Saturday, November 29, 2008


One pink and purple hat with ears! and a white pom pom on top finished! Eva is wearing it as I type. It is a hit!! Maybe someday I will be able to post a photo...

Eva in her new bear hat and the baby doll I finished a couple of days ago. Her name is Charlotte. Eva added the pink bow barrette and a necklace for her. [Hat 5 sts/inch, cast on 96, #6 needles, ears, pom poms.]

Eva reminded me of my other camera and I found it. The resolution is not nearly as good but hey it is a camera! I found several dozen lost photos on the camera from the end of 2006, beginning of 2007, mostly Christmas of that year but also some photos like these when we watched our friend's dog Gizmo-

It is after all, all about the Frisbee. Jack and Gizmo.

Gizmo with Frisbee; Eva and Samuel (3 1/2, 6 1/2).

Eva age 3 1/2 (12/2006). She has been making this face a lot lately as well; Eva and Samuel ice chopping in the winter (3 1/2 and 6 1/2)

Cats! Agnes, Magoo, Maxwell (left to right) and Eva (3 1/2).

Friday, November 28, 2008


We never got around to making this yesterday and the kids are already tired of turkey (remind me to go back to a smaller turkey next year, so much for growing bodies) and what better way to fill your belly than with pomegranate sorbet. This recipe is actually originally for pomegranate granita in Chez Panisse Fruit but you can also put it in the sorbet maker. Either way it is so worth it and really good. Samuel looks forward to pomegranate season all year.

Combine 1/2 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar, simmer until sugar is dissolved; pour this into 1 cup pomegranate juice. Taste and adjust with a squeeze of lime (oops, just remembering this now...) OK I added some lime juice, tasted the results, no harm done. For sorbet, simply pour into sorbet maker and go write...For granita, pour mixture into bowl and freeze. After about an hour or so, stir the mixture so that it doesn't separate into juice and syrup. Once the mixture is frozen, chop it up with a knife or pick and transfer to smaller container and cover tightly. Alice Waters likes to serve this with tangerine sorbet.

Here is a quote from last year's pomegranate season-
And we made pomegranate sorbet/granita. It is so worth it! Just so you know, it takes about two full pomegranates to make a cup of pomegranate juice. It is good stuff and it goes quick!
Yes- it does take two full pomegranates to get enough juice for this recipe. If you have a larger sorbet maker, you can double the recipe. Take out seeds, put in food processor. Process. It is all a process, after all. Strain, strain, strain. Eh voila. Pomegranate juice!

I keep thinking this will go really well with a little dark chocolate...
I broke with tradition yesterday twice and cooked the turkey without stuffing it AND I made the stuffing/dressing with sprouted grain bread (Alvarado Street Bakery). The stuffing turned out amazing and I highly recommend it. I didn't dry the bread at all before using it, just cut it up and added celery, celery leaves, thyme, shallots, leek, garlic and some of the broth from the giblets. Oh and butter. And apples.

The kids wrote up their Christmas lists for Santa Claus today. Samuel sent his off in a hurry, in the mail, direct to Santa Clause, The North Pole. We usually get a reply letter from him after a couple of weeks. Eva opted to hold onto her list and leave it for Santa with his cookies and eggnog on Christmas Eve. I was remembering leaving lists in the fire place? at one house I lived in while growing up. I had completely forgotten this memory until reading something about this tradition somewhere out there on the Internet. Fascinating what memories are still in there somewhere.

I am happy to say that our rat Charlie is feeling a little better and has regained a bit more mobility in his leg thanks to the anti-inflammatory meds I have been giving him. I think his leg is permanently wounded but it isn't purple any more and he has more energy. It is hard for him to sit on my shoulder and move around because of his foot being not as flexible, so I have to move slower than usual and sometimes give him a hand, but it is definitely an improvement.

We are reading the second book in the Mushroom Planet series- Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet...we are suspicious of one of the new characters and there is a distinctly suspense-ish feel to the beginning part of the book. And at long last we got Comet in Moominland after a couple of friends highly recommended it. Looking forward to reading about the Moomin Trolls, particularly after reading so many troll stories of late.

