Six Degrees of Yellow

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I've been working on my personal "Pin it to Real Life" challenge, and since that is far more interesting than the strep throat that everyone here is suffering from, I'll show you something I actually finished!

I came across this dresser on Pinterest some time ago and fell in love right away.  When my mom spotted an old dresser at the local thrift shop, I knew it was meant to be.  After carting it home and discovering an old woman's personal papers taped under one of the drawers (!), we cleaned it up and set to work making it a suitable piece of furniture for the girls' bedroom.

I chose a darker shade of yellow to coordinate with the very light yellow on the girls' bedroom walls.  Thank you Pinterest!  It was easy and quick and I adore the finished product!   Don't you?

Year of Soulemama: Some Sewing + Eating

Friday, August 26, 2011

I know it's only month one, but we are so very much enjoying our "Year of Soulemama" as we follow along with the months in her new book, The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder through the Seasons
Remember the berry muffins (that I declared to be the very best berry muffin recipe ever!)?  Well we've enjoyed several dozen of them already.  And with so many muffins around the house, I decided we needed some of Amanda's muffin bags around here too. 

Amanda's pattern is quick and simple and makes a perfect gift too!  I used tea towels, per the book's recommendations, and was able to put together this bag in less than 20 minutes.  Once I filled it with bagels from a friend's favorite shop, it was off to brighten someone's birthday.  Voila. 

Next up, a few muffin bags for me too!  I've got a batch of the Berry Muffins in the oven right now.  Maybe I can get a bag done before the timer goes off . . .

How to Grind Your Own Flour

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Grinding your own flour!  It is so much easier than you think - and so many good reasons to do it.

I am blogging over at Good Life Eats today!   Click here to read my article.

An End of Summer Tradition (maybe)

Monday, August 22, 2011

If you do something two years in a row is it a tradition? 

If so, then we enjoyed our second annual end of summer horseback riding tradition over the weekend.  Horses are so much fun.  The girls want one of their own, of course.  I think I do too.  Someday I tell you, someday.

Is the end of summer really approaching already?  We are living it up a little longer.  Here are some of our horsey weekend highlights.

If it's broken: Fix It

I hate the term "broken home." 

So you have a broken marriage, and you already feel like a failure of great proportions, but if you have kids you have to be able to carry this too: you broke your home. 

And everyone knows that kids from broken homes are fighting an uphill battle.  Research can show you how kids from broken homes suffer, as children and as adults.   Kids raised by single parents are more likely to do badly at school, suffer poor health, and fall into crime, addiction, and poverty as adults.   Not to mention the emotional and mental disorders that children from broken homes are significantly more likely to suffer from.  (See this article for more info on these statistics)

It makes my heart hurt.

As a mother, I want nothing more in life than to give my children the best opportunities to become the best versions of themselves.  As a mother, my abiding prayer for them is a life of happiness, love, confidence, and courage to follow their hearts and choose the right.  But I am a Single Mother.  Do my prayers and wishes weigh less?  Are my children destined to become another number in the broken home statistics? 

I think there is more to it.

I have spent a lot of time thinking and worrying and praying about my children, our family, and the life we have ahead of us.   I have put a lot of thought into this notion of a Broken Home, and into the circumstances of my Broken Marriage.   Eventually I came to this:

If it's broken: Fix It.

A Friday Moment

Friday, August 19, 2011

Feeling quiet today, but trying to remember all that I have to be grateful for.  Joining Soulemama and remembering a moment from the week.  I wish you all the happiness that a late summer weekend should bring.

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments for all to find and see.

Pin it to Real Life

Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Note to My Readers:  I want to thank everyone who comes here - I consider everyone of you an important part of my "community" and I am so thankful for the world wide web that makes such a unique and diverse community possible.  It means so much to me when you take the time to leave me a comment or share the posts that you think have some value. 

