Tuesday, November 27, 2007

winnie the pooh

I know that someone has already written a book about this, but the kids and I have been reading Winnie the Pooh stories and we are really enjoying them (thanks Kerry!) and I am just so impressed with how funny the stories are, how enjoyable they are for all of us and how much fun wisdom there is in Pooh's Very Little Brain.

These quotes all come from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne, the second book in the Pooh series. There are some real gems here and it is no wonder that someone wrote a book about the Tao and Pooh.

Many of the wisest comments surround Pooh's poetry and song writing-
"'And that's the whole poem,' he said. 'Do you like it, Piglet?'
'All except the shillings,' said Piglet. 'I don't think they ought to be there.'
'They wanted to come in after the pounds,' explained Pooh, 'so I let them. It is the best way to write poetry, letting things come.'"

"Because Poetry and Hums aren't things which you get, they're things which get you. And all you can do is to go where they can find you."

And when a day goes from one way to the next Pooh muddles along, "Which makes it look like a bothering sort of day."

Frequently Pooh is pondering what to do-
"I could spend a happy morning
Seeing Roo,
I could spend a happy morning
Being Pooh,
For it doesn't seem to matter,
...What I do."

And sharing with others-
"Pooh began to feel a little more comfortable, because when you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."

And listening to Rabbit, who likes to have things to do and plans to make-
"'Just what I feel,' said Rabbit. 'What do you say, Pooh?'
Pooh opened his eyes with a jerk and said, 'Extremely.'
'Extremely what?' asked Rabbit.
'What you were saying,' said Pooh. 'Undoubtedly.'
Piglet gave Pooh a stiffening sort of nudge, and Pooh, who felt more and more that he was somewhere else,got up slowly and began to look for himself."

"'Rabbit's clever,' said Pooh thoughtfully.
'Yes,' said Piglet, 'Rabbit's clever.'
'And he has Brain.'
'Yes,' said Piglet, 'Rabbit has Brain.'
There was a long silence.
'I suppose,' said Pooh, 'that that's why he never understands anything.'"

And alternative thinking-
"'Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?'
'Supposing it didn't,' said Pooh after careful thought.
Piglet was comforted by this.."

So you can see Pooh is a lot of fun. We are off to get the next one from the library this afternoon.

Monday, November 26, 2007

more on snow globes and tents

One of the extras of making snow globes that I hadn't considered is that glitter tends to spread. There are little glitter pieces all over the house now and wherever you walk you see a little silver shimmer. If I know glitter the way I think I do, it means we will undoubtedly have little bits of glitter in the house for the next year or two! At least through Easter. And the next people who live here will occasionally find pieces and wonder about where the glitter came from.

The indoor-ness of winter really set in today and the kids and I got out the indoor tent making supplies- sheets, chairs, pillows. Our cat Maxwell, who also is not getting to spend as much time outside as he would like, joined in the fun with the tents. He found out that this kind of tent is not really the type to walk on. Poof. He went right through the ceiling. He spent some time hiding under different sheet angles and finally ended up taking a nap among them. The tents helped to diffuse some sibling tension as well. They had their own tents and could also visit one another. A nice part of tent making!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

snow globes

The kids and I made homemade snow globes today. Here is a link to Martha's snow globes. Ellen gave me the idea when she saw some for sale in a little store in Portland, also handmade and local. So we gave it a shot and I have to say they turned out pretty well. Samuel and Eva were not, however, impressed. The main thing I would say is to make sure the little guys that you pick to put in the snow globes are tall enough to actually see. Some of our guys were too little to see properly. So it is basically just glitter. Also, on Martha's web page she suggests adding glycerin to slow the glitter's eventual fall. We did not do this because it would have meant a trip to the drug store, which I was not up for. So I cannot comment on that. It would be worth a try because the glitter does tend to clump.

The best part about making the snow globes was the shift in energy it caused. Both kids had been talking about boredom throughout the day and after the snow globe project they were refreshed and went off to play hitherto un-thought-of-games. A real re-fueler!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving and then some

Leaf raking and playing on Thanksgiving.

Lot's of leaves!

Dive right in!

Samuel basting the turkey.

Eva and Katherine playing.

Everyone feasting; Alexandra at the table; Samuel and Evan playing a chess match against Danny.

