Monday, January 31, 2011

The Majesty of Geese

Headed to roost
For a weekend that was supposed to be slow, it sure sped up!  Between the pinewood derby and a birthday party, we ended up being gone all day Saturday.  As we were driving home I glanced leisurely out the passenger window and caught a truly majestic sight.  There were about 8 geese at eye level just taking off out of a yard just adjacent to where we were driving.  I was awed by the moment.  I was struck at how they actually take off in the V formation.  Each spread out and taking their turns from ground to air.  I guess I had always figured that the spread into that formation once airborne.  Then I was left breathless watching the amount of energy they expended just trying to get from a state of homeostasis to flight.  It takes an amazing amount of strength to get their large and buoyant bodies off of the ground.  The scene happened in about 10 seconds, yet seemed in slow motion.  It was much too fast a moment for me to dig my camera out of my bag and capture it.

Sunday was spent with another birthday party and preparations around the farm for a blizzard headed our way.  In our ten years living here we've never experienced anything like the expected 2 feet coming our way....we..shall..see.  I took the above photo last night, the sunset was lighting up puffy snow clouds blowing in off of the lake and illuminating the yard in golden spring like light.   These geese were headed to roost and perhaps a little too deceived by the light to be prepared for the coming storm.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Anatomy of the Pinewood Derby

Heated discussion about their cars,
debating the perfect geometry,
carefully checking and adjusting the weight.
Sweaty palms,
jockeying from foot to foot,
attentive to the race,
taking notes, tracking times,
planning for next time.
that was the dads!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Look At Me....

 ....I'm one of your secrets.   One Word Wednesday has evolved into the fantastic idea "where one prompt produces free flowing expression from blog to blog!"   Please join us!   This weeks inspiration is this video.

Jillsy also gave a link to another version of the video featuring Heidi Klum.  When I watch the first one, the feelings that I had, were tender.  It's a beautiful piece.  When I watched the second, it perfectly matched how the first made me feel.  I guess it shows what a beautiful artist Seal is, in his ability to sing with such emotion.  He elicited the very personal feeling of tenderness that I feel for my husband.  I love the thought that we are each others secrets, ones that we will keep for our lifetime.   

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Winter's Feathers

 Bright cold days
dappled with giant fluffy snow
that swirls off of the lake
lead to winter's feathers
etched on our window
imprinted in our minds

Friday, January 21, 2011


 Look at our hardy little lilac buds protected in their ice sheathing, calmly waiting for their time to thrive, yet sparkling in their own special way in the sunset.

Today we woke up to ten degree below zero temps with a -23 degree windchill.  I didn't sleep well, I think I spent the night anticipating the email that school was cancelled and for some reason, that was enough to lead to restlessness.  I guess snow days can be as much anticipated by the parents as the kids.  The cancellation never came, we needed to have a wind chill of -25 to do it, so bundled up and grumbling, off they went.  If that doesn't encourage hardy stock, I don't know what will!

As a parent, I spent my day holed up in the house, cleaning, cooking, pondering blog posts for a sustainable life, and doing a little yoga.  School pick up was frigid.  So cold, my clothes got crisp just from standing outside.  The kids each sauntered out with their friends.  They were laughing, chatting and walking like it was any other day as I was turning blue and wondering if my tears had solidified and if my eyes had actually frozen open.

Moral of the Story.... Kids= hardy stock, 
Mom, not quite so much! 
Happy Friday and Stay Warm!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sledding Into The Sunset

It snowed all day Monday and the kids had a great time playing in it.  About four o'clock they came in and hit me up to head over to the sledding hill.  I said 'no'.  The roads were a mess and I told them that we could do it Wednesday after school (we had 4-H Tuesday night).  Of course the cold air slowly started to descend upon us.  Despite my dread, we trekked out to the hill yesterday after school, which is also sunset time here right now.  As a result of the 14 degrees, we had the hill to ourselves.  I realized once again, it is the simplest things that bring the kids such joy.  Racing down the hill, spinning, sliding backwards or on their bellies, led to great cold puffing laughs and sparkling eyes. In 30 frigid minutes, they had a blast, and had vibrant rosy cheeks when we got back in the car. 

Now the real cold is coming, wind chills that will curl your toes (-25).  I think indoor activities tomorrow!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Done Baby!