I at long last have Oscar Wao back in possession and need to hurry up and finish it before I need to return it again...It is really just such an amazing book, night and day with some other fiction I have tried to read recently. Wondering what will come along to read next.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanks-giving

On this day when my cat keeps licking the turkey and my dog is eyeing it suspiciously, growling and barking at the unknown form in the kitchen, I wish to send out peace and love to family and friends, wherever this day may find you. I am thankful for the abundance and peace in which I find myself, for the love that surrounds me and for each of us in our uniqueness of purpose and spirit. For Be-ing. For the trees, the air, the cats. For everything that is.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

of late

-cookie making
-science museum
-chemistry experiments
-playing in water
-Charlie went to the vet for his foot which he injured and I am giving him the tiniest smallest amounts possible of anti-inflammatory medicine to help his foot...
-knitting a pink and purple hat for Eva that when she saw she said, "Oh momma that is the prettiest knitting I have ever seen in my whole life!" OK!
-fun gathering of females to wish a friend's daughter well as she moves into womanhood...
-preparations for Thanksgiving
-wii, Clifford, music, Star Wars, Freddy the Pied Piper, more Mushroom Planet books...
-wind, wind, wind...

pumpkin cookies

I modified a pumpkin cookie recipe sent along in this past week's produce basket. The original recipe is included in parentheses-

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar (recipe called for 1 1/2 cups brown sugar only- you could use less than I did)
1 cup cooked mashed pumpkin
dash of salt (1 tsp or whatever you feel comfortable with)
1 tsp cinnamon
(1/2 tsp allspice- I was out)
1/2 tsp ginger
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups whole spelt flour (2 1/2 cups all purpose flour)
3 tsp baking powder
(1/2 cup walnuts- again, as you enjoy...)
I also added chocolate chips- semi sweet- about 1/4-1/2 cup, depending. I like just a few...

I cooked the pumpkin earlier in the day, whole, and then scooped out the seeds. One small pumpkin has so far given me enough pumpkin to make these cookies and some cranberry-blueberry-pumpkin muffins and another cup or more frozen for later. You can always use squash of any sort to make these as well.

Follow usual cookie making steps as in cream butter, sugar, add eggs, add pumpkin, add dry ingredients, add extras...Spoon onto greased/ parchment paper lined cookie sheet. They don't spread very far because they are quite cake-y. If you add only brown sugar I imagine they would be even fluffier...The recipe said to bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes. I baked at 350 for about 18-20 minutes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

oh what a picture

there would have been today if not for the untimely demise of my camera...there are at least 20? perhaps 30? stuffed animals gathered around the kitchen table, on the floor, on the chairs, under the table...and some of them have swords! Do you think I will be able to serve dinner tonight with such a ruckus?

Without a camera, my mind turns toward food preparation. I have been roasting kale the last several days after buying two large bunches at the market on Saturday. This is a lovely way to prepare kale and one in which you can eat A LOT of kale. Chop it up (without middle stem) and put on a baking sheet, toss with olive oil and a little salt and roast for 20-minutes-ish in the oven, checking often and turning and moving with a spatula so that it doesn't over cook. You can cook this much more quickly at a higher temperature but I am not usually johnny-on-the-spot-enough to accomplish this without burning at least some of it. Remove the kale and toss with Parmesan cheese. Eva loves this as well and today was so excited when I pulled it out of the oven. "Oh goody, that stuff!" she exclaimed. [large smile]

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Samuel asked me what wax was and we looked it up
Did you know?
I was finally able to finish knitting a doll for Eva and am happy to say she turned out lovely. Eva loved her so much and put a barrette in her hair and made a necklace for her. She told me she didn't care what she looked like and that it was only important that I knit her. So of course I gave her the doll when I finished and did not save her for Christmas, which had been my original intention. That, and the fact that I am going around finishing up projects (or ripping them out entirely) so that I can have a fresh plate for the New Year. Every New Year for the past several years I have gone around and tossed any lists I find (to-do, to-get, to-be, to-read...) and I am also now trying to finish things up. Some of the unfinished projects are not a bother and others really keep me from moving on. The doll is finished! And I am sad to say that my camera died yesterday so there will be no picture forthcoming, at least not in the near future.