I asked Eva about this photo and she said she was showing Katherine photos of pumpkins and Katherine was putting the baby in the CD player.

Samuel and Eva using hammers to break up the ice yesterday.

Samuel preparing for ice breaking today; some lovely photos he took of the oak leaves in the ice. Eva didn't join him today and he brought some icy leaves inside for her. They are now in our freezer. When we take them out to look at them, they melt a little and we put them back in the freezer quickly!

Eva said these are the Buddha's meditating among the flowers, which help them communicate when they are not talking to one another. The snakes can help with this as well.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

This was posted on a homeschooling list I am on and I liked it-

A Parent's Thanksgiving List
by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard
Friday, November 16, 2007

Thanksgiving usually inspires parents to start a diet. But if
you'll indulge with me for a while, I'd rather list a few things I'm
grateful for as a mother.

I'm grateful my children demand I talk to them when I don't feel
like talking, feed them when I'm not hungry, and change their
diapers even when I'm all dressed up and ready to go somewhere
special. I don't think I'd discover the world outside my own needs
without them.

I'm grateful my children haven't learned how to hold back their
tears when they're sad, laughter when they're happy, or screams when
they're frightened. They constantly remind me that emotions are for

I'm grateful my children have broken nearly everything in my home
and used a crayon or ink marker on the rest. They've taught me that
things aren't important, but people are.

I'm grateful my children start out small and helpless so they don't
become aware of my incompetence until they're teenagers. By then,
we've both grown so accustomed to each other, we somehow manage to
make it through the rest of life together.

I'm grateful my children get their pants dirty, pick their noses,
burp without saying "excuse me," and quarrel in public so I'll never
be able to get too arrogant, proper, or judgmental of other people's

I'm grateful my children sometimes call me names like "weird"
because sometimes I am "weird," and it helps keep a person humble to
be told they're "weird" when they're acting weird.

I'm grateful my children occasionally miss the bus at the precise
moment I've stepped out of the shower, contemplating the well-
planned, organized day ahead of me. Experiences like jumping into
the car after throwing on whatever's handy and racing to school have
a tendency to loosen rigid plans into something better known as

I'm grateful my children always need new shoes, piano books,
prescriptions, haircuts, fieldtrip money, tuition, food, toothpaste,
and underwear. That way, I don't have to waste my time thinking
about a new sofa. It's difficult to get wealthy and think about
luxuries when you have to buy toilet paper and milk by the truckload
each week.

I'm grateful my children know how to play. My five-year-old asked me
to come downstairs so he could "teach me how to play" with his
plastic animals. While Jacob demonstrated the subtle techniques for
sinking a rhinoceros into couch cushions while pretending it was
quicksand, I realized my young son was right. I really do need
someone to "teach me how to play."

I'm grateful my children question my every command and giggle when I
get angry. It's difficult to feel too powerful or self-righteous
with kids around to remind you of how funny you look when you're
pointing your finger.

I'm grateful my children insist I hug, kiss, rock, or put my arms
around them often. Otherwise, I think I'd forget how the sense of
touch is so healing.

I'm grateful each of my children is unique when the same strange,
inexperienced mother raised them. Somehow they don't seem to let me
ruin them much.

And lastly, I'm grateful for the gift of children in my life. God
willing, I'd like to fill the rest of my days with those interesting
people who call me Mom (yes, and sometimes "weird") but
eventually "weird grandma."

From Families Who Laugh . . . Last by Janene Wolsey Baadsgaard

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

stir crazy

Well, the kids have been sick and we have all been a little stir crazy. Or maybe it is just me. I have been spending a lot of time playing zoo tycoon with Eva and doing lots and lots of puzzles and every piece of laundry is done and I have picked up the house, every toy out of place, over and over in an effort, I suppose to move around a bit. Ah. Winter. So it is almost dark by 4:30 by now and completely dark for sure by 5:00. And I am remembering how long the time between getting up in the morning and the time we go to bed at night can seem when the kids can't spend a good bit of it in the evening outside and this is exacerbated when they are sick because we aren't even taking an evening walk, which can be great for everyone, particularly for all of us.