 All it took was a snowy afternoon and my first quilt of 2011 is complete!  I went with the fleece back and a wider binding and am happy with the results.  I have a little fine tuning to do the next time I work with fleece, but overall I'm happy with it!  Now....what to do next?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Rising To The Occasion

 Early to rise and take in a spectacular sunrise.
Rising children, rubbing the sleep away from their eyes.
Rising my virtual pen to join a discussion of importance.
Rising up a pristine sledding hill, only to slide down again.
Rising steam from the hot, soul soothing soup.
Rising voices in laughter and lively conversation.
Rising to the occasion. 
Every day is an occasion to rise to, isn't it?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Saturday Treat

This has felt like the ideal Saturday.  After morning cub scouts and chores, the kids both have friends over and the afternoon is full of laughter, rosy cold cheeks and relaxation.  A perfect day for a little quite baking, with a great payout...big smiles. 

These Chocolate White Chocolate Chunk Cookies are adapted slightly from a recipe of Ina Garten's and a huge favorite in our household.

1/2 lb unsalted butter, at room temperature
1C light brown sugar
1C granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 extra large eggs, at room temperature
2C flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 bag white chocolate chips (I've used chopped nuts or toffee chunks instead of white choc before too)

Preheat oven to 350

Cream butter and both sugars until light and fluffy in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle.
Add the vanilla, then the eggs, 1 at a time, and mix well.  Add the cocoa and mix again.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and add to the chocolate mixture on a low speed until just combined.  Fold in the white chocolate.

Drop on baking sheet.  Dampen your hands and flatten dough slightly (this is a huge tip and I use it with most cookies that I make.  It gives them the perfect shape and they spread just right)!  Bake for exactly 15 minutes (they will seem underdone).  Cool slightly on pan, then transfer to cooling rack.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Visit Me At "A Sustainable Life"


A great group of blog friends had this idea to begin a blog about something that all of us are passionate about, living a more sustainable life and striving to teach a better way for our kids.  I can't tell you how excited I was to be asked to join them in the pursuit of beginning a conversation and helping each other and others helping us discover more as we make this journey.  Check out the new blog!! 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Seed Season

Join me over at Eat Right Racine.  Today I'm chatting about garden planning and seed catalogs!

Remember to Soar

 A large motivation for our move was to give our kids the freedom to run, play, and have a care free childhood.  It has been an amazing experience so far and I think we have achieved it.  Yesterday, I realized the full weight of emotion that comes with the perceived compromise of this childhood freedom.  Sidney's school will soon be separating girls and boys to have the much anticipated discussion on puberty.  Though we have touched on some of it, I sat down with Sid to prepare her for the rest.  I was met with a pained unwillingness to hear any of it.  She doesn't want to hear it from me or anyone else yet.  "I'm too young!"  "I don't want to grow up!".  This was not just a half hearted attempt to avoid the conversation, after all she had asked me several months ago to talk to her before the school did.  Needless to say, it was let go for the moment.  Such angst.  Not wanting to grow up, yet struggling with the desire for more independence.

Then during our nightly snuggle, Charles (who was no where around during the above fiasco), said " I don't want to grow up."  I asked him why and he said that "grown ups don't run like crazy or climb trees,  I just want to get a little bigger so I can play some of the games I'm not old enough for and then stop, I always want to run like crazy and climb trees."

I think that it is interesting that both kids in one day had the same feeling.  These young minds, who in the infinite wisdom of youth, sense with the gain of independence there may too come a loss of innocent play.  It led me to wonder...if we adults let go of all of the day to day worry and feelings of responsibility even for a moment like our kids,  who know the freedom of spirit so intimately, maybe we too could soar with them into the clouds of their imaginations.

Though a day late, this is my submission for One Word Wednesday.  Please check out the blog hop for all of the great submissions.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


 An orchid in the snow

I have realized something this year.  I love the snow.  I guess it took the sluggish start of our winter for me to really understand.  I found myself longing for it, missing it.  We have only had a dusting here or there this winter.  I take that back, there was one good snow, on Christmas day, but we were out of town and the 45 and 50 degree days that followed meant that there was precious little left when we returned. 

Today, we had one of those slow all day snows.  Fine and light at times and fluffy, swirling like in a snow globe, at others.  All and all, we've had about 5 inches or so and I love it.  I guess I feel if it is going to be frigid, then it may as well be beautiful too.  The starkness of winter is dulled when blanketed in white ice crystals.  The kids are eager to sled and I am glad to join them.  Equally, I love to sit on our big overstuffed chair and gaze out of my window.

I'm sure there will be a time when I eat my words, when the winter wears just a little too long.  I hope though, that my continued awe in the beauty of seasons changing will give me the perspective necessary to live, anticipate, and enjoy the wonder of them all.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Surreal Sunday

piping hot chili this cold night

It is hard to believe that the year is just over a week old already! 
 Yet, it seems like it is much further along in the month than just nine days. 
Don't get me wrong, that is not a bad thing. 
 I just feel like I have accomplished a ton and done a lot of living in this short period of time. 
 If this week has been any indication, 2011 will be quite a fulfilling year. 

