Showing newest 6 of 9 posts from 02.11. Show older posts
Showing newest 6 of 9 posts from 02.11. Show older posts


hump day nuggets: sweet challenge

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

Snow continues to fall and my kids continue to grow. It's nice to rely on these things.

Last week over dinner, Margot turned to her dad and said, "You know, I like children's museums more than I like children."


Last week I sighed and Ruby leaned over and gave me an open-mouth kiss on my nose.


Sometimes I want to pause my kids. It all feels so safe and funny right now. It's a good thing we get to grow with our children, that I have the spring and summer to sift through my emotions about Margot starting preschool.

The changes happen so quickly and yet the cadence somehow feels manageable because the sequence makes sense and unfolds with or without my permission. With every phase I find myself wishing to stop time and excited for the next chapter because, with every phase, there is sweetness and challenge.

blizzard outside, bed-romping inside


:: Margot regularly asks me to help her make a nest for she and Ruby to read in. It's one of my favorites right now.


:: We had a sicky sick blech weekend. Lots of reading and soup and hugging and sleep.

both of my kids really love these teas and I really think they work wonderfully 

:: The weekend was challenging. In hindsight, the slow, healing pace seems sweet. I think most hardships are that way.


:: And, man does it feel good to get out after we've been pinned in.


:: One of my current parenting challenges is Ruby's desire to be within six inches of me if I am visible. I love holding her. And I am ready for her to feel comfortable playing in the living room while I make dinner. We'll get there.


Actually it is often both of my kids that want to curl into the palm of my hand. We had a "picnic on the floor" for dinner a few nights ago and Margot and Ruby both pawed at my food and my lap. I asked them if they perhaps wanted to visit their dad (who lounged peacefully and gracefully ate spinach salad). Margot stopped still and said, "Mom, your children just want you when you are eating dinner. That's all."


That's all.

:: Ruby is learning to walk. Margot walked at 10 months so we kept thinking Ruby would up and go like her sister. But this sister is on her own trajectory.


She is completely hilarious when she's upright, often giggling so uncontrollably that she loses her balance. Her favorite is when Margot walks with her. She goes back for more even when Margot decides to pick up the pace and not let go of Ruby's hand.

Come on Ruby! Good job! Isn't this fun?

:: "Mama, I really think Ruby really wants to be up here on the bed and not playing with that doll. I think she wants me to play with that doll."


:: Winter is the best season to photograph Alice.


:: During the rough, sick weekend,  Margot asked what I was feeling and I told her I was grumpy and frustrated. It was the truth, a lot of it because Margot had continually pushed and pulled on Ruby all morning. I had yelled a few times, I felt like I wasn't a very fun mom. Margot centered me, held my face in her little hands and said, "Mama, I like you." And, just like that, grumps evaporated and Margot softened toward Ruby. Words are powerful.

 New hoodie in the shop, a design collaboration with sparkley-darker-blue-loving Margot

:: All the photos in this post are taken with my loaner camera from Vann's. It's an affordable little point and shoot (I used the manual settings) and a great camera (available through the link below). I am still waiting to get my hands on my Dreamboat...

THANK YOU for your participation in the poll and comments. I think you will be very psyched with the deals Vann's has composed for you, in response to your desires, including a discount on apple laptops and several point and shoots, lenses and DSLRs.

Click here to see the fabulous deals that can be yours and how to grab 'em before they are gone (while also supporting a locally-owned, mama-supporting business)! All offers end at midnight on February 25. Thank you, Vann's!

Happy hump day out there.


a bag for mama

Last night, after an exhausting day of caring for my sick family, I decided to not even consider my pile of work. I needed to do something for me. It was late, snowing and cold. I couldn't find a leash and I couldn't stand to be inside for another moment so Alice and I headed out into the snowy night, boundless. I walked hard and fast. The cold air burned. I let go a little bit with every deliberate step.


I came home, walked through the messy kitchen only stopping to put the entire pot of chicken noodle soup in the fridge. I poured a glass of thick wine, descended to the studio put on some loud music and made myself a bag.

