Saturday, June 18, 2011
I wonder if this hurt will ever go away.
Having had the life experience of a seed donor father and then the Earth-shattering experience of an adoptive abusive one, my views on fathers in general is tainted at best, mildly cynical and mostly sarcastic.
I wonder if I'll ever look at a father -any father, anywhere- and not immediately expect the utter worst.
I've also decided for both an opportunity for personal growth and to fictionally share my experiences I'm going to start writing some stories that have come into my head that deal with these issues. They will be adult content stories, the length will work itself out as I write. I might write about the same content: abused teen girls dealing with their situations. I might write long stories or short ones. I just don't know yet. But I have had a feeling for quite awhile that I need to share these fictional stories. Some things will be hard to read; they're supposed to be. But I hope that by my writing I can open up topics for discussions between children and their parents, show other adult abuse survivors that there is nothing to be silent about.
I started this a long time ago writing a short story about a girl named Krista*. It's free on Scribd. I hope you will read it.
*Krista is an adult short story that includes graphic material. Please be advised.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Last June, IndieTutes posted about some pops she made packed with healthy stuff that she let her kids consume at will without any of the cringing that I have been doing every time my kids whine for the 100 count box of neon ice pop sticks I bought in a fit of neurosis at Target a few months ago. What the what was I thinking?!?
Anywho, mental lapses and Red 40 aside plus the year it took me to actually do this, the kids and I gathered 'round the blender and made us some frozen pop mixes. These can be 100% tweaked to become vegan if you so desire, or just switch out ingredients for your own food allergies/protein requirements/tastes. The point of the following *recipes* is that these are pretty much bomb-proof and are -in fact- the bomb. You can't go wrong mixing stuff together and rocking breakfast with a cool treat when it is already 80+ degrees and rising and I haven't finished my first cup of coffee.
Here are the three recipes I created and amazingly remembered to write down and then promptly lost the paper so they're round-abouts. More like recipe suggestions, if you will. I used dollar section pop molds I picked up a few years ago at Target. These are fairly small pop molds so YMMV.
2/3 cup yogurt (we used strawberry)
16 fresh cherries pitted (duh)
1/3 cup milk
4 frozen strawberries
Banana Chocolate PB
1tbs cocoa powder
2/3 cup pb (wayyy too much)
1/3 cup milk
1tbs wheat germ
3 large apples
1/2 large cucumber
1/3 cup water
1tsp wheat germ
6 large frozen strawberries
2/3 cup yogurt (strawberry again for us)
1 tbs wheat germ
The moral of the recipe here is that you can pretty much mix up whatever you want and since they're frozen, called pops and on a stick your kids will pretty much eat them all.
Friday, June 3, 2011
Nice and heavy
Pros: Easy To Use, Good Design, Durable, Safety Features, Quality Materials
Cons: Lids aren't BPA free
Best Uses: Big Jobs, Outside, Gifts, Small Jobs, Inside
Describe Yourself: Beginner
I bought this set and a few others to begin our transition from traditional plastics to a more renewable and chemical friendly alternative. One thing that I noticed right away (because I had trouble lifting the box it was packed it) was the weight of these dishes, they are not flimsy glass.
I have always loved LnL products since finding them in Target years ago and have had trouble finding them since. A BIG part of my love is the locking lid, something that my young kids can open and close and I feel confident the tops arent going to pop off as soon as they move them because it was too difficult to seal them properly. They stack well, wash up beautifully and are durable (though I don't recommend trying it, my kids have dropped these during dishwasher duty and they haven't even chipped -the glass not the kids though they held up well, too).
My only -slight- complaint is that the lids aren't listed (which means they probably aren't since LnL has a huge section devoted to promoting it) BPA free. While this isn't a huge problem as the food rarely comes in contact with the lids during storage, I do feel a bit squeemish about using the lids when reheating. So, I usually just don't put them in with it.
I find myself reaching for these for everything, mixing small things, carrying food to the grill, storing food from the garden, side dishes, serving dishes, marinating (which is great because the seal is so tight you can flip and shake without worrying it'll explode all over the kitchen), making and storing trail mix, the list goes on but I won't.
