "They are good and I am bad." Don't create that dichotomy. It makes it hard to become good if you create that duality. The opposite, of course, is also true: if you say, "I am great and they aren't," then you become too proud, unable to grow as a writer or hear criticism of your work. Just, "They are good and I am good." This statement gives a lot of space.

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    And lastly, from Fisha, the insanely strong fish with new street cred:

    I never would have known what it felt like to be land-dwelling had I not taken a risk on that cartwheel out of the bowl. Turns out, it wasn't for me. I now have great respect for all you creatures with limbs. Water works for me and land works for you. Thankfully our world gives us both. Peace out and Happy Hump Day.

    9.20.2010

    well that was fun

    Our friends are gone and I spent my day reconstructing our space, moving the little piles of memories back to their places.

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    My home looks exactly like two toddlers, two babies, two women and one very patient man had a lot of fun. Many late nights (two times I was in bed after 4am...!) and laughs and plenty of toddler negotiations in the mix.

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    Being constant in the world of kid relationship made me think about two things: 1) What is it going to be like when Ruby can run and talk (grab and push back)? and 2) What the hell is the right way to deal with it all? When to share, when to hold tight. When to intervene, when to give space. While this was a very small part of our experience, it fueled my words in this week's mama digs column, mine.hers (manners).

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    Also, I just have to say it again: the whole wild experiment of meeting my blog pal exceeded my expectations.

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    It was easy and heartening, enriching and funny. Kelle is a very relaxed and engaged mama. I feel honored to know her and excited for our relationship to continue to grow. Oh our time together flew by and I was sad to see those three gals leave Montana.

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    But I know this was the first of many get togethers with our families in mountains and on beaches, because, it turns out, my man and Kelle also got along splendidly. Now we just have to hope our goofy Montana clan can win Brett over...I have a feeling this is the first chapter of a long, rich story.

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    So it's time to crawl into my bed and sleep for many hours, if my baby allows this. I have a date with sixty pounds of peaches tomorrow morning. Oh, pretty please, Ruby, I hope you took some notes on Nella's stellar sleeping behavior.

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    Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened. -Dr. Seuss

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