Yesterday's post has already been viewed thousands of times and shared more than any post I have written previously.  It amazes me, in such a good way, to see words that are near to my heart be spread as something of value to others as well.  Thank you, from my heart and home to yours.  

I think I've mentioned my deep love of pinterest before, right?  Something about taking it behind the bleachers and . . .  Well, we've taken our relationship to the next level. 

I was getting ready to make a lifelong commitment and offer to have Pinterest's babies when it occurred to me that I was really in a onesided relationship.  Pinterest, my dear Pinterest, was doing all the work. 

What good are all of my fabulous pin boards if all they remain are online pinboards.  Well, because I am so committed to this relationship, I decided to put my back into it.  Ahem, so to speak.   I decided to start pinning things to real life too.  

Seriously, Pinterest, we just got that much better together.  Truly, madly, deeply. 

I picked a few pins to start with and here is baby number one: 

People Change (and kids are people too)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

There was a time in my life when I ate twinkies for breakfast.

I was once pretty convinced that I would never have children - smelly, noisy, weird little things. 

I remember getting up at 4 AM in highschool just to curl my hair and do my makeup before school. 
Dear Photograph, Oh to put on daddy’s hat and go for the big fish all over again! Deb Wheaton
Photo from Dear Photograph

I used to have so much anxiety about making phone calls that I would have to write down the dialogue and follow a script just to order a pizza or invite a friend over.

When I started college, I swore I would never give in to the cell phone trend.  Um, yeah.

I did a lot of things in 2003, oh and 2004, that I would never, ever, ever do again.  Seriously, never.

I once doubted that religion had a place in my life. 

There was even a time that I doubted my worth as a human being so completely that I thought I couldn't go on, thought I could starve some of the hurt, thought I would be friendless and broken forever.

Thank goodness people change.  Thank goodness we can make new choices, educate ourselves, change our minds, do things differently. 

I am so glad I don't have to be the person I was.  I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to change my mind, to change my actions, to move on and move forward.  I don't even want to think about a life that involves 4 AM dates with a curling iron and hot rollers. 

Change isn't just good, it is an important part of living, which is why it kills me when I hear parents put their kids and teens in boxes. 

My daughter is shy. 

My son isn't self-motivated.

My daughter is bossy. 

My son is aggressive.

My daughter is sloppy.

My son has to be the center of attention.

My daughter is needy.

My son is a trouble-maker.

My daughter is a girly-girl.

My son is irresponsible.

Summer Postcards: Cliff's

Friday, August 12, 2011

I know amusement parks seem like good summer fun, but really they just aren't my thing.  The crowds, the noise, the flashing lights, the dirt and grime.  I'd really rather stay home and knit. 

But I will make an exception. 

This week we went to Albuquerque's local amusement park, Cliff's, and I went because, and only because, it was closed!  My Dad's company rented the park so we gathered the family together and enjoyed an evening of rides and pulled pork and ice cream, without the normal crowds.  It wasn't knitting, but it was fun.  I even found myself upside-down at one point in the evening.

A New Favorite

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On Monday night I was in bed, feeling a bit bleak and far from sleep, when I remembered that I hadn't checked the mail yet.  Donning a robe and slippers, I ran out to the mailbox and found a most pleasant surprise: Soulemama's new book (The Rhythm of Family), which I of course stayed up half the night to read cover to cover. 

The kids have been poring over all the photographs, picking the recipes and projects they'd like to try, and though I am certain we will work our way through everything in the book (as we did with the first two), I also have my list of things to do right away. 

The essays are beautiful, two by Steve even made me cry.  It is a book of hope, of happiness, of connection - everything that I want for my family.  It has inspired me in a thousand ways already, reminding me, just as Soulemama's blog does daily, to slow down and savor the little moments.  I am reminded, once again, of all the joy that is to be found when we live purposefully and make connecting the reason for our days. 