Our hen, 16 months, digs the new accessory

I've had this bag in mind for a while. My criteria:
  • Big but navigable when digging for, say, a pacifier or phone or fruit leather. 
  • Handles just the right length so I could reach in with one hand while it is on my shoulder
  • Uses awesome vintage upholstery fabric I scored at a garage sale.
I don't love the button and I think I'll change it. Chunky wood? Thoughts?
  • Square bottom, heavy fabric. No floppy bag.
  • Comfortably holds camera, two diapers, diaper cover, two water bottles, snacks and the other normal purse stuff.
  • Thick, stay-put straps.
  • Laptop fits.
  • Lots of pockets
The fabric for lining and pockets are all pieces from my scrap stash.
  • Is cheery.
Pattern details: The bag is a tweak on the Charming Handbag in Bend the Rules. My changes: I hand drew the pattern to 8x16" (cut on the fold so my bag is 16x16") . The two handles are each 30" long and I doubled the width (also doubled the width of the casing). Because I used heavy fabric, I didn't do a facing, only a lining. I added three pockets to the lining before assembling bag. I added a flap, a snap and a non-functional button.

I like it. And, even though its completion meant very little sleep, it was just what I needed: a little spring green to accompany my winter uniform.


Another thing that fueled my mojo happened last week when Margot's camera was stolen from our front steps and I, as Margot says, drove way way far away all over to track down the thief. Read all about it in this week's mama digs: depth of field.

Lastly, there is still a day to vote in the poll at the upper right about which electronics or appliance item you'd love a discount on and comment on this post answering the question, If you were offered a discount on that item, would you purchase it? Your participation determines what fabulous deal Vann's will offer you all on Wednesday and helps me replace my broken camera thanks to the new dig sponsor. I really appreciate your support! And I really appreciate Vann's!


chores and cameras

When Margot was like six weeks old, Andy and I sat cocooned together with her on the couch. I asked him what he was excited for and we had a dreamy conversation about our future kid and all the activities we couldn't wait to enjoy together. And then he said, "I also can't wait until she can do chores." We laughed and then he said, "Seriously though, won't it be nice?"

nursing Ruby is hardly a chore but it is one of my responsibilities, a task I love

Currently, Margot's "chores" mostly involve halfway cleaning up her own messes. But as I look around our home, to-do chores in every corner of every room, I get what Andy was saying. Margot now feeds our cats and dog every morning and night. And, somehow, Andy has managed to make her excited about learning to vacuum.

vacuuming is most fun when naked from the waist down

For whatever reason chore has a negative connotation to me. It sounds like a forced activity. I like to think we, as a family, are participating, collaborating for the greater good of our home. Overly flowery? Perhaps but I have unloaded approximately 789,000 dishwashers in my life so maybe that's why I don't like chores. It was my chore and I wore it like an albatross. And since it was also my mom's chore as a child I GET why she promptly passed the baton. It will indeed be lovely when Margot and Ruby can Participate and Collaborate in the unloading of dishes. I do hope to change it up though. Make it fun! Is it possible?

I tasked Margot with gathering photos for last Wednesday's nuggets. I just left her camera out and she chose what to capture but there were a few times when I really wanted a photo from her perspective, like Ruby taking her first steps, when Margot firmly told me it was not her vision. Fair enough.

I had the vision and no camera to capture it in the way I imagined. I do think of photographing as a way I contribute to and participate in my family. It's a chore I love.

So, you know my camera is broken, right? Right. I have been channeling every nerve in my universe, believing some sort of magical camera elf would work this all out for me. Big picture (pun!), I know having a camera is small potatoes but I feel got by you all. Anything seems possible as your amazing emails, that made me buzz with appreciation and a few tears, arrived to my inbox. People offering their cameras, offering to contribute to a purchase, brainstorming sponsorship approaches, well-wishing...amazing, gorgeous people you are. Thank you.

My elf is skipping around my home and his name is Vann's.

Vann's is my local appliance and electronics store (with an awesome online store, no sales tax and free shipping on most items). They have a great selection and we've purchased many items there, including our range, dishwasher and washing machine. Vann's generously gave me a camera to use (I pick it up today! yay!) and we are working towards my Dreamboat Camera.

I need your help to get to the Dreamboat.

Pretty please take a sec to answer the poll at the upper right of my blog, answering the question:

What is the number one electronics or appliance item you wish you could get a discount on?

And, please leave a comment answering this question:

If you were offered a discount on that item, would you purchase it?

The poll is open until Tuesday, February 22 and the next day, in nuggets, you will learn what sort of lovely offer Vann's has composed just for YOU. Thank you in advance for your help.

