Monday, June 30, 2008


Oh yes that's right... it's me that's been gone for a week.

So it seems summer is busier than I thought it would be. Thankfully, we are all feeling better now so we can enjoy all the coming and going that's been happening. Between out-of-town guests, family pictures, snuggling a newly born baby, and a few other things thrown in, our days are flying by.

So fast in fact that I still have not gotten any strawberries this year. I know I'm on the edge of being too late for them so I must grab some this week to stock up on homemade jam for the year. I think the raspberries are here too and the blueberries are next but I'm trying not to think about them just yet. We already had to forgo our veggie garden this year and I really don't want to miss out on having local berries in my freezer this winter.

The weather has been very hot but it's such a nice change from a few weeks ago that we don't mind it. We've been playing outside and inside and enjoying it all when we get a chance to rest.

Sawyer's found a new love: yogurt. Plain, whole milk, yogurt to be exact. With a splash of stevia to sweeten it, a bit of cod liver oil for his brain and a sprinkle of probiotics for good digestion. And he's adamant about using his own spoon.

This is Ian's favorite way to eat yogurt too. Of course, adding in some granola and those berries I'll get someday and we're in summer heaven.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Tuesday update

Isn't peekaboo always more fun when you're sitting on the dining room table?

Sawyer is feeling much better and just has a little lingering cough that I'm sure will be gone in the next day or so. I, on the other hand, am sick now. Jeremy worked from home so I could lay on the couch groaning about how awful I feel and not have to watch the kids every second.

I've been taking the time to catch up on some reading. I've finished the first two books in the No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series and working on the 3rd. I can't seem to put them down!

And I've been meaning to link to this story for awhile because it's so amazing. I would do this in a heartbeat and I love that she's being hailed as a hero.

Okay, back to the couch with my saltines and tea.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Taking our time

We have a little one that is sick today. Sawyer woke up with a fever, his first one, and he's miserable. He's just laying around, wanting to snuggle, which is really unusual for him so I'm secretly happy I'm getting some quality cuddle time in. Our plan is to lay low and let him dictate our day which is fine with us.

Along with slowing down this week, I've been wanting a way to be thoughtful about each day even if I've just changed my 8th diaper in a row or cleaned the kitchen for the 4th time in an hour. So I love this idea... a sketchbook/journal about my day. Even though I've always liked the idea of journaling, I never seemed to stick with it. What I love is that I can take one page a day, write my to-do list, what we're planning on eating, etc...but also doodle or draw or write down little things the boys did or said that I want to remember. It's kind of like a snapshot of that day without any pressure of sitting down to journal all of it in flowing paragraphs.

And if it's not enough for Sawyer and I to need some quiet routines at home, than Ian desperately needs them too. He's pushing and testing and has been in some of the worst moods we've ever seen from him. Some days it feels like everything is an argument and he resists anything we want him to do. So after a good week or two of being completely flabbergasted by his disobedience and tantrums, I've decided the best thing to do is pull back, scale down and just bring everything back to center. So instead of rushing out and trying to fit in errands that can be done alone later in the evening, we are staying home. And what I'm finding is that I needed this too.

I notice a huge change in his attitude when we are busy doing things together in his familiar places. It's important for kids to feel needed, not just loved, and I see that in Ian so much. It builds his self-esteem to know that his hard work, even as a 3 year old, is needed in our family. So this morning, first thing, we headed outside and he fed the chickens.

He also learned to sort laundry and caught on really quickly without needing direction from me.

And so we didn't work the entire day, we read some new books while Sawyer slept. My niece Meagan stayed with us this week and while we were at Barnes and Nobles she introduced us to the Carl books. I think I'm in love! And oh yeah...Ian likes them too.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Beach boys

Our weekend/father's day beach trip was fun. Crazy in that we shared one room with two little boys who loved jumping off the beds kind of crazy, but amazing when we finally got to see some sharks.

