Quote from D. Gackenbach

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Y.A.C. Mom

I watched my 9-year-old fall in love on Saturday.  It was truly amazing to behold.  Luckily he wasn't swooning over a girl, it was his first youth armored combat practice. 

We have always encouraged our children to find activities that interest them.  With my daughter we tried ballet, gymnastics, guitar, scrap booking, volleyball, and piano before discovering she excels in the circus arts.  She is a natural juggler, has good balance, and enjoys the flying trapeze.  Awesome, expensive, but awesome.  My son has been a little harder to pin down.  He regularly refuses to try group activities, opting instead to play video games or read a book.  We did get him to play golf last summer and he plans to continue with that, but nothing else has really grabbed him, until now.

Saturday he got to put on armor and sword fight.  He was over the moon.  I have never seen him so interested in anything, ever.  I admit to being a little bit concerned about how it would go, I mean not every kid wants to get hit.  But he really does seem to have found his sport.  He was chivalrous and attentive, he tried to adapt to the coaching advice he was given, and getting hit didn't seem to daunt him.  He fought well and is already counting the days until his next practice (literally, this morning he reminded me it is only 12 more days until next time).  I will probably still worry about injuries, but at least being a Y.A.C. mom is cooler than being a soccer mom.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Welcoming the Sun

The sun graced us with it's mighty presence this weekend, so lovely.  I actually got out into my yard and dug the first of two new garden beds.  We are using the lumber from raised beds that were already here when we moved in, but we needed to relocate them to get better sun exposure.  This first bed is a little four foot square.  It holds the promise of garlic, sugar snap peas, lettuce, onions, and strawberries.

In preparation for the next bed, which will be twice this size, I purchased a variety of new seeds.  I decided to go with a purple theme for the produce in this bed.  I picked out lettuces, cabbage, carrots, onions, tomatoes, beans, and peppers, all with a purple hue.

I started the tomato and pepper seeds in a mini greenhouse, along with some sunflower seeds for another part of the yard.  The sunflowers need a little help here or they get eaten the second they hit the ground, possibly cutworms, but I think the snails and slugs may be the true culprits.

Now we watch and wait, oh yeah, and water, but only a little.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Twisted Teal

Today I was on my way to the grocery store with my husband when uselessness struck me from above, or perhaps below...   I'm not sure where it came from, I just know I was unable to resist it's diabolical derailment.  I suggested we skip the groceries and go to the mall.  Yep, the mall.  I can't say I love the mall, in fact, I worked in one long enough to loathe them on principal.  But the mall boasts a very popular store that has the only decent selection of vibrant hair color around, and I wanted to dye my hair. 

The boy that works the register in this store probably thought me and my hubby were a little old to be customers, but what can I say?  We are still more than a little bit punk rock.  The hubby in question has finally given in to my non-too-subtle suggestions that he stretch his lobes, so he picked up some tapers and I came home with Twisted Teal and bleach. 

I am not quite done with my hair, there will be an update tomorrow, but for tonight this is where I am at.  The dog seems to like it, or maybe he just likes the kisses...

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Vernal Equinox

Aaah spring!  I love it when the seasons change.  I am always amazed and filled with awe as I watch the earth shift her guise.  I have a hard time choosing a favorite season because I really do marvel at them all.  At least in the beginning I do, but then after a few weeks of winter's cold or summer's heat I am usually over it and ready to see spring and autumn again!  Well this year I welcomed spring with a few moments in my garden, checking on the progress of Mother Nature's costume change.  Here are a couple pictures for those of you stuck in colder climes where spring hasn't quite sprung.

fuzzy kiwi buds!

I have also been preparing for my spring planting by pre-sprouting some peas.  We still have lots of cold, wet days ahead of us here in the Pacific Northwest and my tender little pea seeds would surely rot away if I sowed them directly right now.  So instead I placed them between two layers of paper towels in a baking dish and lightly wet them.  I have had these in a nice warm spot with plenty of indirect light for three or four days now (with one additional soaking) and they have already begun to sprout!  I will be planting these out in a couple of days, but first I will move them to the colder environs of my back porch to acclimate a bit.  Let's hope the dog doesn't get hungry and munch on my seeds!

My garden beds from last year are being abandoned in an attempt to get maximum sun this summer, so I had to pull out all of my garlic bulbs.  I meant to get them right back in the ground, but that was a week ago and they haven't quite made it.  Luckily they look like they will still be just fine to go in the ground when I plant the peas.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Leftovers Again... F!@# Yeah!

I made a nice roasted chicken last week, AND I remembered to use the leftovers for stock, AND I even picked off all the chicken meat, AND threw it in my freezer.  Amazing right?  So tonight I used the stock and chicken meat to make an Asian fusion chicken and dumplings!  So delicious and quick I must share...