Maybe a sweet little purchase (made sweeter by a deal) would make your chores easier. What was your childhood chore? Do you hate unloading the dishwasher?

to adoring chores,



hump day nuggets: Margot's lens

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

My camera is broken. I feel a little sheepish admitting the heartache I feel over it. The thing is, sure, I use it for my work both here and on etsy. I need it for my upcoming art exhibit. I want it because I love to document. But, more than any of that, my camera is daily creative outlet that is really important to me. You know.

she was a present from my parents for my 30th birthday

I have been talking about, thinking about, dreaming about cameras a lot this last week. I can't afford a new one and I just keep waiting for the perfect answer to emerge. It'll come.

In the mean time, Margot is now the member of our family with a camera.* And, at the suggestion of a reader (Whitney!), this week's nuggets come from her unique, hilarious perspective.

The photos in this post are taken by or directed by Margot Bea. And she helped me with the commentary which was one of the funniest experiences I have had as of late. She's a great kid, that one.


:: Margot and Ruby play with three pals two mornings a week. She took her camera on Monday and when I asked how it went she just shrugged her shoulders and said, "Well, fine I guess. The memory card is, like, full." Getting nuggets together is tough work I tell you.


:: We go through an unreal amount of bread in our home and, no matter how much I make and buy, at least once a week we find one lonely heel where we thought the loaf should be. Consequently, I have been searching, tweaking, hoping for a perfect, quick, healthy, quick, very quick biscuit recipe. And, beloveds, I am there. And it is good.


Supa Quick Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits The Whole Family Loves

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons ground flax (optional)
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter
1/2 cup milk

Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and ground flax in a bowl. Cut in butter. In a separate bowl, whisk honey into the milk. Add honey milk and stir until just mixed. It's pretty dry so, at this point, I just get my hands in there to form a dough ball. Divide dough into 12 biscuits and bake at 450 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Easy. Delish.

:: "Margot, tell me about this photo." A little annoyed, with an exhale, "That's Ruby, mama."


:: We took Margot skiing last weekend, her first time on real skis with hard boots and oh my. I found myself teary more than once at the total happiness and beauty of the day.

When seeing this photo, bug said, "That's me skiing, mama. Skiing is fun and that's the ski hill, mama. I love skiing!"


She skied on our backs when she was one, on strap-on skis when she was two and, now, at three, she's skiing.


It was awesome and completely exhausting in the most wonderful way. I was a ski instructor in college and worked a lot with three year-olds. It is quite cool to teach my kid to ski. And, holy holy, what a proud mama I was. She was spirited and fearless. And, after two bunny hill runs, she was skiing begging me to "just move please mama because I want to go really fast."

These photos by Andy and Gramma Joan, assisted by Ruby.


:: I transcribed Margot's birthday card message to her bff, Owen, on his third birthday:
Happy Dear Owen,
Happy Birthday. That stick really did hurt. I love you.
Love, Margot
"That's Owen! Owen Bruno. Come here big sweet potato! Owen is my best pal."

:: "That's Gramma Joan. That's my grandma. I miss my grandma all day long night."


:: I love her interest in photographing her everyday favorites and activites. She will often aim her camera at Ruby and me and I'll grab Rubes close and hold still anticipating her sweet delayed button press. Instead, her camera migrates away from her family subjects and toward a bowl of salt.

"Margot, how about this photo?" 

"That's my kitchen. I play in there of course."


"And this one?"

"Awe! That's my favorite headband! It's just adorable!"


"That's just you and Juicy. You are changing Ruby's diaper at Owen's birthday party. Or something."


:: Our Valentine dinner reminded me of those machines that blow the numbered balls in the air for the lottery. I spilled one glass of champagne and one glass of wine. Anyone who knows me is nodding like yeah, so? because I tend to spill a lot of beverages. I just get excited and can't pay attention to objects in the way of my expressive hands. When I knocked over the second glass Margot said, "Daddy, what is happening?" Andy smiled and replied, "Oh, it's just your mama."

Margot said of the evening, "Dinner. Family dinner. I can have a fruit leather 
after dinner. And that's the end of the story."

:: Margot sang the caption for the following photo like a poem in a shrill high squeak.

I am in the swing
and Margot
are outside
but there are no toys out there
and we're siiiiiii i i i i i ngiiiiing


:: Not sure if I've mentioned this here before but Andy is sweet nut. Me, I'm more savory. So, he makes dessert a lot more than I do. We often (usually) have a container of cookie dough in our fridge so he can make a small batch in the evenings after dinner. Dude knows his cookies. And while Margot and I made these heart-shaped lovelies on Valentine's Day, he was directing from the couch.

