the case of the missing knitter

remember when i said i'd fill you in on what i was doing instead of knitting?
well, i am plowing through some books.
you see, i have this problem and i've had it for as long as i can remember.
i go to the library or the bookstore and i find myself walking along with an armload of books. to the point where i can't pick up another book for fear of dropping the load. unfortunately, when this happens in the bookstore i then have to find a spot to browse through the books and painstakingly decide which of the desired objects get to make the trip home with me. but at the library this is not the case. they can all come to my house for a visit. and then get renewed and renewed, until they make me bring them back.
apparently i cannot delve into a pile of books and keep up with knitting. if anyone out there has mastered this, please share your secrets. i just find that i get sucked into the books whenever i have a free moment (also another excuse for being absent from here lately).
and then, the funny thing is that none of these books i have been reading are anything super fantastic. mostly parenting and education books lately. henry is on the side of being closer to 3 than 2 and i am having some major parenting challenges. (tell me i am not the only mother of a child that blatantly ignores her). and i'm just looking for some guidance. he's having a lot of emotional outbursts and obviously becoming more independent (maybe those go hand in hand?) but then i also worry sometimes that it is stress (his, not mine) and he just hasn't learned how to release it. anyway, i have found bits of good advice in some of the books or at least their advice works part of the time. other times nothing works and i resort to losing my mind and wishing i could have a few strong drinks and lock myself in the bathroom (with a book of course). then there are the books that make me feel like i am going to do irreparable damage to my child if i ever use time out, raise my voice, or do anything besides attempting to reason with him. as matt likes to tell me, you can not reason with the irrational (this is good advice), and well, toddlers can be irrational. so what am i to do? i don't know. all i know is that i have to get creative with this kid (and most likely will with bea, too). in the meantime, i will just keep trying to prevent the tantrums and give him his space when they do come.

anyone want to recommend some good fiction?

more homemade goodness

the latest loaf of bread we have been devouring around here has been the roasted garlic and potato bread. again, from the artisan bread in 5 minutes a day book. i used just under the recommended amount of garlic (not by choice) and upped the potato a bit. it still turned out delicious! it was so soft with the perfect amount of crispiness to the crust. my mouth is watering now just thinking about it.
i am curious to see if my bread baking slows down in the coming warmer months. i may have to figure out how to use the bread machine. it can't heat up my house the way the oven does right?
i love bread
***also, if you do use this book and haven't checked out the website i recommend it. lots of great ideas and tips there!***

the other thing we have been eating in large quantities is strawberries. we have to put them on the top shelf in the fridge so the boy isn't thieving them all day. we went to buy some plants for the garden we are soon to attempt and decided to try to grow as many strawberries as possible (and still leave room for some vegetables).
more berries please

so now that we are about to start our garden, do any of you have some great gardening advice? we are doing raised beds as the soil, i mean clay here is rather daunting to me. i'd love to hear from you!


and i'm back . . . again

the palm tree has been replaced
well, sorry about that impromptu absence. i seem to take those frequently, but sometimes they are just needed. it really just naturally occurred and was not something i planned. then once i was a few days into the break i found myself enjoying it.
i think sometimes i put a lot of pressure on myself to keep up with this space. then other times i feel guilty for the amount of time i do spend here, and to be honest it's not that much time. sometimes i just need that recharge to get my mojo back in all the areas of my life.
matt was out of town most of this past week (in the bahamas!), that was what triggered the break. i just didn't have much time between juggling two little ones on my own, keeping house, sleeping (trying to), and enjoying the spring weather to get over to the computer much. it was nice to sit back, relax, and not be hurried. we took walks, played in the rain, ate lunch in a park, had a book day - went to the library then the bookstore, and watched spy kids more than i care to admit.
i tried to keep tabs on a few people that i have a hard time prying myself away from. some peoples pictures and words are sorely missed after more than a day or two. i realized in doing this though, that i don't have to keep up on all the blogs i try to read. my list was getting hard to control and i realized i was pretty backed up on a lot of blogs, so i have thinned out my blogroll just a bit. (i mean if i am 70 posts behind on a blog - do i really need the reminder that i'm not reading it?) but i did notice so many spring projects popping up! i myself have not been that crafty lately. i had a (short) burst of knitting dishcloths because 1) i had never knit any before, 2) we needed some (and still need more), 3) i needed a quick knit fix, and 4) i am tired of buying sponges.
now i need to get on with it and finish my winter projects that have been dormant *ahem* ursa sweater. poor thing. all she needs are the rest of her sleeves and a collar! ha hahaha haha ha . . .
i'll fill you in later on what i've been doing in lieu of real knitting.

speaking of knitting, i have on my i must knit list for this year so far:
3 christmas stockings to be knit. one for bea, one for cousin whit, and one for a cousin yet to be born (and thus named)
2 baby gifts. matt and i will become uncle and aunt to a new babe sometime this winter. and dear friends are expecting their
second at the end of the summer.

so if anyone out there would like to share their favorite patterns for baby i'd love the suggestions!

**and now back to the regularly scheduled sporadic blogging (with pictures that are more relevant to the posts)**


in and out.

