Thursday, March 28, 2013


We read around here. A lot. It's something I'm thrilled about and try to encourage as much as possible.

As the Princess gets older we're reading chapter books together - it's so much fun to revisit the ones that I've loved. Plus, it gets me out of reading the encyclopedia ones she loves so much; forest fires, earthquakes, killer spiders, dinosaurs, pyramids and mummies, insects, mammals, and tsunamis is just a fraction of her list of "must reads".

Reading List So Far (that I can remember, which means this list is suspect and incomplete...):
Betsy-Tacy Series
All of a Kind Family
Lulu and the Brontosaurus
Geronimo Stilton (she is OBSESSED with this series. She's listening to it and we're reading books together)
The Wizard of Oz
Paddington Bear
The Magic Treehouse
James and the Giant Peach

Monday, March 25, 2013


I've said it before and I'll say it again so you can just skip these posts when you start getting bored (if you're not already). Getting outside is truly the remedy when an attitude adjustment is needed. Especially when it's cold and rainy - bracing weather that rattles out the cobwebs and washes away the funk.  Good Stuff.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dinner Possibilities

The first two years in Kenya we lived in a small apartment with a tropical paradise jungle garden in the back. When you're a child many of the cultural divides don't matter and, in our little world, we had formed a rag-tag playgroup. There were the three white American kids, off to school each morning, the little East Indian girl named Jennypet (named after her parents Jenny and Peter), a princess in her parents' eyes, and the gardner's son, Otiano, who helped with work around the apartment building. We were friends but, in our naive and innocent American minds, we didn't register the vast differences in our lives.

One day Jennypet excitedly invited us to see her new pet goat, tethered in her portion of the shared backyard. A goat! As a pet! We spent the week fawning over our new friend. Then, an invitation came to celebrate Jennypet's birthday. A grand party with guests, presents and, oh yeah, food. Specifically, a goat feast.

The pet goat was also the guest of honor in the birthday curry. Our first, but certainly not the last, introduction to the practical reality of where food actually comes from.

Goat: not my favorite meat.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Columbia Springs Hatchery

Just down the hill from us is a fish hatchery, so convenient that I forget it's there. But, the hatchery is a fantastic outing with little hikes in the woods (we spotted 5 salamanders!), pools with fish of various sizes that jump out of the water when it gets a little crowded, and a feeding pond with gigantic fish that threaten to jump out of the water and eat directly out of your hand .

Oh yeah, and this guy was there...

I'll admit, I courted disaster on this one, trying to get close enough for a picture while using my 5 year old as a human shield... She was totally bored with the whole stalking thing - she prefers to risk her limbs with the monster fish instead.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Technologically Savvy

In case you find yourself waiting, trying to fend off boredom, but without your phone, ipad, Kindle, tablet, or whatever other gadget you carry around with you, there ARE other options.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Teenage Girls, a Paradox

I was never a good babysitter, I didn't want kids, I was shocked to find out that I liked the baby stage and wished (sort of) that my own kids would stay babies forever.

But, here I am holding a baby. And I'm standing next to my best friend, practically on the equator though a mile up in elevation. And this baby is a symbol of our "projects". Every year our Mennonite group would meet for 10 days and, for the month before, we would make plans. Carefully choosing our victims and planning to ambush them during our relaxing retreat.

We drew and colored elaborate pictures to be left on front doors, sewed awkward stuffed animals for babies, posted little notes, and left surprise gifts on doorsteps; all in an effort to make a few people feel special and loved.

How on earth did two early-teenage girls come up with this idea? Girls, so complicated from day one. A mix of selfless and selfish, sweet and mean, thoughtful and thoughtless. I'm sure that our "victims" were amused and touched, but I know that the joy and excitement we got out of our plans and the covert secret execution so we wouldn't get caught was something that I carry with me still.

That thrill of making someone else happy.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Paralyzed, but have a muffin

I have a doctor appointment this afternoon to find out why I have a pain at my right shoulder blade that alternates between knife like and burning. Good times. Its basically paralyzed me.

"How apt," I thought. "My body has taken its cue from my brain and now I'm paralyzed both inside and out."

But, I'm not sure that paralyzed is really the descriptor for the state of my mind. More like overwhelmed with the amount of things on my lists of want to and need to. The list is long and, though there are stresses and challenges, most of the things are actually quite enjoyable. I have a long overdue trip to plan that I'm looking forward to. I have a writing project almost finished and three others that are each trying to claim precedence for good reason. I have a quilt needing just a few hundred more stitches that might find a home on my bed. I have a daughter soaking up any new information I can give her and the list of spring and summer projects we could do before I have to relinquish my time with her to kindergarten is growing exponentially. It's a good problem to have, choosing between a bounty of blessings, but my brain is having trouble processing it all.


On a completely different note, I have made these muffins twice now. They are fabulous. I tried to eat them for breakfast the other day but the girls kept asking for bites. I plan to smuggle two out of the house in the morning so I can eat them in peace this time.

Originally from With Style & Grace, I made a few changes...maybe next time I'll add Chia seeds(!)

Paleo Banana Bread Muffins

  • 1 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 eggs (I had pre-beat a bunch of eggs 2 at a time and frozen them. Thawed, they worked beautifully in this recipe)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I used coconut oil instead)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 chopped walnuts, plus more for topping (left out the walnuts for the girls. The almond flour makes these muffins "nutty" anyway.)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place muffins cups in muffin tin and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt.
In a separate bowl, add the mashed bananas, eggs, honey, vanilla and oil – mix well.
Add wet ingredients to dry and stir until combined.
Fill the baking cups about 3/4 full. Sprinkle a few chopped walnuts over each cup. 
Bake muffins for 21-23 minutes.
The recipe doubles well.

Monday, March 4, 2013


The forecast called for snow, possibly rain.

The Princess, when she found out we were going to be on an actual volcano spent three days asking me if it was going to erupt. I chose to interpret her question as a request for assurance that no, it wasn't going to wake from its dormancy while we were there. I think she was actually asking in the "that would be really awesome" way. You know, because nothing caps off a great day like an explosion and a little lava...

What we actually found when we got to Mt. Hood was blue sky, warm temps, and lots of laughter. A great day, despite the lack of hot magma and ash.