Saturday, July 30, 2011

Our Simple Life : A Journey

We have decided as a family that we are much happier the more simple our life becomes. By simple I don't mean using more modern conveniences like take out food and buying the new i-pad. I mean quite the opposite. I like the way Leo Babauta said it.:
"A simple life has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, eschewing chaos for peace, and spending your time doing what’s important to you.
It means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value."

Our journey had been slow and has been less painful and more rewarding than one might think. Over the next few months I am going to catch you up on some of the changes that we have made in our lives that I feel have brought our family closer and happier over the past year. Most of these things do take longer to do (especially if you include your children in the process), but it is so well worth it and I highly recommend practicing patience and encouraging your children to work along side you. I think that the average child or even adult in the western world is looking for things to entertain themselves with (hence the multi-billion dollar entertainment industry) instead of doing "real" work that humans have done for thousands of years that bring a deep soul level of satisfaction and a connection to self, nature and family that can not be replaced. I think it is within the work that we develop and teach our children to develop endurance, patience, creativity, co-operation, thoughtfulness, kindness, mindfulness, and many other wonderful characteristics a tools that they will be able to use as they move into the world on their own.  

Look for my weekend blogs entitled "Simple Living" as I talk about the  ways we have found to bring more peace and meaning into our family life.
For this week, I will leave you with a few pictures of our walk to explore our back yard. We decided to go for a family stroll to see what we could observe and  find in nature. This is a simple way to connect with each other that we have adopted into our regular routine. Our cat Harvest even loves to join us. You know when the animals are happy, you must be on the right track. Although he does get a little nervous if we stray too far.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I made it through Musical Theatre Summer Camp!

So, not only did I make it through the 2 weeks of summer camp, but I never felt better and had a wonderful time. I was so worried that I wouldn't feel well enough to teach every day at 8 months pregnant. Even though most of my family was sick at one point or another during the 2 weeks, I never got sick and seemed to have more energy than ever. When I saw all the kids performing up on the stage on the last day of camp with the sets that they created, the costumes they had designed, and their faces lit up with their voices ringing clear, I couldn't help but cry. The joy in the room was overwhelming as the parents watched their children light up the stage.  No one could believe how 40+ children could learn that much in only 2 weeks. (I mean, Sondheim is not easy.) All I can say is that when you are having fun and excited about something, you can pretty much do anything.  It makes me most happy to teach theatre in a way that brings out the best in people. The giving nature of performance rather than the competitive. The collaborative nature rather than for individual gain. The joy of sharing a message and accepting your humanness rather than the critical  judgmental and unrealistic nature of perfection. If my students left camp with a love for theatre and a feeling of self confidence and excitement about this art form, then I think I did my job. 

I will be taking some much needed time off to have my baby, but this was a wonderful way to end this year of teaching and I am already looking forward to next year. Hmmmm.....what show should we do?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summertime Photo Challenge

A family portrait: all 5 of us!
This Photo is part of the Summertime Photo Challenge at The Paper Mama.

52 Weeks of Happiness: Week 2

Happiness is finding my son peacefully,all alone on my neighbors porch, eating his granola.  I hope they find it as cute as I do.

Monday, July 25, 2011

What's Cooking in the Kitchen?

This week in my kitchen:

:: Fresh picked French beans from my garden.....tender and delicious.
:: Our first tiny cantaloupe that fell off one of the vines a little early.......still so sweet smelling and juicy.
:: Making our first batch of 24 hour raw goat yogurt......can't wait to taste it and make a bunch more.
:: Sprouted and fermented amaranth bubbling over with happiness.....made a batch of pancakes for breakfast and a batch of savory rosmarry flat bread for dinner.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Her birthday