We are eagerly counting down the days to Thanksgiving, which is, as Samuel pointed out, just one day now. The day after tomorrow. It is finally here. We are having turkey and potatoes and stuffing and salad and squash ala Ellen and apple pie ala Ellen and pumpkin muffins and fruit like satsumas and pears and cranberries. Oh, and some kind of kale maybe. I like to stick it in when I can. Herbs from the backyard. Probably some kind of bread like rolls or I may make some artisan loaf if I am inspired tomorrow. My friend Sara and her family are going to join us this year as they are in town from New York and I think they will bring another pie or dessert of their choice.

I tried to get a local turkey but they were all sold out. I was even laughed at by a farmer at the market, "We sold out in September..." Gosh. I know I wasn't thinking about ordering a turkey in September, but now I know. I put it on the calendar for next year. Get turkey in September! So the turkey will be from a pretty good place but not entirely local and I will pick it up from New Seasons, which is, after all, doing pretty well to help us buy as local as possible. The produce is all local except those satsumas we all love so much. I got salad mix, squash, potatoes, onions, garlic, brussel sprouts, celeriac (which was so neat looking that I thought about putting it into water so that it could maybe take root again. It looked like a pineapple when it showed up in the basket and that, with the brussel sprouts still on the stem, were stunning!) and then some from my produce basket this week and of course you all know how much kale we have in the garden and there are plenty of herbs still thriving back there and I found local cranberries and pears and apples at the market. As well as cider. I forgot to mention we will probably have brussel sprouts as well. So maybe no kale? Not sure. I do know that the little leaves and stalks on the celeriac are going into the stuffing. I still don't have definite plans for the celeriac root itself, although my guess is that it will fare better than the fennel, which is, by the way, still in there. And another was added this week. Maybe fennel for Thanksgiving? Probably not.

Eva and I just made some really delicious raspberry-blackberry sorbet (u-picked!) in Ellen's sorbet maker that we still have. She is, alas, taking it back tomorrow. Oh well. Maybe Santa will bring me one for Christmas? They have them at Macy's and they are quite reasonable, just in case he can't make one in his workshop.

It's funny, but for the last several days, including today, Eva has been very restless and we have done so many activities, puzzles, books, games, talks, puppet shows, baths, you name it. And there has been a hint of dissatisfaction surrounding her and the activities with her stomping her feet at me and wanting me to just sit wherever she is, irritation between the two of us at several points. Just now we made the sorbet together, both of us thoroughly enjoying ourselves and, just like that, we are connected again. Connection can sometimes be so elusive and other times right on. And it is, after all, one of the main processes of parenting and childing. Without it, people around here tend to run around yelling pell mell all over the house. Hmmm. Maybe it hasn't been stir craziness that has infected everyone around here. Nothing a little sorbet making can't fix. And sitting still doesn't hurt either. Just more parts to the process.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
-Albert Einstein

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Well, the garden is going strong. We have a ton of broccoli and the kale is amazing. And the radishes I planted when? are doing really well. Also carrots and let me tell you the borage has really made a home for itself out there. The sweet peas are getting ready to flower! I didn't know if it would work planting them when I did but it turns out you really can treat this time of year as a sort of second spring out here in the Pacific Northwest, which is a maritime climate. Unfortunately, the pumpkin that was orange-ing out there molded before it fully ripened. It is a good meal for the slugs at this point and still pretty out there in the garden among the many borage plants. I am pleased the plant was able to produce a pumpkin at all as it was the first pumpkin plant I have planted in recent memory.

Here are some lovely shots of the fall garden!

Here are the year old broccoli plants I planted last fall. They are very tall. They don't give large heads of broccoli any more, but all of the little heads add up to quite a bit of broccoli. More, actually, than a larger head might. Not sure what they will do through this winter. All of the heads are trying to flower right now, making a last ditch effort, perhaps, and some of the leaves are actually yellowing. Ah, the life of a broccoli plant!

Little broccoli heads. Borage flowers in the background.

Garden bounty.

Samuel's garden, complete with chard.


Radishes popping out of the Earth.


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

catch up

Today was Matt's birthday and the kids and I had a little celebration for him, complete with a special ice cream cake from Baskin-Robbins. We gave him a hat he had been wanting for the rain and had fun eating cake and ice cream.

We finished reading The Secret Garden and really enjoyed it. It inspired some more gardening and Samuel wants to take a class to learn to speak Yorkshire. He was quite taken with the character Dickon and has been going out to learn how to charm the animals. He came running in from his garden today to tell me that the plants like him!