It's weekends like this that make us realize how challenging parenting is one minute but how incredibly rewarding it is the next. Life is so full and fun right now and we are so grateful we have these two to blame.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A hinting of summer

Yesterday was the first June day where we had full sun so we took advantage of it. The chickens grazed around the yard for a couple of hours, Jeremy sat on our new deck working from his laptop, and Ian and I drew pictures. Can you tell what it is? He says it's a spider with different colored legs. I'm thinking Pollock here, no?


The boys have been living off fruit lately it seems. One of our favorite things is dipping bananas. We dip in peanut butter, almond butter, raw honey, cocoa, and nuts and seeds. Here's the latest dips that we love: Hemp seeds and chia seeds, both are packed full of nutrition.

Hemp seeds (on the right) contain 6 of the essential fatty acids (EFA's) like omega 3's and 6's, and are a complete protein all by themselves. Ounce for ounce, hemp seeds have two times the protein of eggs and four times the protein of milk! Just 4 tablespoons boasts 15 grams of protein! Read more about them here and here. I add them to breads, muffins, salads, and even smoothies.

Chia seeds also contain EFA's in the form of omega 3 and are a soluble fiber which can aid in digestion. Proof is if you add water to the seeds, it will turn gelatinous in minutes. A 1/4 cup of chia seeds provides as much omega 3's as a salmon fillet, 25% more fiber than flax seeds, 30% more antioxidants than blueberries, and as much calcium as 3 cups of milk!* Read more about them here.

And people wonder how vegans and vegetarians get enough protein and calcium! I can buy these local but if you can't, there are plenty of online stores where you can get them. Try to find places that sell it in bulk. I bought 1 lb of chia seeds for under $7 at Azure Standard.

Now on to the packing...we're off to the beach for the weekend!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

They are finally outside

The chickens are happy to be outside, eating insects and worms and enjoying the feel of dirt beneath their feet. And of course we are just as happy to have them outside in their own little home. Our big plans to build a coop went a little sour when we started actually reading the plans and words like gusset , gable, and J-channel edges stood out and we realized we had no idea what we were doing.

I turned to Craigslist to see if anyone was selling chicken coops and within a couple of days I found just what I was looking for. This coop is almost identical to the one we were wanting to build for ourselves. It was brand new and not a whole lot more than what we would have probably spent on materials.

The inside of the chicken's nesting box is where they sleep at night or go when they want to get out of the wind. We have a heat lamp in there now because the nights have been pretty cold still. The two "nests" are separated by a thin piece of wood and when they start laying eggs, we'll be able to open a little hinged door on the side and just reach in instead of going all the way into the coop. See? I even left some chicken poop out for you to see how happy and at home they feel here.

Ian has been become a pro at picking them up and putting them in their coop when they need to go back inside.


On Monday and Tuesday we had our back deck completely torn down and rebuilt. It turned out exactly as we had hoped! Here's the before picture:

And here's the after:

We had them close off the bottom and put a gate underneath so we could store a few things. And then we put in a little fence and gate off to the side so we could keep the backyard more private and let Ian go out to play more on his own without worrying about him as much. Those are my raspberry bushes next to the deck and strawberries in the round wooden barrell. My garden boxes are on the other side of the gate which will work out nicely to keep them separated.

The guy we had do the work decided to build the posts inside the deck floor as opposed to attaching them to the outside and we love how it looks! Now all we need to do is stain it and it'll be ready to enjoy this summer.

Monday, June 9, 2008


Our weekend was full of birthdays, a baby shower, and a goodbye party for some good friends who are moving away soon. Several of the parties were with people we hadn't seen in years so Jeremy and I usually ended up on those nights in bed reminiscing about this person or remembering "that one time...".

What a full and wonderful few days it's been.

One of the birthdays was for my sister and I decided to make some homemade lotion and body scrub. It took a couple of days and a completely messy kitchen but I'm happy with the results.