My oldest is now 7. As I sit here feeling this little one rumble around in my belly getting ready to join our family, I   remember that day seven years ago when she was born. All the pains as they rose and fells through my body told me that she was coming, but there was no way for me to know who she really was and how my life would change from that day on. I had no idea the kind of love I would feel the minute I laid my eyes, hands, lips on her. The way joy and exhaustion felt together. I didn't know. It seems like every day since that day seven years ago has been a new journey. A daily practice of staying in the moment so I don't miss that gift that a child brings. For I can say that she has been a gift to me in so many ways. As she continues to teach me each day we share this little piece of the world together, I am certain that this new little soul coming will follow the same pattern as his sister and brother before him, of course in his own unique way that no one could ever predict or prepare for. As usual my daughter had a lot to do with this little ones journey. She has been wanting more siblings and I, after some hard but clear meditating on the subject, found I did too. Actually, I realized I had always wanted a big family, but I think I got caught up in my past and future and couldn't see/feel what was right in front of me, or in my heart anymore. So, that day 7 years ago when she was born into a pool of warm water into my arms and the loving arms of her father, we knew a miracle had occurred, but we learned that if we stopped to listen to each moment we would find a new miracle being born. I am so grateful to my children as my teachers and partners in this life. And although I sometimes wish my little girl wouldn't grow up so fast, I will not let myself miss the moment at hand. She is 7, and that is something we've never seen before. I wonder what today will bring. It is a journey.

Jetta perfroming in "Into the Woods" on her birthday.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

So I am am right  in the middle of my summer camp. We are working on the show "Into the Woods" and after over 20 years of knowing this show, it is still exciting to me. It is so fun to see all the kids working together to create the show from  set making to performing and learning to work as a team/cast  developing great friendships along the way. I am happy that I have been feeling pretty good with enough energy even though my belly is getting bigger by the minute. I think the baby enjoys all the music and singing in there. I am so lucky to have a the best camp staff to help me; my wonderful mother and mother in-law, and one of my favorite and talent students who will be leaving me to go to college this year. It has been quite a family affair with my husband building all the sets, my mother in law as art director, my mother managing all the parent support and assisting in classes, and my two children attending the camp. A home away from home. Just the way I like it. 

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Waffle madness :: Sprouted and Fermented!

My best friend gave me the a waffle recipe for a month ago and we have been eating them almost every day since.  I started buying all my grains in bulk (25lb bags) from Bobs Red Mills a little while ago and I am always looking for easy recipes to use them in. The original recipe she gave me called for oats but so far I have tried it with Millet, Quinoa, Oats and buckwheat. They all are delicious. I have been a mad woman in the kitchen filling my freezer with all kind of waffles. Who needs Eggo? I have frozen waffles ready to pop in the toaster at any time. These work great to take with you for a picnic or snack with a little honey and nut butter spread on them.  I tweaked the recipe a little and here is the one I think I like the best. 

3 cups sprouted, fermented grain of your choice **
4 organic pastured eggs
3 -4 T raw butter or coconut oil
2 t baking soda
1 T alcohol free vanilla

Blend all ingredients in the food processor for at least 5 minutes until nice and smooth.  Use in your favorite waffle iron. This batter works for pancakes as well.

raw honey or pure maple syrup with raw whipped cream 

** Spouting and fermenting  are a must when eating grains. I learned the hard way that grains can wreak havoc on a digestive system when not properly prepared. At 20 I developed Celiac Disease and even though I went on a gluten-free diet I still had digestive trouble every day. By the end of each day I was so bloated I looked 6 months pregnant. I knew I was still missing something and that is when I learned about The Weston A Price Foundation  from my sister in law. WAPF is basically a non-profit that teaches about traditional foods from all over the world and their health value. I learned about how certain foods needed to be prepared in specific ways to do so and I have taken the last 13 years to slowly adopt this new way of eating that I truly believe has not only helped me to recover from a debilitating digestive disorder and live in good health, but also provide my family with food that nourishes them and allows them to thrive.  Why do we need to soak and ferment grains? Click here

To sprout and ferment your grains:  
1.Wash them with water four or five time and leave to soak them in filtered water over night in a glass bowl with a plate on top.  
2. In the morning wash and rinse your grains thoroughly and cover with filtered water again. This time add about 1 T of whey or the juice of 1/2 lemon to the water and cover again for 12 - 24 hours. 
3. Rinse the grains and strain out the water. They are now ready to use. Your body with thank you for all your hard work.