The only other con -but not for the product- was that LnL took a good while to ship these to me but I bought it during a promotion and they had some back order. They didn't ship anything until everything in the order was available to ship. So, if you're looking to buy as a gift, I'd do it well in advance.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
We're still in high blackberry picking mode over here. I just can't pass up the plethora of free fruit sitting in the back yard. The passion fruits are sloooowly ripening, there must be at least a dozen of them. I have store away about 4 pounds of blackberries in .5lb zippy bags in the freezer but they're coming in faster than we can eat them. Preserving and using them is top priority.
I took approx. 5 cups (which is about 2lbs) and cooked them down to a low sugar blackberry jam. I used Sure Jell's low sugar pectin this time and had a much better gelling than with the Gel-EZ I bought in bulk on Amazon. We use one of these little half pint jars in our house during one meal of PB&J. Stockpiling jam is a serious necessity. I also found RealFruit Low/No sugar pectin in a jar at Walmart which I will try with a second batch.
Blackberries are a funny thing, they're tart cousins of raspberries. You either love them or hate them, there is no middle ground I've found. But I dare anyone that dislikes the tart juice of a blackberry to refuse a slice of this blackberry buttermilk cake. It's OMG good and easily devoured. Make two, you're going to need it.
The bushes that were brimming a few weeks ago (yes, I've been harvesting 1-3lbs a day for weeks) are dying down and the last patches that held out are bursting with fruit. I give blackberry picking season another week at most. By preserving them, I can relive it the rest of the year.
Monday, May 23, 2011
I am more of a mindset that unschooling for history, science, geography, music and art is more appropriate for my bunch. Unschooling is not NOT-learning, it's letting the children's interest direct the thing they decide to learn about. It's why my 9 year old declared the other day that he is "pretty sure it's just ant bites, chicken pox is caused by the varicella zoster virus and I'm fairly certain I haven't been exposed to that recently." I had to go look up the name of the virus to see if he was correct because he learns things I don't know about all on his own. and he was right.
Which begins a new religion in our house; no electronics. Nothing, no iPhones, Ipods, Leapsters, TV's, computers, car DVD's, no laptops, library movie rentals, Redbox, video games, or streaming movies. Even battery powered toys are being called into question. We're going off-grid and hopefully on-task.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The cake is my basic go-to chocolate sheet cake recipe that I have scribbled on a paper so I can't remember where it came from. I don't usually do chocolate frosting so I searched for an easy recipe and found this then added some peppermint extract -real not imitation- to the mix. The Andes got frozen and mashed up with a mortar and pestle.
We almost had a serious dilemma when the sparkler candles he picked out had melted into a single lump on the kitchen windowsil. Note to self- wax in a hot window = bad. We managed to scrounge nine non-girly candles out of the junk drawer and salvage three of the sparkler candles from the hardened gob.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
I have realized that I am the type of person that has to have their hands in All The Pies. I cook, sew, spin, garden, raise animals, raise kids, write, read, teach, learn, harvest, photograph, preserve, play, nourish, research, collaborate, plan, clean...The list is pretty extensive. I'm sure I forgot a few. And I do just about all of it Every. Single. Day.
I try and think of what I can cut out. Which project doesn't need to be done or shouldn't be done or could be done easier or just plain out purchased and I get a little sad. Which of these things that make me ME do I cut out? I cannot stop reading. I cannot stop learning. I could stop teaching the kids but really, even if I sent them away for formal education, there are still gaps to be filled and frankly, I dont' want to. I suppose I could give up sewing, crafting, spinning, writing but I have found that when I do not have a creative outlet I get super cranky. I don't have to grow my own food or raise my own animals but clean, fresh food is important to me and to my family. Plus snipping away any of these just makes me feel incomplete. Who wants to live like that?
Monday, May 9, 2011
Yesterday was Sunday. It was also Mother's Day, incase you hadn't heard. We spent it cleaning the house, selling one of the new baby rabbits and eating. Quite similar to every other day around here but I also got a couple cards from my kids. One as a beautiful drawing of me inside much skinnier and redhaired than normal, and the other has a food pyramid and a brain on the back. Hallmark, eat your heart out.