Two books we have enjoyed lately are A Cobweb Christmas by Shirley Climo and Would You Rather by John Birningham. We really loved A Cobweb Christmas, which is the story of how spiders (with some help from Kris Kringle) created tinsel for Christmas trees. And Would You Rather is a great conversation-er book. The kids and I had a lot of fun one night talking about whether we would rather learn to ride a pig or a goat or go up a tree with an elf get the idea. It is a lot of fun. And right on time, too! We were in need of a little fun and connection.

Samuel wanted some litmus paper and we found some at Omsi the last time we went. He has been concocting something in the back yard and keeps checking the pH level of it. We tested vinegar, lemon juice, soap, baking soda, water and different combinations of all of these.

Let's see, we are spending our time playing indoors and out these days. Samuel has his indoor PE class at the indoor soccer place and his riding lessons. One round of art classes is over and I have yet to sign them up for more. We went to see a children's concert through the Oregon Symphony which was enjoyable, although Samuel was disappointed they didn't play the entire composition of Peter and the Wolf and instead played different selections from different songs.

The kids have several games going right now with different locations throughout the house and in the backyard. Dinosaurs, firefighters, one with the power ranger figures living in a playmobil castle and something to do with robots? And of course, the Grinch and Sam-I-Am game, which is on-again-off-again and for now is on-again.

It goes something like this, "Wanna play?"
"Yeah, what?"
"Firefighter game..." and the receiver knows all that this entails.
"Yes!" or "No!" depending.
Sometimes there is bargaining like, "Ok, the t-rexes can be good!" or "Ok, I won't make grumpy kitty part of that game."

This goes on throughout the day and they move between games and past games and sometimes they play together and sometimes they play alone and sometimes they play first together and then alone or first alone and then together or first dinosaurs and then into the Grinch game and sometimes they stop and watch The Grinch Grinches the Cat in the Hat with the Grinch and sometimes they watch Green Eggs and Ham with Sam-I-Am. Either way, the best games seem to be late at night, right when I am thinking we really ought to be going to bed...

This is a one person space craft. Check out the leaves from our prodigious Oak!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Hey, I knit a hat in a day!

I did. I can hardly believe it. AND! I like the hat and can wear it. This week I made my hat, finished up Eva's poncho (with fringe!) and found out how to lengthen a sweater I finished last month. Now I am working on a scarf to go with the hat (I don't usually do scarves because they go on and on and on...) and truth be known I am sort of avoiding the sweater with the two new skeins of yarn I bought this week specifically to lengthen it. To lengthen the sweater requires cutting it and this is something I have never done. To cut into knitting requires a sort of boldness and trust in your skills. I am almost there. No pictures of the poncho yet. I will try and take some tomorrow! And the hat too. Oh and I nearly forgot I finished a hat for Eva as well. Fun.

Recently overheard in our house...

"Hey Samuel, do you want to play?" [Eva]
"No. Not unless the t-rexes can be evil."[Samuel]
"No thank you."[Eva]

"Momma, I make everything into babies because I just love babies!" [Eva]

"We aren't getting any more toys out until I have a chance to vacuum!"[Samuel]

"Momma! Look!"[Eva]

"Isn't she fancy..."[Eva]

"Do you like my sculpture?"[Eva], "Do you like my volcano?"[Samuel]

"Momma! Look at me!"

Friday, November 2, 2007


There was fennel in my produce basket this week. I am not keen on fennel and I wondered what I would do with it. Would I simply leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks until mold grew on it and then take it out to the compost pile? Would I try a recipe and then freeze the part I didn't like and leave it there for months until I cleaned out the freezer again...Eva found a use for the fennel that was, I believe, far more rewarding for us and the fennel. She used it to line her dinosaur nest and deposited her dinosaur eggs in it.

Eva building her nest with the fennel. The dinosaur eggs (roasted pumpkin seeds from Halloween, of which there is an enormous amount...)

The dinosaur nest with eggs, a stegosaurus nest to be exact.

"I never thought I could be a real dinosaur mother..." she said with awe and satisfaction!

Eva's own photo of the nest and the remains of the fennel (still enough, I suppose, to sit it out in the refrigerator for a while, unless I make a bold move and put it directly in the compost pile tonight! Any fennel fans out there, we have some extra!)