 Just a few thoughts that are going through my head as I lay on the couch sipping hot tea, curled in a blanket wishing I could turn off the faucet that is my nose.  With B in the bayou with buddies the last few days, I've been watching evening movies with the kids.  You know that crazy out of body feeling you can get when you have a bad cold?  Well, it may have influenced my movie choices this weekend.   I certainly enjoyed Tim Burton's Alice,  quite surreal.  The kids are transfixed in front of Labyrnth  right now.  Holy David Bowie, certainly surreal in it's own way.  A final thing this Sunday, the children actually agreed on dinner tonight, now that's truly surreal!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

1st Quilt Top of 2011!

First Quilt Top of 2011!

The top is done!

I learned the art of chain stitching with this project and oh how I love that little tip!  It certainly made the piecing a breeze and it came together super quick (which is a huge bonus for my need for instant gratification :)

Next task, to pick out a backing...I think I'm going to have to try the snugly fleece.  That sound so good on this bitterly cold day!

I came across Ella's blog Dandelion, after she made a comment on one of my posts last week.  She asked if she could use my dandelion photo and poem from last year.  Thank you for asking Ella!  Please go over and check out her beautiful blog.  She is Swedish and writing all of her posts for this blog in English!  The post I linked talks about how she got started, enjoy!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Silvery Sunrise, Sunset Snowblobe

 Silvery Sunrise
School drop off
Coffee with Friends
Taking Pictures
School pickup
Egg collecting
Sunset Snow globe
What a great Friday,
Happy weekend my friends!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

All Cut!

Earlier this week I found a great strippy pattern at Moda Bakeshop that I wanted to try.   I have long admired the French General prints for Moda.   I sooo love this group of fabrics, it has a homey farm feel to me.  The store did not have what I needed, and since I was too impatient to order it and I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket I grabbed the also striking Maison de Garance .   I have been itching to get my hands busy.  So the other fabric will have to wait for a future project.  I promise not to get too caught in a French rut, I'll alternate with bold and crazy too :)

So after a few short cutting sessions today I managed to get my first quilt top of the 2011 all cut, now on to the sewing!

One Word Wednesday~ Balance

 I know what you think I'm going to talk about, and though it's always a quest, I'm also on another one this year....I need to start getting myself back in shape again. 

It's funny.  I seem to have lost my core, my center of gravity, after two kids and a handful of years (well, ok, almost a decade).  Have you noticed that?  I am not quite as balanced or limber as I used to be and I hope to remedy that this year.  We have a Wii fit and it really is a cool little beast.  The balance games are fun and really show you your inadequacies talents.  Some cardio, some yoga, oh I would love to take up tai chi, but most of all on this first One Word Wednesday of the year, I plan to get back a little of my balance!

Won't you join the fun?  jillsygirl is back with One Word Wednesday!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Time To Get Moving!

 Taken a couple of weeks ago, I do long for some snow now!

I was back to work today.  The scramble of completing year end paperwork coupled with a few full moon-esque crazy things, really made me appreciate how I entered the new year.  With my family,  great food, and a couple quiet days (so unlike me)! 

Now, I'm ready for more!  Well, actually that's code for, the gift card that I got for the fabric store is burning a hole in my pocket.  My breath was taken away by julochka, deciding to begin a new quilt on 1/1 and having the top completed on 1/3!  Oh and having a fleece backing...I'm in heaven!  Yikes, I gotta get moving, the year is passing me by! 

There are so many things I want to do, there is no time like the present!  
I have got film and fabric to buy,
sewing to be done and taught, 
tea to be drank, 
money to be saved (maybe a blog camp in my future, someday, maybe sooner than later), 
reading to be done (I promise I will make it to book club more often this year), 
of course the kids are always a central focus and source of joy, 
and then the homestead, 
the dream.  
Oh 2011 will be a good year!

Saturday, January 1, 2011


What a twenty-four hours it has been! We have reveled with good friends, played, found deeper understandings, celebrated and created amazing food.  
The final day of 2010 was warm.  The snow all melted and it reached almost 50 degrees.  Near dusk, the sun tried to break through the cloud-cover and the fog was beginning to sock us in.  The property was lit in a muted rose colored glow.  B and I took a final stroll around the homestead in the mist and enjoyed the sun setting on the year.  Today brought an amazing brunch, changing into jammies in the mid-afternoon, and enjoying a movie with the kids.  Now as I sip my prosecco, I listen to Garrison Keillor, write this and await a light meal.  Where we will again lazily sit down to eat and watch an episode of the Walton's as a family.  A wonderful kick off to a new year, a decade that starts brand new, untouched and full of promise.


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