Andy's favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (1/2 cup fewer chocolate chips)

:: You'll have to wait for next week's mama digs to learn why we are dancing in these photos. It's a good, crazy story that caused Margot to exclaim, "Let's dance! Turn on 123!"


:: Margot (post chocolate chip cookie): "Watch this you guys. You just do down dog and then you put one leg up like this and then you do like this," as she gyrated her hips up and down and in circles while cawing like a wild animal. "And then you just keep doing down dog and then you stand up and take a bow."

Alice wasn't into the performance.

:: Girlfriend painting her papa's funky winter feet.


:: Still life with half-eaten apples, mama's boot and dog ear.


:: Customized cookie for dad. Message by Margot. I love this happy dear thing she has going. It's so jolly.


And, that is this week's nuggets, brought to you by Margot Bea Cline.


Happy hump day out there.

* edited to add: Margot's camera is a Kodak Easy Share CD22. It appears they aren't made anymore.


be mine

Hello sweethearts.

Margot wanted to make a 'happy valentine's day video' and took the opportunity to sing her favorite song. 

I remember making and passing out valentines in elementary school into tiny baskets on each kid's desk. I was always so excited to see what my classmates chose to give me. Like my horoscope, I'd always read what I wanted to read. If my crush gave me a Kermit card, I just *knew* it meant he wanted to hold hands.

I remember high school where simple handmade cards turned into buying carnations for classmates. I think the intention of the organizers was to send warm fuzzies to your pals but, like most things in high school, it felt like a competition. How may carnations were waiting for me in homeroom? It always gave me anxiety. I didn't like how my feelings were directly related to the size of my bouquet. Also, there was always an anonymous love flower whose giver I'd never know. I didn't like the not knowing either. Just give me a Kermit card and let's hold hands already.

Memory is an interesting thing, what our brains choose to hold onto, how out bodies choose to revisit stories. I have been thinking about this a lot lately as Margot is three and, at three, I have many vivid, exaggerated snippets in my brain. I wonder what she'll remember and I wrote about it in this week's mama digs: remembering three.

Photos taken with webcam, my beloved camera is broken.

Happy Valentine's Day!


Virgin Harvest 2011

It's time to start planning our plots.


I like to grow food for my family and I like to get better at it every year. So I started the Virgin Harvest last year hoping to create a community of gardening people, a space for documenting and sharing food-growing goals. The premise is simple and inclusive: do something new in your garden. Whether it is is a first-ever tomato plant, growing enough potatoes to feed your family for a year, a rosemary plant in a pot, canning jam or harvesting 17 varieties of squash.

Anything, everything. Pick a thing, or a few, and grow it for the first time.

It's time to start the 2011 Virgin Harvest! Will you join? Hope so because it will be fun, exciting, interactive and satisfying. What's not to love there?

In addition to posting your name, location and goals on the Virgin Harvest page, I have opened up a flickr group so we can share photos of progress and problems. It will be a resource for troubleshooting those sick beans and bragging about that giant pepper, an easy way to connect and learn.


Want to participate? Awesome.
  1. Email me with info about how you'll lose your harvest virginity (scandelous!). Please have email subject line read: '2011 Virgin Harvest.' Please format your information like this: Name, website, City, State, Country: Virgin Harvest plans. 
  2. Join the Virgin Harvest flickr group.
  3. Grow food.
  4. Get a jump start: leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a Heirloom Vegetable Lovers Seed Collection from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Comments will close on Tues, Feb 15 and winner will be announced at the bottom of this post.
  5. Grab the Virgin Harvest button and share it on your site.

I'll start! My 2011 Virgin Harvest goals:

:: learn to hunt.
:: put up enough carrots, beets, garlic, onion, tomatoes, peas and corn to feed my family until summer 2012.
:: grow decent brussels sprouts.


Can't wait to see what we grow!

**********COMMENTS CLOSED**********

and the winner is:

Kelli said...
I am so excited to participate in Virgin Harvest this year!
Last year I found you about 1/2 way through the summer. I just bought my first house last year &; started a garden in pots & planters. This year I am super excited to add some raised beds to the front yard &; get serious with my garden!
Thanks, I love your site.

Congrats! email me at
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