8 cups chicken stock
2 stalks of lemongrass (crush lightly with mallet)
1 leek sliced thinly
3 cloves garlic (pressed or chopped fine)
1 thumb of fresh ginger peeled and cut into large chunks
1-2 cups shredded chicken meat
1 small bunch of kale (or whatever greens you have on hand)
2-3 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1-2 Tablespoons sugar
Prepared dumpling dough (I used Bisquick, but you could make them from scratch)
Prepared chile sauce (I like Sriracha)

Heat stock, lemongrass, leek, garlic, and ginger to a boil over a medium-high burner.  Add chicken, kale, tamari, and sugar.  You may adjust the tamari and sugar to suit your tastes.  Prepare dumpling dough, and shape into 2" balls.  Reduce heat to medium, carefully drop in your dumplings, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.  Serve hot with chile pepper sauce.

Watcha Been Wearing?

On Wednesday I cut my own hair.  Shaved a mohawk... because I can.  I have been hating my hair for months, I kept telling myself I was growing it out, so I had to suffer through the awkward phase.  Tough it out.  Lame.  Life is short, hair grows back.  I don't have any reason to keep my hair professional right now, no job, no plans, so what the hell?  Besides, I am cute with short hair (at least that is what my husband says).

Whenever I cut my hair I manage to take some pictures to share with friends far away, the friends I still go to for style advice and support.  Well I realized today that I had managed photos three days in a row and that is as close to documenting my outfits as I get, so without further ado; this is officially an "Outfit Post"

Wednesday: skinny jeans w/ navy & white striped mini dress, brown tank, brown cardigan and navy flats

Thursday: skinny jeans, white v-neck T, black cardigan, B&W scarf, and Chucks

Friday: black snap ankle leggings, mini dress, black cardigan, and black flats
So now a little fashion analysis of my selections.  I like to be comfy, but I do not rock yoga pants unless I am going to the gym, or suffering from depression.  This week I haven't made it to the gym once, but I needed to avoid the lurking depression, so I have opted for the comfort of skinny stretchy jeans and leggings.  I like the look of layers, and I live in the chilly Pacific Northwest so I always need a little sweater action, but spring is just around the corner so I wanted to dust off some of my cute frocks too.  That is how I ended up pairing little dresses with "pants" and cardigans.  I haven't left the house all week, so I didn't NEED to get dressed, but I could certainly answer my door if you came by unexpectedly. 

Okay, tongue-in-cheek aside, I guess what I have been wearing is actually vaguely important, writing about it reminds me how I am feeling about my life.  This isn't a fashion blog, (I know you are shocked right?).  This is a blog about my life, and while I do love clothes, and I love getting dressed, I am also in a weird transitional phase of my life... getting dressed is actually part of my ritual of normalcy.  So for those of you out there sitting in your pajamas after 8 a.m. I say, go get dressed, maybe even take a shower.  Then you can answer the door when the mailman knocks too.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just Yummy

Tonight I made citrus brownies with cardamom whipped cream for dessert.  Yummy and so simple, just added citrus peel and a squeeze of juice to the brownie mix and then mixed in a half teaspoon of cardamom when I made my whipped cream.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Sigh of Completion...

I love throwing parties, but I tend to go a little over board.  I make it stressful, I know that.  But the results are so worth it!  My sons birthday party was a perfect example of this.

My boy is an avid reader, and he has been devouring the Redwall series written by the late Brian Jacques.  He decided he wanted a Redwall inspired feast for his birthday this year.  In the novels the small woodland creatures act like medieval people, and Jacques made up some pretty elaborate celebrations for them.  The feasts are one of my son's reasons for reading these books, he loves to talk about all their special foods.  He also loves the epic battles they fight for freedom, and goodness.  I wanted to integrate both those things into a medieval themed party for him.

So we picked up the Redwall Cookbook, sent out invitations sealed in wax, and planned some great activities.  I downloaded and printed the beautiful free masks available from Jan Brett, the kids only wore them for a short time, but they were super cute so we tried them out after the guests left.

A Mouse Family Portrait

I made a map of our yard and some clues to help the kids find the lost armor, shield, and sword of Martin.  This was funny to watch as the kids were all so full of energy they forgot they had a map for half the quest and just ran around searching.  I can also say from experience, make sure they will not find the clues in the wrong order, this makes it extra crazy!  But they did manage to find all the pieces.

Next we let each of them have a turn shooting paint balls at Cluny the Scourge with a slingshot.  I got these items from slingshotworld.com, they were great, inexpensive, shipped right on time, and everything was just what I wanted.  The paintballs in particular are awesome, they were easy for the kids to use and washed up with warm soapy water.  I made the target with a bed sheet, see this post for more details if you like.  Here is what he looked like when we were done.