24 // 52
sorry for the absence. life is pulling me away from the computer. nice weather. simplifying the home a bit. trying to start our first 'real' garden. matt out of town for a few days. and the best, lots of playing with the boy and snuggling with a babe.
i mean to be back here in the next few days. i've started what was to be my next post, but really just have other things that need my attention right now.
hope to see you soon.


more laundry business

dirty laundry

after posting my new preference for home made laundry detergent, some wonderful people alerted me to some concerns regarding fels naptha laundry soap. in my own research of it i found some questionable information which left me concerned and confused. i'm not sure if the ingredient in question is still used in the production of the soap or not from what i have found. in some reports it is listed, in others it is not.
so better to be safe than sorry. diane of mackville road went with dr. bronner's, which i have never used, and it sounded like it smelled great and she was very satisfied with the result. so off i went to the local store and grabbed several bars myself. i even bought the mild baby soap for bea's diapers. i haven't washed a load with it yet, though i did whip up a batch today. already i prefer the dr. bronner's. it is a softer soap than the fels naptha and was grated much easier and finer. and the smell was so much cleaner and fresher. and i am only using one bar of soap per batch. i'd say that it almost makes me look forward to laundry day, but since that is essentially everyday i won't go there.

but i will say that i still prefer making our detergent and am glad that so many of you out there were interested enough to give it a go yourselves! if you find any concerns or improvements to be made i'd love for you to share them!


keeping with the green

it's a hard rain
lots of rain over the weekend and beginning of the week. much needed, but the gray put me in a funk i think. i'm craving warmth and sun. the rain can come after the garden is planted.

potted some plants for in the house. i don't know why but we haven't had any indoor plants for some time. i know we had
some when i was pregnant with henry, but those are gone. maybe i neglected them after his arrival? i just know i have to
stick with the simple ones. the kind that can bounce back after a you've deserted them for a short time.

our yard is blooming, but there are still a lot of bare trees. can't wait for the dogwoods.


going green

i've decided to host my own green week here.
we've received some much needed rain here the past few days and our world is growing greener by the day.
the leaves on the trees are a myriad of greens. the grass is getting darker and more luscious. and really, i just
like green. (and honestly i'm just feeling very quiet lately).

getting a lot of use
these are being put to good use so far this year. now i need a pair so i can keep up with the puddle splashing!


good things come from good people

good things

a few weeks ago kristin at mainemomma had a little contest and lo and behold, i won!
the prize was my pick of one of kristin's beautiful photos. not an easy task to pick just one. her work is so lively and bright i practically favorite all of her pictures on flickr and i had to take a few days to make my pick.
then, to my surprise (again) kristin said i could pick two. that doesn't make the task any easier, by the way.
so today the envelope arrived. i don't remember if i contained my squeal of delight, but i do know i was showing a lot
of teeth. my neighbors probably thought i received a bailout check of some sort the way i was grinning.

i got a little extra cheeriness in my day when i opened up the envelope and found 2 bonus photos plus 2 cranes, one for bea and one for henry. those already have a home on the bookshelf in the dining room. in sight, but out of reach. now i just have to find the right home for those beautiful pictures. my mission for the weekend.

thank you again, kristin! i can't wait to give your work a place of honor in our home.


new neighbors

our new neighbors are keeping us busy. and feeling very nosy.
we can't take our eyes or our lens off of them. i think we'll have to
give them a short break from our prying eyes though. we want them
to stay as long as possible.
henry and papa
viewing our new neighbors
new neighbor
our new neighbors
in the meantime, we're doing a little research on the great horned owl. and then we'll spy some more.

*isn't that baby owl the cutest? so white and fluffy*

**and should this be a deterrent to us getting chicks in the future?**


spinach and feta

spinach and feta bread

yes. yes it is good.
my only recommendation (so far) would be to add more cheese than the recipe calls for. which i did. and i should have added more.
still, it was a success. matt took it to his sculpture workshop and said he would bring something else next week. he said they insisted he bring more bread. yay!

next up: roasted garlic and potato bread


thank you warmth

fill and pour
for giving us time to slowly enjoy the day outside. for letting us open the windows and inviting the breeze inside. for helping us slow down the days a bit and enjoy our tasks a little more.


photo friday.24

hello yellow
hello yellow


hell yes

i finally fit into my old pre-preggers jeans. now i need to start exercising so i can look good in them.