I am going to use the book like a family manifesto for our year - a family guide for our seasons together.  The book is organized by months, so we are jumping into the summer months right away as this season slips through our fingers in these next weeks.  But we've already been collecting signs of the season, and with a fridge full of blueberries and raspberries, Amanda's berry muffin recipe was at the top of our to do list! 

These muffins don't disappoint!  In fact, I am going to boldly declare this the very best berry muffin recipe I have ever come across.  And I'm not just saying that because I have a serious love crush on the Soule family either - these muffins are absolutely delectable.  Everyone here will vouch for me. 
I look forward to sharing more of the rhythm of our "Year of Soulemama" here as we go.  I highly recommend you pick up a copy of your own!

A Step Back

Friday, August 5, 2011

I am always wrestling with my feelings about technology (remember cell phones and chickens?), though I never seem to make it past confused.  I love it and I hate it, you know.

Take Facebook for example.  I love that it reminds me of everyone's birthday and it is so simple to type a quick birthday greeting on someone's Facebook Wall and know that their birthday has been acknowledged.  It's convenient and quick, like most technology advances I worry over.  But is it meaningful? 

I waffle back and forth on things like whether or not emailing a message is better because it is more eco-friendly.  And so many things come down to time, at least that's what I am always hearing.  Sending a message via the internet is quick - but isn't the internet kind of a time waster anyway.  Sure, it takes some time to sit down and handwrite a card and stick it in the mail, but how much time was wasted on empty web surfing, and sorting through junkmail in the email inbox today? 

I think what I have to keep coming back to is what feels most meaningful to me, what feels most fulfilling.  So I'm pulling out the old typewriter again, buying a new ink ribbon for it, and following my heart the best way I know how. 

I love the internet, but I think I'm going to type a few messages, make a few birthday cards and send them the old fashioned way for the exact same reason I like to make my own bread: I want to feel connected in a meaningful way.  

Alphabet Glue + A Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Alphabet Glue e-zine is seriously cool fun! 

I came across one of Annie's "Library Monday" posts on her blog, Bird and Little Bird, some time ago and it appealed to my book loving inner child in a big way.  I've been avidly reading along ever since (all the while wishing I too lived in Vermont). 

If you know me, then you know I am crazy for books.  And if you know my kids, you know they are even crazier for books.  We were delighted when Annie released her first e-zine, which combines both children's literature and crafting.  My kids instantly jumped on board and found a new way to explore their love of the written word through all of the crafts and activities designed by Annie.

The second issue of Alphabet Glue has been just as much fun as the first!  It will be loved by both older and younger kids!  We took the book lists to our local library and stocked up on some good titles.  Esme is loving all the mystery and fun of the Nate the Great books that Annie recommends.

Eila made her own secret picture messages using the e-zine's recipe for invisible ink. 

Five Years! Seriously?

To Esme:

Today you are five years old.  I remember this morning five years ago, this morning that came after twenty six long hours of laboring and thirty eight long weeks of waiting.   I remember the instant you announced your arrival and the way you fit perfectly into the fold of my arms.  But I blinked, and now you are five, tall and lanky and precocious in every way. 

Five years ago I found myself navigating the unfamiliar path of motherhood.  I remember the muddle and the mishaps of those early days as I tried to find my way as a new mama.  All these years later, I am still in uncharted territory, still stumbling forward.  But today I see the person you are becoming and I realize that we are in this together, we always have been. 

For now, we go along hand in hand.  Our days start and end together and I still can't imagine it any other way.  You love to cuddle next to me on the couch to read books by the dozens.  In the kitchen you are by my side wanting to help with every big and small task.  You want to show me every drawing, every letter written, every splash of paint.  Most mornings I find that you have made your way across the hall and into my bed sometime during the night.  And now that you are five I am realizing just how humbling and overwhelming it is to be the person you look up to as you make your way through life's tangles.

Five feels so big, so important.  Although your sweet face is the same one I fell in love with on day one of babyhood, I look at you now and I'm certain that you are all kid.  Five looks like this:

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