I am not a sentimental person. I have saved a few baby things from my kids, mostly for their benefit, really, in boxes under my bed. I save some of their better artworks in a box above the bookcase, the cards will join them. I take lots of photos though with the accumulation of my new digital camera do not print out many if any at all (so who knows what will happen if I lose my computer? whole years will be wiped from memory).
All this non-sentimentality makes celebrations hard for me. I don't like to be gifted "just because". I think cards and mailing of them a complete waste. I've tried to be "good" and sent birthday/anniversary/new baby whatever cards but I just can't find it in me to support something I just don't get. I'd rather a phone call than a sparkly card or better yet see the person *in* person. Though I tend to forget doing that as well. I notice all the plaques, teddy bears, fake floral arrangements, cut flowers and candles propped up in stands on the side of the road and cringe.
Perhaps, that is the practical side of me. The side that dislikes waste and clutter. To me all those trappings that people swerve off the road to consume scream landfills. The market flowers are dying beauties using up land resources that could be better used to grow food or stay on the vines to feed the ever disappearing bees. Gifts of meaning that last beyond the day, that feed my body and soul and not just a need to provide a gift because someone declared it a holiday mean the most to me. But I didn't get any gifts because they're not necessary.
During this day of matriarical celebration I decided (after much debate since we're up to our eyeballs in birthdays right now) to make a cake to share with my family because spending time with them as they helped me bake and consume it was better than anything store bought, any smushy pre-printed card, any plaque that waxed poetic about being a mother. Because being a mother is more about enjoying motherhood all the time than being set on a pedestal a single day. I think we should strive to be kind and cherish each other because we're family all the time not just at birthdays or other pre-disposed times of the year. (Though throwing in a cake now and then doesn't hurt.)
Am I the only non-sentimental mother out there?
Monday, May 2, 2011
Monday, April 18, 2011
I haven't sewn since before we moved. In December. Yep, it's been that long since I've pinned and cut and measured. I've missed it.
I decided this week will be my sewing week. I have a nearly eight year old that is getting too tall for her summer clothes and the budget is too broke for store bought goodies. I like them in knee-length or lower, little girls like to forget they're wearing dresses when it's playtime. I brought out all the fabric I've had boxed away since the holidays. Thanks to a free tutorial from Vegbee, Solar Dress, my girls are now the super proud owners of some light and airy summer dresses complete with pockets.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
I've always been into stock piling. I buy everything and anything that I think will be used later on if it's got a really good deal attached to it. Years ago, I once bought 87 tubes of toothpaste from CVS that were on sale and I had coupons for. I think I ended up paying about $3.50 for all of it. We're still using them up.
Even though I'm now experiementing making my own toothpaste I just can't let go of those bargain tubes I have on hand. Waste not, want not, right?
I think it stems from my childhood where -while I wasn't deprived- I was concious of our inability to just go buy whatever we wanted when we wanted it. My mom had me hunt coupons every Sunday for the sweet cereal I wanted because we couldn't otherwise afford it.
Monday, March 14, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
My virtual friend Ara over at My Edible Yard has a fantastic recipe for white wheat bread. I made it this morning which makes 2 loaves and already the kids and I have devoured about 2/3's of one. I have been trying to make all our own bread from scratch and this recipe is ridiculously easy and tasty. You can also break it out for rolls. I'm going to try it for english muffins but I need to buy more yeast.
I've made it twice, once using raw Honey and this time Agave nectar and couldn't tell a difference so whatever sweetener you have on hand should work just fine.
Wednesday, March 2, 2011
I still have dreams, though. Lots and lots of them. But I still allow decade plus past put downs to strangle my desires.
When I was a kid -like early teens- I wanted to be a writer. Like professionally. With books. Written words have been my life before I started keeping memories. I devoured novels before first grade and haven't ever stopped. Just this past week I've read four books. My e-reader is my favorite toy. I read to put myself to sleep, to stop my ever-racing mind. It's a release from reality and I can't be without it.
I have always wanted to give that gift to others. I've always wanted to put my stories to print.