We got our turkey for Thanksgiving today at the market!

Oh, and I made this awesome soup with the kabocha squash from my produce basket. I cooked the squash (and removed the seeds, etc after it was cooked), sauted leeks, garlic, one potato, added cooked squash, two cups broth/water and thyme from the herbs out back and some wild rice/brown rice. It was amazing. You could blend it all up and then add the rice or leave the potato and leek chunks, which I chose to do because I have had several pureed soups of late.

No picture today. Today's picture would either have been of the leaves, which will soon be raked again, or the new baby doll, all pink and purple with braids and a pink barrette bow in her hair.

Oh and I think I am going to knit some of these leg warmers for Eva, who is in need of warmth!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Eva made a fancy tree for her little guy Gilbert. It is a pipe cleaner tree and she decorated it with pon poms and some sticky molding stuff I can't remember that name of. She was asking me just now if I knew about Turkey Trees for Thanksgiving, so of course I said, no, I don't know about those. Apparently, there are these turkey trees that you can buy in stores. They grow the trees and then they put cooked turkey on the trees and on Thanksgiving you can just eat the turkey right off the tree. Something new every! single! day!

Rain on one side of the house and not the other; tea time for snowy owl

Eva and I made cupcakes today. She has been asking for days now it seems. The whole time she helped add ingredients and mix things up, she wore her purple crown, lip stick, and plastic high heel princess shoes. I tried to get a picture of the shoes but my camera battery died. Maybe you can imagine how cute that is? And a little precarious too.

We found The Force Unleashed for the wii yesterday to rent and Samuel finished it today. He is just loving it, although I think he was surprised that he was able to finish it off so quickly. I know I was surprised. Not sure if it will be on his Christmas list or not as this point.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

lego guys talking to mermaid barbie- "wow, you are really big! You are almost as big as Samuel. You should really meet our friend Samuel. But come to think of it, you are not quite as tall as Samuel. You are more like..."
mermaid barbie talking to lego guys- "medium size?" (wry grin)

(it is like a little halo on top of Eva's head- must be the mermaid singing she has been up to)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

woo wii

So a good friend of Matt's gave him a wii for is 40th birthday last week and last night they set it up. Samuel was so excited!! We are now a wii compatible household. And obviously today we are going out to find some more games to play on the new addition.

Monday, November 17, 2008

what kind of title for this day

We spent some time at the park today with friends. This particular park has a large gathering of ducks, geese, gulls and other birds (a crow nearly flew off with a bag of chips!). Now, at some parks with water and birds, there are signs up cautioning against feeding the "waterfowl" lest they become overly aggressive and to be honest, used to being fed. This park had no such sign and when we arrived at the park, we were greeted by a large procession of geese and ducks, letting us know in no uncertain terms that they were OK with being fed. In fact, they expected it. Nicole and Esme brought cracked corn to share so that everyone could take part in the feeding frenzy.

eva feeding so many birds

here they are following us across the bridge. we are like the pied piper of geese. and this white goose and samuel took a liking to one another.

I liked this fancy guy who walked around upright. This is Samuel's new Playmobil guy. He told me his story when we got home. As it turns out, this particular guy made a deal with the pirate devil (a sort of pirate faustian tale). In the deal, pirate guy got eternal life but he forgot to ask for eternal youth (ah the short sightedness of youth). Then he was stranded on an island and he will remain on the island, aging forever. You can see he is already quite aged. He is practically a skeleton. And Samuel said to check out his eyes. They are crazed! Aren't they crazed?

and i have mentioned how much eva enjoys making dolls. this doll is on her finger. she has gum for hair and a little flower in her hair; marker eyes. a little out of focus because she dances and sings as well (while you photograph her!).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Among unschoolers there is much discussion about how much limiting should be done with things like television, video games, candy. The three main vices that parents worry about (for younger kids, at least). I wrote this on a local unschooling list that I am on in response to a question about setting limits on these three-
"Seems like a lot of the discussions I've heard about letting kids set
their own limits focuses on older kids and teenagers, and I'm wondering
if people let their kids decide all these things from the very
beginning, or if they started them out with some limits and let them
take over more decision making as they got older"