22 // 52

oh, and the spinach & feta loaf? good. really good. if you have the book, i recommend adding more cheese than the recipe calls for. just my personal feeling.


striving to reach goals

on its way

part of my new years goals was to contribute to our meals more often. matt is primarily the chef around here & rightly so. he is more efficient at it than i am and he can create great concoctions with whatever we have on hand, whereas i need a recipe (with a photo, please). and he enjoys the process more than i do, although i am starting to enjoy my non-cleaning time in the kitchen. my biggest problem is that i totally trash the kitchen as i am cooking no matter how simple the dish. really.
i feel that it isn't fair for matt to work as much and as hard as he does to then come home and have to immediately cook dinner. ideally i would cook during the week and he can cook his yummy dishes on the weekends, but i know it won't work out that way. i am a slow chef. and with two little ones distracting me, well, i don't fare to well. my best bet is making things that i can prep while they nap and then later finish on the stove top or toss into the oven. realistically, i am doing my best to make a few meals a week and continue making all of our bread. this week i have made two meals so far, with both having enough for leftovers.

also trying out a new recipe from artisan bread in 5 minutes a day. having a go at the spinach and feta loaf. i have high expectations, it sounds and looks delicious as it is rising as i type. if i haven't mentioned it before, i love this book. i had never made bread before this book came into my life and i am now totally hooked. i don't think we have bought bread since late october/early november. i have a bread machine, but have no clue how to use it. though i want to try that too.

and in keeping with the food theme, go check out molly's post today. she's beginning what is sure to be an interesting food journey and i am glad she is sharing some of the information she's discovering. this should be an education!

damn the snow gods (and the croup ones too)

wow. i had no idea i had been gone from this space for so long. i guess maybe i needed it.
so, if you are still here following along, thank you! and now, to continue as though i didn't just take more than a week off : )

last friday we headed out of town. it had been a challenging week for me on the parental front. henry's demeanor and attitude has drastically changed and the entire week was a test of my patience. i'll just say that i was not always victorious. and i have resorted to reading as many parenting type books as i can stomach. i think the details of that week are better left for another time though. it's late and i need to ease in a little.

so, as i said we headed out of town. and i was ready for our little trip. we were off to asheville to visit my grandparents. we hadn't seen them since thanksgiving and its such a short drive (at least in relation to driving to our other relatives homes), i felt like we should have made the trip a month ago. we left friday evening, at least an hour later than we were planning on, but we also know to expect that. bea slept the entire way (yay!) and our newly potty trained boy, whom we put in a diaper - just in case, let us know when he had to go, so he stayed dry the entire way (double yay!). we arrived very late, but still got a little visit time in because my grandparents were up late too.

at the greats


yes, then.

around 2 or 3 in the morning henry woke up sort of crying and got in bed with us (meaning matt, me and bea). he was so hot, but we had one of those electric woodstove things on, so i shut it off and we fell asleep again. in the morning he was still burning up. i took his temperature and it was 104!! i waited a bit for his doctor's office to open (yes, he's open on saturdays! (in the winter)). i took his temp again right before i called them and it was up to 104.4! they suggested i take him into an urgent care type place in case it was the flu. so after a few hours in urgent care we learn that henry has croup.

now this entire time i am concerned #1 for henry. he's on fire, he's miserable, he won't eat or drink, he's lethargic, and just plain sad looking. all i want to do is make him feel better and hold him close. and #2 i am concerned for my grampa. right before thanksgiving he was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and his immune system is fairly weak. i'm feeling terrible and a little scared that my little guy is feeling like crap (fevers that high freak me out) and that we just brought this into my grandparents home. we offered to leave right then and there and just come back another weekend, but i think they thought that was a little ridiculous. so we just played it as safe as possible and tried to keep henry from going to near my grampa. and henry did well for feeling so awful and not being home (did i mention that i forgot to bring his snuggly that he has slept with since he was 6 months old?). and we still had a nice visit even though i was constantly worrying about my boy and my grampa the entire visit.

by sunday henry was pretty much over the fever and starting to act a bit more like himself (not the self that was driving me batty earlier in the week). but we still couldn't get him to eat or drink much. of anything. i think the only thing he would eat was blueberries. chocolate ice cream didn't even do the trick! and this boy loves him some ice cream. so i know he felt terrible.

and then, of course it begins to snow. right before we are leaving. this always happens. i want the snow. love the snow. but it always waits till i am gone. i don't know what it is about me and snow. but it started dumping in these huge downy like flakes. it was beautiful! but we had to get going because they were calling for snow in the atl area too. so we headed out (reluctantly) and began the drive home.

down the mountain

this made my winter

about an hour or so drive

it was a beautiful drive. i was practically squealing over how gorgeous the snow was. but i was driving so i did have to control myself and pay attention. i was a little nervous at first about driving in the snow. it's been a long, long, time since i've had to do that. and then i was a little sorry that i was the one driving because i just wanted to snap away with the camera. which i did, but not as much as i wanted and most of the photos turned out to be terrible white blurs.

the weather made our drive longer than usual, but it was very picturesque. i wanted to get home so badly so we could play in the snow and use the sled someone gifted us last year that we never got to use.

then. (yes. another one).

after hours of driving very slowly in the snow and traffic. we hit the northern burbs and those big fat flakes come to a silent halt. nadda. it had snowed a bit earlier i could tell. the roofs had a thin sheet of white covering them. but the closer we got to town the less coverage there was. then we hit 285 and bam! here comes the cool, blaring, evening sun.
yep. we drove through a winter wonderland only to arrive home to the norm. oh, we were so close. literally!

as a matter of fact, this was a conversation we had on our drive back:

matt: and you thought we didn't live where it snows.

me: true. pause and thinks a second. well, maybe we don't. we may just live NEXT to where it snows.

damn, so close.

just a bit

(and so much for easing in!)