I ended up creating my own hand and body lotion recipe since the two I tried weren't turning out as I had hoped. I found most all the ingredients in my kitchen cupboard like the coconut butter and the canola oil. I had to find the beeswax but it wasn't too hard. It smelled so yummy while I was whipping it up that Ian kept coming up and asking for a taste.

I found this recipe in The Herbal Body Book. I saved a little for myself so I could try it out too.

All-Purpose Scrub

1/2 cup ground oatmeal
1/3 cup ground sunflower seeds
4 Tablespoons almond meal
1/2 teaspoon ground peppermint, spearmint, or rosemary (I just used some looseleaf peppermint tea leaves that I had)
dash cinnamon powder (optional)
water, milk, or heavy cream

Mix dry ingredients together thoroughly. Use approximately 2 teaspoons of scrub mixture for the face, more for the body, and enough water (for oily skin), milk (for normal skin), or heavy cream (for dry skin), to form a spreadable paste. Allow to thicken for 1 minute. Massage onto face and throat or body area. Rinse.

Good for: All skin types
Use: daily or as needed
Follow with: moisturizer
Prep time: approximately 10 minutes
Mix with: blender, food processor
Store in: zip-seal bag, low tub/jar, or tin
Yields: 4 to 24 treatments, depending on use
Special: Leaves skin very smooth

Enjoy and let me know if you try it!

Friday, June 6, 2008


A couple of days ago I set about in the kitchen making homemade veggie broth for some soup. I tried not to think about it being June when normally we would be breaking out the grill, brewing iced tea, and gearing up for strawberry shortcake. It was cold and we just felt like having something warm to eat.

Since I try really hard not to complain about the rainy season here in the NW, I won't start now. I mean who doesn't love 50 degree weather, grey skies, and lots and lots of water falling from the sky in June? So instead, I make my warm soup and read all curled up on the couch covered in a blanket to keep my feet warm.

I broke out a new book I got this past month called, I Love Dirt. It has a lot of ideas for getting outside and into nature with your kids. The biggest thing I took from it is to just get outside, rain or shine, everyday.

So while the soup cooked, we headed outside to finish digging out our garden boxes to finally get our garden going (See? A benefit of a late summer season!). Ian has a stash of his own garden and lawn tools to help us out.

We rented a dumpster just for dirt and the boys had fun digging around for whatever they deemed prizeworthy, usually in the form of rocks and insects.

We finally quarantined Sawyer to an empty garden box because he wouldn't stop eating the dirt and since I was making soup I didn't want his appetite ruined.

But looky looky! He's starting to stand up on his own everywhere now!

I know most boys like dirt, but I think Ian would be most happy if we had kept the dumpster and had just moved his bed right in, snuggled in between the clumps of old roots and all the creepy crawly things he was collecting in a jar.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Learning how to button

Ian has been very interested in buttoning his shirts lately. In fact, just the other night he sat on my lap and tried to button the top of my shirt for about 3o minutes, concentrating really hard but not being able to get his little fingers to work just right to actually button it. Then I remembered I had seen an idea about teaching kids how to button in a Montessori book. It allows him something solid to hold on to and to push against as he figures out how to hold the button and hole just right. I modified it some and I think it came out pretty well!

I took an old shirt of Sawyer's (any shirt with buttons would work but the smaller the shirt the closer together the buttons are and the more I could fit on my canvas) and a paint canvas that I had gotten awhile ago from the craft store.

Keeping the shirt buttoned, I cut around the square with enough material to pull around and staple to the back.

Next, I stapled the sides of the shirt around the back, careful not to pull too tightly so there's plenty of give in the material for his little fingers to grab ahold of.

Then I stapled the corners tucking the material inside as I stapled. I left the middle top and middle bottom free so the material could move freely. And it's done!

He was excited and has been working at it for awhile now. He was so happy when he finally buttoned all three of them.