I wanted to add that yes, I did start when my kids were very young. They are now still young, 81/2 and 5 1/2 and we have the same kind of scenario that Jenny described. Candy left after a couple of days, kids jumping up from the TV to play a game together that was inspired by the TV and no one flinches when I turn it off. When we talk about allowing kids to set their own limits, there tends to be this image of a small child sitting alone in a room with a bag of candy and the TV blaring, some sort of summer vacation gone awry, no one venturing outside and no one eating an apple, ever. But what really is going on is there are respectful adults around who are loving and care about the children and offering support. I wouldn't suggest giving your child his or her own limits if you are only going to sit on the sidelines and say over and over "this will never work. I don't believe this will work." You have to let go of that kind of thinking- I mean really let go of it. No eye rolling. No "I told you so's"- not to a child, a husband, a wife. Try it out. That's what we're talking about here. Really trying it out because it feels good to you and you trust that it will be OK. My experience has been that if you don't believe it will be OK, it probably won't.
Not to say that I don't have issues with some of these things. I have learned a lot from approaching things from this perspective of trust and support and continuing to work at it from this point of reference. That is what I am suggesting because it is all a work in process.

raking leaves

I was outside raking leaves today. The kids joined me for a little while and we raked up a big pile for them to jump into. They wandered off and I was still enjoying the raking, so I kept raking out into the street. There is a leaf service that comes by to get the leave and they turn them into mulch. This, I believe, they do to keep the leaves from building up in the sewers, it being the rainy season and all. I won't tell the whole story of my neighbors giving me a hard time about raking the leaves "late" because I am enjoying being in a good mood and if I go over it too many times in my mind, well, my good mood will go wherever their good mood went.

The way I see it, raking leaves can be a really enjoyable way to spend a little time outside, if you are in the mood- but isn't that the way with most things? People are in such a hurry to get things cleaned up that they never wait to get in a good mood about doing the things in the first place. And then they go around scowling and complaining about things like raking leaves, when let's be honest here, no one needs to rake another leaf, ever. The best part of the whole scene with my neighbor was that I said, "Well, maybe it will rain!" because really what she is worried about it my leaves going into her yard (such devisiveness makes it hard to enjoy neighborly love, or neighbors, really.) And she agreed! "Yes! Maybe it will rain and they will get all clumped down!" She was so excited by this thought that she walked off smiling. Do you think I will ever be able to get her excited about rain again? [huge grin].

OK, onto the photos.

raking and jumping

Samuel and Eva


Small parts- mushrooms, what the squirrels are after, box elder bug's forest

where they came from; flowers still blooming even as leaves cover them

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The christmas cactus started booming! This plant is a clipping from a plant that my grandmother's grandmother had.

sibling love

I had a picture of the kids sitting together in the new chair but Samuel really didn't like the picture (because he was scowling) and I took it down. Anyway, we have a new chair and everyone loves it and last night they were sitting in it together. Jack had the couch to himself...

I found this pile of weapons near the chair. Was there a plan to oust Eva from the chair?

And then I found these photos of candy from Halloween. So many ways to organize candy...

Eva put her candy into a pattern and Samuel organized his by type. Every time we look at these photos he mentions that Eva got more candy and it is hard to deny it. But how could that be? They went to the same houses, I saw them put candy into their bags. It's true that Samuel eats his candy more quickly. I pointed out today that he put his in piles and the 3-dimensions of the piles didn't show up in the photo. See the kit kat pile and the m&m pile?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another glorious day AND I finished the hat I have been working on. This is the third hat I have made with this lovely angora yarn (eggplantish color looks more purple in photo; the mustard and orange yarns are both wool; all at 6 sts/inch) and I think this one is a keeper. I wore it all day to get used to it, because as Samuel mentioned, I was feeling it was a little bright, at least for my head. He said I will only knit brown things for myself and that I am under a brown spell. Interesting, because I do wear a lot of brown but I have a purple vest and blue shoes so maybe an eggplant hat won't be too much after all. I finished up Samuel's new red hat as well (also 6 sts/inch). This year's red hat is knit in three shades of red- the bottom half is alpaca and then a little left over orangey-red from my stash and some new worsted weight for the top which I intend to make mittens out of as well, hoping they will keep the snow out a bit more than the alpaca, which was really soft and not a bit itchy but which also absorbed moisture too easily.