We had amazing weather, the gods smile on me sometimes, I asked for better than the forecasted 80% chance of snow, and we got sun!  Unbelievable, sunny, sun on and off, all afternoon.  But it was still cold, so after these outdoor activities it was time to head in for the feast and hot drinks.  The kids came in to see hotroot shrimp soup, squirrel bakes, stuffed springtide mushrooms, a roast chicken, and potato chips arranged on the table.  We gave them our best china to eat on and I played the serving wench bringing mint tea, mulled cider, and ginger ale.  The dessert table had a raspberry trifle, nunny molers, and huge fresh strawberries with powdered sugar for dipping.

 But all of this fun stuff just doesn't compare to the entertainment!  I tracked down a local SCA member to come over and put on a demo of armored combat for us.  These guys were AMAZING, I can't say enough about how great they were and how happy they made the kids (young and old).  They showed off wonderful homemade armor and weapons used in Full Armored Combat games, and had a few bouts with each other.  Then they let all the kids hit them a few times to see what that was like.  They brought along the kid-safe stuff and let our guests whack away at each other (and the guys in armor played too).  Seeing my husband crawling around our yard like his legs had been chopped off was wonderful!  These guys even stuck around for photos with every single guest, and they are smiling in every one. 

So why would I work so hard on a party for a 9-year-old, look at this face!  Worth it.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Cluny the Scourge!

I am in the final count down to my son's birthday party, seven days to make magic.  I woke up excited and a tiny bit overwhelmed this morning.  Yoga helped settle my nerves, and a list of things to do daily until Sunday has given me back the control I needed.  I have a lot to do, but it is very manageable.  Heck, most of it is pretty fun stuff.  Today's big goal was getting the paintball target made before my guy got home from school.

Check! and with plenty of time to spare.   I will be putting this in the washer to clean up stray pencil marks and then it is complete.  This villainous rat is Cluny the Scourge.  He turned out great (if I do say so myself).  I will get some better pictures when he is mounted on Sunday, but in this quick pic you get the idea.  The drawing was done on a twin sized flat sheet, so Cluny is about 6' 8" tall.  My son and his friends will be using this guy for paintball slingshot target on Sunday.  I think he turned out right scary!

This project is an adaptation of something I did for my daughter many years ago (she is almost 17 now!).  I made a giant coloring sheet for her and a friend by drawing a scene with black sharpie onto a white sheet.  I set it up on the lawn and let her and a friend paint it.  Then we hung it on the clothes line to dry (and it quickly became a fort).  I assumed the "washable" paint we had would wash out and we could re-use it.  Silly me!  If you want to do this for your kids test the paint first, make sure it really is washable and you will get more than one use out of the sheet.

Now on to the next item on my list...

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Citrus French Toast with Bacon

Expectations run high when you only get one day off each week.  At least I assume they do.  My hubby is the one suffering from long hours on the job, not me.  Today my attempts to make the day perfect are not going very well.  Breakfast was beautiful, but by the time our son was done getting in trouble at the table it was cold, and we were grouchy.

Deep breath...  Johnny Cash... maybe we can get this day back on track.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Been So Busy...

Sometimes it feels like you just can't keep up with everything life throws at ya!  I have been having one of those weeks, but I wanted to take a minute to write it all down and let it all go...

I have actually been really busy planning my son's birthday party as of late.  He is turning 9 on the 9th, so it is kind of a big deal, golden birthday and all.  He requested a Redwall theme (based on the book series).  So I have been planning a feast!  His invitations were sealed with wax,  I'm making medieval banners for the dining hall, and printed paper animal masks for his guests.  We will be having a quest, defeating Cluny the Scourge with paintballs, and watching an armored combat demo!  It should be a whole lot of fun.  I may be more excited than he is, I love party planning.

March is upon us!  As you may already know I have let my February Sweater rest and begun my March Sweater early.  I have almost completed the first prototype, and it is simple and very cute.  I went with a preppy unisex v-neck sweater vest, ooohhhh, that is a mouthful!  The first sample is bright red, but I want to go with a more muted color for the next one.  I used moss stitch for the front, and stockinette for the back, this is all about texture, so I am thinking a subtle green would be really nice.  Here is a funky picture to give you an idea what it is looking like so far.

I am also working on my loving, supportive wife role.  This is not something that comes easily to me.  It is in my nature to be very self-centered, so I need to consciously look at what my partner is doing, acknowledge the importance of it, and thank him for his efforts.  I remind myself that I am not entitled to be taken care of, I am lucky that he chooses to care for me.  Anyway, I try to come up with nice ways to say "thank you" in the rare moments my hubby is home to enjoy them.  Sunday I got to make him crepes filled with yummy, gooey, goodness.

I have been good about making it to water aerobics and Yoga this week, and I am enjoying the work.  It feels good to move my body, even if it still hurts most of the time.  I know it will get better, and I will hurt less once my body is stronger.  So on that note, back to reality, I need to do the dishes.