I hear a bit of music, an overheard line of conversation between two people, a painting, a photograph and my mind starts reeling with the possibilities. Characters come to life on their own; small acts jump into my brain, conversations thick with emotions play out in my imagination. They name themselves, they show me their faces, tell me a bit of their stories. Who they are and where they come from I can't tell you. They just are.
I try and capture them but so many times they slip away.
Sometimes I'm able to work on a story line, get down those words or write a character description but life constantly gets in the way. I would engross myself in my own words as I do so often with other people's. But I can't.
I'm annoyed with myself and frustrated when the snippets of stories thrust into my skull don't want to work out in letters. I get to a point that I loose the objective and spiral into asking questions that may not even matter. Who are these people? What are they doing? Why does she act like such a bitch? Is this paragraph/chapter/description long enough? I've never been to Chicago, how can I write about it?
Nothing ever gets completed and I'm left feeling lost at the end of a tunnel I'd been led down and throughly abandoned. And still I walk around, garden, shop, shower with the ideas and lives of other people scurrying around in my mind. I wonder if it shows.
Is this how it is for all writers? I don't know. Do other people have this problem too? Do they reside in rubber rooms? My lack of completion makes me feel sketchy even considering myself a writer. My lack of devotion to the craft solidifies that feeling. Writers should write. Yes? But there is so much more to me than writing. So much more than comes before it.
So, I don't label myself. I don't commit. And life goes by as I continue to be just me, myself and a hundred other people.
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Friday, February 25, 2011
At dinner we've been starting a new tradition. For the past 2 weeks we all sit together and read a short story from the Character Building Day by Day: 180 Quick Read-Alouds for Elementary School and Home book. There are enough lessons for 180 days and each topic, like diligence, has 5 short stories to go with it. So we can work on a new character building topic each week.
I really can't say enough good things about this book. At the begining of dinner, after everyone has been seated and served, we review the topic heading page about what that specific topic means in general. I ask the kids when they have been diligent (or not) or when that week they could remember being cooperative. These short stories are great for talking about how we should behaive and when. So far all the stories have had positive outcomes -showing examples of cooperation instead of being uncooperative. Which is great since we already have enough negative examples of our own.
I'm really hoping that these lessons will help the children to start identifying on their own positive and appropriate behaivors and traits they'd like to see in themselves. It also makes for a great family dinner conversation!
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I'm sorry. Really. Don't run away.
Friday, February 18, 2011
I thought we were doing well. I spent some money I really didn't want to so I could keep the little ones occupied while I was doing school with the big ones. I had given some free and alternative days to break up the monotony of writing work. And now we're back to having bad days.
I get distracted. They slink out of work.
I try and work with them they start crying and whining about how hard it is.
It's been an hour and fifteen minutes and she's still complaining around a flow of tears.
Everything is distracting her. It's too hard. She wants to write her own sentences (which would be wrong.) Her pencil fell. It's too hard. She can't do it.
Now, she wants me to take her to school.
So, I looked it up. Fine by me really, if she wants to see how they push them in schools and what the consequence of this kind of behaivor there would be then be my guest. Writing three sentences by copying is going to be the least of her problems as the school website's main focus is the Testing Schedule.
The kids in the school down the street get tested seven times a school year. Six tests are administered practicaly monthly and the last (either the FCAT for 3rd and up or the SAT 10 for 1st and 2nd) are week long after a week of test prepping. They even test the kindergarteners multiple times a year. Schools last 10 months (roughly) and the kids are given 7 test through the course of 180 days. Between holidays, days off, half days and all the prepping and actual testing days, when is the learning being done? How can anything be learned in depth? What is retained if shortly after a lesson learning is stopped to work on how to take a test?
I wouldn't push her to write these simple things except that is how things get pushed aside here. They learn (they're smart kids) that if they complain long enough or just flat out silently refuse to do the work mommy will get distracted with something else -be it a baby or a phone call or making food- and forget they're supposed to do it. They move on in their day getting to do what they want to do instead of what they need to do. If I change what we're doing because they protest they'll use it every time to get me to change what they don't like to do. If I say to her now "Ok, lets take a break and go outside" the next day something will be just as hard and she'll look for that break every day. I know my kids, trust me on this.
How do I instill a sense of responsibility in them? I'm so weary of all the fighting.