This weeks produce basket is amazing! There are several tomatoes and I have a few brandywines from my garden that I have been ripening in the kitchen. Brandywine tomatoes in November! Also potatoes, collards, leeks, peppers, romanesco, cauliflower, beets and would you believe, chard! So of course I am making chard with chickpeas tonight and beet risotto later this week? I want to find some brown arborio rice for the risotto and wonder if such a creature exists? But I am torn because I would love to juice the beets as well, particularly with the carrots AND apples. Oh, and there is also a kabocha squash, not to be confused with kombucha.

And speaking of kombucha, I have been checking it out and my mother is about ready so that I can try making my own kombucha!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We went on a tour of the Candy Basket today. This is a giant chocolate fall just inside the building.

Did you know they make 180 different flavors of salt water taffy? No two bags are ever alike.

The kids picked out several different types of candy from the extensive candy shop out front and Samuel even found a chocolate policeman set, complete with a chocolate billy club, badge and handcuffs!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which opens for us."
- Alexander Graham Bell
My friend Kate and I were talking about this today. People are very out of sorts (here) presumably because of the rain coming, of the shorter days, of autumn in general. Autumn is so many things that summer is not. And the not is what is closely observed.

Here is a daily groove by Scott Noelle about taking the path of least resistance, going with the flow, using an example of rain, no less. How appropriate.

The Path of Least Resistance
by Scott Noelle, posted on 2007-05-04

"Take a moment today to observe the motion of water drops descending on a window, windshield, shower wall, or sink.

Each drop follows its own "path of least resistance" toward Ground, which is rarely a straight line. It flows around obstacles in the easiest possible way. When the obstacle is another drop, the easiest way might be to merge with it.

Sometimes the easiest path is that which has been established by previous drops. Sometimes it's easier to stay put until another drop comes along.

In every case, there is no trying, no effort. There is only ease and surrender. That's Nature's Way. Evidence of this is everywhere — in the growth patterns of wild plants, the movement of animals, and the behavior of children.

Today, set the intention to flow like water through your day and with your children. Notice that when you feel stressed, you're resisting in some way.

And when you feel good, you're going with the Flow."

Today Eva wanted to make meringue cookies for Matt's birthday. She wants them to be a surprise, so they are cooking on very slow in the oven right now. I don't know how they are going to turn out because for some reason they were not firming up the way they do and I remembered that you aren't *supposed* to make meringue when it is raining but surely I have made meringue in the rain here before? Then it occurred to me that it isn't the rain per se, but the dew point and it has been very warm here lately- in the 60's rather than 50's and that in conjunction with the rain is what was probably making it difficult to make meringue. Not sure and I probably won't look it up right now. Anyway, the meringue would not be good for a pie, but for cookies it should be just fine.

What came out of the meringue experience, though, was even better than the meringue itself. The afternoon became all about eggs. Eva looked intently and closely at egg yolks (again) and held them and bounced them from hand to hand and there is still one in a bowl on the counter that we are keeping an eye on. Samuel got out an egg or two and whipped some up with various other additives (including the shell crushed in the mortar and pestle) and out came the litmus paper. Lime juice is definitely more acidic than egg.

And now everyone is really relaxed. Samuel even went as far as to say he was in a good mood and was enjoying his day. How is that for getting out of the way and going with the flow. So so glad I didn't mind about egg yolk all over (not that I usually do, anyway, but you get my meaning about getting in the way...). So glad I turned the music on and got us moving. It totally changed the day. Now we just have to eat. And I am so excited because I made this chicken and rice soup with celeriac, carrots and yes! even fennel and it was good.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

japanese gardens

The kids and I went to Portland's Japanese Garden today.

tiny tiny mushrooms; leaves in the pond; Samuel posing as Sheriff Sam

Samuel and Eva- she found a secret spot by a waterfall

Parts of the whole