I would love to hear from if you try the recipe and if you have other ideas for these grains. I am on the lookout for the perfect grain mill. If you have one you love, please share.

Friday, July 15, 2011

This Moment: 1 week down, 1 week to go..... Musical Theatre Camp

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Taming pumpkins, accepting what is

One day in the last week we decided to go into the garden to tame the pumpkins. Since this is the first year of our garden, it is an experimental time for us to see what will grow best, where things like to grow, and what we like to eat most. Jetta and Pilot really wanted pumpkins, so we planted some. Little did I know that they would take over the whole garden, threatening every other living thing in their way. You may be asking yourself why we have hoodies, long pants and boots on in the middle of one of the hottest summers in Maryland. Well, I think every mosquito in Annapolis has found our yard and decided that it is the perfect place to settle.  Mosquitoes and I have a long history.  They have always loved me and I have never liked them. I have spent many nights with covers over my head, so afraid of the little buzzing sound in my ear that I could hardly breath. I have stood in the middle of my room at 2 in the morning looking for that little black speck on the ceiling for hours so I could finally turn off the light and go to sleep. Since we moved to Maryland, the only thing I have not liked about it is that I felt that I could not use my yard in the summer when I want to be out gardening and spending family time in my yard, until now. Why now? Well, I still have mosquitoes, but I have changed my attitude towards them. I have made peace with them and decided to except what is instead of fighting I can't change. We are still going to work on the problem as best we can, but with my attitude shrift, I can now move freely in my yard, reclaiming my space.  We are working to make our yard not as ideal an environment for them to live and one place that my little friends like to live is the pumpkins. So Jetta and I put on our mosquito gear and our warrior spirit and went out to tame the pumpkins. With hundreds of the little black specks swarming us and sweat dripping down our faces we cut back the pumpkins (making sure to keep and the blossoms to eat for lunch) letting the sun finally find the watermelons and blueberries that were under them and hopefully sending a friendly message to those well-intentioned skeeters to find another home.  But whether they stay or go, I will not be a stranger in my yard. They will have to share the garden with me.

Friday, July 08, 2011

This Moment: Little hands, Big vegetable

This is a special moment from the past week that I want to stop, savor and enjoy. If you want to see other moments being shared this morning, go over to SouleMama.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Wild Raspberries for Independence Day

We spent the morning picking raspberries in the woods. How exciting it is to walk through the woods looking for patches of red berries to pick. Putting one in the mouth and one in the bucket. This is another way we are creating more space for our family to connect with each other and nature.  So much more fun then walking into a store. You get a delicious berries and a walk in the woods for $0.

We found a few friends on the on the path,

.........and tried not to run into these beauties.   

The next day Jetta spent about an hour preparing a  raspberry sauce to top of her 4th of July ice cream sundays. That sauce was really good! When it was almost time to serve it I took it off the stove for her to put it in the fridge and............
oops!....well......, all I can say is it wasn't a firework that exploded. It somehow burned my finger and I dropped the whole beautiful sauce all over my floor, myself and basically my entire kitchen. Wow! We were all covered.  This is the reality of a busy kitchen sometimes.
So we whipped up another sauce quickly (not quite as good as Jetta though) and enjoyed our sundays. The kids made little flags to go on top of our our sundays.  Those sundays were so good. Made with raw milk and pastured cream, raw pastured egg yolks and blueberry and raspberry sauce.

I hope you all had a great 4th!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

52 Weeks of Happiness: Week 1

Every night the kids cuddle up in our bed as John reads them 2 books of their choice. This is a favorite time of day for our family. We are all snuggled together ready for bed ,thinking about all the fun we had that day and planning to dream about what tomorrow will bring.
***And it is my 8th anniversary with John today (17 years together).